WWE.com is back at it again with a new list. This new list is certainly bound to raise debate among passionate fans from all eras as the website ranks the 50 greatest WWE championship matches in history.
[adinserter block=”1″]This is a list a fan like me who has watched and followed pro wrestling for over 30 years can talk about. The thing I will say about this and all WWE.com lists is that they should be taken for what they are. In other words, the company is ranking its own matches so you have to expect these lists to be motivated by internal politics. As long as you keep that in mind, it is okay to have a little fun with these as opposed to getting angry over these fantasy lists.
How do you rank the 50 greatest WWE title matches ever? Did someone actually sit down and watch every title defense from television, pay per view, and old house shows? Of course not or at least I would find that highly doubtful.
Now if you wanted to put together a list by era or quantify a certain number of years, it would be much easier to put together a fairly accurate list. However when it comes to 1963-1984 you really are relying purely on folklore and legend at that point. The big championship bouts from that point forward are generally easy to find and all on video.
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels tops the list, specifically their WrestleMania 12 Iron Man Match. Is it irony that Shawn Michaels tops most of these lists or is the fact that he is really the only top legend on good terms (although Bruno Sammartino is now on that list) with the company? I am sure it’s just irony right?
Look let’s be honest. That is a great match but I don’t know if I would put that in my personal top 10 or even top 20 WWE championship matches. It’s a very good match but I can think of at least 10 off the top of my head that blew it away. Again these lists are subjective so that said, this one isn’t anywhere near the top of my list.
It was also real interesting to see Bret Hart vs. 1-2-3 Kid crack the top ten. It was a great match no doubt but is it the 8th greatest title match in WWE history? I can’t imagine that it is. The Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy was another one that was fantastic but again not a match I’d rank in the top ten. That said I was a little surprised to see Triple H out of the top ten due to the political implications of the list.
The biggest disappointment is the complete lack of respect that Bob Backlund received on this list. Say what you will about Backlund but he held the belt for five years and had a handful of absolute classics during that time. Backlund vs. Ken Patera 1980 Texas Death Match, Backlund vs. Stan Hansen in a Steel Cage 1981, Backlund vs. Greg Valentine March 1979 and the 81 No DQ MSG, his series of matches with Magnificent Muraco in the fall of 1981, a handful of Backlund vs. Adrian Adonis matches, and of course the famous Steel Cage match with Jimmy Snuka. Now do I expect all of these to make the list? No, but I expected to see at least one if not two get proper recognition.
Anyway here is the list via WWE.com. Let the debate begin!
50. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, Survivor Series 1997
49. The Miz vs. John Morrison, Monday Night Raw (Jan. 4, 2011)
48. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Dude Love, Over the Edge 1998
47. Superstar Billy Graham vs. Bob Backlund (Feb. 20, 1978)
46. John Cena vs. Batista, Over the Limit 2010
45. Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL, Great American Bash 2004
44. CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, Over the Limit 2012
43. Bruno Sammartino vs. Ivan Koloff (Jan. 18, 1971)
42. John Cena vs. Triple H, WrestleMania 22
41. Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker, Royal Rumble 1998
40. Mankind vs. The Rock, Royal Rumble 1999
39. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho, Extreme Rules 2012
38. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar, SmackDown (Sept. 16, 2003)
37. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Chris Jericho, Vengeance 2001
36. The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar, SummerSlam 2002
35. Superstar Billy Graham vs. Dusty Rhodes (Oct. 24, 1977)
34. John Cena vs. JBL, Judgement Day 2005
33. The Rock vs. Kurt Angle vs. Triple H, SummerSlam 2000
[adinserter block=”2″]32. Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero, No Way Out 2004
31. Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff, Saturday Night’s Main Event (Jan. 3, 1987)
30. The Rock vs. Triple H, Judgement Day 2000
29. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle, Unforgiven 2001
28. CM Punk vs. John Cena, SummerSlam 2011
27. Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase, WrestleMania 4
26. Randy Orton vs. John Cena, Bragging Rights 2009
25. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock, Backlash 1999
24. Triple H vs. Chris Jericho, Monday Night Raw (April 17, 2000)
23. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar, WrestleMania 19
22. Bruno Sammartino vs. Killer Kowalski (April 29, 1974)
21. Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle vs. The Rock, Vengeance 2002
20. Rey Mysterio vs. John Cena, Monday Night Raw (July 25, 2011)
19. Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker, No Mercy 2002
18. Iron Sheik vs. Hulk Hogan (Jan. 23, 1984)
17. John Cena vs. Rob Van Dam, One Night Stand 2006
16. Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind, In Your House (Sept. 22, 1996)
15. Ric Flair vs. Macho Man Randy Savage, WrestleMania 8
14. Edge vs. John Cena, Unforgiven 2006
13. Triple H vs. Cactus Jack, Royal Rumble 2000
12. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart, SummerSlam 1994
11. Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan, WrestleMania 5
10. The Rock vs. Mankind, Monday Night Raw (Jan. 4, 1999)
9. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania 23
8. Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy, Monday Night Raw (July 1, 2002)
7. Bret Hart vs. 1-2-3 Kid, Monday Night Raw (July 11, 1994)
6. Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior, WrestleMania 6
5. Royal Rumble match in 1992
4. John Cena vs. CM Punk, Money in the Bank 2011
3. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, WrestleMania 3
2. The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, WrestleMania 17
1. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania 12
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