WWE 2011: The Top 10 Matches of the Year so Far
2011 has been one hell of a year so far, hasn't it?
From the always exciting Royal Rumble to the critically acclaimed Money in the Bank, this year is turning out to be one we will all surely remember forever.
And throughout this year, we have seen some amazing matches, both on PPV and on TV.
While many tune in for the storylines and angles that WWE gives us, we also tune in for the matches that they put on for us. We want to see back-and-forth action, drama, intensity, storytelling, and most of all, wrestling!
2011 has put out some of the best matches we have seen in a long time, and even some of those matches have come from free TV, where in-ring quality is slowly increasing.
But out of all the great matches WWE has given us, which are the best of the best?
Well, here are my top 10 matches of the year 2011.
P.S. This list will not include the Money in the Bank, the Elimination Chamber, or the Royal Rumble, as those matches are always good no matter what. This list is for the matches that truly rose to be top dogs.
10. CM Punk vs Alberto Del Rio vs Rey Mysterio, Monday Night Raw 6/20
Kicking off the list is the Triple Threat Match between Rey Mysterio, CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio on the 6/20 edition of Raw to determine the No. 1 Contender for the WWE Championship.
This match came about when CM Punk demanded he be named No. 1 Contender, but his awesome disrespect to the Raw GM made him/her force CM Punk to earn it in a Triple Threat against Mysterio and Del Rio.
A Falls Count Anywhere Match as voted by the fans that night, this match was an amazing, fast-paced match that really exploited the Triple Threat formula that these matches are known for to a great extent.
One of my favorite spots was Rey Mysterio hitting a senton on CM Punk then immediately running across the ring to hit a suicide dive on Del Rio out of the ring in one swift motion.
It was indeed an amazing encounter, but it was dragged down a bit by the fact the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation never really came into play, and the fact it was obvious Punk would win, but that is a minor complaint, as it was still an awesome match.
And it would also be the beginning to the biggest storyline in WWE for years, as Punk announced he would be leaving on July 17th.
The rest is history.
9. Randy Orton vs CM Punk, Extreme Rules
Until Money in the Bank, Extreme Rules was my PPV of the Year, and this match would be one of the reasons why.
A rivalry that started at the Royal Rumble, Punk wanted revenge on Orton for punting him in the head two years ago, costing him the World Title, but Orton would punt the Nexus in the skulls, going on to defeat Punk at Wrestlemania in a great match. The two would look to settle their score in a Last Man Standing Match.
This match kicked off the extreme show, and I must say that it was the right choice as this match was completely brutal from start to finish.
From the two beating the hell out of each other with kendo sticks, to Punk being thrown into a wedge steel chair, or to the sick top rope RKO from Randy Orton, this match was completely sick.
To many, it was fairly obvious that Randy Orton would win since he has just moved to Smackdown and would need momentum, but a bright spot to me in the match was that it took three different RKO's from Orton to keep Punk down for a ten count.
Still, it never seemed to reach that next level of brutality like other Last Man Standing matches, like Batista vs Taker, or HHH vs HBK.
Still, this was a a great match, and to me, it deserves its spot at No. 9.
8. Edge vs Dolph Ziggler, Royal Rumble
No. 8 goes to Edge vs Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble PPV.
Now going into this one, I was expecting a good match between these two, considering their wrestling skills, but these two just completely blew all of those expectations and gave us all a fantastic, fast-paced match to start off the PPV.
I loved how Edge just turned Ziggler's patented Fame-Asser move into a sitout powerbomb. That was a hell of a counter if I ever saw one.
There was also Vickie Guerrero. The fact that she was Edge's former wife, and at the time, Ziggler's boyfriend, it made for a very interesting story, as Vickie practically banned the spear to give Ziggler the edge (no pun intended).
Hell, there was a moment that we all thought Ziggler won when he hit the Zig-Zag, but it was not to be.
I'll never forget when both Vickie and the ref were knocked out, which allowed Edge to be the Ultimate Opportunist and hit Ziggler with one of the best spears I've seen from him, then play possum as the ref woke up, and then hit a Killswitch for the win.
Even in defeat, Ziggler looked great, and he showed he could definitely perform in a big-match situation.
So tell me why in the hell he's stuck in mid-card when he should be in the main-event after this? He deserves better!
7. Randy Orton vs Christian, Friday Night Smackdown 5/6
Ah, the infamous match from the 5/6 edition of Smackdown. You knew it was coming considering the quality of the match.
