Rob & Reverse Hipster's Top Ten Matches of All Time
These are the ten matches that are the best, in our opinion. This list will give you insight into who we are as fans and what we value in wrestling. We stuck to WWE in this list. Hopefully, after reading, you will go to peacock or the WWE Network to watch some of these matches when you are done with the list. I know I will.
10. Money In The Bank Wrestlemania 23
I loved it when money in the bank used to be at Wrestlemania. It felt special, and it gave many deserving superstars a mania match, and it was guaranteed to deliver. This particular money in the bank will always be special to me because it was the first one I ever saw. I've seen pretty much all of them since, but this one still stands out to me.
It was a demolition derby, and it felt like the refs were just there to cart off anyone who broke down. At one point, Jr said maybe the last person breathing would win this match, and that doesn't seem like an exaggeration. This match highlighted every superstar and had tremendous spots like Randy rkoing everyone or Jeff destroying Edge instead of grabbing the case. Matt hardy threatening to give Queen Sharmell the twist of fate, forcing Booker T to choose between his wife and the case.
This match had huge spots and cool individual stories, as well as being star-studded. The least accomplished person in the match was the winner, Kenedy, and this was meant to propel him, but it worked out anyway because it propelled Edge. Lastly, this match is super rewatchable. Even knowing what happened, it will still make your hairs stand up as you watch.
9. Brett Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin Wrestlemania 13
I love the story of this match. I love that Stone Cold and Brett Hart pulled off the double turn. Brett Hart felt like fans had betrayed him by getting behind a guy like Austin. Honestly, he is justified, but Brett Hart goes so hard to destroy Austin in this match that he ends up destroying himself and turning into the bad guy because of the lengths he was willing to go to destroy Austin. Austin doesn't really change who he is. He just earns the respect of the WWE fans by refusing to give up no matter what Brett Hart did to him. That night Brett Won the match, but Austin won the fans.
I loved this match not only because of the story but the clash of styles. Austin was more smash-mouth, and Brett was more Technical. Brett outwrestled Austin, but he also showed how vishish he could be. I also enjoyed watching a match so intense that Hart wasn't even satisfied with winning because he couldn't get Austin to say the words. Also, the action is still enjoyable today.
8. Team Smackdown vs Team Raw Survivor Series 2016
I love the Survivor Series match elimination matches. It was a love that started when I saw smackdown and Raw feud in 05. I love it when Story and Wrestling peak together. One of my favorite aspects of the Survivor series is that bitter Rivals often work together for one night only in an unholy alliance while they have a common enemy. Also, you get to form two super teams and watch them collide.
I think the 2016 Survivor Series perfected the survivor series match. They had built believable animosity between the two brands, and they had fought back and forth for weeks in what felt like a real rivalry of egos. The action in the ring was spectacular, and the teams were built well. Each team had serval interesting storylines going. As well as several exciting interferences and even a shield reunion despite 2/3 being on the opposite team and it all made sense, and it all built climatically. This match, in my opinion, is the perfect Survivor Series match in terms of hows it's built and its winner.
7. Charlotte Flair vs Sasha Banks vs Becky lynch Wrestlemania 32
This match should have been the main event of the night. I genuinely think you can link all of the women's future main event matches to this one. Sasha and Becky, and Charlotte went on Wrestlemania 32 and put on a wrestling clinic the likes of which we have never seen from the women before that point. I think this was the match when that got the general audience to realize the men and the women were equal skill-wise.
Each woman looked like a superstar in this match looked like anyone could have won at different points. I feel like their sequencing was perfect during this match. They just kept raising the stakes until something finally gave. This was the match the new title and the new Era of Women deserved.
6. Bray Wyatt vs John Cena Wrestlemania 36
The Bray Wyatt and Fiend firefly funhouse match is one of the most creative matches I have ever seen. It took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. I laughed, I cheered, and I sat on the edge of my seat as Bray turned it on its ear and got dramatic. I love the idea that this whole match was a trial for John Cena like never before, going through his career the history of business and showing Cena he really was the villain all along. This is probably the one time you will ever see Cena play the heel, and it was terrific. Also, this match stays true to their original feud. Bray has finally convinced John he is the monster. I love both of these superstars and this match, and it doesn't get old. It's still amazing every time you watch it. Also, it was a huge career win for Bray.
