WrestleMania XXX is just six days away. You know that, because you, the Cagesider, you're a big wrestling fan. You love wrestling. You can't wait for WrestleMania XXX, just like me, Scott Christ, a person who sometimes pops up on this wonderful web site to talk about wrestling. (You can talk to me on Twitter about wrestling! I hope you like Willow!)
Truth be told, I am truly, for the first time in many years, back as a genuine wrestling man and wrestling fan. The years of 2007-2012 are sort of a black hole for me -- I took to the drink, lost my way, strayed from the light that is professional wrestling, gambled all my money away, and so on and so forth.
Now, returned to the church of rasslin for the last year as a dedicated, every Monday night viewer, buying all the pay-per-views (until now, thanks, WWE Network!), investing in The Product, thirsting for more hot, steamy wrestle-action, never able to pull myself away, becoming attached once again, and yet still somehow completely incapable of watching TNA except for when my man Geno posts something on this site about Willow, I am as excited for WrestleMania as I was as a little bitty boy.
About two months ago, I got the idea to do a Top 100 Greatest Matches of WrestleMania countdown for my rasslin Tumblr, which I fool about with for kicks. I mentioned this on the previously linked Twitter account, and Geno says to me, he says, "Hey, big man. Why not do that on Cageside, brother, and bring your game back to the Grandest Stage of Them All?"
It felt only right. So here we are.
I cannot tell you how I define what a good wrestling match is anymore. I'm a 32 year old man who's been watching this crap forever. I know that Movesets no longer motivate me. I know that I am now far more invested in the story than I was between the ages of 17 and 25, when I was very much about star ratings and the like. I know that I am more prone to love on a John Cena match than I ever have been in my miserable life, even if I still hate his jorts and his promos and most things about him other than the fact that he seems like a nice man who works very, very hard.
I know that I am a reborn Hulkamaniac. I know that I still think Ric Flair is not just obviously better, but also cooler than Hulk Hogan. I know that I didn't stop loving the Rock n' Roll Express, but I did start loving The Road Warriors almost as much. I know that The Moment and The Atmosphere and things like that mean a lot more to me than they used to, and I know that I do still care if a match is actually good, but there's good on the epic scale, and then there's good where nobody but you and me much care. We will discuss the differences, surely.
Once a morning for the next five mornings, you can join me here at Cageside Seats to discuss my picks for the 100 best matches ever at WrestleMania. We'll travel up and down the road, the two of us. Let's talk rasslin, so you can later tell me how stupid I am for not liking some match as much as you did, and be all befuddled that I liked some match you hate, or whatever.
IT HAS BEGUN
100. Mr. Perfect vs Big Boss Man (WrestleMania VII)
This match came about because Perfect and Bobby Heenan insulted the Boss Man's mama one time too many, a tactic a later evil Boss Man would use to his own advantage when he challenged The Big Show for the WWF title at Armageddon ‘99, noting that the Big Show was a nasty bastard, whose dead daddy was not even his daddy, and his mama even said that Big Show was, indeed, a nasty bastard. There's a pre-match promo here where Perfect says, "I'm cool. I'm the Intercontinental champion. I'm cool as a cat, Boss Man." For no particular reason, this has been stuck in my head the last few weeks. The match is good, with the crappy DQ ending to give Boss Man the win sort of taking some steam out of it, but Hennig was obviously great, and Boss Man was one of my favorite big man babyfaces when he got all fired up and ready to kick some tail-end. Hennig's WWF career is sort of a mirage, really, and I'll get more into the overall crumminess of 80s and early 90s WWF in a minute here, but when you look back on it, how many great matches did he get to have with the company? A handful, really. He was there, sort of like Ted DiBiase was around that time, as a great worker to make lesser babyfaces look better than they were. That's fine, it's a respectable role, and that was how it was done at that time, but there are a lot of guys who don't have the library of great matches they might have had if the WWF product had been different than it was. Most of Perfect's WWF career was squashing bums or carrying more popular mediocrities. He was great at both, and it's nothing to do with his talent level. He was phenomenal, but the evidence is more in the art than in any list of great matches.
