Greatest Successful Title Defenses

We always make a big deal out of title changes but it this was a real sport, I think a great title defense would be valued more than it is. There'd be title defense compilations on youtube along with all the title change compilations….or maybe not. 

So what would be some of the greatest successful title defenses? Hogan defeating Andre at WM3 seems like the clear winner but here's some other matches I'd nominate…

-Austin over Dude at Over The Edge '98 (Talk about the deck stacked against you)
-Shawn over Diesel at In Your House '96 (If this was all real, that's a tough first title defense)
-Miz over Cena at WM27?? (Foil for The Rock or not…a win's a win right?)

​I'd add Flair over Luger in 88, both at the Bash and Starrcade, because in both cases it was considered a foregone conclusion that Lex would win and become the star of the future, and yet Flair managed to win both matches fair and square.  ​

Paul Heyman: The Greatest Manager of All Time

The previous Masked Man article was completely no-sold by the Blog of Doom, most likely because there weren’t any Scott Keith references contained within.  But it is worth a read, as it explains in meticulous detail why Paul Heyman is the biggest pro wrestling star in the industry today.

Now I will go a step further and explain when Paul Heyman is, unequivocally, the greatest wrestling manager of all time.

There are generally two men that, based on the breadth of their careers, the large variety of stars they have associated with, and the extent to which they enhanced those stars, are considered in the conversation for being the greatest wrestling manager of all time: Bobby Heenan and Paul Heyman.  There is a third that belongs in the conversation that most people reading this post are too young to remember: The Grand Wizard.

All of these managerial geniuses reached their peaks in different eras, so it is difficult to compare and contrast the impact that they had in the traditional manager role.  Since they were the best of their eras, and since we have no real way to match them up against each other in a competitive manner, I like to simplify matters and say that they are all on equal footing.

However, in recent years, there are two factors that set Paul Heyman apart from his peers:

1.Both The Grand Wizard and Bobby Heenan were at their peak in eras where managers were the norm.  It was an established pro wrestling position to enhance talent, and while these men were the best at what they did, they weren’t really breaking new ground with what they did.

But by 2012, the wrestling manager was an anachronism, tucked away with the wishbone offense, long relievers, and underhand free throws as a relic from a bygone era, killed by the move from bookers to Creative that eliminated the need for a manager to speak for a wrestler because the wrestler’s every word was meticulously scripted and memorized.  This in turn made the product so bland that WWE was forced to spend millions of dollars on movie stars and UFC fighters to keep people’s interest.

But the movie star couldn’t stay, and the UFC fighter couldn’t talk.  He wouldn’t talk.  To save Brock Lesnar’s mystique, to save the last special attraction that WWE had left, everyone dragged Paul Heyman back, kicking and screaming, after being away for the better part of a decade, to bring back the lost art of being a pro wrestling manager.

The Grand Wizard and Bobby Heenan perfected the art of managing.  Paul Heyman rebuilt it from scratch and took it to a still higher level than either of them.  Because…

2. The Grand Wizard and Bobby Heenan were great at supporting the wrestlers.  Paul Heyman has become great at supporting the entire wrestling promotion.

Paul Heyman single-handedly returned Brock Lesnar to beast status.  Paul Heyman single-handedly cemented CM Punk’s heel turn, single-handed cemented CM Punk’s face turn, and single-handedly squelched the protest movement once CM Punk left.  Paul Heyman single-handedly squeezed value out of the ending of The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak.  And finally, Paul Heyman single-handedly closed the flagship show with a ten minute monologue introducing the Summerslam main event.  The final RAW spotlight was on a fat Jew running his mouth off…and it was the best thing on TV in months.

In the foreword to Bobby Heenan’s first autobiography, Hulk Hogan said of Heenan “In the wrestling circles, he made sure that, in between the geeks, the freaks, the midgets, and the ladies, his spot didn’t overshadow anyone.  He could have – he was so talented.  He could have stolen your spotlight at any moment.”