5. Brock Lesnar vs John Cena Extreme Rules 2013
I have had plenty of problems with Brocks run over the years, but I loved his initial run in WWE when he returned. His feud with Cena was electric. Right away, he came in and busted open the top dog in WWE. Brock was fresh from Ufc, so he presented a unique challenge. His match with John Cena at extreme rules is one of my favorites because it was so brutal nobody has dominated John Cena the way Brock did. That made it all the more impressive when John Cena won.
It's hard to make John Cena an underdog at this point in his career, but Brock did it easily. It was a great David and Goliath Story; this match wasn't lol Cena wins. This is the stuff myths are made of. The hero John Cena meets an insurmountable villain in Brock, and with his last gasp, John is barely able to defeat the beast after an epic clash.
4. Cesaro vs John Cena 2 Raw 7/6/15
This is the match where I became a fan of Cesaro. John Cena was on one of his hottest runs ever as the united states champion. Cesaro answered his open challenge, and they had an instant classic. Cesaro showed off the fact that he is the best wrestler in the world. It's a long match filled with creative spots and false finishes, feats of strength, and each guy pushes the other to pull something new out of their bag of tricks. They were magic in their first match, but Kevin Owen's interfered. However, the Sequel is even better, and we get a strong finish. If you haven't seen this match, and even if you have, just go back and watch it again.
3. WWF vs The Alliance 2001
A lot of people hate the invasion. I'm not one of them. I was under five during the Monday night wars, so a lot of my exposure to WCW and those superstars is through going back. When I stumbled into this match, I was enthralled. I still quote Vince in the hype package every once in a while "winner takes all winner, winner takes all." From my perspective, this one of the most extraordinary things to happen in WWE an invasion from a rival company and a survivor series type match with the biggest stars of the time, and the loser loses their entire company. The stakes couldn't be any higher; the match had so many superstars on the alliance side. There was RVD Booker T Stone, Cold Steve Austin Shane McMahon. Ok, here me out on Shane. Yes, he isn't the best superstar, but putting his neck on the line for his company was a great story. Also, the other side had the brothers of destruction, the Rock Jericho and the Big Show. It's an epic clash with a great twist.
2. The Wyatts vs The Shield Eliminations 2014
This was and is truly special. I am a massive fan of the Wyatts, and I have been since 2013. I love this match because there were no faces. Two of the biggest Heel faction bullies were battling it out, and you just had to pick a side. It was incredible. They teased this match before it happened with a miscommunication and brawl between the two teams while beating up the babyfaces, and the crowd went insane. Bray stopped the fight, and they refocused on beating up the babyfaces. However, they knew they had the crowd after that.
The match lived up to that moment as every superstar upped their game I that match and showed how good they were as individuals and a team. The rivalry felt real, like each team wanted to prove to the fans that they were the absolute top dogs, and the other faction couldn't hold a candle to them. The result was perfectly ironic and satisfying. Go back and watch this match if you haven't seen it. I only wish they would have saved this match for WrestleMania.
1.Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels Wrestlemania 25
Finally, Shawn vs. Taker at Wrestlemania 25. This is my favorite match because the story and match quality are peaking at the same time. The Undertaker's undefeated streak really is the greatest streak there was. Shawn was the perfect candidate to try and beat it. These two are two elite competitors, and at Wrestlemania 25, they were at the top of the game. Shawn tried everything to beat Taker's streak, even going for a count-out victory, and every time the Undertaker rose again. Taker tried everything to put Shawn away, but on that night, he just wouldn't give up until eventually, Shawn made a mistake, and his body just couldn't take anymore, and Taker pinned him. That night it felt like Shawn came up against an immortal and held his own and only lost because of the limitations of his early body. The match was flawless. The in-ring psychology was impeccable. This match exemplifies not only what the streak was about but what wrestling is about.