I think I speak for everyone when we were all shocked and angry when we found out that Randy Orton won the World Title from Christian just days after Christian won it for the first time in his career.
It really felt like a spit in the face to Christian after all he's done for the business, and to the fans who were so joyous at seeing the emotional moments of Christian winning.
But that does not take anything away from the fantastic match these two had with one another on Smackdown.
It was a very intense and drama-filled match, with the great story of Christian doing everything he can to keep his dream alive, but with nothing working.
Their chemistry with one another was astounding, and it truly brought out the best in Randy Orton and Christian.
This match would be the catalyst for Christian's eventual heel turn, and whether or not you agree with the result, there's no taking away the fact this was an amazing match, one that would be outdone only weeks later.
6. The Miz vs John Cena vs John Morrison, Extreme Rules
Just missing out on the top five is the Triple Threat Steel Cage Match at Extreme Rules for the WWE Title.
This match had very little build up to it, and not many people had great expectations going into it, but even so, these three men—Morrison, Cena, and Miz—all managed to put on a great main event for Extreme Rules.
This cage match was absolutely insane from start to finish, as their were many near falls throughout, and the story of how one could get out of the cage while the other was preoccupied with an opponent.
This match had its own share of crazy-ass spots, with the top two having to be the Double Super Brainbuster on Miz from the top of the cage, and Morrison's Starship Pain from the top of the cage.
The Triple Threat was used very well, as anyone could get a win at any time while one was preoccupied, and add to the fact that steel cage neutralized the revolving door aspect Triple Threats are known to have, and that's a great match.
The involvement of R-Truth was a great storytelling aspect, as he took out Morrison and climbed out of the cage as if to symbolize that he should be walking out the WWE Champion.
This match was great from start to finish, and completely blew anyone's expectations of it out of the water.
This match, in my mind, revitalized the cage match concept, and absolutely deserves this spot on the list.
5. John Morrison vs The Miz, Monday Night Raw 1/3
The year 2011 certainly got started off with a bang in WWE, didn't it?
The first match of the year saw John Morrison challenging The Miz for the WWE Title in a Falls Count Anywhere Match.
And I'm 100 percent confident in my decision of having this as my TV Match of the Year.
The chemistry these two have with one another can be comparable with Randy Orton and Christian, as they bring out the best in one another.
And they made full use of the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation, as they practically battled just about everywhere they could outside of backstage and in the crowd.
Morrison was his usual fantastic self, delivering us his OMG moment by delivering a crossbody off the giant W on the stage to Miz and Riley, and he even took out Riley with one hell of a vicious knee.
Miz looked pretty strong and gained some credibility as he certainly hanged with John Morrison and even became the first man to kick out of Starship Pain.
But after enduring so much, even a failed Starship Pain through the table, Morrison succumbed to a Skull-Crushing Finale on the concrete.
Miz gained much credibility with the clean win, John Morrison looked strong in defeat, and both men proved that they truly belonged in the main event scene.
4. Christian vs Alberto Del Rio, Extreme Rules
Now here's a match we should all remember very fondly: the Ladder Match for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship.
When Edge was forced to retire due to injury, he was forced to relinquish the World Title in the process. He was supposed to defend the title in a ladder match against Alberto Del Rio, but plans changed. Del Rio would still get his shot, but someone would take Edge's place in the match, and that man's name was Christian.
Now what happens when you have Christian, Del Rio, a great rivalry, great chemistry between the two, a match which Christian made famous, and a fact that neither have been World Champion?
You get one hell of an epic ladder match!
Neither Christian nor Del Rio ever held a World Title in WWE prior to this match, so the anticipation was already high for this one.
Now this ladder match was just brutal and insane from start to finish. Whether it was Christian falling onto a ladder with a splat, or Del Rio crashing and burning into a ladder, this match was just sick!
And not only that, there is also the emotion and storytelling that was off the charts.
People wanted to see Christian win his first World Title over Christian, and when Edge distracted Del Rio long enough for Christian to take him out, the crowd practically exploded as Christian pulled down the belt for his first ever World Title.
There is no doubt that Christian's World Title victory is the feel good moment of the year, and I will always have this match and that moment in my memory forever.
This is a serious recommendation for anyone who's fan of Ladder Matches and/or Christian.
3. Randy Orton vs Christian, Over the Limit
Okay, these guys could wrestle each other 5,000 times in a row, and I wouldn't get tired of watching them.