But Bobby Heenan never had to give a 10 minute promo in front of a live audience to hard sell Wrestlemania.  Paul Heyman took the main event spot on RAW and used it not to get himself over, but to make John Cena and Brock Lesnar look the most compelling they’ve been in years.  More people cheer Cena than ever.  More people fear Lesnar than ever.  The desperate quagmire of only a couple of months prior has been replaced with mega-anticipation for August 17th.

All because of Paul Heyman.

No promotion has ever relied on a manager to the extent that WWE now relies on Paul Heyman.  And no manager has ever delivered to the extent that Paul Heyman does now.

For taking a dead art and elevating it to levels that have never been seen, and never will be seen again, Paul Heyman is the greatest wrestling manager that has ever lived.

WWE Countdown – Top Ten Greatest Factions

This week’s episode of WWE Countdown ranks the top ten greatest factions of all time. Speaking of which, the Greatest Factions DVD set was released this week. Coincidence? The voice over lady says “We list them, you rank them”. Again……that’s the problem. So here is the list presented. I am the messenger of said list, and I do not endorse this list. If it angers you, seek help. It’s a wrestling list! CLICK “READ MORE”!

10. The Heenan Family – Bobby Heenan was one of the more successful managers of the 80’s. Dean Ambrose states that if you’re in the Heenan Family, you had instant credibility. Brodus Clay brings up that Heenan wanted to manage the champion, and Hulk Hogan stood in the way, making him a constant target of the Family. Heenan’s coup was supposed to be Andre the Giant, but we know how that turned out. Cesaro says that Heenan never cheated, he just helped his clients win. Mean Gene says the Heenan Famly is the greatest faction of all time, but they’re only #10 on this list.

9. The Dangerous Alliance – Paul Heyman brought together one of the more talented factions to the forefront. Heyman says that their favorite target was Sting, because Sting was the face of WCW at the time. Of course, Steve Austin was being groomed as the next big star. The Dangerous Alliance held every major title except for the World title.

8. The Nation of Domination – The Nation was memorable because they were controversial. Rocky says that when he joined, he was able to be himself. They show the members in their various less successful incarnations (Papa Shango, Gladiator Faarooq, Olympian Mark Henry, etc). They bring up Rock’s ousting of Faarooq, and Faarooq says that he should have whipped Rock’s ass sooner.

7. The Corporation – This group was borne from Vince McMahon’s need to have guys in his back pocket to carry out his efforts to control everything. Steve Austin was the biggest adversary because of his refusal to cower to The Boss. Vince brought The Rock into the fold because he saw him as a foil to Austin. They bring up Vince’s Royal Rumble win due to the help of the other Corporation members.

6. The Hart Foundation – The group formed during a match between Owen Hart and The British Bulldog, when Bret Hart came out and reunited everyone. This kicked off the excellent Canada vs. USA angle. Dean Ambrose says that was a revolutionary idea. Bret himself says some Americans thought Bret had a good point. No tears in his eyes there, however. Canadian Stampede saw every member of the Hart Foundation get a bigger pop with each individual entrance. One of the hottest crowds ever, in my opinion.

5. Evolution – Three generations came together in one group, with Ric Flair, Triple H , Batista and Randy Orton. Their peak was at Armageddon 2003 when all four won titles in one night. Everyone was banking on Orton being the breakout star of the group. Batista says that before Evolution, he was lacking that credibility he needed. Of course, it all started to go downhill when Orton won his first World title, then Batista felt that Triple H was holding him back. Orton and Batista would go on to become big stars after their stint.

4. The Four Horsemen – Each individual member of the Horsemen was an accomplished wrestler. They considered themselves the elite of the business. With JJ Dillon at the helm, they won title after title. Mean Gene says that one prerequisite to be in the Horsemen was you had to have a strong liver. Rolexes, limousines, fancy suits; the party never stopped. However, they still took care of business, breaking various bones of guys like Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Morton and Nikita Koloff. Should be #1, honestly.

