Bret Hart’s Top Ten Greatest WWE & WCW Matches

There  are only a handful of men in the world who can lay claim to be a defining talent in the history of professional wrestling.

Men like Buddy Rogers, Gorgeous George, Bruno Sammartino, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan. Men who have truly carved their name into the most prestigious monument of this unique form of entertainment. The few who stand above the many.

Bret Hart, the eighth child of wrestling legend Stu Hart, earned his place among these names through unparalleled devotion to his craft and a learned ability to pull the people in no matter what the situation in the ring was.

Bret Hart’s accolades in the professional wrestling business are too great too number or list, but sufficient to say he lived up to his nickname “The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be.”

For almost 15 years Bret Hart worked tirelessly in the WWE to prove that he was one of the greatest of all time.

Few performers worked as hard as Hart or took as much pride in their work. Wrestling over 200 dates a year for over a decade and a half has given Bret a huge catalog of matches to decide from. For that reason I have limited the field down to his time spent in the WWE and his short tenure in WCW.

In this edition of the Pro Wrestling Countdown we will be looking at ten of the greatest matches in an attempt to convey the message that Hart truly was one of the best of all time.

Honorable Mention:


This is probably the best match I have ever seen Kevin Nash, also known as Diesel, have a part in. That was one of Bret Hart’s greatest attributes. Making a match that doesn’t look so good on paper truly shine in the ring.

That is largely why I placed this match here. He was often forced to work with some less than stellar opponents. In an interview once a wrestling commentator said:

“…if you look at the WWE in the first half of the 1990’s every match worth watching had either Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels on one side of  the ring.”

As sad as it is to admit this man was not far off from the truth. Save a few exceptions Hart and Michaels were challenged with doing the best with the fellow talent available to the WWE’s ever shrinking budget.

Diesel was walking into Survivor Series as the 3rd longest reigning WWE Champion of the proclaimed “Modern Era” of the title. Even with his title reign now being over 300 days long he still had to defeat one of the greatest technicians in the company under no disqualification rules which would prove no easy task.

The stipulation certainly helped Diesel in this match and disguised his limitations in the ring and only made Hart that more exciting.

The only knock I can give this match is that it  is a tad slow but many Hart and Diesel match can be criticized of being slow. This only slightly deserves that criticism.

The match came to an end after the WWE Champion kicked Hart off the apron through the Spanish announcer’s table and then threw the challenger back into the ring to  finish him off. He went for the Jackknife Powerbomb, but “The Hitman” got the roll up to become the WWE Champion.

This would set up the main event for WrestleMania XII and the 60-minute clinic from Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. WrestleMania XII would also  be one of the last times wrestling fans saw Diesel before his defection to WCW as he became the fifth man to fall to The Undertaker’s undefeated streak.

I really included this match as an example of all of Hart’s matches with “big men.” He often had competitors with limited ability and this really shows have good Hart was at putting on a good show no matter who stood across the ring.

10. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (SummerSlam 1994)

I would point to this performance if I wanted to give someone an example of how great a Steel Cage match can be if the right two competitors are in the ring.

It also has to be the most well done brother vs. brother feud I’ve seen. It is just such a great story. One brother not wanting to live in the other’s shadow. It is often botched though, but the story here worked so well. Owen made me believe he truly hated his brother.

What I loved so much about this match is that Bret and Owen brought  logic to a match that often is absent logic. They spend so much time trying to escape the cage viva the door and then over the cage walls even when
there was little hope that they will not get caught by the other man. I think it plays up the desperation that this stipulation match should have; especially from Owen Hart.

At WrestleMania X Owen finally defeated his older brother and by doing so he thought he had moved out of his shadow for good. However, later that night the older Bret won the WWE Championship and once again reaffirmed that he was the better brother.

A few months later Owen Hart won the King of the Ring tournament replicating the feat his brother had accomplished a year earlier.

At SummerSlam the sibling rivalry reached it’s apex when the two collided for Bret’s championship. With the entire Hart family ringside, the two brought their expert knowledge of match pacing and ring psychology to the steel cage. They delivered a smart, logical, and captivating bout which for these reasons I had to rank it over their WrestleMania match.

I think part of me wanted to bring this match on the Countdown because they managed to make me interested in a Steel Cage match. This has always been a gimmick match that I have found somewhat underwhelming. This is the highest a traditional Steel Cage match  has ever made it on the Pro Wrestling Countdown.

It will probably stay that way.


Okay, honesty time. I only even allowed WCW matches to be eligible for this edition of the Pro Wrestling Countdown so I could include this absolute gem.

I never cared for WCW Nitro too much. I thought it was a mess of a show week in and week out. However, this match was a diamond in the rough and truly my favorite WCW Nitro match ever contested.

“The Hitman’s” time in the troubled promotion was and still is very unmemorable with noteworthy matches coming few and far between. While seeing Hart wrestle guys like Sting, DDP, and Goldberg was cool at first it just didn’t feel like he belonged.

“If you want to sum up my greatest moments in WCW, well  they’re not that many…Kansas City was an important as any night in my life let alone wrestling.” -Bret Hart

This match was meant as a tribute to Bret’s younger brother, Owen Hart, who tragically perished in an unfortunate accident while performing at a WWE event earlier that year in the same arena Nitro was stationed at on this night.

