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Cactus Has Bad Opinions 2K21 - His Top 100 Matches Of All Time


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Here's my ballot for the 2021 GME. I only had a few months to put together a list for last year and I wasn't completely pleased with it. I've had over a year to fix that and I've discovered so many great matches since then. I could probably put together a list of 100 matches that I wish I watched/revisited, but I'm still happy with my 2021 list. Since 2020, I've finally been able to get into stuff like shoot-style and World Of Sport. Discovering how mental wrestling was in Puerto Rico has been another highlight of my wrestling viewing over the last year. 6/9/1995 is still the greatest match ever and I can't see that ever changing. 

1. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs Kenta Kobashi and Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 6/9/1995)
2. Bret Hart vs Steve Austin (Submission Match - WWF - 3/23/1997)
3. Brock Lesnar vs John Cena (Extreme Rules - WWE - 4/29/2012)
4. Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami, Kengo Kimura, Umanosuke Ueda & Kantaro Hoshino vs Akira Maeda, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Nobuhiko Takada, Kazuo Yamazaki & Osamu Kid (Elimination Match – NJPW – 3/26/1986)
5. Daniel Bryan vs Triple H (WWE - 4/6/2014)
6. Nick Bockwinkel vs Curt Hennig (AWA - 11/21/1986)
7. Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns (WWE - 3/29/2015)
8. Kiyoshi Tamura vs Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (RINGS - 6/27/1998)
9. Katsuyori Shibata vs Kazuchika Okada (NJPW - 4/9/2017)
10. Kenta Kobashi vs Mitsuharu Misawa (NOAH - 3/1/2003)
11. Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuinness (ROH - 8/12/2006)
12. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama (AJPW - 12/6/1996)
13. Shawn Michaels vs Mankind (WWF - 9/22/1996)
14. Megumi Kudo vs Combat Toyoda (No Rope Explosive Barbed Wire Death Match – FMW – 5/5/1996)
15. Kenta Kobashi vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 1/20/1997)
16. Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue (AJPW - 5/21/1994)
17. Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito (NJPW - 8/13/2016)
18. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Genichiro Tenryu (AJPW - 6/5/1989)
19. Terry Funk & Dory Funk Jr vs Terry Gordy & Stan Hansen (AJPW - 31/8/1983)
20. Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat (WCW - 2/20/1989)
21. Terry Funk vs Atsushi Onita (No Rope Explosive Barbed Wire Death Match - FMW - 5/5/1993)
22. Sgt Slaughter vs Iron Sheik (Boot Camp Match - WWF - 6/16/1984)
23. Kenta Kobashi vs Jun Akiyama (NOAH - 7/10/2004)
24. Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes, Barry Windham & Nikita Koloff vs Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko (War Games - WCW - 5/17/1992)
25. Bret Hart vs Mr Perfect (WWF - 26/8/1991)
26. Kenta Kobashi & Yoshihiro Takayama vs Mitsuhara Misawa & Jun Akiyama (NOAH - 12/2/2007)
27. Toshiaki Kawada vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 6/3/1994)
28. Cody vs Dustin Rhodes (AEW - 5/26/2019)
29. The Hardyz vs The Dudleyz vs Edge & Christian (TLC Match - WWF - 4/1/2001)
30. Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Brian Pillman & Jim Neidhart vs Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock & The Road Warriors (WWF - 7/6/1997)
31. Kenta Kobashi vs Samoa Joe (ROH - 10/2/2005)
32. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 6/8/1990)
33. Stan Hansen vs Carlos Colon (Bullrope Match - CWP - 1/6/1987)
34. Necro Butcher vs Samoa Joe (IWA Mid-South - 6/11/2005)
35. Clive Myers vs Steve Grey (JP - 11/20/1975)
36. Bryan Danielson vs KENTA (ROH - 9/16/2006)
37. Daniel Bryan vs Brock Lesnar (WWE - 11/18/2018)
38. Francis Sullivan & Albert Sanniez vs Bernard Caclard & Tony Martino (France - 10/21/1967)
39. Yuki Ishikawa vs Carl Greco (Battlarts - 6/1/2008)
40. Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura (RINGS - 1/22/1997)
41. Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat (WWF - 3/29/1987)
42. Jerry Lawler vs Terry Funk (No DQ - CWA - 3/23/1981)
43. Jushin Liger vs Great Sasuke (NJPW - 4/16/1994)
44. Daniel Bryan vs John Cena (WWE - 8/18/2013)
45. Akira Taue vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 4/15/1995)
46. Gilbert Cesca vs Billy Catanzaro (France - 5/2/1957)
47. Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura (RINGS - 9/26/1997)
48. The Midnight Rockers vs Doug Somers & Buddy Rose (AWA - 8/30/1986)
49. Sgt. Slaughter vs Bob Backlund (Cage - WWF - 3/21/1981)
50. The Four Horsemen & JJ Dillon vs The Super Powers & Paul Ellering (Wargames - JCP - 7/4/1987)
51. Mankind vs The Undertaker (Hell In A Cell - WWF - 6/22/1998)
52. Andre The Giant vs Stan Hansen (NJPW - 9/23/1981)
53. Jushin Liger vs Great Muta (NJPW - 10/20/1996)
54. Andrade Cien Almas vs Johnny Gargano (WWE NXT - 1/27/2018)
55. Steve Austin vs Kurt Angle (WWF - 8/19/2001)
56. Brock Lesnar vs CM Punk (WWE - 8/18/2013)
57. Antonio Inoki, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Seiji Sakaguchi, Kantaro Hoshino & Keiji Muto vs Tatsumi Fujinami, Riki Choshu, Akira Maeda, Kengo Kimura & Super Strong Machine (Elimination Match - NJPW - 8/19/1987)
58. Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho vs Steve Austin & Triple H (WWF - 5/21/2001)
59. Bayley vs Sasha Banks (Iron Man - WWE NXT - 10/7/2015)
60. Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi (AJPW - 10/19/1990)
61. Adrian Street vs Jim Breaks (JP - 2/12/1972)
62. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta (AJPW - 9/1/1990)
63. William Regal vs Cesaro (WWE NXT - 11/21/2013)
64. Samoa Joe vs CM Punk (ROH - 12/4/2004)
65. Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker (Hell in a Cell - WWF - 10/5/1997)
66. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada (NJPW - 1/4/2015)
67. Yuki Ishikawa vs Kazunari Murakami (Battlarts - 11/26/2000)
68. Shawn Michaels & Diesel vs Razor Ramon & 123 Kid (WWF - 9/28/1994)
69. El Hijo del Santo vs Negro Casas (Mask vs Hair – WWA – 7/18/1987)
70. Bret Hart vs Mr. Perfect (WWF - 6/13/1993)
71. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue (AJPW 12/3/1993)
72. Kenta Kobashi vs Yoshihiro Takyama (AJPW - 5/26/2000)
73. CM Punk vs John Cena (WWE - 7/17/2011)
74. The Shield vs The Wyatt Family (WWE - 2/23/2014)
75. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi (NJPW - 8/12/2018)
76. Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura (RINGS - 9/25/1996)
77. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada (NJPW - 4/7/2013)
78. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki (NJPW - 10/8/2012)
79. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jun Akiyama (AJPW - 2/27/2000)
80. Bryan Danielson vs Chris Hero (PWG - 9/4/2009)
81. Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker (WWE - 3/28/2010)
82. AJ Styles vs Bully Ray (Last Man Standing - TNA - 6/12/2011)
83. Kiyoshi Tamura vs Hiroyuki Ito (U-Style - 8/18/2004)
84. AJ Styles vs Roman Reigns (WWE - 5/22/2016)
85. Bret Hart vs Owen Hart (WWF - 3/20/1994)
86. Carlos Colon vs Stan Hansen (Cage - WWC - 3/14/1987)
87. Dick Togo vs Antonio Honda (DDT - 1/30/2011)
88. Orange Cassidy vs PAC (AEW - 2/29/2020)
89. Ric Flair vs Ricky Morton (Cage - JCP - 7/5/1986)
90. Kiyoshi Tamura vs Yoshihisa Yamamoto (RINGS - 6/24/1999)
91. Al Perez vs Invader I (Street Fight - WWC - 10/26/1986)
92. A-Kid vs Zack Sabre Jr. (WWW - 14/4/2018)
93. Lex Luger & Barry Windham vs Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (JCP - 3/27/1988)
94. Dump Matsumoto vs Chigusa Nagayo (Hair vs Hair - AJW - 8/28/1985)
95. Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne (WWE NXT - 5/20/2017)
96. The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar (WWE - 8/23/2015)
97. Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles (TNA - 12/11/2005)
98. Genichiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen vs Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura (AJPW - 11/29/1989)
99. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi (AJPW - 25/10/1995)
100. Giant Baba vs Billy Robinson (AJPW - 7/24/1976)

My list for 2020:

  1. Spoiler

     

