Mass Effect And The Rebirth of Optimistic Science Fiction Part 1

Mass Effect: Andromeda is released tomorrow. Unfortunately, due to the lack of an Xbox One, I won’t be able to play it. However, it doesn’t seem like that long ago that I bought ‘Mass Effect,’ the game that started the science fiction franchise. And what a game I picked up. I’ve recently played the original game (for at least the fourth time), and each time reinforces the brilliance of it. Not only is a great game in and of itself, but it’s also a different kind of science fiction that we’re used to today. It’s not post-apocalyptic or a dystopia, but a science fiction universe thriving with enthusiasm and glory. It’s a refreshing change from the grey, dull and depressing science fiction that we see all too often in video games and films of the modern age. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #28 CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (No Disqualfication, WWE Summerslam 2013)

20141106_EP_LIGHT_100best_2_home_nologo(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31280129/?contentId=&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=summerslam )

Before Brock Lesnar got lazy and decided to sleepwalk his matches, his return to the WWE resulted in some memorable matches. His return match against John Cena ranks higher on the WWE Network’s Best 100…List, but for my money, this match against CM Punk is his best match since he returned. It’s just as brutal as his fight against John Cena, but the story of the match (and the story behind the match) gives every move an extra depth. It’s not just “The Best vs The Beast,” but David vs Goliath inside a square ring.

CM Punk had turned babyface in 2013 after his record breaking WWE Title reign was ended by The Rock. Before he turned face, Punk was a “Paul Heyman” guy. Who else was a Paul Heyman guy? The returning Brock Lesnar. Would Paul Heyman have to choose between the two at some point? Not really, but choose he did. At Money in the Bank 2013, Paul Heyman turned on CM Punk. After that, Heyman hid behind the monstrous Brock Lesnar on the path to Summerslam, where “The Beast” would take on “The Best” in a No Disqualifications match. Lesnar’s matches had rarely disappointed since his return. He brought a realism to the ring (thanks to his MMA experience, but mainly thanks to his larger than life look and his devastating moveset) that added extra tension to a match. When an opponent sold Lesnar’s moves, you could never be sure if they were faking it or in real pain. Against someone like Punk, almost half the size of Lesnar, that tension was multiplied.

This match is as stiff as any match you’ll see in modern WWE

Summerslam 2014 also showcased John Cena vs Daniel Bryan as the main event, which is #54 on the Best 100…List (click here for my review!). However, while that was more a wrestling contest than a brawl, Lesnar and Punk churned out a glorified brawl. It’s simply more excited and gruelling to watch. Punk shows no fear at the beginning of the bout, attempting to fight Lesnar head on, but is roughly tackled into the corner and pounded. Punk launches a high-speed counter attack, leading with a suicide dive. He leaps off every surface to get an advantage over Lesnar. Of course, Lesnar soon comes back. That’s the story of the match, Punk getting a minimal advantage only for Lesnar to quickly cut him down. It makes for a gripping match, all the more so since it’s so easy to root for Punk over Lesnar. Punk’s comebacks are paced wondrously, as are the moments where Lesnar cuts Punk down. The use of chairs is also commendable: they aren’t used to excess, but only to seal Punk’s comebacks towards the end of the match. Punk sells the beating he receives from Lesnar brilliantly, but Lesnar sells just as well.

It’s one of the few matches where I thought a bear hug was appropriate and increases the tension, rather than sapped the tension away. Lesnar impresses as much as Punk, not relying on German suplexes to carry a match but holding his own half of the match up. In my reckoning, it’s Lesnar’s last great match since he returned. He’s phoned in his matches since then, and apart from a decent Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker, Lesnar sits on his pile on cash and laurels rather than trying to create memorable matches. But here, against CM Punk, he delivered a truly great match.

VERDICT: 9/10. One of the great matches of Summerslam’s history. It outdid the main event in terms of excitement, tension and brutality. Lesnar and Punk battered the hell out of each other in a match that’s exhausting to watch (but in a good way!). Lesnar’s last great match? Probably…

Does this match belong in the WWE Network’s ‘ 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die’ List? Leave your thoughts/comments below!

