Thursday, 2 March 2017

My Top 10 matches of ALL Time By Nathan K Major

Alright, it's time for me to show my hand, I've sent out my opinions on wrestling for a few months now, but what are my favourites? Well, I'm about to tell you, but before I do, a few points of things you won't see on my list: Any Hulk Hogan matches, I've only ever had the luxury of looking back at Hogan's career, but in my humble opinion, as much as I respect his drawing power, I really don't like his matches, sorry. You also won't see Bret Hart matches, his matches are good, they just don't rank among my favourites, even though I enjoy them. You'll also notice that I have very varied tastes in wrestling, enough talk let's list.

Honourable Mentions:

Triple H vs The Undertaker (WWE Wrestlemania 28)

Most people tend to only remember Undertaker's matches against Shawn Michaels a few years previous, what people tend to forget is how solid his matches with Triple H at 'Mania 27 and 28, their match at Wrestlemania 27 was a No Holds Barred match, with a great finish, but the Wrestlemania 28 match was a great story in itself, Billed as 'The End of An Era' and had Shawn Michaels as the special guest ref, the match itself was great, and the end visual, 'Taker, Triple H and Shawn Michaels supporting each other at the top of the ramp. Brilliant, but it doesn't break my Top 10.

Mankind vs The Undertaker (WWE King of the Ring 1998)

'What? Call yourself a Mick Foley super-fan but this match doesn't break the top 10?' I hear you cry, well, it isn't my favourite Mick Foley match (as you'll find out) and as iconic as this match is, it isn't his best, and if you don't agree, fight me.

Christopher Daniels vs AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe (TNA Unbreakable 2005)

The only TNA match to gain a perfect 5 stars from internet wrestling luvvie Dave Meltzer, and for good reason, the match eschews all previous three way tropes by all going at it full pelt for the entire match, it was a very tasty cake indeed, and genuinely one of the most innovative matches of it's time, still doesn't break the top 10 though.

Now it's time for the actual list, tie up your bootstraps and read on.
  1. Chris Hero vs Tomohiro Ishii (RPW Global Wars UK Night 1)
    Without a doubt my favourite match I've ever seen live, it's rare these days that a match can get me on the edge of my seat from bell to bell, Hero vs Ishii was one such match. Ishii was already one of my favourite current wrestlers going into this match in London, and even more so afterwards, this was, I make no exaggeration, bloody brutal. Two guys seeing how hard they can elbow each other before one of them dies, or passes out, that sounds less violent. Throughout the match, a story was built that Ishii wouldn't stay down, Hero would give him his most vicious elbows, and Ishii would spring straight back up, shaken but not out, it took a spinning forearm and a Gotch-style pile-driver to put away the angry Japanese pit-bull. Also, an elbow Hero gave Ishii gave him a massive purple bruise, I saw it in person, believe me it looked horrible, Ishii's HEAD did that. Unbelievable.
  1. Cactus Jack vs Triple H (WWE Royal Rumble 2000)
    I told you Mick Foley would appear again. So let's take you back to the start of 2000, Mick Foley was burnt out, and ready to retire, but not without one last main event run, bringing back his deranged Cactus Jack character to face Triple H in this street fight at the Rumble. First off the finish was Jolly old Saint Mick taking a pedigree onto thumb tacks, that's FACE FIRST onto sharp tacks. Prior to that, was a good 20 minutes of mental brutality and story telling, run ins from the Rock, a flaming barbed wire bat and blood, and at the end of the match, Mick had made Triple H look like an even bigger star, as Foley had a habit of doing.
  1. CM Punk vs Austin Aries (ROH Death Before Dishonor III)
The match that kicked off the first (and best) 'Summer of Punk' storyline. The story goes that Punk was going to WWE and leaving his home of Ring of Honor and the fans were ready to give him a great send off, he was competing in a ROH World Title match on his way out, so Punk was gonna lose right? Ha. No. This is Gabe Spolsky era ROH, he had a better idea. The two had a great match, and to the surprise of pretty much everyone, Punk pinned Aries with a Pepsi Plunge and the crowd lost their damn minds, after that Punk cut a promo that turned him heel and started, and I'm serious, the best story any wrestling company outside WWE has told, and this was the catalyst for that, also the match itself was great.
  1. John Cena vs AJ Styles (Royal Rumble 2017)