Hart and Benoit had a great mat-based contest that really showcased what made both of these men so unique as wrestlers. Few men have wrestled better mat-based matches than these two and seeing them dance together was always special. It was just about the only thing that validated his stint outside of the WWE for me as a fan.

Bret Hart got the victory over Chris Benoit with the Sharpshooter and the two then embraced in the ring as two brothers would. Bret Hart then saluted the Heavens, and his brother, before leaving the ring.

After this match Hart would go on to have two very short reigns as WCW World Heavyweight Champion and have a match with Bill Goldberg at Starcade 1999 in which he suffered a concussion that served as the catalyst for his early retirement.

I would objectively consider that this tribute match was the last great match of Bret Hart’s career. Only months after this Hart was forced to retire due to his concussion and other nagging injuries.

“I really believe that Owen was right there above the ring watching. In a lot of ways, it was a match for only one person. There was only one person in the audience.” -Bret Hart

I always take solace in knowing that Hart’s last, arguably, great match was for his brother.


Five years before the match that would loom over their careers like an endless plague Bret “Hitman” Hart, the new WWE Champion, and “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, the new Intercontinental Champion, faced off in the main events of the 1992 Survivor Series.

This match, however, featured far less controversy and much more of what made Michaels and Hart the best of their era. When I talk about this match I often compare it to the rough draft of a great noel. In it, exists blemishes, but the framework for a great story can be seen.

The aspect of this match that I think very well nearly dropped it out of the top ten was how often the two men resorted to rest holds. The used the stalling to help build anticipation, but I feel like they allowed too much down time. This fact certainly hurt it’s standings. In saying this, the match that we are left with is still absolutely worth watching.

Some modern fans might find it a bit dated, but otherwise this was a great match for the WWE Championship. Shawn gave everything he had, but was not quite ready to usurp “The Hitman” who had just begun his journey as the face of a Hogan-less WWE.

After the match Santa Claus came to the ring and celebrated with Bret Hart. Yes, I’m serious. The 90’s were weird, man.

Hart and Michaels were both coming into their own as superstars during this time while Vince McMahon was faced with sex scandals and steroid allegations from government officials.

These two men marched on as the leaders of the troubled Next Generation Era and would figuratively speaking be fighting in the trenches as the company came close to closing down completely.

7. BRET HART VS. THE 1-2-3- KID (WWE RAW, JULY 1994)

When discussing the greatest matches of the largely uneventful early days of Monday Night Raw this match has to be in the discussion. The 1-2-3 Kid is notable for a couple of  now iconic early moments in Raw history. The most memorable being the match in which he defeated Razor Ramon almost a year earlier. Had he not have won that upset victory over Ramon this match, with the WWE Champion, may well have never taken place.

This was also the only second ever WWE Championship match to be broadcast on the show.

Not bad for a kid who was just two days shy of his 22nd birthday.

The 1-2-3 Kid held his own with the much more seasoned Hart and even kept the champion grounded as he utilized the moves no doubt taught to him by Boris Malenko (father of Dean Malenko).

After about 10 minutes of action the Kid went for a crucifix pin, but Bret countered dropping him onto his back and seemingly getting the victory. However, the 1-2-3 Kid had his foot on the bottom rope and Bret Hart refused  to have his hand raised as he noticed the Kid’s foot when the referee did not.

I think this was a great way to put him over as a fighting champion and made the crowd love him even more. While the WWE’s popularity may have been waning in the  early 1990s it is hard to tell on this night as the fans in attendance chanted ”The Hitman’s” name periodically throughout this bout.

After the action resumed the 1-2-3 Kid went all in and gave Hart all the high flying maneuvers he had in his arsenal. However, Hart capitalized on that and was able to take advantage once the Kid missed one of his high risk moves. The Kid, in his immaturity, made the mistake again and found himself in the Sharpshooter.

After his victory the WWE Champion applauded the Kid for his efforts and embraced him before raising his hand to the roaring crowd.

While everyone may point to his match with Razor as the match that made him a star I think it was Bret Hart who truly legitimized the future degenerate, X-Pac. Much in the way The Undertaker would someday do for a young Jeff Hardy. A match I’ve discussed in previous editions.

I love matches in which you can see veteran performers, like Bret Hart, acknowledge the talents of up-and-coming stars. This is one of the absolute best examples of that type of match.


Bret Hart had many matches with “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig. The one that occurred at SummerSlam 1991 is probably their more recognized encounter, but one in which Hennig was not at 100%.

Curt Hennig was wrestling with a very injured back and can be seen sporting a similar posture that Shawn Michaels displays when wrestling his final match for five years  at WrestleMania XIV due to a career threatening back injury.

While Hennig’s injury was not nearly as severe, it was still a testament to his fortitude that he was able to work though that injury at SummerSlam. Even still I opted to pick their King of the Ring match.

The match does not have as much historical significance as the SummerSlam match, but it’s one of the better encounters the two ever had.

Now a more seasoned main event talent, Bret Hart took on a healthier Mr. Perfect in the semi-finals in the 1993 King of the Ring tournament. A tournament Bret  Hart would go on to win.

