Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Half Luck, Half Skul: March Madness - The Greatest WrestleMania Match (R2)

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Half Luck, Half Skul: March Madness - The Greatest WrestleMania Match (R2)

    The Madness has returned. With 32 of the most elite matches in WrestleMania history advancing to the second round, there's diversity of opinion abound. What's to come as we continue to whittle down? Will more anti-Shawn Michaels or pro-Undertaker bias play a part? Has my bias toward Ladder matches met its match?

    I am once again joined by mizfan, Oliver, Steve, SirSam, Mazza, and 'Plan. Today, half of these matches will bid their bittersweet adieu and we will have the ground set for our Sweet 16.

    A reminder of the results thus far...

    Onward and upwards, then!

    Bracket A

    (1) Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (í09) vs. (8) Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair (í92)

    Oliver: I wish I could choose something that wasnít Taker/HBK in this one just for the sake of it, but I really canít. Plus, now we need to be serious and Lance Storm says that Taker vs Michaels is really good*. Who am I to doubt Lance Storm? Exactly. But as I think ĎPlan pointed out in the first round, Savage vs Flair is somehow lesser than the sum of itís parts where as, for my money, Taker vs HBK is greater than the sum of itís parts and deserves to progress here. I still question whether it really deserves to be the number one seed, but thatís just my take on the match and the competition itís up against.

    Steve: I hate that this is a choice that has to be made. Savage vs Flair is one of my all-time favorite Mania bouts and I'd have loved to see it go deep into this thing. That said, Taker/HBK at 25 just may be my favorite match. The circumstances surrounding my viewing it don't hurt, to be honest. Not sure if I've ever told this story or not, but I was dating a young lady at the time who was really into physical relations, if you will. I was also still very much a weed smoker. So I rolled a fat joint specifically to smoke during that match and she took note. When it started and I lit up, she was all, "I bet I know what could make it even better," and proceeded to go down on me for the duration of the entire thing. So I was getting a blowjob, smoking a fat joint and watching the best fucking match I'd ever seen... all at the same time.

    I don't know what the fuck else in this competition could stand up against that, to be honest.

    Skulduggery: This one isnít terribly difficult for me. Savage and Naitch compile a classic, lines in morality clearly drawn; itís a bout that magnetizes the crowdís desire to see the heel get whatís coming to him. On the other hand, though, Taker and Shawn deliver a war that sees explosive efforts from each man. There is a pace to this match that, relative to many other Streak matches in its ilk, allows audience incredulity without exhaustion. The counters are spectacular; the kickouts straddle that line of shock without quite going to oversaturation. This oneís on another level.

    'Plan: Iím going to admit to being something of a deliberate hipster on this one, and pick against what I expect the grain will be. Savage vs. Flair is a match that ages brilliantly, and rewards multiple re-watches with fresh detail as so many Savage classics often do. It picks up my vote here, not least because I find the Undertaker / Michaels match to be yet another of innumerable instances where fansí critical faculties often fail them, seeing them overlook a great many of the boutís flaws; itís one of the worst culprits for indulging the finisher kick out I can ever remember seeing, yet seems to get a free pass. Besides, itís not like it wonít comfortably move through to the next round here anyway.

    Mazza: My love for Randy and Ricís instant classic is strong however it has met its match in Shawn vs Taker. The first Mania meeting between the two legends very much warrants a high seed and is amongst the very elite matches at the Showcase of the Immortals. While I doubt I will vote for it all the way through, it does get the nod this time out.

    SirSam: Undertaker v Shawn Michaels was the first ever Ďgreatí match I saw unfold as it was happening. I was just starting my journey into wrestling and as I sat in my friends lounge room I truly was blown away by what Undertaker and Michaels did here. It was a far less cynical time in my fandom and after that suicide dive to the outside left Taker on the ropes I genuinely believed Michaels may just do it and break the mythical streak. Watching it back now I can see some flaws, they spend a lot of time lying around and it does rely a lot on false finishes, a trend that would not get better in Undertakerís matches at Mania. The Macho Man v Flair match is two of the best in the ring to ever do it but Iím going with my heart not my head here. Taker & Michaels to progress.

    mizfan: Ah, two major favorites right here! I truly do love both of these matches. Each one is a titanic clash between two of the best of their era. I will have to go with Taker/HBK by a hair, while I no longer think itís the best match in history I did think so when I saw it and thatís really saying something.

    (1) Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels ('09) wins 6-1

    (4) Ultimate Warrior vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (í91) vs. (5) Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (í14)

    'Plan: Itís an interesting comparison, this. Many would proclaim them to be two of the most emotive WrestleMania matches of all time, and accounting for mass reception they wouldnít be far wrong. Thereís no denying the might of emotion that propelled Daniel Bryan like a comet to the big stage of ĎMania XXX, and itís similarly hard to argue that the reunion of Savage and Elizabeth at the end of ĎMania VIIís insta-classic isnít a tear jerker in its own right. Ultimately, for me this comes down to the same factor that saw me vote against the WrestleMania XXX curtain jerker in the last round: I just find Bryanís polished and clinically unblemished ring work to be emotionally inaccessible, and while that certainly wasnít the case at the time in 2014 it has just as certainly become so in the years since. I have to go for Warrior and Savage.

