100 Greatest Matches Part 2 (80-61)

80. Steve Austin vs. Ricky Steamboat (United States Championship: Bash at the Beach 1994)

Before Steve Austin was a Texas Rattlesnake and the Most Successful Star of all-time, he was a great mat technician that could wrestle with the best, even the likes of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Austin already knew his game plan for the match, as he had the words “Dragon Slayer” in white letters on his black trunks. There was nothing plain about this match, as Austin gave the Veteran Steamboat everything he had. No matter what Stunning Steve did, The Dragon was always a step ahead. In the end, the future “Stone Cold” would temporarily extinguish the Dragon as he retained the U.S. Title by having his foot on the ropes for the win.

79. Seth Rollins vs. John Cena (Title vs. Title Match: Summerslam 2015)

Seth Rollins was on a roll as WWE Champion after winning the Title at WrestleMania 31. He was the Golden Boy for the Authority, delivering great match after great match (even though he had Kane & The Midget Squad help him). On the other hand, John Cena was bringing prestige back to the United States Championship after he defeated Rusev for the Title at that same WrestleMania. It was only a matter of time before they would collide. John was on his quest to win his 16th World Title as he unveiled a shirt that said “15x” on the back. However, there was an added twist to this match: Jon Stewart. Jon got in Seth’s face leading into this match, so he was bound to play a part in it. At Summerslam, In the match, Cena gave Rollins the Attitude Adjustment for a near fall. Seth gave John an Attitude Adjustment of his own for a near fall. When Rollins went for the Pedigree, Cena reversed it into a Figure Four Leglock. Rollins countered, but Cena reached the ropes to break the hold. As Cena went for his second AA, Rollins collided with the referee. Jon Stewart ran into the ring with a chair, looking to assist Cena. Instead, Stewart nails him with the Chair for Rollins to finish the match with the Pedigree to become the WWE Champion and U.S. Champion. Rollins became the first wrestler in history to unify the WWE and U.S. Titles.

 

78. Randy Orton vs. Cactus Jack (No DQ Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Backlash 2004)

As the WWE Intercontinental Champion, Randy Orton was on fire as the Legend Killer. Orton was clearly building his Resume of Legends to Kill. However, his toughest challenge up to that point would become Cactus Jack. After Orton disrespected Foley by spitting in his face, kicking him down the stairs and pinning him at WM XX, it was time for Mick’s most dangerous persona to be revealed. It was none other than Cactus Jack. Just like Triple H before him, Orton had to show his aggressive side against the Hardcore Legend. It was definitely a throwback to Cactus Jack’s heyday, as it was one of the finest matches not only for Foley but for Orton as well. It worked out well for both sides. Randy was no longer just seen as a pretty boy, but someone that can get Hardcore with the very best. Meanwhile, this match was the perfect way for Mick Foley to redeem himself. It was filled with Thumbtacks, Barbed Wire and Baseball Bats wrapped with Barbed Wire, the perfect ingredients for a Cactus Jack match. Orton survived as he put away the Hardcore Genius with an RKO to retain the IC Title.

 

77.  Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes (NWA Championship: Great American Bash 1986)

This match was the perfect exclamation point on the historic rivalry between Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes. After having matches that previously ended in controversial fashion, it was time for The Nature Boy and The American Dream to settle their differences once and for all inside of the Classic Steel Cage Match. This was back when Cage Matches actually meant something, and for Dusty it meant everything. Ric had no reinforcements like the Horsemen to lean on as the Stars were aligned for him and Dusty to clash. Dusty fought with every ounce of fire and passion as did Flair. They fought as if it were their last match. From their battle on the top of the cage and throughout the match, fans were glued in. Blue Collar vs. High Class. In the end, the working man would win for the people.

