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Top 30 Mania Matches

I personally agree with number one but I can see how numbers one through four could alternate depending on what you want to watch that day.

Your thoughts? And what's with Meltzer not giving number one *****

MikeyMike

I can see the argument for #1 and I think I've voted for it on occasion myself, but I think Bret-Austin is more clearly the greatest ever for, you know, completely altering the history of the business forever and stuff.  

And Meltzer hasn't had a North American ***** match since Hart-Austin (or it might have been HITC 1, same year either way), so I'm not surprised he didn't.  He's just REALLY making sure that the eventual recipient earns that fifth one.  

Comments

  1. Didn't meltzer give Joe/Punk 2 the full monty?

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  2. and isn't Joe/Kobashi also *****? And MitB Cena/Punk?

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  3. I believe both of those are right. I forgot Cena/Punk. wasn't going to mention Kobashi/Joe, since it's in the US but involves Japan's big star.

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  4. No way I'm clicking next thirty times.

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  5. kbwrestlingreviewsMarch 28, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    No Rock vs. Cena is shocking.

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  6. Taker/HBK from 25 is 1. Savage/Steamboat is 2. Austin/Rock from 17 is 3. Austin/Hart is 4, Taker/HBK from 26 is 5.

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  7. Elgin/Richards from WrestleMania 28 weekend got five stars too. And I remember reading somewhere that Samoa Joe has more observer five star matches than Shawn Michaels.

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  8. Jesus. If you're going to load slow as fuck, just put it in a list on one page.

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  9. Samoa Joe certainly earned them, but remember that Meltzer didn't give Shawn/Taker from 25 five stars.

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  10. Bret/Austin was influential in changing the entire course of not just a wrestler, but the entire company. Based on that alone, it's the best WM match ever. And, oh yeah.... it's also really fucking great.

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  11. Bret/Austin for me mostly as I was there live, amazing to feel how that crowd shifted to Austin amid a fantastic battle.

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  12. Dave's extremely sporadic use of the five star rating is pretty ridiculous. He went fourteen years without handing it out to a WWE match.

    Imagine a food critic claiming that he hadn't eaten a perfect dish in fourteen years, or not being able to find a five star hotel for over a decade.

    Scott's interpretation of the star rating system is a lot more realistic: five stars means the wrestling itself was up to a high standard, the crowd was red hot for it and the viewer (Scott himself) was experiencing the highest level of entertainment that you can get from wrestling. Honestly, if you don't hand out ***** to Taker/Shawn or Brock/Punk and not to others either, you're an elitist.

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  13. Also, it saves the PPV from being one of the worst in history.

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  14. 1. Hart/Austin
    2. Steamboat/Savage
    3. Michaels/Taker I
    4 (tie). Shawn/Razor

    4 (tie). Bret/Owen
    5. Richards/Michaels/HHH
    6. Rock/Austin II
    7. Michaels/Angle
    8. MITB I
    9. Taker/HHH II
    10. Warrior/Savage

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  15. Meltzer is a bit of a wrestling snob and elitist. I think he gets off on looking down on the WWE while furiously jacking it to NJPW matches.

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  16. Wow, I'm surprised WMXX's main event didn't make the list. Triple H, HBK and some guy...crap, can't remember his name.

    Who was the third guy? Was it Doink?

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  17. Steven Richards, duh.

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  18. Is that ever going to stop being funny?

    Oh wait, I meant start. Is that ever going to start being funny?

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  19. My jokes are in the enclosed pool area.

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  20. The Dream Team vs. The British Bulldogs should have made the list. Wrestlemania II might not have been highly regarded but that was an amazing match and the first real "great" Wrestlemania match from a wwe work rate prospective.

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  21. He gave it ****3/4. That fuck!

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  22. When Joe was putting on ****-plus matches at a greater frequency from 04-06 than Michaels was during his prime, I tend to find that entirely believable.

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  23. http://starratingslist.blogspot.com/2009/09/wwe-wrestlemania-star-ratings-list.html

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  24. Junkyard Dog & Tito Santana VS the Funks from WMII is awesome, a forgotten classic. Hogan-Slaughter, Rockers-Twin Towers, Cena-Michaels, and Batista-Undertaker could all be fun sleepers.

