Favorite Matches: Honorable Mentions

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been on a quest to pen love letters to my ten favorite wrestling matches. Nine of them have already been written with one more to go. Professional wrestling, like any form of entertainment, is subjective. What I like is going to be different from what someone else enjoys, and that’s ok. That is part of the reason why I wrote about each of these matches. To celebrate, not delineate, or force my opinion upon anyone. As my good buddy Dave once told me, “Hey, you like what you like.”

Before reveal post reveal my favorite match of all-time, I’m going to dedicate this post to some of the matches that go in my honorable mentions category. Anyone of these matches could have taken a spot in my top ten. Some of them did when I started this journey. Some of the matches will speak for themselves, while others will require more explanation.

Without further ado…

Magnum TA vs. Tully Blanchard: I Quit Steel Cage Match – Starrcade 1985: A lot of wrestling matches today resemble a dance more than a fight. Magnum and Tully exuded utter hatred for one another that may never be duplicated. Every punch and kick was thrown with the sheer intention to make the other man say the words “I Quit.” Magnum finally won the U.S. Championship after months of Tully escaping by the skin of his teeth. Side Note: This match inadvertently exhibits how wrestlers today can’t throw a punch.

Ric Flair vs. Ted DiBiase – Mid South Wrestling 11/6/85: An angry Dick Murdock came out before the match, saying he was the rightful contender. DiBiase told his old mentor that he was yesterday’s news and received a brainbuster suplex on the concrete floor for his troubles. Blood, blood everywhere. DiBiase somehow got to his feet and competed in the match. Everyone was on the edge of their seat, wondering if a heel DiBiase could pull off the miracle of miracles to win the world championship. All around phenomenal storytelling.

Sting vs. Diamond Dallas Page – WCW Monday Nitro 3/23/98: This was an unadvertised babyface vs. babyface affair as U.S. Champion DDP challenged Sting for the world title. I felt so lucky to see this match at the time. It was a clean match with no shenanigans or outside interference where both wrestlers fought tooth and nail. Sting won with the Scorpion Death drop, helped DDP to his feet afterward, and shook his hand out of respect. DDP lost but showed everyone he was world championship material.

Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1/4/19: Sometimes, I get so excited about something, the finished product is doomed before it can begin because it can never live up to my impossible expectations. Omega vs. Tanahashi is the match I wanted more than any other from the moment I became a fan of the current form of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Despite the pre-match drama of Omega’s eventual departure from the company, both wrestlers put on a stellar performance. If you played a drinking game of how many times my jaw dropped during this match, your liver would tap out.

Macho King Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior – WrestleMania VII: This career match between two titans of the squared circle personified professional wrestling. Great action and high stakes drama were executed to its fullest. Warrior vanquished the Macho King. Moments later, the Macho Man was reborn as he reunited with the lovely Miss Elizabeth. Tears galore were shed as wrestling’s it couple paraded around the ring. I can’t believe this match didn’t make my top ten.

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H:  3 Stages of Hell – No Way Out 2001: A two out of three falls match where each fall had a different stipulation. The first fall was a regular match. The second fall was a no disqualification match. The third was a steel cage match. This was the big blow-off where Austin would finally get revenge against Triple H for having him run down by a car one year earlier. Austin made his big return, won the Royal Rumble, and was set to main event WrestleMania 17 against The Rock. The action, storytelling, ring psychology, and selling were all on point. It was all topped by a shocking finish where Triple H pinned the rattlesnake.

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero – Halloween Havoc 1997: Many call this the greatest match in WCW history. Mysterio put his mask on the line to get a shot at the WCW Cruiserweight title. They took high flying wrestling to the next level and had a great story going into the match. Eddie was a bastard of a heel, and Rey exuded the heart of a warrior. There was no doubt after this one that Eddie and Rey were two of the best in the business. Another match that could have easily made my top ten.