76. Edge vs. Mick Foley (Hardcore Match: WrestleMania 22)

By this point, Edge was the Top Heel in Wrestling. However, Mick Foley cost him the WWE Title on an Episode of RAW costing him the opportunity to have a match with John Cena for the Company’s Top Prize at WrestleMania. Edge was furious as he went to War with the Hardcore Great. Foley went from being a Teddy Bear back to being a Grizzly Bear. This match was significant for both legends. Edge was finding his niche as a Main Eventer and wanted to prove to everyone else that he had what it took to carry the company. Meanwhile, Foley never had a defining WrestleMania Moment in his entire career since retiring full-time in 2000. Edge had always been a TLC Specialist, but he had not yet established himself as a Singles Star at ‘Mania. They took each other beyond the limit. The Punctuation for this match was when Edge Speared Mick through a Burning Table for the victory. A match with Foley was always a proving ground for toughness, and Edge proved himself very well.

 

75. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (WrestleMania XXX)

This will clearly go down as one of the greatest opening matches in WrestleMania History. Daniel Bryan was at the height of his feud with The Authority. Over and Over, Bryan was bullied and had opportunities taken from him left and right. From losing the WWE Title to Randy Orton at Summerslam to having the title stripped from him, to not even being in the Royal Rumble. Daniel could not catch a break at all. Finally, the fans had enough and hijacked RAW to force Vince and The Authority’s hand to include Daniel Bryan in WrestleMania. However, he had to get through a roadblock named Triple H in the first match. It was great storytelling as Bryan was the underdog that fought resiliently to take down the leader of the Authority in order to take the next step toward his dream. Even with his injuries, Bryan fought like a Warrior to take down The Cerebral Assassin.

 

74. The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family (Elimination Chamber 2014)

The Hounds of Justice vs. The Manson Family of Wrestling. The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family. This feud had the potential to be the Modern Day version of the Von Erichs vs. The Freebirds. They were the Perfect Dance Partners for each other. Their match at the 2014 Elimination Chamber was a Match-worthy of WrestleMania. Believe In The Shield or Follow The Buzzards? This match had the ingredients for Chaos. In the weeks leading up to the PPV, the Wyatts cost the Shield members the opportunity to compete for the WWE World Heavyweight Title inside of the Chamber. Bray Wyatt boldly told the Hounds of Justice “I welcome this War!”. First, the Wyatts eliminated Dean Ambrose before putting Seth Rollins through the Announce Table. Bray would close things for him and his Family as he pinned Roman Reigns for the win.

73. Ric Flair vs. Mr. Perfect (Loser Leaves Town Match: RAW, 1/25/1993)

This was the first truly great match in the History of Monday Night RAW. Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect were Closing the Chapter on their feud at the Dawn of 1993. Things heated up when Heenan called Perfect “Washed Up”. Curt proved otherwise. This match has the perfect backstory, as Ric is on his way out of WWE and on his way back to WCW. Flair could have mailed it in, but he put in a strong performance. Curt was a natural heel, but this match was where he was at his best as a babyface. Perfect would prevail as The Nature Boy was out of the door and returned back down South to WCW.

72. The Rock vs. Mankind (“I Quit” Match for the WWF Championship: Royal Rumble 1999)

This match was the pinnacle of their feud. It all started when Vince betrayed Mankind to help The Rock become the WWF Champion. Rocky was the Centerpiece of the Corporation, as he personified a Corporate Champion. However, Mankind was the Opposite of Corporate as the Underdog that everyone loved. During this time, they exchanged the Title back and forth. On the first RAW of 1999, Mankind defeated The Rock for the WWF Title thanks to Stone Cold Steve Austin. However, The Rock challenged Mankind to an “I Quit” Match for the Title at the Royal Rumble. This match was absolutely Savage. Mankind withstood immense punishment from The Rock’s Chair shots. This match is another reminder of why chairs to the head are no longer allowed. Rocky scrambled Mankind’s brains with the Chair. The Rock even laid the chair on Mankind’s face for the People’s Elbow. Ultimately, Mankind would scream “I Quit” as The Rock would regain the WWF Championship.