    SirSam: Well no excuses for heart v head with this one as both of these efforts are 100% heart. The only match that has ever left me in tears against the culmination of the angle that got me back into wrestling. These are genuinely so close in my mind too, they both have fantastic in ring action that is driven by the characters involved and the story they are going to tell. I know Steve didnít like the fact that Warrior kicks out of so many Macho Man Elbow Drops but I personally love how it is Macho Manís drive and insanity coming up against the brick wall that is The Warriorís strength. If he had only done 2 or 3 with pins in between it would have been too much but somewhat counterintuitively the face he hit 5 in a row without even trying to get the pin creates one of the most dramatic kickouts I think the WWE has ever managed. In the end as perfectly as Triple H and Bryan do their match I think that Iíll have to go with the drama of Warrior v Savage.

    Mazza: Oh dear. Oh dear. Iím not crying. Youíre crying. Wrestling can connect with you at deep emotional levels and these are two of the handful of matches that will bring a tear to my eye. Not only that, they are both fantastically wrestled as well. At WMXXX the full on breakdown would come at the end of the evening so Randy and Warrior get a slight edge there. That said, Bryan and Hunter delivered a masterpiece. I canít go against it just yet. I also canít believe Iíve just voted against my favourite wrestler of all time twice in a row.

    mizfan: Warrior/Savage is a major miracle, insofar as the careful producing of Pat Patterson and the incredible talent of Savage created a Warrior match that I actually love. But Bryan/HHH is on a truly elite level to me, and contrary to other opinions Iíve seen offered, to me it loses absolutely nothing on the rewatch. That the match exists at all is a mind-bender, two guys who dominated the field in their respective promotions in the 2000s finally clashing at the top of the world. Triple H steps up to the plate admirably, and Bryan takes him to one of the best matches of his whole career.

    Skulduggery: Shaking aside my dislike for the victor, Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H is a really intelligently crafted match. Bryan delivers a frantic flurry of offense that ignites viewers; H responds with heavy-hitting moves that absolutely plant his smaller opponent and drain, momentarily, the enthusiasm of the heavily pro-Bryan crowd. Itís an absolute class in how to present a true heel in the modern era Ė something that fan reception has made very difficult. Bryan and the Game portray polar opposites, both in character and in match execution. Savage and Warrior warp the fabric of the typical wrestling match, but theyíre narrowly outshone here.

    Oliver: Warrior vs Savage isÖitís a bit over the top, isnít it? I get what theyíre going for with Warrior being the unstoppable object, but I didnít really get it in the context of the match which, whilst good, just doesnít hold a torch to Bryan vs HHH. I kind of wish it was easier to put this into words, because Iíve never really tried, but Bryan vs Triple H is everything that a Triple H match should have been for years and yet with an actual emotional core. Perhaps itís just because his opponent was Bryan, perhaps itís something else, but it never feels like itís overdoing it. Trips has a target and sticks with it, but more than anything it never feels like theyíre struggling to fill time or anything similar. They nail absolutely everything that needed to be done in that match, and as a result it feels concise, precise, andÖsomething else ending in Ď-ciseí. I love it, and I think without the groundwork it lays you donít get the emotion of the main event at WM30. A winner.

    Steve: As mentioned previously, Warrior/Savage still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I'm rolling with Bryan's win over The Game.

    (5) Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H ('14) wins 5-2

    (3) Money in the Bank Ladder Match (í05) vs. (6) Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (í03)

    mizfan: As I said in the first round, MITB I is still in many ways one of the best versions of the match to date, but it is also now one of the hardest to rewatch because a good chunk of it is dedicated to turning Chris Benoitís brain into hamburger meat. It would have been a close call even if that wasnít the case, but factoring that in the superiority of HBK/Jerichoís character driven drama comes clearly into focus.

    Steve: I love me some MITB, especially the early ones, but not as much as I love Jericho vs Michaels. Great performers, great story, phenomenal match. I hope to see this one go deep.

    'Plan: As big a fan as I am of the first Money in the Bank Ladders Match, Iíve already gone on record with my love and admiration for the match that wins my vote here: Michaels vs. Jericho. I donít want that to take away from the tremendous success that was WrestleMania 21ís Ladders Match, though, which remains to this day a picture perfect example of how to construct a multi-man scenario, relying as it did on a mix of complimentary styles, ensuring each participant had a specific role to play in the evolving story and lending that story a centre of gravity to help make its audience care about the outcome. It had stunts, of course, but so too did it have a lot of heart. Itís just outmatched here by the ĎMania XIX powerhouse.

    Oliver: This is a tough one for many reasons. The 2005 MitB match is possibly the best of the bunch when it comes to assessing those, with Benjamin flying everywhere, Christian, Edge, and Jericho holding down the fort as the veterans of multiple ladder matches. It just works, and at the time it gave the whole ladder match genre in WWE a new thing to run with, possibly making it the only reason why WWE still has ladder matches. But on the other side of that youíve got possibly one of the best WrestleMania pure singles matches, and the one that reannounced Mr WrestleMania on his stage. Could he have asked for a better return opponent, or return match, at the Grandaddy of them all than this? I donít think so.

    In the end, itís the singles match that gets me a little bit more in the heart, so Iím putting a vote in here for Michaels vs Jericho. Seedings be damned!