The match started out with both of the athletes quickly trading and countering submission moves. The commentators spend much of the match discussing how crisp and “perfect” the two men executed  their maneuvers.

Savage, JR, and Heenan were right at any rate. Hennig and Hart both had excellent ring movement that was further highlighted by their impeccable timing. They both moved around the ring together as if their eyes were closed, having memorized every step of the contest.

Perfect controlled this match much more when compared to their 1991 match. Even though he played defense for much of this performance the “Excellence of Execution” bettered Mr. Perfect once again with a school boy.

A perturbed Mr. Perfect begrudgingly shook the hand of the man who once again bested him.

Hart advanced to the finals and defeated Bam Bam Bigelow, in a much more underwhelming contest, to become the first ever WWE King of the Ring.

This is the Bret Hart that comes to mind when I think back on him. Crisp offensive maneuvers and silky smooth wrestling sequences. Hennig was Hart’s perfect opponent.


For many years I never knew about this match as it took place before I became attached to the pro wrestling product. Several years ago I watched it when doing research for a write-up on the history of Survivor Series and I  was not disappointed at the result.

Sometimes forgotten, this match of contrasting styles was the precursor to the much more famous WrestleMania 13 match between these two WWE Hall of Famers.

Austin began this match with two middle fingers right in the face of the former WWE Champion. In this time, Austin was still working as a villain and Hart as the hero.

The early going of this match surprisingly enough saw Austin try to play the mat based game with “The Hitman.” It didn’t work in his favor for long as Bret, even having  just returned from an extended leave of absence, was as every bit the “Excellence of Execution” as he used to be.

Like any great adapter, Austin switched his offense over to his well known brawling style which really gave the match a nice back in forth dynamic. Austin punched and Hart would look for a way to lock in a hold.

About 20 minutes into this match “Stone Cold” really got the upper hand taking the action to the outside and just abusing Hart. Still the devious heel could not put him away to the delight of the fans who filled Madison Square Garden.

Even the Stone Cold Stunner could not keep the veteran down with three unsuccessful pin attempts to Austin’s  misfortune. As he ran out of offensive maneuvers “Stone Cold” locked in the Texas Clover Leaf in an attempt to get Bret Hart to submit, but to no avail.

Finally Austin made a mistake that gave the technician the opening he needed to get the victory. The Texas rebel locked in DiBiase’s Million Dollar Dream hoping it would be enough to finish the technician, but the wiser Hart used his positioning in the corner of the ring to spring off the ropes and flip Austin, back first, on to the mat. The referee counted to three before “Stone Cold” could recover from his rough landing.

This was as physical as any match I can remember seeing Bret Hart in. It isn’t at all akin to the pretty matches he is famous for with the likes of Mr. Perfect or Shawn Michaels. This makes it stand out among them and shows how versatile of a performer Hart could be in the face of a change in direction in the company he had helped maintain over the last five years.

Austin and Hart both showed off different styles of their wrestling ability here. We saw much more brawling from Hart and many submission moves out of Austin. It made for a very engaging experience to see the two outside of their typical wrestling styles.


There have been instances where this match was touted as the greatest professional wrestling match to ever take place. I think, while not being the most ridiculous thing ever said, that this would be a gross overstatement.

What Michaels and Hart truly did in their greatest encounter was redefine what a match on the main stage of the WWE  should be about. This was the first Era in the WWE that the small more athletic performers were moved from the middle of the card to the forefront of peoples consciousness. The main event. The “Hitman” and the “Heart Break Kid” set the blueprint for modern five star matches.

My personal opinion has always been that Iron Man matches are ridiculously hard to pull off. This is due to the entire pacing of the match being determined by the fact that the fans know exactly when the contest is ending.

This takes away a layer of spontaneity from the performance on top of the fact that the athletes have to perform for a long amount of time.

The matches usually have a very “on-and-off” momentum which can disengage even the most determined viewer. The middle of the matches especially tend to lag and even this classic match suffers from this pattern.

Even in saying that, there probably is no greater example of how and Iron Man match should play out than this one.  The WWE’s two greatest attractions at the time pitted against one another in a match no one in the WWE had ever competed in before. It was the perfect scenario for the main event of WrestleMania made all the better by the classic overtime finish after no winner could be declared when the sixty minute time limit expired.

The sudden death overtime definitely helped add some unpredictability to the end of the match in which Shawn Michaels finally captured  the WWE Championship.

While fans everywhere love and adore this match the man who walked in WWE Champion admits that to him it was  more of an athletic display of endurance than a good scientific wrestling match.

In that regard I would have to agree, but still this contest is one of the mos iconic WWE Championship matches ever.

3. BRET HART VS. OWEN HART (Wrestlemania X)

When WWE returned to Madison Square Garden to celebrate their tenth WrestleMania, they started the celebration off with what has become the standard barer for opening Mania matches.

The sibling jealously dynamic is such a full proof story that any fan can relate to. Almost any fan can relate to having an older more successful sibling. A sibling who they feel eclipses them and their accomplishments. By 1994 Bret Hart had made the transition from tag team mechanic of the Hart Foundation, to “The Hitman.” The elder brother had been chosen by the fans as the WWE’s main event successor to Hulk Hogan.

