Whenever asked about the greatest match in WWE history, a few potential candidates come to mind: Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair and many others. While doing some extensive research to find the best topic of debate, I soon discovered that one name continues to appear in my list of choices, and he is none other than the legendary Shawn Michaels himself.
While all of the aforementioned matches were indeed amazing, there's one bout that will forever live in my mind as the most memorable and monumental match in WWE history. This contest came one Monday night in late April 2007 when Shawn Michaels challenged then-WWE Champion John Cena to a WrestleMania rematch in the main event of Raw.
At the dawn of the new year, Cena and Michaels joined forces against Raw's most devious duo in Rated-RKO. Replacing an injured Triple H, Cena would soon capture the World Tag Team Championship for the first time in his career alongside the Heartbreak Kid to put an end to the vicious tactics of Randy Orton and Edge.
Thereafter, Michaels would defeat both Orton and Edge in a Triple Threat match to be crowned the new No. 1 contender to Cena's WWE Championship at WrestleMania 23. Despite still being tag champs together, the two signaled dissension leading up to the Show of Shows.
In Detroit, the champ soundly defeated Michaels in a classic match that will forever be remembered as one of the best in Mania history, much to the dismay of those in attendance. Although Michaels would be receiving another shot at the title in a Fatal Four-Way match at Backlash, he would not rest until he knew he could defeat John Cena.
On the final Raw live from London prior to the Backlash pay-per-view, John Cena and Michaels provided nearly 60 minutes of intense action. Near fall after near fall, finishers were being traded like there was no tomorrow. Due to this, the other scheduled match for that evening, Orton vs. Edge, was subsequently cancelled due to time constraints.
In the end, it was Shawn Michaels who reversed the Attitude Adjustment to deliver a quick Sweet Chin Music to put Cena down for the shocking three-count.
"Michaels wins! Michaels wins! Michaels wins!"
With Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler on commentary for the match, they were able to add even more drama and emotion into an already highly anticipated bout. J.R.'s reaction to Michaels' victory is truly phenomenal, giving an element of surprise in his voice that is rarely seen in today's commentary.
Up until this point, John Cena managed to garner numerous haters for his lengthy title run, as well as the fact that defeated a legend in Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 23. However, all that changed after this specific bout, as I for one truly began to respect Cena not only because he lost, but the fact that he silenced numerous critics by proving he can hang with the Hall of Famers.
As far as I'm concerned, I believe this was the final time John Cena lost a straight-up singles match clean, as we've been forced to witness him get screwed to take a loss in order to protect his character. If there's anyone who I'd pay to see Cena lose to, it's Shawn Michaels.
It's also extremely rare that we witness a match on Raw go an hour in length, much less exceed 10 minutes. Cena and Michaels provided a heart-fought battle that will never be forgotten in the eyes of wrestling fans worldwide, as the English environment that night made this the greatest match to ever be contested in WWE history.
Thanks for reading, Bleachers, and good luck to those also competing in the ongoing CvC series.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling as well as my WrestleRant and Spoilers podcasts for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, rumors, reviews and more. Follow me on Twitter @SAVE_US_GSM.