    SirSam: So ends the run of the MITB matches (hopefully). Iíll maintain this is the best one they ever did at Mania but it comes up against frankly one of the best matches ever. For people growing up in the 90s after Michaels had seemingly retired forever him against Jericho would have to have been a genuine dream match (in the truest sense of it). They way they pulled this one out was beat for beat exactly what you would have wanted, Jericho shadowing Michaels, ultimately getting caught but getting it back with a low blow at the end. If that wasnít enough this match has my favourite ever Jericho tights too.

    Mazza: Shawn vs Jericho, no questions asked. MITB rule is in the house for this one, even if it is the best version of the match.

    Skulduggery: To me, this is another clear choice, despite HBK/Y2J being a great match. The inaugural Money in the Bank Ladder Match is firmly one of my top 10 favorite matches of all time, and depending on the day, could be flirting with top 3 status. Watch this match from the perspective of any of the 6 combatants, and it shows a tremendous delivery of character. That such a performance simultaneously pulls off jaw-dropping spot after spot is an incredible marriage of character and action. Iíve so much more to say about this bout, but in an effort to not dwarf the real estate here, I think it needs its own columnÖ

    One key point that I have to strongly counter. I can definitely understand discomfort with the two occasions where Benoitís head takes damage, but I strongly disagree that a lot of the match is dedicated to that. Benoit, altogether, might appear in a third of the action in the entire match, and thereís nothing with his head until the last two minutes of the match. It is a very heavy spot in that area, with a massive diving headbutt, and I can definitely understand that thatís not a fun thing to watch backÖbut itís not a good chunk of the entire match.

    (6) Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (í03) wins 6-1

    (2) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock (í01) vs. (10) Evolution vs. The Rock n Sock Connection (í04)

    Mazza: Another easy pick to round off this bracket. I donít have much love for Evolution vs Rock n Sock. I have all the love in the world for Rock-Austin II.

    Steve: I mentioned before that I'm one of the few people who don't seem to really dig on the Rock/Austin Mania matches, at least as hard as most do. Even with that said, though, I certainly recognize that they, specifically the WM17 one, are better than Evolution vs Rock & Sock in what was a fun but almost seemingly kinda thrown together match.

    mizfan: Iíll probably lose on this one and I can live with that, but I really have to vote for Evolution/Rock Ďn Sock here. Austin/Rock II is no doubt a great match, but no matter how many times I watch it the finish drags it down for me. The crowd is so clearly not into the turn, and it feels so tacked on. The pure fun of the handicap match trumps it for me, a very underrated bout that Iím pleased to see even make it this far.

    Skulduggery: This is a great example of a very fun match against an epic. In this case, the latter triumphs. Rocky and Austin floored the gas pedal from the opening bell and crossed the finish line with a shocking turn.

    SirSam: I went into bat for Evolution v Rock n Sock last round and found a lot to like in it but the fairytale run of the 10th seed ends here. Sorry Mic, hopefully your match with Edge gets you further into the tournament. (2) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock (í01)

    Oliver: Oh, this whole bracket has been agonizing and this is super hard going in particular. I love both matches because they have something that I feel a lot of modern WWE really lacks Ė fun. But more than anything I love the story in Rock vs Austin, and thatís what pulls it through. The way it pulls the history and character of Austin apart before he finally plumbs the lowest depths possible in the end. I love that side of things, and I think it doesnít get brought up enough when this match comes into discussion Ė itís a storytelling classic. So that gets the vote here.

    'Plan: The Handicap Tag from ĎMania XX is fun, but I just cannot overlook its relative historical insignificance in comparison to its opponent. Steve Austin vs. The Rock headlined what many still consider the greatest show of its kind, while the reunion of Mick Foley and Rocky is just a well-rounded undercard bout that gets very little chatter, going on to be followed by the real gem of its central feud in Backlash 2004ís Hardcore Match. Not to disregard Foleyís comeback tour, but itís got to be Austin / Rock here.

    (2) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock (í01) wins 6-1


    Bracket B

    (1) TLC II (í01) vs. (9) The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan (í02)

    'Plan: Anyone who is familiar with me, my columns or my podcast appearances will know I have little time for Ladders Matches or TLC Matches. I voted for TLC II in the first round because it was partnered with one of the most woefully drab, horribly over-privileged ĎMania matches ever; it was, essentially, a victory by default. No such luck here. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan is a tsunami of an experience that remains infectious to this day. TLC II, meanwhile, to my mind, was an inferior sequel to what should have been a spectacularly compiled one-off and which, in turn, spawned an endless wave of successors its own that have become increasingly ridiculous as the years have gone on. Give me Rock and Hogan any day, and let me hope this will be a quick end of the line for X-Sevenís demolition derby.

    Steve: One of the most interesting parts of this whole thing, at least for me, will be seeing just how far we go until something presents a significant challenge to the instantly iconic Rock/Hogan bout. I mean, think of that. How many matches have you ever seen that you flat out knew immediately upon viewing that you'd just watched true history? Not them telling you it's history and shilling the event, but actual history? I haven't seen a lot, and Rock/Hogan ranks really high on the list of those I have.