Click here for my review of #29 Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (Ladder Match, WWE No Mercy 1999)

This Is Your Film: Part Two 2002-2017

There’s recently been a Twitter hashtag called #Thisisyourfilm. It’s another list hashtag. For this list you have to name your favourite film for each year of your life. Of course, the older you are, the more films you have to consider. I threw my list into the vast Twitter ring. Here, I thought I’d elaborate on my choices in a blog of two parts.

Here’s Part Two, which covers 1985 to 2001…

There’s recently been a Twitter hashtag called #Thisisyourfilm. It’s another list hashtag. For this list you have to name your favourite film for each year of your life. Of course, the older you are, the more films you have to consider. I threw my list into the vast Twitter ring. Here, I thought I’d elaborate on my choices in a blog of two parts.Here’s Part One, which covers 1985 to 2001…

2002: Spider-Man

Along with ‘Gladiator,’ this is one of my favourite films of all time. Repeated viewings have dulled my affection for it, but the first time I saw it I was blown away. To see my favourite superhero in live action was breathtaking. I remember holding my breath for a scene as simple as the one where Peter Parker experiences his “Spider sense” in high school. Yes, the Green Goblin costume may look silly, and it touches every base of a typical superhero origin film, but simply for the feeling I received on my first viewing of the film it stands high on my list of favourite films.

2003: X-Men 2

As far as superhero sequels go, X-Men 2 can stand proudly alongside ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Spider-Man 2.’ It doesn’t have to introduce as many characters as ‘X-Men’ did, so can plunge right into a gripping story. Heroes and villains combining to defeat a greater threat is something you rarely see in superhero films, and that’s exactly what we get here. It adds extra intrigue into a story that deviates from the typical superhero sequel. There was ‘Oldboy’ to consider, but ‘X-Men 2’ stands as an example to all superhero sequels, and sequels in general.

2004: Shaun of the Dead

Edgar Wright’s directoral cinematic debut is the greatest horror comedy ever. It’s a rival to ‘Trainspotting’ for the Best British film ever. ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ is brilliant, as is ‘Spider-Man 2,’ but ‘Shaun of the Dead’ stands tall as a masterpiece. The jokes never miss, the quick cuts are exemplary, and the gore is heavy duty stuff. The filmic peak of Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s collaboration.

2005: Sin City

‘Batman Begins’ and ‘A History Of Violence’ sprung to mind for 2005 (both based on comics/graphic novels), but it was ‘Sin City’ I couldn’t help but name as my film of 2005. Buckets of style and a film noir that fit perfectly with the black and white visuals, ‘Sin City’ was an R-Rated comic book film in a sea of PG-13 ones. It stood apart not just for that reason, but the fact that there was just enough substance behind the style to deliver a great film.

2006: Children of Men

‘The Departed’, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, ‘Apocalypto’, ‘Rocky Balboa’, ‘Borat,’ ‘Casino Royale’…all great films, all released in 2006. I almost chose ‘The Departed’ for 2006, even though it’s an inferior imitation of ‘Infernal Affairs,’ it’s still one of Scorsese’s best films of modern times. ‘Rocky Balboa’ was a return to form for the Rocky franchise, as was ‘Casino Royale’ for the Bond franchise. ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ had imagination and creativity to spare. But it’s ‘Children of Men’ that sticks in my mind, and seems a more likely future than many science fiction scenarios out there. An unwaveringly bleak vision of a future broken Britain, it’s becoming more and more relevant every day. Fears about immigration and right wing governments run right through ‘Children of Men.’ A science fiction film that tells us more about our society than most other films.

2007: No Country For Old Men

The Coens’ greatest ever film? In my eyes, yes. It takes the essence of the novel it is based upon and pours it through the film, from the characters to the cinematography. It’s a modern Western with one of the most intimidating villains of cinema in the guise of Javier Bordem as Chigurh. It represents the Coens at the peak of their cinematic creativity and brilliance. It maybe too laconic for some, but for me the mood was just right. There was ‘Eastern Promises’ and ‘There Will Be Blood,’ but ‘No Country For Old Men’ outdoes them every time.