    1. Holy Demon Army vs Kenta Kobashi and Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 6/9/1995)
    2. Bret Hart vs Steve Austin (Submission Match - WWF - 3/23/1997)
    3. Brock Lesnar vs John Cena (Extreme Rules - WWE - 4/29/2012)
    4. Team New Japan (Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami, Kengo Kimura, Umanosuke Ueda & Kantaro Hoshino) vs Team UWF (Akira Maeda, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Nobuhiko Takada, Kazuo Yamazaki & Osamu Kid) (Elimination Match – NJPW – 3/26/1986)
    5. Kenta Kobashi vs Mitsuharu Misawa (NOAH - 3/1/2003)
    6. Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns (WWE - 3/29/2015)
    7. Katsuyori Shibata vs Kazuchika Okada (NJPW - 4/9/2017)
    8. Shawn Michaels vs Mankind (WWF - 9/22/1996)
    9. Holy Demon Army vs Jun Akiyama and Mitsuharu Misawa (Tag League Finals - AJPW - 12/6/1996)
    10. Megumi Kudo vs Combat Toyoda (No Rope Explosive Barbed Wire Death Match – FMW – 5/5/1996)
    11. Terry Funk vs Atsushi Onita (Exploding Barbed Wire - FMW - 5/5/1993)
    12. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Genichiro Tenryu (AJPW - 6/5/1989)
    13. Kenta Kobashi vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 1/20/1997)
    14. Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat (WCW - 2/20/1989)
    15. Sgt Slaughter vs Iron Sheik (Boot Camp Match - WWF - 6/16/1984)
    16. Terry Funk & Dory Funk Jr vs Stan Hansen & Terry Gordy (AJPW - 8/31/1983)
    17. Kenta Kobashi vs Jun Akiyama (NOAH - 7/10/2004)
    18. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW - 6/3/1994)
    19. Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Brian Pillman & Jim Nedihart vs Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock & The Road Warriors (WWF - 7/6/1997)
    20. Kenta Kobashi vs Samoa Joe (ROH - 10/2/2005)
    21. Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat (WWF - 3/29/1987)
    22. Daniel Bryan vs John Cena (WWE - 8/18/2013)
    23. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 6/8/1990)
    24. Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuinness (ROH - 8/12/2006)
    25. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Akira Taue (Champion's Carnival Final - AJPW - 4/15/1995)
    26. Gilbert Cesca vs Billy Catanzaro (France - 5/2/57)
    27. Mankind vs The Undertaker (Hell In A Cell - WWF - 6/22/98)
    28. Jushin Liger vs Great Muta (NJPW - 10/20/1996)
    29. Andrade Cien Almas vs. Johnny Gargano (NXT - 1/27/2018)
    30. Antonio Inoki, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Seiji Sakaguchi, Kantaro Hoshino & Keiji Muto vs Tatsumi Fujinami, Riki Choshu, Akira Maeda, Kengo Kimura & Super Strong Machine (Elimination Match - NJPW - 8/19/1987)
    31. The Revival vs DIY (2/3 Falls - NXT - 11/19/2016)
    32. Dump Matsumoto vs Chigusa Nagayo (Hair vs Hair - AJW - 8/28/1985)
    33. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki (NJPW - 10/8/2012)
    34. Lex Luger/Barry Windham vs. Arn Anderson/Tully Blanchard (NWA - 3/27/1988)
    35. Necro Butcher vs Samoa Joe (IWA Mid-South - 6/11/2005)
    36. CM Punk vs John Cena (WWE - 7/17/2011)
    37. Matt Hardy vs Edge (Cage Match - WWE - 9/18/2005)
    38. Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho vs. Steve Austin & Triple H (WWE - 5/21/2001)
    39. Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada, & Kenta Kobashi vs. Jumbo Tsuruta, Masa Fuchi, & Akira Taue (AJPW - 4/20/1991)
    40. Bret Hart vs Mr. Perfect (WWF - 6/13/1993)
    41. Jerry Lawler vs Terry Funk (No DQ - CWA - 3/23/1981)
    42. Hardyz vs Dudleyz vs E&C (TLC Match - WWF - 8/27/2000)
    43. Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi (AJPW - 10/19/1990)
    44. The Shield vs The Wyatt Family (WWE - 2/23/2014)
    45. Chris Hero vs Bryan Danielson (PWG - 9/4/2009)
    46. William Regal vs Cesaro (NXT - 11/21/2013)
    47. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Mitsuhara Misawa (AJPW - 9/1/1990)
    48. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue (AJPW - 12/3/1993)
    49. Steve Austin vs Kurt Angle (WWF - 8/19/2001)
    50. Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama vs Kensuke Sasaki & Mitsuhiro Kitamiya (DR - 2/11/2012)
    51. Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne (NXT - 5/20/2017)
    52. Bret Hart vs Owen Hart (WWF - 3/20/1994)
    53. Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker (WWE - 3/28/2010)
    54. Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Jun Akiyama (AJPW - 2/27/2000)
    55. El Hijo del Santo vs Negro Casas (Mask vs Hair – WWA – 7/18/1987)
    56. Akira Hokuto and Shinobu Kandori vs Aja Kong and Bull Nakano (AJW – 3/27/1994)
    57. Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker (Hell in a Cell - WWF - 10/5/1997)
    58. Steve Austin vs The Rock (No DQ - WWF - 4/1/2001)
    59. Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper (WWF - 4/5/1992)
    60. Kevin Steen vs El Generico (Ladder Match - PWG - 10/22/2011)
    61. Vader vs. Nobuhiko Takada (UWFi - 12/5/1993)
    62. Eddy Guerrero vs Rey Misterio Jr (Title vs Mask - WCW - 10/26/1997)
    63. Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas (AJPW - 5/25/1992)
    64. Terry Funk vs Stan Hansen (AJPW – 4/14/1983)
    65. Black Terry vs Wotan (Chilanga Mask - 8/21/2016)
    66. Hardyz vs Dudleyz vs E&C (TLC Match - WWE - 4/1/2001)
    67. Young Bucks vs Joey Ryan & Candice LeRae (Guerrilla Warfare - PWG - 7/26/2014)
    68. CM Punk vs. John Cena (WWE - 2/25/2013)
    69. Jordan Delvin vs. David Starr (OTT - 10/26/2019)
    70. Riki Choshu vs Genichiro Tenryu (JPW - 2/21/1985)
    71. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazushi Sakuraba (NJPW - 1/4/2013)
    72. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE - 1/25/2015)
    73. Eddie Guerrero vs Brock Lesnar (WWE - 2/15/2004)
    74. Dustin Rhodes vs Cody (AEW - 5/25/2019)
    75. Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior (Retirement Match - WWF - 3/24/1991)
    76. Shawn Michaels vs Ric Flair (Career Threatening Match - WWE - 3/30/2008)
    77. Keiji Muto vs Vader (NJPW - 8/10/1991)
    78. Jushin Liger vs Naoki Sano (NJPW - 8/10/1989)
    79. Daniel Bryan vs Kofi Kingston (WWE - 4/7/2019)
    80. Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon (Ladder Match - WWF - 8/27/1995)
    81. Ric Flair vs Ricky Morton (Cage Match - JCP - 7/5/1986)
    82. Ric Flair vs Terry Funk (WCW - 7/23/1989)
    83. John Cena vs Umaga (Last Man Standing - WWE - 1/28/2007)
    84. Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect (WWF - 8/26/1991)
    85. Jushin Liger vs Naoki Sano (NJPW - 1/31/1990)
    86. Dolph Ziggler vs Alberto Del Rio (WWE - 6/16/2013)
    87. Akira Hokuto vs Shinobu Kandori (AJW – 4/2/1993)
    88. Akira Maeda vs Tatsumi Fujinami (NJPW - 6/12/1986)
    89. Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat (WCW - 3/18/1989)
    90. Mick Foley vs Randy Orton (Hardcore Match WWF Backlash - 4/18/2004)
    91. Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles (WWE - 11/19/2017)
    92. Kenta Kobashi vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW 10/31/98)
    93. Mick Foley & Edge & Lita vs Terry Funk & Tommy Dreamer & Beulah McGillicutty (ECW - 6/11/06)
    94. Daniel Bryan vs HHH (WWE - 4/6/2014)
    95. Giant Baba vs. Billy Robinson (AJPW - 7/24/76)
    96. Brock Lesnar vs CM Punk (WWE - 8/18/2013)
    97. Eddie Guerrero vs John Bradshaw Layfield (WWE - 5/16/2004)
    98. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega (NJPW - 12/8/17)
    99. Giant Baba vs. The Destroyer (JWA - 3/5/69)
    100. Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE - 11/18/2018)

     

     

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Bumping this with my 2021 GME list. Seeing as the rollout to the 2021 GME list has started, I'd figure I'd talk you through my update list.

100. Giant Baba vs Billy Robinson (AJPW - 7/24/1976) (2020 GME Ranking: 95)
I had seen some much great wrestling during 2021 that this classic fell off my initial ballot. When I was putting together my final ballot together, I decided to sneak this one at the end of my ballot as I needed to show some love to cracking stuff that AJPW was putting out in the 1970s. Robinson reminded me a lot of Fit Finlay in this. He has all kinds of ways to both put on a hold and to escape one. At one point, he uses his own head to wretch on Baba's leg! Baba's no slouch in this either, he knows exactly when to throw a big boot or chop to enrage Robinson into making a mistake. The two out of three falls stipulation breaks up the action nicely and causes the match to fly by.

99. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi (AJPW - 25/10/1995) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
Misawa and Kobashi were my two gateway wrestlers when I was getting into puro about a decade ago, and I was surprised to see that there was a big match between them that I hadn't seen before. It's fantastic stuff, even if it's not as good as their NOAH or their 1997 AJPW match. I wish I wrote a write-up about this one as I'm struggling to remember what happened during this, but I do remember loving it after I had seen it and its finishing stretch was insane and full of those glorious highspots that you can expect between these two.

98. Genichiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen vs Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura (AJPW - 11/29/1989) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
This was a late addition to my list when I saw Elliott rave about it. I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I sat down to watch a Baba and Kimura match from very late in their careers, but I was blown away by this. Baba still has a fantastic wrestling mind with impeccable timing. He sells his beating fantastically well. Every time the veterans would make a comeback, they would have me marking out as if I was in the arena. Jim Ross would describe this match as 'bowling shoe ugly' and he wouldn't be wrong. Sometimes wrestling is more than just flawless execution of highspots and this match is a great example of that.

97. Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles (TNA - 12/11/2005) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
The 'AJ Styles only became great when he went to NJPW' discourse can get right in the bin and this match shows that even a young AJ Styles was still one of the best ever to lace up a pair of boots. This was superior to the much more famous Unbreakable three-way as this was a lot more vicious and had a clear face/heel dynamic. Joe looked like a world-beater here and those stiff kicks were made to look even more deadly by AJ's selling of them. Styles found some pretty creative ways to gain an advantage over his much bigger opponent. The finish was great with Styles looking heroic in defeat.

96. The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar (WWE - 8/23/2015) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I wish I had time to revisit their Hell In A Cell match from later on in the year as I remember loving that when I saw that at the time, but this was still a total bombfest. This felt as if Undertaker was embarrassed by the shambolic Wrestlemania match and decided to put in a career performance in the rematch. He's all killer, no filler here. The trash talk here was top-notch. The shady finish wasn't brilliant, but I can forgive them seeing as they were desperate to protect Brock's aura.

95. Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne (WWE NXT - 5/20/2017) (2020 GME Ranking: 51)
I have a soft spot for this match as it happened during a time when I felt hopeful about the UK wrestling scene. Since then, the #SpeakingOut movement happened and WWE has sucked the UK scene dry of any talent, but I can still look back at this match fondly. Bate is a fantastic plucky underdog and Dunne is a vile prick heel. Dunne works on the hand of Bate and twists it in ways it should not be twisted. That slugfest. Dune's elbows. Bate's barrage of aerial attacks in the lead up to the finish. J.R. sounding like he's actually enjoying the wrestling he's watching. It's good shit.

94. Dump Matsumoto vs Chigusa Nagayo (Hair vs Hair - AJW - 8/28/1985) (2020 GME Ranking: 32)
I was disappointed that their '86 match wasn't as great as I hoped, but this one still holds up. This was my first time seeing Nagayo and she came across as such a natural babyface. The way she weaves some flashy counters into this hot as hell fight so effortlessly tells me that I need to seek out more of her work. Dump Matsumoto may not be as stiff as say Aja Kong, but she ups the violence by cutting open Nagayo with a chain and a pair of scissors. Even the poor referee ends up getting stabbed when he tries to break things up! The post-match hair shaving was incredibly emotional and it left the door wide open for a future match down the line.

