Douces Wild: 15 Greatest May PPV Matches of All-Time
Hey!!! I’MMMMM BAAAAAAAACK!!!! Sorry about the long absence, I’ve been dealing with personal issues, job hunting and just other stuff but I’ve decided to come back on just in time for this Sunday’s PPV, Extreme Rules, to give you the 15 Greatest May PPV Matches of All-Time!! Now, I must confess something: this list goes from 1995- 2012. I have not seen Payback 2013, 2014 or 2015 so it would not be fair for me to include matches from those shows on this list if I haven’t seen them, no matter how good their reputation is and no matter how good they honestly are. I have leave that to you guys, in the comments section, to let me know where you think a match from the 2013, 2014 or 2015 PPVs deserves to be on the list so hit me up in the comments section to let me know your opinions. With that said, let us begin:
#15: Intercontinental Title Match: Rey Mysterio © vs Chris Jericho (Judgment Day 2009)
This, in all honesty, was one of the last great Intercontinental Title feuds of the past few years if you had to ask me……showing how far that freakin’ belt has fallen in recent years. These two were traded to Smackdown in 2009 after Rey defeated JBL for the IC Title at Wrestlemania and Jericho ended his feud with Ricky Steamboat and obviously, to raise the status of the IC belt, these two decided to feud with each other only for it to get more and more personal as the feud wore. This was also a rehash from their 1998 feud over the Cruiserweight Title and while both men weren’t as athletic as they were in 1998 here in 2009, they were all around better workers. Plus, if you go back and watch the first half of 2009, Rey was in the middle of quite the in-ring renaissance after 2+ years of bad booking, low fan support and injuries…….this was the best Rey had looked since his feud with Eddie Guerrero in 2005, if you want my opinion! This match is actually pretty damn good…….although you can tell that they had better matches in them. It’s easy to understand that this was the first match of a trilogy and that this was just going to be the set up for the next two (and better) matches of the feud……but that doesn’t stop this match from being great at all. I loved that before the match, Jericho cut a promo where he PROMISED that we would not see the 619 on this night…….that was the story, that’s all you needed and that’s what you did. The story of the match was Jericho trying constantly to avoid the 619 and trying to take it out of the equation for the entirety of the match. The middle portion of the match is a little slow but once these two kicked it up into another gear, they really showcased their great chemistry with each other where either man could have picked up the win. Rey eventually did hit the 619 and beat Jericho with the Springboard Splash to retain the Intercontinental Title but if you had to ask me, I would recommend their match at the Extreme Rules PPV and ESPECIALLY, their match from the Bash PPV which ended the trilogy and was easily the best match in their trilogy! But this is a great first match in the trilogy and while they would top it in their next two matches, I recommend watching all three matches to get the full story.
#14: Bret Hart vs Hakushi w/Shinja (In Your House 1995)
Any historian of wrestling knows that 1995 was a pretty bleh year for the Hitman. Instead of being in the WWF Title picture (that was being clogged up by Diesel), Bret had to toil away in the mid-card for a majority of the year, going from tepid feud to tepid feud but still desperately trying to put on good matches, which he usually did. This was one of those examples as the WWF decided to have Bret test out their new signing in the form of Hakushi (Jinsei Shinzaki of Michinoku Pro fame). The feud between these two was basically just an extension of the ongoing Bret Hart/Jerry Lawler feud but at least we got a great match out of it and this would be the match to kick off the very first In Your House PPV, since 1995 was the year the WWE decided to test the waters of a PPV every single month concept. The match, in of itself, starts off a little slow due to obvious styles clashing and just both guys being a little uncomfortable with each other in the early going since this was their very first match against each other. Hakushi was somebody that the WWF fans were not really used to (from his look to his in-ring style) but they eventually warmed up to him once this match kicked into a higher gear. After the early match jitters, these two proceeded go back and forth with great wrestling, great counters and Hakushi showcased his amazing athletic ability, including a handspring elbow and an Asai Moonsault!! Those were things you just didn’t see in the WWF in 1995 and it instantly allowed Hakushi to stand out from the other “characters” on the roster during that timeframe. Bret, to his credit, hung with Hakushi the entire way through and really assisted him as he bumped for his offense and dished it right back out…….it’s a testament to Bret for him to go all out like this considering the fact that he was wrestling Lawler later in the night anyway! In my opinion, the match was groundbreaking at the time but it hasn’t necessarily aged all that amazingly…….it’s still a great wrestling match but it’s very much a product of its time and one you can appreciate more at its time moreso than one that gets better with age (something I believe Liger/Pillman from Superbrawl II does).
