Top 20 Singles Matches Of My Lifetime.
Hey guys...I have recently gone over my list of my all time favorite matches, I guess HBK/Undertaker from Wrestlemania 25 has inspired me to look back over and edit it. So so many great matches to choose from, and many I must leave off which hurts. I chose to only include 1 on 1 singles matches to make it a little easier for myself...
Now after some of the posts I read the past few days from some of the facilitators of this forum, I'm a little worried about posting anything at all. There was a lot of harsh things said about the current/new writers. But I figured there are still some fans out there that are interested in other peoples lists and ideas, and are genuinely interested in a pure wrestling fans point of view. This is just something I do and I'd like to share it. I recently did a "top 25 wrestlers of my lifetime" list, and some seemed to enjoy it, so here I go again. If you enjoy this at all then awesome, I'd love to see your list or hear any feedback you may have. If some of the more experienced or gifted writers of this website find this dull or pointless, well then maybe this isn't the place for me. There has been a lot of negativity going on here lately, I'm gonna try for something positive.. I would also like to thank Jev and Zander for making me feel at home from the get go...Lets go.
#20. Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit, Owen Hart tribute match, WCW Nitro 1999.
---Obviously a very emotional match, these 2 technicians were on top of their game this night, all in the name of another great technician, Owen.
#19. John Cena vs. Edge, TLC match, Unforgiven 2006.
---I gained new respect for Cena after this match. With Edge being champion, in his specialty match (TLC) and in his hometown of Toronto, where he received such an ovation that his eyes welled as they announced his name, I thought there was NO WAY Cena wins the title on this night. But after an FU from 20 feet in the air, through a wooden table, John Cena was the new champ, and I was left speechless..
#18. Jeff Hardy vs. Undertaker, ladder match, Raw 2002.
---Jim Ross did a great job of capturing the passion and emotions of this match, and of Jeff Hardys performance in particular. Jeff was such an underdog, looking like a skinny little kid in a white tank top next to the diesel Deadman, that as the match was beginning I feared it would be too unbelievable if Jeff gets anywhere near a win. Well, he didn't get the win, but he did get close, and it was amazing. The beating that Jeff took in this match, as well as the moves he performed, won over JR, the audience, myself, and Undertaker himself, who shook his hand and congratulated him after the match was over.
#17. Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle, Royal Rumble, 2003.
---Just a greatly executed, fastly paced, beautifully performed match. I have heard more than once that this match is considered one of the all time greats, and I agree. Two extremely gifted ring technicians who I miss greatly, as does the WWE.
#16. Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect, SummerSlam, 1991.
---Amazingly, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig was in severe pain due to a back injury for this match, but he wanted to be there and perform for Bret Hart and for the fans. Mr. Perfect was one of my all time favorites, and he showed true class on this night, not only performing, but giving us an all time classic match that I will never forget, and Bret Hart his first Intercontinental championship.
#15. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho, ladder match, No Mercy 2008.
---In my opinion, 2 of the greatest ladder match performers of all time. This was a great feud that culminated at No Mercy for the World Heavyweight title. The match went back and forth, with the 2 legends pushing the envelope further as the match went on, climaxing at the top of the ladder giving us an ending to a feud and a match that I will never forget.
#14. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho, ladder match, Royal Rumble 2001.
---This was an intense ladder match for the Intercontinental title. Again, if I were to list the top 5 ladder match performers of all time, it would probably be Edge, Jeff Hardy, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. These two put on a highlight reel for 25 minutes, practically recreating Michaels/Ramon from Wrestlemania XX. In my opinion one of the top ladder matches of all time.
#13. Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin, Wrestlemania 14.
---If his "I Quit" match vs. Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13 a year earlier turned Austin into a star, then this is the match that made him a superstar and a household name. Austin was facing the worlds greatest wrestler in Michaels, as well as the entire DX faction, plus DX's newest cohort Mike Tyson as the guest referee. Even with a severely injured back and in what was supposed to be his final match, Michaels put on a show for us, but by the end of the match, Austin was champion, Michaels was knocked out cold, and Tyson was waving an Austin 3:16 T-shirt. Unforgettable...