99. Taka Michinoku vs Aguila (WrestleMania XIV)
The one and only WWF light heavyweight championship match ever held at WrestleMania. The company really had no clue what they were doing with a light heavyweight division, but it was a thing it seemed like they should have had after the success WCW had with their cruiserweight division, which gave their programming -- specifically, the then-dominant Monday Nitro -- an unique flavor that hadn't been seen much on American television. If you're around my age, you may recall Vince McMahon doing an AOL chat at some point after the cruisers had taken off with the competition, and remarking that he might look into the Ethiopian market to find smaller wrestlers for something of his own. It wasn't a great joke, to say the least, and I kind of always had that in mind once the WWF's light heavyweights came into existence in 1997. As it turned out, I was right to remain skeptical. Vince had no genuine interest in a light heavyweight division, which managed to exist for years even though it was never really featured on TV. Taka was the flagship star at the start, and was every bit as good as the great talent in WCW, but he had no supporting cast. While Rey Mysterio Jr, Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis, Eddie Guerrero, and so on all had each other, plus supporting players who could also have good matches and keep the division fun to watch, Taka was given Memphis heel Brian Christopher as an initial top rival, which went nowhere, and the division fizzled before it ever actually got off the ground. There was still some mild hope for the idea by WrestleMania XIV, and Taka and Aguila delivered the sort of fast-paced, high-flying match that stood out in style if not in substance, really, from the rest of the action that night. They were doomed, but the one shot at WrestleMania was solid.
98. Triple H vs Sheamus (WrestleMania XXVI)
In an act of extreme selflessness, The Game himself went on fourth at WrestleMania XXVI to battle his buddy Sheamus. This was at best the fourth-most important match at Mania, and in all reality may have been the fifth highest bout in terms of actual interest. Jerry Lawler went out of his mind at the end of the 12-minute affair, declaring it a classic, which is sort of like if you saw a pretty good baseball game in June and acted like it was Game 7 of the ‘91 World Series. Hunter and Sheamus were good together, though, and put on a good, physical match that delivered about as much as it (1) had any right to, and (2) had time for, really. It's always strange to me that so many people went along with the HHH-Flair comparisons, because HHH isn't much like Flair at all, and that's not really a knock on him, either. He's got a lot more Harley Race and NWA Greg Valentine to him than he does Flair, and I think that came out in this match. You could probably argue that Sheamus should have won this match, but he didn't, and it's not like it's harmed his career, even though that was sort of the idea behind this match, which was built around a kind of silly storyline wherein Hunter waxed reminiscent on his WrestleMania debut against The Ultimate Warrior. At one point during this match, unfortunate commentator Matt Striker said that if Sheamus lost, his career would be in danger of fading away. This was preposterous, but so were most things Matt Striker ever said on commentary, and he had a particularly horrible night at WMXXVI.
97. The Brainbusters vs Strike Force (WrestleMania V)
Don't get too comfortable seeing a pre-2000s WrestleMania match here, because there aren't that many. The reality is that WrestleMania has evolved over time and become much more than it ever was at the start, when it was a pure spectacle, all glitz and glamour and entertainment value, Muhammad Ali and Liberace and "93,173" at the Pontiac Silverdome, three venues in one night, Trump Plaza, so on and so forth. WWE, too, has greatly evolved over the years. The WWF was not about wrestling quality in the 1980s, and really well into the 1990s. Even The Attitude Era favored, you know, "attitude" over having actual good matches, though by that point, the quality had certainly improved from the 1980s, and you were more routinely given good matches, which really started probably around 1992, when Bret Hart was given the torch as the top guy in the company, though even that got briefly aborted to give Yokozuna a run on top, and then there was Diesel for a year, and so on and so forth. The match quality at WrestleMania and in WWE as a whole is dramatically better now than it was in 1988, when this solid tag match took place. Everyone in this match was good, and three of the four of them (Anderson, Blanchard, and Martel) were often great. They were both good tag teams. But this is also an eight-minute match that is more about the story of Martel bailing on Santana and turning heel than it is having a great match. Still, even with the dreadful apathy of the Trump Plaza audience, Blanchard in particular puts in a great performance, and the match is pretty good. If this had taken place in the NWA in 1988, it would have been twice to three times as long, far better, and far more over. But that's 1988 WWF. Most of the early WrestleManias were filler on top of filler on top of filler. There was legitimately one great match in the entire first five WrestleManias. That's it. One. It wasn't this one, but this and a handful of others hold up pretty well today.
