HAMMY’S TOP 10 REPLACEMENTS FOR MATCHES THAT SHOULDN’T BE IN THE WWE NETWORK’S ‘BEST 100 MATCHES’ LIST

Yesterday, I compiled a Top 10 List of matches I don’t think belong on the WWE Network’s ‘Best 100 Matches To Watch Before You Die’ list (click here to check it out). My reasons for disapproving of each choice were (obviously) in that list. But what use is that to my dear readers if I don’t suggest alternatives to watch instead of those overrated/terrible matches? So here, I’ll simply name the match I disliked and offer a replacement (and a few sentences about why I chose it). I’ve limited my suggestions to matches including one or both participants of the listed match, or a match that involves the stipulation of a listed match (for example, a Steel Cage match for a Steel Cage match!). So, without further ado, here are my suggestions!

wwe network 100 best matches to watch before you die

(In the second part of this Top 10 List, I’ll recommend matches you should watch in place of those I don’t think belong on the WWE Network’s Best 100 Matches…List!)

  1. #96 Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (WWE Championship Match, WWE WrestleMania III)

My replacement:

Macho Man Randy Savage vs Hulk Hogan (WWE Championship Match, WrestleMania V)

Undoubtedly, this is Hogan’s finest ‘Mania match (and the finest main event in the first decade of Mania). Macho Man bumps crazy for Hogan, doing the heavy lifting he was renowned for back in the day. Hogan rises to the occasion as well, obviously not wanting Savage to look better than him. There’s hints of the performances Hogan would put on in Japan (where he would actually wrestle!!). One of Hogan’s finest matches.

  1. #95 Triple H vs. Cactus Jack (Falls Count Anywhere, WWE RAW, September 22, 1997)

My replacement:

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs Mankind (Steel Cage Match, Summerslam 1997)

I remember watching this with my dad. He’d taped it the night before, and settled down to watch it. All I remembered (before rewatching it) was Mankind’s flying elbow off the top of the cage, mimicking Snuka’s iconic splash from the top of the cage in Madison Square Garden (where this Summerslam was also held). That elbow is the icing on the top of a brutal and enthralling brawl inside the blue cage (where it actually looked and sounded horrific when someone was thrown into it!). One of the all-time great cage matches in WWF history.

  1. #79 Diamond Dallas Page vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (No Disqualification Match, WCW Spring Stampede 1997)

My replacement:

‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage vs Shawn Michaels (WWF Championship Match, UK Rampage)

In my mind, this was always a dream match. Two of the best workers in early WWF who never got a chance to meet…but then one day I came across on old VHS in my parents’ house of UK Rampage. On the back, I saw the dream match in the flesh…so I searched for it on the WWE Network (I don’t have a VHS player anymore!). It’s everything you’d expect from HBK and the Macho Man, fast-paced action that occasionally includes a high-flying move! It’s one to watch.

  1. #57 The Undertaker vs. Triple H (Hell in a Cell Match, WWE WrestleMania XXVIII)

My replacement:

The Undertaker vs Triple H (WM X-17)

Their first Mania clash, to me, remains their best. On any other card, this would have been the best on show. However, it happened to take place on the greatest Mania of all time, thus is only the 3rd/4th best match on the card. Regardless, it’s an absolute slobberknocker of a bout, a brawl that never lets up. Around that period, Taker wasn’t known for his quality bouts, but this is one of the best of his ‘American Bad Ass’ persona. Unlike the Hell in a Cell match, this isn’t drawn-out or substituting story for over-selling. This is to see who is the better man and encapsulates everything that was/is great about those two men.

  1. #50 The Undertaker vs. Mankind (Hell in a Cell Match, WWE King of the Ring 1998)

My replacement:

The Undertaker vs Mankind (WWF Championship, IYH 14 Revenge of the Taker)

Yet another underrated barnburner of a match. You think of Taker/Mankind’s feud, you think of Hell in a Cell and NO DQ stipulations. However, in the midst of their feud, they had a straight singles match. And they proved they didn’t need weapons and various stipulations to put on a cracking match (although, weirdly, Mankind hits Taker in the head with a steel chair and doesn’t get disqualified…). They pushed each other to be better in the ring, and that was no more apparent than here. As with any other Taker v Mankind match, there are some spots that are hard to watch (Mankind being knocked off the apron headfirst through the announce table, for example), but it’s not all about the spots (unlike their Hell in a Cell spectacle). Watch it, now!