#12. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels, Wrestlemania 19.
---This is the second match between these two on my list, they just always gelled together in the ring to create beautiful matches. Shawn was Jericho's idol growing up, and the similarities showed in the match as most of Y2J's moves emulated those of HBK. After the almost 30 minute match was over, Michaels was the winner. Jericho approached Shawn in tears, looking for a handshake or hug, and when Shawn obliged, Jericho nailed him right between the legs. It was as if he punched me right in my throat, as I was expecting a warm and fuzzy moment. Never pretend to know what Chris Jericho is thinking.
#11. Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock, Icon vs. Icon, Wrestlemania 18.
---This was one of the most hyped matches of all time, between the companies two biggest stars of all time. I felt it could only disappoint, especially for the fact that Hogan was approaching 50 years of age. Well the match did not disappoint, Hogan was in tremendous shape, Rock was as usual on top of his game, and the crowd was in a complete frenzy. This match was everything it should have been, with the audience actually turning on Rock during the match and jumping on the Hogan bandwagon. What we ended up with was a match for the ages the likes we will never see again.
#10. Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H, WWE title match, No Mercy 2008.
---Not a match that would make many fans best of lists, but something about this match just gets me. It's become obvious to me that Jim Ross has a special place in his heart for Jeff Hardy, as he always seems to be at his best while doing Jeffs matches. I love watching both of these guys, and Jeff had some really big spots in this match. Towards the end, Jeff unloaded a bevy of offensive moves in an attempt to put the Game away, and with each Swanton or Twist of Fate, you thought it was actually going to happen. The ever durable Game was able to survive all of these hits, and after Hardy hit the Swanton, Triple H reversed the pin attempt and successfully defended his title. A very exciting match..
#9. Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog, SummerSlam 1992.
---This match sold out Wembley stadium all by itself. It was for the Intercontinental championship, and it was brother-in-law's doing battle. The Bulldog was at the peak of his career, both in popularity and ability. He matched the Hitman spot for spot, and held his own against in my opinion the greatest technical wrestler of all time. The crowd was very into it, and the emotion of the match was just the icing on some brilliant work by these two. The vision of Bulldog countering Harts sunset flip into a pin is something I will never forget.
#8. Triple H vs. Batista, Hell in a Cell, Vengeance 2005.
---The momentum that this match had going into it was incredible. After being "the muscle" in another Triple H formed faction known as "Evolution", Batista finally got tired of being bossed around and used by Triple H for his own advantages. The two had great battles at Wrestlemania (where Batista became World Heavyweight champion) and Backlash in 2005, with Batista besting the Game on both occasions. This third installment was going to be Triple H's last chance at redemption. In was a "Hell in a Cell" match, and boy was it brutal. These two men destroyed each other in this match, both were bloody messes when it was done, and once again, Batista came out the winner. Not a person expected Triple H to lose 3 PPV matches in a row to Batista, so the end of this match was kind of a shock. Triple H was about to get Batista Bombed, and grabbed his trusty sledgehammer to thwart the move. He wasn't able to connect, and Batista mightily slammed him to the canvas, and remained champion.
#7. Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker, Wrestlemania 25.
---Talk about a heavily hyped matchup. This was Mr. Wrestlemania pitted against the phenom, Undertaker who was 16-0 on the grandest stage of them all. I am sure most fans expected 'Taker to win and keep the streak alive, but HBK slowly started changing our minds as the match went on. I'm not sure I've ever been so heavily involved in a match emotionally as I was here. And strangely, it was different from anything I have ever felt before, because whatever the outcome, I was going to be thrilled. Shawn Michaels is my favorite wrestler of all time, and for him to break the streak would have been amazing to me. Although I'm not a huge fan of The Undertaker, I still enjoy his work and would love to see the streak continue. With each finishing move, each kickout, each one of the Undertakers fists, each one of Shawn's knife edges, I held my breath. So many scenarios of how the match would end were running through my mind that I actually had to get a hold of myself to calm down and enjoy what was unfolding in front of my eyes. This was pure magic, by the company's 2 greatest performers on the company's greatest stage. One of those rare occurrences for me where a match can actually live up to and exceed it's already monumental expectations. Just awesome!