96. The Big Show vs John Cena (WrestleMania XX)
This was Big Show's first WrestleMania as a defending champion, which is pretty crazy when you remember he came to the WWF before WrestleMania XV. In this show opener from the red-hot Madison Square Garden, Show dropped the United States title to John Cena, then The Fastest Rising Star on SmackDown!, rapping his way into the hearts and minds of a generation, which he would stop doing so that children would enjoy him more, which is sound marketing. It was also Cena's WrestleMania debut, and this is one of those matches that nobody really thinks about, but was a big moment for one of the most celebrated stars in company history. He'd be winning world titles by the next year. Big Show would go on to forevermore be a WrestleMania afterthought, even when oddly shoehorned into main event type matches.
95. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff (WrestleMania)
The first WrestleMania was a happening and all, and they were hanging from the rafters at The Garden, but the matches weren't, like, good. At all. It was all about the rock n' wrestling connection and the emerging celebrity of the WWF's top stars, mainly Hogan and Piper. Add in Mr. T as an actual participant in the first-ever WrestleMania main event, and you had a huge deal. As Mick Foley later said, they probably didn't need Liberace or Billy Martin or even Muhammad Ali (who did nothing, as Pat Patterson actually refereed this match), but Mr. T actually getting in the ring to fight gave the show huge mainstream credibility at the time. It was a big damn deal, and it's where the whole phenomenon of WrestleMania started. For what it's worth, the match is pretty decent, as Piper and Orndorff do their very best, and Hogan busted his ass, too. As for T, he did OK. He did as well as any non-wrestler celebrity has done in a wrestling match, and I don't care what anyone says, he was a hell of a lot better than Lawrence Taylor. Or Steve McMichael. He was probably somewhere between Kevin Greene and Maria Menounos for celebrity wrestlers.
94. Chris Jericho vs Fandango (WrestleMania XXIX)
This match speaks highly of the greatness of Chris Jericho, as we're now a year removed from it, and it might as well not have even happened, but if you watch it again, it's a very good match that makes you think maybe they should have done something with Fandango, who very quickly became a lower midcard act. Putting Fandango over Jericho in Fandango's WWE debut match was bold, and the two of them laid out an interesting story, which started with Jericho completely manhandling the "rookie," to the point that JBL could barely stand it. JBL would later release his rage when Fandango, having gained a bit of momentum, showboated rather than going on the attack. The upset was sort of predictable, since it would be really odd to have Fandango lose his first-ever match after the big build-up to bring him to the show in the first place, but they told their story well enough that it was highly effective. They did nothing with it after, really, but the match was quite well-done, to the point that it's actually puzzling now that they went nowhere with Fandango, or maybe it's just puzzling that they started him off on this level, and then went nowhere with him.