  1. #48 Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior (WWE Championship and Intercontinental Championship Match, WWE WrestleMania VI)

My replacement:

The Ultimate Warrior vs ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude (WWF Intercontinental Championship, Summerslam 1989)

Quality Warrior bouts that aren’t on the WWE Network’s ‘Best 100…List’ are few and far between, but this one is quality. Rather than a squash match, Rude carried Warrior to a very good bout, expertly guiding and pacing Warrior to exaggerate his strengths (of which there were few) and minimize his weaknesses. They also had a Steel Cage match a year later at Summerslam 1990 (which I’ve yet to watch, so that could be better than this bout!), but this is well worthy of your time (and gives exposure to the under-exposed Rude on the WWE Network’s Best 100…List).

  1. #40 The Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan (WWE Wrestlemania X8)

My replacement:

The Rock vs Mankind (I Quit Match for the WWF Championship, Royal Rumble 1999)

Mankind was well-renowned for taking unimaginable amounts of punishment, such as being thrown off the top of the Hell in a Cell. This match stands of one of the best ‘I Quit’ matches in WWE history. It’s a very different clash to the all-time best ‘I Quit’ match in WWE history, that between Hart and Austin. But that means Mankind and The Rock knew they couldn’t replicate that classic, so pushed boundaries to create something unique. And the end is excruciating to watch, especially in modern times. A brutal classic, among a horde of great matches in the feud between The Rock and Mankind.

  1. #30 Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A. (NWA United States Title, I Quit, Steel Cage, NWA Starrcade 1985)

My replacement:

Ric Flair vs Triple H (Steel Cage Match for the Intercontinental Championship, Taboo Tuesday 2005)

This exhibits brutality unlike anything seen in the clash between Blanchard and Magnum T.A. Of course, I was heavily invested in the storyline between Flair and HHH at the time, so I could be accused of bias. However, Flair and HHH always provided entertainment in their pairings, and this was probably the best of their multiple clashes. Both wrestlers bleed bucketloads (Flair’s busted open mere minutes into the match), and the action is stiff and fast-paced. Also, there’s the famous ‘testicular claw’ hold, which I’d advise any one fighting a male to use. What’s more, it feels like a real fight between two former best buddies who now hate each other.

  1. #25 Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE World Heavyweight Title, Ladder Match, WWE No Mercy 2008)

My replacement:

Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit (Ladder Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, Royal Rumble 2001)

By this point in time, tag team ladder matches were all the rage (usually involving chairs and/or tables). However, Jericho and Benoit basically redefined the 1 v 1 ladder match for the modern era. It started out as a pure wrestling contest, until the ladder is introduced…and boy, do these two brilliant wrestlers innovate with the ladder. To list all the innovations would spoil the match for you (if you’ve not seen it, of course). You feel as if they are trying to climb the ladder for the championship, rather than executing flashy high-risk moves (although there are plenty of those!). A classic ladder match that’s much better than the one between HBK vs Y2J (and one that’s rarely mentioned in WWE today for obvious reasons).

  1. #10 Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Title, 60 Minute Iron Man Match. WWE Wrestlemania XII)

My replacement:

The Rock vs Triple H (60 Minute Iron Man Match for the WWF Championship, Judgment Day 2000)

This, for my money, is the best 60 Minute Iron Man match in WWE history (closely followed by Angle v Lesnar). This is expertly paced, allowing for slow moments that build up to something exciting. And those slow moments are meaningful, rather than simply wasting time until the next sprint of action. There’s drama, a great story, and a shock ending. What more could you want? Yes, I may be biased, as during that period HHH was my favourite wrestler AND this match also happens to be one of my favourite matches ever…but this created the template for most of the 60 Minute Iron Man matches that followed. Hart and Michaels may have participated in the inaugural match, but HHH and The Rock perfected it.

Agree or disagree? Any you’d take away or add? What is your Top 10?

Related Blogs

WWE Network’s ‘Best 100 Matches To Watch Before You Die’ Reviews

HAMMY’S TOP 10 MATCHES THAT SHOULDN’T BE IN THE WWE NETWORK’S ‘BEST 100 MATCHES’ LIST

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