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  25. Am I crazy, or did they completely omit Shawn/Razor from WrestleMania X? I understand wholly that the ladder match is a worn down concept in 2014, but that match was revolutionary for the time period and a legit ****1/2 - ***** classic. Granted, I hated Shawn and Razor and the entire 'New Generation' period, and used to slag on it horribly, but to not even give it a spot is just asinine.

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  26. I'm drunk and I need to go home.

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  27. Would have been five stars for the match if the Undertaker didn't take an Olympic Style Swan Dive out of the ring.

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  28. Joe vs Punk and Davey vs Elgin got five stars.

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  29. http://www.wwe.com/shows/wrestlemania/30-best-wrestlemania-matches/page-6

    Um, is that what happened to Murphy?

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  30. Who sleeps on Batista v. Taker? Everyone talks about how awesome it is

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  31. Meltzer's ratings are strange. I mean, typically, I rate matches lower than he does. But when it comes to 5 star matches, I have way more than he does. Just in WWE, I had Steamboat/Savage, Owen/Bret, Taker/HBK 25, WM 20 triple threat, HHH vs. Foley RR 2000, Austin/HHH NWO 2001, and I go back and forth on if Rock vs. Austin WM 27 is 5. I might be forgetting others too. It's like Meltzer thinks in order to for a match to be 5, it has to be perfect. But, truly, there's no such thing as a perfect match.

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  32. I could be wrong or he could have lowered his ratings for these matches but didn't Joe vs Kobashi and the Dragons Gate 6 man from Supercard of Honor get 5 stars from Meltzer as well?

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  33. It was a Blockbuster match, just not technically sound.

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  34. After seeing a Kota Ibushi match, I believe it.

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  35. I think Scott meant to say in WWE, not North America.

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  36. Meh, it's not like he's shitting on these matches. I don't think in the end it's that big a deal if he gives a match ****1/2 or ****3/4 v. 5.

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  37. You were sorely missed in a few other threads earlier this week.

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  38. Gotcha, anyway ratings aside, Steamboat/Savage is still a perfect match to me, but i have no complaints with Taker/HBK getting the nod for 1st

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  39. He could have torn through Meekins love thread.

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  40. It doesn't bother me. It's just weird that he doesn't think a lot of matches are 5 that many people do.

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  41. To me, that's what made the match legendary, because after that botch, I bought the hell out of every single near fall, thinking that Taker needed immediate medical attention. So I went crazy for every kickout.

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  42. Or he has a different opinion from yours.


    I don't agree with a lot of Meltzer's ratings, especially when he used to gush over an AJPW TV match joined halfway in or an All-Japan Women match that was a ton of moves with no story. But the position that the WWF has had very few ***** matches is a perfectly defensible one.

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  43. Someone mentioned it below but I believe the last NA match to get a 5 star rating is Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin from the early 2012 ROH Florida double shot. I've seen it and it's a great match but NOT 5 stars IMO.
    Speaking of Elgin it's a shame he's got such a poor look because he deserves to be on national TV.

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  44. Meltzer gave Punk/Cena at MITB the full 5.

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  45. Same. Seeing as the URL with match #30 ended with "page-2" I just put 31 in so I could number 1.


    If HBK/Taker from 25 isn't a *****-match, nothing should be. I still remember when Taker caught Shawn skinning the cat and Tonbstoning him, I have never bought a false finish so much in my life.

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  46. Steamboat/Savage >>>> all.

    I get why people enjoy Undertaker vs Shawn -- if you watch wrestling primarily for character driven, manufactured drama there is a lot to love there with these long-time established characters and the work itself is decent.

    If you like two athletes at their absolute peak, hitting everything to 10 decimal points at a breakneck pace... I dunno, there is just no comparison there and plus it has a great story behind it as well.

    I just don't think they are even in the same league personally.

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  47. Honorable mentions (IMO)

    Bulldogs/Dream Team: WM2
    Rockers/Barbarian&Haku: WM7
    Hardys/Dudleys/E&C: WM16
    Undertaker/Orton: WM21
    MITB: WM22
    Undertaker/Batista: WM23
    Undertaker/Edge: WM24 (it may have been listed, I'm too lazy to double check).