#13: Hair vs SES Match: Rey Mysterio vs CM Punk w/Straight Edge Society (Over the Limit 2010)
Obviously, this was during Punk’s AWESOME run as the Jim Jones-like cult leader for the Straight Edge Society and he was trying to manipulate Rey Mysterio to join his group. These two fought back at Wrestlemania XXVI after Punk, in a very creepy tone, sang “Happy Birthday” to Rey’s daughter and that set up their match where Rey defeated Punk in a good but short sprint……if Punk had won, Rey would have to join the SES. At Extreme Rules, they fought in a rematch where Punk’s hair was on the line but thanks to some SES interference, Punk defeated Rey and kept his hair intact so now, this was the match with all the marbles on the line where something had to give: Rey joining the SES or Punk’s hair. The match started off very aggressively until it just hit a giant dead spot when Punk got legitimately busted open and thus, this being the year 2010 where they constantly did this shit, the match was stopped so that they could clean Punk’s wound (which looked to have annoyed him). However, like a pro, Punk got pissed off at the “Boring” chants and proceeded to turn up the entertainment factor with a vicious beat down, including sliding Rey head first into the barber’s chair that was sitting outside and saying the Straight Edge pledge while dropping fist drops on Rey!! After that, these two went into their awesome exchanges of moves, counters and excitement as they battled back and forth with an amazing display of athleticism and ability to make the best out of a bad situation!! Eventually, Rey hit the 619 but Punk avoided the Springboard Splash, allowing him to get super cocky and Rey caught him in a flash crucifix pin to beat Punk and thus, Punk had to get his head shaved!! Rey eventually shaved Punk’s head (although the camera made sure to not show Punk’s face because his cut had reopened) and there was the great shot of Punk, who loved his appearance in the mirror earlier, getting SHOCKED by his appearance after the fact. It was a great match and a great example of two guys making the most out of a situation that could have been bad but they used it to drive them and they rewarded the crowd with a great match. This ended up being the best match on the card by a fucking mile (on a night full of legitimate injuries too…….this was the show with the infamous “Orton punching the mat and injuring himself” moment) and it also just showcased how much of a missed opportunity the SES was and how much the company squandered it for ridiculous reasons. And plus, Rey had another great trilogy of matches under his belt too, so that’s saying something as well!!
#12: Hair vs Hair Match: Edge vs Kurt Angle (Judgment Day 2002)
If there was a feud that showcased that Edge had “Future Top Star” written all over him, it was this one. His feud with Kurt Angle in 2002 was completely influential in the career of Edge and who he would eventually become……it also helps that Angle was probably at his best, in-ring wise, in 2002. This feud stemmed from both men getting drafted to Smackdown in the very first Brand Split Draft and Edge really didn’t like Angle becoming a pompous jerk so that set up their feud…..plus, Angle was still mad about Edge beating him the previous year to become the 2001 King of the Ring. These two faced off at Backlash in arguably the MOTN where Angle was treated as the wrestling machine/veteran and Edge was able to hang due to tenacity and fire but just got outsmarted one too many times and it led to his downfall. This time around, the stakes were raised where both men’s hair was being put on the line for this rematch…….and thus, they decided to dial it up to 11!! They continued the theme of the Backlash match but you can tell that Edge was a little more confident this time around in his abilities to hang with Kurt but he had to prove he could beat him…….but that still didn’t stop him from making some mistakes, like when he gave Angle a Spear in the ropes early on then attempted to do it again only to be caught with a Belly to Bell Throw to the floor! Hell, I loved how cocky Angle was in the match, even metaphorically pissing on Edge during the opening wrestling exchanges and how he just oozed confidence when he was dominating Edge throughout the match……but Edge kept fighting back. Edge finally hit a desperation Plancha to get back into it and from that point on, these two just EXPLODED into a series of huge spots, counters and HOT near falls that had the crowd biting on every single one and where both men legitimately had the win at certain points in the match. In the end, Angle went for the Ankle Lock and after torturing Edge with it, Edge finally kicked Angle off into the ropes and caught him with a shock Small Package and got the HUGE win over Kurt Angle that he desperately needed to raise his stock…….Angle, on the other hand, was due for a haircut. Eventually, Edge caught Angle and shaved his head and it was a look that Angle retains to this very day (and made him look more like a bad ass too) but this was a big match in the evolution of Edge from a tag team wrestler to a singles star and 2002 was a year where Edge damn near became the star of the company had it not been for a broken neck (and some guy named Brock Lesnar) and this match is highly recommended for any fan of Edge to see him get the biggest singles win of his career in a great match!