    Skulduggery: I love how Fink announces the X-Seven tag match: ďThis is the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs TWO!Ē He doesnít even say the word ďmatchĒ. Gives this one such an epic feel, as if TLC is enough to let everyone know that a war is imminent. JRís hushed tone, when he speaks of the three teams wanting to raise the bar, adds to the dangerous atmosphere so much. And the match itself blows the hype out of the water Ė itís honestly just balls to the wall action, ramping up from the previous standards set by the same three teams. Hogan and Rock do an insanely impressive task in igniting the crowd, but honestly, TLC II pulls a pretty similar trick in the same avenue. So it comes down to the action, and TLC takes it in that arena.

    Mazza: Last round I said TLC II seemed a little overrated when it nabbed a 1 seed. It could be in trouble as early as round 2 against a 9th seed. In fact it should be. Those three teams really took things to another level at Mania 17 however Rock vs Hogan was special. It was epic. It was a moment in time that will last forever. It gets my nod here once again.

    Oliver: TLC II. I mean, it completely revolutionized the way wrestling worked, didnít it?

    SirSam: Iíll stand by my statement that this match is still the pinnacle of the TLC/ladder match stunt brawl genre. Once you have seen this match you have seen just about every stunt that can be performed with these instruments, done the three teams that the gimmick was uniquely created for. From this match on it has been a point of diminishing returns with this match style and the best ladder matches have been ones that havenít even tried to compete with TLC II. Rock v Hogan is an amazing Wrestlemania moment but is not the best that genre of match has ever offered up so it goes to TLC II.

    mizfan: Rock/Hogan is better than it has any right to be, thanks to an unbelievable crowd reaction and some basic but effective work from the two competitors. TLC II is my pick though, as it is not only one of the most phenomenally fun car crash matches ever, but also features a fair bit of layered character work thanks to the inclusion of some outside parties in key moments.

    (1) TLC II ('01) wins 4-3

    (4) Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista (í14) vs. (5) The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (í03)

    'Plan: I think it says a lot, quite apart from Shawn Michaels, and even with his fairly limited WrestleMania library, that Rocky has a big presence of his own in these second round matches. Iím shocked his first match with John Cena wasnít seeded, but I can forgive that oversight for the inclusion of my favourite Rocky ĎMania bout of them all. His third act with Austin garners my vote here, not least of all because of what I already detailed in round one when it comes to Daniel Bryan: robbed of the magic of the moment, and of its superior prologue, ĎMania XXXís main event watches as a terribly safe and awkwardly uneven Triple Threat Match.

    mizfan: As I said in the first round, the main event of 2014 stands up as a great moment, but the match itself falls just a bit short of that mark I think. The bits with Orton and Batista mixing it up alone are pretty dead, as the crowd is simply waiting for Bryan to get involved again, and the stretcher spot is a bit melodramatic. Still an excellent match, but it does lose something in translation I think. Rock/Austin III, however, was called by someone the darkest and richest chapter of their feud, and thatís something I agree with completely. I can possibly see the argument that itís finisher heavy, but this is one case where I think it actually works as it drives the idea that both men are urgently seeking a victory, in Austinís case downright desperately. I will mention again the especially gutsy performance of Austin, who was hospitalized only the day before and came out swinging as hard as he could for his swan song.

    Mazza: Now weíre talking. Rock-Austin III was masterful in-ring storytelling. The triple threat from XXX was the end of an emotional rollercoaster. Not going to lie, I wish I was still riding that Ďcoaster. Bryanís crowning achievement gets my vote once again. My connection to it is just so strong itís hard to vote against it.

    Oliver: So, Iíve ummed and ahhed here a lot, because this one is super close for me. On the one hand youíve got the culmination of the single best one night story WWE have ever told, and on the other youíve essentially got the final bookend of the Attitude era as the two major stars of that period duke it out one last time. So itís a tough one Ė but in the end Iím a heart guy, and my heart says Bryanís incredible journey wins out.

    SirSam: The finale to probably the biggest and greatest rivalry in WWE history. It has to be Rock v Austin.

    Steve: Pretty easy choice for me on this one. I already mentioned my Rock/Austin hot take, and seeing Bryan climb the mountain was so damn awesome a moment. Perhaps if we'd known at the time that it was Austin's last match, the WM19 bout would have meant more to me at the time and have held a stronger sentimental value. We didn't, though, so it hasn't.

    Skulduggery: Ah, man. This is a tough one. I find both matches to be a little overrated, to be honest. Austin and The Rock has a wonderfully refreshing story behind it, in that it's wildly different in tone from their two previous Mania encounters. The closing of the match is a touch too formulaic, though. I'm not as crazily on board with the triple threat match at XXX, either. It's a bonkers kind of match, but to me, Bryan's battle with the Game was the story truly worth telling. It felt way more personal. The Batista Bomb into an RKO spot was insane, but the stretcher spot was too much for me.

    At the end of the day, I will very narrowly cast a vote for Stone Cold and The Rock, for, if nothing else, Rocky's truly genius and transcendent heel character and work.