93. Triple H vs Batista (WrestleMania 21)
WrestleMania 21 was the night of two coronations, and it didn't go so great. John Cena picked up the WWE title from JBL in a pretty crappy match that sadly exposed Cena's limitations, and further exposed the fact that while JBL was a great character and a sturdy heel champion, he was not to be trusted to carry any big matches. That match is not on the list, because it stunk. This match is low-end on the list, because it's decent, though at the time was extremely underwhelming. It was an 0-for-2 whiff, as Cena's WWE title win was a dud, and Batista picking up the world heavyweight championship wasn't great, either. It was an odd time for the company, as they'd had a strange 2004 where they lost Brock Lesnar, which led to Eddie Guerrero picking up the WWE title, followed by Chris Benoit gaining the world heavyweight championship. Those were career achievement awards in a way, because they were both done by the summer as "top guys." Randy Orton won the world heavyweight title to break Lesnar's "youngest man to win a world title" mark, but that was bungled terribly, as they tried to turn Orton babyface, and weren't nobody buyin' that mess. Cena was being handled very well as the future of the SmackDown! side, and then Ol' Deacon Dave Batista was positioned as the new it guy on RAW, with Orton flopping in his first title reign, though really no fault of his own other than he's not a very good babyface, and definitely wasn't then. Hunter did his damnedest to put on an epic with Batista in the final match at WrestleMania 21, but the two never fully clicked. They still wound up having a pretty good match, which is probably better than a lot of people felt at the time, especially now that you aren't still trying to recover from the show-stealing match between Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle, and then working to forget the JBL-Cena turd that was sandwiched between that match and this one, along with the Akebono-Big Show sumo ridiculousness. At any rate, despite a lackluster title win for Cena, he went on to do alright, I suppose, and despite this not exactly being the WrestleMania Moment that they might have wanted for Batista, he also did fine.
92. William Regal vs Rob Van Dam (WrestleMania X8)
Back in my day, internet rasslin folk were real keen on saying that William Regal vs (anyone) would be a real style clash, and that it Just Wouldn't Work. They said that about Regal's feud with Edge, which was in fact quite great, and it was damn sure predicted for this match. Basically, William Regal was only allowed to work with Fit Finlay or Chris Benoit, or else his awkward Europeanness would surely create disaster among more normal Americanadians rasslers. This was rarely true, but in this one, it was reasonable to expect a messy match. Regal, though, is a ring genius and a scholar, so he was able to have a good if occasionally clumsy looking match with Van Dam, who himself is a funky sort of worksman. It helped that they were kicking off the show in front of an extremely hot crowd. Modern WrestleMania show openers always get a little lift from the audience, and generally speaking, vice versa.
91. Finlay vs JBL (WrestleMania XXIV)
Another show opener, and a good use of JBL, who was always at his best when he was roughneckin' it like a big ol' Texas hoss, and Finlay, who's been in a brawl or two in his day. This "Belfast Brawl" match was a kid-friendly hardcore match where the two of them mostly hit each other with garbage cans, garbage can lids, and cookie sheets, plus Finlay popped Bradshaw with the shillelagh. The match is really good fun, even if it was built around, um, revenge, or whatever, for JBL revealing that Hornswoggle was not Vince McMahon's bastard son, but was in fact the son of Finlay. The match's highlight is definitely JBL recklessly chucking a garbage can from the ring at Hornswoggle, landing a bullseye on the little dude at ringside.
90. Shane McMahon vs X-Pac (WrestleMania XV)
WrestleMania XV was awful, and even as a rasslin-crazy 17-year-old at the time, I didn't much care for the show at all. Going back over it now was a kind of torture -- I knew I thought it sucked, hadn't watched it in years, and knew there was basically no way it was going to be better than I remembered. In fact, it was worse. This match was the second-best on the show, which is pretty unfortunate considering how hot the WWF was at the time. This was more a standard wrestling match than the normal Shane McMahon display of bizarre insanity, which wasn't exactly Shane-O's strong suit, but X-Pac was dialed in and carried the match well enough. The Triple H and Chyna turn at the end showcased sort of the worst of the Russo era WWF, which was popular but not actually good in any artistic sort of way. Chyna had defected back to DX from The Corporation earlier in the show, then she and Helmsley pulled the ol' switcheroo to join Team McMahon. It was pretty shocking, admittedly, and went over well, but he whole company was so swerve-crazy back then that I have a hard time getting into the angles from that time period. In the moment, I don't remember liking this much more than I did now, which is to say I liked the match pretty well then and liked it pretty well now.
