Creatively Endeavored’s Top Ten PPV Matches Of 2012

CE Top 10 Matches

So let me start out by saying I had this whole elaborate, end of the year, top matches editorial laid out, complete with audio and visual aids. After 3 days of working it almost non-stop, everything was deleted. I’m talking videos, interviews about certain matches, my analysis of those matches… everything! And as much as I love you all and love what I do, I’m not going through that hell again. Therefore here’s the new plan. Below you’ll find MY personal rankings of the top ten PPV-ONLY wrestling matches of 2012. First you’ll get to see my initial commentary on the match when it took place from my original review of the show and then I’ll be adding what I think of the match now and how it ranks among the best of the year. Please feel free to comment, disagree, rank your own top ten and generally have fun with the article. Like I said before, these are MY top ten as how I see them placed among the litany of matches in 2012. Yours will probably be totally different.

Now onto number 10…

10. Hell In A Cell – Sheamus vs. The Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship

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–What I Said Then:–

I’m actually looking forward to this match. Sheamus pulled a few very good matches out of Mark Henry last year and The Big Show has much more talent than Henry did at the time.

I thought Big Show vs Sheamus was a Hell In A Cell match?! Are we really only getting one Cell match tonight?

Sheamus’ chest is almost the same color as his hair!

The way this match is progressing, I can completely see Sheamus sneaking a win, getting knocked out and Ziggler cashing in the briefcase.

Holy shit! That White Noise was like nothing for Sheamus!

WOW, I did not expect a Big Show title win tonight. Great match but I am shocked they took the belt off of Sheamus.

–How I See It Now:–

 One of the more recent matches on this list and the first in a series of matches between The Big Show and Sheamus. When this match took place, there were so many variables; how would Sheamus work with a bigger opponent? How would Sheamus play the underdog? Could The Big Show rise to the main event level again this late in his career? This match delivered on everything we hoped that would happen and more. Unlike a Kurt Angle match, when these two kicked out of each other’s finishers, it truly meant something. Nearing the finish of the match, either man could have walked away the World Champion but yet there was still that hint of uncertainty that The Big Show would ever win the title again. Not only did he win the belt but he won the match cleanly, proving most of us wrong and providing us with a stellar main event that would unfortunately become played out as the year went on.

9. Destination X – Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship

Destination X - Aries

–What I Said Then:–

My guess is Austin Aries vs Bobby Roode exceeds expectations but eventually Roode walks away as champ.

If Aries DOESN’T win the belt, where does he go from here?

GOOD GOD! Fantastic match with an unbelievable finish. Congrats to Austin Aries on a great achievement & a helluva ride!

–How I See It Now:–

 This was the beginning of what may have been the most bizarre TNA Title reigns since AJ Styles attempted to become Ric Flair. Many people saw this as the moment TNA had been waiting for. A relatively “new” TNA talent who had never worked for the WWE, worked his way up the ladder to win the TNA Title from another “TNA Original”. The fact that Austin Aries is a light heavyweight barely even played a part in his historic title win. But then things turned and I’m not just talking about Aries character. Suddenly the guy who busted his ass to get to the top, including dropping his X-Division title for a CHANCE at the TNA Championship, was strutting around the Impact Zone, running from babyfaces and heels alike while also using every trick in the book to hold onto his title. His paranoia turned full throttle when he lost the title to Jeff Hardy and suddenly the guy the TNA fans were clamoring to cheer for was now the guy people just wanted to see his ass kicked. This match and Aries’ title win should have jump started a hot run for a top babyface but instead we’ve watched Aries slowly slide back down to mid-card status.

8. Money In The Bank – CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan – No DQ with AJ as the special referee for the WWE Championship

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–What I Said Then:–

The WWE title match BETTER not be up next.

Son of a bitch. The angle that has been opening AND closing both Raw and SmackDown is not going on last at the PPV. Horrible!

Digging Byan’s new tights and coat. Very Dean Ambrose/Jon Moxley though.

Another reason why this match should be on last – no mystery on if the winner of the WWE title Money In The Bank ladder match will cash in tonight.

Awesome version of the “Yes” Lock with the kendo stick.

Thought AJ was going to lay across the table to stop the suplex for a second.

I like the fact that this story is continuing. The No DQ stipulation seemed rushed but I think they have something else planned for Punk at SummerSlam.

–How I See It Now:–

  Wow how much can change in a couple of months! The main storyline surrounding this match was exactly who AJ Lee was in love with and who truly had feelings for her. Even the WWE Title took a backseat to this storyline. Now, AJ has nothing to do with either of these characters, Daniel Bryan is a comedic tag team champion and a heel CM Punk is the longest reigning WWE Title of the modern era, complete with Paul Heyman as his manager. With all of that being said, watching this match over again completely eliminates your current impression of these characters and instantly transports you back to the time and place where this storyline was the hottest thing on Raw. Match up that level of storytelling with the athleticism these two men put into this match and I even surprised myself that I had to put it so far down on the list.

7. Extreme Rules – John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar

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–What I Said Then:–

Woah Brock definitely slimmed down alot. I’m liking the full UFC look too.