93. Lex Luger & Barry Windham vs Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (JCP - 3/27/1988) (2020 GME Ranking: 34)
When I sat down to watch the first-ever Clash, I wasn't expecting this match to go hard as it did. This might be one of the best ever US tag matches I've ever seen and it totally eclipses the already excellent Fantastics vs Midnights match from the same show. Lex Luger gets a lot of shit for not being as good as his contemporaries, but he looks good here. The audience goes apeshit for his shine segment and even buy into some of the early near falls. Windham and Anderson are such great sellers that they can even make those double knockdown spots look believable. This doesn't even go ten minutes, but it never felt rushed.

92. A-Kid vs Zack Sabre Jr. (WWW - 14/4/2018) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
This hidden gem got the full five-star treatment from Meltzer and part of me believes that this match is the reason that A-Kid got picked up by WWE. Sabre working with a smaller guy allows him to look believable as both a technical wizard and a total bully. The grappling is the kind I like. Although it's snug and worked like a chess match, what I like about it the most is that it's rife with story-telling. A-Kid can hang with Sabre, and this pisses Sabre right off. Tension flare up and soon they are slapping the taste right out of each other mouths.

91. Al Perez vs Invader I (Street Fight - WWC - 10/26/1986) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
The first of three matches from Puerto Rico to make my list. This is a street fight that actually lives up to its name! The visual of both guys going at it in jeans adds a lot to the overall presentation, as does the grotty-looking Puerto Rican arena. These guys didn't even enter the ring and the ring posts were only used to smash each other's skulls into. The brawling here was fantastic, with every punch having urgency and they even threw in some ball shots when they needed to. Perez tries to straight-up murder Invader by throwing him down a stairwell. The atmosphere was chaotic and you got the feeling that someone might legitimately die.

90. Kiyoshi Tamura vs Yoshihisa Yamamoto (RINGS - 6/24/1999) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
2021 is the year that shoot-style finally clicked with me and Tamura shot right into my top 10 favourite wrestlers list. This was more of the same as their last match, but they dial the hate up to 11 and they get some nuclear heat from the Korakuen Hall crowd. Tamura slaps Yamamoto hard during the opening handshake and it damn near felt like the roof was going to come off the building. Although he acts smug, I couldn't help but find myself rooting for Yamamoto during the final few minutes of the rough strike exchanges. Both men were down to their final point and the next knockdown would decide a winner. Super gripping stuff!

89. Ric Flair vs Ricky Morton (Cage - JCP - 7/5/1986) (2020 GME Ranking: 81)
Morton is coming into this with a face mask. Flair removes the mask halfway through the match and does a cocky strut wearing the mask before tossing the mask over the cage, leaving Morton defenseless. Because of Morton's god-tier selling, every bit of damage done to Morton's face made you believe that Morton is going to get disfigured if Flair keeps his brutal assault going. If someone somehow had never seen a Ric Flair or Ricky Morton match before, this would be the match that I'd use to sell them on two of the best ever. We get the big entrance from Flair, we get Flair doing some comedy spots as Morton pants him trying to escape the cage and we also get Flair as the smug ass-kicker as he jabs away on Morton's damaged face.

88. Orange Cassidy vs PAC (AEW - 2/29/2020) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
Although I've always enjoyed Orange Cassidy, I would have never expected him to make his way onto a list like this. Thanks to Darrenn for bringing this match to my attention. Orange bumped like a madman for PAC. PAC plays this straight and brutalizes Cassidy. That turnbuckle spot was downright disgusting. Orange's ability to do some of the stuff he does with his hands still in his pockets is incredible. Orange rolls himself out of the ring so he can get into PAC's head. I love that PAC has to use this trick to save himself from being pinned. Cassidy gets in some amazing hope spots and puts on an all-time great underdog performance. This is so much more than a silly, comedy match.

87. Dick Togo vs Antonio Honda (DDT - 1/30/2011) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I was quite disappointed to see that I was the only one who voted for this as I remember it getting a lot of buzz online after it aired. This match had everything. Good punches, blood, work-rate, and a healthy dose of limb work that actually pays off. I like that Togo had urgency in everything he did, as it made every submission that Honda would lock on feel like it could actually end the match. I had no idea who Antonio Honda was before I saw this match, but I became a fan of his as soon as he dropped his strap and started attacking Togo with a flurry of punches that would make Jerry Lawler blush.

86. Carlos Colon vs Stan Hansen (Cage - WWC - 3/14/1987) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
More Puerto Rico goodness! If you've seen any of the Colon vs Hansen matches before, you know what you are getting: a firey bloodbath with some of the craziest fans you will ever see! This is escape-only and it reminded me a lot of the Slaughter/Backlund cage match from 1981 in that they both feature an ass-kicking babyface and a cowardly heel who just wants to escape the cage. This even features double ball-shots, with Hansen cutting off Colon's shine with a well-placed low blow. I know that not everyone is a fan of the finish, but I thought it made for a hell of a spectacle.

85. Bret Hart vs Owen Hart (WWF - 3/20/1994) (2020 GME Ranking: 52)
Just a technical masterclass with unbelievable work-rate built around possibly my favorite storyline ever. Both Hart brothers have to resort to old Stampede tricks to try and outsmart each other. Bret just wants to get this whole saga over quickly, he doesn't want to fight his brother and has a championship match later in the night, so he's always going for quick pins. Owen is at his best when he's playing the bitter little brother and this might be his best-ever performance.

84. AJ Styles vs Roman Reigns (WWE - 5/22/2016) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
This was an amazing showcase of the talents of both Reigns and Styles. Their styles compliment each other well, with Styles having to be resourceful to take control of his bigger opponent. We've seen countless weapons matches during the last twenty years, but they actually managed to make all the big spots feel organic and even the barricade spot looked good! The only thing I didn't like was the crowd brawling spot as there is no way to make that feel fresh after WWE whoring it out every few months. Styles bumped like crazy for that announce table spot. The Good Brothers and The Usos soon get involved, but it doesn't detract from the action. All the close calls were convincing, with even the die-hard Roman detractors buying into the false finishes.

83. Kiyoshi Tamura vs Hiroyuki Ito (U-Style - 8/18/2004) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
Tamura is the ace of the promotion and Ito is the scrappy underdog who puts in the fight of his life. This match is quite story-driven, with Ito getting the better of Tamura and scoring two rope breaks early on. The fans are shocked and start to think that Ito might actually have a fighting chance and Tamura sells his disappointment well and his disappointment soon turns to anger as he starts slapping the piss out of poor Ito's mouth. Probably the best match under the U-Style banner.

82. AJ Styles vs Bully Ray (Last Man Standing - TNA - 6/12/2011) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
AJ shows that he can brawl as well as he can hit his high spots. He was also able to throw a big flashy spot such as an enziguri or a 450 splash in here without it looking a lick out of place. Bully Ray is completely believable as a despicable scumbag. It's refreshing to see a Last Man Standing that didn't rely on weapon spots to pop the crowd, even the big table bump came about organically. This was a hate-filled bloodbath with a big bump at the end that would make Shane McMahon blush.

81. Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker (WWE - 3/28/2010) (2020 GME Ranking: 53)
My opinion on their Wrestlemania 25 match has changed throughout time, but my opinion on this one has been pretty consistent. I totally get why some people don't like this. The acting is gloriously hammy and the action is fairly slow in places, with both men spending a lot of time recovering from their injuries, but this is still one of the best retirement matches ever. Even with HBK's GCSE drama-level acting, he can sell you the urgency of the big moments and have you eating out of his hand.

80. Bryan Danielson vs Chris Hero (PWG - 9/4/2009) (2020 GME Ranking: 45)
The story of Hero wanting to concuss Danielson led to a generous serving of stiff elbows, and boy were they stiff. He controlled Danielson by laying him out with a nasty elbow whenever he tried to fight back. This really put the crowd behind Danielson and sent a nice amount of heat in Hero's direction. They did end up a tad overused, making them feel not as dangerous as they were during the earlier portions of the match. Still, Danielson being the fantastic babyface that he is, this didn't matter too much in the grand scheme of things.

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79. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jun Akiyama (AJPW - 2/27/2000) (2020 GME Ranking: 54)
This is how you groom a guy for a run at the top. Misawa is quickly becoming the grumpy Misawa that we all know and love. His best days are behind him, but he isn't about to let a young whippersnapper like Akiyama take his spot easily. He can still throw a mean elbow and an Emerald Flowsion will still put anyone away providing Misawa is able to hit it. Although this entire match could be described as a sprint, they really take things to 11 during the later stages of the match. Misawa pops right up after a couple of Exploders and Akiyama is forced to bring something new to the table. The '90s might be over and the glory days of AJPW are quickly coming to an end, but this deserves to be talked about when discussing any of the big King's Road classics.

78. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki (NJPW - 10/8/2012) (2020 GME Ranking: 33)
This was two pros putting on a classic that goes against the established formula for what a 2010s NJPW main event should look like. There's not an overabundance of near-falls here, just simple wrestling that's ripe with psychology. Suzuki wants to tear Tanahashi's already-injured arm from his body. One of my main gripes of the modern NJPW style is that submissions never feel dangerous enough to end the match, but I could have easily seen either man picking up a submission victory as this match went on.

77. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada (NJPW - 4/7/2013) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I had forgotten how smug and arrogant Okada was when he was a baby Rainmaker. His facials here are so damn smackable. Despite his arrogance, the NJPW fans are starting to get behind him and start to wear tiresome of Tanahashi's goody-two-shoes attitude. This means Tana goes into John Cena mode and does all his signature taunts with a touch more pizzazz to really get under his detractor's skin whilst still being a babyface. Tanahashi lands a Fujiwara early and then spends the rest of the match working Okada's arm. Okada sells his injury well and I loved that he switched his elbow pad over so that he could hit his flying elbow without damaging his arm any further. Small touches like that go a long way. The exchanges we get during the final ten minutes are explosive and exciting, and never look cooperative or too cutesy. Throw in the molten-hot crowd and you got yourself an all-time classic.

76. Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura (RINGS - 9/25/1996) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
The first match of the legendary Han/Tamura trilogy is the match that finally got me into RINGS. This was like watching two pissed-off octopuses going head to head. The matwork here is so quick I had to check to make sure my video wasn't sped up! Volk Han locks in a hammerlock in seconds and then decides to scoop Tamura up with it and drop him on his damn head! Tamura is outmatched here. Both guys are able to lock on a submission within seconds and the tide of the match can change with one wrong move. Tamura is eventually able to keep up and this pisses Han right off, so he decides to start laying in the strikes. Han lays in the palm strikes and kicks with a lot of ferocity. Not only was the matwork here god-tier, but the narrative of Tamura having to prove himself against a more seasoned opponent gave me something to really get my teeth into.

75. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi (NJPW - 8/12/2018) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
This was Salty Veteran Tanahashi versus Punk Outlaw Ibushi. Tana is pissed off at Ibushi and boy, does he let it show. Ibushi gave Tana an injury in a previous G1 by hitting him with the Lawn Dart and he attempts to go for this move again to try and secure a G1 victory. That pro-longed slap exchange was brutal and despite its length, it never outwore its welcome. You can expect to see all of Tanahashi's big bombs during the finishing stretch, but it never felt formulaic. My only criticism of this match is that the first 10 minutes just felt kinda there. Aside from that, this was an incredible G1 final, with an excellent atmosphere.

74. The Shield vs The Wyatt Family (WWE - 2/23/2014) (2020 GME Ranking: 44)
What I love about this one the most was the pace. It was non-stop from bell to bell, but it never went too quick and started to feel like your run-of-the-mill spotfest. There's plenty of storytelling to help justify the high-end action. This is a stable versus stable match where it feels that every stablemate plays a role. Reigns and Wyatt are the leaders of their respective teams, Ambrose is the unhinged madman, Rollins is the calculated high flyer, and Rowan and Harper serve as the heavies for the Wyatt Family. Reigns trying to fight off the entire Wyatt Family by himself was a great way of having him look strong, even in defeat.

73. CM Punk vs John Cena (WWE - 7/17/2011) (2020 GME Ranking: 36)
If I was doing this list in 2012, there would be a strong chance that this would be my #1 pick. There was something in the air during this night and everyone in that Chicago crowd was invested in this. Punk's sloppiness holds this one back from getting the full five stars from me. Slipping and falling on your arse during the biggest match of your career is going to take me out of the match. Aside from that, this was exciting with some well-placed overbooking which saw Vince McMahon trying to screw Punk out of the title.

72. Kenta Kobashi vs Yoshihiro Takyama (AJPW - 5/26/2000) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
Whether he was slowly firing himself up as he takes a beating or if he was showing concern as he steps back into the ring after his arm was savaged, Kobashi's facial expressions and body language were on-point here. Takayama might not be the prettiest or flashiest worker around, but he makes sure his big shots look snug and he's a pro at knowing whether he should be smothering Kobashi or if he should be allowing him to start making a comeback. Takayama takes out Kobashi's chopping arm, so Kobashi has to improvise. This was smartly worked, with a level of physicality that you can expect from any big AJPW match from the '90s.

71. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue (AJPW 12/3/1993) (2020 GME Ranking: 48)
Kawada's turned his back on Misawa and Kobashi and has joined forces with his former enemy, Akira Taue. Kawada starts this one off as an arrogant yet in control turncoat, but as soon as Kobashi starts returning his leg kicks, Massive Dickhead Kawada comes out in full force. The leg kicks from Kobashi send Kawada to the ground, clutching his leg in agony. It's redundant to say what a great seller Kawada is at this point, but this match might feature his best sell job. Him not being able to bridge on a German suplex because of his hurt wheel might be my favorite piece of singular selling ever. Taue plays his role as Kawada's heavy well by holding the fiery Kobashi back while Kawada stretches out Misawa. The finishing stretch is all kinds of fun, with non-stop action and constant momentum shifts. Excellent stuff.

70. Bret Hart vs Mr. Perfect (WWF - 6/13/1993) (2020 GME Ranking: 40)
I used to think this was so much better than their Summerslam 1991 match, but my opinion on that changed this year. A rare face vs face for its era, this is both men's second match of the night. Mr. Perfect looks like the fresher man, as Bret's hand is injured after his match with Razor Ramon some 30 minutes previously. After the brilliant pre-match promo with the shit-stirring Mean Gene, they open their match with some crisp technical exchanges. You don't need me to tell you how technically sound Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect are. This really gets going once Hennig starts heeling it up. He starts off very subtlety, stomping on Bret when he's down to blindsiding him after assisting him back into the ring. The crowd turns on Hennig and the match transitions beautifully to a more traditional face vs heel dynamic.

69. El Hijo del Santo vs Negro Casas (Mask vs Hair – WWA – 7/18/1987) (2020 GME Ranking: 55)
Confession time: I'm not much of a lucha guy. I can enjoy a match here and there, but there is a limit to how much I enjoy it. I think that MS-1 vs Chicana brawl that everyone raves about is just okay. One exception to that rule is El Hijo del Santo. Although I prefer him when he's being a Mexican Shawn Michaels instead of a brawler, he's my guy when it comes to lucha. Both wrestlers put in a hell of a shift here. Negro Casas shone here because of his cocky demeanor and insane bumping. I'm surprised Casas didn't suffer any serious injuries from that mental crash and burn failed dropkick attempt that sends him violently snapping back from the ropes. The third fall sees them cram in more near falls than the Steamboat/Savage classic from a few months previous. Like that match, every single one of them felt like they could end the match and they never once felt excessive.

68. Shawn Michaels & Diesel vs Razor Ramon & 123 Kid (WWF - 9/28/1994) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
The Kilq working together to make each other look good created one of the best WWF tags ever. The crowd is molten-hot throughout and everyone plays their role to perfection. Despite being the much bigger man of his team, Ramon does a sublime job at being the face in peril and Kid is the rocket-fuelled fresh man. HBK puts in a top chickenshit heel performance and he sells Ramon's punches well. Diesel didn't stink up this match at all, but I'm wasn't a fan of him being knocked out for minutes on end after a single Sweet Chin Music. At least it put the move over as deadly, at least.

67. Yuki Ishikawa vs Kazunari Murakami (Battlarts - 11/26/2000) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I had to squeeze at least one Murakami match on my ballot. I love that mad bastard. With his devilish facials and final boss aura, he reminded me of Brock Lesnar and he is here to make the Battlarts poster boy his bitch. Murakami brutalizes Ishikawa until Ishikawa is able to catch a leg and throw one of the best punches ever and change the tide of the match in one of my all-time favourite transitional spots.

66. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada (NJPW - 1/4/2015) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I remember being sick of this pairing by the time this match happened, but I really enjoyed revisiting it recently. These two start out trading tight headlocks on each other for the first five minutes, but the dynamic of the match drastically changes when Okada takes a cheap shot after a rope break and they start hitting each other with stiff forearms. They pop the crowd with some massive spots that you could easily see in the cheap seats. The Heavy Rain on the walkway and Tanahashi's barricade-clearing High Fly Flow were two of the biggest highlights here. I love how this match built up, but my usual complaint of the main event NJPW style still applies here. Submissions and roll-ups do not feel like a threat and you can bet your last dollar that this is ending after either a Rainmaker or a High Fly Flow. Despite my criticisms of the NJPW style as a whole, these two went out there and still managed to have one of the best matches of the decade.

65. Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker (Hell in a Cell - WWF - 10/5/1997)
I could see myself going higher on this if I rewatched this as I can't think of any criticisms of this match. Everything falls into place perfectly. Kane's debut is iconic. Shawn going to drastic measures to escape the cell made for one of his best performances ever. Undertaker works best in an environment like this, with all the bells and whistles hiding all his weakness as a worker well. Shawn's bladejob is disgusting and even if his cell bump was overshadowed by Mankind the next year, it is still a sight to behold.

64. Samoa Joe vs CM Punk (ROH - 12/4/2004) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
My list wouldn't have felt complete if I hadn't found the three hours to sit down to watch the entire Joe/Punk trilogy. Even though their second encounter is more celebrated, I think this was their best match together. Although Punk comes into this acting arrogantly, the fans are soon behind him after Joe cracks his skull open and he's still fighting his heart out. There's no time limit here, so Punk goes back to his headlock strategy once again. Joe knows this so he fires on all cylinders and busts out his biggest strikes, but Punk is able to hold his own against Joe. Punk gets some nail-bitingly close hope spots on Joe. After 2 and a half hours of total match time between these two, we finally have a winner. Seeing all the callback spots get satisfying pay-offs brought this one to the next level.

63. William Regal vs Cesaro (WWE NXT - 11/21/2013) (2020 GME Ranking: 46)
If you're going to watch this match, make sure you watch Regal's pre-match promos. It sets the stage perfectly and it might be one of Regal's best. The matwork channels back to Regal's days working the WoS style of grappling. He throws in a kip-up to let us know that he's still got a lot of fuel left in his tank. After hitting the first strikes of the match, Cesaro is slouched in the corner and Regal illegally stomps on him whilst chatting to the referee. He's a babyface, but he's still the Villain! Both guys sell exceptionally well in this. Regal audibly screams as his knee is worked over, and Cesaro is always trying to shake off the damage that he's taken to his arm. The ending is WWE Epic Storytelling™ done right.

62. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jumbo Tsuruta (AJPW - 9/1/1990) (2020 GME Ranking: 47)
For whatever reason, I was under the belief that this match pales in comparison to their June match. Thankfully that wasn't the case and this more than delivered. There's a lot of callbacks to their last match and the crowd is molten hot and they are dying for Misawa to shock Japan yet again. Tsurata puts in a wonderful performance. He's grumpy and pissed off, but you can see that he's starting to doubt himself. Misawa stuns the audience by kicking out of a Backdrop Driver, but how much more does he have left?

61. Adrian Street vs Jim Breaks (JP - 2/12/1972) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
After watching some Les Kellet matches to gently ease me into the World Of Sport style, this was the match that blew me away. Street's gay panic gimmick might not have aged well, but he's at least presented as a legitimate wrestler who just happens to be very flamboyant. I used to have an issue getting into WoS as I found that the round system stopped the action from flowing well, but I thought they made great use of it here. Breaks would constantly get close to locking on his finish, but the round would expire before he could fully lock it on and he'd have to break the hold. They built up the tension well, with things getting more aggressive and violent as the match went on and as they got more and more frustrated with each other. For those who find World Of Sport not gritty or violent enough for their tastes, I urge you to give this a watch.

60. Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi (AJPW - 10/19/1990) (2020 GME Ranking: 43)
Taue and Kawada hate each other and start brawling whenever they are near each other. Kawada makes a point of throwing Taue out to the floor and slamming him in the crowd area, just because Taue did the exact same thing to him earlier in the match. This really shined when Kobashi is worked over by Tsuruta. Kobashi lands a lucky lariat on Tsuruta when Jumbo tries to save Taue, and now that Jumbo has got Kobashi in control, he's going to make him pay. Fuchi busts Kobashi's nose with a chair and Jumbo makes him eat some brutally stiff clotheslines. Kawada goes for the ace and the Korakuen explodes with joy. Both Kawada and Kobashi benefited greatly by being able to stand with the mighty Jumbo. This gives the 4/20/91 tag a run for its money and I think this might be another match that could jump ahead in my list if I give it a rewatch for next year's GME.

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59. Bayley vs Sasha Banks (Iron Man - WWE NXT - 10/7/2015) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
Forget just calling this the greatest women's match to take place in a WWE ring, I'd also call this the greatest Iron Man match in history too. I think I'm in the minority that prefers this match to their Brooklyn match. I loved Sasha's heel performance in their Takeover: Brooklyn match, but she was next-level evil here. Her teasing of the Bayley superfan was awesome, only damped by some of the smarky crowd's insistence on still cheering Banks despite how much of a heel she was. Sasha goes from aggressively competitive to full-on bitch mode in one motion as she takes advantage of Bayley's kindness by pulling her to the ground after Bayley offers her a hug after a stalemate. The sloppy moments of this match stop this one from getting the full five stars from me.

58. Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho vs Steve Austin & Triple H (WWF - 5/21/2001) (2020 GME Ranking: 38)
Austin is so good in this and I don't think any wrestler has had a better year than he did in 2001. He keeps Benoit under control with eye pokes so subtle that Jim Ross doesn't even pick up on them the first time around. The heels isolating Benoit and keeping him away from his partner is one of the best examples of a building up for a hot tag I've ever seen. Props to Triple H for carrying on after tearing his quad. My only gripe in this is that Earl Hebner's officiating feels rather inconsistent. Aside from that minor nitpick, this is probably the best straight-up tag match WWE has ever put on and one of the best RAW matches of all time.

57. Antonio Inoki, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Seiji Sakaguchi, Kantaro Hoshino & Keiji Muto vs Tatsumi Fujinami, Riki Choshu, Akira Maeda, Kengo Kimura & Super Strong Machine (Elimination Match - NJPW - 8/19/1987) (2020 GME Ranking: 30)
I always get these NJPW 80's elimination tags mixed up. I need to find the time to watch all of them as I haven't been let down by one yet. This was excellent, but I remember the UWF vs NJPW one from a year previous being even better than this. This was all kinds of brilliance with a pace that never lets up. Think Canadian Stampede 10 man tag on crack. Everyone makes quick tags and thus the action never gets a chance to stagnate. Inoki looks like the dog's bollocks, Maeda effortlessly plays the dickhead and Mutoh is the rookie with a lot of heart who has a star-making moment during the finishing stretch.

56. Brock Lesnar vs CM Punk (WWE - 8/18/2013) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
This was another late addition to my ballot (it might have been the last addition to my list, actually). I gave it a rewatch as I thought my list was lacking in CM Punk matches and I'm glad to say that this holds up. Lesnar feels so god-damn unbeatable here, but the fans believe in Punk and he puts in a hell of an underdog performance here. We get a lot of great trash talk and Lesnar's wounded lion selling is one example of why he is one of the best ever. Some of the Heyman interference hurt the match, but it's only a small criticism.

55. Steve Austin vs Kurt Angle (WWF - 8/19/2001) (2020 GME Ranking: 49)
The only Kurt Angle match on my ballot. If this was a top 200 list, then his matches with Benoit at the 2003 Rumble and maybe his first match against Samoa Joe would make the cut. While this isn't a total Austin carry job, Austin calling this match stopped Angle from leaning back on his worst tendencies. I love how they could work this as a technical match while still keeping the hate flowing. The ending is overbooked with multiple referees going down, but it's the good kind of overbooking. Austin looks like a psychotic monster and Angle looked like the biggest babyface on the planet once this was all wrapped up.

54. Andrade Cien Almas vs Johnny Gargano (WWE NXT - 1/27/2018) (2020 GME Ranking: 29)
NXT was fantastic before it became a parody of its glory years and this was one of the first matches that made me realize that the product that they were putting out during this period was some elite-tier stuff. This is one of the rare few times you get a smark-heavy crowd fully immersed with the traditional face/heel dynamic. None of that 'Let's go Gargano, Let's go Almas, ' dueling chant bollocks here. Every time Almas would look for a shortcut or his manager would interfere with the match, the crowd was calling for their heads. Johnny Gargano was one of the best babyfaces in wrestling at this time. His facial expressions were next level whenever he takes a brutal move and looked concussed. I didn't think these guys had it in them to keep a half-hour match interesting, but they sure showed me.

53. Jushin Liger vs Great Muta (NJPW - 10/20/1996) (2020 GME Ranking: 28)
This is a very personal pick to me and I can see why I'm the only person who voted for it. This was one of the first puroresu matches that I saw and it holds a special place in my heart, but I still think it holds up as a cracking match in its own right. This is the perfect Dome match. From the larger-than-life entrances to, the emphasis on hardcore wrestling and the special moments like Liger getting his mask ripped off, this was New Japan doing sports entertainment and it pays off supremely well. I can't name a better you a better performance from Mutoh as Muta either. He gets frustrated that Liger has got his number and he's a treat to watch. I can't find any faults with this and it's my first five-star match on my ballot.

52. Andre The Giant vs Stan Hansen (NJPW - 9/23/1981) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I've always struggled to love this one as much as everyone else did. I'm a huge fan of both guys, but this one didn't click with me until I watched this with Jim Cornette's commentary over this, and that helped me appreciate what a monster movie of a match this is. This isn't the Andre of the WWF who fought Hulk Hogan. He's full of piss and vinegar here and Stan is incredible at being an ass-kicker who has to fight from underneath. All the transition spots worked to a tee, I particularly love the spot where Andre catches a Hansen elbow drop. Andre sells well whenever Hansen would get an advantage. The non-finish worked, considering how hectic the match was.

51. Mankind vs The Undertaker (Hell In A Cell - WWF - 6/22/1998) (2020 GME Ranking: 27)
Outside of all the nostalgia I have for this, I still think it's one of the best Attitude Era matches ever. Everyone involved in this got over. Foley's career was made because of his performance and The Undertaker looked like a monster. Because of the two horrific bumps, many people forget that the brawl they have once they are both locked in the cell is great stuff. From the bloody Foley smile to the steel steps and thumbtack spots, it completes this nasty little package. Every cell match owes something to this and WWE will try to recapture the magic of this night again and again, but they never will. There's a reason why WWE still shows that bump in their video packages 20+ years on.

50. The Four Horsemen & JJ Dillon vs The Super Powers & Paul Ellering (Wargames - JCP - 7/4/1987) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
Oh man, this was complete chaos! Seeing this in person must have been a hell of an experience. Dusty and Arn start the match and it's about as brilliant as you can expect from these two. Dusty attacks, while Arn tries to back away. The heels win the coin toss and Tully enters. This was the perfect stipulation to hide the limitations of certain wrestlers. Lex Luger was still very green here, but he's only really in this to rush in and hit a few great-looking power spots before he disappears into the crowd of wrestlers. The Road Warriors looked phenomenal here, coming in to kick ass as the crowd roared with approval. I'd rate the 1992 War Games match over this, but this is still a legendary match that every fan needs to see.

49. Sgt. Slaughter vs Bob Backlund (Cage - WWF - 3/21/1981) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I need to give Slaughter a deep dive at some point, because he's never let me down so throw some Slaughter recs down and we will see which other matches of his that might make my 2022 GME ballot. I've never been a fan of the escape-only cage matches, but I'd make an exception for this! Slaughter and Backlund are pros at milking the escape teases. Backlund had Slaughter's leg hanging on by a thread as he tried to leave via the door and you could cut the tension with a knife! The pace of this never let down and the crowd was nuclear-hot the entire 15 minutes that this bloodbath lasted.

48. The Midnight Rockers vs Doug Somers & Buddy Rose (AWA - 8/30/1986) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
This was tag team psychology worked to perfection. Shawn starts this one out and gets some shine in. He gets a few near-falls in before he is driven headfirst into the ring post and bleeds a gusher. Shawn starts losing blood quickly and it's up to him to tag out or The Midnight Rockers will have to kiss their tag title shot goodbye. I used to find people who thought that Rockers Shawn was better than 2000s Shawn to be insane, but this match showed me what a hell of an undersized ass-kicker Shawn could be when the odds were stacked against him. He throws some mean desperation shots trying to tag out and the crowd erupts when he finally gets to Marty. That was one of the most perfect hot tag segments ever. Marty also starts to bleed and all kinds of pandemonium break loose before the referee has to throw this one out.

47. Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura (RINGS - 9/26/1997) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I used to struggle with shoot-style as I thought it was too focused on hyper-realism and not the story-telling and character work that I love in my wrestling, but I was so wrong about shoot-style not having good story-telling after sitting down and watching all three of the Han/Tamura trilogy. You need to watch all three matches to get the whole picture and see how one Kiyoshi Tamura starts the series as a promising upstart and ends it as a RINGS legend who's able to tap out the iconic Volk Han. Han looked like a damn anaconda at times when he would wrap his body around Tamura in an effort to tap him out with many types of unique submissions. Tamura felt like the best fighter in the world when he tried to take out Han with his deadly strikes. Just perfect execution and body language. This was the perfect way to wrap up the trilogy.

46. Gilbert Cesca vs Billy Catanzaro (France - 5/2/1957) (2020 GME Ranking: 26)
Imagine that feeling you got when you first saw Dynamite Kid vs Tiger Mask and multiply that by 10. That's what this match did for me. Some of these exchanges are so ahead of their time, it makes you think how the crowd back then would have reacted to them. Every hold feels like a struggle and you are left on the edge of your seat wondering how they are going to get out of the hold. They trade some neat uppercuts that get more intense as the match goes on until one of them gets fed up and starts headbutting like they think they're Zinedine Zidane! We see them bust out hurricanranas, monkey flips, powerbombs, and even a motherfuckin' Ganso Bomb! After every big exchange, they would shake hands, but you can tell they're each getting frustrated at each other for not being able to score an advantage. I went into this with zero context, I don't know which one was Cesca and which one was Catanzaro, but I was still enthralled with this.

45. Akira Taue vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 4/15/1995) (2020 GME Ranking: 25)
It's so nice to see Taue finally get a chance to shine in singles action. When his unique offense isn't keeping Misawa down, he goes for the eyes to keep control. Taue was never presented as Misawa's equal, but on this night he makes you think that he might actually have the chance to topple the ace, chokeslamming him to the floor and using his new Dynamic Bomb finisher to attempt to get the win. There are parts of this that actually felt like a sprint and the 27 minute match time felt more like 15. This is an underrated gem for AJPW! I've always thought Taue as the weakest of the Four Pillars, but he's fantastic here and this reminded me that I need to check out more of his singles work.

