WWE: Ranking Every 5-Star Match in Company History
Fair or not, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has only awarded five WWE matches a five-star rating.
How valid Meltzer's ratings are is often debated as is his perceived anti-WWE bias. Regardless, receiving a five-star rating is an honor.
These five matches are all phenomenal and the difference between the top-ranked and fifth-ranked bout is minute.
Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart were both a part of two of these matches respectively. With those legends retired, who can we look to add to this list?
What will be the next WWE five-star match and will we have to suffer through another 14-year gap again?
Should Have Been Five-Stars
In many fans' minds, these three matches should have been rated five-stars. Dave Meltzer felt otherwise.
-Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III
-John Cena and Shawn Michaels' near-perfect WrestleMania rematch on Raw in 2007.
-The Rock and Steve Austin's WrestleMania 17 battle.
-Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit at the 2003 Royal Rumble.
-The classic Shawn Michaels and Undertaker put on at WrestleMania 25.
5. SummerSlam 1994: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (Cage Match)
The culmination of one of WWE's best feuds of all-time ended in the classic blue cage.
With metal clanging and the ring shaking, two brothers fought in an intense battle that topped every classic bout their feud had seen so far.
When Owen Hart clamped on the sharpshooter and looked in the camera and said, "I'm going to break his legs," it sent a shiver down many a spine.
Bret climbed over Owen, only for the latter to yank his brother down by the hair.
After a superplex from the top, the two beaten men lay on the mat as drained and exhausted as the fans were at that point.
The only reason this doesn't rank higher here is that, due to the escape-only stipulation, there are no near-falls, and submissions didn't mean anything.
4. Money in the Bank 2011: CM Punk vs. John Cena
The most recent WWE five-star match is aided immensely by a thunderous Chicago crowd.
Their feverish love for CM Punk and hate for John Cena gave the match the look of a classic before it even began.
WWE would later rush Punk's return, but the threat of him leaving with the WWE title after his infamous rant on Raw felt real. Even in this age of little to no kayfabe, fans bought into the story.
With the atmosphere and the story set up perfectly, the two wrestlers proceeded to deliver an awesome match.
Cena showed surprising technical savvy. Punk delivered some jaw-bending knees.
The magnificent match was topped by an even better ending.
Mr. McMahon tried to create a reprise of the Montreal Screwjob, but Cena wouldn't have it. Having Punk escape Alberto Del Rio and end up in his adoring crowd ended the night in glorious fashion.
3. WrestleMania X: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (Ladder Match)
As good as Punk vs. Cena was, as well as that story was told, it's hard to compete with the godfather of the WWE ladder match.
WWE fans had never seen anything like the brutal and beautiful action that Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels delivered. It's hard to set the bar any higher.
Destiny fell into place to lead to this story. Razor and Michaels both had claims to the Intercontinental Championship, as Michaels had been suspended during his title reign.
There was only one way to settle it.
With and without the ladder, this was a vicious battle.
The iconic image of Michaels flying off the ladder onto Razor is just one of numerous unforgettable moments in this one.
No one there could have known what the ladder match would come to mean to WWE, but they must have known that they had seen something born, something novel and amazing.
2. Badd Blood: Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker (Hell in a Cell)
Mick Foley may have fallen from higher places and more blood may have been spilled in the cell, but the first-ever Hell in a Cell match remains the greatest of its kind.
Two of WWE's greatest performers put on a jaw-dropping show.
Undertaker yanked Shawn Michaels from the cage. He tossed him around, dominating him for much of the match, until he was bloody and teetering.
Steel steps, chairs and an abused cameraman all helped tell the story.
Had the match ended with Michaels losing grip on the cell and crashing through the announce table, this would have still been incredible.
The action went on though, and fans saw Undertaker chokeslam Michaels from the top rope as well one of the biggest and most memorable debuts ever.
Fire bursting around them, Kane tombstoned his brother and helped Michaels to the win.
1. WrestleMania 13: Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin
How do you top the first ladder match on a WWE pay-per-view and the first Hell in a Cell?
You take two of the greatest wrestlers in history, have them collide during a volatile feud and throw in double turn with a healthy amount of bloodshed.
What makes this story so great is that Austin and Hart both changed forever because of this match.
Austin's popularity was rising, but this performance cemented his status as beloved tweener and the face of the Attitude Era. Bret, the long time good guy and hero to children, shifted into a bitter and compelling heel.
No fan can forget Steve Austin writhing in pain, blinded by his own blood. Few wrestling matches have topped what Hart and Austin accomplished that night.