The Doctor's Orders: Chris Mueller's 10 Favorite WWE Matches of All Time
Bleacher Report writers don't usually write in the first person, but this article is a little different. October 21 marks my 10-year anniversary writing for the company.
To commemorate that, I thought it would be fun to list my 10 favorite WWE matches of all time and why they are so memorable.
These might not be the 10 best matches of all time, but they are my personal favorites for different reasons.
Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
This first one is a bit of a cheat, as I am not selecting any specific encounter because every match between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa is a classic.
The first time we saw what these two were capable of as opponents was during the Cruiserweight Classic. They wrestled in the first round in what ended up being one of the best matches in the entire tournament.
After Ciampa turned on Gargano at NXT TakeOver: Chicago, they were free to begin what has been one of the best singles feuds in the entire company in recent years.
Had they been brought up to the main roster sooner, we might not have gotten to see them steal the show at multiple TakeOver events using different stipulations.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
The Four Horsewomen have competed alongside and against each other countless times, but the match I remember most was their Fatal 4-Way from NXT TakeOver: Rival.
Not only was this another case of them stealing the show at a TakeOver event, but it was also one of the first times Becky Lynch was in a title match.
It's amazing to look back at this bout and see how far each Superstar has progressed since that time. With any luck, The Four Horsewomen will have another Fatal 4-Way at some point in the future.
CM Punk vs. John Cena
CM Punk produced a lot of great matches with a variety of opponents in WWE, but in many ways, his feud with John Cena defined his run with the company.
The Straight-Edge Superstar was not the kind of wrestler who usually wins WWE world titles, but he was too popular for the company to keep down.
At Money in the Bank 2011, Cena and Punk's feud reached a boiling point. Their match was awesome, but it was the ending people remember most.
Watching Punk grab the title, blow Vince McMahon a kiss and leave through the Chicago crowd is a moment nobody will ever forget.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar
Eddie Guerrero spent a lot of time honing his craft before he made it to WWE, but once he got there, nobody could stop him from reaching the top.
He was an incredible wrestler with some of the best promo skills in the business and a gimmick people adored.
It's always fun to see someone you like reach their ultimate goal of winning the WWE title, but it's even better when it happens in a five-star match.
Other than Kurt Angle, nobody has been able to bring out of Lesnar what Guerrero did at No Way Out 2004. If you have never seen this match, stop what you are doing and go watch it. I'll wait.
The Second Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match
The Hardys, Dudleys, Edge and Christian have put each other through countless tables and hit each other with just as many ladders and chairs, but the second TLC match was the most special.
Not only were these three tag teams given the responsibility of ushering in a new kind of stipulation at SummerSlam 2000, but they also had to do it again on the same card as The Rock vs. Steve Austin at WrestleMania 17.
They easily stole the show, and the match ended up being so successful that WWE had at least some version of the original teams do it a few more times.
This was the Attitude Era at its best, and it's hard to believe out of all six men, Jeff Hardy is the guy who is still capable of performing dangerous spots 17 years later.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant will always be known as the match that defined WrestleMania 3, but it definitely was not the best contest of the night.
That honor goes to Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat for the Intercontinental Championship match earlier in the evening.
At a time when the company valued character over substance, Savage and Steamboat proved WWE had the ability to put on a technical clinic when needed.
Fans still talk about this match over 30 years later for a reason. It still holds up against most of what we see these days.
Roddy Piper vs. Goldust
Rowdy Roddy Piper and Goldust were both part of some great matches, but one of the most memorable things either competitor did was the Backlot Brawl from WrestleMania 12.
This was before the Attitude Era had officially begun, so fans were not used to seeing the level of violence we witnessed in this bout.
It was bloody, brutal and entertaining, but it was also a sign of things to come. Once WWE saw how fans responded to this match, it realized it could push the envelope even further.
This is another one of those bouts that threw technical wrestling aside in favor of blood and destruction, and it was all the better for it.
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
As long as there are families in the pro wrestling business, sibling vs. sibling rivalries will always be around, but it's hard to imagine anyone topping the years-long feud between Bret and Owen Hart.
Their match at WrestleMania 10 was something to behold. It was a personal battle, a technical clinic and a stepping stone for both brothers to get to bigger and better places.
Bret ended up winning the WWE title from Yokozuna later in the show, but his match with Owen was far more entertaining.
Seeing Owen defeat his brother only for Bret to surpass him later in the show helped drive their feud forward, but they never quite recaptured the magic they had in this match.
Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon
The ladder match has become one of the most beloved stipulations in pro wrestling, but it might not exist the way we know it had it not been for Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon.
Many are aware Michaels actually worked a ladder match against The Hitman before this bout, but The Heartbreak Kid vs. The Bad Guy at WrestleMania 10 was the first to be broadcast.
They took a stipulation that sounded somewhat ridiculous on paper and used it to define their feud and make them legitimate main event stars.
With this match, Hart vs. Hart and a few others, WrestleMania 10 was one of the best pay-per-views of the decade. For some weird reason, WWE doesn't have the real match on its YouTube page.
The British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart
When it comes to my favorite match of all time, it took me quite some time to decide. There are so many incredible performances I can recall, but the one I kept going back to was The British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart at SummerSlam 1992.
This was one of the few times the IC title bout was the main event of a pay-per-view, but that's not what made it special. It was what the performers did in the ring.
The Bulldog and The Hitman were brothers-in-law in real life, so they knew each other well and likely spent many hours training together in the Hart family dungeon.
They pulled out all the stops in this one, and we even saw them do things they normally wouldn't. Hart actually hit a hurricanrana at one point. That's not something you can say about many of his matches.
This was a masterclass in how to put on a contest the fans will enjoy. I have watched this one in its entirety too many times to count over the years, and it's one I go back to when I need a reminder of why I love this business.
Putting this list together was a fun trip down memory lane, but it was also difficult because WWE has put on so many great matches over the years.
Here is a list of honorable mentions that almost made the list:
- Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura from NXT TakeOver: Dallas
- The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family from Elimination Chamber 2014
- Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin from WrestleMania 13
- The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania 26
- Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant from WrestleMania 3
- Chris Jericho vs. Christian from ECW on October 20, 2009
- Daniel Bryan vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton at WrestleMania 30
- Money in the Bank from WrestleMania 25
- The Hardy Boyz vs. APA from Raw on June 29, 1999
- Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena from Raw on April 23, 2007
Thank you for reading my work for the past 10 years, and here's looking forward to the next 10. What are your top 10 matches of all time?