#11: I Quit Match for the WWE Title: John Cena © vs John Bradshaw Layfield (Judgment Day 2005)
Wrestlemania 21 was the beginning of the John Cena era that we all know and love today! That was where he defeated John Bradshaw Layfield for the WWE Title (in a match that honestly sucked and lacked any kind of imagination or brutality) and thus, the Cena era had begun. From there, John Cena was everywhere: he released a movie, released a CD, making numerous appearances…….CENAMANIA WAS RUNNIN’ WILD!!! However, John Bradshaw Layfield wasn’t too happy about that and thus, he decided to petition for a title rematch. He eventually got it when he won a Fatal 4 Way Elimination match against Kurt Angle, Booker T and Big Show and the I Quit stipulation was added in. Like I said earlier, their WM 21 match sucked……it was boring, it was slow, Cena got ZERO offense in until the final few seconds and the match completely went against everything that the build had promised…….they decided to make up for it here when they were given over 20 minutes and a little more leeway to be violent with each other!! Hell, Cena got a huge entrance where he rode this giant 18-wheeler with a DJ stand on the back of it with his theme song playing and exhaust blowing everywhere, it was one of the first over the top and elaborate entrances for Cena in his career! The match starts off a little slow as they proceed to test the waters against each other with wrestling holds and some light brawling before things really kick up a notch…….you can tell that these two were in their element once they were able to add some much needed brawling and energy to the proceedings. However, everything changed when they proceeded to repeat the same spot from the year before between JBL and Eddie Guerrero at the very same show: JBL BLASTED Cena with a chair shot and it led to a GNARLY blade job from Cena where he was just covered in blood!!! From that point on, the match became very violent with some vicious shots to head with JBL desperately trying to get Cena to quit but Cena, as per usual, would not quit. Eventually, Cena made the comeback and they brawled up to the entrance area where they proceeded to use JBL’s limo and Cena’s giant 18-wheeler as areas for them to fight in……but that’s also when the match went from a heated blood feud and into the realm of Cena’s usual cartoony violent matches that we know him to take part in more recently. I mean, Cena sends JBL head first through a TV monitor to bust JBL open and it seems like the weapons used and the spots taken got more and more ridiculous and over the top as it went on………but I honestly enjoyed it because it was just 1,000X better than their Wrestlemania match and it really showed that Cena could hang and look comfortable in these types of matches!!! However, the ending is the worst part as Cena threatens to hit JBL with a smokestack pipe and JBL quit before Cena would hit him…….then Cena hit him anyway to send him through some glass. It was a great match and a great brawl to establish Cena and to finally set him up as the man on Smackdown since he legitimately defeated the man who had dominated Smackdown the year before. Obviously, this was when fans still actually liked John Cena and before he was traded to RAW (which I thought was so stupid when you look back on it). Like I said, the match relies a lot on the previous year’s JBL/Eddie match (stay tuned for that one) and it does get a little cartoonish at times but it is very fun, very stiff and very violent so it is worthy to the #11 on this list.
#10: Hell in a Cell Match: Triple H vs Chris Jericho (Judgment Day 2002)
Wrestlemania 18 was supposed to be the greatest day of Triple H’s life where he finally get his Wrestlemania main event moment and fans would shower him in cheers……..instead, he got a ton of mixed reactions from fans who were tired from Rock/Hogan blowing their minds and who did not particularly enjoy the feud between Triple H and Stephanie McMahon that took precedence over his feud with Chris Jericho (remember Lucy the Dog?). The match at WM 18 has gone down in history as a match that should NOT have main evented that show and I agree…….I would disagree had the feud been better and had there been legitimate interest in the match but when a majority of the feud was spent in making Jericho look like a punk bitch, fans were not impressed at all and thus the match bombed. In fact, the reaction was so bad that they proceeded to have Triple H job out the Undisputed Title to Hulk Hogan the next month at Backlash and thus, Triple H is stuck having to end his feud with Chris Jericho instead of running rampant as the Undisputed Champion. The stipulation of this being a Hell in a Cell match was a little too hasty and a little unnecessary because the feud didn’t really need to be inside of the Cell…….but these two ended up busting their asses so much that they justified it by the end! I feel that this is one of the most underrated Cell matches in history because these two REALLY bring the violence and the hatred into this one and it’s such a damn shame that Jericho had been treated like a bitch up to this point because he was AWESOME in this one! Jericho wrote in his second book that he really had a chip on his shoulder (as did Triple H, I believe) so they went into this one wanting to steal the show and that’s where Jericho’s aggression and stiffness came from as he made every weapon shot on Triple H count and really acted like a madman in this one, putting over the Cell as this vicious place that turns pretty boys into vicious animals!! Of course, this is the match that is infamously remembered for pretty much ending the refereeing career of Tim White, who took a NASTY bump off the apron into the Cell from a Jericho charge and legitimately separated his shoulder so bad that it ended his career. What I loved is Jericho just getting PISSED and chucking White’s carcass into the Cell for allowing himself to get injured and this eventually led to both men exiting the Cell and brawling on the floor, including Triple H giving Jericho a DDT through the announce table! Eventually, they ended up on top of the Cell where Jericho had a 2X4 wrapped in barbed wire which they used to do damage to each other with until Triple H finally ended things with a Pedigree on top of the Cell and got the win. The match should have legitimized Jericho as a vicious player but instead, it just continued Jericho’s decline in relevancy and Triple H got another win to remain on top. However, this match, in my opinion, is better than a majority of the Cell matches we have gotten over the past couple of years due to the violence and brutality……despite the stupidity of the feud.
#9: Chris Benoit vs Finlay (Judgment Day 2006)
So…..we go from two matches where men needed weapons, Cells, TV monitors, limos, 2X4s wrapped in barbed wire, sledgehammers and blood to put over how brutal and violent their matches were……..and then we have these two, who need none of those things. When Finlay made his surprising return to the ring (and debut in the WWE), fans were salivating over the potential Finlay/Benoit matches that would follow where these two grizzled bastards would beat the shit out of each other and put forth some old school wrestling matches and that’s exactly what we got here. This was an old school match in its truest essence: where these two utilized 1970s style slow paced and methodical wrestling with some vicious strikes along with some updated offense. Finlay was AWESOME here in just being the old, grizzled douchebag who could wrestle you on the mat and beat the shit out of you but is NOT above complaining about hair pulling and eye pokes!! It was a great psychological battle between these two with Finlay controlling with submissions and hard strikes while Benoit, who had great comeback sequences and selling, would continuously battle back with submission attempts of his own and, of course, hard chops!! What I love about this is that these two have no problem in stiffing the shit out of each other, like when Benoit slaps the teeth out of Finlay’s head at several points or Finlay getting EXTRA grumpy and vicious with his submission holds…….you could feel the smack of their offense, see the pain on their faces and feel the heat of the battle. What is amazing is that despite the slower pace and methodical approach, the fans were not bored whatsoever and they were into the match throughout and they immediately popped when Benoit got Finlay in the Crossface and Finlay instantly tapped (which I loved……it put the move over as one of the most vicious submission moves ever and when locks it in, you’re fucked!). The match is a little over 20 minutes and I could see how people may feel that I overrated this one (or any Benoit match to that extent) but what I loved how about this match was that it wasn’t like a WWE match that you’ve seen before. These two didn’t need weapons or over the top stunts to tell their story……..they just needed their bare hands and that was enough. I highly recommend this match for people to watch and while I understand if this is one that gets debated about, I’m pretty sure my mind will not change on it because I just thoroughly enjoyed the shit out of it.