The little touch of Cena’s old school chain is intriguing.

Holy shit those elbows were nasty!

Extreme Rules has FINALLY lived up to it’s name!

HOLY SHIT I thought Brock had broken his neck.

Wow, that was just absolutely vicious.

That was insane. I can see Brock leaving now for a few months before returning to face Triple H.

This PPV had it’s ups and downs but for the most part a thumbs up. And what a fight to close it out!

–How I See It Now:–

NO ONE expected this match to play out as it did. And if you say you did, you’re a liar. The match was brutal and completely unexpected, leaving the audience in complete shock while watching the utter destruction of John Cena. That was until “Super” Cena came back with one fireman’s carry finisher for the win, completely killing off the “killer” character of Brock Lesnar only one month after Cena appeared vulnerable for the first time when he lost to The Rock. Brock Lesnar attempted to repair his character as much as possible in his feud with Triple H but the damage was already done and a golden opportunity was lost on this night at Extreme Rules.

6. WrestleMania 28 – John Cena vs. The Rock

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–What I Said Then:–

Aw the “jorts” are back.

We’re pushing 15-20 mins of a musical interlude.

John Cena‘s “Celtics” inspired shirt is kind of ticking me off.

Cena’s very much playing the babyface with heelish tendencies.

Some of those Cena punches were pretty stiff.

And it looks like The Rock paid Cena a receipt.

Good crowd shots too.

Has John Cena ever pinned someone with that legdrop?

I’m still waiting for this match to pick up…

Hot damn! Down goes the Franchise.

They really must have something planned for Cena/Rock & SummerSlam after tonight.

–How I See It Now:–

I went back and forth for almost a week about which John Cena match should rank higher, John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar or John Cena vs. The Rock. In the end, it was the spectacle that surrounded John Cena vs. The Rock that really put it over the edge. Seriously, when was the last time that a match was hyped for an entire year?! Sting vs. Hollywood Hogan is the closest you might be able to but there’s no way you can compare the two matches once the bell rang. Despite all the criticism John Cena receives on a daily basis for his in-ring work, the “Franchise” of the WWE does seem to rise to the occasion when he is in the ring with a ring general. His matches in the past with CM Punk, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle and Edge have all been superb. The reason why this particular match is rather low on my list is utter lack of impact it’s had on the business. Honestly, the hype before the match had more of a lasting effect on the WWE than the match itself did. The match wasn’t bad and each man put forth a very strong effort but whether it was the fact that they had to follow the emotional ride of The Undertaker vs. Triple H, the groan inducing “concerts” before their entrances or that they just couldn’t live up to their own hype, John Cena vs. The Rock delivered a stellar main event… just not the memorable WrestleMania main event they were hoping for.

5. TLC – The Shield vs. Team Hell No and Ryback in a Tables Ladders and Chairs Match

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–What I Said Then:–

The Shield REALLY got bumped down the card. It’s understandable but that’s gotta suck.

Very nice touch with the music & having The Shield enter through the crowd. Perfect.

It’s nice to see the Spanish announce table being used again how it always used to be used.

God, Dean Ambrose is a selling machine!

I don’t think I ever noticed that Roman Reigns is the same size as Kane. That’s impressive in itself.

Damn, this TLC match could have easily closed out the PPV!

Here comes “Jeff Hardy 2013?/Seth Rollins!

Holy sh*t! Fantastic match & victory for The Shield! Spot on all-around and probably one of the best fights of all of 2012!

–How I See It Now:–

 This might be the biggest shock of them all on this list but even while watching it, I knew it deserved to be on many year-end editorials. In a match featuring 4 men with under a year’s experience on WWE’s main roster, this TLC match absolutely stole the show of WWE’s last PPV of the year. Not only was it an intense brawl with a plethora of high spots but it also told enough of a story to establish the heel group of The Shield as a strong force in the WWE while also protecting the WWE’s newest monster, Ryback. Plus, while there were high spots and “holy sh*t” moments, none of them seemed gratuitous as you would see in TNA and everything seemed to have a reason behind it. This match may be the freshest in my mind but honestly, if this exact match took place at the Royal Rumble, I still think I would have included it on this list.

4. Bound For Glory – James Storm vs. Bobby Roode in a Street Fight

BFG - Roode v Storm 2012

–What I Said Then:–

Storm versus Roode on third!? This should have been the main event for the belt, dammit!!!

Anyone else think that King Mo looks like a cheesy Rampage Jackson ripoff?

I might be sitting back & enjoying this match a little bit. This is MY main event.

Never thought I’d say it but it’s weird seeing blood in a wrestling match. Both companies have done a good job of toning it down.

Thought for sure we were going to get an outdated “ECW” chant after that crutch spot.

Storm just bled in a fan’s beer & THEN gave it back to him! Loved the collective “Eww” from the crowd.

Holy crap, James Storm is “Shawn Michaels-Hell In A Cell/Steve Austin-WrestleMania” bloody.

Seriously, how are you going to top the emotion, the violence & storytelling you just saw in Roode vs Storm?