That's how good Christian and Randy Orton are when they wrestle one another, and without a doubt, their match at Over the Limit was the best in their series yet.
In what was an otherwise lackluster and bad PPV, Randy Orton vs Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship stole the show and was an instant classic.
The action was fast and furious from the absolute get-go, near fall after near fall as the two just went full throttle on one another.
It was one of the best face vs face matches in a long while, as the crowd was genuinely split on who they wanted to walk out with the title, and that created a fun atmosphere for this match.
Perhaps my favorite moment of the match was when Orton went for the Punt but hesitated, then went for it again, only to get the hell speared out of him by Christian himself.
Seriously, that was just an awesome moment, and I thought Christian had it won at the moment.
A classic match that definitely deserves to be called a Match of the Year contender, and one that's definitely worth watching.
2. Triple H vs Undertaker, Wrestlemania 27
Next up, what else than the War of Wars at Wrestlemania 27, Triple H vs Undertaker.
Of course this match was going to be on this list one way or another, and it should come as no surprise as to how high it is on this list.
No Holds Barred with the Undertaker's Streak on the line, and we all knew we were in a for a really good match, but thought it could not live up to HBK/Taker from the past two years.
But we all ate our words as Undertaker and Triple put forth a Wrestlemania classic that will be talked about for years to come.
These two absolutely destroyed one another, whether it was Taker backdropping HHH onto the floor from a table, or HHH delivering an epic, sickening chair shot to Taker's skull—this was nothing short of a brutal war.
One thing I will never forget was how Triple H absolutely dismantled Undertaker with no mercy, the roles reversed from the past two years as now Undertaker was now the vulnerable one, with Triple H telling him to stay down.
Then Triple H delivered the Tombstone—of all things—to the Undertaker. I absolutely thought that was it, and the Undertaker's Streak was finally over. But when Undertaker kicked out, I fell down in awe and shock!
I could not believe how awesome this match was, and how they were able to deliver that kind of near fall!
Eventually, Triple H took too much time, and Taker took advantage and caught him in Hell's Gate. The Game fought as long as he could, but eventually, he was forced to weakly tap out, extending the Streak to 19-0.
The drama, emotion, and storytelling this match had was just surreal, and no doubt this match will be the one thing that Wrestlemania 27 is remembered for.
I thought that this match would be your Match of the Year throughout 2011, and that nothing would top it, until...
1. CM Punk vs John Cena, Money in the Bank
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Match of the Year so far is CM Punk vs John Cena for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank.
This should come as no surprise as this match has been hailed by fans and critics alike as a five-star match.
Even Dave Meltzer himself, who has not given a WWE match a five-star rating in 14 years, gave this match five stars.
And it's not hard to see why in my opinion.
With one of the greatest builds of all time, ranging from Punk's epic shoot promo to the emotional "Contract Negotiations," this match had all the momentum in the world as it became the most anticipated match in recent memory.
And without a damn doubt, it delivered in every damn aspect.
From a hot and crazy Chicago crowd, to the back and forth action, to the unpredictability surrounding the whole match, CM Punk vs John Cena showed us what professional wrestling was all about.
The drama was absolutely off the charts, and the near falls were so close and numerous, they could give you a heart attack, and it was no doubt a technical wrestling showcase in itself.
And the ending was nothing short of perfect.
Vince and his lackey, Laurinaitis, came out, and as Punk was locked in the STF, Vince tried to recreate the Montreal Screwjob, but Cena was having none of it and decked Laurinaitis, but when he got back in, he got hit with a GTS.
A 1-2-3 later, Punk shocked the world and became the new WWE Champion.
This match had it all: an awesome bully, a hot crowd, technical wrestling, back and forth action, drama, emotion, storytelling, unpredictability and a shocking ending.
CM Punk vs John Cena is without a doubt your 2011 Match of the Year, and a five-star match at that.
Well, there you have it, ladies and gentleman.
My list for the top ten matches so far in 2011 outside of the Money in the Bank, Elimination Chamber, and Royal Rumble matches.
Trust me, it wasn't a cake walk deciding how this list would play out and what matches should be in it, but in the end, I am very satisfied with it, and hope that you all are too.
So please, leave comments and tell me your thoughts.
Do you agree with my list? Do you like the matches I chose? What matches do you think I should have included? What matches should I have taken out?
In any case, I hope you all enjoyed my first ever top ten list, as well as the awesome picture of Punk as WWE Champion! Make sure to leave a comment!
See you next time!