89. Jeff Hardy vs Matt Hardy (WrestleMania XXV)
I've oddly become a bigger and bigger Jeff Hardy fan as I've gotten older, because there's something about pure crazy that I really dig and respect. That's why I like indie death match wrestlers a lot of the time. It's not even that I enjoy death match wrestling, I just like dudes that do what they love and what they want to do in life, and aren't concerned with what's most marketable or whatever. Jeff Hardy is a big hotshot star and all, so calling him a rebel is sort of like calling Jamey Johnson "outlaw country," but for Nashville, Johnson is an outlaw, and for WWE and even TNA, Hardy is a rebel. Like, I get that some folk look down on the man for his issues outside the ring, or for being unprofessional, but I sort of miss the days when rasslin was built around skeevy weirdos you wouldn't really want your relatives to be dating. Jeff and Matt Hardy are new age rednecks, and that is not a bad thing. This match was also built around a really hilarious angle where Matt's jealousy and insecurity led him to try to kill Jeff with misfiring pyrotechnics, got him in some trouble with the law, and then burned down his house and killed his dog. OR DID HE? He never fully admitted it, he just sort of alluded to the idea that maybe he did. It was downright weird, but it brought out the best in Jeff Hardy (except for Willow, which is obviously the true best of Jeff Hardy), and it gave Matt something substantial to do for the first time in a while. It was an extreme rules match, and a little more extreme than the prior year's Belfast Brawl, but folks weren't getting fire thrown at them or anything, a bit surprising given how much of the angle was built around Jeff or his house and dog being set on fire.
88. The Rockers vs The Orient Express (WrestleMania VI)
Not one of their best matches together, but the Rockers and Orients always had a good time doing their best NWA tag team match impersonation, throwing however much they could into however much time they were given. Shawn and Marty are probably the best WWE tag team to never (officially) win the tag belts. Shawn's first two WrestleMania matches weren't exactly great ones, as he was, as he said later, pretty wasted at WrestleMania V against The Twin Towers, and the Rockers were a little slow here, too. He would later make up for it, but even if this isn't the rock'em, sock'em pace of the better Rockers-Orients stuff, it's a good match.
87. Kurt Angle vs Kane (WrestleMania X8)
A thrown-together filler match between notable stars of 2002, part of what was really a weird WrestleMania that got all goofed up in so many ways, what with Stone Cold Steve Austin being relegated to a midcard feud against Scott Hall, The Rock getting the call to face Hulk Hogan, and a lousy main event angle between Chris Jericho and Triple H that was really more about Triple H vs Stephanie, with Jericho as Steph's proxy. Also, Edge and Booker T fought over a fake Japanese shampoo commercial, but we'll get to all that stuff later, except for Austin-Hall, which doesn't make the list because it wasn't any damn good at all. Angle was so good at this point -- and he'd scarily get even better over the next few years -- that he was able to carry Kane to a pretty solid match. It was also the second straight year that a lot of shuffling wound up with Angle being slotted into something of a last-minute match, but the year before he wrestled Chris Benoit, and here he had Kane at a very directionless time in Kane's career, which basically has bounced between the main event and directionless, with some good tag teams here and there.
86. Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger (WrestleMania XXIX)
This was a feud that looked to be going somwhere and then abruptly went nowhere following Swagger's marijuana arrest, which is pretty high on the list for all-time career boners in wrestling. Swagger and Del Rio had pretty good chemistry, had built a decent feud, and even considering the fact that Del Rio is a bad babyface and Swagger is a mediocre anything from a character standpoint, they went out and had a very good match on a pretty damn hot WrestleMania, a show I was overall higher on than a lot of y'all might have been, as I thought pretty much all the matches were at least solid. I was oddly high on last year's show, and watching it again, I still was. I also happen to think Alberto's one of the best in-ring guys of recent years in WWE, so that might also explain why I like this match more than some might.
85. Shawn Michaels vs El Matador (WrestleMania VIII)
Michaels wouldn't become Mr. WrestleMania for some time, but he was already one of the best in the States by 1992, breaking out on his own as a heel following the dissolution of The Rockers. Santana was on his last legs as a WWF Superstar by this point, as he'd been thrown into the El Matador gimmick. They stilled called him Tito Santana and everything, but he was, promotionally speaking, El Matador, and they called him that, too. But Chico had been there so long that I think it was hard to re-train Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan to start calling him exclusively "El Matador." And anyway, nobody cared that he was pretending to be a bullfighter. He was still just Tito Santana, he of flying burrito fame. Michaels vs Santana was sort of 90s speed vs 80s speed, and the match is pretty damn good, kind of underrated at this point, I'd say. Shawn certainly hadn't come close to his (first career) peak at this point, but he was well on his way.