 

Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask: New Japan Pro Wrestling 8/5/82 – Tokyo, Japan: Between April 1981 – April 1983, Tom Billington and Satoru Sayama revolutionized the wrestling business with seven innovative matches. The emotion and athleticism these two put on display was uncanny and still holds up today. The fifth match is considered their best outing and won the Wrestling Observer Match of the Year. However, you can’t go wrong with any of their bouts.

Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior – WrestleMania VI: This was the wrestling equivalent of Superman versus Batman. An epic dream match where no one knew who was going to win. Warrior won in a torch passing moment to capture the world and intercontinental titles. It doesn’t hold up too well today as to match quality. However, at the time, it was great.

Maverick Wild vs. Doug Williams: NECW – Somerville, MA 6/22/01: This match occurred on an independent show promoted by New England Championship Wrestling (NECW). I attended the event as a networking opportunity when I was breaking into the business. Maverick Wild had been the best wrestler in New England, while British grappler Doug Williams had earned the same reputation across the pond. They wrestled a superb fifteen-minute draw that got better and better with each bump on the canvas. The wrestling, ring psychology, and intensity on display represented everything I wanted to be as a professional wrestler. This match will stay with me forever.

My Favorite Matches

Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 25

Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Survivor Series 1996

Kurt Agle vs. Chris Benoit – Royal Rumble 2003

Bret Hart vs. Undertaker – One Night Only 1997

Ricky Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage – WrestleMania 3

Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart – Summer Slam 1991 

British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart – Monday Night Raw 3/5/97

Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog – Simmer Slam 1992

Billy Corgan Buys the NWA; Now What?

Smashing Pumpkins frontman and former TNA Wrestling President Billy Corgan has purchased National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). PWInsider.com broke the news last week and has confirmed that Corgan owns the name, rights, and trademarks to the NWA as well as the rights and possession of the NWA championship belt.

At one time, the NWA was the governing body of professional wrestling and the NWA championship was the most prestigious belt in the industry. Iconic names such as Lou Thez, Harley Race, Dory Funk, Ric Flair, and others were among its stars.

The group of promoters who governed the NWA and voted on who the champion would be started going out of business by the 1980’s when Vince McMahon’s then-WWF went national, destroying the territory system.

Continue reading “Billy Corgan Buys the NWA; Now What?”

Thoughts on DDP Joining the WWE Hall of Fame

The master of the Diamond Cutter will enter the WWE Hall of Fame as Diamond Dallas Page joins Kurt Angle, the Rock & Roll Express, and Teddy Long as a part of the 2017 class. There are those who question and completely dismiss the legitimacy of WWE’s HOF. Regardless of one’s position on the matter, it’s good to see these great performers getting a celebrated recognition with a payday to boot.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer brought up an interesting point regarding DDP’s pending induction into the Hall of Fame. Page’s one year run in WWE was a far cry from the heights he reached in WCW. In fact, backstage gossip made the rounds with rumors that Page couldn’t work (wrestle) and was made to look less than stellar on television as a result.  Continue reading “Thoughts on DDP Joining the WWE Hall of Fame”

Goldberg Returns to Monday Night Raw

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After months of speculation, Bill Goldberg returned to WWE, last night, on Monday Night Raw for the first time in over twelve years. He accepted Brock Lesnar’s challenge, with the expectation that Goldberg vs. Lesnar will eventually be made official for Survivor Series on November 20.

The crowd inside the Pepsi Center came unglued as they chanted “Holy sh*t” and “This is Awesome” before Goldberg said a word. The real emotion exhibited by Goldberg anchored the segment as he turned to his wife and son at ringside and said it was their first time seeing him live.  Continue reading “Goldberg Returns to Monday Night Raw”

nWo 20 Years Later

On Sunday, July 6, 1996, in Daytona Beach, Florida, the wrestling business changed forever when Hulk Hogan emerged as the mysterious third man and formed the nWo alongside Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.

Frank Dee, Jay and I look back at the nWo on the 20th anniversary of their inception and talk about their impact on WCW and the industry.

The Plague of Unauthorized Wrestling Albums

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I come from a musically-inclined family; however, the maker left me out of that equation, which I’ve come to terms with. Besides, being an enthusiast of this artistic medium is more my speed anyway.