44. Daniel Bryan vs John Cena (WWE - 8/18/2013) (2020 GME Ranking: 22)
Think of this as a more polished version of Cena vs Punk from MITB 2011. The crowd chanting 'You can't wrestle' at Cena is laughable, as he can more than hold his own when grappling with Bryan. Cena works well as a quasi-heel. He overpowers Bryan and takes just a little bit longer to do his signature taunts, which really rile up the crowd. I have to give credit for Triple H being a great special referee too, you completely forget he's there, which makes the swerve more unpredictable. This is a technical classic with a story that's easy to get sucked into. A five-star classic that's not even either guy's best match!

43. Jushin Liger vs Great Sasuke (NJPW - 4/16/1994) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
Liger has been donning his gimmick for five years at this point, and he is firmly placed as ace of the division. Sasuke is new to NJPW and he's been slaving away in the independent circuit, looking for his big break. After a surprisingly brilliant mat wrestling segment, Liger starts to torture Sasuke by stretching him all over the place and going to town on his arm. Sasuke has to find openings which usually involve him hitting some kind of insane dive. The finish might have one of the most infamous botches in puro history, with them covering up for it in a way that actually enhances the match. Sasuke slips on the ropes when going for a springboard, Liger mocks him, only for Sasuke to kip up and roll Liger up for the win. A wonderful ending to the best juniors match ever. This is simple pro-wrestling storytelling pulled off perfectly, with high octane juniors action.

42. Jerry Lawler vs Terry Funk (No DQ - CWA - 3/23/1981) (2020 GME Ranking: 41)
I wish I liked Lawler as much as all you guys seem to do, but this is him at his absolute best. This was two bloodied-up southern men throwing some of the best punches you're going to ever see in a wrestling ring. They sell them well and this was a good example of having a match with the most basic of moves and making the most of them. This went into 'epic' territory when Lawler hulked up and the Mid South Coliseum came unglued, one of the best comebacks I've ever seen.

41. Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat (WWF - 3/29/1987) (2020 GME Ranking: 21)
Yeah, this is a boring pick, but it's a classic for a reason. I might leave this off my list next as while I think it's a stone-cold classic, it's one of those matches that I've seen so many times that I don't have the urge to watch it again. Savage works a great segment over Steamboat's throat. The crowd is right behind Steamboat, even the ones that were cheering Macho when he made his entrance. These guys work at such a fast pace, even the referee looks worn out. This really is a masterclass in pro-wrestling and it's one of the most highly influential matches of all time and I can't see it ever aging.

40. Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura (RINGS - 1/22/1997) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
The second bout in the Han/Tamura trilogy and their best outing. Tamura's slightly more polished since the last time they've met, but he still falls victim to Han's devastating wristlock throw minutes into this encounter, even if he is able to recover from it quicker and more efficiently than he did during the '96 match. Volk Han's a master seller. He's able to convey emotions without it making the hyper-realistic grappling look like a total work. He gets caught in an armbar early and he uses the first rope break of the match to escape and he has an ashamed look on his face as if he was a puppy who just shat on the rug. I don't need to tell how brilliant the matwork was or how every submission looked like it could have ended the match as I'm sure you already know that if you're aware of either Han or Tamura
 

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39. Yuki Ishikawa vs Carl Greco (Battlarts - 6/1/2008) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I didn't even think I was much of a matwork guy until I watched this. Some of the ground game here was so convincing that I think it could fool some MMA fans into thinking this was a shoot. Carl Greco is everything Kurt Angle thinks he is. A total wrestling machine. He's more of an MMA-style grappler than Ishikawa is, who could be described as a Battlarts traditionalist. This was built entirely around the ground game and they kept it gripping for 15 whole minutes. Not a single strike was thrown here and only one suplex was landed. Both guys volunteering to give up their final rope break was a badass move. I want you guys to check this out, so I'm not going to spoil the ending, but the grappling feels even more intense when you know that the ropes can't save them anymore.

38. Francis Sullivan & Albert Sanniez vs Bernard Caclard & Tony Martino (France - 10/21/1967) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I've only seen three French catch matches and two of them made my ballot. I need to make time to watch a lot more of that stuff. The next time I see someone complain about old matches being slow, I'm going to show them this incredible match. It's amazing how a fantastic match can suck you in, even when you have no idea who the wrestlers are. This goes just over thirty minutes and there's ZERO downtime! The action is quick and a lot of exchanges feel like they were ripped right out of a World Of Sport match, only with some insane aerobics thrown in! This isn't just a spotfest though. The guys in the darker trunks are the heels and they get more and more frustrated as the faces out-shine them. They eventually show their vicious side by laying in some snug strikes and by the third fall, this is an all-out brawl. This was even better than the Catanzaro/Cesca match.

37. Daniel Bryan vs Brock Lesnar (WWE - 11/18/2018) (2020 GME Ranking: 100)
A rare heel vs heel pairing that actually worked. This is as dominant that Lesnar had looked since he squashed Cena at Summerslam 2014. Bryan teasing Lesnar was brilliant and Brock had me creasing when he planted Bryan after the first German. The prolonged beating of Bryan added fuel to the fire and seeing him finally get his comeback after knocking the referee down made for a cool moment. This is a rare match that made me feel like a kid, with every interaction feeling like it could result in the match ending. Lesnar's selling of the leg was sublime, him crumbling to the ground after attempting an F5 was a nice bit of wrestling psychology. This was something special. Even with no build, this blew everything on this show out of the water.

36. Bryan Danielson vs KENTA (ROH - 9/16/2006) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
In the first few exchanges, they establish everything you need to know about this match. Bryan's shoulder is naff and these two aren't afraid to bully each other and get nasty. Bryan starts to heel things up when he gains control and he is amazing at being a smug asshole who takes joy in hurting people. His reaction to the fans teasing him about botching a Mexican Surfboard was golden. Although I've seen this before, the finishing stretch had me on the edge of my seat with some of the most convincing near falls I've ever seen.

35. Clive Myers vs Steve Grey (JP - 11/20/1975) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
This was a fantastic display of technical wizardry and one-upmanship, with some tasteful comedy moments too. These guys paced this match well, and they threw the crowd a lightning-quick exchange before going back to the mat game. Clive Myers is agile as a cat and I love his delayed enziguri. The final round is incredibly tense. You never got the impression that these two hated each other during this and it just feels like two pros having a competitive bout to see who is the better man and it makes for a wholesome 20 minutes of wrestling.

34. Necro Butcher vs Samoa Joe (IWA Mid-South - 6/11/2005) (2020 GME Ranking: 35)
This is about as far away from the previous match as you can get. This is the pinnacle of scummy wrestling. This was a bloodbath and I'd say it's probably my favorite straight-up brawl ever. I can't wrap my head around the beating that Necro took. It's hard to watch, but it made for some great visuals. I'm torn in two deciding if this match had great punches just on the fact that they didn't look worked at all. Ah well, who cares? I was extremely entertained either way. All done and dusted in 10 minutes too.

33. Stan Hansen vs Carlos Colon (Bullrope Match - CWP - 1/6/1987) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I was blown away by how good this was and it sent me down a Puerto Rico rabbit hole. Colon isn't the best brawler in the world, but he more than makes up for it by being charismatic and knowing how to milk the drama with the bull rope. Colon cartwheeling to start his comeback popped me big time! A cartwheel in a bloodbath like this could have felt out of place, but Colon made it work. These two just pounded the shit out of each other, using the bull rope to batter and choke each other. They both get juice and the crowd went apeshit for them. Hansen was exceptional here. His body language was top-notch and he falls over like a big redwood whenever Colon was able to best him during the struggle with the rope. Never had a tug of war felt tenser than it did when these two were pulling away!

32. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 6/8/1990) (2020 GME Ranking: 23)
Jumbo ruled the 80s and is the ace of AJPW. The recently unmasked Tiger Mask II is now going by his real name and has something to prove. Jumbo bullies the new guy unmercifully. Tsuruta never had the flashiest arsenal, but every strike and slam looks brutal. He ain't giving up his spot that easily. The crowd eats up every nearfall, they are all rooting for the underdog. The finish wasn't completely decisive, leaving the door open for a rematch, yet it still made Misawa look like a big deal. This was the first-ever AJPW match I watched and I was hooked on anything Misawa/Kobashi related and I'm happy to say this holds up.

31. Kenta Kobashi vs Samoa Joe (ROH - 10/2/2005) (2020 GME Ranking: 20)
I've always been cautious of rewatching this as I don't think it would ever live up to my first viewing and boy, was I wrong! Kobashi is shocked by how crazy the crowd is for him and you can tell it by the bewildered look he has in his eyes as he comes through the curtain. It's his first time in the US and he had no idea what to expect. Kobashi is pretty banged up here, but he gives the crowd what they want by chopping Joe's chest into oblivion. This isn't Kobashi's best performance from a strict workrate perspective, but he brings out his greatest hits and that's all this crowd needed to see. I don't think Joe could have gotten a better rub by looking like Kobashi's equal here, even if he did lose the match. The atmosphere is like nothing else and the audience is molten hot throughout the entirety of this 23-minute match. This felt like the best ever game of Fire Pro ever!

30. Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Brian Pillman & Jim Neidhart vs Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock & The Road Warriors (WWF - 7/6/1997) (2020 GME Ranking: 19)
This is the only match on my ballot that I haven't rewatched since doing these lists, but I'm pretty confident that it would still place high on my list. This had everything. From the frantic crowd to the quick pace, it's impossible to be bored by this. The weaker workers in the match don't have a chance to hinder the match as the tags are so quick. I'll have to rewatch the whole PPV at some point as it's one of the best ones that the WWE ever put on.

29. The Hardyz vs The Dudleyz vs Edge & Christian (TLC Match - WWF - 4/1/2001) (2020 GME Ranking: 66)
I initially have both TLC 1 and 2 on my ballot, but I scrapped the first one making the cut as this one improved on everything that they attempted on the first match. This was more of the same from Summerslam with a few added bells and whistles. Each team has an interfering wrestler/valet to help them out and the spots are crazier than those saw in the Summerslam match. They perfected the car crash spotfest formula and they would never come close to this brilliance again. Despite WWE having a PPV named after this match for a decade, I can't name a single excellent TLC or ladder match that wowed me anywhere close to the level of this.