Going through the past fifteen years of watching every wrestling show, I had so many honorable mentions that I decided to limit myself to three that almost made the list: Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks (WrestleMania 32), Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (Royal Rumble), and the Women’s War Games match (NXT Takeover War Games 2019).
10. Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro, Best 2 out of 3 Falls (NXT, 2013)
When I finalized this list, I was surprised how much I prioritized story and star power over work rate. I’m hoping this inclusion makes up for that. Early NXT is so underrated. You just knew they were on the verge of something incredible, and the talent was basically the best wrestlers on the roster today. This match told the story of Antonio Cesaro coming back to NXT, disgruntled and underused on the main roster and seeking to destroy rookies in NXT to make himself look better. He ran into way more than he bargained for with Sami Zayn. These were two guys trying to outperform each other. The sequences were impressive, and some of the moves I had never seen before. Cesaro walked away with the win, but that doesn’t tell the full results of the match. Zayn is maybe one of the best babyface wrestlers ever. When I first saw this match, I thought Zayn was maybe the best wrestler I had ever seen. I thought they should give this guy the NXT title and then the WWE title. If anyone watches this match, I would dare them to disagree that either of these guys deserve a world title.
9. AJ Styles vs. John Cena (WWE Royal Rumble, 2017)
This was, pun intended, a monumental styles clash. There was a period of time where this was a dream match when John Cena was at the top of WWE and AJ Styles was at the top of TNA. Cena’s style is the WWE style to a tee, he’s big and strong, and he has many signature moves that he brings out in the biggest moments of the match. Styles has a very indie wrestling style with lots of technical and high flying moves with lots of variety. This was the third match between them, and Styles had been picking fun at Cena all year. Interestingly, Styles came in as the champion, and Cena was chasing a reign to tie Ric Flair’s record. All of this came together to create magic. Styles as champion had in a way become the Cena of the year, holding the title all year and finding his own WWE style. To beat Styles, Cena had to bring out new and creative moves and had a match in-ring that would go over in any company. There were so many false finishes and great sequences that I was on my feet by the end of this match, a credit to both guys involved.
8. Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Johnny Gargano (NXT Takeover: Philadelphia, 2018)
This was right in the middle of the golden age of NXT, and I think it best displays the brilliance of a one-on-one title match at Takeover. Johnny Gargano was THE babyface of NXT. He was having the best match on every NXT show. Gargano was mega-over, and the fans were hungry to see him become champion. Andrade “Cien” Almas was a new champion, proving he deserved that spot. Gargano and Almas had amazing chemistry with great technical and brutal spots. The contrast between their styles works perfectly. Gargano’s smaller size allows Almas to throw him around and showcase his strength in the same way he did in the Rey Mysterio feud. The match is truly incredible, and the crowd is hooked the whole time. This match also shows that ringside shenanigans can add to the match. Gargano’s wife Candice Lerae comes out to chase off Almas’s manager Zelina Vega. Throughout the match, Vega is doing anything to give Almas an edge, so the crowd goes crazy when Lerae takes care of her. After the match, during a standing ovation, the NXT logo pops up to note that it’s the end of the show, but Gargano is attacked from behind by returning former partner Tommasso Ciampa, launching the most significant feud in NXT history and adding a whole other layer to this match. It’s one of those matches I wish I could watch for the first time again from start to finish.
7. CM Punk vs. John Cena (WWE Raw, 2013)
Every good match list needs that one match on a non-PPV that just floored you. For me, this was that match. CM Punk was everything I loved about wrestling at this time. I loved the summer of punk, but I didn’t watch most of it live. I watched this Raw live, and I had to see who would win to be the number one contender for the title at WrestleMania. At this point, Punk still cared and thought he could win over Vince McMahon. After his mega-long championship reign, he was trying to prove that he deserved to be champion again. These two pulled out stuff I never imagined from them. Cena pulled out the hurricanrana, and Punk used the piledriver at a time that it had been banned for years. The result was unreal. These two guys were trying to one-up each other, and in my mind, this was their best match yet. Cena won and went on to face the Rock again, but the lead up to how they got there and everything involving Punk will always be what I remember.