2008: Wall-E

‘Wall-E’ is Pixar’s greatest film. ‘The Dark Knight’ was more than deserving to be my choice for 2008, but I always find myself picking at little things with each repeated viewing. It’s Wall-E that never fails to impress, with an almost dialogue free first act that is refreshing, to say the least. It shows a level of mastery over story, characters and emotions that seemed to display Pixar’s last great film (until ‘Inside Out’ came along). I adored ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ It pains me greatly to miss out ‘The Wrestler.’ But ‘Wall-E’ cannot be missed out!

2009: Moon

Apart from ‘Watchmen,’ there wasn’t much else that piqued my interest in 2009. ‘A Serious Man’ was a decent Coen brothers’ film, but not much more than that. I never much liked ‘Avator’ or ‘District 9.’ So, Moon was a breath of fresh air. Sam Rockwell carries a film that is technically and visually outstanding. It mixes all kind of science fiction tropes, but the melting pot is delicious. Duncan Jones’ directoral debut is still his best film.

2010: Black Swan

It physically hurt me not to name ‘The Wrestler’ as my film of 2008, but Darren Aronofsky’s next film, ‘Black Swan,’ cannot be ignored. It’s his masterpiece, in all aspects of cinema. Natalie Portman gives the performance of a lifetime, and rightfully won Best Actress at the Acadamy Awards for her performance as ballet dancer Nina, who’s chosen to play as both the White Swan and the Black Swan in a production of Swan Lake. Part-horror, part psychological thriller, nothing came close to ‘Black Swan’ in 2010. ‘The Social Network’ is a distant second, and I’ll always have a soft spot for ‘Tron: Legacy,’ but ‘Black Swan’ takes the top spot without a doubt.

2011: Drive

‘The Artist’ was sublime. The first two acts of ‘Super 8’ were a delightful throwback to 80s science fiction films. ‘Source Code’ was another impressive film by Duncan Jones. But it’s ‘Drive’ that remains one of my all-time favourite films. It’s an exercise in pure cinema, where the visuals and the music tell the story as much as the dialogue does. Ryan Gosling’s laconic Driver is a superb anti-hero. The soundtrack is incredible. The car chase scenes feel and look real, rather than splurges of CGI. It’s one of the great films of the 21st century.

Click here for my review!

2012: The Avengers

‘The Avengers’ represented the culmination of Marvel Studios’ ambitious task to build up the superheroes that they owned (in terms of film rights) and put them all in one film. They may not have had Spider-Man or the X-Men or the Fantastic Four, but their B-level superheroes gave us one of the most fun and memorable superhero films ever. Seeing the superheroes all in one frame still gives me chills up my spine! Joss Whedon keeps the action and the quips coming thick and fast, with a villain that is worthy of taking on a group of superheroes in Loki (surely the second best on-screen superhero villain behind Heath Ledger’s Joker?). A wonder to watch. ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘Django Unchained’ were contenders, but both suffered from a over-long running time.

Click here for my review!

2013: Prisoners

I almost chose ‘Gravity’ for my choice of 2013, but it seems ever so smaller each time I watch it. It’s a film that’s meant to be watched on the big screen in 3D. ‘Prisoners,’ however, is a harsh and uncompromising film. But it’s a film that demands to be watched. Hugh Jackman’s performance as Keller Dover is outstanding. He deserved an Academy Award for it. The story of a father who’s looking for his kidnapped daughter will always grab attention, but Denis Villeneuve makes it so much more than that. It may be a hard watch, but it’s a watch that stays with me.

2014: The Lego Movie

Everything is awesome…especially ‘The Lego Movie!’ I expected very little from this film, but received so much in return. From comedy to social satire, ‘The Lego Movie’ has most bases covered. It could have been a lazy take on the Lego toy, but it gave us a reflection of our own society, obsessed with reality TV shows like ‘Honey, Where Are My Pants?’ while conglomerates own almost everything around us. It’s clever dissection of “The Special One” character trope is also to be commended. ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ was a close second, a Shakespearian tragedy with apes instead of kings and queens. ‘Nightcrawler’ (showcasing Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performance), ‘Birdman,’ and ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ (a great, but overlooked, science fiction film) were a close third.