–How I See It Now:–

 THIS is how you “blow off” a feud. While these two men have engaged in battles since Bound For Glory, this was obviously supposed to be the conclusion of a year long feud between two tag team partners that turned into two main event singles competitors. While it seemed as if this match would be for the TNA World Heavyweight Title, in the end, their personal history was more than enough to sustain the utter brutality of this match. Even though James Storm hit the “stucked pig” level of blood loss, Storm and Roode were still able to tell an incredible story along with incredible violence that is not typical in the pro-wrestling world today.

3. WrestleMania 28 – The Undertaker vs. Triple H in a Hell In A Cell match with Shawn Michaels as the special referee

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–What I Said Then:–

End of an Era match right in the middle of the card? Interesting.

Wait, I’m confused, when did they put the haunted house up?!

Hello, Samurai Undertaker…

Undertaker looks like he has the Bully Ray mohawk.

Wonder if we’ll be seeing any blading in this match…

I am loving the intrigue of Shawn Michaels in this match.

Poor Charles Robinson.

That Superkick & Pedigree was exactly how I called it on Monday. THIS is why Shawn Michaels should have never retired.

This match is FAR exceeding last year’s match, in my opinion.

Undertaker’s back looks like raw meat.

Much much better match than last year. Shawn provided the drama & then they went 5 mins shorter.

–How I See It Now:–

Whereas James Storm and Bobby Roode succeeded with blatant violence in their “final” match, The Undertaker and Triple H focused more on storytelling than the actual physicality (even though there was plenty of it!). The Undertaker and Triple H put the pressure on themselves to top their match at WrestleMania 27, which to me wasn’t that lofty a goal. With the addition of Shawn Michaels as referee, what they really wanted to do was top the epic WrestleMania matches Taker and HBK had on the biggest stage of the year. And they came damn close. The involvement of Shawn Michaels provided the emotion and empathy for all three characters involved in the match, pushing the match from a great match to an epic battle/story that was fitting for the WrestleMania stage and a great sendoff for all three of these characters.

2. Slammiversary – AJ Styles and Kurt Angle vs. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian for the TNA World Tag Team Championships

DX - Angle and Styles

–What I Said Then:–

Say hello to the show stealer coming up next.

Holy crap, what a kick from Kazarian. So far a pretty stiff match.

For all those people who wondered why I hate Kofi Kingston, its cause I’m spoiled by AJ Styles making high flying interesting.

BEST. TAG. MATCH. OF. THE. YEAR.

Absolutely standout performances from all 4 athletes that was just amazing. Unbelievable.

–How I See It Now:–

Not since the glory days of TNA’s tag team division has a tag match been this damn good. While there was a thin story to work with, all four men in this match stepped into the arena prepared to blow the audience away with pure pro-wrestling. This is a match that I can turn on at anytime and be completely entertained and in awe of the athleticism shown in this match. This match is the type of thing that TNA was built on and it was really refreshing to see it again showcased by four of the best performers in the world today.

1. WrestleMania 28 – CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship

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–What I Said Then:–

I’m really torn now on if we’re going to be seeing a Punk or Jericho win here.

Does Chris Jericho’s tights mean his ass is The Best In The World?

That Codebreaker reminded me of the RKO from last year. Stellar.

Old school Liontamer!

Beautiful, fantastic match between the two Best In The World!

The subtleties of the finish of that match were amazing. Just the shifting of the hips by Punk to avoid the knees from Jericho was terrific.

–How I See It Now:–

Wikipedia summarized the build up to this match the best:

On the January 30 episode of Raw, Chris Jericho attacked Punk and Daniel Bryan during their Champion vs. Champion match, giving Bryan the win. The following week, Jericho explained his actions by dismissing the WWE roster as imitations of himself and singling out Punk for claiming he was the best in the world, a moniker Jericho used the last time he was in WWE. Their rivalry continued through Elimination Chamber where Punk retained the WWE Championship in the namesake structure; while four competitors were eliminated, Jericho was unable to continue the match after being kicked out of the chamber by Punk, causing temporary injury. The following night on Raw, Jericho earned a match against Punk at WrestleMania XXVIII, and in a bid to psychologically unsettle him, he revealed Punk’s father was an alcoholic and alleged that his sister was a drug addict, asserting that Punk’s straight edge philosophy was paranoia to avoid the same vices and vowing to make Punk turn to alcohol by winning the title from him. John Laurinaitis added the stipulation that the WWE Championship could change hands via disqualification, which led to Jericho inciting Punk into using a weapon, but Punk resisted and retained the title.

CM Punk and Chris Jericho were the “Best In The World” (especially at the time) and I’m not talking about in-ring work. Punk and Jericho are master storytellers, where limits don’t exist, nothing is off limits and the better the story behind the match, the better the match. It just so happens that both CM Punk and Chris Jericho are two athletically gifted individuals that were able to put together one of the greatest wrestling matches I have ever seen, let alone in 2012. On card where they were overshadowed by legends, Punk and Jericho wrestled the “Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat” of 2012.

    Well that’s it! I’m guessing a ton of you disagree with my choices or the order of my choices at least. Please feel free to comment below about them or post your own top ten!

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