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Do These Matches Deserve Their High Rating 20: The Edge of Reason

Welcome to the next installment of "Do These Matches Deserve Their High Rating." For this 20th edition, I've decided to go back in time and hit on a couple matches from 2002 that I missed as well as a requested match from 2006. In addition, I hit on a couple great matches from 2009.

Without any further ado...


Edge vs Eddie Guerrero: SmackDown 9/24/02

Throughout the summer of 2002, Edge and Eddie Guerrero were engaged in a pretty fierce rivalry that ran across both SummerSlam and Unforgiven with both men trading wins at the respective events. The rivalry would be settled, but surprisingly, it would not be settled at No Mercy.

No. The rivalry would be settled on an episode of SmackDown. Yes, you read that correctly: SmackDown.

Let me refresh your memory. SmackDown in 2002 was one of the best wrestling program on television. Every night there were riveting matches, good stories, and a bunch of other good stuff. If you watch SmackDown now, you would NEVER believe that SmackDown in 2002 was the best thing you could watch. Basically, it was 2002's version of NXT minus the insane indy talent appearances. But I digress.

Edge and Eddie needed to settle this rivalry, and this would be done via a classic rivalry-ending match: a no-disqualification match. Pinfall or submission only. No count-out, no DQ, and no other bullshit to worry about.

And this match absolutely delivered and then a whole bunch.

This was a lengthy match involving both men just beating the ever-loving shit out of each other. After a good while of counters and huge moves, ladders were introduced to to the match, and this is where the match reached instant-classic status. Pretty much everyone in the crowd was standing as both Edge and Eddie executed a bunch of ever-escalating spots involving the ladders. These included Edge being sandwiched between the ladders as Eddie hit an apron hilo as well as Eddie hitting a MASSIVE and flawless sunset-flip powerbomb from the top of a ladder. At this point, EVERYONE in the arena was standing...this is a sign that something was going quite right.

In the end, Edge sealed the deal with a huge Edgecution from a ladder. Edge had defeated Eddie Guerrero, but it was an absolute war that would solidify both men as future main-eventers, and this would become ever-more apparent when both men were given standing ovations on their exit (Eddie in particular got a huge ovation after being booed as a major heel in the beginning).

Over the years, SmackDown has experienced a bunch of highs and lows. This match was one of the show's biggest high points, and it is probably my favorite SmackDown match period. It doesn't get any better than this.

Meltzer's rating: 4.5; Dawson's rating: 5


Edge vs Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle: SmackDown 12/3/02

In late 2002, there was hot contention for the WWE Championship held by (sigh) Big Show. Chris Benoit, Edge, Kurt Angle, and Eddie Guerrero all wanted a shot at the title, and the number-one contendership would be decided in a Fatal-4-Way elimination match. Again, this would take place on an ordinary episode of SmackDown (2002 was such an awesome year for SD).

I do need to explain something: there was a pretty interesting storyline on this night that would affect this match. You see, Albert was a little off-the-rails on this night, and was attacking anything that breathed his air. This would ultimately culminate in Albert attacking Edge with a steel chair as he made his entrance for this main event. Edge would have to be helped to the back, making this a triple-threat elimination match.

Or was it? Right as the match was about to start, Edge made his entrance again and hobbled down to the ring.

This was for a WWE Championship shot, and Edge wasn't going to let this little boo-boo stop him from getting this title shot.

Obviously, due to the attack, Edge was a marked man, and everyone started the match by gunning for his bad leg. After the obligatory "let's attack the hurt guy" opening, this match devolved into a couple simultaneous singles matches as these elimination matches typically do. There was also the obligatory finisher spam about a quarter of the way through the match, but everyone kicked out as is normal for these sorts of matches.

But the real story here isn't about the Fatal-4-Way match. No. Although that part of it was fun, we all knew that this would turn into an exciting singles match, but who vs who? We found out our answer pretty quickly. Edge eliminated Eddie Guerrero with a spear, and Chris Benoit would soon be eliminated after Eddie Guerrero hit him with a title belt.

So our singles portion of the match ended up being Edge vs Kurt Angle, and do I really need to say more? After all, Edge and Angle were involved in some of the best matches of 2002, and this was certainly no exception. In fact, I'd argue that this encounter would be their best yet.

Both men had been though a physical battle at this point, but neither would stop fighting. Because of this, there were a number of exciting false finishes executed by both men via finishers (I made the notation in my notes that Kurt Angle had kicking out at 2 down to the last possible moment, and he really did in this match). Surprisingly, this match did NOT end via a submission to Edge's bad leg. Instead, it ended with the ultimate desperation maneuver: an Angle Slam from the top turnbuckle to the center of the ring.

Angle had won the match, and had the "privilege" of facing Big Show for the WWE Championship. However, as with the previous match, this was another one of the match that would prove that Edge was a future main event talent in WWE. Hell, it would again prove that all four of the men involved were main event talents, which is something that was done more often than not in 2002's SmackDown

Meltzer's rating: 4.5; Dawson's rating: 4.75


Edge vs Mick Foley: WrestleMania 22

(Match requested by Cain A. Knight)

In early 2006, Edge, who had won the first-ever Money in the Bank contract, successfully cashed in his contract and pinned John Cena to win his first WWE Championship. A few weeks later, Cena got his revenge and defeated Edge to regain the WWE Championship.

Edge felt screwed, and the man who had screwed him over was none other than the special referee for this match, Mick Foley.

