This as well as the next 3 tapes are in response to a column written by columnist Justin T. at the ~ORATORY forums message board Justin wrote a column entitled "50 MATCHES REAL FANS MUST SEE". The column not only proved to be one of the most Popular columns ever written at that site, but it sparked a demand from the viewers to see the various matches compiled onto a tape. Well, Justin asked me if I was up to the job, and this is the result! All of the matches combined actually take up 4 tapes, and are done In order from #50 down to #1 (which is why I numbered the matches in reverse order). This list and the accompanying comments are all from Justin T, and don't necessarily represent my own personal opinion. JUSTIN T'S 50 MATCHES REAL FANS MUST SEE VOLUME 1 (VG - FAIR Q) 6HRS
50. Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon, King of the Ring PPV 6-24-01 The freshest match in mind, and it almost didn't make the list. But, under heavy consideration, I decided that the match that might have both given Shane respect for life and finitely proved Kurt Angle as a main eventer, should make it. We all know what happens here. First they wrestle a great regular match for 10 minutes, which would have been good in it's own right. Then they proceed to attempt manslaughter on one another. Kurt gets cut up a little bit but Shane proves the real nut in this one as he gets dropped on his head on concrete a few times before going through glass a few times. The hardway double-bladejob from hell and a true classic. Enough is enough, you've all probably seen it. 49. Hardy Boys vs. The Serial Thrillaz, 1-29-99 Ah, OMEGA. How I love thee so. OK, lets break down the two teams so you get a bit more of a sense for what's going on. The Hardy Boys had already wrestled in the WWF as the Jynx Bros. & also just as nameless jobbers to people such as Razor Ramon and Rob Van Dam. They wrestled all over both the North & South Carolinas, and other southern regional areas. At this time they were considered by many to be the best independent wrestlers in the country in what was considered the independent in the country at the time, OMEGA. Which, of course, was the Hardy's home base (Matt Hardy owned a large portion of it and did 75% of the booking), and also boasted such wrestlers as Joey Abs (wrestling as "Venom" , Steve Corino, occasionally Lita (known as Amy), Joey Matthews, Christian York, Shannon Moore (wrestling as "Kid Dynamo" , Bo Dupp wrestling as "Otto Schwanz" , other bigger names that'd wander through. Oh yeah, and also Kid Viscous and Mike Maverick, The Serial Thrillaz. The Thrillaz were the tag team for the whole company, they put on the best matches, had the most original tag moves, and were, in all honesty, the only people that were legitimately as over the Hardy Boyz were. Kid Viscous, was Shane Helms, while Mike Maverick was known later as Puck Dupp. At this point, the Hardy Boyz had just signed their WWF deals and thus become "turncoats," i.e.; the heels, though they work better as faces out of being used to it. The Serial Thrillaz had been the bad a** heel champions for a couple years (not consistently the champions, but you know) and had become face by default (though they were better at being heels… better than any other tag team in the indys at being heels, for that matter) from both the huge ovations they had been getting and for their disenchantment with the traitor Hardy Boys. So to the match, which for an indy had heat off the charts, and its just as great as you would expect from these four men, especially back then when they were even more psychotic than they currently are. An assisted plancha by the Thrillaz here, Hardy taking a DRT Driver there, and plenty of classic heel and face tactics abound. If you only see one indy match in your life, make it this one. 48. Lance Storm vs. Chris Jericho, 12-8-95 (fair quality) Quite arguably the greatest match that either one of these men have ever had took place this night in the independent Japanese promotion, W.A.R. There's not really a backstory, because, well, they don't really do that much in Japan and when they do I don't understand what the hell they're saying anyways. I think these two wrestling this time because their tag teams, Storm with Yoshi Yasuroaka, and Jericho w/Gedo were feuding and this was just a bit of continuation for that story. All you need to realize is that after years and years of tagging together and against each other, and fighting side by side or face to face, traveling the world doing it: it all was concluded, regardless of anything afterwards, right here. Storm and Jericho bump like they are wrestling their last match. Literally, you'll see this match and wonder how it wasn't their last. And they bust out some of the best moves, spots, psychology, selling, and any other wrestling term you can think of. This was right on par with what Jericho did with HHH if not better. It just doesn't get the recognition because of the anonymity of the promotion and the match to the general American public and because they weren't so well known as of this point. Screw recognition though, watch this match and join the few they have trouble lifting their jaws back up off the ground. 47. Bill Goldberg vs. Dallas Page, WCW World Title, 10-25-98, Halloween Havok If it wasn't for this match I wouldn't be a Dallas Page fan. I've read his book and all and I respect him, but its solely this match that makes me a fan. The reason is simple. This is the only good match Goldberg has ever had in his life and DDP carried him to it. **** for Goldberg, now *that's* saying something. The psychology was at least solid and not only did Goldberg do about 10 different moves and a bit of mat wrestling in this match, he also sold an arm injury through out the whole thing and provided the longest Diamond Cutter 2 count in history. Eventually a reversed suplex gets DDP Jackhammer'd and that's a night. 46.Big Van Bader vs. Stan Hansen, 2-10-90, IWGP Title This is going to be the shortest synopsis: Vader got his eye literally knocked out of his head 10 minutes in by some stiff punches to the side of the head. You can watch him put it back in after holding it in his palm for a while. Anybody feeling hungry? 45. Great Sasuke vs. Wild Pegasus, 4-16-94, Super J Cup Finals Leading into this match, the Great Sasuke had just beaten Jyushin Liger in the semi-finals with a surprise hurricanrana, and Benoit beat Gedo with a swandive headbutt (I know, Gedo really was in the Super J semi's… *shudder*). By this point Sasuke Diner, um not him, Sasuke the great, no damn it not him either, The Great Sasuske was all but legally dead so Benoit decides he's going to just beat the ever holy hell out of him and does it quite well. TGS pulls out the Space Flying Tiger Drop towards the end of the match too. Benoit wins with a gutwrench superplex. 44. Jerry Lynn vs. Rob Van Dam, ECW Living Dangerously PPV3-21-99, ECW TV Title (very good quality, but the picture shakes) OK, RVD will probably never be more than the living, walking incarnation of Spot-Fu, and Lynn is with ease more over-rated than the people I usually call over-rated. Not that he's worse than them, but every time he has a match he somehow gets *** and somehow carried it. As has become my new favorite saying (because I made it up, suckaZ), that is a farmer's load of bullsh*t. But enough of that. Rob VanDam has had better matches (was that a list-hint?) and Jerry Lynn… um, hasn't really… maybe with Lance Storm. But the most talked about ECW feud before its death is right here. And dear god don't get their one year comeback match unless you want a 25 minute match that is 10 minutes of RVD pointing at himself and talking to the crowd. The first one they ever put on also was the best one, and through all my pessimism and cynicism, I really enjoyed this match. Some really great spots, and it gets to a break neck pace at times. Lynn had it won until he caught the chair, and you know what happens when you hold a chair around Rob VanDam. 43. Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty, WWF Intercontinental Title, Royal Rumble PPV 1-24-93 OK, so even in my days of "marktitude," after I saw this match, it was over. I was hooked on HBK. The lead up was that as Shawn was checking his hair in his big heart-shaped mirror center-ring, while Jannetty came up from behind him and Shawn pissed his tights. Marty snatched the mirror from Sherri, and as he went to hit Shawn with it, the Boy Toy pulled Sherri in front of the mirrors path as he ducked away. So here we are at the Royal Rumble in a match that about 100x better than their famous Raw is War encounter. Shawn is the Crown Prince of Dickheads in this match and just pounds relentlessly on Marty's arm for the whole time he was in control. As the Rockers always did, they confused the hell out of the announcers, whether it was with Tiger Wall Flips or Hurricanranas or single-arm DDTs or whatever, the announcers always seemed kinda stupid during a Rockers match. Of course it was easy to cover up, Gorilla: "Did you see that? These Rockers can do it all!" Bobby: "See it? I can't even pronounce it!" Gorilla: "Ladies just love these Rockers, Bobby." Marty eventually comes back and Sherri ends up hitting him accidentally with her shoe when Shawn ducked. Shawn than proceeds to verbally tear her apart in an act that Stone Cold would follow some 8yrs later. When Marty finally wakes up, Shawn just turns around and superkicks him back out of consciousness for the pin. Very strong match between these two, and my guess is that without the huge amount of attention on the Sherri situation in the storylines, commentating, and in the match than this would have ranked a lot better for some people. I love it regardless. 42. CIMA/SUWA/Sumo Fuji vs. SAITO/Dragon Kid/Magnum TOKYO, date unknown, Elimination Match If you want a true introduction to Toryumon, there's no better match than this here. Not only is it a phenomenal match, but it also introduces you to each of their biggest stars. Crazy MAX, CIMA, SUWA, Sumo Fuji, and Taru, plus SAITO, the man who could do a Hurricanrana off the roof of a speeding car, Dragon Kid, and Magnum TOKYO who is the most sexually flamboyant Japanese man I've ever seen in my life; thank god. You'll get to see most of the Crazy MAX spots that everyone loves, and most importantly, you'll get to see Shiima Nobunaga, who is the best wrestler in the world. Ex-Shawn Michaels fans beware, watching CIMA work could put you off the wagon again. 41. Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. The Rock, Summer Slam 8-30-98, WWF Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match Leading up to this match, Hunter had just turned face while Rocky had developed into a hated heel and had finally been showing signs of blooming into what we know him as today. Rock came in the champ but that's not how he left, regardless of convincing us he had won 2-3 times while be stumped by HHH every time and then finally Chyna. A very long match for this point in time, but by the end of it everyone watching is at a fever pitch. Hunter had already had great matches with Mankind and Rocky had already had them Ken Shamrock, but this match here against each other is what got them penned into the future rather then penciled in. 40. Dan Kroffat vs. Rob Van Dam, 6-6-95, PWF Jr. Title Dan Kroffat was past his prime by this point, but make no mistake about it, Kroffat was still god. This was one of the first big matches of VanDam's career and he showed up for it in a big way, probably because he feared Kroffat would kill him had he half-a**ed it. Some brutal, stiff work, and everything else. Not a whole lot to really say or describe about this except that its an impeccable match by one guy I consider god, and one guy I consider capable. 39. Sting vs. Cactus Jack, 6-20-92, Falls Count Anywhere on the ENTIRE GULF COAST OK, the match's title sucked. You didn't hear Hardcore Holly and Al Snow getting matches called "Falls Count Anywhere, Even in the Mississippi River," but hey. Sting gives the type of performance he used to give with ease, except this time he beats the sh*t out of Cactus so badly you can't tell who's heel, and of course, Cactus gives it right back to him… league of its own. I don't think Sting has ever taken chair shots like that. Great match for the only wrestler who is friends with RoboCop, and Cactus commonly referred to it as his best ever before his Mind Games bout with HBK. 38. Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind, IYH Mind Games PPV 9-22-96, WWF World Title Match, No Disqualification "…Only the Heartbreak Kid would take this gig!" Maybe he's not the only one that would take it, but he certainly is the only one that would turn it into Bumping Festival 1996. This match primarily came out of nowhere as Shawn had just got done feuding with Vader, and at this PPV, just as the last one, he would politically play his way out of dropping the title when he was supposed to. Though back then, who knows if Mankind would have made for a good champion or not (as an English major [more than 1-degree rules!] I'd just like to say that that sentence sucked and do 2 negatives make a positive? What if one is an implied negative and one is direct? Hmm). Anyways, if you need anything more than two bumping lunatics in a No DQ WWF World Title match, then I really have no idea what your standards must be. Shawn plays the "freaked out" number, while Mankind is just bugged out. Here's a list of the bumps that make you need to see this: -The back of Mankind's head banging into the concrete. -Shawn stiffing Mankind with punches -Shawn suplexing Mankind onto the stairs knee first -Mankind stabbing himself in the knee with a pen(cil?) -Shawn drop toe-holds Mankind face first into the ring steps -Mankind back bodydrops Shawn out of the ring and Shawn goes as high as he would of for an in-ring bump -Mankind with a swinging neckbreaker on the concrete -Mankind top-rope back suplexes Shawn off the top turnbuckle through the Spanish announce table What more could be said. 37. The BrainBusters (Arn Anderson/Tully Blanchard) vs. Hart Foundation (Bret Hart/Jim Neidhart), Summer Slam 8-28-89, WWF Tag Titles For the time that these guys put this match on, it was off the charts, as the psychology here is as strong as it ever has been in a tag match. Coming in, the BrainBusters had just beat Demolition on the old Saturday Night's Main Event program, but since the match with the Hart Foundation was signed prior to the title win the belts aren't on the line. And in a booking shock that I wish they'd use more today, Tully & Arn won even though the belts weren't up. If it happened these days, Bret and Anvil would have hit the Hart Attack for a clean pin in the middle of the ring to set up a feud and ruin the champs heat. Ah, some things were better back then. Speaking of better, I'd love to see some of the teams today get the heat and pace of this match sans gimmicks. Arn bangs Bret with a top rope double axehandle and the Heenan Family walks away happy. JUSTIN T'S 50 MATCHES REAL FANS MUST SEE VOLUME 2 (VG - GOOD Q) 5HRS 40MIN 36. Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger, Starrcade 12-26-88, NWA World Title A lot of the new school fans don't get why I defend Lex Luger. I mean, I'll make fun of Lex Luger as much as the next guy, but sometimes it goes too far or is too outrageous, and I feel the need to defend the guy a bit. Lex's history, and contribution to the sport, in my mind, qualifies him as a tried and true legend. Before he got in that motorcycle accident, the guy could really go in the ring. Granted, he wasn't gold like Flair, Michaels, etc., but Lex was more then carryable, and this match is one of the examples. The crowd's insane level of heat didn't hurt anything involving atmosphere either. I am pretty much certain that my all time favorite fans are the Jim Crockett crowd. They just made everything seem so special. Anyways, Flair could carry a 3 way involving Billy Gunn and the retarded version of Terry Gordy (just got news that Bamm Bamm died, a few days after I wrote that. R.I.P. Terry, sorry about the cheapshot) to a ***+ match at this point so a healthy, young Lex that still gave a damn was easy to string along. Best match of Lex's career and if you don't respect Lex Luger, start with this match on your way to not being a dolt. 35. Jushin Liger vs. Naoki Sano, 1-31-90, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title In my opinion, the NJPW Lightweight division was made on the backs of these two men & their battles. While I'll admit that Liger isn't as good as people say he is, he is a tremendous wrestler, and Naoki Sano is right up there with him and would be legendary too had he not taken that extended time away. Every puro fan on the face of the planet knows that NJPW has seen the best cruiserweight action for the longest period of time anywhere on the earth, and this was the catalyst for that time period. Two of the best wrestlers in the world, head to head, trying to make names for themselves. It just so happens that they paved such a big road ahead, they paved a way for everybody. 34. Ric Flair vs. Harley Race, Starrcade 11-83, NWA World Title, Cage Match Ric Flair had already held the world title once, but at this point in time he wasn't 'the man' that you had to beat, Harley Race was. Leading up to the first Starrcade, A Flair for the Gold, Harley and Ric had already fought a bunch of times and Harley was intimidated enough that he put a bounty on Flair's head, which Bob Orton Jr. & "Dirty" Dick Slater tried to win by attempting to cripple The Nature Boy, and failing. The match itself was a classic old school cage match. The mesh fence, tons of close falls, the double blade job, the story telling. Race and Flair went back and forth through dominating each other before Flair finally won and the entire arena erupted like you hadn't heard back then. Because back then the Internet didn't ruin who was going to win for us, or you just couldn't tell who was going to win. Beating Harley Race was what gave Flair his first hard push and a ball to run with, and also showed that Harley Race was passing the torch after a long and illustrious career. We all know what The Nature Boy did from this point. 33. Shawn Michaels vs. Davey Boy Smith, One Night Only PPV 9-27-97, WWF European Title This match will probably get argued to death, but quite frankly, I could care less if new school fans didn't like it. See, apparently since the PPV blacked out they decided to put on a bad match, that's what new fans will tell you. But goddamn, they sure fooled me. This is probably the peak (and I think the last encounter) of the HBK vs. Bulldog rivalry and they had everything Johnny-on-the-spot here. Many people didn't like the slower pace that this one could take at points when Michaels worked Davey's legs, but I loved it. Besides, Michaels gets backdropped out of the ring, bounces off the stage and hits his head on the stage on his way down to a back bump on concrete. Sweet. You'll hear both two sides on this match a lot, but just watch it for yourself and decide. Personally, I loved it, and it summed up a long, great rivalry. 32. The Nasty Boys vs. Cactus Jack/Kevin Sullivan, Slamboree 5-20-94 Wow, I'm amazed myself that the Nastys made the list. For the absolute visionary of knowing that you should rip-off ECW to help stay modern, look for booker Kevin Sullivan. This really gets a bit scary how much these people beat up on each other and I guess I'd either forgotten or never noticed the Nasty Boys really go stiff sometimes. Every weapon you could think of in a wrestling match was used here except Al Snow's bowling ball. Jack and Sullivan win the title here for Foley's first major title win. 31. Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit, WCW Nitro 10-4-99, Owen Hart Tribute You need to see this match because they went out there and put it on for Owen Hart. For Bret's younger brother, and Chris Benoit's long time friend. Owen Hart had a spectacular career, first as a quick rookie in the Calgary territory, then in New Japan as one of the most promising Juniors around. He came to America and suffered through some bad gimmicks such as the Blue Blazer, and being half of bad tag teams like The New Foundation with Jim Neidhart and High Energy with Koko B. Ware. Finally, he took action and befriended Bob Backlund against his own brother in an attempt to prove that he was just as good as his brother. He had great heel gimmicks such as The BlackHart, 2-Time Slammy Award Winner (which was my personal favorite), and The Lone Hart when he was the only member of the family left in the federation after the Survivor Series debacle. There was the Nation of Domination/Enough is Enough character, and had settled into his third highly successful tag team with Jeff Jarrett. But since Owen Hart didn't want to confuse his children at home by going after Debra on camera, he was punished by the WWF. He was punished back into his Blue Blazer gimmick, which ultimately led him to an accidental death. Of course hindsight is always 20/20 and he wouldn't have been made to be the Blue Blazer or ever do stunts like that if the WWF team was full of fortune-tellers. But they did it, and it happened. You always hear stories of Owens love for his wife, family, and friends, or his great sense of humor, or the thing that kept him going on those long road trips, mercilesless ribbing of the boys. You saw how Nitro and Raw both looked and heard what they said and how they reacted. We all lost something that was in a small or large, miniscule or greatly important to us. And these two men gave us this match; which in a sense represented Owen, and definitely paid tribute to him in wrestlers own unique way of doing things. They did it in the very arena where he died. They put on a 5 star match for him and WCW gave them the time to do it when that was unheard of. Benoit and Hart were teared up before and after the match, and it was really just the most beautiful tribute to have given the man in such an ugly business. 30. Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith, Summer Slam 8-29-92, Intercontinental Title Back when this happened it was a huge rub for the Bulldog. Though it shocked no one that he won in his home country, the fact that he finally got the IC title (smart move, Vince) and beat Bret Hart fairly, who had been an extremely strong IC champion, meant a whole lot at the time. Not to mention, and here comes the obligatory reference, HBK beat Bulldog during this title reign for *his* first IC strap. Anyways, the match is easily *****, plus its legendary, and fairly historically significant. I'm not going to ruin the spots or psychology of the match this time and I'm only going to tell you this once. Watch this match. 