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The Top Ten 08.21.08: My Fifty Greatest Matches EVER


HEIDENREICH

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След почти 2 години добилият известност и в нашия форум Джулиън Уилямс спира своята рубрика.Макар и повечето пъти подбора да му да ми е бил странен и спорен и не винаги съм съгласен с него,давам си сметка,че именно от неговите класации са ставали някои от най полезните дискусии в този форум(като тези за подценените и надценените мачове и борци).Типично за автора и този път се е ограничил с мачове от САЩ главно от WWF/E и WCW .Нарочно обединих двете части ведна тема за по-прегледно четенеЕnjoy!

Good day friends and welcome to the FINAL edition of The Top Ten (hold back the tears folks). This week I make a grandiose exit by presenting the top 50 greatest matches of all-time which I'm sure will spark up some debate and have the same babies crying, "He includes all the same matches all the time! Julian sucks! Hey Julian, Kill Yourself! EPIC FAIL!" Which always amuses me because the matches I include are great (in my opinion) so of course I'm going to use them again if I'm doing another column that fits the criteria of that same great match. If I say that the Undertaker/Michaels HIAC match from '97 was one of the greatest matches ever in my list of greatest 'Taker matches, then why wouldnt I include it in future lists like the greatest WWE matches or greatest matches of the 90's. I'm not going to mention other matches that I dont feel arent as worthy just to not be repetitive. If I did that, then you'd wind up seeing matches like Jericho vs. X-Pac on the 21st Century list which would be ridiculous because even though it was a good match, it wasnt one of the best of the 21st century. Ok enough of me going off on a tangent, let's proceed to....more tangents!

Departing Words

-It has been great writing this column for the past two years. It has given me the chance to hear the opinions of so many people like myself that it was both refreshing and rewarding. Let's face it, being a wrestling fan in this day and age is the equivalent of having social leprosy at times. Whenever I mention wrestling to my friends that arent into it, I always get either an eye roll, a scoff, or the question that makes me want to punch them hard in the nose: "You know it's fake, right?" No, I didn't know that, I thought that it was completely realistic for grown men to randomly hit other people with steel chairs and throw women through tables and set people on fire. Thank you for enlightening me on the fakeness of wrestling because I was too idiotic to understand it was only entertainment. I thought it was real. I was going to murder Chris Jericho for hitting Shawn Michaels' wife in the lip. Thank God I didnt. Wouldnt I have egg on my face then? Thank you for your wisdom sir. **Diatribe of Sarcasm over** But seriously, I've always loved 411 because it has been filled with great writers and readers who all have various levels of fandom from people who have seen pretty much every match ever to young fans who just started watching a few months ago. It has been great to interact with people like myself who love wrestling and appreciate it as much as I do. Well not everyone appreciates it, they prefer to bitch about it every day, but you get my drift. Thank you all for sharing in my obsession and creating a community where I feel comfortable to discuss it.

-For those of you who are loyal readers of mine (all 3.5 of you), don't fret because I will be back from time to time to do some reviews for shows shown on WWE 24/7. I'll probably start sometime next month since they have the awesome "Forever Flair" theme which I'm sure will produce a bunch of premium stuff for me to comment on.

-Let me clear up a few things about last week's Top Ten Wrestlers column. I saw many of you ask what was the criteria based on and that was my fault because I forgot to mention that at the beginning of the column. The criteria I used was based on a wrestlers OVERALL attributes. So it wasn't based on who was the best technician or promo man or entertainer or draw, but rather all of those combined. So a reason you might have seen a guy like Hogan so high is because even though he wasnt great in the ring, there is no denying how entertaining he was and his drawing power. Also I don't watch a lot of Puro or Lucha so I think it would be pretty ridiculous of me to include wrestlers who I have barely watched. And finally, the reason you didn't see guys like Edge, Cena, Batista, Danielson or Joe on the list is because I didn't include guys that have only been in the limelight for the last decade or so simply due to the fact that they are in the peaks of their career and still have a lot more to do. In the next 5 years or so, I'm sure some of those guys (or even all of them) might crack the top 25, but at this point they still have a little bit more proving to do. So I hope that clears up some of the confusion.

-Before I leave my post here, I just have one thing to say to some of you. RELAX!! Jesus F. Christ, so many of you bitch and whine and moan every week about my lists when mind you this is an OPINION column. Nowhere have I ever stated that my lists are law and you should all think like me because that's ridiculous. From day one, I've always said these lists were MY opinion (which I'm entitled too, contrary to popular belief) and that you should feel free to post yours. But instead of realizing that and just posting your own opinion, some of you had to rant about how I was an "pro-WWE" or "anti-Indy" and even when I had lists that weren't like that, you'd still find something to whine about. Good God people, calm the F down. If you think that you could create the "perfect" list that everybody will love, guess what, you won't. That's because there will ALWAYS be people that disagree with you. So come down from your high temple of assholeness to realize that your opinion is not FACT and that everyone is entitled to have an opinion that differs than yours. You like Puro or Lucha more than North American wrestling? Good for you, that's your preference and you have ever right to it. But don't berate others because they dont share your same view, leave that to 6th grade catholic school girls and act like, you know, an ADULT. Learn to embrace others opinions and engage in friendly discussion about your diferring point of views instead of calling them an "idiot" and putting yourself on a pedestal. Get out of the house, get some hobbies, get a girl to suckle on your penis, and chill the fuck out! Now I eagerly await the bombardment of comments filled with hate due to this rant.

The Top FIFTY Matches of ALL-TIME

50) Owen Hart vs. The British Bulldog (3/3/97)

This was a match to decide the first ever European Champion and it was held in Germany. The German crowd got a treat in this classic match that rivals the quality of the Bret/Bulldog match from Summerslam '92. Owen and Bulldog were the tag champs at this time so they were playing nice with each other in the beginning, but it wasn't long until both men started beating the piss out of each other and started playing games of one-upsmanship. The pace of the match was frenetic and non-stop and the end came when Bulldog countered a sunset flip into a sit-down pin ala his match with Bret at SS '92 which was a brilliant play on continuity. Bottom line is that you MUST see this match, it is simply perfect.

49) Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (Wrestlemania 12)

These two legends faced off in the first ever Iron Man match at WM12 for the WWE Title. This match was technical brilliance as both men put on an entertaining display for the full 60 minutes (and change) and kept the crowd enthralled the entire time. Many critics of the match like to point out that it was unrealistic for them to go a full hour without either man getting a pinfall and that took away from the Ironman stipulation, but I feel that just showed how evenly matched and determined both men were to not give up the first fall. After a grueling battle, HBK was able to pick up his first WWE Title after delivering Sweet Chin Music in overtime. This is a fantastic wrestling match and if you're a fan of great wrestling action, you can't miss this match.

