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  1. BigVanCrush

    [1987-03-29-WWF-Wrestlemania III] Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant

    I've seen this match hundreds of times in my life and I'll never forget the first time I saw it. I was a wee little feller, probably 2 or 3. My older cousins, all of whom watched the show as it happened, hyped it up like it was the greatest clash of the titans you would ever see and since my family had a VCR and recorded the show live, I got to see it. I was in awe, I'd never seen Andre the Giant before outside of the hand-me-down LJN figure of him I had, so I had no frame of reference for how enormous he actually was. He was absolutely massive. Hogan was significantly bigger than the incarnation of him that had just shown up in WCW, it looked like a totally different guy. It was absolutely as advertised. Two gigantic motherfuckers locked in a battle in front of the biggest gathering of human beings my little eyes had ever seen. As a little guy watching old tapes from the video store in addition to what was on TV in the mid-90s, nothing really came close in terms of scale and magnitude. There's nothing like having something hyped up to you as a little kid and it delivers on every bit of the hype. Those things tend to just stick with you for the rest of your life and probably, for better or worse, colors how you'll always view the thing in question. Now, nearly three decades later, I'm not going to argue this is some all-time exhibition of workrate, technical mastery, or anything like that, but this might be the best spectacle match ever. They don't really waste anything, Gorilla and Jesse are phenomenal on the call, the crowd is nuclear and the finish is maybe the single most memorable finish in wrestling history. The bearhug spot goes for a little long, the piledriver spot on the floor looks like garbage, yeah, but everything else just works. The staredown is great, the false finish out of the gate is great, basically everything in the match is done when and where it should have been. This has no right to be as good as it is, but it is. Hogan is great here, Andre got to appear great on the biggest stage in wrestling history, the Giant gets slayed and Hulkamania runs wild. It's not 'perfect' or 'epic' in the sense of a Jumbo/Tenryu or Inoki/Robinson or even Austin/Rock, but for what they needed to accomplish here? I'd argue it was both. If I had to rate it, I guess I'd go **3/4 or ***, but that kinda sells the spectacle short.
  2. I'm surprised there's no thread for this, either. This is some insane shit. Taker beats Vince bloody, just absolutely beats the ever loving dog fuck out of him, takes the whole match and the only way Vince can win is by sending Undertaker's freak brother who attempted to murder both Vince's wife and son after Undertaker. This match needs to be talked about more, it's an amazing, violent, bloody brawl. This match proves that a one sided beating can be an all time great match if the beating is fun to watch and preferably involves a ton of juice. Truly one of the greatest matches in WWE history. *****
  3. How is there no thread for this match? This is one of the rawest spectacle matches the WWF ever did. Vince tortures Flair in front of his kids, just beats him bloody and takes a goddamn selfie with a bloodied Flair using Flair's daughter's camera. This is just Vince beating the breaks off Flair, disrespecting him in front of his kids and finally getting his comeuppance at the end but you can tell the damage is done and Flair's kids don't respect him anymore after what they just watched Vince do to their dad. Amazing match. ****3/4