#8: Submission Match for the Intercontinental Title: Chris Benoit © vs Chris Jericho (Judgment Day 2000)
Once again, I can see how this one would drum up some controversy. It’s not just because Benoit is in the match and it’s this high up on the list (although, to be fair, this is the final Benoit match on the list) but it’s because that most people would probably enjoy the I Quit match from 2005 or the Hell in a Cell match from 2002 a lot more than a methodical, old school mat wrestling war and this match. However…….I’m not most people. When the Radicalz entered the WWE, many people were excited to see these two in particular match up in a WWF ring and we got a taste of it at Wrestlemania 2000 during the Triple Threat Match for both the IC and European Title. However, it was at Backlash where these two REALLY turned it on and these two had a fantastic match for the IC Title where Jericho lost the match by DQ when referee Tim White (no wonder Jericho attacked him in the Cell, this man was constantly screwing Jericho over!) saw Jericho get the IC title belt up on a Swandive Headbutt attempt that legitimately broke Benoit’s nose! So, after they traded the IC Title a few times in the weeks leading up to this, it was finally going to be settled here in a Submission Match where we determine who has the better submission hold: Benoit’s Crossface or Jericho’s Walls of Jericho? What we got was an amazingly stiff and heated match between these two where they had no problems in beating the unholy shit out of each other! Benoit decimated Jericho’s shoulder to set up the Crippler Crossface while Jericho assaulted Benoit’s knee that was injured by Hardcore Holly on Smackdown with an attack from a steel chair! Plus, we had some awesome spots in this one like Jericho’s modified Walls of Jericho in the ropes, Benoit’s pinpoint Swandive Headbutt to the injured shoulder and both men repeatedly whacking each other with Benoit’s metal knee brace and neither one holding back whatsoever on their chops, their kicks, their punches and their shots with the metal brace!!! The match came to a conclusion when Jericho was attempting the Walls (he never got to lock in the regular version of the Walls throughout the entire match, showing that Benoit was able to take it out of Jericho’s playbook the entire match) but Benoit BLASTED Jericho with the metal brace. Now…….we get to a moment where might drum up some controversy as Benoit proceeded to choke out Jericho with the Crippler Crossface…………yea. On one hand, it’s a great visual and finish with Benoit choking Jericho out and retaining the belt but Jericho still looks strong as hell because Jericho didn’t tap out, he passed out and it was only after a shot to the head with the metal brace and Benoit having to choke him out to beat Jericho. The controversy comes from the actual visual and how much of a haunting visual it is to see it considering what would happen almost 7 years later but if you can get past that (I understand if you can’t), the match is a great war between these two where they really ramp up the violence, not with weapons but with their bare hands and they completely rejuvenated the promotion with their hard hitting style.
#7: WWE Title Match: Eddie Guerrero © vs John Bradshaw Layfield (Judgment Day 2004)
I know what you’re thinking…….this match is so memorable, so why is it only #7? How good are the other matches ahead of this one? Well, in my defense, I really do love and enjoy this match but I also know that it is only as memorable as it is due to Eddie’s blood loss and the violence surrounding the aftermath than the actual match…..well, let me explain. So, at Wrestlemania, Eddie Guerrero was able to retain the WWE Title against Kurt Angle after untying his boot on the Ankle Lock and suckering Angle into a small package to win. A few weeks later, we witnessed the final tag team match with the APA as they failed to win the WWE Tag Team Titles and Faarooq was fired from the company (both onscreen and off screen) but Paul Heyman saw big things in Bradshaw. From there, Bradshaw became John Bradshaw Layfield, a millionaire tycoon who was also a big mouth Texan and was a guy who Donald Trump probably enjoyed watching. Obviously, JBL didn’t like the fact that Eddie was the champion because A) he was Latino and B) he was a former drug addict so to make the WWE Title great again, JBL wanted to become the champion and give America the champion they deserved. The feud REALLY heated up on a house show before this where JBL gave Eddie’s mom a “heart attack” to add extra heat to this one and we were off to the races. Eddie DOMINATES a majority of the match because he is just so fucking pissed off at JBL……in fact, JBL is on defense a majority of the match. While it makes sense with the story, it is a little unbelievable that a small little guy like Eddie is completely dominating JBL like this, especially considering that JBL is damn near 300 pounds. Plus, Eddie was going so balls out because fans really weren’t taking to JBL right off the bat and also, it appeared that JBL looked a little out of his element early on……looking very awkward and stumbling around while Eddie was trying to guide him throughout. In fact, it was Inside Pulse’s own Scott Keith who was not at all impressed with this one and was one of the ones who pointed out that JBL did not look right in this spot at all. However, the match transitioned into the most memorable spot: JBL FUCKING CRACKING Eddie with a vicious steel chair shot and Eddie’s horrible and grotesque blade job that made the ring resemble that of something you would see in a horror film!! From there, the match got MUCH better as JBL proceeded to turn up the viciousness and violence by kicking Eddie repeatedly in the head, bullying him around and his confidence was rising the entire time…….there is a major difference in JBL’s body language from the first half of the match to the second half after Eddie gets busted open. Eddie does eventually battle back but JBL continues to look like he has the match in the bag so Eddie kicked JBL in the nuts and hit him with the title belt to cause the DQ. However, from there, Eddie went BALLISTIC on JBL’s ass by busting him open with some nasty chair shots, hitting the Frog Splash and standing tall to end the show. The match was a great brawl and recovered after a very solid yet suspect opening 15 minutes where JBL looked completely looked out of his element at times but once the match got bloody and vicious, it picked up BIG TIME and that makes it one of the most memorable matches in May PPV history……I just think there are 6 matches better than it.
