ThunderStruck: Top Fifty WWE Title Matches: Part 2
As I said in part one, this is the list I’ve put together to counter the list put out by WWE.com of the top fifty WWE Title matches of all time. Here’s part two!
50. The Undertaker vs Jeff Hardy, Ladder Match, Raw July ‘02
49. Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant, WM 3
48. The Rock vs Triple H, IronMan Match, Judgment Day 2000
47. Hulk Hogan vs Triple H, Backlash 2002
46. Eddie Guerrero vs John Bradshaw Layfield, Texas Bullrope Match, Great American Bash ‘04
45. Hogan/Taker Judgment Day 2002
44. Cena/JBL I Quit Match, Judgment Day ‘05
43. 1992 Royal Rumble Match
42. SCSA/Y2J Vengeance. ‘01
41. Rock/Foley Raw Jan ‘99
40. HHH/Cena WM 22: John Cena had proven himself as the top in WWE in 2005 after winning the WWE Title at WM21, and defeating the game on WWE’s biggest stage in Chicago solidified his legacy as one of the greatest of all time. Hunter and Cena put on a solid bout that ended with the game tapping out to the STFU and Cena retaining the WWE Championship.
39. HHH/Y2J Raw April ‘00: I remember being incredibly excited for Jericho’s victory in this one, and I remember being equally disappointed when Earl Hebner reversed the outcome of the match based on his fast count and the agreement that Triple H wouldn’t touch him again as long as he was a WWE employee(prompting Hunter to fire Hebner as soon as he reversed the decision and deliver the pedigree). This was a brilliant storyline for an episode of Monday Night Raw that brought out as much emotion from the audience as any other major moment in the history of the show.
38. Rock/Cena WM 29: This match ranks as far superior to their prior match at WrestleMania 28, and I found it to be highly enjoyable. Rock was passing the torch to Cena in his eyes, and it took place on the biggest stage in the main event of the highest grossing WrestleMania thus far. These two legends put on what I consider to be a terrific match and one that will go down in history in the record books as the beginning of John Cena’s 11th WWE Title reign.
37. Hart/HBK SS 97: Putting aside the Montreal Screwjob controversy, the physicality between Hart and Michaels came across as very real during this match. This would ultimately be Bret’s last WWE Championship match ever, and most couldn’t have predicted that the ending would turn out how it did. There’s absolutely no way you could have a top fifty WWE Title matches list without including this controversial battle.
36. SCSA/Rock Backlash ‘99: This was a rematch of their title bout from WrestleMania the month prior, and it easily topped their previous encounter. Shane McMahon sided with the Rock and did all he could to cost Austin the match, but ironically enough it was actually Vince McMahon who came to the aide of Austin to even up the score thus allowing the Texas rattlesnake to retain the WWE Championship. The irony of Vinny Mac helping Austin after all the months of the two feuding was just so remarkable that you have to talk about this match as one of the greatest WWE Title bouts of all time.
35. CM Punk vs Alberto Del Rio vs The Miz, TLC Match: TLC 2011: This was the first major title defense for CM Punk during what would become his well documented 434 day reign as WWE Champion. Alberto Del Rio was seeking a rematch for the gold and the Miz was looking for something to do while he tried to stay relevant in the main event scene. Punk would win the match and retain the gold in an awesome TLC match on the same night that Daniel Bryan cashed in his MITB briefcase to become World Champion.
34. Rock vs Brock Lesnar Summerslam ‘02: Brock Lesnar made a huge impact in WWE in 2002 when he made his debut(at age 24). Lesnar would destroy opponent after opponent, win the King of the Ring Tournament, and defeat the immortal Hulk Hogan in singles action. With a little bit of help from Paul Heyman, Lesnar was able to defeat the Rock for the WWE Championship at the same pay per view that saw the in ring return of Shawn Michaels after a four plus year absence. Lesnar made history and would continue to be a destructive force in WWE after capturing the gold at Summerslam.
33. Angle/Taker/Rock Vengeance ‘02: Taker went into this match as the champion, and he was angry because he had tapped out at the same time that he got a three count on Kurt Angle in a singles match. This allowed Angle to stake his claim as number one contender along with the Rock and force the triple threat match. These guys were awesome together and put on a nonstop battle! In the end, it was the Rock who pinned Kurt Angle after a Rock Bottom to win the WWE Championship.
32. Rock/Austin WM 17: This match is often ranked as one of the greatest WWE Title bouts of all time. For me, it’s obviously a fantastic wrestling match, but I still feel that Rock and Austin had a better match two years later at WM 19. The historical aspect of this match is huge in that Austin turned heel and aligned himself with Vince McMahon in order to capture the WWE Title once again. There is no doubt that this match, because of it’s controversy and its brutality, will certainly go down as one of the most talked about WrestleMania WWE Title matches ever.
31. Angle/SCSA Unforgiven ‘01: Austin was the champion and he was with the Alliance. Angle wanted the title. Austin tossed Kurt’s Olympic Gold Medals off a bridge, and in turn Kurt made Austin cry and beg Kurt not to toss him off the bridge for revenge. The match took place in Kurt Angle’s hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. The match was solid and went for just under twenty five minutes. I’ll never forget the moment Austin actually tapped out to the ankle lock and the subsequent celebration of Kurt Angle and his family in the ring. This match is definitely a classic for the story and the ending, and that’s why it cracked my top fifty WWE Title match list.
I really hope you guys are enjoying the flashbacks! Make sure to share your thoughts and opinions below! Parts 3-5 will be coming over the next few weeks. Thanks for reading!