While the sporting world remains on a hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Pro Wrestling has continued on for the most part.
The Scrap staff recently shared their all-time favorite MMA fights as now is a better time than ever to go back and relive some classic moments. But what about in the Pro Wrestling world? Well, here are our favorite matches.
Lee Brown (@Levanstian757): The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Nikita Koloff, Dusty Rhodes, and Paul Ellering vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, Tully Blanchard, and James J. Dillon) – War Games match – The Great American Bash (July 4, 1987)
As fan of wrestling, cage matches were customary. The only way to win was via pinfall or submission, not the first person to escape the cage. Cage matches were normally the way to put a cap on a long-standing feud.
The War Games match was a gimmick match used originally in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Two rings were enclosed inside a steel cage that also happened to have a roof as well. The combatants would enter through doors located on opposite ends of the enclosure. The initial two combatants would start the match off with alternating team members entering the fray every two minutes afterward. The match didn’t officially start until all combatants have entered the cage. Unlike other cage matches, the only way to win War Games is by submission or the other team surrenders.
The first War Games match took place on July 4, 1987, during The Great American Bash event. The matched pitted Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Road Warriors Hawk and Animal, and their manager Paul Ellering against Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, also known as The Four Horsemen. Along with their manager JJ Dillon. The team captained by Dusty Rhodes would go on to win the first War Games match.
Interesting tidbit, The Four Horsemen have only one victory in all the War Games matches they have participated in and the team consisted of Ric Flair, Larry Zbyszko, Barry Windham, and Sid Vicious.
The War Games matches of the past were so action-packed and most of the combatants were bloodied by the conclusion. The fight was full-go from bell-to-bell and War Games became a staple for NWA/WCW for years to come. The first War Games match set the bar so high that all others had big shoes to fill.
Drake Riggs (@DrakeRiggs_): “Woken” Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt – The Ultimate Deletion – Monday Night Raw (March 19, 2018)
When it comes to me as a wrestling fan, there are two sides … or dare I say eras. First, there was my childhood where I grew as an absolute WWE addict from like, around 2002 to maybe 2008ish. The days of Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar on Smackdown to I want to say somewhere right before Jeff Hardy finally became world champion.
Then secondly, there’s from 2016 to now where I understand the realities of pro wrestling for what it is. Adult eyes vs. child’s eyes, essentially – both of which still have terrible vision.
If you would have asked me what my all-time favorite match was prior to 2016, I probably would have said Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 20. The reasons for that need no explaining if you’ve seen it or were a fan during that time. But yes, of course, f*ck Benoit for the disgusting crimes he would end up committing.
The Hardy’s, Jeff more so than Matt, were always my favorites next to Michaels growing up. So once I started seeing and hearing rumblings online about the brothers in TNA (or was it Impact by then? Either one…) and what they were doing I was instantly intrigued and sucked back in all while repeating “What the f*ck?!”
Pro wrestling is one of the stupidest things ever, in my opinion. But I understand it for what is now and find it interesting for how it operates behind the scenes and the entertainment value that can be provided. Hence my love for everything to do with the Broken Hardy’s gimmick.
I loved the Final Deletion in Impact and all matches and antics that followed. If you don’t find any of that stuff hilariously amazing and creative then you need to lighten up. Once Matt finally returned to WWE I was DYING and hoping for him and Jeff to bring in their “Broken brilliance” ASAP. Unfortunately, we had to wait a decent while for that but got some teases in the build-up. Which in the end, worked out pretty alright.
It culminated with the Ultimate Deletion match between Matt and Bray Wyatt and that’s sadly pretty much where it died in the WWE. However, I was so beyond happy to see the WWE allow essentially exactly the same thing Matt had done to revive his career outside of their walls, now within them. It was just as silly and dumb as ever and WWE even gave it the deserved show-closing spot.
It just sucks that in typical WWE fashion, they ruined it all right after that.
Austin Luff (@AJMMA_): Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog – SummerSlam (1992)
When it comes to wrestling, in my opinion, the actual wrestling is only a small part of the match as a whole. When you look at Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog at WrestleMania as a whole, it does not get any better. The match itself is absolutely incredible from bell to bell. A technical masterpiece and a story that sets the two apart historically. It is no question that Bret Hart is the best pure wrestler of all time and Bulldog isn’t far behind him.
However, the technical masterpiece that I mentioned isn’t what makes this my favorite match. It is the setting, Davey Boy Smith wrestling at Wembley Stadium in front of 80,000 of his fellow Englishmen. The story told in the match, the finish, the deafening pop when Bulldog won, this is my favorite match of all time.
Rory Robinson (@RawrEWreckz): Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Psicosis – Bash at the Beach (1996)
Luchadores captivated my mind throughout my adolescence and my favorite of all time is Psicosis. The costume, the theme music, and most importantly the move-set isolated him from the others. Although categorized as a “cruiserweight,” Psicosis always appeared so much bigger than his opposition.
His hybrid style of Lucha high impact moves fused with a serious mechanical skill made him must-see TV for me. In my estimation, one of the most slept on rivalries in pro wrestling history is Psicosis vs. Rey Misterio. One of their best competitions occurred at Bash at the Beach in 1996.
In my opinion, this piece of Rey’s career was the peak of his athleticism and high flying. Psicosis performed as the ideal foil for Rey because he could sell, understood Rey’s movements, and could match his Lucha enthusiasm.
My favorite part of the match is when Psicosis joined Rey at the top turnbuckle. He put Rey in place to deliver a Crucifix powerbomb but Misterio converted the move into a hurricanrana which ultimately got him the W.
Although my guy Psicosis didn’t win the match, it was full of high impact maneuvers. The speed, timing, bumping, and psychology in this match for me, has never been replicated again. Plus, it advanced their feud into a legendary stratosphere.
Juan Carlos Reneo (@ReneusMeister): Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi – G1 Climax 28
This is a very emotional bout and summarizes so well their friendship, love, and rivalry. An outstanding match with modern storytelling.