    Also, I would've ranked Shawn/Jericho and Warrior/Savage higher than they were.

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  48. TJ: My time, The Game, or King of Kings.


    I think "My Time" blows them all away.

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  49. Your list is basically my list, except I'd drop Taker/HHH off and add probably either Bret/Own or HBK/Taker II. Only other change I'd make is bump Michaels/Angle up to the #1 slot, but I know I'm likely alone there.

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  50. This would be a great list if they weren't still insisting on pretending Benoit never existed. Benoit/HBK/HHH from WMXX was a legit ***** classic and should at least be in the top 10, even if all the joy out of Benoit winning has been sucked away.

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  51. Friendly reminder that Scott gave ***** to the 2012 Royal Rumble, which wasn't even a decent Royal Rumble.

    I always thought the first Taker-Shawn match was as overrated as the rematch was underrated. You'd have to really enjoy nearfall festivals to go the full monty on the WM25 match. Also, I don't agree with Meltzer that there was actually a 14 year period without a ***** match, but if you get served dirt every day, enthusiastically overrating the dirt doesn't make you a man of the people.

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  52. it's amazing how people interpret a ****3/4 rating as a grave insult

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  53. Came here to say this. Happily beaten to the task.

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  54. I'm not a big fan of WWE's product from the better part of over a decade, but they manage to put out a handful of fantastic matches per year, you have to give them that.

    Scott does tend to throw out the ***** every so often, however it's not used so often that it becomes meaningless and it's not such a rarity to the point that attaining it is an impossible goal... unless you're Japanese.

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  55. Also Scott sometimes reviews matches after watching them live or at least for the first time, so he's reviewing it in the context of how wrestling is supposed to be consumed: you watch it once (preferably live), twice if you liked it a lot, and then you move on to the next installment. If he really liked the 2012 Rumble to such an extent even if isn't memorable now, well, that's how it goes.

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  56. He does have a different opinion, but he's an elitist. If I liked a match that he didn't or vice versa, that's fine, but to disregard fourteen years' worth of great matches is mere snobbery, or at least the sign of a bullshit artist.

    Here's a list from the top of my head of ***** matches according to Scott that of course weren't rated as such by Dave. What he is basically saying is that from a fourteen year span, only Austin/Hart and Punk/Cena are the two matches that are one deviation in quality superior to these:

    HHH vs. Cactus Jack, Royal Rumble '00
    HHH vs. Steve Austin, No Way Out '01
    Power Trip vs. Canadian Violence, Raw '01
    Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit, Smackdown '01
    Royal Rumble 2004
    HHH vs. Benoit vs. HBK, WrestleMania XX
    HBK vs. Undertaker, WrestleMania 25

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  57. God forbid something amazing happen in a match.

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  58. Again, he has a bullshit system, and here's another reason for it: the critiquing of anything has to be relative on some level. For instance you cannot compile a Top 100 Movies list without the top one or few scoring *****, because if your #1 isn't perfect than your measuring stick for it is abstract and imaginary. Furthermore, if too many are ***** then the achievement is worth less and less with each rating.

    Yet, Meltzy boy has dozens of Japanese matches at *****, many of which I've seen and many of which were goddamn identical in many facets. If such a rating is the sign of true art and is awarded so rarely - indicating that something must be rare to be appreciated - then maybe he should explain why sometimes two Japanese guys hitting each other with big moves with no flow or storytelling is worthy of praise.

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  59. The Game has been done to death, but when he first changed to that it fucking killed. It's Motorhead, for God's sake.

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  60. "Undertaker/Orton: WM21"

    ...What?

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  61. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANMarch 29, 2014 at 2:12 AM

    I just really don't believe in the whole star system. Not to say that matches can only be "meh", "great", or "Khali", it's just the concept is so ridiculously subjective. And I'm not sure how you calculate the points. If Randy Orton doesn't hit his superplex perfectly, is that a quarter star, or is that a full star because he does one every match and it's crisp.