#6. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle, Wrestlemania 21.
---I'm pretty positive neither of these guys have ever had a bad match. They're the type of performers who make jobbers and average wrestlers look like gifted men. The pure wrestling ability that took place in this match was unreal. Both men could endure tremendous punishment, and there were some huge bumps in this match. I'm not sure I ever saw anyone hit the canvas face first as hard as Angle did when he missed his moonsault. These guys were like assassins in the ring that night, trading blows and high flying moves, submission holds, pin attempts, they threw everything they had at each other and it was exhilarating. Two artists at the top of their game gave us one of Wrestlemanias greatest matches.
#5. Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage, Wrestlemania 3.
---Ooohhh did I hate Macho Man! I hated him for what he did to my favorite wrestler Ricky Steamboat, and I hated him for how he treated Elizabeth. How could he be so mean? How could he yell at such a pretty lady? Well I was 11 years old when this match took place, and those were the feelings I had in my 11 year old mind. But even then, at such a young age, I knew I was watching something special during the match. I knew these two guys were taking it to another level. This match totally changed wrestling for me. I realized how a story could be told in a wrestling match. I realized it was about more than two big guys beating on each other. I started to look for technically proficient wrestlers, I started paying attention to how certain guys executed their moves, and who had the better matches. I was so happy when Steamboat won that IC belt, I truly feel to this day my love and passion for wrestling all stems from that one match.
4. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels, 2 of 3 falls, Armaggedon 2002.
---The one word that comes to mind when I think of this match, is EPIC. The first stage of the match was a street fight, the second stage was a cage match, and the 3rd stage was a ladder match. They went into the ladder match tied at 1 each, and at the climax, Triple H threw Michaels from the top of the ladder, sending him crashing through a stack of wooden tables outside the ring. The two of them absolutely destroyed each other for what had to be close to an hour. I love them together as DX, and I loved their feud as well. This is my favorite of all their matches together during that time when Shawn came back after a four year absence, and he hadn't skipped a beat, he was still the best in the world, but the Game was still champion.
3. Rock vs. Triple H, Backlash 2000.
---This is another match that I know doesn't show up on anyone elses greatest match lists. But it's one of those that works personally for me. It was the main event of Backlash and it was for the WWE championship. This match took place at the height of the McMahon-Helmsley era. In addition to Shane McMahon being the guest referee, Vince and Stephanie were both ringside as well. This was an exciting fast paced match, highlighted by Rock "double rockbottoming" Shane and HHH on the announcers table, which was a sight to see. Rock had so many obstacles to overcome during this match, with Shane not counting when Rock attempted to pin Triple H, Vince attacking him everytime he was outside the ring, Shane fast counting when Triple H would go for a pin, even to the point where Vince brought out Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe as referees after Shane was knocked out.
When it looked like there was no chance left for the Rock, all of a sudden you heard that glass breaking, and Stone Cold came charging out, steel chair in hand, and absolutely obliterated everyone in his way, leaving a carnage of bodies in and outside the ring. Linda McMahon came out soon after that with suspended referee Earl Hebner. Linda threw the Woman's Champion Stephanie to the ground, Rock proceeded to drop the People's Elbow on Triple H, Hebner counted to three, and Rock walked away with the title. All in all a great match that had a little of everything, including complete chaos.
2. Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Wrestlemania 17.