3. The NWO – The goal of the New World Order was to take over WCW. It was the height of the Monday Night War, and when Scott Hall and Kevin Nash showed up, WCW made no bones about WWF stars invading the company. Hulk Hogan revealing himself to be the ringleader was a bombshell that turned the ratings tide to Nitro’s favor. It seemed that every week, people were tuning in to see who would join next. The group became so hated that it became cool to cheer them. NWO merch went through the roof, and a lot of people got rich.

2. The Brood – Dafuq?? Gangrel, the gothic blood-drinking vampire, taking Edge and Christian under his wing. Their entrance was attention grabbing, with them rising from a ring of fire. The bloodbath gimmick came about due to the lack of verbal communication from the group, but they thought they needed a calling card. Eventually, Edge and Christian went on to become huge stars. Gangrel……not so much.

1. D-Generation X – It started out as Shawn Michaels and Triple H acting like a couple of frat boys, enjoying ruffling those feathers. When Shawn Michaels left due to injury, they brought in Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac with Chyna as the straight man. The crotch chop transcended wrestling. When HBK and HHH reunited in 2006, it really became more of a comedy routine every week.

The Post-Game Opinion: The Brood being on the list surprised me. The actual factions that should be on the list are here, but the order is out of whack, as per the usual for this show. I do not have too many complaints with the list other than the Horsemen should have been #1, as they are the bar for all factions to meet. NWO should be #2. Thoughts?

30 Greatest WrestleMania Moments – WWE Top 10 Special Edition

OK, let’s talk about this now, shall we?

– Austin v. Michaels at #1…no way.  Hogan slamming Andre is clearly #1, not only on a list of WM moments but of moments in wrestling history all-time.

– John Cena v. Rock II at #7 or whatever it was can suck my ass.

– Hogan-Rock should have been higher still.  70,000 people losing their minds and jumping up and down like little kids at least warrants #3.

– I kind of liked the contrast of Shawn’s career ending, followed immediately by Flair’s career ending.

– The Savage-Liz reunion is insultingly low.

They sure do love them some Shawn Michaels, don’t they?

Love: The Greatest Undertaking

I feel like this needs to be passed along, but an illustrator named Claire decided to illustrate a comic about Undertaker's time off with The Big Show during 1999.

Though I have to admit that when I skimmed through this on my phone before actually seeing it full sized on the PC at home I thought it was some strange backstory for the Undertaker and DDP feud during the Invasion.


I feel like a need a cleansing shower or something after that.

Stranger Things Presents: The Top 5 Greatest February PPV Matches of ALL TIME!

First thing’s first: if anyone was following the TCW reviews, the reason why you haven’t seen one in the last couple of weeks is due to TCW airing “TCW Classics”, which is basically rerunning their shows from this time last year. My understanding is that production of current episodes has halted for the time being. I have seen the “classics” episodes, and the in-ring product leaves a lot to be desired, so I will return to reviewing the show when new episodes return.

Now, the thread you have all been waiting for. I present to you the Top 5 February PPV Matches of ALL TIME! You, the BoD Universe, had the opportunity to choose the #1 match courtesy of a poll I had posted about two weeks ago. 233 votes were cast, but we did have a clear cut winner; but let’s run down the runners up, shall we, with the Honorable Mention roll.

5. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho vs. JBL vs. Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga – Elimination Chamber Match – No Way Out – 2/17/08.

4. Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair – WrestleWar – 2/25/90.

3. Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker vs. Vader vs. Steve Austin – 4-Man Elimination Match – In Your House: Final Four – 2/16/97.

2. The Rock vs. Kurt Angle – No Way Out – 2/25/01.

1. Cactus Jack vs. Triple H – Hell in a Cell Match – No Way Out – 2/27/00.

Based on voting results, I can see at least one call that people may disagree with in the Honorable Mention roll. To the Top 5, then!