2015: Mad Max: Fury Road

‘Inside Out’ was a massive return to form for Pixar, examining our minds from a very mature perspective. ‘Straight Outta Compton’ had me gripped for the first two acts in a way most thrillers don’t. ‘Creed’ moved me to tears more than most tearjerkers. But the fourth entry in the Mad Max franchise blew everything else away. Fears that it would be a poor greatest hits of the franchise evaporated merely minutes into the film. It’s a two hour car chase, but the car chase is more exhilarating than probably anything else I’ve watched in the past decade. It’s insane, creative, and creatively insane.

Click here for my review!

2016: The Neon Demon

‘Zootropolis,’ ‘High-Rise,’ ‘Arrival,’ ‘I, Daniel Blake,’ ‘Captain America: Civil War’…all five films were worthy of this spot. But another Nicolas Winding Refn again takes another spot on this list. ‘The Neon Demon’ mesmerised me from start to finish when I watched it at the cinema, and it continues to do so every time I watch it. For a film about beauty, ‘The Neon Demon’ is jam-packed full of beautiful (if sometimes horrific) images. It represents a director at the peak of his visual storytelling abilities. I couldn’t take my eyes of the screen from the moment the BBFC screen came on, and I couldn’t say that about any other film in 2016. It’s style over substance, but the style is exemplary.

Click here for my review!

2017: Logan (so far)

It’s a little soon to choose my favourite film of 2017, but there will have to something mind-blowing to beat Logan. A bleak, mature superhero film that rescinds most superhero tropes until the third act, ‘Logan’ is the Wolverine film we’ve always wanted but were denied. If it’s Hugh Jackman’s swan song as the characters, it’s a brutal, bloody and brilliant way to end his tenure as The Wolverine.

Click here for my review!

Click here for This Is Your Film: Part One 1985-2001

This Is Your Film: Part One 1985-2001

There’s recently been a Twitter hashtag called #Thisisyourfilm. It’s another list hashtag. For this list you have to name your favourite film for each year of your life. Of course, the older you are, the more films you have to consider. I threw my list into the vast Twitter ring. Here, I thought I’d elaborate on my choices in a blog of two parts.

Here’s Part One, which covers 1985 to 2001… Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #29 Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (Ladder Match, WWE No Mercy 1999)

20141106_EP_LIGHT_100best_2_home_nologo(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31366785/?contentId=31366785&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=no_mercy )

The Hardy Boyz and the team of Edge and Christian (along with the Dudley Boyz) reinvigorated the tag team division in WWF/E’s Attitude Era. Their willingness to be thrown off ladders and slammed through tables revolutionized the ladder match as well. Unbelievably, the first ever tag team ladder match was only a taster of the high risk insanity that the two teams would bring to the tag team division. But that taster blew my mind back in 1999. It still makes me gasp and wince almost twenty years on. This match heightened expectations for insane stunts in ladder matches that are still held today. But few ladder matches can match the insanity of the first ever tag team ladder match (and, as an aside, it led to the creation of my favourite wrestling video game, the N64’s WWF No Mercy!). Continue reading

Review: Logan (2017) (A Great Comic Book Film? Or Just A Great Film?)

“I’m a fan, by the way”

Since ‘Logan’ was released last week, there’s been a vast amount of praise for it. Some have proclaimed it to be the greatest comic book film ever. Of course, I watched it as soon as it came out, but wanted time for the hype to die down and for my own thoughts to percolate through the critical acclaim. Often, when a film is given endless praise, it sets alarm bells off in my head. I always think: “can it be that good?” The hype train soon runs off course and the critically acclaimed film enters a phase of harsh criticism (the latest example I can think of is ‘La La Land’). However, after a week of thinking long and hard about ‘Logan,’ I can almost agree that it’s one of the greatest comic book films ever (whether or not it’s the greatest one is something I’ll have to think about further). It’s dark, gritty and reaches a level of maturity that few comic book films have done. Continue reading

WWE Network’s Best 100 Matches To See Before You Die: Update!!!!