48) The Rockers vs. The Brainbusters (MSG 1/23/89)

This is what tag team wrestling is all about. Pacing, timing, excitment, and keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats. The Rockers dominated the early portions of this match by giving the Busters a taste of their own medicine by heeling it up. The Busters were finally able to gain control when Tully lured Michaels around the ring until Arn blindsided him with a vicious clothesline. At that point, The Busters secluded Michaels and started pounding on him. Everytime Michaels got close to a tag, The Busters would cut him off and the crowd would get even more antsy. Michaels finally got the hot tag and The Rockers cleaned house until Arn tripped up Marty on a suplex attempt which allowed Tully to cover for the three count. This match is just unbelievable and needs to be seen by anyone who calls themselves a fan of tag team wrestling.

47) Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. Brian Pillman (Superbrawl '92)

This match is one of the greatest opening matches ever and is only eclipsed in my eyes by Bret/Owen at Wrestlemania 10. These two were two of the best light-heavyweights in the world at the time so to see them lock up and get a sufficient amount of time was a great treat for all true wrestling fans. This was a match over the Light Heavyweight Championship and these two men gave a performance that automatically gave some legitimacy to the belt. Liger was an outsider from Japan so the crowd didn't know what to expect from him, but he quickly won them over through some impressive moves. Pillman more than held his own by delivering some high risk maneuvers that proved why his nickname was "Flyin" Brian. This match had it all with high flying action, technical wrestling, and submission holds. The ending saw Liger so for a diving headbutt and miss which allowed Pillman to roll him up for the win and become the first WCW Light Heavyweight Champion. This is a perfect, timeless match. There is no other way to describe it.

46) Randy Orton vs. Cactus Jack (Backlash '04)

This is a personal favorite of mine as I loved this feud and I felt that this was the perfect culmination for it. This match made Randy Orton a star and proved that Mick Foley is willing to put people over for the good of the business. After months of taunting and abusing Mick and even squeaking by with a win in a tag match at WM20, Randy now had to face off against Mick one-on-one. But this wasn't just any kind of match and Randy wasn't facing the lovable, friendly Foley. It was a hardcore match and Randy was now facing Cactus Jack! The match was a brutal affair that Randy was surprisingly able to hold his own in. Cactus started off the match by trying to maim Orton with a baseball bat covered in barbed wire, which Orton frantically used a garbage can to block. After a cameraman got knocked over, Orton used the distraction to drop toe hold Cactus and take temporary control of the match. Cactus was able to regain control match soon enough and busted Orton wide open with a shot to the head with the barbwire covered baseball bat. Cactus went so far as to try to try to light his barbwire bat on fire until Eric Bischoff came out and threatened to shut down the whole PPV if Cactus did that. Cactus then decided to up the violence by bringing out a board covered in barbwire, but Orton threw the Evil Baby Powder Of Cheatery to gain the advantage and slam Cactus onto the barbwire board. Ouchies! Orton then set the barbwire board up in the corner and whipped Cactus face first into it. Double Ouchies! Orton then tried to prove his hardcoreness by pulling out some thumbtacks and went to RKO Cactus onto the tacks, but Cactus countered by throwing Orton back first onto the tacks! That was the first time I ever saw somebody go into a pile of tacks with no shirt on and the sight of seeing hundreds of tacks stuck all around the body of Randy Orton was completely unbelievable. Say what you will about Orton, but that was a MAN-SIZED bump. With some extra nuts on the side. The men then brawled up the ramp and Cactus proceeded to hurl Orton off of the stage and threw some table below and followed up with a Cactus elbow from the top of the ramp. That sequence is even more impressive considering that Orton still had a ton of tacks stuck inside of him so you know it must of hurt like a bitch to land on them when he got thrown off the stage. Orton showed a whole ton of guts by kicking out of that elbow and after a couple more minutes of brawling, the match ended when Randy hit an RKO on Cactus on the barbwire bat. This was a bloody, intriguing epic that is just as fun to watch today as it was during its original showing.

45) Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles (Turning Point '05)

I feel like this is a forgotten match in the annals of TNA (all six years of its existence) and that's a real crime because I feel this is the best one-on-one match TNA has ever produced. The back story of this match was hat Joe had broken the unwritten code of the X-Division by crossing the line and injuring Christopher Daniels on purpose. That pissed off AJ who was out for revenge and he bought the offense to Joe in a manner he had never seen before. This included some absolutely brutal shots and a dropkick to the face that was so forceful that it sent Joe staggering in the opposite direction that he was running. AJ also showed some phenomenal (pardon the pun) strength by powerbombing Joe and hitting the Styles Clash on Joe as well. Joe was able to ward off AJ's offense by delivering some of the stiffest chops and kicks I've ever seen in a match. Seriously, I was legit worried for AJ because he was getting unmercifully beaten with stiff shots. The match ended when Joe was able to lock in the Kokina Clutch until AJ eventually passed out. This is an absolutely unbelievable match that I enjoy watching everytime I see it.

44) The Midnight Express vs. The Fantastics (Clash Of The Champions I)

Many people remember Clash I for Flair/Sting or the tag match between Barry Windham & Lex Lugar against Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson, but in my opinion THIS was the match that stole the show. This match was just an all-out brawl with both teams hitting each other with whatever they could get their hands on including tables and chairs and featured some insane action like Bobby Eaton delivering a mother f-ing bulldog to Tommy Rogers through a table. The Midnights secluded Rogers for the majority of the match until Rogers was able to get the hot tag (which the ref missed and got promptly thrown on his ass for) and that made the match break down into a PIER SIX BRAWL!~! The ending came when Jim Cornette accidentally hit Bobby Eaton with the RACKET OF DOOM which allowed the Fantastics to hit The Rocket Launcher on him for the three count. But then the ref that was initially thrown out on his ass for missing the hot tag came back in the ring and DQ'd The Fantastics for putting their hands on him. This was just a hotly contested match that featured some brawling that was way ahead of its time and showed why The Midnights weren't just the best tag team of their day, but maybe the best tag team ever.

43) The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian (Wrestlemania 16)

The levels of insanity seen at Wrestlemania was upped tremendously when three of the greatest tag teams of all-time squared off in this unforgettable match. This match featured some of the riskiest high spots ever seen in a WWE ring and left the crowd in the audience and those watching at home in absolute awe of it. Seeing Jeff Hardy swanton Bubba Ray through a table or seeing Matt Hardy get pushed off a table propped on two ladders through a table on the mat are moments that will live forever in Wrestlemania lore. The Dudleys, The Hardyz and Edge & Christian put their bodies on the line in this match and set a new standard for how ladder matches should be done. Shawn Michaels may have popularized the ladder match, but these six men helped to reinvent it.