“The Rocket” Owen Hart had been floundering in the middle of the card and recovering from injury when he returned to ignite this feud with his brother. The feud that would put him on the map and define his entire career. The younger Hart played the envious brother perfectly.

This match was the culmination of almost 4 months of storytelling and while the story go on to be bigger and their matches even better – this was Owen Harts true coming out party as a major player in the WWE.

Owen would sneak out a victory over his brother in one of the best opening matches in Wrestlemania history. The chemistry these two brothers shared in the ring was evident immediately.

Bret would go on to win the WWE Championship in the main event. As he celebrated in the ring in front of packed crowd – his younger brother looked on signifying their issues were far from other.!!!!!!


If Shawn Michaels is “Mr. WrestleMania” then I think Bret Hart is deserving of the title “Mr. SummerSlam.” Matches with Mr. Perfect, Undertaker, Owen Hart, and this match all number among SummerSlam’s greatest matches.

This match, however, is without a doubt SummerSlam’s  grandest match. A match so good and a moment so historic that is almost feels like a “WrestleMania moment” that has lost its way.

History has told us that Bulldog went into the match infamously “out of his head” due to being hooked on multiple substances.

Davey Boy Smith had been suspended earlier in the year and had also been rehabbing an injury. Knowing Smith’s history with drug use he very well could have been off his face going into this match, but we only have second hand reports from Hart to go no at this point.

Somehow this match still managed to  become one of the biggest moments in WWE history even with claims that Bulldog was compromised before the show.

I largely contribute this matches success to Hart’s ability to guide his brother-in-law after Smith had allegedly forgotten all of the matches sequences. Bulldog without a doubt carried his weight much more than Hart would have us believe, but it should be said that the “Hitman” definitely gave the British Bulldog the greatest moment of his career.

Hart can be seen using arm-bars and headlocks to communicate the next spot to Davey Boy. To me, it could just be that Hart was leading the match like any veteran would, but it could have also been Hart trying to piece together a match that Davey had forgotten. None of us can know.

Moving past Bulldog’s condition this match was an excellent display and the 80,000 British fans were absolutely squarely in the hands of these two performers.

This was the first major WWE event without Hogan many other big names that had defected to WCW since WrestleMania VIII. This was the transition period and the end of the “Golden Era.” Within months of this Randy Savage and Ric Flair would also leave for WCW and leave WWE without any major names. Hart would become their new torch bearer.

After being unable to make the British Bulldog submit to the Sharpshooter Hart goes for a Sunset Flip, but Bulldog catches him and gets the pin. After the match Hart teases leaving the ring before congratulating his brother, but opts to celebrate with his sister and her husband, the new WWE Intercontinental Champion.

The Intercontinental Championship has never been as important as it was that night. This was it’s peak.

Tragically, Bulldog’s career would never eclipse this moment as many of the troubles in life would hinder his career. Steroid and human-growth hormone addiction caught up to his heart and the former WWE superstar passed away in 2002.


The most famous double turn of all time. How could any other Bret Hart match eclipse this one?

Few professional wrestlers have a better in-ring dynamic than Bret “Hitman” Hart and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin had together in my opinion. Their characters and styles complimented one another so well.

I won’t recap this match for you here, but I will say that more than almost any other match I would consider this a must watch.

Hart and Austin both walked into the Chicago arena teetering on the edge of both heel and babyface. Both had displayed traits of both good and bad characters. Seeing the slow turn take it’s final spin was a moment in time.

Bret Hart locked in the Sharpshooter on an exhausted “Stone Cold.” Austin, however, would not give in, and passed out instead of tapping to the man he had tried to defy for months on end. The sight of Austin screaming
in agony as blood spewed everywhere might be one of the most iconic WrestleMania moments ever.

Special referee Ken Shamrock had no other choice but to call for the bell. “The Hitman” then continued to attack Austin which promoted the Mania crowd to drown Hart with boos.

Steve pulled himself up by the ropes and refused to have anyone help him to the back. The guts, determination, and refusal to give up gave the fans a reason to support “Austin 3:16” and this effectively resulted in possibly the most successful and important face turn in WWE history.

I don’t think any performer has gained as much out of a lose as Austin gained from losing to Hart the way he did at WrestleMania 13. It might have been the perfect ending to what I would consider one of the greatest wrestling matches ever.

The next  year at WrestleMania XIV Bret Hart would be gone from the WWE after the infamous Montreal Screw Job at Survivor Series later that year and Steve Austin would win his first WWE Championship and give a broken Shawn Michaels his final match for nearly five years.

“Stone Cold” would spend those next five years leading the WWE into a Renaissance of creativity and profitability. All of that may well not had happened had it not been for the perfectly executed babyface turn at WrestleMania 13 courtesy of “The Hitman.”

This was Bret Hart and Steve Austin’s Ninth Symphony and truly was Hart’s last dance on the legendary stage of WrestleMania during his prime.

Hart’s fundamental active WWE career would end several months after this.