6. Edge and Christian vs. Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley vs. the Hardy Boyz (WrestleMania 17, 2001)
TLC 2. I don’t know what I can write about this match that hasn’t been said already. The way the match came together was perfect. These were the best three teams of the generation that crossed paths numerous times. They had a unique chemistry, and it gave the whole match a nuanced backstory with meaning and throwbacks for every high spot. The fact that they all brought their signature weapon to create an entirely different match is so cool. The whole match itself is a train wreck that you can’t look away from. The high spots are perfectly paced out, and these six would do anything to get over. They had an amazing run-in spot with Lita, Rhyno, and Spike Dudley. In my mind, they stole the night that many think is the best PPV in WWE history. The high spots they made are in every highlight reel, and the match they had is immortal. It holds up on every rewatch.
5. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne (NXT Takeover: Chicago, 2017)
I have a bias for this match because I watched it live. It’s the best match I’ve ever seen live, and it’s going to be hard to top for future events I go to. Looking at the card and thinking back to their first match during the UK Championship tournament, I thought this had potential to steal the show, and it did. The match only went fifteen minutes, but these two slowly built a classic. They have great chemistry and had amazing spots. Tyler Bate is an incredible babyface wrestler, but the hardcore crowd was rooting for Pete Dunne. I’ll admit Dunne won me over by the end. The crowd pops for everything these two do, including a slow punching spot and high spots that get an American crowd to chant “U-K”. The finish is incredible, Bate dives to the outside and Dunne hits him with a forearm, quickly rolling him into the ring for his bitter end finish. This match kicked off Dunne’s championship reign, the longest of the modern era. It put Bate, Dunne, and NXT UK on the map, stealing a Takeover during the start of the golden era of NXT.
4. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley (NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, 2015)
In my mind, this is still the best match in NXT history. Bayley as a character was mega-over in NXT. NXT KNOWS how to make babyfaces, and she was a loveable character. Sasha Banks was a chip-on-her-shoulder heel champion. The character contrast was there, and the chemistry in-ring was amazing. Their entrances set the tone that this was the main event no matter what spot they were in. Bayley and Banks set out to tell an underdog story, and they did just that. Banks found a way to make submission spots brutal, stomping on Bayley’s hands, and Bayley sold the hell out of the submission reaching the ropes out of desperation. The finish is immortalized in my mind. The reverse hurricanrana off the top rope is one of the most dangerous spots I’ve ever seen, and it was insane to see it done by the women. The trust that was necessary for that spot could only be executed by great friends and great wrestlers. There’s a case to be made that this put women’s wrestling on the map in WWE. This was the first time the women’s match was universally the most-praised match on the show. Their feud went on to have the first women’s ironman match and first women’s main event in NXT, starting a trend that continued on the main roster, first gimmick matches for the women concluding in the first time that women main evented WrestleMania. Neither of them were in that match, but in my opinion, Bayley and Banks did that.
3. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (WrestleMania 21, 2005)
You never forget your first. This was the first PPV I watched live. This match is the one where I fell in love with pro wrestling, and I go back to it often. Shawn Michaels is my favorite wrestler of all time, and this match is a great example of why. Built on little, this feud was about the contrast of a showoff pro wrestler and effective amateur wrestler. They had an amazing match, and it taught me so much about what I love in a match. The early match starts slow and builds. It subverts expectations because Michaels is outwrestling Kurt Angle on the mat. The sequences in the middle are fast-paced with lots of reversals and near-falls. The high-spots are memorable: Angle hit an angle slam from the top rope and missed a moonsault trying to beat Michaels at his own game. The finish is dramatic. Name someone better at selling a submission than Michaels. He is in Angle’s ankle lock for over a minute, selling it the whole time and getting the crowd to bite every time he moves his hand until he finally taps out. I couldn’t rate this match any higher, but because of it’s place in my history with wrestling, it will always have a spot on my lists.