#6: World Heavyweight Title Match: Randy Orton © vs Christian (Over the Limit 2011)
The next three matches on this list are, in my opinion, three hidden gems that not a lot of people talk about but I loved them so much that they were able to take precedence over three of the most memorable yet violent matches in May PPV history. For example, we have this match: a rematch from the very infamous episode of Smackdown where Orton ended Christian’s two day reign (four day reign TV time) as World Champion in a great match between these two. However, Christian’s beef was that he wasn’t 100% healthy coming off his Ladder Match against Alberto Del Rio at Extreme Rules when he won the match and he believes that with both men at their best and 100% ready to go, he could beat Orton and regain the World Title that he never should have lost. If you watch their Smackdown match, it makes this match that much better because, just like Punk/Rey and Jericho/Rey from earlier, this match built off of that one as they repeated spots and had counters for spots that were repeated. Plus, Christian was really on fire in this one, going out there and proving that he really did deserve to be the champion and that Orton’s win was nothing but a fluke and the crowd was really digging Christian in him looking to regain the title. However, Orton was going through an in-ring renaissance of his own and hung step for step with Christian the entire time in a brilliant 17 minute match between these two. For instance, my favorite spot of the match is Christian suckering Orton in by attempting the Springboard Sunset Flip (the move Orton countered with the RKO to beat Christian) then just hitting the move anyway for a close near fall or Orton countering a Spear attempt with a snap powerslam or even Orton second guessing on going for his trademark Punt only for Christian to give him the Spear for another SUPER CLOSE near fall!! In the end, Orton avoided the Killswitch and caught Christian with the RKO to retain the World Title. In my opinion, this was the best match of their entire feud. Their Smackdown match is fantastic but it’s tainted because the ending is so fucking stupid and makes no sense (not the actual finish, the result of it was stupid)…….their rematch at Capitol Punishment where Christian is more of a heel is good but nothing amazing……their MITB match where Christian is a full-blown heel and screws Orton out of the title by getting him DQ’d on purpose is great and I love the finish but it’s not as good as this. That leaves us with the No Holds Barred match from Summerslam and while it’s a great match and I know that everybody loves it, I hate the booking of it, I hate that Christian is treated like a joke and to me, this is the one match in the feud where these two are actually treated as EQUALS instead of Christian being looked at as not even in Orton’s league, which he would appear in the next few matches and for the rest of the storyline. I know everybody loves this feud and from pure in-ring perspective, this is the best feud of 2011 but in terms of storyline, I hated rewatching it.
#5: Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho (Judgment Day 2008)
I know this is a match that is going to drum up controversy as well because the question is this: is this match good enough to have that #5 spot? In my opinion, it is! In some ways, I think this match is better than their Wrestlemania XIX match because these two are older, more experienced and the storyline is fantastic for this match. Basically, the whole match is happening as an extension of Shawn ending Ric Flair’s career, Batista hating Shawn for doing that, Jericho being the Special Guest referee during the HBK/Batista match at Backlash, Shawn winning but with questionable tactics and Shawn kicking Jericho in the mouth for sticking his nose too far into Shawn’s business. Both men were babyfaces heading into this one and at this point, Jericho’s return to the company in late 2007 had been very mediocre and lukewarm. His babyface act was stale, his promos didn’t have that same bite like they once had, his matches weren’t lighting the world on fire and he just felt like a has been…….that all changed with this match and this feud in general. Just like Orton/Christian, where it was two babyfaces doing whatever it took to become World Champion, this was two babyfaces doing whatever it took to beat each other and get the better of one another. I loved how these two didn’t mind being total and complete fucking dickheads to each other throughout the match as they seemingly went back and forth for a majority of the match. The first big spot of the match was Jericho getting his knees up on a Picture Perfect Elbow from Shawn and Jericho working over Shawn’s ribs to set up the Walls. Another great spot was Shawn avoiding the Springboard Dropkick, Jericho landing on the apron and Shawn hitting Sweet Chin Music to send Jericho falling to the floor!! My favorite spot was Shawn tuning up the band for SCM but Jericho kept falling down before Shawn could hit it only for him to eventually sucker Shawn into the Codebreaker for a close near fall!! Eventually, Shawn caught Jericho with a cradle to pick up the win and both men shook hands very hesitantly afterwards but this was the beginning of the Feud of the Year. Here, it was just two guys going out there to prove that they are better than one another in a great match and to me, it gave Jericho his confidence back ahead of his huge heel turn in a few weeks. I know these previous two matches are higher up on this list due more to their work rate than their violence but I just enjoyed the stories they told, the counters, the wrestling and the character work in both match moreso than violence and blood. To me, this is wrestling stripped down to its most basic form: Shawn/Jericho, Benoit/Finlay, Jericho/Benoit and Christian/Orton are prime examples of that and I can appreciate them more than the stunt shows that WWE puts on…….but that’s just me, I guess.