42) Shawn Michaels vs. Jeff Jarrett (In Your House 2)

If you want to see two guys fly all over the ring at a frenetic pace for nearly 20 minutes, this is the match for you. This was for The Intercontinental Title and this match reminds you about just how fantastic IC Title matches used to be. Jarrett played the heel role to perfection and had the crowd all over him and firmly behind Shawn. I would try to recap the action in this match, but honestly its too damn much to cover. It's frankly exhausting just watching it and you have to respect how great these guys' conditioning was to perform at that pace for 20 minutes. The match ended when Jarrett accidentally got tripped up by his lackie, The Roadie, which enable Shawn to nail him with Sweet Chin Music. The bottom line is you need to see this match if you haven't because it is the type of match you can watch on a loop and still not be bored.

41) The Steiners vs. Sting & Lex Luger (Superbrawl '91)

This was a rare babyface/babyface tag team matchup that featured four of the biggest stars in the company at the time. The Steiners were without a doubt the most popular tag team at the time, Sting was as popular as ever, and Luger was motivated which meant that he could put on some damn good matches. The match started with some mat wrestling exchanges between Rick Steiner and Luger, but that was just the calm before the storm. Things picked up when Rick tried to go for a flying shoulderblock and bounced off Luger like a pinball as Lex just ran right through him. Rick would then recoup with a SWANK german suplex and a Steinerline, but Luger would get right back up and nearly decapitate Rick with a clothesline of his own. Sting then got tagged into the match and instantly brought the awesome by diving to the outside onto a dazed Rick Steiner. After a missed Stinger Splash in the corner, Rick was able to tag in Scott who ran in (this was pre-roided up freak) and delivered a gorgeous Tiger Driver to Sting, followed by a tilt-a-whirl slam which made the crowd become unglued. There was so much action that followed that, it is virtually impossible to call it all. Just some of the great spots included Rick delivering a bulldog to Luger from the top rope, Sting dropkicking Rick in the back from the top rope, and Sting reversing a tombstone piledriver attempt by Scott Steiner into one of his own (and the announcers actually called it the tombstone piledriver, that surprised me). The ending came when Nikita Koloff came down to ringside to try to attack Luger, but Sting pushed him out of the way and got nailed with a steel chain by Koloff. That allowed Scott to cover for the three pin and retain the Tag Team Championship. Despite the screwy ending, this was an unbelievable match that has to be seen to be fully appreciated.

40) Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (Survivor Series '96)

When you think of Hart/Austin, you immediately think of their classic Wrestlemania 13 match, but many forget this forgotten gem that was nearly as good as that all-time classic. This match came as a result of Austin constantly berating Bret following his sabbatical after Wrestlemania 12. Finally, The Hitman could take no more and returned at Survivor Series to finally face off against his nemesis. This was an insanely paced match as both men fought inside and outside of the ring and exchanged some stiff shots on each other. Austin threw everything he had at The Hitman including a fantastic superplex from the top rope and The Stunner, but Bret kept kicking out. Bret tried to put away Austin numerous times, including when he locked in The Sharpshooter, but Austin seemed like he wouldn't be denied. The end came when Austin cinched in The Million Dollar Dream on Bret and The Hitman climbed the turnbuckle to fall backwards on Austin which gave him the three count. This was the opening match to one of the greatest feuds in the history of pro wrestling and they certainly gave a glimpse of all the greatness that was to follow in this match.

39) Blood Feneration vs. Do Fixxer (ROH Supercard Of Honor)

This was a match that I heard so much hype about that I just had to see it for myself. Most of the time when I don't see a match and hear a lot of hype about it, I'm usually disappointed by the time I see it. This definitely wasn't the case with this match as it surpassed how good I thought it would be. This match was just a wicked combination of technical wrestling, stiff shots, and high risk spots. That super duper hurricarana spot is still one of the most awesome things I've ever seen. The final 5 minutes of this match is perhaps the most breathtaking thing I've ever witnessed in wrestling as it was just 5 minutes of high spots and near falls that seemed like it would never end (but in a good way). This match is absolutely top quality and if you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and find it because it is honestly more than worthy of the viewing.

38) Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk (Great American Bash '89)

This was the main event for what some consider to be the greatest PPV of all time. The backstory for this match was that Terry Funk was a judge in the final match between Flair and Steamboat and after Flair won, he asked for a title shot and once Flair declined, Funk went apeshit and beat the hell out of Flair including a piledriver on a table. This match was filled with fast paced, intense and violent action. Both men just beat the holy hell out of each other with Flair piledriving Funk twice, Funk WHACKING Flair in the head with a branding iron, Flair returning the favor by CRACKING Funk in the head with the same branding iron, and Flair backdropping Funk on the concrete floor. The match ended after both men unsuccessfully tried to lock in their submission moves and once Funk went for an inside cradle, Flair countered by rolling into it and getting the 3 count. This was just an awesome, brutal match that is a testimony to how great both men were during their prime.

37) The Hart Foundation vs. Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock, & LOD (Canadian Stampede '97)

This 10-man clash happened in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where the usually hated Hart Foundation were heralded as heroes and the normally popular team led by Stone Cold Steve Austin were treated like vile enemies. The reception that The Hart Foundation received when they came out was off the charts and that transferred to the match as the crowd was rabid for the entire duration of it. Austin played to the crowd brilliantly and had them furiously booing him the whole time. Bret's showdown with Austin had the crowd in a fever pitch and when Bret took out Austin's knee after Austin had took Owen out of the match, the crowd went beserk. The ending came when both Owen and Austin made their way back into the match and Owen was able to roll-up Austin for the 3 count. This is an unforgettable match that temporarily changed the rules of what makes a face and what makes a heel in pro wrestling.

36) Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham (Crockett Cup '87)

Flair and Windham had a classic on World Wide Wrestling prior to this and these two easily tore the house down once again in this highly anticiated rematch. Flair was able to lock in The Figure 4 early in the match, but Windham shrugged that off and began to pummel the crap out of Ric. The crowd was SUPER hot as they really felt that Windham had Flair's number. Windham continued his relentless onslaught on Flair, including punching him so hard that Flair FLEW over the top rope. That was pretty awesome. Flair was able to gain control by countering an attempted piledriver on the floor by backdropping Windham onto the concrete. Flair took over from there, but it wasn't long until Windham fought back and was able to pin Flair for the 3 count following a missile dropkick! Not so fast, though, because Flair had his foot on the ropes so referee Tommy Young restarted the match. Once the match was restarted, the two men created numerous false finishes until Flair was able to grab Windham's tights to get the three count. This is a fantastic match that is definitely worth going out of your way to see.