84. Sgt. Slaughter vs Hulk Hogan (WrestleMania VII)
Sgt. Slaughter couldn't have been more of a fat slug at this point if he were actively trying to be a fat slug, which, like, you can't really blame him, since he'd been gone from the WWF for five years, toiling away in the walking dead days of the AWA, but he still knew how to handle himself in the ring, and he got something halfway decent out of The Ultimate Warrior at the Royal Rumble, then had this pretty acceptable and very heated match with Hogan at WrestleMania. Like, we kind of make fun of it now, or find it tasteless, depending on how seriously you can take Sgt. Slaughter and Hulk Hogan or wrestling in general, but at the time, this was a pretty hot storyline. The two of them had a match Bret Hart would later describe as "hokey" in his autobiography, and yeah, it was, but the atmosphere was pretty electric, and it put Hogan back on top, thus pretty much squashing the idea of the Ultimate Warrior having a "time" as the head of the company.
83. Raven vs Kane vs The Big Show (WrestleMania X-Seven)
Easily the best hardcore title match in WrestleMania history, this one featured little Raven being tossed around some by the giants Kane and Big Show, the latter of whom took about an hour and a half to walk to the ring, because Big Show didn't move on no man's schedule in 2001. The brawl started in the ring but quickly spilled into the crowd, then backstage, and there was a golf cart chase that eventually led everyone back out to the stadium proper. Good fun. Real good fun.
82. Team Angle vs Los Guerreros vs Chris Benoit & Rhyno (WrestleMania XIX)
In 2002-03, the SmackDown! brand had a brief rebirth of tag team rasslin, and there were some great matches churned out for a while there. This isn't a great match, but it does feature two of the better teams of that time period in Team Angle and Los Guerreros, and a strong mish-mash unit of Benoit and Rhyno, whose styles suited one another well. Benoit and Eddie laced one another with some pretty sick chops in this one, and when the time came for them to have a head-to-head collision, they really went for it. It's also the first WrestleMania appearance of Shelton Benjamin, who showcases the potential he could never quite live up to over his rather lengthy WWE career.
81. Owen Hart & The British Bulldog vs Vader & Mankind (WrestleMania 13)
This one is high on my list of most underrated or overlooked WrestleMania matches. I also might just be an insane person. It's entirely possible. But I really love this match. It has no heat because it's four heels in a match that didn't have much build anyway, so Chicago didn't really know who or what to cheer for, but this is a display of four guys working well together, and doing it with four unique styles, something we honestly don't see a whole lot of in the WWE product of recent years, but something that does seem like it's starting to change somewhat. There's a reason that guys like Daniel Bryan, the three Shield members, Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, etc. have started to break out, and a reason why CM Punk became a top star. There was something different, even if their real levels of "different" were toned down by the WWE style. They had their own flavor, if you will, and Owen, Bulldog, Vader, and Foley are all strikingly different while gelling in this match. Even Davey Boy, who I'm not always a fan of, is on-point in this match, and Owen is in there doing his thing, Vader has a moment of inspiration in 1997, and Mankind is being Mankind. The Vader-Davey segments of this match are a lot better than their stuff from WCW in ‘93.
80. Randy Orton vs John Cena vs Triple H (WrestleMania XXIV)
A match with these three guys in 2008 never should have felt like an afterthought, especially at WrestleMania, but this one did. This was slotted third from the top, below Edge-Undertaker and the Big Show-Mayweather ordeal. Hunter wound up the crowd's favorite on the night of the match, which was no real shock given the always mixed reaction to Cena and Orton being the only actual heel in the match, and WWE even displayed poll results from their web site or a text message campaign or whatever it was, and Orton was a landslide underdog to retain his title, with Cena the favorite. Whether the poll was legit or not, it might as well have been. It also set up the finish, as Orton punted HHH in the head after Helmsley had hit the Pedigree on Cena, followed by Orton pinning Cena for the upset, retaining the title. It was overall a good match, but disappointing, and Orton felt like the odd man out, which I suppose was to lend even more surprise to his eventual win.