    (5) The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (í03) wins 4-3

    (3) Ricky Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (í87) vs. (6) Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (í15)

    mizfan: Breathing a sigh of relief that Steamboat/Savage has survived! Itís a match that truly stands the test of time, a wonderfully character driven story coupled with some elite action. I donít see how the í15 main event has a chance here, it has some strong elements but generally it seems people think either a surprisingly great Roman/Brock match was ruined by intereference, or a predictably dull singles match was saved at the last minute by an unexpected inclusion. Either way it's got problems for everyone, and Steamboat/Savage should walk away comfortably here.

    Oliver: Do you think there would be a Seth Rollins if Steamboat and Savage hadnít ripped the world apart in 1987? I donít think there would have been. They didnít exactly reinvent the wheel, and certainly if you look at the matches going on in the world before and around this time a lot of what they did was also happening elsewhere. But what they did do was pull that style right up into the public conscience and, I think, weíre only really now getting to the point where we really recognize just how impactful that match was Ė as main eventers in WWE have become smaller, prompted by the proliferation of indy talent, so the influence of Steamboat vs Savage has become more significantly felt. I think itís really, really hard to bet against that match, and you have to go with it here Ė not that Iím against the Triple Threat or anything, but the historical significance of the í87 bout here is just too great for it not to progress.

    SirSam: Oh, poor ĎPlan, Seth Rollins has once again ended up against Steamboat v Savage. This one is a bit easier than last round, Steamboat v Savage is possibly the most important match in terms of the template it set for how pro wrestling is performed to this day. I do love the sense of dread initially in the Lesnar v Reigns match and then the urgency of Rollins when he gets in there but I will have to go with the historical best midcard match ever.

    'Plan: I remember thinking in the first round that I wouldn’t face any taller a challenge throughout this tournament than having to pick between Savage vs. Steamboat and Rollins vs. Triple H. Well, Rollins and Savage clash again here and, if anything, the call is even harder. Itís harder not because both matches are on a similar level, but because itís difficult to pretend ĎMania 31ís show closer has anything on the definitive pro wrestling match of the 20th Century even though itís what Iím going to do!

    Reigns vs. Lesnar remains a clear example of WWE firing on all cylinders and judging a highly volatile situation perfectly. The execution of whoeverís vision that main event match had been was incredible, and a visceral treat. Really, though, what tips the scales in its favour for me here is, firstly, it gave me the moment Iíd waited my entire life to see Ė witnessing in real time my favourite ever wrestler winning his first World Championship Ė and, secondly, I donít see it going through to round three - so I wanted to at least let it go out swinging!

    Skulduggery: Rollinsí heist of the century took out my beloved Mysterio/Angle/Orton, so it has that going against it. Pettiness aside, however, itís a titanic tilt that morphs into a stunning result when Rollins shatters expectations and enters the fray. Iíll throw it a vote over Steamboat and Savage, which, again, I find to be a damn good bout, though not quite in the mythical air in which itís held by many.

    Steve: I dig me some Steamboat/Savage as much as the next guy... but Rollins cashing in and winning that strap was not only the most unexpected but also the single greatest WrestleMania ending of all time. It was, and remains, epic. I loved the execution of Ricky vs Randy, but the sheer "Holy shit!" aspect of the (sudden) triple threat trumps it for me.

    Mazza: The WrestleMania 31 main event was a fantastic match with a shocking twist at the end. Itís why I am still very much looking forward to the WrestleMania 34 main event despite a lot of the issues surrounding it. Ricky and Randy is the classic that keeps giving however. I hear people talk about it not holding up well sometimes. That truly baffles me. Sure there are no extraordinary flips and moves, but the story is perfectly told and the execution is as smooth and flawless as you like. It moves on again here for me.

    (3) Ricky Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (í87) wins 4-3

    (2) Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (í94) vs. (7) Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (í16)

    mizfan: I wonít vote the ladder match down the line, but Ramon/HBK is the clear choice here. Both matches could be seen as revolutionary but only one of them really holds up in that light, the women put on a really good match in 2016 but the only thing revolutionary was that WWE was finally acknowledging women are people and can have talent too after staunchly denying the fact for years.

    Oliver: Iím not sure if this is controversial or not, but Iím going to lean into the womenís Triple Threat here. Itís a match I really like. I donít dislike the ladder match, donít get me wrong, but I feel like in terms of being really groundbreakingÖI donít know, Ramon and Michaels wasnít the first ladder match to ever happen, Nagasaki and Clive Myers had one on World of Sport years before where they went to grab a gold record years before and Iím pretty sure there were even some in Stampede before then. So really, whilst the highest profile one at the time and certainly deserving all the accolades it got, I feel like Flair, Banks, and Lynch all working together to completely smash open what women were capable of on the main WWE roster now. So Iím going for that one.

    SirSam: The first ever ladder match against the first ever match for the modern day WWE Womenís Championship. This is where I get picky and talk about the ending of the womenís match. While Ric Flair is of course Ďthe dirtiest player in the gameí and it makes complete sense for him to interfere on behalf of his daughter I really wish he hadnít started a trend of guys being involved in the finish of these historical womenís matches. The Razor Ramon v Michaels match was so logically put together with Michaelís return and innovated, for better or worse, a match type that has become a staple of the modern day wrestling landscape.