    Is Vader stiffing some guy worth a star because he's Vader, but if RVD potatoes someone with one of his silly flippy moves a deduction? If Cena manages to successful sell the work on him done until the end of the show, is that 1/4 or 3/4's or nothing because that means he actually did his fucking job for once? And that's someone who is considered a pretty solid pro wrestler who has high scoring matches.


    Kind of complicated if you ask me.

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  62. And the funny thing is, for a guy that takes a ton of shit for not giving WWE matches five snowflakes, he took a ton of shit BECAUSE he gave that match five snowflakes.

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  63. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANMarch 29, 2014 at 2:24 AM

    But think about it, if you're doing a figure skating type assessment of that match, how can it be 5*'s or a perfect 10 or whatever. There's mistakes. There has to be, because Punk is in it and he's uncoordinated sometimes. But that does give it more a real feel, because when people fight, they don't fight perfectly.


    So are we grading on the technical execution, or the story? It's like the Trips/Taker HIAC. If you can ignore HBK for the 35 minutes he's not important, as opposed to the 30 seconds he is, the story is perfect. So this is a match that can be anywhere from say *** (if you can't stand HBK's ridiculous hamfistedness) to ***** depending on your feelings about the story, which is basically what the match is built around.

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  64. you could easily make the case for a dozen of other matches, too (Angle vs. Benoit, Angle vs. Michaels).


    that's btw also why I think that quarter ratings are bs. if someone rates a match with ****3/4 he's basically just nitpicking not to give out ***** already.

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  65. that's the reason no sane person would ever claim than star ratings (or any review based on taste, from movies to music) is "objective".

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  66. I'm really into King of Kings right now, but The Game is probably the better tune. Evolution was great too.

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  67. no it shouldn't be on a list on wwe.com.

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  68. It's amazing people even rate matches at all.

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  69. Something that's bothered me over the last few years is that "the Wrestlemania match" has almost become a genre (if you will) in and of itself. You're more likely to get a so-called "epic" nowadays than anything else; does everything have to be thirty minutes of slow build and near falls? I mean, great, if done once in a while, but it's become the standard. Give me the fifteen minute, full-speed version anyday.

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  70. I wonder if Bret wrestled a New Japan match if Meltzer would give it **********************

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  71. So you're complaining the matches are too good at mania?

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  72. No, not at all. Just that they're mostly wrestled in a very similar way nowadays. You wouldn't get a big match wrestled like Bret/Austin or Savage/Steamboat.

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  73. I agree, it's gotta be My Time.

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  74. Just re watched Bret-Owen for the first time in years on Wrestlemania Rewind and realized I underrated it so much over the years. Just fantastic in every way.

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  75. Angle vs. Benoit at Royal Rumble '03 is easily five stars and there's too many good things about it to mention. I liked that match more than I do Savage/Steamboat, some Flair/Steamboats, probably Cena/Punk, etc.

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  76. Austin's neck injury and subsequent Main Event Style that followed influenced WWE to such a huge degree to the point where anything but that is seen as weird or experimental.

    During the Brock/Cena match people were going "holy fucking shit!" for example because it stood out like a sore thumb. When Angle came into his own in 2002 he was the first guy since Bret that was a legitimate technician and people got behind him almost solely on his ring prowess. Hell, I think CM Punk's seemingly inherent popularity in WWE is due to the fact that a) he looks and feels different to everyone else and b) he can wrestle many other styles than the norm.

    It's funny that you mention Austin/Bret because when I think about it, right from the get-go they just go balls out it flies by so quickly when watching it.

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  77. I'm SHOCKED WWE only put 1 Cena match on that list...normally they'd find a way to pepper him in at every opportunity...like when they put him on the Top 25 Divas of all time list...just because...

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  78. Neither was Hogan vs. Andre, but that made the Top 5 I believe...

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  79. I can't recall an epic match since 26.

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  80. Amsterdam_Adam_CurryMarch 29, 2014 at 6:54 AM

    One, two, is this on...

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  81. Yeah, they should definitely start glorifying a child murderer again. That'll bring in the hits!

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  82. Wrestler botches his signature high spot is amazing?

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  83. Taker-HBK I, Bret-Austin, Austin-Rock II and Steamboat-Savage are the clear Mt. Rushmore.