Bret Hart IV.jpg

The Beast From The East: Live From Tokyo

-For the first time ever, the WWE broadcasts from Tokyo, Japan – LIVE! Which means you’d have to have been up in the middle of the night to see this in the United States.

-However, this has to be one of the best upsides to the WWE Network. The company can now do big shows like this no matter where they go. It probably costs them very little, and if they promote them it could be more like a NXT Special. It could also do a lot to add to their annual international tours and open up more opportunities in WWE’s quest to expand globally.

-Seeing different crowds other than a typical U.S. crowd is vastly interesting and bring a different vibe to the shows. The last time I remember WWE doing a show from Japan was an edition of Monday Night Raw in early 2005. The difference in the culture and crowd behavior alone brings a very interesting dynamic to the shows.

1. Chris Jericho vs. Neville

-Very smart of the WWE to bring back Jericho for this broadcast considering that he is from a generation of WWE stars who spent time wrestling in Japan before finding success in the states.

-Despite being all over the WWE Network on various programs, and wrestling many non-televised WWE events this year, this is Jericho’s first televised WWE match in about a year.

-Neville wrestled a slower pace than we have seen regularly, but it clearly has more to do with Jericho being the one in control of the pace. Neville is usually explosively fast, but Jericho drove this match with a much more measured pace.

-The match focused around Neville looking for an opening in Y2J’s offense, but not really finding much success. 

-Chris Jericho applied a sick looking Wall’s of Jericho to “The Man That Gravity Forgot,” but the former NXT Champion was able to reach the ropes.

-The veteran was able to thwart just about every one of the NXT alumni’s attempts to get a lead and after a Code Breaker it wasn’t long before Jericho locked in the Wall’s of Jericho again, for the win. 

-A bit sloppy in some sequences, but seeing Chris Jericho wrestle is always a treat, and this was a pretty good use of the former star. The crowd was very much in Jericho’s corner, I only wish Neville had gotten in a little more offense so his defeat didn’t seem so academic.

2. Nikki Bella vs. Paige vs. Tamina Snuka for the WWE Diva’s Championship

-Paige and Nikki exchange for a majority of the match with Tamina mostly just selling on the outsider.

-Tamina comes back in for the finish. Misses the Superfly Splash and gets clothes-lined by the Diva’s Champion for the three count.

-A very underwhelming contest.

-You could literally hear them talking back and forth the entire match due to the more reserved nature of the Japanese crowd. All three seemed uncertain how to deal with the still air and it kind of hurt the match.

-The fans were very respectful regardless. 

3. Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston

-We get a nice little reintroduction promo for Lesnar to remind you that Kingston is, indeed, going to be a rag-doll in this match.

-No Paul Heyman! For the first time since he returned to the WWE in 2012, Lesnar is without his infamous mouthpiece. Very strange. Surely, Heyman just wasn’t available to make the tour seeing as there were no actually TV tapings, other than this one-off special, in which he’d be needed.

-Michael Cole actually acknowledges Lesnar’s reign as the IWGP World Champion in New Japan Pro Wrestling as the match begins.

-Poor Kofi barely gets out of the blocks with a few kicks to Lesnar’s legs that seem to only tickle the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

-Suplexes and an F-5 to seal the deal in barely any time at all.

-The est of The New Day trio come out for Lesnar to knock around. The crowd loves it. Innocent enough segment intended to build towards Lesnar’s rematch with Seth Rollins at the next big event.

-This definitely succeeded in making Lesnar looked like a badass heading into WWE Battleground, but I sort of was hoping for more than a two minutes squash for this WWE Network special.

4. Kevin Owens vs. Finn Bálor for the NXT Championship

-Ouch! This really should be going on last. How is this not going on last?

– Bálor’s entrance is even more chilling with the absence of the always noisy Full Sail University crowd. It is awesome. Period.

-Both competitors are handed flowers and fans throw in ribbons as a sign of respect. Owens is having none of it and huffs his flowers over the top rope. Awesome.

-The challenger gets the first blows before Owens derails his offense and firmly takes control of the contest. The NXT Champion, Kevin Owens, plays up his dirty bastard ass-kicker gimmick here so well.

-Owens spends a lot of the match thwarting Bálor’s attempts to build momentum. He slaps his opponent yelling “You can’t beat me.”

-This backfires and Owen’s finds himself staring up at Bálor’s Coup de Gráce.

-A really decent NXT Championship match, but I felt like Bálor and Owen’s were not the best fit for one another. Still, Bálor is an amazingly interesting performer and character and now he is the crown jewel of NXT whilst Owen’s will permanently graduate to the main roster.

5. John Cena & Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane & King Barrett

-Holy fucking house show. 

-Obviously, everyone is going to be livid about this Monday Night Raw-esque Tag Team match closing over Bálor/Owens, but we will move past that. This is basically a WWE live event with a few bonuses. 

-I won’t waste too much time going on about this nothing match. We all know how house show Tag Team matches go.

-No stories really going on here. Ziggler sells for much of the match until tagging in Cena who gets all his big moves.

-AA to Barrett in a drawn out main event with nothing on the line.

-This was a pretty underwhelming event despite feeling like it could have been really special.

-Neville and Jericho had a pretty solid opener and Bálor and Owens treated the Japanese crowd to a very entertaining NXT Championship match.