    'Plan: Another tricky one here, between two matches that share at least one characteristic in common: definition. While Michaels and Ramon didnít Ďredefineí the Ladder Match as is often claimed, they certainly Ďdefinedí the first chapter of its lifecycle. Similarly, Flair, Banks and Lynch had not only, as names, come to Ďdefineí the Womenís Revolution but their main event worthy outing at WrestleMania 32 Ďdefinedí that Revolution as a success. It may be a minority opinion, but Iím going to vote for the perennially underrated Womenís Championship Match, which doesnít get the credit it deserves for succeeding at a time when the legacy of the Revolution rested on one boutís shoulders and where failure would have been so terribly easy. It deserves more love and more respect than it receives for living up to expectations in an environment of near-impossible pressure and daunting historical responsibility.

    Mazza: This one is going to make it two out of two for the Intercontinental Championship. Shawn and Razor take this one. Iíd say that this one doesnít hold up quite as much the previous one but it was groundbreaking at the time for sure. Groundbreaking would be the word to use for the ladies too. I believe they will have a genuine contender for one of these in the next couple of years but they fall here for my money.

    Skulduggery: Toughest Round 2 vote for me thus far. With both standing out as cornerstones in one fashion or another, I must distill down to the action itself. The ladder match features some great moves, with Michaels raining down from above, for instance, and a perfect finish in terms of drama and plausibility. The triple threat match has a moment or two of clumsiness, with Banksí roll-through on Becky into the submission struggling twice, but it vastly outshines those moments with great multi-person action. It capitalizes all of the right elements of a triple threat, in the facets of interrupting finishers without hurting them, and showcasing some truly unique counters and move amplifications. Itís marginally thin, but Charlotte, Sasha, and Becky grab my vote once again.

    Steve: Damn. I really didn't want to lose the ladies so early into these proceedings. Not only because I'm a pretty big mark for the Women's divisions these days, but also just because that match was incredible and I saw it live and stuff. But up against THE ladder match, I really don't have a whole lot of choice but to bid the women's match a bittersweet farewell.

    (2) Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (í94) wins 4-3


    Bracket C

    (1) Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels (í05) vs. (9) Undertaker vs. Batista (í07)

    Skulduggery: Lots of controversy around Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels in the opening round. Count me firmly in the camp of approval. Taker and Bats stack up well, though, with a bout that values power-packed strikes over technique, though it does so in a way that doesnít sacrifice finesse completely. Yet, Angle/Michaels does the same thing, with additional elements galore. Chalk this one up to pageantry over brutality.

    Steve: I loved Angle vs Michaels, but I'm rolling with my Taker bias. Besides even that, though, I legit feel this match to be among the better underrated bouts in the event's history and want to give it a bit more shine. I full expect Michaels/Angle to roll through, though.

    'Plan: My disdain for the Michaels-clichť that is his WrestleMania 21 match with Kurt Angle proved deeply unpopular with some readers in round one. Iím sticking to my guns here. On a simple conceptual level itís as generic a second-career Shawn match was you could find, in honesty; at least, it is when it isnít too busy being too daft to laugh at. Michaels Ďout-wrestlingí Angle? Give me a break.

    Iím hoping this one is going to be an upset, because Iím voting for Undertaker vs. Batista at WrestleMania 23 with as much heart as I can muster: another ĎMania classic that doesnít get anywhere near the love it deserves. 23ís World title clash remains a Streak favourite of mine and impresses me every time I re-watch it. Its intense pacing, punchy action and sizzling motivation all pulse with crackling energy and visceral hostility. It sneers, it growls and it hates with Attitudinal dressing. I adore it, and consider it the far superior artistic achievement between these two matches.

    SirSam: My first ever favourite wrestler was Batista so I have a lot of time for The Animal and this match really was one of his best outings but it gets out-wrestled and suplexed all over the ring by Angle v Michaels.

    mizfan: I tend to think both these matches are great in their own way, but while HBK/Angle was presented (in a rather self conscious way) to be an ďepicĒ, it was Taker/Batista who really rose to the occasion and beat all expectations by putting on a top level hoss battle. Give me Taker/Bats here for the upset!

    Mazza: Itís gonna take a lot to knockout HBK vs Kurt, even with 3 of the panel seemingly having issues with it. I almost think I have to give it an autovote to even that out!! I have far too much integrity to do that however itís another comfortable victory here. Dave and The Deadman was very good but not in that elite Mania match grouping.

    Oliver: Putting my love of Taker/Bats to one side for a minute Ė itís Angle vs Michaels, isnít it? I mean, that thing is magnificent. Did anybody have as good a three Mania run as Michaels from XIX to XXI? Even though I might think he was a piece of work at times, the dude could go when he really put his mind to it.

    (1) Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels (í05) wins 4-3

    (5) Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (í03) vs. (13) Christian vs. Chris Jericho (í04)

    mizfan: Ah, a very tough choice here! Both of these matches deliver on the top level, and I would be happy with either outcome. Christian/Jericho is a bit more character driven but Lesnar/Angle have them beat in terms of spectacle and action. I think this time I have to go with the bigger of the two matches, Lesnar/Angle it is!