#4: Caribbean Strap Match: Savio Vega vs Stone Cold Steve Austin w/Ted DiBiase (In Your House VII: Beware of Dog 1996)
Here is a match that I’m pretty sure a good majority of fans have NEVER heard of………and it must be pretty damn good for it to be #4 in the greatest May PPV matches of all-time. We were about 4 months into Austin’s run with the WWF and he already gone through a character and appearance change. He debuted back in January as the Ringmaster with his blonde hair and green tights with the Million Dollar belt……that look quickly faded once Austin shaved his head, dumped the Ringmaster name and took the advice of his wife to drink his tea before it became STONE COLD and used that as his name. At Wrestlemania XII, Austin made his WM debut by beating Savio Vega, one of the mid-card babyfaces and was a solid hand in the ring, and while the match was good, it was hampered by the WWE CONSTANTLY cutting to the ridiculously fucking stupid Goldust/Roddy Piper car chase (the one where Piper got in a WHITE BRONCO to chase after Goldust’s gold Cadillac in California……take a guess what they were mimicking). Here, they were given more time and the Caribbean Strap gimmick (chosen by Savio) but then something happened: the power went out in the arena. Yes, right after the opening contest (Marc Mero beating some guy named Hunter Hearst Helmsley), a massive storm in South Carolina knocked out the satellite feed and the power in the arena so what they did was the show went on as usual (with everybody wrestling in the dark) until the generators were turned on just in time for the main event where Shawn Michaels defended the WWF Title against the British Bulldog. To make up for the fans who paid to watch from home, the WWF decided to redo the matches that fans did not get to see a few days later in the replay slot……thus, the Taker/Goldust match, the Yokozuna/Vader match and this match happened twice in the span of two days. However, on RAW before the replay, Ted DiBiase dropped a bombshell that if Austin lost, he would leave the WWF forever. Now……think about this: these two went 20+ minutes on Sunday, in the dark, and beat the holy shit out of each other…….two days later, they had to redo the match all over again, covered in welts from two nights earlier, and still put in the exact same amount of effort with the new added stipulation. Despite the difficulty of the situation, these two went out there and proceeded to steal the show!!!! These two beat the holy fucking shit out of each other with the leather strap as both men did not hold back on the shots with the strap with Austin getting the worst of it because he’s not wearing a shirt or anything and his body is still showing the scars of the previous two nights before!!! I mean, these two are so vicious with each other that they actually hit each other IN THE FACE with the fucking strap, that’s how brutal this match is! Plus, it’s just a great brawl with a great story being told of Austin fighting for his manager and Vega trying to get one of the biggest wins of his career and cut off this upstart in Austin……plus, there is a great amount of drama and false finishes in this one, which is hard to do in a strap match (it’s the one where they have to touch the buckles). In the end, both men touch three turnbuckles and it appears that Austin inadvertently pulls Vega into the final buckle to give Vega the win (or was it inadvertent at all?) and thus, it ended the WWF career of Ted DiBiase while also LAUNCHING Austin’s career into the stratosphere! If you have never seen this match, I HIGHLY recommend it to see two young guys go out there and capitalize on a shitty situation and bust their asses to show that they belonged in the WWF!