35) The Rock vs. Steve Austin (Wrestlemania 17)

This epic contest main evented (in my opinion) the greatest PPV of all-time and these two capped off a great event with an unforgettable main event. Austin was desperate to win back the WWE Title and The Rock wanted more than anything to keep his belt on the biggest stage of all. The match was made No DQ right before it began and all hell broke loose as the two warriors beat the hell out of each other all throughout the AstroDome. The match was going along perfectly when all of a sudden Mr. McMahon sauntered down to ringside. Everybody wondered what the hell Vince was doing at ringside given his history with both men. We soon got our answer when Vince began aiding Austin in trying to defeat The Rock. The Rock fought back valiantly, but the odds were too much as Austin repeatedly beat on Rocky with a steel chair to finally pick up the win and the WWE Title. A unholy alliance had been made and the image of Stone Cold sharing a beer with Vince after the match is one of the most surreal moments ever seen in the WWE.

34) The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian (Summerslam 2000)

T.L.C. That pretty mcuh says it all and this was the first ever TLC match.These three teams had an unbelievable ladder match at Wrestlemania 16 and decided to up the ante by putting on this spectacle that eclipsed their previous effort. The amount of sick spots and bumps in this match is almost impossible to count. The Bubbabomb from the top of the ladder on Christian. A ladder seesawed in Matt's face. Edge being crushed under a ladder after Christian was catapulted into it. Bubba going off a 20-foot ladder through a stack of tables. Matt falling BACKWARDS from the ring and onto a table on the outside. This match was spotastically jammariffic. I had to create new words just to describe how great it was, an absolute classic.

33) Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (Summerslam '94)

One of the best WWE title matches ever. One of the best cage matches ever. One of the best WWE matches ever. One of the best matches ever PERIOD. This match had it all. It had a great storyline attached to it with the jealous brother Owen determined to take the WWE title belt away from Bret to prove that his win at Wrestlemania X was no fluke. This match took place in the Big Blue Cage, which everyone seems to hate, and was the rematch of their classic Wrestlemania X confrontation. This match was classic in its own right. It was such a close match and saw several near escapes. This match didn't need any blood or over the top violence because these two ring technicians broke each other down with wrestling moves and by ramming each other into those unforgiving blue bars. The ending was glorious and was a great symbolism of how Owen was so close to overtaking Bret as the best of the Hart clan, but was always a fingertip shy. This match was unbelievably fast paced with several near escapes by both men and it was one of the most action packed matches I've ever seen. An absolute classic that any wrestling fan can appreciate and even some non-fans would enjoy.

32) Ric Flair vs. Harley Race (Starrcade '83)

Classic, classic, classic match. This one had it all. It was over the prestigious NWA Heavyweight title. It had the $25,000 bounty storyline(which would later be poorly duplicated by HHH and Goldberg) where Harley offered 25 G's to whoever took Flair out. Dick Slater and Bob Orton, Jr. answered the bounty and jacked up Flair's neck. Flair teased retirement only to come back and chase them off with a bat then give a CRAZY Flair promo. And we all know that CRAZY Flair promos rule. This match took place at the first Starrcade and was the first time that Flair was introduced as being from North Carolina. Flair bled like a champ, Race beat him down like a badass, but Flair still pulled it out and the crowd went crazy. An awesome, historical match.

31) Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi (ROH Joe vs. Kobashi)

There are usually two groups of fans when it comes to this match: the ones who feel it is overrated and the ones who think it's one of the greatest matches in the past 10 years. I have to agree with the latter because this is one of the most brutal matches I've ever seen. Anyone who says it is "all chops and nothing else" must have never watched any Flair/Steamboat matches. Those chops always led up to something and I honestly have no problem watching two behemoths chop the shit out of each other for 30 minutes. I haven't seen this much violence in a match pretty much ever. It was just brutal, no holds barred type of shit. These two weren't holding anything back. The image of Kobashi chopping Joe about 100 times in a row is a visual I will never get out of my head. Kobashi eventually won the match with the LARIATOOOOOOOOO and all was right with the world once this match concluded and the ROH fans went nuts.

30) The 1992 Royal Rumble

Many people consider this the best Rumble of all-time and while I don't necessarily agree with that (I'm partial to the '04 Rumble even though Benoit kind of fucked that up for me), I must admit that it is an hour of pure action and features one of the greatest performances by a wrestler ever. Ric Flair entered at #3 and went the distance to pick up his first WWE Championship, all while keeping the crowd on the edge of their seat during his entire time in the ring. This match would have already been automatically memorable for being the only one that decided a new WWE Champion, but the fact that Flair put in such an incredible performance makes it even more memorable. One of the things that greatly added to this match was Bobby Heenan on commentary who absolutely freaked out when seeing how early Flair entered the Rumble and thinking it was then impossible for Flair to win the match. Flair then amazed the commentary team and the crowd by going the distance and making the Final Four (which incidentally was probably the best Final Four ever with Flair, Hogan, Sid and Savage). Flair then won the match after Sid eliminated Hogan and Hogan, being the poster boy for sportsmanship, held onto Sid's hand which allowed Flair to dump Sid and pick up the title. Flair set a new record at the time by lasting in the Rumble for over an hour and became instantly credible to all WWE fans. A picture perfect Royal Rumble.

29) Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham (World Wide Wrestling, 1/20/87)

This was the legendary one hour (actually 45 minute) draw on Worldwide TV which some felt was right up their with Savage/Steamboat as the greatest match of 1987. I honestly can't disagree because this match was non-stop action and had you on the edge of your seat for the entire duration. Barry Windham may be one of the most underrated performers of all-time and being matched up with Flair automatically made this an instant classic. What's so great about this match is that it seemed so effortless meaning that sometimes when watching a match, you could see the wrestlers strategizing about the next spot, but in this match everything was so damn fluid. It was truly a wonder to behold. Windham dominated the early portions of the match by using his speed and strength as an advantage over Flair, but soon Flair gained control by working over Windham's arm. Windham was able to slug Flair to get back into things, but it wasn't too long until Flair went after Windham's leg. Barry fought off the onslaught to begin working over Flair's leg and it became a game of who was going to make the other submit first as both men targeted each other's leg. The final minute was breathtaking as Windham did everything in his power to pin Flair before the time limit was reached, but Flair was barely able to kick out of a Lariat just as time expired. Awesome match that often gets overlooked, but it definitely is one of the greatest matches of both men's careers.

