10. Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Eddy Guerrero, Halloween Havoc 97
Rey Mysterio had defeated Eddie Guerrero on two separate occasions prior to this. Guerrero’s frustration had caused him to try to rip of Rey’s mask, which led to this legendary title vs mask bout at Halloween Havoc. This match is borderline perfect, I mean really the moves are almost pulled off flawlessly. These are not just hip tosses and head locks too, I mean crazy corkscrew spins, backflips and hurricarana’s out the ass. One can really see that these two were on point when Rey Mysterio hits the fanciest DDT of all time. This is no spot fest though, it is paced very well and Guerrero orchestrates like the virtuoso that he is. Guerrero stretches and beats down Rey Mysterio through out the match. Rey keeps trying to hit Guerrero with big high flying moves, but the champ is just too sly for that. It’s interesting to see when Guerrero finally starts losing his concentration, it is subtle and not over acted like you would see in many other matches. Anyone who loves Jr Heavyweight action needs to see this one.
9. Cactus Jack vs. Triple H – Street Fight, Royal Rumble 2000
This is the match that started HHH’s brilliant streak in 2000. Mankind had rights to a title shot, but Triple H kept brushing him off. Mankind challenged HHH to a street fight, and HHH arrogantly accepted because quite frankly, Mankind was not in The Game’s league. However, HHH did not count on Mankind going into his alter ego in the hostile maniac Cactus Jack. The clean, rich, blue-blood champ who had the power of the McMahon regime at the palm of his hands, was forced into a New York City brawl. Even if you’re not familiar with the plot, it’s hard not to draw a smile when you see a douche like HHH who is all pretty getting his **** messed up by this hairy slob in Cactus. There are literally zero submission/grappling maneuvers in this match, but these two still transition from one spot to another very fell and fluently. The two men shred each others skin and bash each others bones in with thumbtacks, chairs, two by fours and even the ring bell. Cactus is brilliant here, you can tell that Cactus has only one thing on his mind and that is to hurt Hunter. In one part of the match, HHH has a steel chair and lures Cactus into fighting him despite Jack being unarmed. Cactus doesn’t give a damn and runs head first into a hard chair shot. It’s just great psychology all around, and a real pleasure to watch these two men kill each other.
8. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart – Iron Man, Wrestlemania 12
Both Michaels and Hart are often cited as the greatest workers in North America, and during this point in time there really was no other wrestler better in the States than these two. What the WWF was going for was an epic athletic competition, and that is what they delivered that night. Wrestlemania 12 is quite literally a one match show, with the Ironman match clocking lasting a full hour. What made this match was just the athletic story it told. These two men (who for what ever reason looked cooler than ever that night), were just so evenly match, both men trying to out wrestle each other technically. The mid point of the match got kind of dull, but the final act of it has flawless execution. This match match was booked to look like as much of a sport as possible, which is really what wrestling is about.
7. Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair, Clash of The Champions VI
This was the sequel to the Chi-Town rumble in which Ricky Steamboat had finally won the belt from Nature Boy in a near hour battle. The two fought each other on free national tv on Clash of the Champions VI. In order to ensure that the best man truly won, it was changed from 1 fall to 2. The hype to this match was huge, and this became a true instant classic in which many people including Terry Funk claimed that it was the best match they had ever seen. These two wrestlers wrestle a long ass match yet go at a fast rate with a variety of moves, but that was expected giving these two cardio machines. While Steamboat was often kicking Flair’s ass, he would make one mistake where Flair would totally take advantage of and turn the tables. The two would work on certain parts of the body, and who ever got worked on would sell it wonderfully. It’s really a match of high drama, and you can’t tell when a fall will come which is why this match has aged so well despite the out come being well known.
6. The Rock vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Wrestlemania 17
The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin both reprsented the Attitude Era to the fullest extent. Both were edgy, over the top and unpredictable. These two had clashed many times, but for what ever reason their fight at Wrestlemania 17 always feels like it is the biggest. The aura surrounding the fight is similar to Floyd Mayweather fighting Manny Pacquiao, it just feels like the answer to who the really best in the world will be decided by this contest. These two came out guns slinging, nothing but a ton of punches, clothslines, kicks and a crapload of weapons. It’s classic Attitude Era style, not to mention a few ounces of drama and a very unpredictable twist supplied by Vince McMahon.
5. The Undertaker vs. Mankind – Hell In A Cell, King of The Ring ’98
The first Hell in a Cell was praised with huge recepetion, often cited as one of the greatest matches of all time. When Undertaker and Mankind had to have a second one, they needed to raise the bar – and in order to not disapoint the fans they delivered two of the most notorious, impressive, dangerous and replayed spots in WWE history. Mick Foley had gone back to his Mankind persona after Vince firing Dude Love from the company. Though this Mankind was different from the one that we saw in 96 (who happened to have a big feud with the Undertaker as well). His outfit changed and his demonor was even different, seeming a bit more human than his previous incarnation. However, Mankind still had a mean streak and he was feuding with The Undertaker. Undertaker wanted to hurt Mankind badly, so the two decided to bring back the Hell in a Cell for the second time. This is really more of a spectacle than a wrestling match. The two spots that Foley took were shocking, and watching live many people thought Foley would be hurt seriously. An underrated memorable moment is when Foley is being taking back for medical attention, and everyone really does think the match is over (even the guys backstage and what not) – but Foley gets off the stretcher and runs back to continue the match. Aside from the spots, this match also offers a high level of brutality, and this is probably the biggest ass whooping in Pro Wrestling to date.
4. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart, Wrestlemania 10
Bret Hart and Lex Luger had the most controversial ending at Royal Rumble. It was declared they both were eliminated at the same time, thus granting them both a title shot at Wrestlemania. This meant that champion Yokozuna had to wrestle two people in one night. Yoko decided to wrestle Lex Luger first, with Bret facing the winner of that bout later that night. However, in all fairness Bret was also to be given an exhibition match. It was then that his jealous younger brother, who was bitter that Bret was getting all the spot light and a title shot stepped up to the plate. Owen Hart was tired of people undermining him, and he was going to beat Bret and prove that he was the real deal. This match is technical brilliance. When you think about it, the amazing chemistry shouldn’t be a shock. I mean I’d imagine that Bret and Owen had wrestled each other countless times before. Everything they do seems so flawless, almost like a dance of sorts. It’s a technical masterpiece because even a casual fan can look at these two competitors exchanging holds as opposed to out right brawling and still be highly entertained. This was a match that has grown like fine wine, and as more years pass by more people start to like it. This was also the match where people truly realized how good Owen Hart was.
3. Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage, Wrestlemania 3
While many people remembered Wrestlemania 3 for its theatrics in Hogan vs Andre, another breed of fan fondly recalls the battle between Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage. Savage had crushed Ricky’s throat with a bell months prior which nearly ended "The Dragon’s" career. The two were finally slated for a rematch, and Ricky went all out. One thing that is great about this match is that we saw a ferocity that we rarely see in Steamboat One could tell that he was really pissed off even though he was not resorting to mindless brawling. Even though Steamboat is mad, it’s still hard not to root for him. Even though I’ve seen this match quite a few times, I still find myself thinking "How is Steamboat going to get out of this?" or "Hell yeah Steamboat, chop his ass again". The two put on a wrestling clinic which stood the test of time and influenced countless other wrestlers. It’s really the perfect blend of 80s wrestling, psychology and choreography. When they both start going at high speeds, Steamboat gets too predictable and Savage puts his ass down. Which then leads toward the finale where Savage tries to end Steamboat’s career for good with the bell. In the end poetic justice is served. It’s text book wrestling.
2. Bret Hart vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin – Submission Match, Wrestlemania 13
There may be no match that holds greater impact than Bret Hart vs "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. This match defined the marking of a new era. When people try to look to when the WWF switched from the "New Generation" to the "Attitude Era" many will come to this bench mark. This was a feud that was built up for nearly a full year, before the two were matched up in this no DQ submission match for the #1 contendership to the WWE title. The previous year Bret had lost his belt to Shawn Michaels, and as a result took a long hiatus. While Hart’s career took a halt, Austin’s career was sky rocketing as a winner of the "King of the Ring". He was looking to make an even bigger name for himself, so he began calling out the Hitman. After months of harassment the two would meet at the Survivor Series in which Hart would come out victor. Austin was still not satisfied, he continued to tarnish Hart at any chance he got. Hart’s patience was growing thin, especially since Austin had eliminated Hart at the Royal Rumble (after Austin was thrown out the match himself no less). The two giant egos would collide one final time, when these men would have to wrestle in a match where one man had to say uncle in order to lose. It’s the story of the unstoppable force versus the unmovable object. Hart was the greatest technical wrestler in the federation, offensively he had a huge advantage. However, Austin had a toughness that was unparalleled by anyone. Austin will not give up no matter what. While this match had two very technically proficient wrestlers, this bout was very brutal. These guys fought all over the arena, hitting each other with a bunch of **** and trading painful submission holds. Austin screaming while blood was dripping down his face is one of the most iconic images in Pro Wrestling. This also showed a rare double turn in which Austin entered the match as a heel, but left as a face despite his personality not changing, that hint of gray between the black and white lines is really what painted the Attitude Era.
1. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker, Wrestlemania 25
What makes this match so great is that despite the fact that there was no title on the line, both men are in their 40s and Shawn Michaels was a huge underdog, everyone still expected excellence. However the real crazy thing is that this match delivered exactly all of that and more. Michaels had defeated JBL and Vladimir Kozlov in order to gain the privilege to fight The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Michaels wanted to cement himself as a legend of Wrestlemania, his task was to end the longest streak on the grandest stage of them all. For weeks Michaels would get into the Undertaker’s head, something that the Undertaker was used to dishing but not receiving. The introduction to this match is bone chilling. Michaels is wearing an outfit similar to Undertaker’s except it is colored white, and he descends from the heavens. Undertaker of course ascends from below while wearing his text-mark black outfit. The entire event just had a big match feeling to it. The two worked a match with fantastic psychology that was unmatched that year. Michaels was light on his feet, trying to take Undertaker off guard and hitting him with submissions to slow the dead man down. When ever Undertaker could grab a hold of Michaels he would make the best out of his opportunity by hitting Michaels with a high impact maneuver. These two are just masters at their craft, every move that they did seemed bigger than what it really was. Even though Undertaker was the favorite, these two put on such a compelling match that you would really get lost in the near falls. Heck, even the count-out falls had my heart racing. As J.R. said these two put on a match that makes you want to get up and be proud to be a wrestling fan.