28. Cody vs Dustin Rhodes (AEW - 5/26/2019) (2020 GME Ranking: 74)
I can't say much more than what's already been said. This was a Mid-South flavored brawl with buckets of emotion. Cody looked like a big star during his entrance. Dustin's bladejob! Dustin's punch-drunk selling! That post-match stuff that could make a rock shed a tear! Cody really stepped up here and Goldy got a chance to show why he's one of the GOATs on a big platform. This was perfectly paced and everything flows exceedingly well, from the Brandi interference to the horrific bladejob by Dustin. Two years on and AEW still hasn't been able to top this.

27. Toshiaki Kawada vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 6/3/1994) (2020 GME Ranking: 18)
What more needs to be said about this? I might prefer the first Misawa/Tsuruta, Tsuruta/Tenryu, and the 6/9/95 tag over this, but this is an absolute classic. The finishing stretch in this in insane and it feels very modern for 1994.

26. Kenta Kobashi & Yoshihiro Takayama vs Mitsuhara Misawa & Jun Akiyama (NOAH - 12/2/2007) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
I might catch some flak for ranking this higher than 6/3/94, but I simply don't care as this was one of the most emotional pro-wrestling matches ever. Pro-wrestling shouldn't make you think. Instead, it should make you feel and this match is the perfect example of that theory. Kobashi's returning from cancer and he wants to prove to the fans that he can still go. I had a lump in my throat when Kobashi hits his famous corner chops on Akiyama. I completely forgot about how physical the finishing stretch of this match was. From Tiger Drivers to Moonsaults to the Avalanche Emerald Flowsion that finally finishes Kobashi off, they brought out the big guns even if they really should have been looking after their bodies and work a more simplistic match given the health of two of the wrestlers. There are so many little things I love about this. From that shot of amon Honda crying his eyes out to the fans chanting Kobashi's name over Misawa's music, this was beautiful stuff.

25. Bret Hart vs Mr Perfect (WWF - 26/8/1991) (2020 GME Ranking: 84)
This shot right up my list after I gave it a watch after listening to Last Match Standing's episode breaking down this bout. These two have insane chemistry together and work at a speedy pace that never lets up for the duration of the bout. Bret hit some of the smoothest headlock throws ever during his shine. Perfect's known for being a great bumper, but his selling is turned up to 11 here. He cuts off Bret at just the right time, sending the MSG crowd and the babyface commentators into a rage. Bret hits Perfect with everything in his arsenal and begins to gets frustrated with himself, which leads to an amazing false finish that sees Perfect roll up Bret when he's arguing with the referee. In an era where a finisher ended the match 99% of the time, Bret finding the strength to kick out of the Perfect-Plex was a huge deal, as was Bret displaying his ring IQ to start to lock on the Sharpshooter when both men were down.

24. Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes, Barry Windham & Nikita Koloff vs Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko (War Games - WCW - 5/17/1992) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
This lives up to the ridiculously high expectations that I had for this. I can't remember the last time I was suckered into a babyface showing some fire as much as was when Dustin Rhodes entered the match. The War Games stipulation hid Sting's limitations well and they had me hooked with the Nikita storyline about whether or not he was going to turn or not. This had the right amount of bells and whistles enhancing an already action-packed match, such as Madusa climbing the cage and the heels using part of the ring post as a weapon. This had picture-perfect pacing and everyone played their roles to a tee.

23. Kenta Kobashi vs Jun Akiyama (NOAH - 7/10/2004) (2020 GME Ranking: 17)
I'll never forget the big exploder that Akiyama gives Kobashi from the second rope to the outside, but Kobashi's vertical suplex from the apron was so nasty that Kobashi ends up spitting up blood, and he's the one delivering the move! After this massive spot, Kobashi wants to take this one home. He gives Akiyama an Orange Crush and a Burning Lariat, but he's not going down that easy. Kobashi attempts a rare Burning Hammer, but Akiyama counters and lays in a brutal assault. These guys sell everything to perfection and they never go overboard with the false finishes. This was a match that was designed to be enjoyed by everyone in the building. The big chops, big gestures, and even bigger suplexes were so massive that you could see them even in the cheapest of cheap seats. They waste no motion doing anything that would have only been picked up by the first few rows. That's what makes a perfect Dome match.

22. Sgt Slaughter vs Iron Sheik (Boot Camp Match - WWF - 6/16/1984) (2020 GME Ranking: 15)
What sets this apart from the many other bloody brawls from this time period is the amount of character and personality both men bring to the table. The sctick with Sheik's loaded boot stopped this from just being two guys trading punches. Sheik's selling is almost comedic as flops all over the place for Slaughter. You could call this goofy, but I loved it as it makes it clear that his opponent is the babyface and it's not too different from Ric Flair's selling. The crowd is going apeshit throughout the entire match, even throwing garbage into the ring when Sheik is in control, further adding to the atmosphere. I really loved this. It might be one of the best matches that WWE has ever put out.

21. Terry Funk vs Atsushi Onita (No Rope Explosive Barbed Wire Death Match - FMW - 5/5/1993) (2020 GME Ranking: 11)
I loved everything about this, even down to the little things like how this was shot. There is a lot of barbed wire spots in this, but they treat them all with respect and I'd never been more on the edge of my seat than I was watching these two start the match with the most intense lock-up ever. Funk doing his usual punch-drunk stumbling near the barbed wire made me gasp with horror. Onita, bloodied and his clothes torn by the barbed wire, looked like a total badass. Onita scoring the win before the explosions go off doesn't bother me one bit, as it gives way to the highly emotional climax of Onita failing to save Funk from the explosion going off. The guitar solo that played as the smoke cleared was a neat touch that made the moment feel even bigger. All the emotionally charged post-match stuff with Onita crying and Funk refusing to shake his hands added to the match tenfold. This felt like part-short film, part wrestling match. Screw your Firefly Funhouses and your Boneyard matches, this is how you do cinematic wrestling!

20. Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat (WCW - 2/20/1989) (2020 GME Ranking: 14)
This is the only Flair vs Steamboat match that I think is top-tier stuff. The WrestleWar and the Landover match are great, but not top 100 material. This is simple pro-wrestling storytelling done to perfection. The high roller yuppie versus the humble family man. This technical masterclass starts out with some simplistically brilliant matwork. The audience lets out a loud gasp when Steamboat gets an early nearfall on a headlock. A HEADLOCK! The knife-edge chops start getting busted out by both men and they are nasty, even 30 years on. Ric's heel work is sublime. It never goes into cartoon territory. The spot where Flair flops over the top rope and sprints to the other side for a cross body always catches me off guard.

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Thanks BigBadMick!

Let's get this finished.

19. Terry Funk & Dory Funk Jr vs Terry Gordy & Stan Hansen (AJPW - 31/8/1983) (2020 GME Ranking: 16)
You know you have a hot crowd when they are going apeshit for Dory Funk Jr. of all people! The match starts off with Dory being worked over by the heels. They mostly keep him immobilized with an armbar and strikes. Dory gets the crowd pops big whenever he gets in a lucky jab. Terry was sublime in this, egging his brother on and pacing up and down the apron when he's not tagged in and throwing some great punches and doing a marvelous selljob of his leg when he is the legal man. Everything looks snug and not one move looks phony. This is yet another hellish brawl that we need more of in today's wrestling. Above all the great strikes and well-done tag team wrestling, the emotion is off the charts.

18. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Genichiro Tenryu (AJPW - 6/5/1989) (2020 GME Ranking: 12)
An absolute masterclass on how to wrestle as a heel by Jumbo. He stiffs Tenryu and takes a few liberties here and there, but it's never over the top. It's always subtle and feeds fuel to Tenryu's comeback. Tenryu sneaks in a quick German for a two-count early into this, but it's mostly Jumbo taking control after that. Watching the faces in the crowd looking more and more shocked every time Tenryu kicked out made me realize I was watching something truly special. This blew me away when I watched it for the first time and it gets even better with age. This is where King's Road began.

17. Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito (NJPW - 8/13/2016) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
This starts the same way that all Naito matches start, with Naito trying to psych out Omega. This works and the two end up spitting at each other. I might be down on Omega's work in AEW, but he was magnificent here. Naito works over his knee and Omega does a masterful job at selling it. He'd attempt to make a comeback and only for his knee to give out on him and Naito would take back control. Even during the work-rate heavy home-stretch, he'd never stop selling and he even changes his V-Trigger up so that he uses his good knee to deliver the devastating blow. Everything they did had a purpose and this never felt like a spotfest, even though all the big highspots here were spectacular. That One-Winged Angel to Destino counter caught me off-guard and they couldn't have pulled that off anymore smoother.

16. Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue (AJPW - 5/21/1994) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
Man, any time you throw these four men in the ring together and you are going to get magic. We are just weeks before Kawada and Misawa have their iconic match and they really brought the hate to each other here. Misawa brushing off Kawada's trademark kicks are one of the many highlights to be found in this 40+ minute classic. Kobashi puts on a tremendous babyface performance here, and Taue looked like he was having the time of his life being a massive bully. This had so many ebbs and flows to it, and they never went overboard with the near-falls. It's a long watch with plenty of explosive moments, but this never felt excessive. A top 10 match of the 1990s, my only complaint is that their 6/9/1995 encounter is just a touch better.

15. Kenta Kobashi vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 1/20/1997) (2020 GME Ranking: 13)
They start this one out with both Kobashi and Misawa getting a brief shine segment. They fight back and forth until Misawa elbows the guardrail in a failed dive attempt and Kobashi focuses his attack on taking out Misawa's arm. Misawa tries to fight back the only way he knows how, by elbowing his enemies in the face. Initially, this seems like a bad idea as it's clearly hurting Misawa, but one lucky shot to Kobashi's lariating arm is all he needs to change the tide of this match. The way they built up to their big moves was magical. Kobashi kicking out of the Tiger Driver '91 shocked me as much as it shocked the two suits in the front row. The Misawa elbow finish could have easily fallen flat, but these two made it work. This was a phenomenal face vs face match that did not hold back on the workrate.

14. Megumi Kudo vs Combat Toyoda (No Rope Explosive Barbed Wire Death Match – FMW – 5/5/1996) (2020 GME Ranking: 10)
If I had to pick one match to show someone to people that deathmatch isn't just a vulgar display of very real violence, I'd pick this match. Kudo and Toyoda tease the big barbed wire spots well and there are only four occasions when they take a bump into the barbed wire. Toyoda is retiring and wants to go out with a literal bang. After eight minutes of teasing that someone is going boom, the much smaller Kudo takes the plunge and she sells it like death. The later part of this match felt like Manami Toyota bombfest, but if they took the time to slow things down and sell their arses off. Toyoda takes one of the nastiest head drops I think I've ever seen. All this complemented with a pained Onita looking on from the commentary, makes this one of the best women's and one of the best deathmatches ever.