5. Sting/Brian Pillman/The Steiner Brothers vs. Ric Flair/Larry Zbyszko/Barry Windham/Sid Vicious – WarGames Match – WrestleWar – 2/24/91.

14. 91-02-24 WarGames (WrestleWar) by puropwgwwestuff

WarGames makes the list! This is one of the more notorious ones, thanks to Sid and Pillman.

4. Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar – No Way Out – 2/15/04.

Here we have one of the more feel-good moments in the last 10 years, as Eddie Guerrero finally gets established as a top guy, and reaps the rewards. Brock was headed to infamy as the guy who quit, but we all know that “I quit” in wrestling is never really “I quit”.

3. Jushin Liger vs. Brian Pillman – SuperBrawl II – 2/29/92.

09. 92-02-29 Jushin Liger vs. Brian Pillman… by puropwgwwestuff

One of the greatest PPV openers of all time, and it really helped establish Pillman as a good worker, as he hung with Liger the whole way. Not exactly an underrated match, but it certainly is a forgotten one amongst this list.

2. Steve Austin vs. Triple H – 3 Stages of Hell Match – No Way Out – 2/25/01.

No Way Out 2001 Triple H vs Stone Cold Steve… by EmilMoeller

This was a truly awesome PPV from top to bottom. But the highlight was this match, a masterpiece between two hated rivals. Austin was fresh back from neck surgery, and a Royal Rumble win. Triple H had just gone through 2000 on a famously good run at the top of the card. It gave #1 a run for it’s money for a while, but it’s still a favorite among you, the BoDers.

1. Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair – Chi-Town Rumble – 2/20/89.

03. 89-02-20 Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (Chi… by puropwgwwestuff

The BoDers have spoken, and you voted this match #1, with 68 of the 233 votes. The first of a trilogy of classics from Steamboat and Flair in 1989. Steamboat had made a surprise return to the NWA after leaving the WWF after WrestleMania IV and taking time off to be with his family. Flair…..was Flair. A contrast between the family man vs. the jet flying, limousine ridin’, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’, son of a gun. 

Thank you for your participation, and we’ll have another list next month for March, where I will break up Wrestlemania between March and April.

Stranger Things Presents: The Greatest Poll in BoD History

The 2014 Royal Rumble is almost upon us, which means we will all soon be looking past that event and watching what will unfold on The Road to WrestleMania. That also means that another month will be here, and the BoD’s monthly feature called The Greatest PPV Matches in (insert month here). I have decided to make this list somewhat interactive, and give you, the BoD Universe, the opportunity to influence my decision-making, by means other than pitchforks and torches, and switchblades and other weapons of influence.

I present to you……the poll. A most diplomatic way to pick a front-runner. The BoD will pick the greatest match in February PPV history, and I will honor that choice. The remaining Top 5 will be decided by myself through study, review and science. The nominees:

What is the greatest match in February PPV history?
Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair – Chi-Town Rumble
Steve Austin vs. Triple H – No Way Out 2001
Jushin Liger vs. Brian Pillman – SuperBrawl II
Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker vs. Vader vs. Steve Austin – In Your House: Final Four
Cactus Jack vs. Triple H – No Way Out 2000
The Rock vs. Kurt Angle – No Way Out 2001
Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar – No Way Out 2004
Sting/Pillman/Steiners vs. Flair/Zbyszko/Windham/Sid – Wargames – WrestleWar 91
Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair – WrestleWar 90
HBK vs. Jericho vs. Triple H vs. J. Hardy vs. JBL vs. Umaga – Elimination Chamber – No Way Out 2008 free polls

Choose wisely.

Greatest Randy Orton vs. John Cena Match?

First of all, I loved the ending to Raw this week. It was a balls-to-the-wall ending that planted the seeds and foreshadowed things to possibly come. That said, I am not excited for this unification match. The unification of the titles is something  fans have looked forward to seeing for years, and the build just hasn’t come close to living up to the hype. It feels like just another PPV main event, to be honest.