71. Bret Hart vs. 123 Kid (WWF Championship Match: RAW 1994)

By 1994, Bret Hart was on top of the Wrestling Mountaintop as the WWF Champion. He was the flagship star of the company and carried it well. On the other hand, you had the rising young star the 123 Kid who was making a name for himself with victories over veterans like Razor Ramon, Ted DiBiase, and others. The Kid proved that he had what it took to hang with the best of the best. He was even in the King of the Ring Tournament that year. As a result, he received a WWF Title shot against Bret Hart on RAW. This match is definitely one of those Special Gems of RAW that can arguably be better than a PPV Match. The 123 Kid had the speed and determination to go toe to toe with the Excellence of Execution. Bret’s technical prowess vs. The Kid’s speed and athleticism. It was a great combination that told an excellent story. In the end, Bret’s Veteran Instinct won out as he caught the 123 Kid in the Sharpshooter for the win. This match was another classic in Bret’s enormous catalog of matches. Meanwhile, this was the best match of Sean Waltman’s Overall Career, from 123 Kid to Syxx to X-Pac.

70. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff (WrestleMania I)

This was the Grand Daddy of Main Events because it is the match that the first WrestleMania was built around. The Main Event itself was the Definition of Rock & Wrestling. Hogan & Mr. T were the Original Mega Power Team as they battled Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff. It was the Spectacle that Vincent K. McMahon heavily invested in, and it clearly paid off with Hogan & Mr. T. WrestleMania I had a significant cultural impact because of the strength of it’s Main Event.

69. Triple H vs. Cactus Jack (Hell In A Cell for the WWF Championship: No Way Out 2000)

The feud between Triple H and Cactus Jack was passionate, spectacular and filled with plenty of bloodshed. The Game was at his Apex as WWF Champion as he defeated Cactus at the 2000 Royal Rumble. Out of desperation, Cactus Jack put his Career on the line as he challenged Triple H to a rematch in Hell In A Cell at No Way Out. This was the match that Mick made his name off of with his match against The Undertaker at King of the Ring two years earlier. They pulled out all of the stops and all of the heavy artillery in their arsenal. Cactus Jack even set his Barbed Wire Bat on Fire, that is how intense it became. Trips even gave Cactus a Back Body Drop through the Cell roof so hard that he fell through the ring. Their War would come to an end as Triple H gave him the Pedigree to retain the Title and end his Legendary Hardcore Career.

68. The Undertaker vs. The Rock vs. Kurt Angle (Triple Threat Match for the WWE Undisputed Championship: Vengeance 2002)

This had all of the ingredients for a great Triple Threat Match, and it delivered beyond expectations. This match was Phenomenal. The Most Exciting part of this Match was when they used each other’s Finishing Moves. A Rock-executed Chokeslam, an Angle-executed Rock Bottom and an Undertaker driven Angle Slam. It was like nothing I had seen since Austin vs. Rock II. Kurt’s Angle Slam on Undertaker made sure that The Deadman would not leave Joe Louis Arena as Undisputed Champion. The Brahma Bull would drill The Olympic Gold Medalist with The Rock Bottom for the Three Count. The Rock would capture his 7th WWE Championship, leaving no questions about who The Great One really was.

67. Cactus Jack vs. Sting (Falls Count Anywhere: Beach Blast 1992)

Cactus Jack was a character that was different and out of the box in WCW. He knew how to push the limits in his matches, which forced his opponents to adapt to his style. Sting was the perfect dance partner, as he knew how to bring out his tougher side and brawl with the Hardcore Great in a Falls Count Anywhere Match. Sting survived the Chaotic Hardcore Jungle and prevailed as the Winner.

66. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Championship: WrestleMania 23)

This match was Cena’s biggest test as a Main Event Star in WrestleMania because he would defend the WWE Title against the very man that is, in essence, the symbol of WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels. Cena would be forced to work harder than ever before because HBK is someone that expected nothing but the best. It was clear that John would not take this opportunity lightly and he delivered. The most notable spots in this match were Shawn’s piledriver onto the steel stairs. Cena failed to connect with the AA and Michaels failed to deliver the Sweet Chin Music at some point during the match. John applies the STFU, but HBK reaches the ropes. When Cena went for the AA again, Michaels landed on his feet to hit him with the Sweet Chin Music. However, Cena ducked and grabbed his leg for the STFU, which lead to Michaels submitting. John Cena continued to show the world, including Shawn Michaels why he was the future star of WWE and this match, was one of the best examples of how special John Cena truly is.