-The rest of the card was pretty lame. Brock Lesnar and John Cena appearing in this setting, while interesting, was not done in the most compelling fashion. Again, this is just a glorified WWE live event. So, it is hard to fault them.

-In the end, seeing WWE superstars in a different continent and interacting with fans from a completely different culture is reason enough to give this event a viewing. I hope they do this again once or twice a year.

WWE: John Cena vs. The Undertaker Destined for WrestleMania XXX?

“Past generations write history, they become history. The past may have already been written, but the future awaits a new generation.”

It would be the biggest money match the WWE could dream up for the 30th anniversary of the greatest wrestling show on Earth.

Their 14-Time World Champion, John Cena, versus the longest tenured WWE performer ever, The Undertaker.

Over the past decade, plus, John Cena and The Undertaker have only had one proper feud and several sparse encounters.

However, the two juggernauts have never been able to have a program since John Cena has become the defining WWE Superstar of the last decade.

In 2003 when Cena was still wearing jerseys to the ring and and coming into his own he got into the face of an unrelenting “American Badass.” The two, would have great matches for the WWE Smackdown! brand, but those matches now only serve as teases of what a WrestleMania main event between these two would be like.

The Undertaker has stood across the ring from “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan. The Ultimate Warrior.  Ric Flair. Bret Hart. Shawn Michaels. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The Rock. Triple H. For 25 years he has been a constant. A measuring stick. An equalizer to all the greatest names to wrestle in a 20-by-20 ring.

He has stared down the largest icons of professional wrestling and the WWE and outlasted them all.

But not John Cena.

The leader of “The Cenation.” A 14-time World Champion. The man who has climbed every brick wall, every challenge, put in front of him. His motto is “Never Give Up.” He has become the biggest name in professional wrestling. A main event draw equal to that of Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

John Cena has lived up to every expectation and won over many of even the most jaded professional wrestling fans. He has proven to everyone that at the end of the day this business is what his life is about. John Cena has defeated every obstetrical put in front of him.

But not The Undertaker.

The Undertaker and John Cena have accomplished so much in their careers. They have won championship after championship. Main evented show after show. They have given professional wrestling fans exhibitions of talent and storytelling that made them gasp in awe time and time again.

But never have they had the opportunity to face one another in manner truly deserving.

“The Phenom”. Undefeated at WrestleMania. 21 and 0. John Cena. The face of the largest professional wrestling company in the world.

Can a grander story be thought of between two living WWE icons still active?

These two men could stand face-to-face on WWE Monday Night Raw in the coming months of 2014 and they, and the fans, would know that each man would be looking at the biggest challenge of their career.

For John Cena, it would be a challenge bigger than any other he had faced. Edge. Randy Orton. CM Punk. The Rock. His most iconic opponents would pale in comparison to the idea of John Cena challenging The Undertaker to a match at the 30th Anniversary of WrestleMania.

It would be a story that would lead up to one single moment in time.

It would be the biggest test “The Streak” could now ever face. The Undertaker has never faced “The Face of WWE” at it’s premier event. He never faced Hulk Hogan at a WrestleMania. He never stared down Steve Austin at the biggest show of the year.

But he could stand nose-to-nose with John Cena with over 70,000 fans screaming and waiting with baited breath for every move either of them made.

The feud between these two would be the biggest possible story the team at WWE could think of and what event would be more deserving of the culmination of a story between John Cena and The Undertaker than WrestleMania XXX?

To me, this would be the modern reinterpretation of Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan.

Two legends. One in the twilight of his career and the other still in his prime. John Cena, like Hulk Hogan, challenges the undefeated streak of The Undertaker, not so unlike the supposed “undefeated streak” of one Andre the Giant.

An unofficial sequel to “The Immovable Object Meeting the Irresistible Force?”

You want goosebumps? You want excitement? You want a story?

The Undertaker and John Cena would give us the match of the year. The would create imagery and sound bits in their match that would be replayed in montages at the 50th Anniversary of Wrestlemania.

They would take every set of eyes in New Orleans, or on a TV screen, and take them on a 30 minutes roller coaster ride of absolute adrenaline.

It isn’t Mike Tyson versus Mhummad Ali, but in all reality it might be something even better.

It is the man who has stood by and seen every icon of the WWE fall since his arrival taking on perhaps the greatest the WWE has ever produced.

For The Undertaker a victory over John Cena would be validation that he still is and always has been “better than the best.”

For John Cena it would be the chance to wrestle and perhaps defeat and overcome the largest hurdle his career could ever face.

To do something Ric Flair, Batista, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, CM Punk, and dozens more have never done. Defeat the keeper of WrestleMania. The dragon that has guarded the castle for 21 years. “The Demon of Death Valley.”

There are now few men on the WWE roster today who can appear to have even a ghost of a chance at being the one to end an undefeated streak that has stood for 21 years. That honor is held under lock and key by one of the greatest WWE characters to ever live. John Cena might be the last man standing. The final one who is worth challenging an unprecedented accomplishment.

One last demonstration of dominance, but can The Undertaker defeat a man who has accomplished everything and ultimately topped everyone in his path for over a decade?