#3: 60 Minute Iron Man Match for the WWF Title: The Rock © vs Triple H Special Referee: Shawn Michaels (Judgment Day 2000)
Let’s see if I can get people to understand why this match is only at #3 and not #1 where people probably think where it belongs. The whole purpose for this match happening was because at Backlash, Stone Cold Steve Austin helped The Rock beat Triple H and the McMahon/Helmsley Regime to become the WWF Champion. However, the McMahon/Helmsley Regime was not satisfied with this whatsoever so Triple H decided to throw down the gauntlet: The Rock vs Triple H in a 60 Minute Iron Man match…….the second ever Iron Man match in WWF history. The whole point of the match was simple: to prove which one was truly better of the two! In fact, Triple H told the rest of the McMahons, including his wife Stephanie, to not accompany him to the ring because he wanted to prove he could beat Rock on his own and of course, just to make things even more interesting, his good buddy Shawn Michaels was the Special Guest Referee but Shawn vowed to call the match right down the middle (plus, this was the showcase of Shawn’s “smuggling bananas” ref shorts), especially after Rock threatened to kick Shawn’s ass in a rare backstage segment between them (talk about matches that sadly never happened in wrestling history). What followed was 55 minutes of pure wrestling perfection!! This was the first true long match I ever saw as a wrestling fan and every time I watched it, I was hooked into it and never once did I ever feel bored. The story told throughout was so goddamn fantastic that it’s hard not to get sucked in and it pretty much silenced every one of their doubters that these two couldn’t hang in a 60 minute match. I loved the excitement and energy evident in the first 5 minutes of the match before these two barely even touched each other or how Triple H assaulted Rock’s arm only for Rock to come out of nowhere and hitting the Rock Bottom to go up 1-0. Rock taking advantage of that to work over Triple H’s knee for a good long while, including applying the Figure Four, only for Triple H to tie things up with the Pedigree then take the lead with a small package out of nowhere after Rock was too groggy to follow up!!! The match also showcased the usual Attitude era brawling in the crowd and up the ramp but it fit with these two and you have to love Shawn saying that he’s not letting this match end on a “bullshit count out” or whatever! My favorite spot of the match is Triple H hitting Rock with a chair to tie it up at 3-3 due to DQ……then IMMEDIATELY pins Rock with his feet on the ropes to go up 4-3……then actually gets a fall on Rock after applying two Sleepers that built from the chair shot earlier on, thus Triple H sacrificed a fall to go up two falls!!! After that, Rock made a huge comeback, including getting a count out fall by giving Triple H his own Pedigree on the announce table!!! Like I said, for 55 minutes, these two tore into each other with smart psychology, great wrestling, fantastic chemistry and everything about it was perfect!!! Even Shawn as the official was just straight up perfect because he was very lenient on the rules to a point and I loved how he kept things specifically down the middle and let these guys fight.
However, notice that I keep saying 55 MINUTES that this match was perfect…….but isn’t it supposed to be 60 minutes of perfection? Well……that’s the problem……I LOATHE the final 5 minutes of the match. So basically, Rock ties it up at 5-5 and around that time, that’s when the entire McMahon/Helmsley Regime make their way down (Vince, Shane, Stephanie, Road Dogg, X-Pac and Gerald Briscoe) to interfere on Triple H’s behalf, despite him telling them to stay in the back. During all of that chaos, Shawn gets taken out of the equation by getting knocked off the apron into the guardrail and from there, we witness the return (after an 8 month absence) of the Undertaker……not just Undertaker, but it’s the debut of BIKER TAKER!!! From there, Taker kicks the McMahon/Helmsley Regime’s asses in a great moment, I admit, but then we get the finish: Shawn disqualifying the Rock after he witnessed Taker giving Triple H the Tombstone, despite the time running out before Taker hit the move (I think the timer was off) and thus, Triple H regained the WWF Title after winning 6-5 off a DQ. See why I hate the final 5 minutes? It completely RUINS the proceeding 55 minutes before that and the entire buildup of the match. The whole point was these two finally proving who was better between them and that this was going to be the match to prove it…….and the match ends on a fuck finish!!! This is the match where Rock should have beaten Triple H and retained the title then moved on…….instead they drew this fucking feud out for another goddamn month until Rock beat Vince for the WWF Title in an arbitrary Six Man Tag at King of the Ring. The whole final five minutes was just ass backwards from everything this entire match was about, everything it had built up to…….it could’ve been the greatest match of both men’s careers, which is exactly what it was shaping up to be, instead it’s tainted. The match itself, or at least the first 55 minutes, is one of the greatest showcases of wrestling I’ve ever seen…….the final five minutes, in my opinion, kill the match but that doesn’t stop the previous 55 minutes from being epic. Maybe you guys might disagree with me on this but I have ALWAYS hated the final 5 minutes of this match, even when I was a kid.
#2: WWE Title Match: CM Punk © vs Daniel Bryan (Over the Limit 2012)
I had just watched this match not too long ago so it’s very much fresh in my mind. Look how surreal this match is……a match that nobody ever thought was going to happen. Who thought that back in 2004, when these two wrestled for the first time in ROH at Reborn: Stage One in a great match, that they would be here in the WWE wrestling for the WWE Title on PPV????!! Over the course of the first few months, Punk and Bryan had been wrestling each other as part of the John Laurinaitis/Teddy Long feud and up to this point, their matches either ended in DQ or in giant clusterfucks so basically, neither man had fully been able to beat each other at this point. What I loved about it was that the matches on RAW and Smackdown were basically just warm up matches for this……they were just little teasers to wet the appetite before we got this main course and that’s exactly what we got. Now remember, this is the infamous show where WWE got the “AWESOME” idea to have John Cena vs John Laurinaitis main event the show (just so they could do the Big Show run in where he turned heel in a turn that everybody and their mother, their grandmother, their dead dog and their ancestors saw coming) while Punk and Bryan went on two matches earlier……..this match showed which match was the REAL main event of the show and what was a gigantic waste of time. This match was damn near wrestling perfection: for 23 minutes, these two had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Punk’s vicious assault on Bryan’s knee early on was great stuff and gave him a base to work with whenever he needed to get back into the match while Bryan frequently targeted Punk’s ribs to set him up for the Yes Lock. In fact, this felt a lot like one of their ROH matches but with a WWE twist…..hell, I actually think that THIS match is better than their 2004 match because they are older, more experienced, and Punk was a better wrestler than he was in 2004 while Bryan was a better all-around character than he was in 2004. These two didn’t hold back on their strikes, there was intensity and purpose to everything they were doing and most importantly, the crowd LOVED everything about this match. The match eventually ended when Bryan caught Punk in the Yes Lock but Punk was able to roll back into a cradle pin to get the victory but he did tap out immediately after the bell ringed……obviously making Bryan think that he should have been the real winner of the match. You know what I really loved about this match: these two ended having this classic match and STILL had more in the tank for a potential rematch (hell, Punk didn’t even hit the GTS in the entire match). I loved this match and at this point, I would call it the 2012 MOTY (I think it’s better than the Brock/Cena match if only because the finish is better) and it deserves it’s #2 ranking……but there is one match that stands just above it!