79. Shawn Michaels vs Tatanka (WrestleMania IX)
Forever and ever, WrestleMania IX was the whipping boy of WrestleManias, but it's really not particularly worse than the first eight, other than it has no one standout match, and the ending was by far the worst of the first 15 shows, and the main event was bad. But there are a few quality matches on there. You also get the oddball commentary trio of Jim Ross, Bobby Heenan, and Randy Savage, which is delightfully fun. Shawn and Tatanka opened the show with Shawn's Intercontinental title and Tatanka's undefeated streak both on the line, and we wound up with a stupid DQ finish for Tatanka to win and Shawn to retain the belt. The match is quite good, though, as Tatanka was actually pretty solid, and Michaels was starting to come into his own by late 1992 and into early 1993.
78. Jeff Jarrett vs Razor Ramon (WrestleMania XI)
Jarrett is one of the more underrated worksmen of his time, as he had pretty good matches for, like, 20 years. This is one of them. I guess what holds some people back from liking Jarrett is that he was always a terrible main event guy, he was overexposed as a terrible main event guy in TNA, and he was never really great. But he was was always very good. I feel like a lot of good stuff was missed not having him in a tag team, since he and Owen meshed really well in 1999, but I feel like a lot of guys were burned by not having tag team wrestling mean in the 90s what it did in the 80s. Razor and Jarrett clicked pretty well, and this match also featured two future key members of D-Generation X at ringside, as 1-2-3 Kid accompanied Ramon in a swank karate outfit of some sort, while The Roadie was with Jarrett, as always. It's another DQ finish I-C title match, but like Shawn-Tatanka, a pretty good one for what we got.
77. Trish Stratus vs Mickie James (WrestleMania 22)
I'll break any suspense for the rest of the list: this is the only women's match on the top 100. I genuinely like this match, though, and part of it is that overt and downright nasty sexuality of it, which seems like a lame reason for a dude to like a women's match on the surface, but that was really part of the story here, of course, and I think it worked extremely well. I always preferred Trish as a heel, but Mickie was the type of weirdo that made Stratus a really good babyface, going from obsessed fan to stalker to absolute criminal lunatic who made a point of grabbing Trish in the vagina and licking her fingers during this match. Sadly, the WWE Network copy cuts the finger licking, as we see the crowd while it reacts to SOMETHING happening in the ring. These two were also both actually good, which was a nice change of pace from things like Lita. There were other promising women's title matches made at WrestleManias around this time, but mostly they didn't get the time or story this one had. Mickie and Trish had real personalities and a real feud, which helped a ton. This match also allowed Jerry Lawler to compare Mickie James to Mark David Chapman, which may have been a tad extreme.
76. Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant (WrestleMania III)
I had to stick this somewhere, basically, so here it is. While constructing the list, I had it much higher, though not higher than around the middle of the list, and then I watched it again to see where I would really have it, and as much as I now am more into the stories around the matches, and I don't see rasslin in star ratings, this match is so gotdanged technically awful that it just can't rank any higher than this, even if it is the single most important match in WWE history, which I would argue that it still is. This match was so enormous, that I remember clearly being barely five years old (I turned five in March 1987, this took place on March 29, 1987) and begging for my folks to get this "pay-per-view," which at the time I thought was "paper view," and that might have made no sense at all, but what do you want, I was a little kid. Kids say the darnedest things, because they're dumb and they don't know what things are. You could put this anywhere on the list and argue a case for it to be there. Down here, because it's not a good match. Up top, because it's so incredibly important. Somewhere in the middle to split the difference. I put it here, but whatever. The point is, this has to be on the list somewhere. It's so insane, but this was the peak of Hogan's career, and he would go on to have another huge match at WrestleMania 15 years later, and it might have been the peak of Andre's career, too, even though he was way past his actual prime.
TOMORROW MORNING: Nos. 75-51! Be there or be some kind of idiot.