Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #1 The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Wrestlemania 25)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31305869/?contentId=31305869&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania )

Finally, after two and a half years, I’ve reached #1 on the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die! Yes, reviewing each match was the reason I started this blog in February 2014. Of course, I expanded into film and (occasionally) TV, but one night after seeing the 100 Best Matches…List I decided to write about them. I probably could have done it in less than two years, even if I’d reviewed one match per week. But hey, life gets in the way sometimes (as does our natural proclivity for laziness…or mine at least!). Unfortunately, earlier this year the WWE Network updated their 100 Best Matches…List, so after I review this one I’ll have to watch the matches added to the 100 Best Matches…List (click here for my blog explaining what happened). Continue reading

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Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #2 Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (Submission Match, WWE Wrestlemania 13)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31366763/?contentId=31366763&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania )

#3 on the WWE Network’s Best 100 Matches…List set the standard for in-ring work during the late 80s period of the WWE. #2 set off something far more important: it at once gave rise to the mighty Stone Cold Steve Austin and thus the Attitude Era (and a boom period for the WWE). However, #3 hasn’t aged well. #2 has a timeless aspect to it. Like Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat did at WrestleMania III, ten years later Stone Cold and Bret Hart stole the show in a mid-card bout. In surely one of the best submission matches in the history of wrestling (not just the WWE), Stone Cold and Bret Hart put on a match for the ages. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #3 Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat (WWE Intercontinental Title, WWE Wrestlemania III)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31348409/?contentId=31348409&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania )

At #3, we have the WrestleMania classic, Randy Savage vs Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat. Well, I say classic because the general consensus is they put on a classic match. And it’s at #3, for goodness sake! However, it’s one of those “classic” matches that hasn’t matured well with age. It set the bar high for WWE matches back when spectacle and A-list stars (and Hulk Hogan) were all Vince McMahon cared about. It blows anything away in 1980s WWE. But it’s merely very good compared to today’s standards. So, it’s on the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List for what it stands for, rather than what it looks like today… Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #4 Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair (NWA World Title, 2/3 Falls, NWA Clash of the Champions VI: Ragin’ Cajun)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v32297671/?contentId=32297671&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=clash_of_the_champions )

This is the second battle between Flair and Steamboat in their Holy Trilogy of matches. We saw the third match at #17 (click here for my review) and the first match at #11 (click here for my review). There’ll always be debate about which match is the best out of the three. For me, I’d say it’s a tie between this bout and the concluding part. They’re both on the same high level but a dodgy ending lets this one down a little. After nearly an hour’s worth of quality wrestling, the ending seems like a bad joke. But what happens before is nothing short of spectacular. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #5 Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio (WCW Cruiserweight Title vs. Mask, WCW Halloween Havoc 1997)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31348221/?contentId=31348221&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=halloween_havoc )

I’ve mentioned it several times whilst writing about the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List, but the Cruiserweight division was a main selling point of WCW back in its 90s peak. Yes, the NWO was there, but for actual wrestling, you couldn’t get any better than the cruiserweights. Look at the WWE’s Cruiserweight division today and you’ll see something quite different. There’s plenty of great talent, but nothing behind them. They even have their own WWE Network show and still no one cares about the Cruiserweight division. Now they have Enzo Amore as champion…God help them! But the greatest match in Western Cruiserweight history is surely this classic between Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #6 The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage (Retirement Match, WWE Wrestlemania VII)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31356293/?contentId=31356293&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania )

Don’t get me wrong; I love this match. It’s easily The Ultimate Warrior’s greatest match, and would be on the Top 10 matches of Randy Savage’s career. However, I don’t think it belongs in the Top 10 of the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List. Top 20, maybe. But including it in the Top 10 is pushing things. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the match. Savage works well with Warrior’s limitations to produce something great. But too much outside interference from Sensational Sherri and a silly finish stunt my enjoyment of it. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #7 Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog (WWE Intercontinental Title, WWE Summerslam 1992)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31303263/?contentId=&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=summerslam )

Yes, you’d better believe it: once upon a time, WWE brought Summerslam across the pond to the United Kingdom! Summerslam 1992 took place in Wembley Stadium. Don’t we deserve another one? Yes, we do. Vince thought we were worthy enough to hold one of the big four PPVs in 1992. Why not now? Especially now that the United Kingdom has its own championship! However, its location would be all we remember about it if not for this bout. Bret Hart put on another Summerslam classic, guiding the addled Bulldog to the greatest Summerslam main event in WWE history. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #8 The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian (WWE Tag Team Titles, TLC Match, WWE Wrestlemania X-7)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31599441/?contentId=31599441&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania )

We saw the beginning of the Attitude Era’s tag team revolution #29 with The Hardy Boyz vs Edge and Christian in the first ever tag team ladder match (click here for my review). You could say that the tag team revolution reached its peak with this match. Personally, I prefer the first ever triple threat tag team TLC match at Summerslam 2000. But this sequel is just as insane and incredible. The Hardyz, The Dudleys and Edge and Christian pull out all the stops to top the craziness seen in the first TLC match. Rhyno, Spike Dudley and Lita all get involved to make the encounter even more chaotic. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #9 John Cena vs. CM Punk (WWE Championship, WWE Money in the Bank 2011)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31359911/?contentId=&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=money_in_the_bank )

John Cena vs CM Punk from Money in the Bank 2011 fully deserves to be in the top 10 of the 100 Best Matches…List. It has all the components of a great match: an incredible build, a blistering crowd, an unbelievable match and John Cena. Of course, I jest about the latter. But I can’t deny he’s been in some great matches. This is probably his best (and Punk’s WWE best). Cena has always tried to outdo his “indie” opponents, and this trend started with CM Punk in this match. We’ve seen them fight before on the Best 100 Matches…List, at #62 (click here for my review), but that was an exchange of big moves. This match is a lesson in psychology, pacing, storytelling and high states. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #10 Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Title, 60 Minute Iron Man Match. WWE Wrestlemania XII)

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(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31348419?contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania&contentId=67696930&watchlistAltButtonContext=series )

Oh goodness, we’re entering the Top 10! My journey through the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To Watch Before You Die has taken me over two years…but I’m nearly there!

I’ve mentioned before during my reviews of the 100 Best Matches…List that the original version of a gimmick match is, more often than not, the best version of it. Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, Ladder match…all the originals are superior to what came after them. Not only that, but they usually involve Shawn Michaels as well. However, Shawn Michaels failed to make the inaugural 60 Minute Iron Man Match better than what succeeded it. The Iron Man match between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle, placed at #52, is far better than this one (click here for my review). It’s a match of two halves. The first half is as dull as waiting for a bus. The second half is action-packed, but the wait was so long for the action that it’s hard to feel excited for it. Continue reading