#1: WWF Title Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin © vs Dude Love Special Guest Referee: Vince McMahon (Over The Edge 1998)
Come on…..you knew it had to be this match as the greatest May PPV match ever because that’s what it was!! Remember when I was complaining about Rock/HHH in the Iron Man match? About how it devolved into a gigantic clusterfuck with a fuck finish that I seriously hated because it completely went against everything that the feud and the match was about? Well……on the other side of the coin…..we have THIS match, which was a gigantic clusterfuck with a fuck finish……and it was so goddamn entertaining to!! The difference is that this match, from the outset, was set up to have some shenanigans going on throughout the match…..you had to expect that there was going to be interference and general overbooking but this match was able to take all of that and create this beautiful and thoroughly delicious feast that still holds up 18 years later! The reason for the match happening was because Mick Foley got upset at the fact that the WWF audience kept looking past him, despite everything he did, and yet the fans kept cheering for Austin. So basically, as his Dude Love persona, Foley sold out to Vince to become Vince’s corporate champion since Austin wasn’t going to play ball. At Unforgiven, Austin and Love had a great match that ended without a decision because Austin CRUSHED Vince with a gross chair shot that knocked him out and the show ended without an ending. Obviously, Vince wanted revenge so here, we have this match. Vince is the Special Guest Referee, Pat Patterson is the guest ring announcer and Gerald Briscoe is the guest timekeeper (Patterson’s introductions and JR’s mocking of Patterson’s introductions already make this match a classic) but the Undertaker, who was growing more and more disappointed with Vince’s abuse of power decided to become the Special Enforcer to keep the peace on the floor. Throughout the match, Vince kept making up the rules as they went by saying that there are no count-outs to save Love from being counted out and there are no DQs when Love attacked Austin with a chair. The match REALLY kicked into a high gear when Austin tossed Love into the proverbial hangman’s position in the ropes to counter the Mandible Claw and then that was followed up moments later when Austin damn near decapitated Love with a vicious clothesline that sent him tumbling off the guardrail down onto the concrete floor!!! Then, the match kicked up even more as they proceeded to battle over by the cars at the entrance ramp where Love and Austin took some NASTY bumps on the concrete and the gimmick cars (especially for Austin, who was less than a year removed from his neck injury), all the while JR was just going FUCKING NUTS on commentary!! The finish is the stuff of legends as Austin CRACKS Love with a chair shot but Vince won’t count so Austin argues with Vince as Love recovered and accidentally hit Vince with a chair shot!!! Taker took out Patterson and Briscoe on the floor with Chokeslams through the announce table while Austin hit the Stunner on Love and used Vince’s unconscious hand to count the 3 and retain the title!!!
Every time you have seen a match where the top babyface has the deck stacked against him and things continue to just get crazier and crazier with loads of interference and crowd popping moments, this match was the first of that kind! Many have tried to replicate the success of the match but none have ever been able to top it (the closest I’ve seen was Rock/HHH from Backlash 2000). The pop Austin gets when he makes his entrance is just unreal, it’s so mind blowing in how over this frickin’ guy was back in 1998 and why nobody on the current roster gets pops like Austin did (not even John Cena has come close to getting reactions that Austin got). Vince was at the height of his evil billionaire role and he was just KILLING IT as the main villain in the WWE…….cementing himself as THE greatest villain in WWE history. The commentary by JR and King was just amazing and JR REALLY brought the goods for this one and you can tell he was just feeling it on this night. I mean, this match basically describes the Attitude Era in a nutshell and why so many fans wish to return to those glory days…..but we probably never will. The reason why is because the WWE continues to over-rely too much on the stars from the Attitude Era instead of using their new stars of today to create stars just like they had in the Attitude Era. The reason why this match works so damn well is because none of it feels at all like it was something that was thrown together but it also doesn’t feel micro-managed either……everything just clicked (which is another problem with today’s WWE……the chaos feels manufactured instead of organic). This is easily one of Austin’s greatest matches ever of his time on top…..this is one of Foley’s greatest matches of his career in a career full of them……but the problem is that I feel like people have forgotten this match (want an example: take a look at what Foley’s next PPV match is and how that match ended up topping this one as far as memorable moments) but this match was everything to love about the Attitude Era blended together. This is Vince at his best, Austin at his best, Foley at his best, JR and King at their best and hell, even Vince Russo at his best. It is the greatest May PPV match of all-time and there has been nothing that has ever been able to top it at all!
So, that’s the list. Let me know what you think and if you agree or disagree……what would your list look like? Where would you add the 2013-2015 matches onto the list (I don’t include Payback 2016 because I would put it in the category of Backlash)? Enjoy Extreme Rules on Sunday and have a great weekend!!
Tags: Douces Wild