29. El Hijo Del Santo/Octagon vs. Los Gringos Locos (Eddy Guerrero/"Love Machine" Art Barr), 11-6-94 Let me just say this once and hope that everybody understands. I really dislike lucha libre. Sure, now that I have DirecTV I'll switch over to GalaVision on Tuesday nights and see what's going on, occasionally they'll have a good match. But for the most part, the world of Technicos and Rudos is completely unappealing to me. That being said, this match absolutely must be seen if it got this high on the list of a detractor. Los Gringos Locos were amazing. I don't, as I've said, watch lucha much so I haven't seen any other of their tag work together, but Guerrero and Barr had it going on, and everyone who is remotely into the international scene knows about Octagon and El Hijo Del Santo… regardless of how much they don't live up to the hype. :ahem: But seriously, wrestling in Mexico is sponsored by beer. How great is that? I think that alone is at least enough convincing to see this one match. I know you won't be disappointed. Hell, you may even become a lucha libre mark. 28. Chris Candido/Lance Storm vs. Doug Furnas/Dan Kroffat, 10-18-97 Lance Storm can make any tag team successful. First with Chris Jericho, than with Yoshi Yasuroaka, here with Chris Candido, and later with Justin Credible and Mike Awesome. But out of all the teams, the best to watch for pure enjoyment was he and Candido. They were on par with almost any other tag team he'd been a member of in the ring, but outside of the ring these guys were just gold. Anyone of the older ECW fans can tell you that as soon as "Back in Black" hit the speakers and Candido came out doing the only the 3rd good pretty boy character (others being Rick Rude and HBK), strutting down the aisle, and holding three fingers in the air the crowd lost its sh**. Whereas Lance Storm was the "hot new thing" on the scene but had yet to really get any respect from the ECW crowds. They accidentally won the ECW tag titles and had been fighting each other along with the contenders ever since. From Lance denying a membership in the Triple Threat if it also had Candido, to Candido picking Sabu and Storm picking RVD to face each other in a tag match that backfired as RVD, Sabu, and Fonzie all reunited and beat the sh*t out of them. To Lance thinking he was too good to fight certain teams and making "Hard Knox" do it alone, this team is probably one of the 5 most entertaining tag teams in wrestling history. And on the other side of the ring you have the in-ring greatest in history. Dan Kroffat got the "holy sh**! Did he just hit him in the face?" heat, Candido got the "reaction" heat, and Storm and Furnas provided more than capable filler in the holes. Just an awesome match, with rabid fans at ringside, which took place during the tail end of ECWs finest hour. 27. Rob Van Dam/Sabu vs. The Eliminators (John Kronus/Perry Saturn), 11-16-96, Ladder Match I take it everyone reading this has seen the Hardy Boyz wrestle, am I correct? Well, If you've seen the Hardy Boyz than you've seen RVD & Sabu who the Hardys basically robbed blind and took everything but their ring outfits. The Eliminators, on the other side, are quite possibly the greatest tag team to have never recognized as such by the general public, as they took the mXe, to paraphrase netcop, " 'MOVE OF' I HATE BEING A FANTASTIC BECAUSE I KEEP GETTING THE SH*T KNOCKED OUT OF ME, SCREW A DOUBLE GOOZLE." And they even turned it into a better move, Total Elimination. Not only that but 99% of the time they stiffed the move, if you've ever wondered why Joel Gertner wear his neck brace, than wonder no longer as one the sickest TE's they ever threw at someone knocked Gertner out of his boots and had him wearing a neck brace the rest of his career. So when you put these two teams together in a ladder match it was really simple math that you were going to get something to remember. As for the match itself, like any of the modern tag team ladder matches there's just too much going on to describe and I don't want to ruin the bigger spots for you. 26. Hardy Boys (Jeff & Matt) vs. Edge & Christian, 10-17-99, Ladder Match Both of the teams were respected by 'net fans and insiders going in, but no one, expected what happened to happen, as they earned the respect of marks and smarks all over the world. This was match 7 of the T.I.T. (Terri Invitational Tournament), as both teams, the old Brood of Christian and Edge competed against the current Brood members, Matt and Jeff Hardy. Up until this point, the end-all, be-all of ladder matches were the encounters of Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels, but when this one was all said and done, a new chapter had been written, and so had these guys' tickets. The Hardy Boys won the match and the services of Terri Runnels, but everyone benefited no matter which side of the outcome. 25. CIMA (Shiima Nobunaga) vs. Magnum Tokyo, 2-5-99, NWA Welterweight Title As people that know me are well aware of, CIMA is my favorite wrestler by far and has been for about 6 months now. If he spoke English, Shiima Nobunaga would easily be here in the U.S., on his way to being the next big thing if he wasn't already, I mean, how can you not like a guy who's catchphrase is "Suck my dick"? His entrance is one of the coolest anywhere, he oozes charisma, and on the wrestling side of things he's one of the flashiest, most ingenuitive, and most solid on earth, it's like I'm watching Shawn Michaels only I have no clue what he's saying. Some of his best work has no doubt been in 3 ways with the stable he leads, Crazy Max, against their rival stable, M2K; also in the latest Super J where he made it all the way to the final before being defeated by Jyushin Liger (and it took him 3 avalanche brainbusters to get that win, mind you). So while this wasn't his best work, it definitely helped, probably more than any other singles match, to put Toryumon on the map. Magnum Tokyo is no slouch either, his gimmick is sort of a weird cross between Val Venis' old gimmick and Disco Inferno, but he wrestles better than both of them (which says a lot). They both put everything on the line in this one, and though Tokyo got the upper hand whenever the odds were fair to start off with, the constant interference from Crazy Max eventually led to easy pickings for CIMA, as he won the NWA Welterweight strap that Ultimo Dragon put on the line. Go watch this match and wonder how you've lived without Toryumon and Shiima Nobunaga this long. 24. Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Cactus Jack, 1-21-01, WWF Heavyweight Title, Street Fight This is where Cactus Jack really should have retired. No Way Out was great, but not this good, and his WrestleMania showing was ridiculous. For weeks upon weeks, we had seen Foley and HHH make promises and challenges and talk about sharp, pointy objects, but when Foley admitted he wasn't man enough but he knew someone who was; we all knew what was coming. The Hardcore Legend: Cactus Jack. Once the transformation was made, not only did the anticipation for this match go through the roof, HHH finally started to become taken seriously as a WWF champion, instead of, as I used to put it, "Shawn Michaels' bitch." The match itself was the perfect kind. The kind that didn't allow you to think, or even realize you were in a zone and away from everything else around you. From the time the music hit and they walked to the ring, they had you right where wrestlers want to have you: eating out of the palms of their hands. Hunter did the blade job honors, and he bled all over himself, C. Jack, the ring, and anything that got near him while he bumped the most he'd bumped in his life at that point and just let the crowd eat up the moment while he was brutalized. When the match was over, the thumbtacks were sticking out of Cactus' head and Hunter's knees, and the PPV went off the air. There was only one thing left to do, something you hadn't been able to do for the past 25 minutes. Breathe. JUSTIN T'S 50 MATCHES REAL FANS MUST SEE VOLUME 3 (VG Q) 5HRS 10MIN 23. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels/Marty Jannetty) vs. The New Orient Express (Tanaka and Kato [Who were actually the AWA's kick-a$$ Badd Company managed by DDP]) Continuing their feud from the AWA, The Midnight Rockers and Badd Company put on yet another classic match. The action just don't stop (and when it does, the crowd lets them know), as the Rockers and NOE tear it up and ruin the entire Royal Rumble 1991 card by putting on a match like this as the curtain-jerkers and thus making everybody else look bad. Great early luchadore-esque spots, and a cool finish: thumbs up. Yet another reason was given to Vince to push Shawn and Marty into singles eventually. 22. Ultimo Dragon/Yoshi Yasuroaka/Lance Storm/Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Jyushin Liger/Gedo/Juventud Guerrera/Chris Jericho OK, Yoshi and Lance were a great tag team feuding a bit with Jericho and Gedo. Also feuding, and boy is this shocking, were Mysterio Jr. and Guerrera. That leaves Liger and Dragon who were probably doing some build up and come back from the 1996 J Crown where Ultimo upset him. Throw them all into one big match and this is what you have. OK, WAR (Wrestling Arts and Romance) was tremendous for its time, they were putting on great wrestling, showcasing great wrestlers, and putting on great tournaments (and going bankrupt while doing it) and this match is what I felt was a great synopsis for my favorite parts of WAR that wasn't a tournament. You had most of the best feuds and wrestlers, and gave them a sh*t-load of time. What more could you ask for? Not much. I am fairly certain you'll be able to tell if you like WAR as a whole or not by whether you like this match or not. I really don't think you'll be disappointed. W.A.R. R.I.P. 21. Cactus Jack vs. Terry Funk, 8-20-95, King of the Death Match Finals In an earlier match Cactus got barbwire stuck in his triceps and watching him yank it out and having it fight back and stay in his muscle is quite possibly one of the biggest throw up moments I've ever seen that wasn't a Faces of Death tape. By the time they get to the finals for this match both are already dead and you can tell by the match they put on. But it doesn't matter really since they are both black and crispy from explosions that they took full-force and bleeding absolutely all over everything. The finish sucked, the "big" explosion sucked, and this match was slow, violent, and bordering on disturbing (which pretty much sums up the tournament as a whole). Cactus' match against Nakamaki was better (and possibly even more violent), but this is the one everyone talks about and remembers and it definitely helped make Mick Foley's career; so this is the one that gets the nod and got Mick a Diet Coke as a tip for his efforts. 20. Ultimo Dragon vs. Shinjiro Ohtani, 8-4-96, J-Crown '96 Semi-Finals Shinjiro Ohtani is quite possibly the biggest a**hole on the face of the earth and that's exactly why we love him. He beat Negro Casas (to the shock of nobody) to get to this match, while Ultimo had just beaten Jushin Liger (to the surprise of just about everybody). My usual disclaimer for a straight up lucha libre style is "I Hate It." But strangely enough I adore "luchareu," and this was one of the first matches I'd ever seen that could actually fit into that definition. Ultimo brought the highspots, while Ohtani brought the punishing pace to the match and everything just seemed to move along like clockwork. Ultimo would later have a huge hand in popularizing this genre by starting my favorite indy promotion, Toryumon in Mexico (before moving over to Japan). Ultimo Dragon got the win here, but would eventually lose to The Great Sasuke who took the 8 unified lightweight titles and the J Crown. 19. Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton/Stan Lane) vs. The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton/Tommy Rogers), 3-27-88, NWA US Tag Titles The Midnight Express is easily one of the legendary tag teams in NWA history, and one of my all time favorites. Double Goozle!! The Fantastics, well, they had a ton of ability but that annoying babyface character that made me want to bounce my head against a wall. At the first Clash of the Champions, though, when these two hooked up, they took their feud to new heights and took their matches above and beyond the call of duty. This match had nonstop action and some of the top-notch doubleteam action of their day. Fantastics win the titles but Dusty was booking so guess what? The decision was overturned by the original referee and the MxE retain. The Midnights had some great matches with the Rock 'n' Roll Express, and would have with Arn & Tully had they not bolted to New York right after the feud began, but this match was better then any of them in my opinion. This was the real Midnight Express at the top of their games and the Fantastics actually do a great job of keeping up with them in this wonderful brawl that sees some table action and a heavy dose of blood. You do not understand why Stan Lane, and especially Bobby Eaton are worshipped until you see this match (and pick up the CotC Flair vs. Eaton 2 out of 3 falls, while you're getting your "Beautiful" Bobby fix.). 18. British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid/Davey Boy Smith) vs. Jumbo Tsuruta/Genichiro Tenryu, 12-7-85 East meets West and they rocked the house. The match was a bit of a rip-off as they got no time to work, but I can imagine how much this must have been 15+ years ago when it took place. Tsuruta and Tenryu were gods over there and were already giving out some great tag matches at this point their careers. Dynamite was a legend around the world for his matches with Tiger Mask in both Sumo Hall and Madison Square Garden, while Davey Boy, at the time, was one of the brightest young wrestlers alive as he got to learn from one of the best. In fact, the matches they fought against each other which led to them teaming up were probably among the best of Davey's career. Once again, this match was sort of disappointing since they didn't give it any time, but just for the sheer value of what teams were up against each other and who was in the ring, this match is historic. (Tracking line at the top of the screen) 17. Kenta Kobashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada, 6-12-98, Triple Crown When I finally got to see this match, it made me believe something that I didn't think possible before. These two can have a 5 star match without Mitsuharu Misawa being in the ring with them. They were always good but not as much so without Misawa until right here. Quick Chops to the temple vs. the Quick Shins to the forehead. The LARIAT-O vs. the Ziguri's from Hell. And they managed to put tremendous psychology in between it all. I swear, Bradshaw may have a hell of a clothesline, but the best Stan Hansen rip-off in terms of lariats, is easily Kobashi. Add to the match that he hits it 3-4 times and you know what type of match this one was. Yet another brutal AJPW match from the end of the promotions heyday. 16. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels/Marty Jannetty) vs. The Brain-Busters (Arn Anderson/Tully Blanchard), Saturday Night's Main Event 2/3 Falls OK, so this wasn't the highest-ranking tag match on the list (list hint?). But this is easily my all time favorite tag team match to watch. Even if I was to get the Clockwork Orange treatment and they used this match, I think I'd still be happy and normal… maybe I might take a few more dizzy punches and throw some more highflying Rocker moves than normal, or I'd probably start leapfrogging friends and giving slingshot suplexes to my grandfather. In all seriousness though, tag team wrestling has never been this fun. First off, I have a tattoo on my arm that reads, "I'm a mark for 2/3 falls matches" so I knew this would be good, but you take two of arguably the best American style tag teams in history and this is what you get. Wrestling goodness served by the bucketful. You can find this match pretty easily from tape dealers if you just look around enough and believe me, its well worth your time and effort. When the BrainBusters first entered the WWF they feuded with the Rockers who had just lost a #1 contenders match to the Powers of Pain (which back in the day actually meant you didn't get a shot for a LONG time). They put on tons of great matches, the first of which I believe ended in a double count-out as they brawled back to the dressing room. The 'Busters went on to beat Strike Force for the WWF Tag Titles and held them up until Tully decided he'd had enough and failed a drug test for cocaine. But along the way of Tully's disenchantment with the WWF, he and Arn lost the titles to Demolition and on their way out the time came to pay back Marty & Shawn. So they came to the match, argued amongst themselves for whole affair before ditching Heenan and eventually losing the match anyways as Tully left the WWF, soon to be followed by Arn, who still had a great showing at Survivor Series to make. 15/(tie) Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart, 3-20-94 WrestleMania X 15.