Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches: #68 AJ Styles (c) vs. John Cena (WWE Championship Match, Royal Rumble 2017)

AJ Styles vs John Cena from the Royal Rumble 2017 is the most recent match on the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List. It’s strange that there’s nothing from 2016…the year that had the mind-blowing match between Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura! However, out of the three matches between Styles and Cena, I’m not sure whether I’d put their second bout on this list instead of this bout. Their first “dream” match as a letdown, their second match was brilliant. But the third match relied on Cena’s attempt to match Ric Flair’s record of holding sixteen World heavyweight championship titles. There’s no denying it was a great match. But I do prefer their second bout… Continue reading

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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)

(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 WWE Network’s 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 List, at #64 (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: #12 The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (WWE Title, No Disqualification. WWE Wrestlemania X-7)

(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31599441?contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania&contentId=69745716&watchlistAltButtonContext=series )

Is this the best WrestleMania main event ever? The WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List would have you believe it’s Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII in an Iron Man match (placed at #10. Click here for my review!). I’m here to tell you that the Iron Man match is a borefest (if I remember correctly). The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania X-7 is surely the best ‘Mania main event ever at the top of one of the best Manias ever. Austin vs The Rock had everything, from a good build, a clash of two top stars, drama, blood and a delicious twist. It represented everything great about the Attitude Era whilst signalling the end of said era. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #33 Edge vs. John Cena (WWE Title, TLC Match. WWE Unforgiven 2006)

(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31303851/?contentId=&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=unforgiven )

Is this really the best singles TLC match in WWE (before the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List was published, obviously!)? Of course, the heavy hitters are further up the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List, but they are tag team TLC matches. I’m not dismissing this TLC match pitting John Cena vs Edge at all. It’s a good bout, probably one of the best that the two had during their memorable feud. But it’s dragged down by being little more than a spotfest and Cena’s underselling. Edge is also guilty of underselling, which undermines the great effort put into this bout. I just don’t think the match deserves to be on the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List. Continue reading

Does Bray Wyatt Really Deserve A World Title?

bray-wyatt-titleChants of “You Deserve it!” are commonplace among the WWE crowds of modern times. AJ Styles, Sasha Banks, Kevin Owens and Finn Balor are among the notable wrestlers to receive this chant after winning their first World title (or in Banks’ case, the Women’s title). On this week’s edition of Smackdown, Bray Wyatt was the most recent recipient of this chant. But just because a crowd chant it, does it make it valid? Did Bray Wyatt deserve to win the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber 2017? I can’t fault his character in anyway. While his mumbling, enigmatic but empty promos lost their attraction after his feud with John Cena, for the past few months they’ve regained their power. However, character is not everything in WWE. Wins and losses and feuds matter as well. In those areas, Wyatt is severely lacking. So does he really deserve it?  Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches: #42 Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE Title, WWE Wrestlemania XIX)

(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31348385/?contentId=31348385&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=survivor_series)

Would you expect anything less than a classic from Brock Lesnar (in his first WWE run) and Kurt Angle? At that point in Lesnar’s career, he was starting to have great matches. He finally began to understand how to work a match. And what else can you say about Kurt Angle, the man who could fight a blow up doll and have a great match? Angle vs Lesnar was a dream match that had to happen at some point. However, Angle had a serious neck injury heading into the bout. His presence at ‘Mania XIX was in doubt for weeks before the show. Watch the documentary ‘The Mania of WrestleMania’ for a deeper look into his troubles. For the entire match, I cringed and closed my eyes as Angle was suplexed hard and dropped on his neck a few times. It was a tough watch, knowing that Angle could be paralysed with one wrong move. But afterwards, I knew I had watched one of the great (and underappreciated) WrestleMania main events. Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches: #44 Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind (WWE Championship Match, WWE In Your House: Mind Games)

(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31317649/?contentId=31317649&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=in_your_house)

In his autobiography, Mick Foley calls this match against Shawn Michaels his favourite match. It’s debatable, of course, but I tend to agree with him purely in the sense that it’s probably his best ‘wrestling’ match. It’s not the usual Foley hardcore match. For almost half an hour, Foley/Mankind and Michaels (mostly) wrestle without liberal use of weapons. Mankind’s probably in the shape of his career here, and he runs about just as much as HBK does. We see a more aggressive side of HBK, which adds a different slant to the match. The question before the bout was: “How can Michaels cope with the unpredictability of Mankind?” The answer? Be just as unpredictable. What results is probably the best WWE match of 1996 (yes, it is miles better than the inaugural Iron Man match that is #10 on the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List! Click here for my review). Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches: #53 Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE Title, 60-Minute Iron Man Match, WWE Smackdown, September 18, 2003)

(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31370751?contextType=wwe-show&contextId=smackdown_replays&contentId=68037212)

How can two people wrestle for one hour straight? We’ve seen five one hour Iron Man matches in the history of the WWE. The only other one included on the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List is the inaugural 60 Minute Iron Man match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at #10. That one, I’d say, is vastly overrated (click here for my review!). We’ve seen the perfect template for a 30 Minute Iron Man match at #87 between Rick Rude and Ricky Steamboat (click here for my review). Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle take that template and stretch it out to an hour. For my money, they also gave us the best Iron Man match in WWE history (closely followed by the 60 Minute Iron Man match between Triple H and The Rock at Judgment Day 2000). Lesnar and Angle batter, pummel and suplex each other silly for a whole hour! Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches: #55 John Cena (c) vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship, WWE Summerslam 2013)

(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31280129/?contentId=31280129&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=summerslam)

Why isn’t this match higher on the list? This is one of the great Summerslam main events of all time! It’s Daniel Bryan vs John Cena, babyface vs (ostensible) babyface in a clash that was a little reminiscent of Cena vs CM Punk. The crowd were almost entirely pro-Bryan; instead of the typical duelling chants of ‘Let’s go Cena’/ ‘Cena sucks,’ Bryan’s catchphrase ‘Yes’ was the mantra of the match. On any given night, Bryan was guaranteed to put on a great wrestling match. Here, in front of thousands of fans chanting his name and his catchphrase, he wrestled like a man possessed. Let’s not forget Cena’s part in this match. When pushed, Cena can wrestle with the best of them, and usually puts on a cracking show when the heat is on. The two created something special at Summerslam 2014! Continue reading

Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches: #73 Bret Hart (c) vs. The 1-2-3 Kid (WWE Title, WWE RAW, July 11, 1994)

I imagined early 1990s Monday Night Raw as a series of boring squash matches. This entry proves me wrong! Obviously, I didn’t factor in Bret Hart into my squash match theory. Nor did I factor in the 1-2-3 Kid (known in the Attitude Era as X-Pac). Here, the 1-2-3 Kid put on a blistering display that leaves anything he did in the Attitude Era in the dust. Bret Hart could always be relied on to put on a good match, but in this WWF Championship bout, he works harder than usual to put on a great show. Continue reading