Dave Meltzer has been dissecting, criticizing and praising professional wrestling matches since the formation of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter in1983. That same year, Meltzer helped popularize the “star rating” system, in which matches are judged and rated on a scale from zero to five (including negative scores).
While the star rating system has received an exuberant amount of criticism for being extremely opinionated, most fans can agree with Meltzer on whether a match is an instant classic, average or just flat out embarrassing.
Meltzer uses the following criteria in order to develop these star ratings:
- The amount of action as opposed to rest-holds throughout the match
- The difficulty and variety of the moves used throughout the match
- The history of the workers and their feud
- The development of an in-match storyline based on the wrestling moves and how they affect the wrestlers
- The overall reaction of the crowd during the match
There have been a total of 71 five-star rated matches since 1983 and only five of them have been awarded for contests that have taken place in the WWE. As you can see, a five-star rating is extremely rare.
While only five WWE matches have received a five-star rating, there have been dozens of memorable performances that have come painfully close to having a perfect score.
Although many of you will find this slideshow to be subjective, I tried my best to follow Meltzer's criteria and included 10 extraordinary WWE matches that could have, and should have, received a five star rating. Also, Meltzer's rating will be added at the end of each slide.
Part one of two features five-star quality matches from 1983-2004 while part two will cover five-star quality matches from 2004-2013.
The following matches are in order of the dates they took place.