Anywho, what is the greatest Orton and Cena match in your opinions?  Personally, I have to go with their “I Quit Match” from Breaking Point 2009.

Road-agents and wrestlers sometimes put a lot thought into the match and surprise me with their creativity. That is what happened on this night: They structured out a masterpiece that displayed a strategical plan and in-ring characterizations (two things that lack in modern wrestling imo.)

Orton channeled something you’d see straight out of a horror movie, torturing Cena with painful devices and triggered his already injured head. Through the power of facial expressions and body language, he made it clear that his character was trying to do more than just win the match; it was trying to end Cena’s career.
But as compelling as a character’s strengths are, its weaknesses are even more compelling. And, Orton’s weaknesses were exposed by Cena, even in a vulnerable situation, as Orton became too concerned with toying with Cena rather than finishing him off. That led to Orton receiving his comeuppance by hoisting on his own petard.
This was a very well structured brawl, with good psychology and storytelling. Cena’s comeback being too abrupt, Orton tapping out a wee too quickly, and the lack of color are the only things holding this down from being a 5-star classic.

Greatest Feuds with Dissapointing Payoffs

Evening Mr. Keith.  Just thought I'd start a discussion of Great F'n Feuds that had little, disappointing or No Proper Payoff.  My Top Picks:

Damn, so many to discuss, so little time.  

Savage/Roberts:  I think this ended on an episode of SNME, but DAMN! this was one of the best rivalries of the early 90's and needed to end in a chaotic brawl/bloodfest, specifically WMVIII.  One of the biggest disappointments of my childhood.

Well, the whole feud was happenstance because of Warrior leaving and Jake needing an opponent, so really anything was gravy.  And Savage was then needed to move into the World title program by WM, so I can kind of see why they had him finish off Jake so decisively. That being said, fuck this should been awesome.  

Santana/Martel: When/did this even properly end?

Once Tito became El Matador and ditched the Strike Force tights.  Other than that, it was mostly a house show feud won decisively by Martel.  Timing and PPV just didn't align properly to get them a singles blowoff in proper manner, although the Summerslam 89 six-man is kind of a lost classic. 

Hart Foundation/Bulldogs:  I know these guys had tons of great matches, but did any of them actually signify "And this feud is over, here is your winners.."

…The Hart Foundation.  They won the titles and then won the blowoff at Wrestlemania III, complete with the evil ref getting the pin, then screwed the Bulldogs out of the belts in the 2/3 falls match on SNME before the Bulldogs moved down to the Islanders feud.  Yeah, the Bulldogs kind of got the moral victory on SNME by winning by DQ, but really once the Harts won the belts it was all uphill for them and downhill for the Dogs.  

Piper/Flair:  Seriously, before/after they decided to not do a Hogan WM8 match for whatever reason, (I've seen them make worse decisions on wrestlers still fighting each other after less than stellar House show reviews), these guys were Golden against each

other on the mic and in the ring.  Was RR92 their definitive ending? 

This was a pretty major feud without any kind of TV or PPV blowoff, which was weird.  Vince taking the chairshot was HUGE at the time.  I dunno, chalk it up to "plans change" I guess, but I'm thinking Survivor Series 91 might have been it.  

I tried to go beyond WWE late 80's/early 90's, but it was my peak of interest, so sue me.  Any ones that also really pissed you off?  Keep up the good work Mr. Keith

KURT ANGLE AND HHH.  Still infuriates me to this day.