---This match could easily be number 1 on my list. I had a hard time deciding which order 2 and 1 would go. But for today, this is my second favorite match of all time. This was in my opinion the greatest and most perfect main event in history. This was bigger than Hogan vs. Andre to me. I have never seen a crowd in such a frenzy, and I have never seen 2 wrestlers so over with the crowd before. There is no possible way to watch this match and figure out who the crowd is behind. It seemed to change with every momentum swing. Just the feeling I get as the two of them make their way to the ring, it feels like the climax moment to a great movie. This is what we have been sitting around for 2 1/2 hours for, and boy was it worth the wait.
Austin and the Rock slugged it out for over 20 minutes, hitting each other with everything they had. They were using each others moves, Austin was rock bottoming The Rock, Rock was stunning Austin, they both had each other in the sharpshooter, and both were bloodied battered messes. This was one of the all time great feuds of the WWE, and even though they would go on to have 1 more match and Wrestlemania 19, this was the peak of their story.
This match was one of those rare occurrences where even if you weren't a fan of wrestling or the WWE, you could sense that something special and important was happening. And how shocked were we, the moment Mr. McMahon, the devil himself, handed Austin that chair to smash the Rock? No one on this planet saw that coming. It was gut wrenching. It was confusing. It was shocking. The vision of Mr. McMahon and Steve Austin sharing a beer in the ring after they had beaten Rock to a bloody pulp is something that gives me chills to this day. And I hope that never goes away.
1. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, Iron Man match, Wrestlemania 12.
---Anyone who has seen this match, who knows the story, who understands what these 2 men did, do not need to hear words from me about it. But for those of you who don't, I'll try. These two were absolutely the two greatest wrestlers of the era, and probably of all time. Bret was the WWE champion. They mirrored each other perfectly, had chemistry in the ring like maybe no 2 other wrestlers before or after them, and in what only makes the story better, they hated each other in real life.
This was a great WWE feud, but it was a real life feud as well. They had disagreements about how the business should be run, how matches should be played out, just about anything you could think of, they could not see eye to eye. I think Bret was maybe just a little jealous of Shawn, being Shawn was just a little better. Bret was the man until Shawn started coming into his own. They were complete opposite personalities all together, and how they performed so beautifully together in the ring is a testament to how gifted they both truly were.
This match was the main event to an otherwise lackluster Wrestlemania. It shows because at the beginning moments of this match the crowd was very quiet. It was a 60 minute Iron man match, and neither scored a pinfall for the entire 60 minutes, which to me was brilliant. If these were the 2 best wrestlers in the world, they should both be able to wrestle for an hour without being pinned multiple times. They both executed the last minute and a half of the match perfectly, with Bret getting Shawn into his famous sharpshooter as the clock was winding down. Shawn managed to hold out and not submit, and when the clock ticked down to zero, Bret grabbed his belt and left, thinking in a draw, he would retain his title.
WWE president Gorilla Monsoon declared the match go into sudden death to determine a true winner. Bret reluctantly went back, and within 4 minutes of sudden death, Shawn hit Bret with 2 super kicks, and a boyhood dream came true for HBK. The match and title win for sure put Shawn over, and instilled a bitterness in Bret that still stands to this very day. But company politics aside, this was truly an epic match. A clinic in technical wrestling, with some big spots as well, what these 2 marvelous athletes did for 64 minutes was completely amazing. They both gave it their all, and how they managed to keep the pace they did, not letting up on each other for over and hour I will never know. Just beautiful wrestling and storytelling in my book, and a match I will continue to watch over and over for the rest of my life. Never again...
For those of you who actually read this whole list and all the comments, I truly appreciate it and hope you enjoyed it at least a little. It turned out to be longer than I thought. I know some of these aren't considered your classic "all time great matches" and there were definitely some tough ones I had to leave off, but these are the matches I myself consider great and for one reason or another hold a special place in my heart. I welcome any feedback or constructive criticism you may have, and as always, would love to hear your favorites as well. Thanks...
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