    I think Bret-Austin is the clear #1, not just WrestleMania match but the best march in WWE history. But it is refreshing that someone other than Austin get #1 because it feels like he's #1 for almost every list on WWE.com.

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  84. It wasn't a botch in the traditional sense. I don't know exactly what they were trying to accomplish, but what happened looked painful and ugly, which was probably somewhere along the lines of the desired outcome. Undertaker's foot catching the rope and tripping, that would have been a botch.

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  85. That's probably the match that's most disagreed upon here. A lot hate it, but a lot loved it and Scott went the full monty on it.

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  86. I like to think there's a difference between acknowledging his existence and participation in a great match and "glorifying a child murderer." Admitting that the main event of WM20 is actually good (and a much better match than many on that list) isn't the same thing.

    Unfortunately, there's too large a segment of wrestling fans that can't separate the two.

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  87. By his definition, the first Rock/Cena match and all of Undertaker's would fall under this category.

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  88. I've asked that question before. It's not the same guy.

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  89. Yes, people having souls is very unfortunate for those that think it's cool to celebrate child murderers.

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  90. Spot on with the Vader/RVD point

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  91. It makes me afraid for the future with that performance centre. Soon everyone will be wrestling like the Miz because wwe won't sign guys who have wrestled all over.

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  92. Fuck Benoit and his legacy. He doesn't merit any acknowledgement.

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  93. Meltzer hasn't had a North American ***** match since HBK/Taker. Except, of course:


    Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin - Showdown in the Sun Day 2
    CM Punk vs John Cena - Money in the Bank '11
    Do Fixer vs. Blood Generation - Supercard of Honor
    Kenta Kobashi vs Samoa Joe - Joe vs Kobashi
    AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels - Unbreakable
    Samoa Joe vs CM Punk - Joe vs Punk II

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  94. What about acknowledging the very good match put on by Triple H and HBK at WMXX?

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  95. Ah, yes, the "you don't have a soul because you don't say 'fuck Benoit' at every turn" trope. How original of you, Douglas.

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  96. How decent human being of me.

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  97. Punk/Lesnar should have gotten the full monty as well.

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  98. I saw this comment and thought "Where's Dougie?"

    And there you are!

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  99. My Time. But I think it only fit HHH for that period of time.

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  100. I was thinking more "how self-righteous and obnoxious of you"

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  101. Yea, because that was exactly what he said. Nice to have Dougie back in troll mode

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  102. Rock/Cena 1 has a huge "big match" feel imo. It's not Hogan/Andre but it was a pretty epic WM match. The subsequent lackluster rematch takes away from how important the first one felt

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  103. Aw. Somebody is a little mad that their warped view of the world was exposed.

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  104. Lol. The 'doctor' is in.

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  105. Missed ya too

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  106. It's good of you to admit that you are, Dougie, but honestly, I don't care. You have your beliefs, I have mine. I'm happy to leave it at that.

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  107. Who gives a shit? It's a WRESTLING match. Both hbk and HHH have storied enough careers that neglecting one mania main event won't hurt their feelings.

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  108. I regretted engaging as soon as I hit post.

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  109. It's not about "hurting feelings" or "glorifying" him. It's about presenting historical facts (things that actually happened) and letting the fans decide how they want to interpret it.

    Should people who commit crimes and play in real sports be abolished from the record books? Should politicians who commit crimes be expunged from history? I don't understand why people must be protected from making their own decisions or interpreting things how they want to.

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  110. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PYYaMJ6SfU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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  111. It's not a matter of protection. If someone is interested enough in Benoit's career, they can search out his matches. But wwe chooses not to glorify a murderer and that's their prerogative.

    It's like the teams that OJ SImpson played on. A fan could find game footage if they were so inclined but the teams can choose to ignore the player if they choose. It's not a disservice to the fans.

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  112. Yea, we just fundamentally disagree on a bigger issue. Wwe can do what they want, because they own the rights. I don't see how showing a match or 2 of his is "glorifying" him as opposed to just acknowledging that for better or worse, he was a historical figure within the company.