  4. Rewatched this a few hours ago and honestly think it's an all time great WWF Title match. Before the match, Rock does a promo literally just running through his catchphrases. It's not bad but it's really not near his best work on the mic, either. There's a real palpable sense of hatred and contempt from both guys and Rocky in particular is absolutely vicious in this match. This is very much Rock's match but Mankind is great early on. I think the bump off the stage onto the "electrical boxes" is really corny and I thought that when I was like 8, but it's at least a creative spot and I'll give them points for that. The chair shots are what they are, but to me they complete the package. Anything less and Rocky doesn't come out of this looking like a cold-hearted son of a bitch. Anything less and Foley isn't nearly as sympathetic. This is as good as the "WWF tries to be ECW" stuff gets and damn near as good as the WWF gets in general. I never expect to come away from anything that happened in 1999 with a feeling that I'd just watched an all timer, but on my last two rewatches of this match that's exactly what I felt when the deal was done. Just a fantastic, brutal, violent battle. *****
  5. For context, 11-year-old me had to go to bed before this match the night of the PPV and I didn't see it until I found a shit quality wmv on Limewire a month or two later. Watching this in potato quality, it looked like a goddamn snuff film and it became my favorite match immediately. Watching the DVD release when it came out and seeing just how bloody this was enhanced the experience for me and watching the upscaled version on the first Brock Blu-Ray (and again last night on WWE Network) did the same. Who'd have ever guessed enhanced video quality would make blood baths more enjoyable?! Anyway, this is my pick for the greatest WWE match of all time and really close to my pick for general greatest match of all time. There's a lot of things that I love about this one. Brock works his ass off here, launching himself into the cage and bumping like a madman and to his credit, Taker launches himself into the cage pretty good at least twice as well. It's a bloodbath, which suits the match type and Taker's is maybe the second worst blade job in WWE history (Vince at SurSer 2003 takes the cake). Heyman bleeding is always going to be funny to me, he was phenomenal on the outside of the ring. Taker's hand in the cast was used well throughout the match and you could argue he didn't do the greatest job of selling the hand, he did at least sell it some which is probably more than you'd expect going in. I love the finish, too. It's one of those "yeah this is a real freak motherfucker" moments that we never get in pro wrestling now. The only Cell that comes close to this is Hunter/Batista and even that doesn't match the violence or the intensity of this match. If you've seen this match a bunch, I recommend showing it to a fan who's never seen it. That's how I've watched this match the last two times that I have and it's amazing watching people who've seen deathmatches and all the crazy 'epic' bullshit that's happened since this match reacting to this like, as I noted earlier in my post, it's a snuff film. This is as good as it gets, y'all. *****
  6. I've always loved how good of a job Savage and Sherri did at working their shtick in front of the Tokyo Dome crowd and, moreso, how well Tenryu fit into a WWF style match. The crowd is nuclear and while the powerbomb at the end is super safe, it was cool seeing Savage take one because I don't recall him taking many. The entire match is great and while they rematched in SWS and it was good, this match was far better. One of the most underrated Tokyo Dome matches of all time, probably in my top 20. ****3/4
  7. BigVanCrush

