ThunderStruck: Top WWE Title Matches: Part One
I recently read the list put out by WWE.com of the top fifty WWE Title matches of all time. After going through all the matches, I decided to make my own list and show where I disagree. Here’s part one!
50. The Undertaker vs Jeff Hardy, Ladder Match, Raw July ‘02: I’ve often called this match overrated in terms of the effort Jeff Hardy put into it, but the bottom line is that this match put the charismatic enigma on the map as a top contender for the WWE Title. Taker was the big evil heel at the time, and he dominated Hardy throughout most of the contest with the exception of when Hardy would miraculously find a way to get in some offense. The crowd was insane for this match, and the fact that it took place on Monday Night Raw when it was clearly a pay per view caliber level match makes it that much more special in the history of WWE’s longest running show.
49. Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant, WM 3: What was once dubbed the biggest match of all time has become almost an afterthought in the grand history of WrestleMania. I think the biggest problem with this match is that people really don’t appreciate the history behind Andre turning on Hogan and the anticipation factor that people felt as they waited for this epic showdown. To me, the match is nothing over two and a half stars, but the electricity of the Detroit crowd(93,000+) made it something special as Hulk Hogan headlined his third WrestleMania in a row and defeated the might Andre.
48. The Rock vs Triple H, IronMan Match with Special Referee Shawn Michaels Judgment Day 2000: The biggest thing that most people remember about this match is the return of the “new” Undertaker at the end of the bout, and the controversial ending with Triple H winning the match and the title on a disqualification fall. What I remember most about this match is the nonstop action between Triple H and the Rock throughout the match. I remember Rock giving Triple H a pedigree on the announce table and the table not breaking. Talk about intense! During a time where wrestling’s popularity was near its peak, this match stands out as one of the best of the era between two legends.
47. Hulk Hogan vs Triple H, Backlash 2002: Interference from the Undertaker cost Triple H the WWE Championship in this one, but the bigger story in 2002 and this particular contest was the rebirth of Hulkamania. Hulk Hogan once again reigned supreme at the top of WWE in a match that was actually executed quite well between the game and the immortal one. Hogan would come out on top after stopping the Undertaker’s attack on Triple H, and then delivering one of his patented leg drops to the game for the three count victory.
46. Eddie Guerrero vs John Bradshaw Layfield, Texas Bullrope Match, Great American Bash ‘04: Physicality and brutality are what define JBL’s actions in this match towards Guerrero. JBL started what would become the longest WWE Title reign in Smackdown(superstar specific to a brand at the time) history. JBL’s reign here was also significant in that he would drop the title to a guy named John Cena at WrestleMania 21 the following year.
45. Hogan/Taker Judgment Day 2002: Just like their Survivor Series match twenty years prior, Hulk was defeated by the deadman and dropped the WWE Championship to him under questionable circumstances. Vince McMahon aided the Undertaker in winning the title in this match, and once again Hulkamania was robbed of a WWE Title reign.
44. Cena/JBL Judgment Day ‘05: While many were underwhelmed by Cena’s WWE Title victory at WrestleMania 21 in a match that hardly gets any recognition, the brutality in this match cannot be overstated. Cena and JBL gave each other everything in this match and THIS match alone became a defining moment in the rise of John Cena to the top of WWE. Following his victory in this match, Cena would get drafted to Monday Night Raw and begin feuds with all the top stars in WWE.
43. 1992 Royal Rumble Match: The ‘92 Royal Rumble match is the only one that was ever contested for the WWE Championship, and it is by far one of the most exciting to watch. The final three contestants were Ric Flair, Sid, and Hulk Hogan. After Hogan managed to eliminate psycho Sid, Sid then pulled Hogan’s arm and allowed Ric Flair to eliminate Hogan and become the WWE Champion. Flair also cut a memorable promo after this match that any true wrestling fan can never forget the sentiment of, “with a tear in my eye…”
42. SCSA/Y2J Vengeance. ‘01: The WCW and WWE Championship were unified in this match, and it came after Jericho and Austin had both already competed earlier in the night. Jericho needed help from Vince McMahon to defeat the Rock, and McMahon then helped him along with Booker T to secure the big victory and become the first ever Undisputed Champion. While the match itself wasn’t a five star classic, the outcome had significant effects on Jericho’s career as he’s been able to label himself as the first ever undisputed champion and throw it in our faces for the last dozen years!
41. Rock/Foley Raw Jan ‘99: While some would argue that their “I Quit” match from the 1999 Royal Rumble was better, I would argue that Foley taking dozens of chair shots directly to the skull(in front of his children, mind you) for entertainment was ridiculous and NOT overly entertaining. Also, check with Foley and ask him why he can’t wrestle anymore. The match was unexpected and awesome, and the finish with Stone Cold helping Foley realize his dream is something that I’ll never forget. The moment is just too incredible not to be mentioned as one of the fifty greatest WWE Title matches of all time.
That’s all for part one! Make sure to check out our Extreme Rules Preview early Sunday and look out for part two of my top WWE Title matches of all time! Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts below!
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