In my humble opinion, the WWE Network’s ‘Best 100 Matches To Watch Before You Die’ List is solid. It may lack diversity in the form of women’s matches (I’ll do a Top 10 Women’s Matches soon!). It may favour WWF/E matches over WCW/ECW/other promotion’s matches that you can find on the WWE Network. But in terms of match quality, it’s hard to argue with the list (of course, I did, and click here for my ‘Top 10 Matches That Don’t Belong on the WWE Network’s ‘Best 100 Matches To Watch Before You Die’ List’). However, there are some glaring omissions. You can’t fit everything on there, of course, but I’ve picked out ten matches that, without a shadow of a doubt, should be on the list!
(Of course, I understand the reason why they don’t include any Chris Benoit matches on the list. The debate about whether to watch his matches or not after what he did is a discussion for another day).
(One caveat…the WWE Network’s ‘Best 100 Matches…’ List was last updated on 24/2/17, so I won’t include any matches after that date!)
10. Scott Steiner vs Goldberg
In my humble opinion, this is Goldberg’s finest match in any promotion. Goldberg’s represented once on the ‘Best 100 Matches…’ List, but compared to this match, that match is mediocre at best. This is an all out-war between two heavyweights who just want to pummel each other! Of course, being a late-90s WCW match, there’s some nonsense at the end, but for fifteen minutes, Goldberg and Steiner rarely let up on beating the stuffing out of each other.
9. The Steiner Brothers vs The Headshrinkers (WrestleMania IX)
I literally just watched this match for the first time a few hours ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it. WrestleMania IX is one of the worst ‘Manias/PPVs ever, but this is it’s saving grace. I’d read about it in good old ‘Power Slam’ years ago, and it just popped into my head whilst I was preparing my lunch. This is a tag team match that would stand up to today’s standards, which is praise enough itself, isn’t it? These two teams just beat the hell out of each other, all the while putting in some high-flying and high-risk moves. For example, The Headshrinkers set Rick up for the Doomsday Device, but Rick catches Samu in mid-air and powerslams him off Fatu’s shoulders! It ends without much fanfare, but up to that point, it’s a tag team match that would receive the ‘THIS IS AWESOME’ chant if it happened today.
8. Tazz v Sabu (ECW Barely Legal 1997)
On ECW’s first PPV, Paul Heyman put on a dream match: Tazz vs Sabu. Tazz is featured on the WWE Network’s ‘Best 100 Matches…’ List, but poor old Sabu is no where to be seen! This is my attempt to rectify the situation. Sabu may have had better matches, but none that I’ve seen. This is a grudge match, pure and simple, where the hate radiates from each wrestler. The build had been a year long; the match justified that hefty build. Tazz never looked better than he did in ECW, and here he’s the tenacious competitor, while Sabu is the defender, doing all he can to fight Sabu off. They take the fight around the ring, into the crowd, all the while keeping that crowd heat high. If you’ve never seen ECW Tazz before, then you’re in for a treat. This is ECW!
7. Bret Hart vs The Undertaker (WWF Championship, Summerslam 1997)
I bloody love this match! You never hear about this match, which is a crying shame. Undertaker held the WWF title for a good chunk of 1997, but it wasn’t renowned for quality wrestling matches. This is an exception (along with his match against Mankind at Revenge of the Taker!). Hart was on the offensive for most of the match, a sight that one isn’t used to seeing when ‘Taker is involved, but it worked well. HBK as referee added to the drama, as you could never believe he’d really call the match straight down the middle, thanks to his history with Shawn Michaels. A great feud, a great story, and a great match within a story (yes, it may go on a little too long, but it’s forgivable just to watch these two legends go one on one!).