    [1989-03-08-WWF-Primetime Wrestling] Ted DiBiase vs Bret Hart

    Had no clue this incarnation of Bret vs. DiBiase even happened until I stumbled across this thread a couple of nights ago and this match kicked ass. It would be one thing if they just kinda sleepwalked through it, they could get away with that and it'd still be great but they put forth an insane amount of effort for what basically was a throwaway TV match. I dug DiBiase using the spinning toehold and him taking almost the same bump over the top to the floor that he did in the Flair match from four years earlier. I like the comparison to a touring NWA Title match and I agree that this is probably Ted's best WWF match, it was a wonderful bit of wrestling television. ****1/4
  8. BigVanCrush

    [2001-04-01-WWF-Wrestlemania X-SEVEN] Steve Austin vs The Rock

    "JR and Heyman had poor chemistry together." is one of the worst takes I've ever seen on the internet. Congratulations.
  9. BigVanCrush

    [2018-06-20-BJW] Hideki Suzuki vs Takuya Nomura

    This was the best 'straight' wrestling match I've seen this year. Nomura pairing up with Fuminore Abe and turning on Hideki lead to an incredible tag match to set up this title match and while you can argue Nomura didn't really *deserve* a title shot, Hideki was more than willing to get in the ring with him and beat his ass for what he did at Endless Survivor. Nomura looks way more credible here than you'd probably expect a two year rookie to look in their first title challenge but it's clear that he's still overmatched against Hideki. The match didn't need to go longer, this was the perfect length given Suzuki's position in the company and Nomura's position in his career. The finish ruled and reminds me of the Fujita/Shibata match from 2004 which is one of my all time favorite matches. The crowd boos Hideki and he flips them off, letting them know he doesn't give a shit what they think because he just killed his former young boy. This match is super easy to understand even without the context of Nomura's turn against Hideki or the lead in tag. It's a brief watch, it's got good action, it's violent and the finish rules. You can't really ask for more than that. ****3/4
  10. Kensuke left New japan a couple of years prior to form World Japan with Riki Choshu. That promotion collapsed and now Sasaki is back home as an outsider and Yuji Nagata isn't exactly happy to see him back. This match is legendary for two reasons: first off is that there's a METRIC FUCK TON OF HATE, and second is that there's A METRIC FUCK TON OF BLOOD. No seriously, there's a lot of blood, Like, deathmatch levels of blood. It's a gruesome sight but the match itself is also very good. Hard strikes, hatred, a hot crowd and you get the feeling that Nagata would actually be fine with murdering Kensuke here and vice versa. One of the very best in New Japan history. *****
  11. Once upon a time, around 2003-2004 in particular, Shibata was known for pissing off and subsequently getting his ass kicked by legends and otherwise established top names. Here, he rushes Kawada. As you might have guessed, this is a bad idea. Kawada lets Shibata get some offense in, Shibata steals some Kawada trakemarks and then Kawada kills him dead. Short, sweet, brutal, to the point. This is good shit. ***3/4
  12. Murakami is the man. Any match he's ever been involved in is infinitely better off for having him in it...including this one. There's a weird, raw intensity to everything Murakami does that puts a lot of his matches over the top. He's such a smug, violent, unhinged prick and you never know what he's going to do which makes him getting his shit handed back to him a lot of fun to watch. There's some Makai Club interference in this one (go figure) but I think it adds to the story of the match. Nagata has to overcome not only the crazed savage challenger, but also has to overcome THE GOD KANTARO HOSHINO on the outside~! Nagata bleeds, Murakami does the blood lick thing that people loved/hated BJ Penn for a few years later in the UFC, there's a lot of intensity and HATE plus Nagata hands Murakami a big ol' glass of overkill for the finish. I've always liked these guys, I've always liked this match and the more I see it, the more I am convinced this may very well be the 2002 MOTY. Everything comes together so perfectly, the rawness of the violence and the triumph of the champion at the end is something a lot of matches fail to capture or just don't even try to capture at all. Nagata is an all time great, matches like this are a good example of why. Murakami is one of the most underrated workers ever, matches like this are a good example of why. Watch this shit. ****3/4
  13. This is one of my all time favorite matches because it was the first match of its kind that I really saw. I was fourteen, had just gotten into the indies after getting into puro the year before and this was the fourth ROH show I got. They work a beautiful technical match that might be a touch slow for some but I thought everything they did was engaging and it entertained the hell out of me. As the match builds, you see Danielson go from a straight laced wrestler to being more arrogant and aggressive, two traits that would define this very title reign. Gibson getting desperate towards the end of the match is great. The Piper/Bret spot to escape the tiger suplex and eventual cattle mutilation ruled and I liked how Bryan realized he wasn't going to be able to get the suplex again so he opted for the chickenwing to take the title. There's a lot of attention to detail here that I think add to the match if you're paying close attention but even if you're not, I still think this is an incredible match from one of the very best ever in Bryan and one of the most underrated wrestlers of the 2000s in Gibson. 2005 was a wonderful year. ****3/4
  14. I love this match. Akiyama hands Shibata maybe the single worst ass kicking of his career after Shibata busts him open with a kick. They really don't let up from the opening bell and I honestly can't think of how someone could look at the names involved and come away from this match disappointed. These two really brought the goods. ****
  15. BigVanCrush

    [2003-05-18-WWE-Judgment Day] Brock Lesnar vs Big Show (Stretcher)

    Just watched this again for the first time in a while and man, this still absolutely rules. There's pretty much no downtime at all, it's just straight up out and out hoss fighting from bell to bell. I've always liked the forklift because A.) it makes perfect sense and B.) it kinda feels like the sort of vehicular mayhem nonsense that Austin did as a babyface except actually done within a match. The Rey run-in's always kinda been weird to me, I know why they did it but it doesn't really add anything. Brock's forklift clothesline was awesome. The bodyslam onto the stretcher was awesome. The finish was awesome. Everything about this match ruled. This is one of the most overlooked and underrated matches I've ever seen. ****1/2