So of course, the unhinged Edge attacked Foley and challenged him to a singles match at WrestleMania 22. Foley declined, but issued a counteroffer: a hardcore rules match at WrestleMania 22. Edge accepted the match, but it was perfectly clear that he was in over his head, a fact that he would not understand until the match took place.

As for the match's a Mick Foley hardcore match. Do I REALLY need to go into much detail? We had barbed wire, chairs, cookie sheets, road signs, Barbie, tables, stairs, and thumbtacks.

And the end of the match culminated with one of the most iconic moments of the Ruthless Aggression era: Edge spearing Foley through a flaming table, leading to the iconic "OHHHH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD" from Joey Styles.

Honestly, after seeing a number of Mick Foley hardcore matches, there really isn't much to say that hasn't been said before. It was a fun, bloody, and brutal match that saw Edge get his comeuppance over Foley. I just can't think of much more to say.

Meltzer's rating: 4; Dawson's rating: 4.25


Chris Jericho vs Rey Mysterio: The Bash 2009

There were two things that were constantly true for WWE in the 2000s: Rey Mysterio was NEVER seen without his iconic mask, and Chris Jericho as a heel was infinitely better than Chris Jericho as a face. In 2009, both of these things collided in a very entertaining feud. Jericho, who was in the midst of an awesome heel run, was determined to make Mysterio his bitch, and would do ANYTHING to embarrass him. So much so that Jericho actually unmasked Mysterio to win the Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules 2009.

If there is one thing you NEVER do to Rey Mysterio, you never try to mess with his mask.

This feud continued and culminated in this match at The Bash, which was the last PPV to use some form of the Great American Bash name. To make things interesting, a very simple stipulation was added: if Mysterio failed to win the match, he would have to unmask forever. Now this had been done in WCW, and Mysterio was forced to wrestle sans mask for a period of time, but it had never been done in WWE.

So would Mysterio lose the match and be forced to ditch his iconic mask?

Well for a while, the answer was unclear. What we had here was an awesome back-and-forth match that some could argue to be Rey Mysterio's last truly great match. After all, his knees were trashed, and he had undergone multiple surgeries to repair them. In addition, he had been wrestling for about 20 years at this point, so the wear-and-tear was taking its toll. However, in watching this match, you would not see any of that at all. Mysterio was hitting spots that you would never expect him to hit anymore, including his awesome double springboard moonsault.

Jericho definitely brought his A-game as well as he kept up with the smaller Mysterio. And of course let us not forget about how good of a heel Jericho was at this time. He would constantly banter and taunt Mysterio and toy with the mask to try to take it off. After a lengthy and intense match, the end culminated with Jericho ripping Mysterio's mask off a second time.

This time, Mysterio came prepared...with TWO masks on. Jericho ripped mask #1 off, but he didn't even think about a second mask. This would prove to be his downfall as Mysterio hit the 619 and splash combo to get the win and the IC Title. Mysterio's mask was safe for another day.

Although Mysterio is still actively wrestling today, it is no secret that he is not the performer that he was in ECW or WCW. Age and abuse has definitely taken its toll. However, if you were to watch this match, you wouldn't see that. This was definitely a callback to his WCW days, and a well-needed on at that.

Meltzer's and Dawson's rating: 4.5


Kurt Angle vs Jeff Jarrett: TNA Genesis 2009

I need to preface this. If you read one of the early posts from this series, then you know how I feel about Jeff Jarrett. In WWF, I did not enjoy his work, and he was a person who I absolutely detested. I rated one of his matches and earned some controversy from it. Did I let my feelings about the performer get in the way? Quite possibly. Going into this match, I told myself that I would not let my personal feelings about the performer interfere in this review.

Anyway, when Kurt Angle joined TNA, it was immediately clear that he and Jeff Jarrett did not see eye-to-eye. They always butted heads, and this only intensified as Angle's tenure in TNA continued. As we came to this match, the feud had entered the blood feud stage with violent attacks and threats and all that. Quite frankly, I've not really researched the feud; I'm just going on what I saw in the pre-match video package, so there's that.

What I did know was this: I knew that this was going to be a violent affair, but these two really took it above and beyond that point. These two completely beat the living shit out of each other for the entire duration of this match, which lasted over 20 minutes. During that 20 minutes, both men bled profusely, hit each other with chairs and bells, threw each other off the stage in a chilling spot, and witnessed Jeff Jarrett nearly spiking himself during a ring dive (seriously, this spot is NOT for the faint of heart).

As the match continued, it was clear that neither man wanted to be the loser, and both kicked out of a number of finishers and brutal weapon shots. In fact, these spots did nothing but enrage the other, eventually culminating in a look of absolute rage from a bloodied Jarrett, who was fighting like a man with nothing to lose.

Unfortunately for Jarrett, he did lose, but not in the way that you would expect. Instead of being pinned after a finisher or submitting to the ankle lock, he lost when Angle countered a roll-up with his own roll-up. It was a clean pin with no chicanery, but it was a close pin at that. Angle had won, and he celebrated by beating Jarrett up some more...our Olympic hero.

This was a true example of what a good grudge match should be. There was no technical wrestling or science involved; just 20 minutes of pure carnage. From a grudge match, could you ask for anything more?

Meltzer's and Dawson's rating: 4.5


That's it for this edition of "Do They Deserve Their High Rating". Next time, we take a look at a couple requested matches from 2006 before finishing 2009 out (unless I add some other surprises in).

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