Greg DeMarco knows that Christmas Day can be busy, but that some folks can use some reading and watching material! That’s why he’s here with the 5 Best Matches he’s ever seen.
Seasons Greetings Chairshot readers! I hope this festive time of year finds you happy, healthy, and loved. While things slow down for a day or two at The Chairshot, we do have some exciting year-end items coming up, including the audio version of The Chairshot 50, The Man, Woman, Team, and Match Of The Year, and more!
But for today, I wanted to give a gift to those of you in need of something to occupy some time. And I promise you, The 5 Best Matches I’ve Ever Seen is a great way to use that time! The order changes from time to time, but this is THE list for me.
5. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne
WWE United Kingdom Championship
WWE NXT Takeover: Chicago (May 20, 2017)
Tucked away in a underrated Takeover (the one where Tommaso Ciampa turns on Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate put on a classic that cemented them, and the entire UK division, as a force in WWE (in my eyes, at least).
This as NXT’s match of the year for 2017, but once I saw it I immediately expanded my list. It’s a 15-minute sprint, a bit heavy on the “fighting spirit” for some, but that really sold the importance of this championship, which Dunne has now held for 584 days.
This match is available on the WWE Network, in it’s entirety.
4. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple
Winner Goes To The Main Event
WWE WrestleMania 30 (April 6, 2014)
The rise of Daniel Bryan to the WrestleMania 30 main event is the best story WWE has ever told. They did such a great job, many of you still don’t think it was a story, set into motion the August before. This isn’t the time or place for that argument, this is something different.
Triple H provided the final hurdle for Daniel Bryan, but had his own motivation as well: a spot in the WrestleMania 30 main event against his (then former) Evolution stablemates Randy Orton (WWE World Heavyweight Champion at the time) and Batista.
The match itself went over 25 minutes, and despite being the opener for the PPV broadcast, was the longest of the night. It featured some of the best in-match storytelling you’ll ever see. Te “right guy” won, as Daniel Bryan connected with the Knee Plus to advance to the main event against Batista and Orton, where he would emerge triumphant to the joy of 75,000 adoring fans.
I love it when a good plan comes together, and this plan can be viewed on the WWE Network, in its entirety.
(TIE) 3. Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat
NWA World Heavyweight Championship
NWA Chi Town Rumble (February 20, 1989)
After a run in the WWF that saw him win the Intercontinental Championship in a match that barely misses this list, Ricky Steamboat made a surprise return to the NWA as Eddie Gilbert’s partner against Ric Flair and Barry Windham. Steamboat would pin Flair, earning a shot at his NWA World Heavyweight Championship in the process.
What followed as arguably the greatest trilogy in the history of the business, one that furthered the legacy of one (Flair) and cemented the legacy of the other (Steamboat).
I know the argument you will make here–the second match of the trilogy, their two-out-of-three falls classic at Clash Of The Champions, was better. While that is the easy way out, it’s simply incorrect. The emotion in this match, years of scratching and clawing for Steamboat to be a world champion, coupled with the rabid Chicago crowd (making its second appearance on this list, not their last), makes their best for me.
And this match–you guessed it–can be watched on the WWE Network.
(TIE) 3. The Great Muta vs. Jushin Liger
“The Kishin Liger Match”
Kobe Hall (October 20, 1996)
Not on the WWE Network, this match is the birth of Kishin Liger, which is basically Dark Liger. Kishin Liger is the polar opposite of Jushin “Thunder” Liger. Jushin Liger is a competitor, who looks to entertain the fans and wow his opponent with skill. Kishin Liger? He’ll stab you in the eye with a spike, pull it out, and use it again to stab you in the throat. He’s the real deal, man.
Keiji Mutoh donned his Great Muta for this match, and was at his heel best. He did every dastardly deed possibly to hold the legendary junior heavyweight down, and it eventually sent Liger into survival mode. What followed was Liger removing his own mask (after Muta’s repeated attempts), to reveal a painted face of his own.
Liger would fall in the end, because Muta wasn’t losing to a junior heavyweight in New Japan in 1996, even if that opponent was Jushin “Thunder” Liger.
And since it’s not on the WWE Network…
2. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle
WWE WrestleMania 21 (April 3, 2005)
Set-up by the Royal Rumble match that saw Angle attack Michaels for eliminating him, this was an inter-brand match. Kurt Angle was representing Smackdown, and Shawn Michaels was representing Raw. This match, however, had little to do with brand superiority. This was two of the greatest of all time going toe-to-toe to see who was better.
The 27 minutes these two battled are some of the best wrestling you’ll ever see. It didn’t matter to them what the stake was–THEY were the stake. And that stake meant all the world to these two main eventers.
The back and forth nature of this match, the games of one-up-man-ship, the frustration each man shows when not able to put their opponent away. By the end of the match, you knew you just watched two legends–not because of what they’d done in their careers, but because of what they did in the match
Also available on the WWE Network!
1. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin
“I Quit” Match
WWF WrestleMania 13 (March 23, 1997)
For years I have touted Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle from WrestleMania 21 as the greatest match I’ve ever seen. Well, it turns out I was leaving one out, and it’s this match. My favorite wrestler as a kid taking on my favorite of all time. But that’s not what makes it #1.
This is the match that solidified Bret as a heel, sending him on an amazing run ultimately cut short by contract issues. This is also the match that “made” Austin into a main event wrestler for years to come. But that’s not what makes it #1.
Internet fans love to point to a spotfest with little selling and declare it okay because “it’s art.” THIS match is art. The feud built to this resolution, one that saw the greatest double turn of our time when Bret left as a heel and Austin was turned into the biggest babyface ever. It was the art of storytelling, and it’s never been better than it was in this match.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand it’s available on the WWE Network!
Levin: Television Deal Gives AEW A Chance To Push WWE Around
With the news of Tuesday Night Dynamite on TNT, it should shake things up. How much potential lies in this AEW deal?
With the news of Tuesday Night Dynamite on TNT, it should shake things up. How much potential lies in this AEW deal?
I don’t know if it is competition yet, but the fact AEW has a television deal with WarnerMedia to air live matches in a weekly primetime format on TNT should make things interesting.
I’m not expecting the return of the Monday Night Wars or for Tony Khan to shout from Stone Mountain that he is in the “wrasslin business” as Ted Turner once did to the deaf ears of Vince McMahon. This isn’t the same kind of confrontation between two middle-aged men with egos bigger than the state of Florida.
Per the New York Post, “The new wrestling company and WarnerMedia announced the agreement Wednesday morning. TNT will air live AEW matches weekly in prime time starting in the fall, as well as streaming them on B/R Live and on pay-per-view. AEW will be presented to advertisers during the WarnerMedia Upfront at the Madison Square Garden Theater on Wednesday.”
If this is the kind of entrance Khan and his performers want to make, then I am all for it. Pro wrestling is moving the needle a bit from the monopoly of the McMahons with NJPW, ROH and the NWA grabbing the attention of fans – away from the stale and pungent feel of what WWE has offered ahead of the Money in the Bank PPV. If anything, there is an injection of adrenaline in a business that has been on life support in some circumstances since the last day WCW was in operation and Billionaire Ted gave in to the struggles of trying to get it right on a weekly basis.
Per Joseph Staszewski,” The deal marks the first time wrestling will appear on TNT since the final “WCW Monday Nitro” on March 26, 2001, and officially puts AEW in competition with WWE for prime-time television ratings.”
My son wasn’t two yet and I was on my first wife at the time.
Now comes the fun of seeing what Khan, who is a huge wrestling fan and part owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars will do with top-level talent (Cody, Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, The Young Guns and Britt Baker to name a few) at his disposal.
If the branding and storylines follow that of the old NWA with a splash of WCW from the early 1990s mixed in, then Khan and his venture have a chance to rock the wrestling boat. No one is going to knock McMahon off his lofty perch. But the programming and promotion can offer hardened fans a chance to see their old favorites weekly.
What AEW did by making the announcement in grand style is deliver a message to WWE, which signifies this is an upstart that isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers. It was the right time with the right company backing them.
It’s time to see if the McMahon old guard is as solid as it once was or can the little engine that could make a dent in a business monopolized for too long.
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Smackdown (5/14/19)
They had Kayla Braxton interview Lars Sullivan. Really.
WWE Smackdown is in London this week, and it’s the go home SD Live for Money In The Bank. Who stood out?
WWE Money In The Bank is on the horizon, and the WWE Smackdown side takes it home in dramatic fashion. Who delivered big performances this week?
The Third Star for WWE Raw: Andrade
Andrade is the man. Seriously, he’s taken tranquilo to the main shows in WWE, and it shows in such a good way. I still wish he was on Raw where he’d be given more opportunity, but he still makes the most out of each moment. Despite the “tranquilo” attitude I referred to, every thing he does actually has far more intensity than almost anyone else not named Brock Lesnar, Drew McIntyre, or Roman Reigns. Traditional thinking means a win here won’t lead to a Money In The Bank briefcase retrieval, but if I was booking the show he’d leave Money In The Bank with the WWE Championship.
Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
You can, too!
Be like Elisa and get yours at:
The Second Star: Kayla Braxton
These assholes had Kayla Braxton, a mixed-race female, interview Lars Sullivan? LARS SULLIVAN? I don’t know what idiot made that decision, but they need some special training of their own. Kayla, of course, handled it like the true professional she is. But I’m biased, because I love Kayla Braxton.
The First Star for WWE Smackdown: Kevin Owens
I am so glad Kevin Owens didn’t stay babyface for long. He’s more than a natural heel–he’s a spectacular heel. He told the truth to Kofi (“reality begins…reality ends this Sunday”) and it worked. He answered Kofi’s babyface challenge, but walked away multiple times, which was long enough to make Sami Zayn’s attack unpredictable. He’s fat, looks dirty, and wrestles in a t-shirt. But he’s so good while doing it. Kevin Owens is the heel we all need, in an era where it’s hard to be a true heel.
In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.