What gives when you place two men who are so different, but mean so much to professional wrestling in vastly different ways?

The story between The Undertaker and John Cena would obviously be one that would be designed to lead to a match at WrestleMania XXX.

But does it end there?

If The Undertaker manages to take his historic undefeated streak to 22 and 0 will John Cena be able to move on from a defeat that huge without a rematch? John Cena has never been able to move on with a challenge still unfinished. He would surely seek a rematch and call out “The Deadman” to try and once again prove himself. That loss, like his loss to The Rock, would haunt him for over a year.

If John Cena ended “The Streak” on the grand stage of WrestleMania XXX it would  be the end of over two decades of history, but would it be the end of The Undertaker? Would The Undertaker’s first loss at WrestleMania become his last? Or would “The Last Outlaw” strike back with furious vengeance?

In this story something would have to give.

Would it be the first time we would ever see The Undertaker defeated at a WrestleMania or the first time we ever see John Cena not overcome a challenge presented to him.

This would be a story of pure will. Who comes out the victor? Whose determination is greater?

To me that is what would  make this head and shoulders one of the most important stories 2014 could hold.

2007 Royal Rumble Match: WWE’s Greatest Royal Rumble of All Time

“Knock, Knock? Who’s there? The guy that finished  second. The guy that finished second, who? Exactly.”

There can only be one. We all know what is at stake in the Royal Rumble match.

What would you do for a mere chance to dance with immortality? A chance to define an era? A chance to stand in the center of history in the making?

The Royal Rumble. For many men it is their only opprotunity at becoming the WWE Champion. One chance at main eventing the most historically significant show in wrestling history.

A single second can be the difference from changing a career. But, only for one man. It’s the short cut to WrestleMania, and a one way ticket to everlasting life. But to get there you have to cross through one of the most challenging matches the WWE has ever created.

Only one man can win, and how strange it is that the winner of the greatest Royal Rumble match of all time – is not a man at all…

The Criteria

While so much is at stake in the Royal Rumble match, for the fans, it is the most pure form of sports entertainment the WWE has.

Since the dawn of the modern wrestling era the Battle Royal has been the quintessential special attraction match. All the way back to the days of Haystacks Calhoun and the legendary Andre the Giant.

The Royal Rumble is a modern callback to those carnival attractions of old.

The Royal Rumble is not so much an example of skill and pacing as it is a showcase of entertainment and grandeur. It is over the top “sports entertainment” at it finest. It should never win a “Match of the Year” Slammy Award, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the most important nights of WWE’s year. Because it is.

Its plain and simple fun. So for a Royal Rumble match to be considered the greatest of all time it has to be, above all else, a fun showcase of everything the WWE is about and be able to tell multiple engaging stories without confusion.

In 1992, 1995, 2004, and 2006 we saw greats like Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit, and Rey Mysterio go border-to-border and win it all.

In 2002, 2008, and 2010 we saw the legends of tomorrow like Triple H, John Cena, and Edge return and lay claim to their ticket to the main event.

In 2011, Alberto Del Rio went through 39, not 29, other men to win the biggest Royal Rumble in the events history.

But in 2007 a perfect storm of talent and entertainment came to the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas and became the benchmark of what a Royal Rumble match should be.

It’s the modern equivalent of what the 1992 Royal Rumble became.

The Players.

The talent in the 20th ever Royal Rumble is absolutely unmistakable.

It an example of some of the greatest modern stars  and the hold outs left over from the days of the Monday Night War.

The expose began with 16-Time World Champion, and 1992 Royal Rumble winner, Ric Flair and 20+ year veteran Fit Finlay.

This also marked the first time ECW was represented in the Royal Rumble as WWE’s third brand.

The likes of Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, Sabu, CM Punk, and even Rob Van Dam all got to showplace their hardcore version of entertainment in the match.

Talent including Finlay, Edge, Shelton Benjamin, CM Punk, Randy Orton, and Shawn Michaels would all spend over 20 minutes or more in the match and really got to tell their stories well and provide a lot of action and excitement.

And how could we forget, the man who entered last. The Undertaker. For 20 years no man successfully won the Royal Rumble from the final position. It was almost as #30 was cursed.

However, it would seem that curse was finally broken by the “Demon from Death Valley.”

Even after mentioning all of those names there were also impressive showings from Chris Benoit, Kane, King Booker, Jeff Hardy, Johnny Nitro, MVP, The Great Khali, and Carlito.

There was such a wealth of talent here, and while not all of them spent long amounts of time in the contest they really helped sell this matches entertainment factor with the spots and sequences they were all involved in.

This was billed as “The Most Star Studded Royal Rumble of All Time” and while that claim might be a bit of a stretch when you look at the men in this match it is hard to say that it isn’t “The Most Talented Royal Rumble of All Time.”

This is a Royal Rumble full of WWE Hall of Fame talent. Unmistakably.

The Match.

Finlay and Flair started this match out strong, and the Irishman would go on to have a very impressive showing, but his time in the Rumble would be out shined by a couple of young and brash thugs from Monday Night Raw.

Rated RKO, Randy Orton and Edge, deserve a lot of credit for being the pace-setters of this contest and the story of their dissolving partnership was really a gem among all the other stories being told in this match.