2. Undertaker vs. Mankind (King of the Ring, 1998)
I shouldn’t have to sell you on this match, but I will give you the rundown anyways. I’ll even give you the better notes from knowing some of what happened backstage. This is one of the first Hell in a Cell matches, and Mankind starts the match on top of the cage. Undertaker chases him down and throws him off. You’ve seen it a thousand times, but really watch it again, Undertaker throws Mankind over 20 feet off the cell and through the table. If you’re a casual fan, here’s what you don’t know: Mankind is stretchered out. Because they didn’t plan for how big the cell would be, it takes about five minutes to raise the cell back up so they can fit a stretcher through to get Mankind. The whole time Undertaker is on top of the cage, and he is in-real-life terrified of heights. Undertaker stays in character, but you can see this if you watch it back. With the cell raised, he is likely forty feet above the arena, and because it’s one of the first cells, it’s not built that well. I genuinely think, in this moment, Mankind is being told by medics to go to the hospital, but he gets off the stretcher and comes back. The cell comes back down, and Mankind climbs back on it. Undertaker choke slams him on top of the cell. The panel gives out, Mankind takes a flat back bump fifteen feet down in the middle of the ring. The back of his head hits a steel chair, he bites a piece of his tongue off, loses some teeth, and likely has a concussion. I’m convinced this spot was completely improvised and wasn’t supposed to happen. The cell up there is kept on with zip ties. Parts of it break when Undertaker walks on it, and why would they go for this spot with the risk of the chair in-ring decapitating Mankind? The ring isn’t gimmicked, and it doesn’t give. Mankind absorbs the impact of a fifteen foot back bump with his body. Mankind is stretchered out again. If he wasn’t supposed to come back last time, he definitely isn’t supposed to this time, but come back he does. If you’re a hardcore fan, here’s what you don’t know: Mankind comes back from two of the most brutal bumps in WWE history, and proceeds to have one of the best hell in a cell matches of all time with the Undertaker. Mankind takes more brutal spots: he is slammed into the cage, hit with steel stairs, and takes a bump on thumbtacks. Undertaker drops him on his head during the tombstone piledriver finish and holds him down. Mankind is so concussed, he doesn’t know he isn’t supposed to kick out, so Undertaker has to physically hold him down for the finish. Undertaker played his vicious role to perfection, but Mankind leaves to one of the biggest ovations in WWE history. Even though this match wouldn’t be approved by current WWE standards (both Vince McMahon and Mick Foley have said they would never do it again), this match fulfilled every promise of Hell in a Cell. This match is the legend of Foley. He would do absolutely everything to entertain the fans, even at the risk of being permanently physically injured. The match without the two cell spots would still be worthy, but starting with both those spots and still finishing the match shows Foley is one of the toughest SOB’s of all time.
1. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 25,2009)
It’s taken me a while to come to this conclusion, but this might truly be the two greatest wrestlers of all time. Toward the end of both of their careers, with physical limitations, they had what many agree is the best WWE match of all time. The build to this match was everything. These two had crossed limited times despite being in WWE together for 20 years. This match showed that the best matches aren’t actually fights over a title or who is the best. This was a clash of two guys values, the darkness vs. the light. Ominous promos built intrigue for this match, but we knew they would back it up in-ring. Added to that was the clash of Undertaker’s growing streak and Shawn Michaels’s moniker as Mr. WrestleMania. By this point, I had a habit of predicting how great wrestling matches end. For Michaels, it was usually a reversal sequence, and I predicted Undertaker would win because of the streak. What Michaels moves would work to hit Undertaker’s tombstone finish? A moonsault into a tombstone was my prediction, and that was the finish, but everything about how we got there was a surprise. The match was long but paced perfectly. It had intriguing spots scattered throughout. Burned into my memory is the deadly dive that took out Undertaker when Michaels moved the cameraman in the way. Undertaker looked like he should have got a concussion, landing directly on his head. I will also never forget the face Undertaker makes when Michaels kicks out of the first tombstone. He literally can’t believe that Michaels kicked out after his best move. People have tried to imitate that spot, but it’s never been topped. People have tried to imitate this match, but it’s never been topped. Maybe it’s a statement about the time it takes to build two legends to the point that this match was as significant as it is. Or maybe it’s just a statement that it took the two greatest superstars of all time to give us the greatest match of all time.
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