    However, I do understand why they are handling it they way they are

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  113. Why do so many people get upset with how meltzer awards stars to his matches? It's just one dude's opinion. I didn't agree with every review Ebert gave a film...

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  114. Yeah, there were a few...and I know Scott has mentioned both Richards v. Elgin and Cena v. Punk getting it. Money in the Bank is the important one there because you cant just claim indy ignorance as reason for forgetting it

    I guess he just forgot.

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  115. John Cena would like to have a word with you in regards to Austin always being #1 on these lists...Cena is consistently put on lists he has no right being on...and many times he's been made #1 for no reason other than WWE propaganda...such as when WWE said the FU/AA was the #1 finisher in the history of pro-wrestling...


    Austin is #1 on lists for a reason...he drew money like nobody else and he was entertaining...

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  116. CAUSE HE'S A JEW

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  117. He meant wwe matches. He's only EVER given 5, five star matches in the history of the wwe

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  118. It wasn't even Micheal Elgin's best match that year.

    Steen vs Elgin is October was.

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  119. "then maybe he should explain why sometimes two Japanese guys hitting
    each other with big moves with no flow or storytelling is worthy of
    praise."


    Assuming you are talking about 90's All-Japan (vs New Japan who uses a different style) those big moves usually are part of a story. Callbacks to earlier in the feud, the rising rungs on the Kings road and all that jazz. It all requires prior Knowledge though.

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  120. That's fair. I think some of it is that their main events are usually structured the same way at this point, and that's what we remember most. Take WM 28 tho for example. All 3 of the top matches were different enough to keep the show feeling fresh

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  121. Hen why didn't Goldberg have any five star matches?

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  122. I don't get it either, the guy is a critic. If you don't like his opinion then...just don't I guess.

    Entire message boards demanding 5-stars is silly.

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  123. Why would he say "North American" if he just meant WWE?

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  124. AverageJoeEverymanMarch 29, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    The Vader RVD point is thought provoking. I think the difference is when Vader does it that is who he is, if RVD does it it is a mistake.

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  125. Not enough Triple H matches. How did this list get approved???

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  126. I'm sure it was just a slip up on verbiage. It happens

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  127. It's because he has some very obvious biases. I don't give a shit but when you have a voice and are obviously based towards certain things, Bret Hart and NJPW come to mind, it comes off as unobjective

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  128. I understand it, but it's not all it's cracked up to be. Watching Japanese wrestling for hours on end would be a mind-numbing experience, but anybody here would gleefully sit through a Shawn Michaels marathon, I bet. That's the point.

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  129. Like when Scott called Bret Hart "a legitimate mainstream sports star worldwide" earlier this week.

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  130. Exactly, the botch and the subsequent countout is when the match upgraded to "great" to five-star territory for me.

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  131. Well, yeah. Vader's stiffing looked painful and probably felt painful. Some of RVD's kicks would break cartilage, but they were slow and they looked like they missed.

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  132. He's a shitty wrestler.

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  133. That and Bret/Owen are probably the most flawlessly wrestled matches I've ever seen.

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  134. why would they want to highlights the accomplishments of a murderer?

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  135. pah, top 30. how about a top 287?
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/miketchin/ranking-every-wrestlemania-match-ever-ipcp

    (all on the same page!)

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  136. Amsterdam_Adam_CurryMarch 29, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Because he's an American wrestling journalist and he shits on everything that doesn't happen in Japan? Or because 90% of his "insider info" turns out to be total bullshit? Fuck Meltzer, though when it comes to hard numbers, like buyrates and attendance figures and shit, he's usually pretty reliable.

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  137. The Hell you mean Meltzer hasn't had a North American ***** star match. CM Punk alone has had two! Samoa Joe had three! You can discount the one with Kobiashi since Kobiashi is Japanese, I guess, but still.... And maybe this is just the ROH fanboy in me, but Richards/Elgin!

    Dude, you're killing me here!

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  138. I probably should have read down the comments before posting mine, but yeah, all this. Before Punk was in WWE, it was pretty dire.

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  139. But he loves WWE matches. Look at the link I provided and all the **** matches he gave.

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  140. Would you mind sharing what out of the 90% of his "insider info" turns out to be total bullshit?

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