The Top 10 Greatest WCW/JCP Matches

I mistakenly pressed “publish” during my first draft of this. Foolishly, I was sitting there wondering how people were viewing it when it was a draft. Then, I finally figured out that I published it. Yep, that was my dumb moment of the week. So if you were one of the people who read it, and then wondered where it went, now you know.
I am drawing a blank once I passed the Top 10 part of the list again. Just soooo many worthy matches deserve to be on the Top 20 list. Thus, I am just going to leave it at 10. However, the good news is I have honorable mentions, and I am going to try to, possibly, make a list of the greatest in American wrestling history if I have the opportunity.
Honorable Mention: Great American Bash 1996, Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Sullivan –
 Benoit and Sullivan had a never-ending feud that dragggggeedddddd. It overstayed its welcome and resulted in a lot of terrible matches, but they were feeling it on this night. This innovative, well-structured and stiff brawl escalated all over the arena, even in the goddamn men’s bathroom. It was also a star-making performance from Benoit. You know that guy everyone thought would become a top-tier star in WCW. However, the Hogans, Nashs, Halls, and Savages (yes, literally, savages) did not want to give up their place, so WCW never pushed him to the main event despite him (and tons of others) being liked by the fans. Well, at least WWE was smart enough to push him to the moon. On second thought….
Honorable Mention: Great American Bash 1990: Southern Boys vs. Midnight Express –
Everyone talks about the Midnight Express and Rock and Roll Express matches. People need to start talking about this more. Why? The amount of energy and intensity is off the chains. They were bouncing like those giants bouncy rubber balls someone played with as a kid off the ropes. The Southern Boys were nearly coming out of their boots after getting a hot tag. The countered and reversed trademark and clichéd spots were ridiculous, and I never knew what was going to be reversed or what was not going to be since everything was based the match off the crowd’s response. They played them like a yo-yo. Jim Cornette also said it was one of his favorite Midnight Express matches ever. Enough said.
Honorable Mention: SuperBrawl II, Jushin Liger vs. Brian Pillman –
The spots do not age as well as Arn Anderson did, but both men’s ability to read the crowd surely does age well. Reading the crowd is so difficult to pull off so it never gets boring. They also did a compelling job of speeding and slowing the pace down at the right times. The difference between this and most high-flying match is this tells a lucid story, and it makes this come across as an athletic competition rather than a contrived-looking stunt show.
10. WCW Nitro 1999: Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit – 
This was the  first time Hart wrestled since his brother’s horrifying death, and it was just one of those matches where someone had to watch it live to appreciate it fully. I will not lie; this competition was one of the few things in wrestling that made me almost shed a tear. Real men do cry. This was also scientifically sound as it was a chess match with hard strikes, chain wrestling and, of course, unparalleled emotion.  
9. Great American Bash 1987, Opening Match: WarGames –
This is the greatest gimmick match ever, hands down. It is all thanks to Dusty Rhodes, the brains behind this amazing concept. It was a match that had two rings near each other and a cage with a top surrounded them. It starts off with two opposing wrestlers facing each other for five minutes. Another wrestler enters after the five minutes are up. Oh, and a coin flip is what decides which team gets the man advantage. (Spoiler alert: the heels always win, except in TNA of course because well they can never do anything right). Once everyone enters the ring it then becomes an “I Quit” match. Its purpose was to blow-off a long feud between two teams that hated each other.
This is an all-out warfare with tons of insanity, but what was so remarkable was it never feels disjointed. It used a formula that just worked: The heels would get the heat on the outnumbered babyfaces and then another babyface would enter the match to save their teammate.  The crowd just ATE this up with forks, spoons, knives, and even their mouths. I mean they popped HARD every time the babyfaces would beat the holy hell out of the heels.
It was well-structured, innovative, historic, and barbaric.
8. Crockett Cup 1987: Barry Windham vs. Ric Flair –
This was an unheralded feud. Everyone talks about Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat, Sting, Terry Funk, and so on, but not many people talk about this. I do not understand why. Maybe because Windham wasn’t the most charismatic guy? Nevertheless, this feud resulted in great matches, although this has to be my favorite one. Both the pacing and timing were on key. Flair, as usual, tried to cheat his way to victory, but Windham was just countering everything, including the kitchen sink. That was until Windham rolled up Flair, but the Nature Boy reversed it with a roll up of his own and then proceeded to grab onto the tights. I never understood why that was illegal, but at least it gives heels more rules to break, right? It was a very entertaining match.
7. Starrcade 1985: “I Quit” Cage Match, Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum TA –