There are days where I enjoy nothing more than throw on the headphones and lose myself to the sweet melodies of some good music. The one thing that can send all of that to a screeching halt is to expect something amazing, only to get something awful in return. Continue reading “The Plague of Unauthorized Wrestling Albums”

RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper 1954 – 2015

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The world of professional wrestling received some more sad news this past Friday as Rowdy Roddy Piper passed away in his home at age 61. I didn’t get into wrestling until 1988, during Piper’s hiatus from the WWF and after his big feuds with Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, and Adrian Adonis. However, my friends always talked about Piper and would fill me in on all of his past shenanigans.

Piper made his return to the WWF at WrestleMania 5 in a special edition of Piper’s Pit with guests Brother Love and controversial talk show host, Morton Downey Jr. It was the first time seeing this wrestler that had been built up by my friends to legendary proportions.  Continue reading “RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper 1954 – 2015”

Gerweck Report Podcast: nWo Back in Black Series – 1996

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The nWo made wrestling cool in the mid to late 90’s. Their gang like mentality and infamous black and white colors resonated with fans all over the world. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan were the founding members of this revolutionary faction, and other members followed.

On this special edition of the Gerweck Report Podcast, Frank Dee and Atlee Greene take an informative look at 1996 with introduction of the nWo storyline and its influence on the wrestling world. We give a very honest blow by blow take on the New World Order and how it all came to fruition.

Topics include the:

Hulkamania getting booed in WCW

Razor Ramon and Diesel in the WWF

The Outsiders’ debut in WCW

Who the third man originally was supposed to be

The rumored 4th man of the nWo who was in WWF at the time

and so much more in this 2 hour podcast so sit back relax and listen as we take a ride into simpler times with the nWo. Click here to listen and be nWo 4-Life.

Randy Savage vs. Jushin Liger: I Never Knew This Happened!

 

One of the fun things that comes with being a fan of any genre are the undiscovered gems you stumble upon. That wow factor kicks into overdrive because it sounds too good to be true when you find something that you never knew existed.

‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage and Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger are two of my favorite professional wrestlers. Up until this past weekend, I would’ve called you a liar if you said they actually wrestled each other. Well, they did in fact tango in the squared circle.

Their one and only encounter took place on July 17, 1996, in Sapporo, Japan, during a New Japan Pro Wrestling tour. Savage was one of four wrestlers representing WCW and hurt his leg on a dive the night before in a losing effort to Ric Flair.

According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, a sellout crowd 6,400 fans filled the Makomanai Ice Arena as Savage hobbled to the ring for his showdown with the esteemed junior heavyweight. Liger entered next with his usual flash and energy as an admirer handed him a bouquet.

While the match was only eight minutes and really nothing special, it was a nice novelty to see two of the all-time greats dance one time. It was odd seeing Savage being the bigger of the two wrestlers since he was often the smallest guy in the ring.

Despite winning the match with his patented flying elbow drop, Savage really worked to put Liger over as a serious threat. He played defense most of the time due to his leg injury, sold like a champ for the palm strike, and took a Liger Bomb.

Wrestlers have always been expected to wear their working shoes when traveling to Japan. However, looking at the landscape of superstar American heavyweights at the time, I don’t think that many of them would have gone out of their way to make a wrestler in a weight class below look like credible.

It was fun to see Savage out of his element and with Liger. Again, the match is nothing to write home about, but this one time encounter is worth a gander if you a fan of these colorful titans of the mat. The Madness versus The Thunder, Ooh Yeah!

 

WCW Had Some Issues

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Remember when WCW was the top wrestling promotion in the world? It’s sad that they are out of business because WWE no longer has competition to push them to create quality content on a consistent basis.

For every great idea WCW had, they had one that was equally as bad. On top of that, their lack of continuity at times was down right insulting to the audience.

My my newest column at What Culture.com highlights about some of the company’s creative missteps. Make sure you check out 10 Incredible WCW Storylines That Never Got Resolved