I’ve been working through the ‘WWE Network’s Best 100 Matches To See Before You Die’ for nigh on two years now! Yes, I’ve been lazy, and I’m currently on #28…so the end is in sight! However, a cursory glance at the WWE’s webpage about the ‘Best 100 Matches’ shocked me. It was a different picture at the top of the page! Bayley was in the top left hand corner. She wasn’t there before.

Further investigation proved that the WWE have updated the Best 100 List! Their Best 100 List now dates to February 24, 2017. Fortunately, there seems to be less than ten additions. So I will continue to watch until #1. Then I’ll go back and watch the new additions! Some matches have been dropeed from the previous list, and some of the match order has changed. As far as I can see, the new additions are:

100 Neville vs. Sami Zayn – NXT Championship Match: NXT TakeOver: R Evolution

85 Sasha Banks vs. Bayley – NXT Women’s Championship Match: NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn

68 AJ Styles vs. John Cena – WWE Championship Match: Royal Rumble 2017

59 Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Batista – Triple Threat WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: WrestleMania 30

51 The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar: WrestleMania 30.

It means that the following matches have been dropped:

#100 – Chris Jericho vs. Triple H (Last Man Standing) – WWE Fully Loaded 2000

#97 Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty (WWE Intercontinental Title) – WWE RAW, May 17, 1993

#87 – Billy Kidman vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Juventud Guerrera (WCW Cruiserweight Title) – WCW Starrcade 1998

#66 – The Undertaker vs. CM Punk – WWE Wrestlemania 29

And one more that I can’t seem to find…

Here’s the updated Best 100 Matches To Watch Before You Die (24.2.2017):

100 Neville vs. Sami Zayn – NXT Championship Match: NXT TakeOver: R Evolution

99 Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page – WCW Championship Match: Halloween Havoc 1998

98 The Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada & Masato Yakushiji vs. bWo Japan (Taka Michinoku, Terry Boy & Dick Togo): ECW Barely Legal 1997

97 Natalya vs. Charlotte – NXT Women’s Championship Match: NXT TakeOver, May 29, 2014

96 Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant – WWE Championship Match: WrestleMania III

95 Cactus Jack vs. Triple H – Falls Count Anywhere Street Fight: Raw, Sept. 22, 1997

94 Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger – NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: WrestleWar 1990

93 Team Hell No & Randy Orton vs. The Shield: SmackDown, June 14, 2013

92 Dean Malenko vs. Scotty 2 Hotty – Light Heavyweight Championship Match: Backlash 2000

91 Ric Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich – NWA World Heavyweight Championship No Disqualification Steel Cage Match: WCCW Christmas Star Wars 1982 (aired on WCCW, December 28, 1982)

90 Neville vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Tyler Breeze – NXT Championship Fatal 4-Way Match: NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way, Sept. 11, 2014

89 The Nasty Boys vs. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne – WCW Tag Team Championship Falls Count Anywhere Chicago Street Fight: Spring Stampede 1994

88 Christian vs. Randy Orton – World Heavyweight Championship No Holds Barred Match: SummerSlam 2011

87 Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Rude – 30-Minute Iron Man Challenge: Beach Blast 1992

86 Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Super Crazy: ECW Guilty as Charged 1999

85 Sasha Banks vs. Bayley – NXT Women’s Championship Match: NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn

84 Sting, Brian Pillman & The Steiner Brothers vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Barry Windham & Sid Vicious) & Larry Zbyszko – WarGames: WrestleWar 1991

83 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Dude Love – WWE Championship No Disqualification Falls Count Anywhere Match: Over the Edge 1998

82 The Midnight Express vs. The Fantastics – NWA United States Tag Team Championship Match: Clash of the Champions I, March 27, 1988

81 Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan – World Heavyweight Championship 2-out-of-3 Falls Match: Extreme Rules 2012

80 Harley Race vs. Ric Flair – NWA World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match: Starrcade 1983

79 Diamond Dallas Page vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – No Disqualification Match: Spring Stampede 1997

