ThunderStruck: Top Fifty WWE Title Matches Part 3
Welcome to part three of my top fifty WWE Title matches! I noticed while writing this that a lot of these matches you may not agree with, and I also noticed that it starts to become obvious what matches may be coming in the top 20 after this piece. Feel free to leave your thoughts and guesses below!
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
39. HHH/Y2J Raw April ‘00
38. Rock/Cena WM 29
37. Hart/HBK SS 97
36. SCSA/Rock Backlash ‘99
35. CM Punk vs Alberto Del Rio vs The Miz, TLC Match: TLC 2011
34. Rock vs Brock Lesnar Summerslam ‘02
33. Angle/Taker/Rock Vengeance ‘02
32. Rock/Austin WM 17
31. Angle/SCSA Unforgiven ‘01
30. John Cena/Umaga RR 2007: This match was brutal. I remember the television monitors being involved in this one, and I remember the top rope being taken off by Umaga and Estrada. Cena ended up choking out Umaga with those very ropes in the form of an STFU. Fantastic brawl involving John Cena and a very underrated performer in Umaga!
29. Hulk Hogan/Ultimate Warrior WM 6: Classic battle is the best term to describe this one. I’ve written about this match in the past, so I’ll just share my words from before: These two worked their asses off to give their best performance on the grand stage in a face vs face match that would become arguably the biggest match at WrestleMania in the first nine years of it’s existence(I know there are Hogan/Andre fans that would argue). Hogan was the man at the time, and nobody expected him to lose the title. This was Vince’s big test to see if Warrior could handle carrying the company on his shoulders. The company thrived throughout 1990 and it didn’t seem to be much of a problem. Warrior would hold the title all the way until the following year’s Royal Rumble, where Macho Man would cost him his title defense against Sgt. Slaughter. This is the only Ultimate Warrior match on this list and for good reason. He was an entertainer without a doubt, but he wasn’t the greatest wrestler in the world.
28. Brock Lesnar/Eddie Guerrero NWO ‘04: Typical underdog story with the little guy coming out on top to win his first WWE Championship? This may be true, but Eddie Guerrero was far from typical. Latino heat had proven himself a worthy candidate to hold the WWE Title, and the pop from the crowd when he scored the pinfall just added to his argument. This was a solid wrestling match on the road to WrestleMania 20 with an outcome that will never be forgotten.
27. Ric Flair/Randy Savage WM 8: This match was supposed to be Ric Flair against Hulk Hogan for the WWF Title. Booking was changed around because Vince wanted Sid and Hogan as the big man main event(they botched the finish of that one too). This match happened during a time period where things were changing in the WWF. Hulk Hogan was about to take a hiatus for nine months. Ric Flair was doing his thing as the top guy in the company but Randy Savage wanted to challenge him for that spot. The backstory to the match was that Flair had been with Elizabeth before she was with Savage, and Flair planned on exposing indecent photos of her to the world at WrestleMania. Savage ended up defeating Flair in a classic match at the Hoosier Dome to once again and for the last time hold the WWF Title. He would lose the title in September to Ric Flair on an episode of Prime Time Wrestling. Savage and Flair would go on to WCW and have many more battles while there.
26. Kurt Angle/Brock Lesnar Summerslam ‘03: This was the sequel to their match at WrestleMania 19, and it was every bit as action packed as their first encounter. Angle had won the title back from Lesnar during a triple threat match at Vengeance, and these two put on another classic at the biggest event of the summer with Angle winning the match when he forced Lesnar to tap out to the ankle lock.
25. Iron Sheik/Hulk Hogan Jan ‘84: What could be bigger than the start of Hulkamania? Well, twenty four other matches according to this list. That aside, the match Hogan and Sheik put on in January of 1984 would change the business in unimaginable ways. The match itself wasn’t exceptional by any stretch, but the explosion from the Madison Square Garden crowd when the Hulkster captured the gold and the subsequent backstage champagne celebration with Andre the Giant, Mean Gene Okerlund and several other wrestlers gave you the feeling that something amazing had just taken place. No one could’ve predicted just how big Hulkamania would become, and that is why this match cracks the top 25.
24. Randy Savage/Ted Dibiase WM IV: This was once again Vince McMahon’s way of letting someone else carry the company besides Hogan. Hogan had lost the title to Andre(see the infamous Hebner brothers incident) and Andre had sold the title to Dibiase. The sale was nullified by Jack Tunney and the title became vacant. WrestleMania 4 saw a tournament to crown the new champion. Hogan and Andre wrestled to a double count out earlier in the evening, and each were in the corner of one of the competitors in the finals(Hogan in Savage’s corner, Andre in Dibiase’s corner). The match wasn’t long but the crowd at the Trump Plaza was really into this match. Savage was able to hit the best flying elbow anybody has ever seen on Dibiase and pick up the win. Hogan celebrated with him and Elizabeth in what was one of the biggest feel good moments of the time period. Hogan and Savage would team as the Mega Powers after that throughout 1988 before they turned on one another, leading into 1989 and their main event match at WM 5.
23. Undertaker/Hulk Hogan SS ‘91: The Undertaker had only been in the WWF for a year at the time, and he was already dominating everyone in his path. With the help of Ric Flair(Hogan’s future rival, sort of) and a steel chair, Taker was able to pin the Hulkster after a tombstone piledriver and capture the WWF Championship. Hogan was able to win the title back less than a week later but not without controversy. The title was held up and the eventual winner of the 1992 Royal Rumble(Ric Flair) would win the vacated title. Does anyone else find it ironic that Flair’s interference in Taker’s first title win would eventually lead to his first WWF Title reign? Talk about historic!
22. Edge/John Cena Unforgiven ‘06: This actually the only match Edge had on this list. I want to address that first. The rated R superstar didn’t have many WWE Title reigns, and most of his biggest matches would take place while he was World Heavyweight Champion or Tag Team Champion. Unforgiven 2006 took place in Toronto, Ontario Canada(Edge’s hometown) and Cena and Edge wrestled one of the most brutal TLC Matches of all time. The match ended with Cena delivering an AA to Edge off the ladder through a bunch of tables and Cena capturing the WWE Title once again.
21. Rock/Kurt Angle/HHH Summerslam 2000: After being in the triple threat main event of the 1999 event, Triple H was back at it again a year later, only this time Kurt Angle and the Rock were in place of Austin and Foley. This match showcased the top talent of WWE and ran away as the match of the evening(as the main event should, but does not necessarily always do). Due to the involvement of Stephanie McMahon and her “friendly” relationship with Kurt Angle, the Rock was able to come out on top and score the win on Triple H after a people’s elbow to retain the WWE Championship.
Thanks for reading!