(tie) Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart, 8-29-94 SummerSlam(Cage Match), WWF World Title OK, so save for my mark years when I suppose that I liked him, or at least the Hart Foundation(unless he was fighting Flair, Michaels, DiBiase, or Savage who I loved), I've never really been a Bret fan, well, having Goldberg spear a steel plate was cool. I also can't deny that sometimes Bret Hart can put on some of the most amazing matches in the world. It's so-so-so bad that he wasn't consistent with it. First up is the WrestleMania match where Bret laid down for Owen clean in the middle of the ring. This "King of Harts" feud kicked so much a**, but mainly because Owen was so great as a whiny heel. It all started with Owen's jealousy was showing up more and more, finally culminating at the Survivor Series when his brother Bret accidentally caused his elimination. From here on, Owen was full-fledged heel, always trying to prove that he was just as good, and better, then his older brother, Bret. A big reason I love this match so much is that Owen beats the ever-loving sh*t out of Bret for the entire affair. Bret gets on a roll and right when things looks up for the Hitman, Bret mucks up his knee and Owen goes to "Total Dickhead Heel" town. Owen reverses a victory roll and pins his brother as the crowd's collective eyeballs pop out of their collective head. SummerSlam gave us the best "Blue Bar" cage match ever. When the Ultimate Warrior was half of the second best, you just knew these blue bars (hey, that sounds like Kaientai talking about…) had to go. See, this was how you built up your second biggest PPV of the year. Bret got beat by his little bro at WM, so everyone though that Owen had a legit chance to win it this time, speaking of this time, this time the WWF Heavyweight Title was on the line too. Great match and a great ending as Owen and Bret fight on the cage until Owens legs are eventually tangled up in the bars and Bret jumps the 5ft down (you were so close Owen!) for the win. A great match, but if I had to pick I'd go with the gimmick free encounter at WrestleMania. 14. Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Rude, 6-20-92, Iron Man Hart vs. Michaels at WMXII is more famous, and Rock vs. HHH is borderline better, but for psychology, drama, legends in the ring, and making like HBK by being years ahead of the times, this match takes the cake and Rude slides easily into a #14 offering. Steamboat plays technical wrestling genius to start off before Rude gives him a variation of Muta's Shining Wizard to shut him down and take the first pin, an easy pickings Rude Awakening for a second, a top-rope knee-drop gets him DQ'd but Steamboat IS DEAD so Rude covers him anyways and goes up in the 30minute affair 3-1. I just watched the match and I saw something that had to rewound to see if it was real, then rewind and start a count. Rick Rude got in 7(!) near counts in the last 30 seconds! Man, OH, man. Jesse was right about Rude, he was a warrior for even attempting to swivel his hips. 1992 had some really great matches despite all of the suck surrounding them. Bill Watts may have 535,245,235,478 enemies in newer school wrestlers, but you got to love a guy who forces his wrestlers into long matches with heavy psychology and clean finishes, but especially for giving us this match. 13. Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat, Wrestlemania III 3-29-87, IC Title The WrestleMania before the WrestleMania that got me hooked on wrestling (I'm from NY, so no NWA "hook, line, and sinker" for me). The first time I saw this match was right after WrestleMania IV, I got so addicted that I'd go to my local Wegmans and Video Ithaca and rent every promotion I could get my hands on, especially if it had Randy Savage or Ted DiBiase in it. See, still being a mark, I had no idea why my beloved Randy was such a prick in this match… though I hated George Steele and didn't mind him picking on that guy at all. This match blew me away even back then. Wrestling was simple back then though so this match was, to me, "just as good as a Rockers match." I think the Rockers are the only pretty boy tag team in history that guys admitted loving too (albeit for different reasons). This feud was pure gold from the moment a Steamboat challenge got his Adam's apple crushed by a ring bell to when Ricky rolled up a body slam for the title. Everything in between was great too, as Savage hated his Steele for having a crush on the First Lady of Wrestling (I hated him for it too), up to when Ricky got himself DQ'd over and over and over again for getting over violent. Nothing went wrong in this feud, and it had 2 of the top 5 workers of the time period in it. Savage was a god back then, and everybody knows that Ricky was the man. 12. Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk, Clash of the Champions IX 11-16-89, NWA World Title, I Quit From Clash of the Champions #9. God, I used to love those Clashes. This had retirement stipulations. Funk retires for the 52,434th time here. Flair gives the best brawl he's ever had in his career. Period. Piledrivers all around: in the ring, on the floor, everywhere. One more time we're being STIFF AS FUCK. Flair, back when he was in shape, was a killer with those chops. At about 15:00 into the match, after everyone is already dead, Flair starts chopping the ever loving sh*t out of Terry Funk before Funk collapses, and Flair locks in the Figure Four for a couple of minutes until Terry says he quits. Classic. CLASSIC. Of course it couldn't end here, Funk turns face, Gart Hart attacks him, Muta attacks Flair, Sting makes the save and a shi**y tournament is set up for the "granddaddy of 'em all," Starrcade. NWA-Mid Atlantic forever. JUSTIN T'S 50 MATCHES REAL FANS MUST SEE VOLUME 4 (VG - FAIR Q) 5HRS 20MIN 11. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon, Wrestlemania X 3-20-94, WWF Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match Ever seen those Mtv commercials for how to be a certain star? "Becoming"? Let's play becoming Shawn Michaels. 1) Train with a jobber. *2) Team up with a good wrestler and feud with the Sheepherders. Bleed constantly. 3) Team with an amazing worker in a strongly talented territory: Still show up everybody. 4) Go to the WWF and help your partner give them the match of the night when you're supposed to jerk a curtain. You prick, you. *5) Throw you partner through plate glass, and start acting like a dick. 6) Now carry everyone and their brother to matches they aren't supposed to be able to pull off. *7) Have a real life feud with a mark. You're a dick, he's a mark, you two match up well. *8) Take his title and don't give it back. Ever. You waited, and besides that, you were nice about the Intercontinental thing, this world title is yours. 