If this is not an underrated gem, I do not know what is. These two had HATED each other, so they settled their feud in the first ever “I Quit” cage match. I am not exaggerating when I say this was not for the weakened heart. There have been matches that try to be grueling, but not many of them are as dramatic or horrifying as this was, and this did not even have much blood. Deception is the reason this worked so much as it was the illusion that they were trying to kill each other. I just loved how they screamed in agony; it added so much gut-wrenching drama.
This also could be a great example of how less can be more for the young wrestlers out there, too. They did not do a bunch of fancy spots to get the fans into it. They instead got people emotionally attached by selling the drama via facial expressions, body language, mannerisms, and selling. Pay attention Davey Richards.
The finish is one of the great shock moments in wrestling, and it made me somewhat squeamish. TA broke off a piece of wood from a chair that Baby Doll threw in, and viciously stuck it in Blanchard’s eye, causing him to squeal in pain. Grosssssssssssss. That spot is truly an excruciatingly awesome moment.
6. Halloween Havoc 1997: Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr –
Rey Mysterio Jr had to put his mask on the line to get a shot at the Cruiserweight Championship. This was an amazing display of splendid athleticism with state-of-the-art moves and inventive spots. More importantly, the spots were integral to the story being told. Telling a story is what a lot of high-flying wrestlers struggle with, but these two never struggled in that department. They were masters at it.
Guerrero had more experiences, power and technical expertise, and he was not afraid to lie, cheat, or steal. Those combustible elements played a big reason in why he had the advantage for most of the match. However, Mysterio had something that overcame all that: miles and miles of heart. He played that type of  face-in-so-much-peril plucky underdog so well that made nobody want to cheer against him.
By the way, Mysterio was not fighting just for the Cruiserweight title; he was fighting for his legacy. Nobody wanted to see poor Rey lose his mask. Oh, and I have to give credit where credit is due: Tenay did a great job of elucidating how significant the mask was to a luchador. This was just a dramatic roller coaster ride with a heartfelt ending.
5. Wrestle War 1992: WarGames –
Paul Heyman’s Dangerous Alliance was becoming dangerous (pun intended), so a few protagonists decided to form an alliance to put a stop to their Triple H power trip. Ha, I made fun of HHH without him even being mentioned. Andy PG would be proud. Both teams settled their problems like men: inside the most demotic and unforgiving structure ever constructed. Taking into account the story, this was more superior to the original. It was also a textbook example of how to end a feud that has the villains getting their well-deserved comeuppance for tormenting the protagonist for so long.
The heat segments were ruthless; the babyface comebacks were energetic; the psychology was realistic; the momentum swings were tense, and the ultra-hostility just puts the icing on the cake. Even Shakespeare would have been impressed with the culmination of this struggle between good and evil.
4. Chi-Town Rumble 1989: Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat –
Flair was the king of the mountain. Sorry, Jeff Jarrett, you were never the king of everything. I would consider you may be the king of the hill, but you do not sell propane. Nevertheless, Flair was the man and overcame everyone who faced him. That was until a mystery opponent pinned him. Who was it? It was Ricky Steamboat. This set up the first chapter of their epic set. The bout was a chess match, with feeling out processes, lots of heat segments, and hope-comebacks, and around-the-clock action. At the start, both wrestlers worked over a body limb Flair worked Steamboat’s the leg over to set up his figure-four, and Steamboat worked over Flair’s  arm.
Seriously, though, I thought Steamboat was going to make his entire comeback at least three times. That was how good the teases of a comeback were. In fact, the entire match pretty much had me guessing, and the finishing sequence is so mentally exhausting that it drained the life out of me. Most wrestlers dream of having a match this good, and this was only their third best one. Scary, huh?
3. Clash of Champions IX: I Quit Match, Terry Funk vs. Ric Flair –
People were starting to cheer for Flair because they realized he was one slick dude, so the committee turned him face. They made him into a sympathetic one by having Terry Funk unmercifully pulverized him right after his hard-fought battle against Ricky Steamboat. Funk puts a cherry on top on the beat down by pile driving him on a table. (In case you are not aware, this was a time where angles and moves had a lot of meaning and a purpose. A piledriver was a very dangerous move that usually was used to write someone off TV. They even ended people’s careers, so you can imagine how scared the fans were for Flair’s wellbeing.)
 Easily, this is a top-five feud of mine. The unalloyed hatred among the two was sharper than a knife, and their detailed promos did a great job of vividly describing what they were going to do to each other. In the match, Funk’s coldhearted actions, as he tried to rupture Flair’s wounded neck, made this quarrel somewhat disturbing. They injected EVEN MORE hostility in this by yelling and screaming at each other and trying to persuade the other one to quit.
“Flair, don’t you remember your neck? Don’t you, don’t you wanna quit… before I, before I… hit you?!”