    'Plan: Good grief, this is a difficult call. On the one hand, I consider Lesnar vs. Angle a perfect WrestleMania main event; certainly, I canít think of one that has ever shared the same depth of legitimate credibility. On the other hand, Christian and Jericho essentially created what, in the minds of many fans, could be considered ĎMania mid card heaven. Really, then, this is, in my mind, a question of which beats which: a perfect ĎMania main event, or a perfect ĎMania mid card match? I get a real kick out of the wide-eyed emotional innocence of Christian vs. Jericho, shock twist and all, I do, but I have to go with my instinct and plump for Lesnar vs. Angle. I guess its intensity trumps that emotional innocence, and its own shock ending, while shocking in a different manner and for all the wrong reasons is, all the same, infinitely more shocking.

    Mazza: Now we are talking. Youíve got a midcard bout rich in story and action. Youíve got a main event that was fantastically wrestled even if the events surrounding the finish take you out of the magic slightly. Two great matches for sure but I think American amateurs wins out here over Canadian craftiness. Brock and Kurt for the win.

    Oliver: Eh, Iím going for the Canadian duo. Donít ask why. Gut feeling having watched the two back. Maybe Iíll work out why I like it more one day.

    Skulduggery: Iím thrilled that the Canadian midcarders pulled off the upset, albeit at the expense of a very good Punk/Taker bout. And as a Canadian midcarder myself, so to speak, Iím shining up the wheels on the pumpkin carriage for a Cinderella run. Christian vs. Chris Jericho gets my vote!

    Steve: Cool match from Kurt and Brock and all, but up against two of my all-time favorite performers in the culmination of one of my all-time favorite angles? The big necked dudes didn't stand a chance. Team Vitamin C, por vida.

    SirSam: Bring on the fairytale run of the match about two guys having a bet to bed a woman first. Could be cringe inducing wrestle crap but it is Jericho, Christian and Trish Stratus. Sure it doesnít make a whole lot of sense that Trish would end up with a guy that beat her up and betrayed her but it is the early 00s WWE so I guess women are just evil.

    (13) Christian vs. Chris Jericho (í04) wins 4-3

    (3) Edge vs. Mick Foley (í06) vs. (6) Undertaker vs. Triple H (í11)

    Skulduggery: Taker and Tripsí second crack at dethroning the WrestleMania 22 hardcore match. Another swing and a miss by my counts. Edge and Foley display a guttural, vicious, hide-your-eyes kind of battle that still shines through with psychology. Edge wrestles with a desperate and hungry intensity after his cup of coffee with the WWE Championship was vanquished far too quickly. Foley is sickeningly comfortable amidst the wreckage. Even though I mightily appreciate the story told by the Game and the Deadman, their candle is snuffed here.

    Mazza: In a lot of ways, I would class the Mania 27 bout between Taker and Trips as the streakís finest. I absolutely adore the pace, the brutality, just how measured it is. Ten years earlier, Hunter found himself in American Badassí yard. Here it was the cerebral assassin show. I get the feeling it falls here to popular hardcore bout so I just wanted to give it a last bit of love, and a vote!


    Witchcraft! Sorcery! Black magic! How could a man ever kick out of a wrestling move?!? Iím in mortal fear for my life, for some reason! Yeah, Taker/HHH at 27 is a stupid, melodramatic match with glacial pacing, while Edge/Foley is a character driven star-making classic. No question here, Edge/Foley takes it by about a million miles!

    'Plan: In round one, I shared my love for the performance art masterpiece that was Undertaker vs. Triple H at WrestleMania XXVII, appreciating others in this group feel very much opposed to that thought. But where mizfan sees ludicrous, inexplicable melodrama I see a commitment to a fantastical fiction unafraid of its status as a story, and thatís much too rare in WWE Ė dare I say in pro wrestling Ė today. While some might consider both of these matches to be an inferior version of a better idea that had already come before, I share that sentiment only regarding the ĎMania 22 Hardcore Match. Its opponent here stands as its own incredible accomplishment and I once again vote for the muse on mortality that is Undertaker vs. Triple H.

    Oliver: Edge and Foley all the way here. I mean, Taker/HHH isnít really bad if you buy into the storyline around it, and itís certainly not as self indulgent as the pair were a year later, but Edge vs Foley is just *chef kiss*

    Steve: My Taker bias slips. The Mania bout between Edge and Foley stands out as one of my favorites from both guys, each of whom I hold in very high regard. It told a great story, it was beautifully brutal and it had the subtle addition of Lita playing her part absolutely perfectly within the match. Sorry, Deadman.

    SirSam: Ladies and gentlemen, a spear through a flaming table ends this match. Edge and Foley went out to steal the show in 2006 and did they ever make it happen. As good as it was I always got a feeling of a little too much verbosity and self-importance from the Triple H v Undertaker matches.

    (3) Edge vs. Mick Foley (í06) wins 5-2

    (2) Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart (í94) vs. (10) Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match (í15)

    Steve: No contest for me with this one. I really love Owen vs Bret. I'm gonna be sad when it inevitably goes away at some point in the possible near future.

    Mazza: No long ting here. The Hart Brothers all day long.

    mizfan: Is there any point even discussion this one? Owen/Bret for an easy win.

    Oliver: Owen vs Bret, from the only good WrestleMania before the year 2001. Seriously, name one great top to bottom Mania before XVII. Bet you canít.