9) Start a heel faction that overshadows your rivals. Put on better matches than him. Even more dramatically than you had been doing the past 10yrs. 10) Or just go to WrestleMania 10, fight Razor Ramon in a ladder and become a star overnight. Doing all is optional and will make you a god. (*= Have the best matches on the continent while you are doing this.) Hall is a good wrestler, but when he gets in the ring with Shawn Michaels he turns into a great wrestler. Shawn is just Shawn, 24/7/365. These two took a match that was supposed to be slow paced, brooding, and rely on psychology (see HBK vs. Bret, first WWF ladder match), and made it the most exciting match in years. Overnight superstardom: coming right up. The next ladder encounter was better, technically. But for pure shock value, this one takes the cake. People weren't supposed to be having matches like this back then. Oops… he did it again. Razor retained and got the rub of a lifetime. 10. Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage, Wrestlemania XII 4-5-92, WWF World Title, Loser Leaves WWF Ric Flair gets all the chicks. He even got Randy Savage's. This match was the blow off to the feud, wherein Flair kept bragging about having "had" Elizabeth and even provided us with pictures. Match went like this: Flair dominates, Randy comes back and hits the elbow but Mr. Perfect pulls him off his pin, Flair with brass knux but Savage kicks out, Flair brutalizes the leg with Figure Fours and everything else, Randy sells like a champ, suddenly Randy gets the roll-up pin out of the blue for the pin, the belt, and the pride. Flair gives his patented after match promo that kicked a** like all "Flair after the match" promos do. If you don't know the story to this one or never got to see the match, you're really missing out. Really. Ric Flair is god, and Randy Savage was an amazing worker, one of the best ever. He must be, because how else would such a small guy (at the time and comparatively) have gotten the title in the Hogan/Warrior era? 9. Doug Furnas/Dan Kroffat vs. Kenta Kobashi/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, All Asia Titles, 5-25-92 Dan Kroffat was already a god in All Japan and his tag team ( he and Doug Furnas), already were considered one of, if not the best tag teams in the sport. Before this match even took place we'd already seen some of the stiffest, most solid, and best tag matches of all time from these guys (think British Bulldogs in Japan type matches). For pace, for stiffness, for the spots, the heat, the caliber of workers, this match was amazing. And in my eyes, it was the epitome of what tag team wrestling is and should be. They were one of my favorite tag teams before I even saw this match, but after it they are my all time favorite. Furnas and Kroffat are the gods of tag team wrestling, it's too bad that here in the states their brutal, high impact offense wasn't allowed in the major federations. Had they just gotten to the WWF 3-4 years later, more people would know them and they'd get the reception they deserve. ECW and puroresu fans already know, now you guys need to too. 8. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker, IYH Badd Blood 10-5-97, Hell In a Cell Shawn Michaels takes matches and makes them myths. Gimmicked ones especially. Going into the first ever Hell in a Cell, the heat was insanely huge in anticipation. Michaels and the Dead Man has just had a great No DQ match at the last PPV which Michaels bumped like a psycho for, but this time, the Undertaker wouldn't have to chase him, there was no getting out. Or so we thought until the cameraman bump. Well, even then we didn't think of an escape, after all, while the cameraman was stretchered out, HBK his patented elbow drop, and followed it up by playing some Sweet Chin Music for the Undertaker, why would he leave? Well, watch the match and find out. Spots galore in this one too, as Michaels hangs off the cage to drop an elbow, gets used as a javelin, piledrives UT on the steps (the * CLONK! * sounded SO bad), falls off the cage through a table in a spot that didn't leave the Raw is War entrance montage for 4 years, and by the time it's over, Michaels is both covered in blood and laying face down in a puddle of it. This match is what made Foley feel he needed to jump off the cell; he had to follow the beating that HBK took. That's impossible. Unless, of course, you throw yourself off a 15ft cell onto concrete. This match started one of the most violent traditions in wrestling, and was better then most that followed it. See this match people, I've run out of anything more to say. 7. Eddy Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko, 8-26-95, ECW TV Title, 2/3 Falls Once upon a time, ECW was a promotion that was unbeatable to hardcore (not the genre, but the intensity) wrestling fans. We didn't mind Paul building stars instead of giving us tons of established ones. We definitely didn't mind him bringing in the cream of the Japanese and Mexican wrestler crops. We didn't mind that he pushed boundaries and was a visionary with his booking and storylines. And we not only didn't mind, but we loved our "little promotion that could," and feeling like we were seeing something rare and special. Because; we were. If Chris Benoit wasn't powerbombing Paul Heyman off the top-rope through a table, than Sabu was trying to murder the underdog Chris Jericho. Or Public Enemy was cutting the funniest promos at the time, and if they weren't, than Raven was cutting the hands-down best; all while torturing Tommy Dreamer and DDTing his truest believer, Stevie Richards. Maybe New Jack and Mustafa were in a legendary hardcore bloodbath. Can you say Mass Transit? Screw the tables, D'Von; get a lawyer. Maybe not that night though, maybe that night you'd just see RVD & Sabu take on the Eliminators in a ladder match that was unbelievably good, and completely overlooked by our sports writers, fans, and 'historians', but to us it was a new dream match and created, in our eyes, new stars. Whatever was going on at the time, all the genres they brought us in one neatly bundled package, they achieved whatever the pinnacle. Eddy vs. Dean, "The Summer Series" was no different. For putting on a display of sheer technical wrestling brilliance, this is topped by few others. Dean was already over huge via a slot in the original Triple Threat, and Eddy was the TV champion, but neither were as thought highly of and so respected walking into this, as they were walking out. For sheer drama, psychology, storyline, and wrestling: The Summer Series has few equals. 6. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin, Wrestlemania XIII 3-23-97, Submission Match What more can I really say about this match that hasn't already been said by somebody else, namely http://www.quiettstormm.com/cgi-bin/oratory//ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000 012>John C.? The build-up was long and expertly done, they had history by this point, there was a double turn, a .7 Muta blade job taht left the sickest blood stain on the ring mat, and introduced Ken Shamrock to mainstream wrestling fans. This match is absolutely amazing, and in my opinion is the best match that Steve Austin has ever had. Which says a lot considering the matches he's had in this career. You know, that paragraph had sat there in many different forms until right before I posted this 3rd edition because I really, honestly don't know what more I can say about this match. As far as a general summary, nothing more really can be said, and as far as going into detail theres no real words that can do all the different elements of this match like the atmosphere, the crowd heat, the intensity, etc., etc., that can do justice to this encounter. So I've decided I'm just going to leave it at this. If you really need to know more you can read John's peice but even more than that you need to watch this match, I'm sure John himself would agree that this is one of the ones that just needs to be watched. 5. Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask, 8-5-82, WWF Lightweight Title To be honest, it is beyond description as pertains to how hard it is to pick just one match-up from these two and call it their best. These two rocked the span of the earth for years and years trying to secure the WWF Lightweight Title, from Madison Square Garden to where this match took place, in the Sumo Hall. When these two got together in a ring, it was bound to be magic from the giddy-up. I picked this one because of one spot, but sue me; seeing Tiger Mask suplex Dynamite out of the ring onto the floor, especially for it's time, is just a jaw-dropper spot (Chyna knows all about those *and* that was a double pun! woo!). From Tiger's lucha progressions to DK's stiffness and intensity and just flat out perfection, to their groundbreaking matches and moves; right up to the very day you are reading this, you'd still be hard pressed to find a series of matches not only better than this, but even in their league. 4. Wargames I(Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger & JJ Dillon vs. Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Hawk, Animal & Paul Ellering), Great American Bash 7-4-87 Got Blood? They sure did in this match. Arn Anderson started the "Unsafe Amount of Shared Blood" festival no more than 5 minutes in and it didn't stop until some point in the locker room after the last "psycho shower." Speaking of "Double A", he and Tully are vicious here, destroying Dusty early on and then giving Nikita TWO of their famous Spike Piledrivers. There aren't any true "highspots" by today's standards, but my goodness this match is just plain brutal. For no other reason than that by this point in Crockett-Land, the people on one side absolutely and purely hated the people on the other side all for their various reasons. Match ends when the Road Warriors are alone in one of the rings with JJ Dillon. First Ellering digs into James' eye with a spike, than Hawk and Animal legit screw up the Doomsday Device and break his shoulder. No mercy for James J., though, as they just stomp the shit out of him until the match is stopped. Over the top levels of blood, intensity, and stiffness, I miss the Jim Crockett Era. So should all of you. This is probably the most contreversially placed match of the series, but I'll be damned if I'm going to change my mind, this was the epitome of Horsemen greatness and anyone who hasn't seen this can't really understand the 'aura' of the Horsemen. 2. Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada, 6-3-94, Triple Crown This match and #2 were a true pick 'em for me and hard to put in an order, because one over the other with these two is like which lottery you'd like to win when they all pay the same amount. But if I have to do it this one has to be held down. Damn me and my glass ceiling! Anyways, this match was and is tremendous and at this point was just helping to start building the legendary series that it is known as today. What I love about this series (and this match is nowhere near the end of it) is every match will build off of each other and by the time it was all said and done it's hard to move or speak. Kawada kicks the ever-loving hell out of Misawa, at one point right in the mush, not to mentions his lariats, his submissions and his ultra over (in Japan, obviously) Stretch Plum trying to break Misawa's neck. Misawa just doesn't stop though no matter how badly Kawada punishes him and he continues to attack Kawada's leg, continuing from the Kawada/Taue vs. Kobashi/Misawa match 6 months ago where it was ravaged, and which Kawada sold for the ENTIRE SIX MONTHS up to this match. Misawa gets kicked in this face again when he tries a half crab and he goes insane and starts the dickhead act, toying with our beloved Toshiaki for a while, and as the Rock would say, the crowd chants his name. For the details and the ending bit of this match, BUY A DAMN TAPE. It's amazing and Misawa even busts out his Tiger Driver '91, so you know things got desperate for him. If you've never seen this move you're in for a real treat too. Head-dropping goodness. 2. Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat, 5-7-89 Ah, the WrestleWar encounter. This was one of the first 10 of Flair's eventually uncountable set of "last chances for glory" in his career. 12 years later it looks to be legit, but no big hurrah this time. Flair showcases the debut of the Godfather's gimmick and brings 100 (not seriously, c'mon) women to ringside with him. Ricky did what he does every friggin' match and brought his wife and child. 3 judges, which had absolutely no purpose, Pat O'Connor, Lou Thesz, and Terry Funk. Steamboat abuses Flair's arm with everything from his chickenwings to his arm drags and Flair sells it the entire match to the point where you thought his arm was broken in three places. It's stiff as hell. It's crisp as hell. It's what the Flair vs. Steamboat legacy was all about. By the end of the match Steamboat had a hurt knee and Flair small packaged Ricky's bodyslam attempt and got the pin. I loved it when people actually got wins from moves that weren't their finisher in matches, especially in a match of this caliber. Flair wins World Championship numero 5, and gets piledrove through the judge's table by Terry Funk for his efforts, leading to the match that was #12 on this list. Ric/Ricky had a whole series of ****1/2+ matches but none of them were as drool-inspiringly good as this. Even today, 12 years later, the atmosphere here is undeniable and indescribable, you really do feel like you're watching the most important match of all time. At the time, you were. 1. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon, 8-27-95, WWF Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match As everybody who keeps up with my writing or knows me knows, this is my all time favorite wrestling match, hands down, and stop looking at me like that. There has never, ever been an in-ring performance that has come so close, if not right there, to being perfect. The background was there and was over, the characters were hugely over, the heat was ungodly, the story and psychology were breathtaking, the moves were done at the right time every time and frankly, this match was perfect. It took a gimmick, but Michaels provided the absolute match that you absolutely cannot have never seen and still be, in my eyes, a true wrestling fan. Building off their already legendary, and years before its time, ladder match encounter at WrestleMania 10, Scott Hall proves why he's one of the best wrestlers of all time when he's not drunk, and Shawn Michaels proves he's the best wrestler of all time when given the proper motivation. The match starts off with some psychology as Hall avoids the baseball slide into the ladder that hit him solidly a few months back, then suplexes HBK out of the ring with Michaels' calf landing on the barricade. Ow. Ramon then absolutely brutalizes the knee in this match and when he finally sees that Shawn can't stand up; he attacks the knee more intensely. God Bless Scott Hall. To sum up the rest of the match, Shawn bumps like he's insane (I won't spoil it for those of you yet to have seen this), and is so legitimately blown up and hurt, that he falls off the ladder climbing finish spot not once, but twice. Shawn keeps the belt after the 3rd try up the ladder, and the definition of modern American wrestling is written.
Note: This site is for informational purposes only. This is where I keep the listings of the tapes in my collection. None of the videos listed on this site are for sale or trade.