78 Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho: WrestleMania XIX

77 Money in the Bank Ladder Match: WrestleMania 21

76 Steve Austin vs. Ricky Steamboat – United States Championship Match: Bash at the Beach 1994

75 The Undertaker vs. The Rock vs. Kurt Angle – WWE Championship Triple Threat Match: Vengeance 2002

74 The Midnight Express vs. The Southern Boys – NWA United States Tag Team Championship Match: Great American Bash 1990

73 Bret Hart vs. The 1-2-3 Kid – WWE Championship Match: Raw, July 11, 1994

72 Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes – NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Starrcade 1985

71 Ultimo Dragon vs. Rey Mysterio – J-Crown Match: World War 3 1996

70 Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine – Dog Collar Match: Starrcade 1983

69 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Triple H – Three Stages of Hell Match: No Way Out 2001

68 AJ Styles vs. John Cena – WWE Championship Match: Royal Rumble 2017

67 The Hart Foundation vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust and The Legion of Doom: In Your House: Canadian Stampede

66 Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler: Bragging Rights 2010

65 Sting vs. Cactus Jack – Falls Count Anywhere Match: Beach Blast 1992

64 John Cena vs. CM Punk – No. 1 Contender Match: Raw, Feb. 25, 2013

63 Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro – 2-out-of-3 Falls Match: NXT, Aug. 21, 2013 (aired on This is NXT, Feb. 24, 2013)

62 Tazz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow – ECW Television Championship Match: Living Dangerously 1998

61 Team WWE vs. Team Alliance – Winner-Take-All Elimination Match: Survivor Series 2001

60 Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio – Cruiserweight Championship Match: Great American Bash 1996

59 Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Batista – Triple Threat WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: WrestleMania 30

58 The Steiner Brothers vs. Sting & Lex Luger – WCW Tag Team Championship Match: SuperBrawl I

57 The Undertaker vs. Triple H – Hell in a Cell Match: WrestleMania XXVIII

56 Sting vs. Big Van Vader – King of Cable Tournament Finals: Starrcade 1992

55 John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan – WWE Championship Match: SummerSlam 2013

54 Mick Foley vs. Edge – Hardcore Match: WrestleMania 22

53 Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar – WWE Championship 60-Minute WWE Iron Man Match: SmackDown, Sept. 18, 2003

52 Vader vs. Ric Flair – WCW Championship Match: Starrcade 1993

51 The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar: WrestleMania 30

50 The Undertaker vs. Mankind – Hell in a Cell Match: King of the Ring 1998

49 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock: WrestleMania XIX

48 Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior – WWE Championship and Intercontinental Championship Match: WrestleMania VI

47 Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H – Unsanctioned Street Fight: SummerSlam 2002

46 Team Hell No & Ryback vs. The Shield – TLC Match: WWE TLC 2012

45 Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio – Intercontinental Championship Mask vs. Title Match: The Bash 2009

44 Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind – WWE Championship Match: In Your House: Mind Games

43 World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Survivor Series 2002

42 Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar – WWE Championship Match: WrestleMania XIX

41 Masato Tanaka vs. Mike Awesome: Heat Wave 1998

40 The Rock vs. Hollywood Hogan: WrestleMania X8

39 Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko – ECW Television Championship Match: Hostile City Showdown 1995 (aired on Hardcore TV, May 2, 1995)

38 The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family: Elimination Chamber 2014

37 The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – No. 1 Contender Hell in a Cell Match: Badd Blood: In Your House

36 Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair – Loser Leaves Town Match: Raw, Jan. 25, 1993

35 Cactus Jack vs. Big Van Vader – Texas Death Match: Halloween Havoc 1993

34 Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Brian Pillman – WCW Light Heavyweight Championship Match: SuperBrawl II

33 Edge vs. John Cena – WWE Championship TLC Match: Unforgiven 2006

32 Sting’s Squadron vs. The Dangerous Alliance – WarGames: WrestleWar 1992

31 Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn – ECW Television Championship Match: Hardcore Heaven 1999

30 Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A. – United States Championship “I Quit” Steel Cage Match: Starrcade 1985