28) The Undertaker vs. Mankind (King Of The Ring '98)

Anybody who criticizes this match as being "two spots and nothing else" can quite frankly kiss my penis hole. Mick Foley took two of the most brutal bumps (one of them unintentionally) ever seen in a wrestling ring and still had the balls to finish the match. Most men would have stopped after just one of those bumps, but Mick took both of those bumps and then proceeded to get slammed into thumbtacks as well. This match was a spectacle in every sense of the word and I mean that in a very good way. I still remember the chill that came over my body the first time I saw The Undertaker hurl Mankind off of the HIAC. I remember being absolutely stunned and wondering how the hell Mick Foley survived that fall. I thought that was the end of the match, but then when I saw Mick Foley get off of the stretcher with a sick smile on his face and climb back on that cage, that's the moment Mick Foley became my favorite wrestler ever. I started the match as one of the biggest Undertaker marks ever and ended the match with a newfound respect for Mick Foley. The Undertaker also entered the match with a broken foot so the fact that he was able to wrestle in such a classic match with that injury should be commended as well. Both men put on very gutsy performances (especially Foley) and this brutal epic will go down as one of the most awesome displays ever seen in any wrestling ring.

27) Sting, The Steiner Brothers & Brian Pillman vs. The Four Horsemen (WrestleWar '91)

This was a WarGames match so you instantly know that it was a good match, but once you see the combatants involved, it goes from being just a good match to a classic match. The match started with Barry Windham and Brian Pillman, as Pillman wanted revenge on Windham who had injured his shoulder. Pillman dominated the much bigger Windham with a variety of aerial moves and some inventive uses of the cage. It wasn't too long until Pillman busted Windham wide open and had the match well in hand until the coin toss, which gave The Horsemen the advantage which allowed Flair to come in. Pillman fought valiantly despite being at a disadvantage, but soon the numbers game caught up to him and he was sent flying into the cage (injured) shoulder first. For the next few minutes Flair & Windham dominated Pillman, until the time period expired and Sting made his way into the cage to a HUGE ovation and proceeded to beat the hell out of both Flair and Windham. Larry Zybszko was the next one in and Sting greeted him into the match by flying from one ring to the other and onto The Living Legend. The Horsemen once again had the advantage until Rick Steiner came in and gave a Steinerline to everyone standing in his way. Rick threw ‘Naitch head first into the cage and Flair joined Windham as another bleeder in the match. Sid Vicious came in next and didn't have as big of an impact as you'd think as Sting's team was still able to not be dominated despite the odds being against them. The last man is was Scott Steiner and he came in on fire by Steinerlining Flair and Windham and giving a Tiger Driver to Zybszko. All hell broke loose from that point on in a great spot, all 4 members of Sting's team locked in a Figure-4 to all 4 members of The Horsemen which made the crowd go NUTS. The Horsemen were able to stave off that close call and Sid Vicious would soon focus on the smallest man in the match, Brian Pillman, and delivered a powerbomb that looked like it should have killed Pillman right there. If that wasn't enough, Sid picked Pillman back up and delivered another powerbomb, but at least this time he didn't nearly MURDER him. Pillman was completely out of it and that brought out his friend, El Gigante, who threw in the towel for Pillman and as a result, Sting's team. This was just a brutal, unforgettable affair that is certainly one of the best WarGames ever.

26) Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (Summerslam '02)

HBK had been absent from the ring for four years following a serious back injury and the big question going in was whether The Showstopper could perform at the high level he did before he got injured. Within the first couple minutes of the match, that question was easily answered and these guys put on a performance that will not be forgotten for a long time. HHH played the asshole heel here by targeting Shawn Michaels back, which was definitely HBK's Achilles Heel. Shawn Michaels was able to make a comeback and eventually win the match, musch to the delight of the fans. This match remains a favorite of mine, not only because it was Shawn Michaels comeback match, but because it was a return to form by HHH who had lost a step due to his quad surgery. HHH brought his 2000 form to this match and it made this match become an instant classic. This is the definitive HHH/Michaels match and I believe will stand the test of time as an all-time classic.

25) Magnum TA vs. Tully Blanchard (Starrcade '85)

This was the very definition of a blood feud so it was only fitting that both men would bleed all over the ring. Tully had stolen away Magnum's US title due to shenanigans with an illegal object. TA was out for his revenge and his title in a steel cage I Quit match. Both men beat the crap out of each other and had blood pouring down their heads. The image of Magnum's expression when he realized he'd been busted open is priceless. The match ended when Magnum jammed a splintered piece of chair into Tully's forehead allowing blood to squirt out and making Tully scream "YESSS" when asked if he quits. This was a timeless, violent encounter.

24) Ric Flair vs. Sting (Clash Of The Champions I)

Sting's career was made in this match. Flair bumped all over the place for The Stinger in this match and I still feel to this day that in this match, Flair automatically turned Sting into a main event player. Sting was an up-and-comer at this point, but after this match he became the biggest face in WCW(well NWA at the time). This was for Flair's NWA title and there was a 45-minute time limit. Sting took it to Flair in this match and had the champ on the ropes at numerous times. With 30 seconds left before the time limit, Sting was able to lock in the Deathlock, but Flair held on until the time expired. The match was declared a draw(which incidentally was funny since before the match it was declared that there MUST BE A WINNER) and a star was born in Sting. He would go on to achieve great success in WCW, but this is the one match that turned him into the face of WCW for over a decade and he definitely has Flair to thank because 'Naitch put him over HUGE in this contest.

23) Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit vs. Edge & Rey Mysterio (No Mercy '02)

This was easily the best match of 2002 and that's saying a lot considering all the great matches that occurred in 2002. These four men went out to fight over the newly formed Smackdown Tag Team Titles and gave the fans one of the best tag team matches ever seen in the wrestling profession. Given the talent in the match, we shouldn't have been surprised but I don't think anyone expected this match to be as good as it turned out. Kurt was in rare form here and kept up well with the super fast pace of the matchup. We already knew Kurt was the man as a single wrestler, but here he proved that he could give us classic in the tag team ranks as well.

22) Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind (Mind Games '96)

Hells yes. This is one of the rare meetings between these two and the only one (to my knowledge) to ever be on PPV. They certainly didn't disappoint as Mankind provided the crazy and Shawn provided the bumping to make this one of the most memorable matches in WWE history. This featured some brutal and insane action like Mankind being slammed head first onto concrete, Shawn flying over an announce table to clothesline Mankind, HBK suplexing Mankind's knee into the steel steps, Mankind stabbing himself with a pen to get feeling back in his knee, Mankind getting dropped face-first onto the steel steps, HBK taking a swinging neckbreaker on the concrete, both men falling from the top rope through an announce table at ringside, and HBK kicking a steel chair into Mankind's face. The finish came when Vader interfered and caused a DQ, but even with that shitty ending, this match was as close to perfection as you can get.

21) Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger & JJ Dillon vs. Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, The Road Warriors, & Paul Ellering (Great American Bash '87)

This was the first ever Wargames Match during the ‘Bash tour of 1987 and it was just as awesome as everyone thought it would be. Dusty and Arn started the match with some great back and forth interactions for about 5 minutes until the heel team won the coin toss and Tully came in. Dusty was able to fight off both men for a while, but it wasn't too long until the odds were too much and the future Brainbusters started dissecting Rhodes. That advantage would be voided when Animal came in next and proceeded to beat the crap out of Tully and Arn, especially Tully. Flair was next and he helped the heel team regain control until Koloff came in and beat the shit out of every heel in sight. Luger came in next to ward off Koloff and Flair gave him a wicked shot to the nuts which allowed both Flair and Tully to give Koloff two spike piledrivers. Dillon came in next followed by Ellering and after over 20 minutes of sheer brutality, the ending came when The Road Warriors pounded on Dillon unmercifully until he finally submitted. This is an all-time classic that features a wondrous amount of brutality and blood.

20) Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit (Royal Rumble '01)

This, in my opinion, is the greatest one-on-one ladder match in the history of professional wrestling. Yes, better than HBK/Razor at Wrestlemania X and Summerslam '95. This match featured some of the best action I've ever seen in a ladder match as everytime you thought that one man finally had the match won, they would get knocked down. Some of the awesome action in this match included Jericho applying The Walls Of Jericho on the TOP of the ladder, Jericho seesawing the ladder in Benoit's face, and Benoit taking an absolutely SICKALICIOUS bump by taking a chairshot to the face while in midair after diving through the ropes. Jericho picked up the win, but in a match this good, it really didn't matter who the winner was. A great effort by both men that stands as one of the greatest ladder matches ever.

19) Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog (Summerslam '92)

When have you ever heard of the Intercontinental Championship being the main event on a Pay-Per-View where the WWE title was also contested? It had never happened before this and will probably never happen again because no other IC Title match can match up to this one in terms of pure emotion. The 1992 version of Summerslam took place in England at Wembley Stadium and the hometown boy, Davey Boy Smith, got a shot at Bret Hart's Intercontinental title. Bret accused Davey of trying to steal his thunder and called him ungrateful due to the fact that Bret introduced Davey to his sister, Diana, who the Bulldog wound up marrying and now Bulldog wanted to take Bret's title. The crowd was absolutely INSANE for this match and were solidly behind their hometown hero even though there was a smattering of support for Bret. This match was absolutely excellent and the only IC title match that I can think of that is even in its league is Steamboat/Savage from WM3. Bulldog won this match after a counter rollup and the celebration afterwards with his wife and Bret was a great, memorable moment. Awesome from top to bottom, enough good things can't be said about it.

18) Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (Wrestlemania 21)

This match was every wrestling fan's wet dream come true as two of the greatest in-ring performers ever squared off on the biggest wrestling show of the year. The promos and skits leading up to this match were fantastic, but nothing could eclipse the effort put forth by both men in the Staples Center. The fans had high expectations for this match and it seemed impossible to match them, but not only did they match the expectations, but I feel they exceeded them. The match started slow with both men mat wrestling each other, which HBK was able to dominate. Angle got frustrated and started to wail on HBK, ala his match with Benoit at WM17. They started going full throttle after that with HBK setting up Angle on an announce table and then slingshotting himself from the ring ropes on top of Angle. Both men were barely able to make the 10 count back into the ring, but once they did, shit got awesome. They both started throwing their best shots at each other including an Angle Slam from the top rope and a SWANK reversal of an Ankle Lock into a rollup by HBK. The ending came when Angle was able to cinch in the Anklelock on HBK in the middle of the ring and it took two whole minutes before Michaels finally tapped out. This was an amazing display that is as fun to watch today as it was during its original showing.

17) The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian (Wrestlemania 17)

The Dudleyz, The Hardyz and Edge & Christian had set the bar so high in their two previous ladder matches that it seemed impossible that they could meet the standard of those two classic matches. Not only did they match the expectations, but they exceeded them by leaps and bounds. This match featured so much crazy shit, that it is hard to keep count. Just off the top of my head I remember Rhyno goring Matt Hardy through a table, Spike Dudley delivering an Acid Drop (I refuse to call it the Dudley Dog dammit) to Christian from the ring apron through a table on the floor, Lita cracking Spike Dudley's head with a steel chair and then taking her top off (Admit it, you'd bang Lita), Jeff Hardy giving a swanton to both Spike and Rhyno from the top of a ladder through two tables, Matt Hardy and Bubba Ray Dudley being pushed off the top of a ladder in the ring through a stack of tables on the floor, and Edge giving a spear to Jeff Hardy 20 feet in the air. That's just some of the insane spots that were seen in this match. This match brought the term high risk to a whole new level and it's a match that is never boring to watch.

16) Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (Wrestlemania 10)

When these two brothers clashed at the beginning of Wrestlemania 10, I don't think that anybody could have expected just how great it turned out to be. This is one of the most entertaining non-gimmick wrestling matches that you'll ever see. There is literally never a dull moment. It's just straight up action for the entire duration of the match and you feel that if you blink you're going to miss something. The ending was an absolute shock at the time as nobody gave Owen a chance in hell of beating Bret and not only did he beat him, but he beat him cleanly with a great counter to a rollup. This put the world on notice that Bret wasn't the only talented member of the Hart family and these two would go on to have many other classic matchups after this one, but I don't think any of them were as good as this one.

15) Triple H vs. Steve Austin (No Way Out '01)

This was the culmination of the HHH/Austin feud and was actually the last time these two men would ever face each other, which made it even more momentous. HHH had been the mastermind behind Stone Cold being run over by a car and Stone Cold had gotten his revenge at the Survivor Series by crushing a car with HHH in it (which honestly should have killed just about anybody). This was a 2/3 falls match with the first being a regular match, the second being a Street Fight, and the third being a cage match. Austin won the first fall with a Stunner and in the second fall, the two men beat the holy hell out of each other. The second fall included Austin getting planted in the head with a 2x4 wrapped in barbed wire, Austin wailing on HHH's legs with various chairshots, and HHH backdropping Austin through an announce table. HHH was able to win the second fall after a sledgehammer shot and a Pedigree. The third fall featured both men totally beaten down trying their best to pull out the victory. Both men kicked out of each other's finisher and the end came after they both hit each other with a foreign object (HHH with a sledgehammer and Austin with a barbed wire wrapped 2x4) and Trips had the good fortune of landing on top of Austin for the victory. This was an epic match that was a fitting end to one of the best rivalries ever in the WWE.

14) Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels (Unbreakable '05)

It is easy to make an argument that this is the greatest 3-way match EVER with only Benoit/Michaels/HHH from Wrestlemania XX even being in its league. Everyone knew this match would be good, but I doubt anyone thought it was going to be THIS good. This match was total nonstop action(pun fully intended) and there were absolutely no dead spots. Just think of some of the unbelievable action we saw in this match. AJ's springboard shooting star press. Daniels' monkeyflip on AJ which Styles turned into a hurricarana on Joe. The Spiral Tap from AJ onto Daniels and Joe. Joe's dive onto Daniels and AJ. That's just off the top of my head and I haven't watched the match in months. This was a perfect example of how a 3-way match should go and is the first match I think of when I think of TNA.

13) Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk (Clash Of The Champions 9)

Five Letters. Two Words. I Quit. Those words spoken by the great Gordon Solie made it seem like uttering those words would be so simple, but these two warriors would engage in an intense battle before either one even thought to say it. Flair dominated early with some wicked chops, but Funk proved himself to be a tough son-of-a-bitch by absorbing those stiff blows and fighting back. Funk would then dominate the next portion of the match with some hard left hand shots and some insulting slaps to the face. Those slaps were enough to awaken Flair and from that point on, all hell broke loose. Flair chopped the hell out of Funk all around ringside and tried to get his hands on Funk's manager, Gary Hart, which enabled Funk to gain control. Then in a great little sequence, Funk asked Flair if he remembered about his injured neck (from the plane crash) and told the ref to ask Flair to quit before he piledrived him and when Flair refused to quit, Funk not only piledrived him in the ring, but piledrived him on the floor as well. Brutal stuff at the time. Funk continued to dominate and tried to set up a table, but Flair fought back and then, in one of the coolest spots ever, Flair threw Funk across the table and headfirst into a steel chair. It's hard to describe, but awesome to look at. Flair dominated the rest of the match, but Funk showed incredible resiliency by taking the onslaught by Flair and not quitting until Flair locked in the Figure-4 in the middle of the ring and Funk had no choice but to quit. A great, intense brawl that set the standard for all I Quit matches that followed.

12) Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (Wrestlemania 10)

This match may seem tame in comparison to the crazy ladder matches we've seen since then, but at the time, this match featureds some of the craziest shit anybody had ever seen in a wrestling match. These two men absolutely stole the show (which is saying something considering Bret/Owen was on the same card) and this match gave birth to all the ladder matches that we see today. The bumps these two took were unheard of during that day and seeing Shawn Michaels come off the top of the ladder with a splash was one of my favorite wrestling moments as a kid. This match is one that can still be viewed today and make you cringe from all the bumps and that says a lot about its importance and staying power because we've seen a lot of crazy shit since then.

11) Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero (Halloween Havoc '97)

When you talk about a perfectly wrestled and flawless match, you don't have to look any further than this classic between Rey Mysterio and Eddy Guerrero. On this night, these guys hit everything and I mean EVERYTHING. All their spots and moves were perfectly timed and perfectly executed. There was never a down moment in this match as it was non-stop action for nearly 14 minutes straight. Eddy played the asshole heel role to perfection in this match as he was constantly pounding on the smaller Mysterio, but Rey was able to hang in their with some absolutely unbelievable moves. The match ended when Rey countered a Splash Mountain attempt into a hurricarana for the three count. This was thought of by many to be the best match of 1997 and that's VERY impressive considering the numerous amount of great matches that took place in 1997, namely the first ever Hell In A Cell match. If you've never seen this match, what the hell are you waiting for?!?

10) Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Larry Zybszko, Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton vs. Sting, Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat, Nikita Koloff, and Dustin Rhodes (WrestleWar '92)

This is considered by many to be the greatest WarGames match ever and it's hard to disagree with that statement. This match was the culmination of the Dangerous Alliance angle, which if you think about it was very similar to the nWo storyline except that it didn't go on forever. Sting's team represented WCW who were trying to rid WCW of the Dangerous Alliance for good. This match was insanely bloody with particularly Austin and Rhodes bleeding all over the place. The ending saw Sting lock in an armbar to Eaton, who had already severly hurt his arm in the match, for the submission. This was an absolutely fantastic, classic, can't miss match.

9) Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (Royal Rumble '03)

If you love technical wrestling, this may well be one of your favorite matches ever and I know many people who consider this the greatest pure wrestling match of all time. These two men went out and gave the Boston fans as well as the fans at home a match for the ages that people still talk about constantly to this day. Trying to even recap this match would be impossible because there's so many awesome moves and counters that take place during in, that I would have to literally recap the entire match to do it justice. I must say that I do love that spot where they kept switching germans and Benoit germans Kurt completely over onto his face. Absolutely awesome. Anyhow, this match is an absolute classic that is required viewing for any wrestling fan.

8) Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit (Wrestlemania 20)

The greatest triple threat match of all-time. The best Wrestlemania main event ever. Perhaps the greatest match of all-time, period. These are just some of the accolades that many fans have given to this match and once you watch it, it isn't hard to see why. These three men busted their ass for over 30 minutes to give us one of the most exciting matches I've ever seen. This match had everything from great technical wrestling to high risk maneuvers to tons of blood to a fantastic finish. Seeing Benoit make HHH tap out clean on the biggest show of the year to win his first World Heavyweight Championship is one of those moments that, while now tainted, will still live with me forever. This match took you on an emotional rollercoaster, but once the match was over and we saw Benoit celebrate in the ring with Eddie Guerrero, we all knew that it was well worth the ride.

7) Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (Chi-Town Rumble '89)

This was the first encounter between Flair and Steamboat in their legendary 1989 series of matches and this match gave a sign of all the greatness that was to follow. Steamboat was a family man who wanted to bring honor and prestige back to the World Heavyweight Title and Flair was the stylin', profilin' Champion that thought of Steamboat as a bore. Steamboat was able to dominate early by winning some lightning quick exchanges and surprised Flair by just how quick he was. Flair was able to regain control later in the match with some wicked chop. Then these two men had one of the best exchanges I've ever seen as Flair flipped over the top rope and climbed to the top for a crossbody, but Steamboat was able to counter into a roll up for a two count and when both men got up, Flair was able to hit a reverse atomic drop and apply the Figure-4. That's the kind of stuff that leaves you breathless as a fan, just a terrific exchange. Steamboat was able to get to the ropes to break the hold and after both men exchanged some stiff shots, Flair ran the ropes and crossbodied Steamboat over the top rope. Flair dominated from that point on and seemed to be on the verge of retaining his title until Steamboat fought back and came off the top rope with a crossbody that knocked not only Flair out, but the referee as well. With the ref out, Flair tried to take advantage, but Steamboat was able to roll him up to pick up the three count and the World Heavyweight Championship. Despite the ref bump, this match was absolutely flawless but who knew that these two would go on top this terrific performance.