They dominated much of the action especially Edge, who at almost 45 minutes, was easily the longest lasted competitor in 2007’s match.

The action here was a lot of what we had grown accustomed to in the Royal Rumble, but the WWE found new ways to surprise us.

ECW’s Sabu was eliminated by Kane via a Chockslam through a wooden table and The Sandman entered the ring with a Kendo Stick and took a good whack at everything in sight until being quickly thrown out.

While this match lacked the attraction of featuring many surprise entrants like the more modern Rumble’s do it still had impressive and consistent action. Once Shawn Michaels entered the fray things really got interesting.

One half of D-Generation X entered the Royal Rumble at 23 and eliminated Finlay. He then deviled Sweet Chin Music to Viscera who was painfully tossed out by eight other men! A record that eclipsed  the previous record Viscera held as “Mabel” almost 10 years earlier.

It was apparent Shawn Michaels had come to his home town to stop the show, and the entire match shifted into a higher gear when he arrived.

The match, as we all know, really ascended to another realm when the contest entered its final moments and two revered WWE superstars came face-to-face for the first time in nearly a decade…

The Finish.

Rarely, can the finish of a match do so much for it’s legacy after the fact.

The finish of this match really came about with the entrance of the 28th man, The Great Khali. The monster from Punjab quickly eliminated seven Royal Rumble competitors; among them the likes of CM Punk, Rob Van Dam, The Miz, and several others.

The ring began to empty and it looked like the road to WrestleMania had been cleared by Khali. 3-2-1…

The 30th man to enter the Royal Rumble was no man at all. Through smoke and fire The Undertaker emerged as the final man and the AT&T Center exploded. The “Conscience of the WWE” made quick work of Khali and MVP and we were left with only Undertaker, Randy Orton, Edge, and Shawn Michaels.

A whose-who of WWE at the time, and probably the most decorated “Final Four” of any Royal Rumble – ever.

Rated RKO used their alliance to dominated the two other legends, but their inability to communicate effectively left them vulnerable as the attempted to finish off “The Deadman.” The “Heartbreak Kid” sneaked behind them and quickly eliminated the two dastardly heels.

Shawn had to quickly collapse to regain his composure and we were left with the two Texan veterans laying side-by-side in the ring. The crowd knew exactly what that meant and erupted before the two legends even moved.

The conclusion to this Royal Rumble is absolutely iconic and far and away the most well produced conclusion to any Royal Rumble match ever. The Undertaker. Shawn Michaels. Two bonafide pillars of the WWE left laying in the ring with only one another standing in their way at a chance to dance in the light of WreslteMania’s main event once again.

The Undertaker sits up. Shawn Michaels nips up. The two battle worn legends stare across from one another and know what they have to do to win.

This was perhaps one of the most original sights we had ever seen. Both men were downed and the crowd exploded before they even moved, and when the two men got up electricity was in the air.

“These two legends are face-to-face. One of them is going to headline WrestleMania!” -Michael Cole

What followed was a preview of the absolute classic matches these two would have at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania, and WrestleMania XXVI.

The two native Texans fought tooth and nail going for all their big moves  in an attempt to go back to the main event of the most important show  to ever exist.

It was an ending filled with passion and 20 years of WWE history, and it opened the door to the possibility that we had not yet seen the last of the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels story.

“How many times do you get to see two legends, two cornerstones of this company, go at it with everything possible on the line?” -JBL

After both men fought off elimination several times, Shawn Michaels targeted down for one final kick, Sweet Chin Music.

The cagey veteran, Undertaker, had it scouted and dumped out his fellow longest tenured WWE superstar to win the 20th ever Royal Rumble and solidify his spot at WrestleMania.

Shawn Michaels sat at the base of the entrance ramp as he internalized the possibility that he would not make it to WrestleMania. The two icons shared a glance. One of pure respect.

It would, thankfully, be far from the last time they did so.

The Undertaker would go to WrestleMania 23 and face World Heavyweight Champion, Batista, and Shawn Michaels would go to WrestleMania 23 and face the WWE Champion, John Cena.

The two, easily, had the best matches of the night.

The End is The Beginning is The End.

The end of the 2007 Royal Rumble would indirectly give birth to what would go on to become the beginning of the end for Shawn Michaels’ illustrious career.

The two legends would begin the 2008 Royal Rumble, and the following year Shawn Michaels would finally challenge The Undertaker to a match at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania.

That match is now considered to be the culmination of over 100 years of sports entertainment and one of the greatest matches ever wrestled.

The following year, in Phoenix, Arizona  at WrestleMania XXVI, Shawn Michaels would finish his story – for good. He made one last  attempt at “The Streak,” but to get it he had to put his career on the line.

He stood across the ring from The Undertaker and wrestled his final match. For The Undertaker, it was his 18th consecutive WrestleMania victory.

The two men who were brought into the WWE during “Hulkamania,” fought in the trenches against WCW, and enjoyed over a decade of prosperity thereafter shook hands one final time.

There is possibly no two other men in the wrestling world who are more respected for what they have done in the ring than these two.

I think that, above all else, is what made the 2007 Royal Rumble so special.