    After a career of wowing people wherever he went 'The Phenomenal One' finally arrived in WWE, and had one of the best first years in the company and on his one year anniversary he put on this stormer with John Cena. Prior to this, Styles owned two pin-fall victories over Cena, albeit with one screwy one. I was going to put their Summerslam 2016 match on here, but to me this one topped it, it's not very often that Cena comes in as somewhat of an underdog, and the story was hot, Cena hadn't beaten Styles, and he was chasing a record tying 16th World Title, and they had impossible levels of chemistry, no matter how much you criticise Cena, there's no denying that he pulls out the best main event matches of the last decade, and having Styles in the ring certainly doesn't hurt, it was in a word, amazing. And even though Styles lost. He looked damn strong doing it and Cena cemented his status as one of the greatest of all time.
    6. TLC II (Wrestlemania X-7)
    I'm not a complete hipster, sometimes I like my wrestling to be a delightful car crash, and that's exactly what this was. Three teams that had revolutionised tag team wrestling with the Triangle ladder match and the first TLC match, The Dudley's, Edge and Christian and the Hardy's walked into Wrestlemania X-7 with the goal of stealing the show, and walked out having contested a Wrestlemania classic, featuring death defying leaps and bumps, including Edge's now iconic spear on the dangling Jeff Hardy, creating an image that will live on in video packages for years to come.
  1. Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada (Wrestle Kingdom 11)
Everything that can be said about this match has already been said, within two days of it's occurrence it was being heralded as one of, if not the, greatest matches of all time. And it's a testament to these two men's work-rate to keep an entire world of wrestling fans on the edge of their seats. I like to think I've seen the bulk of things that can happen in wrestling and therefore, can be seen as a bit jaded, however, this match was the first time in a long time to have me on the edge of my seat through pretty much the entire match, not only did it tell an outstanding story over close to 50 minutes, and included things previously not usually seen in New Japan, like a table spot and a dive into the commentary area. Just when you thought this match was coming to an end, they hit the acceleration pedal again only to masterfully slow it down to a thrilling conclusion, maybe after further viewings it might make it's way further up the rankings.
  1. Tomohiro Ishii vs Katsoyuri Shibata (Wrestle Kingdom 10)
    Probably my most 'hipster' entrant in this list, however, strong style is just what I like, and it was not personified better in years than in this match, two of the biggest hitters in Japan not standing down from the fight at all, at one point head-butting each other head to head, and knowing how hard Ishii's head is, it's either really brave or really stupid of Shibata, also at one point both men took turns sitting down and kicking each other as hard as they can. This match is exactly the style of 'something different' that I love, in the same way I loved Hero vs Ishii, except multiplied by 1000 given who Ishii was in there with this time. Two of my favourites right now, making the most of the big stage, great stuff.

    3. The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels (WWE Wrestlemania 26)
    Oh, how many people have acclaimed the two matches between two of the greatest names in wrestling history, some people will say their first meeting is superior, I prefer this one, simply for the added drama of having Michaels' career on the line, oh and The Undertaker's reaction to Michaels kick out of the first tombstone was brilliant, the whole match was, it also helped that it was placed at the main event, where it should have been the year earlier, the two legends put together another masterpiece that stands with their previous meeting as the best matches Wrestlemania has ever offered, the fact that it's hard to pick negatives from both matches is a testament to both men's skill in building a match, long after both men have gone, this match will serve as their greatest legacy.

    2. Shinsuke Nakamura vs Sami Zayn (NXT Takeover: Dallas)
    I watched this match 5 times in the week after it took place, such was the impression it left on me. It was Wrestlemania weekend and one of Japan's biggest stars was landing in NXT, and standing across the way was one of NXT's mister reliable s, someone who'd help take NXT to where it was, Sami Zayn, what followed was an absolute wrestling clinic. The pace was blistering from the opening bell, Nakamura brought both his out of the world charisma and outstanding in-ring ability and mixed it with Zayn's considerable talents to create something truly special. Seeing the Boma Ye (now Kinshasa) in WWE was special for those who had seen Nakamura in Japan, as was seeing him bring his personality, unchanged and wholesale over to America and not losing his step for a second, he mesmerised the audience from the second he stepped in the arena, and built a five star classic that levels any match in wrestling history, and it was ALMOST my number one, but only one match could be number one for me...
  1. CM Punk vs John Cena (WWE Money in the Bank 2011)
I could only, in my heart of hearts, pick one match to rank at number one here. Sometimes a hot crowd can make a good match great, and in this matches case it took a great match and made it a legitimate 5-star classic. Coupled with the white hot story of Punk's contract being up, in front of Punk's home-town crowd giving the best atmosphere for a match in not just recent memory but possibly ever. CM Punk and John Cena had a special chemistry, in that, they seemed like they couldn't possibly have a bad match, but they both hit their peak here, with Cena in particular going out of his way to make Punk look every inch the star that he is, everything about this match was perfect, the story telling in the match, the big moments, the finish and Punk blowing that kiss goodbye to McMahon, it was all as close to perfect as it's possible to get it seems. This is truly a match that will live in wrestling memory, and also as my favourite match of all time.

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