6) Cactus Jack vs. Triple H (Royal Rumble 2000)

This is easily one of my favorite matches ever and I know many others who have a similar love for this match and it's not hard to see why. This match had EVERYTHING. A great storyline, a hot crowd, insane action and two of the best in-ring performers of this generation. Cactus came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, but HHH was able to hold his own and the result was one of the best hardcore brawls that I've ever seen. If the images of Cactus getting jacked in the head with a steel chair, HHH getting smacked in the face with a 2x4 wrapped in barbed wire, HHH receiving a piledriver on a table that did not break, or Cactus getting Pedigreed in thumbtacks aren't enough to get your blood pumping, I don't know how you can call yourself a wrestling fan. This was a fantastic match that cannot be forgotten by anybody who sees it.

5) The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (Badd Blood '97)

This was, of course, the first Hell In A Cell match and it lived up to its name by the end of this contest. This match came about after HBK had cost The Undertaker the WWE Title at Summerslam by accidentally cracking him in the head with a steel chair and instead of apologizing, decided to become a total dick. That led to their great match at Ground Zero and once that resolved nothing, this match was made to ensure that Michaels had nowhere to run. After some early domination by Taker, HBK was able to fight back and get control of the match but soon Taker started to prove too much for Michaels and he had to find a way out of the cage. That way came by an injured cameraman in the cell who had to be taken out and once that door opened, Michaels tried his best to escape. Taker followed him and proceeded to ram his head repeatedly into the unforgiving steel cell. After that Michaels was busted wide open and his face was drenched in blood. I mean you would have thought his skin color was red with the amount of blood he was bleeding. The ending of the match saw the debut of Kane who dropped his brother on his head which allowed a bloody and fatigued Michaels to cover for the three count. This match will be remembered as one the greatest ever and I'll never forget the blood that engulfed the face of HBK in it.

4) Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat (Wrestlemania 3)

Whenever you think of all-time great Wrestlemania matches, this has to be one of the first to come to mind. Not only did they have an excellent storyline attached to this match, but both of these combatants put on one hell of a show in front of the Silverdome crowd. This was a great back and forth contest that saw an unbelievable amount of near falls and the crowd was left on the edge of their seat during the entire match because it seemed like it could end at any moment. The end came when George "The Animal" Steele knocked Macho off of the top rope and by the time he recovered to pick up Steamboat for a scoop slam, Steamboat was able to counter into a rollup for the three count. This is a great, timeless match that has to be viewed by anybody who calls themselves a fan of wrestling.

3) Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (Wrestlemania 13)

This is perhaps the most historical and important match of the 1990's. It completely changed the landscape of wrestling and was the beginning of the rise of the WWE and the fall of WCW. This was about as personal as a match could be as Stone Cold and Bret Hart absolutely hated each other and wanted to resolve their issues with a submission match where one man would have to tell the other he quits and face the ultimate humiliation. This match was just off-the-wall intense as both men beat the holy shit out of each other. These men brawled in the ring, on the floor, through the crowd, and pretty much anywhere they could get their hands on one another. They truly made you FEEL their hatred for one another and you were instantly sucked in. This is one of those matches that I never like to be interrupted while watching it because you don't want to take your eyes of it. It is just that damn good. The ending of this match is one of the best I've ever seen as Bret locks in the Sharpshooter and a bloody Austin tries to muster up all the strength he has to get out of it and has blood pouring down his face in one of the most famous images ever in pro wrestling. Austin wasn't able to break the hold, but he didn't give up. He instead passed out from the pain and while Bret may have won the match, Austin's refusal to give up despite being in such overwhelming pain made him seem like a true badass. Soon the fans would turn their backs on Bret and side with Austin and this match was the reason for it. This is a historical, brilliant match that shot Austin stock into the stratosphere on his way to becoming the most popular wrestler this generation has seen.

2) Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (Clash Of The Champions 6)

This was the rematch to their classic encounter at Chi-Town Rumble and this match was contested under 2/3 falls rules. The first fall was intense as both men slapped each other in the face and chopped the shit out of each other before getting down to some frenetic action. The chops that these two gave each other sounded like gunshots going off, they were just absolutely VICIOUS. The first fall ended after Steamboat missed a missile dropkick which made Flair go for the Figure-4, but Steamboat was able to counter into a roll-up, but then Flair REVERSED that into a roll-up of his own for the three count. Steamboat started the second fall feverishly knowing that his back was against the wall. He delivered some wicked chops before dropping about 14 or 15 elbows in a row onto Flair's knee. Flair seemed dead to the world by that point until Steamboat locked in a Boston Crab which had Flair screaming in agony. Flair was able to fight out of it and get back into the match until Steamboat was able to hoist him up into a Double Chickenwing and that proved to be to much for Flair as he submitted and lost the second fall. That was monumental not only because it tied the match up, but because it was the first time Flair had ever submitted. Flair realizing that he was in bad shape, immediately went after Steamboat knee in the third fall and was soon able to cinch in the Figure-4. Steamboat was able to make the ropes, though, much to Flair's chagrin. Then, in one of my most markish moments ever, Steamboat sends Flair to the buckle but Flair does the Flair Flip and when he tried to run over to the other turnbuckle, Steamboat chops the shit out of him and knocks ‘Naitch down on the apron. I jumped out of seat and applauded the first time I saw that, great stuff. The fall continued with some great back and forth exchanges until Steamboat got Flair up in the Double Chickenwing again, but this time Steamboat's legs had sustained too much damage and they buckled underneath him. This made Flair land on top of Steamboat, put seeing that his shoulders were down, the referee counted the three count against Flair, despite the fact that his leg was under the bottom rope. Thus, Steamboat retained his championship, albeit under controversial terms. This classic match would then be followed up by….

1) Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (WrestleWar '89)

Many people prefer their Clash VI match, but I still think that this match is the best pure wrestling match I've ever seen. This match also had a clean finish unlike their two previous encounters, which ended in controversy. This contest also started to signal a babyface turn for Flair as the crowd was behind Steamboat, but you heard some very audible cheers for The Nature Boy. This was a great back and forth contest where it seemed like either man at any given moment was going to pick up the win. The near falls left you breathless because they were so believable. The ending was great and an homage to Steamboat's match against Randy Savage as Steamboat scooped up Flair for a slam, but Flair was able to counter the slam into a rollup for the three count. The carnage that followed this match is equally as memorable as Terry Funk, who was a ringside judge, went on a vicious assault of Flair (including a piledriver on a table) for not granting him a title shot. All in all, this is one of the greatest matches ever wrestled for one of the greatest feuds ever and, in my opinion, it is easily the best match in the history of WCW.

 

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