6. Charlotte Flair vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch (WWE Women’s Championship, WrestleMania 32)
Three of the Four Horsewomen stole the show at WrestleMania in an absolute corker of a triple threat match. The Women’s Revolution was becoming an Evolution, and these three women were determined to put everyone else to shame at the ‘Showcase of the Immortals.’ And they did, with apparent ease! This should have been the main event. Instead, we were given the risible HHH vs Reigns match. Flair, Lynch and Banks proved that they were just as good, if not better, than the male wrestlers wrestling that night. All have been involved in great matches since (and before, of course), but for my money, this is one of the best matches in ‘Mania history, and a fitting match to crown the “inaugural” WWE Women’s Championship.
5. Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT Takeover: Dallas)
To date, this remains Nakamura’s best NXT/WWE match…and it was his debut match! There was no one better to show off Nakamura’s intensity and brutality than the perennial underdog, Sami Zayn. They just clicked in the ring…and beat the living hell out of each other! The crowd loved Nakamura from his entrance, and the heat for this match was incredible. The kind of heat you only hear (or used to hear, before Covid-19!) at NXT. It was the perfect showcase for Nakamura in one of the best debut matches in WWE history. It’s definitely one of the best matches in NXT history, and one I don’t hear mentioned that often. Unfortunately, after this, it was mostly downhill for Nakamura…
4. Jeff Hardy vs Rob Van Dam (WWE Hardcore Championship, Invasion 2001)
Invasion 2001 remains the highest-grossing non-Wrestlemania PPV in WWE history. The hype surrounding the WWE v WCW/ECW feud was unreal at the time. Of course, WWE dropped the ball horrifically with that feud, but at least it gave us some great matches. This was the best bout of Invasion, and one of the best bouts of 2001. You normally think of Hardy as a tag team wrestler, but he was fantastic as a singles wrestler as well. RVD wanted to make a huge impact with his WWE debut, and the two together utilised the Hardcore stipulation to put on incredible spot after incredible spot. An impressive debut from RVD, and proof that Jeff didn’t need Matt to put on a show
3. Triple H vs Chris Benoit vs Shawn Michaels (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match, WrestleMania XX)
Welcome to one of the best WrestleMania main events that WWE won’t mention anymore. It’s at least in the Top 5 ‘Mania main events of all time. Of course, with Chris Benoit and HBK in the ring, you’d expect nothing less than very good/great. But HHH was at his nadir in terms of wrestling prowess, probably thanks to coming back too quickly from his quad injury. He’d literally been given the title, and hadn’t really done much to justify holding it. But here, he wrestled his bloody socks off, keeping up with two of the best wrestlers of all time. Simply put, probably the finest triple-threat match in WWE history.
2. The Undertaker vs Kurt Angle (WWE Championship, No Way Out 2006)
For thirty minutes, Taker and Angle put on one of the most underrated matches of all time. I rarely see it on Top 10 lists in general. It ranks near the top of both men’s output. This would not have looked out of place in the WrestleMania main event (and, unfortunately, Taker was paired with Mark Henry for an eyesore of a match for that event). It starts off technical, with each wrestler targeting a specific body part (yes, we see Taker do some old school wrestling holds!). Shortly after an Angle Slam through the announce table, it breaks down into a brawl with each man hitting their big moves. The one major problem in the uncertainty of the end. But apart from that, Taker and Angle delivered a classic.
1. Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit (WWE Championship, Royal Rumble 2003)
The two had fought before in some pretty good matches, but this bout for the WWE Championship was simply magic. There’s no wasted motion, no wasted holds, just two wrestlers matching each other move for move for twenty minutes of pure wrestling greatness. Smooth, intense, packed full of drama and emotion…for me, this is one of those WWE matches close to perfection. Of course, it helped that it followed the excrement that was HHH vs Scott Steiner, but even if it followed HBK v Taker at Mania 25, it would have held up well. Probably my second favourite match of all time (the first being…HBK v Taker at Mania 25! Don’t hate me for an obvious choice!). One of those matches where the loser looked just as good, if not better, than the victor. Everybody won here.