29 Edge & Christian vs. The New Brood (The Hardy Boyz) – Ladder Match: No Mercy 1999

28 CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar – No Disqualification Match: SummerSlam 2013

27 Ric Flair vs. Sting – NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Clash of the Champions I, March 27, 1988

26 Triple H vs. Cactus Jack – WWE Championship Street Fight: Royal Rumble 2000

25 Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels – World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match: No Mercy 2008

24 Ric Flair vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – WWE Championship Match: WrestleMania VIII

23 The Undertaker vs. Triple H – No Holds Barred Match: WrestleMania XXVII

22 Royal Rumble Match: Royal Rumble 1992

21 Randy Orton vs. Mick Foley – Intercontinental Championship Hardcore Match: Backlash 2004

20 Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk – “I Quit” Match: Clash of the Champions IX: New York Knockout, Nov. 15, 1989

19 Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels – Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: WrestleMania X

18 Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart – Intercontinental Championship Match: SummerSlam 1991

17 Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair – NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: WrestleWar 1989: Music City Showdown

16 Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart: WrestleMania X

15 John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar – Extreme Rules Match: Extreme Rules 2012

14 Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle: WrestleMania 21

13 The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – No Disqualification Streak vs. Career Match: WrestleMania XXVI

12 The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – WWE Championship No Disqualification Match: WrestleMania X-Seven

11 Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat – NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Chi-Town Rumble

10 Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – WWE Championship 60-Minute WWE Iron Man Match: WrestleMania XII

9 John Cena vs. CM Punk – WWE Championship Match: Money in the Bank 2011

8 The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian – World Tag Team Championship TLC Match: WrestleMania X-Seven

7 Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog – Intercontinental Championship Match: SummerSlam 1992

6 The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage – Retirement Match: WrestleMania VII

5 Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio – Cruiserweight Championship Mask vs. Title Match: Halloween Havoc 1997

4 Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair – NWA World Heavyweight Championship 2-out-of-3 Falls Match: Clash of the Champions VI: Ragin’ Cajun, April 2, 1989

3 Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat – Intercontinental Championship Match: WrestleMania III

2 Bret Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – Submission Match: WrestleMania 13

1 The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels: The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania

 

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #30 Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A. (NWA United States Title, I Quit, Steel Cage, NWA Starrcade 1985)

20141106_EP_LIGHT_100best_2_home_nologo(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31355197/?contentId=31355197&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=starrcade )

On the rare occasion, it’s hard to decipher what’s real and what’s fake in wrestling. Matt Hardy attacking Edge after being fired springs to mind as what fans call a ‘shoot’ event. In other words, a wrestling event that’s real. Of course, it wasn’t, but at the time it felt legitimate. There’s a hint of a ‘shoot’ match whenever Brock Lesnar enters the ring and hurls his opponents around the ring. The legendary cage match between Tully Blanchard and Magnum T.A. is one I’ve been meaning to watch for a long time. I’ve heard so many good things about it. At times, it resembles a ‘shoot’ match, as the two wrestlers roll around on the floor with each other. That’s more of a curse than a blessing, in my opinion. Maybe my hopes were too high, but Magnum TA and Tully Blanchard failed to entertain me in any meaningful way. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #31 Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn (ECW Television Title, ECW Hardcore Heaven 1999)

20141106_EP_LIGHT_100best_2_home_nologo(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31356689/?contentId=&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=hardcore_heaven )

Rob Van Dam vs Jerry Lynn worked magic in the ring back in ECW’s prime. Although they had to pander to the hardcore style of ECW, they worked around that necessity to bring in high-flying, rapid action that gave you something new every other minute. You’ve probably heard of RVD if you’re a fan of WWF/WWE, but Jerry Lynn was/is (not sure if he still wrestles!) one of the most underrated wrestlers in the world. The two had three Best 100…List worthy bouts in ECW. I accidentally watched their brilliant bout at ECW Living Dangerously 1999 instead of #31, at ECW Hardcore Heaven 1999. Both are worth watching, but I would posit their Living Dangerously bout as the superior match. Continue reading