65. Harley Race vs. Ric Flair (Steel Cage Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Starrcade 1983)

This match signified the Changing of the Guard from the Race Era to the Flair Era both on and off screen. The NWA entered into a more Modern Era by their standards. It was a grueling battle, as Race targeted Flair’s neck, but Naitch battled back. One of the defining images is Flair locking Race in the Figure Four as the overhead camera looks down at them on the blood-stained blue ring mat as both men were busted open. It was so exhausted that you could practically feel it just by watching. As Ric Flair celebrated with the rest of the NWA Locker Room after the match, it was clear that Ric Flair had taken the torch and there was no looking back. The Nature Boy cemented himself as Harley Race’s Successor to the NWA Throne.

64. Bret Hart vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (WWF Intercontinental Championship: WrestleMania VIII)

By 1992, Roddy Piper had finally won his first Title in WWF/E as he defeated The Mountie for the Intercontinental Title. This was a Lifetime Achievement Award for Piper because of the contributions that he made over the years. It was also clear that his time was ticking as a full-time competitor. Meanwhile, Bret Hart was making a name for himself as a Singles Star. After losing the IC Title to The Mountie, Bret was on a quest to take back what he believed was rightfully his. This match was one of the highlights of WrestleMania VIII. The Personal Storytelling that they told in this match was incredible. This match was clearly the highest quality match of Piper’s Career, with all due respect to his other matches. Instead of the usual Punches and Kicks, Roddy had to go hold for hold with the Best Technician in the Company, and the World. When Bret was busted open, it seemed as if Piper was going to go into desperation mode when he had the Ring Bell in his hand. Instead, Roddy threw the bell away to go for a sleeper. However, The Hitman ran to the Turnbuckle while still in the hold. Bret pushed his foot off of the Turnbuckle to fall back on Piper to pin his Shoulders for the Three Count. Bret would reclaim the IC Title as he and Piper left the ring together in a sign of mutual respect.

63. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (Ladder Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship: Summerslam 1995)

A year earlier, Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon made History by having the first ever Ladder Match in WrestleMania History. Their match widely influenced the Next Generation of Wrestlers that grew up watching them. That match raised the bar and was the Best Match of the Night and of the entire Year. However, fans were looking for an Encore. The Heartbreak Kid and The Bad Guy gave them that Encore at Summerslam 1995. This match had elements that even the match at WM X did not have. This match was clearly their way of building on something that they made special the year before. However, Shawn Michaels emerges as the Winner to retain the IC Title. HBK and Razor show a sign of respect as they celebrate together after the match.

62. John Cena vs. CM Punk (Number 1 Contender’s Match: RAW 2/25/2013)

John Cena and CM Punk have always had great chemistry in the ring despite their animosity. After a series of 4-5 Star Classics, they knew each other like the front and back of their hands. With an opportunity to wrestle The Rock for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 29, Punk and Cena dug deep into their treasure chest of moves. Punk even pulled out a Piledriver, while Cena miraculously used a Hurricanrana. At 251 lbs, Cena did a Cena-canrana. In another great RAW match for the ages, Cena came out with the win to take on Rocky at WM 29.

61. Sting vs. Vader (King of Cable Tournament Finals: Starrcade 1992)

Out of Sting’s Greatest Rivals outside of Ric Flair, Vader was the best. Their feud ignited when Vader injured Sting by fracturing his ribs. Their second meeting took place when Vader took the WCW Title from Sting. However, it was Starrcade 1992 that defined their rivalry. Sting and Vader pushed each other to their limits, as this match highlighted their strengths and weaknesses. Sting’s victory over Vader in the King of Cable Tournament Finals was one of the highlights of the Pre-Nitro Era.

Leave a Reply