13. Shawn Michaels vs Mankind (WWF - 9/22/1996) (2020 GME Ranking: 8)
I'm starting to feel like Mick Foley might be a better worker than Shawn Michaels. Shawn beats on Mankind's leg for a solid ten minutes and never once do I feel like that I'm meant to be rooting for the psychotic Mankind. He puts himself through hell and only he could make it work because of his gimmick. I'd find any other wrestler getting up from the damage that Mankind takes here would take me out of the match. That table bump might be one of the best ever as it felt organic and not forced. Even the run-in finish couldn't sour this for me. I remember this being great, but I was shocked by how brilliant this was. A serious contender for the best WWE match ever.

12. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama (AJPW - 12/6/1996) (2020 GME Ranking: 9)
There's so much to unpack here. Taue is here to be the brains to Kawada's brawn. He needs to keep Kawada's temper in check, much like in the 6/9/95 tag. Akiyama is lacking in experience, but he has a lot of heart and is a much better tag partner than Kobashi ever was to Misawa. Some of the head drops here were nasty, especially the spike Backdrop Drivers that Misawa ate. The strike exchanges between Kawada and Misawa show us that their epic rivalry is far from over. Akiyama and Misawa isolate Kawada and it's all up for Taue to save the day. This was probably my favorite AJPW King's Road match, behind the 6/9/95 tag of course!

11. Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuinness (ROH - 8/12/2006) (2020 GME Ranking: 24)
This was an incredibly engaging and competitive technical classic with an all-time brilliant heel performance from Bryan. McGuinness is the hometown hero and Bryan wants to rain on his parade and the crowd might respect Danielson, but they don't like him. The rule with the rope breaks was a great bit of psychology. When Nigel uses up his third and final rope break, he has to pray that he doesn't get caught in another submission as the ropes can't save him anymore. The ring post stuff might be a bit much for a post CTE world, but I'll be lying if I said it didn't hook me into the match even further.

10. Kenta Kobashi vs Mitsuharu Misawa (NOAH - 3/1/2003) (2020 GME Ranking: 5)
Misawa plants Kobashi on his head with a sickening backdrop within minutes into the match and it looks like Kobashi is already out. Kobashi tries to mount a comeback by resorting to his trusty chops, but Misawa has him figured out and cuts him off with his elbow strikes. In an incredible transitional spot, Kobashi sidesteps a Misawa dive and sends him jaw first into the guardrail. Misawa powering up showed off his often-overlooked subtle charisma. Kobashi's performance here was vicious, but the fans got right behind him after that insane Tiger Suplex spot. As brutal as it was emotional, the only criticism I can throw at this match is that you can see how it influenced the next generation of indy wrestlers to try and replicate this match with mostly mixed results. Misawa and Kobashi see out their rivalry with their best singles match together.

9. Katsuyori Shibata vs Kazuchika Okada (NJPW - 4/9/2017) (2020 GME Ranking: 7)
The once-disgraced shooter takes on the golden boy in an effort to finally complete his redemption. I was worried this wouldn't hold up as a lot of the NJPW main events struggle to stay engaging on rewatches as you are just waiting for them to get to the good stuff. Shibata is clearly fucking with Okada as he dominates him during the opening matwork and this keeps the first 15 minutes engaging and is essential to the story they are telling. The finishing stretch is more typical for your usual Okada IWGP bout, but with added legitimacy as some of the strikes are mortifyingly stiff. This is a match you can show someone who scoffs at wrestling for being fake and they would walk away with some newfound respect for this crazy art form we all love. I'm struggling to think of a better 2010's NJPW match and I can comfortably say this is both guys' best match.

8. Kiyoshi Tamura vs Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (RINGS - 6/27/1998) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
Even as a recent shoot-style convert, this match flew by and the 30 minutes felt like 15. Tamura looks a lot different since I last saw him during the Volk Han trilogy. He's no longer a pretty boy, but he's now more built up and looks like a total badass. This was two mat maestros putting on some of the most impressive matwork and submission wrestling that I'd ever seen in a pro-wrestling match. These two are so proud and headstrong that they refused to give up a rope break unless it's absolutely necessary and we don't see a rope break until 13 minutes into the match! The strikes that followed the first rope break are incredibly intense and you could tell that Tamura was ashamed and pissed off that he was the first fighter to have to use the ropes to break a hold. They mostly stick to grappling after this, but once it's announced that 20 minutes had expired and that there were 10 minutes left on the clock, they start wailing on each other again. They both look exhausted by this point, but they still have a lot of heart and the final few minutes were super tense. I didn't care who won, I just wanted a decisive winner. This was amazing stuff that every fan needs to see once they are accustomed to shoot-style.

7. Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns (WWE - 3/29/2015) (2020 GME Ranking: 6)
Reigns is one of the few guys who looks like a total boss TAKING a beating. He smirks at Lesnar while getting the shit suplexed out of him. Lesnar gets an F5 early but is in no rush to pin as he wants to hurt Roman. He doesn't spam the Germans, instead, he opts to attack Lesnar with an array of violent knees and clotheslines during the early portion of the match. Brock eats a ring post and bleeds like a pig. He sells his injury well, staggering around the place with a glazed facial expression. Reigns gets in a few hope spots before Lesnar catches him in an F5. Seth Rollins' music hits and he cashes in his MITB briefcase and turns this into a 3 way. I knew Rollins was going to get involved somehow, but I didn't expect him to do it while the match was still going on. The ending made Lesnar look strong while losing the belt and opens the door to a future Lesnar vs Reigns match.

6. Nick Bockwinkel vs Curt Hennig (AWA - 11/21/1986) (2020 GME Ranking: N/A)
There's no way that my ADD-riddled brain should have been able to handle this 60-minute draw. This was a lengthy match with even lengthier holds and they managed to keep my attention the whole time. They never stop working when they are in a hold, and the exchanges outside of the holds are exciting and quick. All their fundamentals were rock-solid and this match reminded me a lot of Flair vs Steamboat. This was a simple story of experience versus youth. Bockwinkel attacks Hennig at the start of the match when he has his back turned, but that's not enough to stop Hennig from fighting back. Bock incorporates a lot of subtle heel tactics into his arsenal, and this keeps the fans backing Hennig. Just when I thought that they were about to run out of steam at the 50-minute mark, Hennig takes a rough fall to the outside and is cut open badly. This soon breaks down into a fight, with both guys bleed buckets as they strike the hell out of each other as the time limit ticks away. You aren't going to find a better sixty-minute broadway than this.

5. Daniel Bryan vs Triple H (WWE - 4/6/2014) (2020 GME Ranking: 94)
The winner of this match will go on to join Batista and Randy Orton in the main event world title match. Bryan's massively over, but it feels like WWE might hold him back yet again.Triple H's NWA Champion cosplay wrestling style worked wonders for this match, keeping Bryan down with crossfaces and chickenwings in an effort to further damage his bad arm. Bryan bumps like a madman here, that Tiger Suplex spot had me wincing. We are used to seeing the big stars like Undertaker and Shawn Michaels kick out of a Pedigree, but seeing a guy like Bryan getting a second wind felt shocking. After managing to fight out of every attempt of a second Pedigree, Bryan uses his own momentum from countering Triple H's backdrop to perfectly set himself up to nail his big knee to get the win. This was an emotional rollercoaster packed with the physicality of an 90's AJPW match.

4. Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami, Kengo Kimura, Umanosuke Ueda & Kantaro Hoshino vs Akira Maeda, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Nobuhiko Takada, Kazuo Yamazaki & Osamu Kid (Elimination Match – NJPW – 3/26/1986) (2020 GME Ranking: 4)
What we got here was a super hot interpromotional war where everyone gets a chance to shine. There's zero downtime in this match and it well over half an hour. I thought the roof was going to blown off the building when Maeda and Inoki interacted. Inoki is the ace defending the company from those pesky shoot wrestler, while Maeda is the dickhead renegade who has no issue kicking Kimura when he's down to show dominance. Takada throws strikes so quick that I thought my video was running on 1.5 speed. What Hoshino lacks in size, he makes up for with pure heart. We finally get a Fujiwara match to match his consistently awesome performance. Ueda is in this for a grand total of around a minute, but the crowd pop huge whenever he was in the ring. The finish with Inoki cleaning house on the last two wrestler gave me 'John Cena taking out the entire Nexus by himself at Summerslam 2010' vibes, but don't let that stop you from watching one of the best matches NJPW has ever put out.

3. Brock Lesnar vs John Cena (Extreme Rules - WWE - 4/29/2012) (2020 GME Ranking: 3)
This was as good as I remembered it. Lesnar is back in the WWE after an eight-year absence and he feels like a video game boss that feels nigh on impossible to beat. After cutting open Cena with shoot nasty elbows, Lesnar controls 90% of the match. I don't even mind the ref stoppages as they give us time to reflect on how brutal Brock's offense is as they replay the elbow multiple times, all while Lesnar is pacing around like a caged animal. Cena sells his injuries well and all of his hope spots feel organic and he even makes a usually anti-Cena crowd root for him. This was a violent spectacle between two of the best ever.

2. Bret Hart vs Steve Austin (Submission Match - WWF - 3/23/1997) (2020 GME Ranking: 2)
Even watching these two trade punches is elite tier stuff. They brawl throughout the crowd and it feels organic. The crowd, who have been quiet all night, wake up as soon as the crowd brawling starts. Once their back in the ring, Bret starts his assault on Austin's leg. Austin sells this so well, flailing all over the place. Austin tries to keep with Bret, but Bret keeps cutting him off. After getting cut open, Austin doesn't have much more to give. He tries to choke out Bret with an electrical cord, but Bret wails him with a ring bell. All the weapon spots have meaning and aren't just used to add a nice spot here and there. Austin passes out in the Sharpshooter, and Shamrock calls for the bell. J.R's call of Austin never giving up adding a lot to his face turn. This is so much more than just a good bladejob. So glad this holds up. The best match in company history.

1. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs Kenta Kobashi and Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW - 6/9/1995) (2020 GME Ranking: 1)
The main reason I love this match is Kobashi's performance. His knee problems are no secret to anyone. When a simple kick sends Kobashi to the floor, Kawada and Taue devise their strategy to tear his leg to shit. Kobashi takes so many nasty shots to his knees and he makes you wonder if he is actually hurt. In the last 10-15 minutes of the match, Kobashi is barely walking. He tries to save Misawa from a beating by protecting him and it's just brilliant storytelling. This is tense, gripping, and ripe with great storytelling. This is the greatest pro-wrestling match ever, in my opinion. I think I am going to struggle to find a match better than this. It's almost annoying how perfect this match is.

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