Funk used neck breakers, forearm clubs, piledrivers, and other moves injury Flair’s impaired neck even more. However, Flair retaliated by attacking Funk’s knee, prompting Funk to limp away like a scalded dog. Then, Funk ended up saying those famous five words as the pain from being in the figure-four leg lock had been just too much to endure.
This was just a fabulous display of selling, hatred, intensity, storytelling, psychology, and prodigious booking.
2. Clash of Champions VI, Two out of Three Falls: Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat –
This is just another stroke of genius from these two. They both reached their apex around this same time and created matches that are talked about today. This was just about 60 minutes of nonstop action, with no down spots or noticeable blemishes. Everything done had a purpose in the context of the story being told.
Flair cheated to gain control, dictating the pace by methodically working over Steamboat. However, Steamboat would not back down. He kept putting up a fight, but Slick Ric kept countering his offense.
There were so many layers to this masterpiece, with each one building to a high spot of the match. After they got the response from the crowd they wanted, they started rebuilding a new subplot. The effort, characterizations, execution, psychology, pacing, and timing are all top-notch, and this served its main goal by creating eagerness for their last match.
1. Wrestle War 1989: Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat –
I was not sure which match I liked more: this one or the two-out-of three-falls match. All three matches were similar to a book as each chapter led to the upcoming one. I decided to go with this one just because it was the culmination of this exemplary series.

What makes this match so exceptional?  Everything. Just absolutely everything.
You have Ric Flair, the deceitful loudmouth that was born with a golden spoon in his mouth, going against the Ricky Steamboat, the family oriented, diligent everyday man. In the match, both men stayed true to their characters, and used them to articulate an in-ring story.
Honestly, its simplicity is why it is evergreen and why it would get a rise out of a sold-out crowd even today. It is just a textbook demonstration of how to wrestle a compelling match. Above all, nothing is forced. There are not any convoluted spots, swerves, bells or even whistles. Everything felt natural.
It holds up to this day because they did moves that would never lose their essence; after all, they are malleable and fit into the context of any story. The most important reason even to this day people do not get bored of it is because of the way the moves are executed.
For example, look at how Flair took an arm-drag, flying way up in the air, traveling post-to-post, and then coming. Look at how Steamboat sprang off the ropes. Look at how they sell everything and make every move look impactful. Look at how they bump. It is all extremely well done. 
These two knew exactly when, where, and why to do something. They knew the best time to get the heat on the babyface. They knew where to inject a hope-spot or full comeback. And they knew why to speed or slow the match down. Simply put, they MASTERED the fundamentals of wrestling psychology.
This truly had everything in it, and it is no wonder why people call it the greatest match ever.

Greatest WWE Crowd Reactions – Part 1 – WWE Top 20

Some REALLY good choices here.  Frankly I’m kind of excited to see what they picked for the top 10 next week.  If we’re confining it to WWE matches, then I’d have to think Stone Cold’s run-in during the Rock-Mankind title switch is #1 by a wide margin because that was one of the loudest noises of any kind, wrestling crowds or otherwise.