    Skulduggery: I can finally vote against a Daniel Bryan victory without feeling conflicted in the slightest? Easy decision here! Owen and Bret, vehemently!

    SirSam: I mean, it is the greatest wrestling family ever...

    'Plan: Well this is a no brainer. A psychological master class, or a multi-man Ladders Match that should have never even existed, despite what positives I might try and find in it to prevent it from tarnishing my favourite WrestleMania of all-time? Itís the psychological master class of course. I vote for the Hart brothers unreservedly.

    (2) Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart (í94) wins 7-0


    Bracket D

    (1) Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (í97) vs. (8) Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins (í15)

    Oliver: Hart vs Austin takes the win with ease, and weíll all have to leave more to say about that for the later rounds.

    Steve: Rollins vs Orton is a pretty solid match, but about 75% or so of its legacy rests squarely upon it's final 5 seconds. It can't touch the sheer overall artistry of Austin vs Hart. There are matches I like more than the legendary WM13 battle, but it is absolutely one of those bouts referred to as the best ever for a reason.

    'Plan: I thought Rollins vs. Savage was as hard as this was going to get, but now this sick son of a gun Skulduggery is making me choose between the man I considered my favourite of all-time for all the years I was growing up and the man who has come to replace him?! Hart vs. Austin is my favourite match of all-time. So thatís easy. But thenÖRollins is my favourite wrestler of all-time. So that should be easy. Hmmm. I sincerely doubt the WrestleMania 31 match goes through here, but Iíll be damned if another Rollins match gets dropped without a fight. Itíll have at least one vote. Principles, be damned! I vote Rollins vs. Orton, against my own favourite match ever!

    And as Iím unlikely to be able to write about it past this point, I think the Architect vs. the Viper is an outstanding piece of work, obviously. I guess itís my own personal Christian vs. Jericho. Not only do the two flow together in the ring like water their work is so seamless, but thereís a robust subtext of familiarity in play as both demonstrate their literacy with one another through endless counter wrestling in what becomes a match of a classical construction; all topped off with one of the iconic RKOs for the ages. Contrary to prevailing general opinion, itís not just a one-moment match but another slice of that same ĎMania mid card heaven from which ĎMania XXís much loved sleeper hit stemmed from too.

    mizfan: Bret/Austin is going to be nearly impossible to beat in this, and thatís as it should be.

    Skulduggery: Watching Austinís savage refusal to say uncle, amidst blood seeping down his face and into his teeth, is one of the more powerful images youíll see in a wrestling ring. Itís also a brave finish that completes its aim with flying colors. Compare that to Orton and Rollins, who not only put forth a vibrant match, but, with the pop-up RKO, gave the modern era a clip that has busted replay buttons everywhere. It doesnít quite have the depth of the submission match, though.

    Mazza: Lots of talk about the submission match winning this whole thing. I am pretty sure I will vote against it as some point. That point is not now though. As you may have gathered, I do love me a good midcard Mania match but these two donít really belong on the same conversation.

    SirSam: The RKO counter to the Curb Stomp sure is a slick ending to a mid card match that just builds perfectly but it still doesnít touch Austin v Hart.

    (1) Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (í97) wins 6-1

    (4) Undertaker vs. Triple H (í12) vs. (5) Triangle Ladder Match (í00)


    Boo hoo hoo! Wrestlers are wrestling in a wrestling match! Iím Shawn Michaels, Iím going to do my tragedy dance and cry like a little girl in the corner! Stupid. Ladder match is super fun and easily gets my vote over the farewell match that actually said farewell to nobody and featuring an acting level somewhere between William Shatner and your local middle school.

    SirSam: If this had been the absolute last time either Triple H, Shawn Michaels or The Undertaker was seen on WWE TV I would have been a very happy man. Amazing ending to an incredible four match series. While I said it was sometimes a little full of itself (and this wasnít any different) by this time the series had kind of earnt the right to be a bit pigheaded. The Triangle Ladder Match would later be surpassed by TLC 1 & 2 so Iím happy to leave it at this point.

    Skulduggery: The Hell in a Cell match is like Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Itís an epic. A tremendous story written over a lengthy period of time that requires energy and historical knowledge from the viewer. The Triangle Ladder Match, in contrast, is like Code to Zero by Ken Follett. Shorter, and with less of a grand feel, but itís a pulsating page-turner that keeps one on the edge of oneís seat. Both matches are great for different reasons, just like both books were great, but Iím going with the page-turner. Check yes on the ladder match.

    Mazza: Another tough one here. Singles vs Tag Teams. Cells vs Ladders. Ah sod it, I am going with my boy again here. End of an Era gets my vote.

    Oliver: No triangle ladder match = no TLC = no Edge as a main eventer, no Jeff Hardy as a main eventer, no Broken Matt, no Ďone more matchí Christian, no Bully Ray. Maybe no Devon would have been welcome, though.

    Steve: Redemption. I had to roll with Edge/Foley over their WM27 match, but I'm back in the Taker saddle for the End of an Era match. It's not just Taker Bias, though. There's a certain sick beauty to the sheer brutality of what those guys did to each other, similar, ironically, to my feelings on the Edge/Foley bout. It's not my favorite Taker performance, but it is certainly among the most memorable.

    'Plan: In all honesty, while both of these hold a certain spot in my affections, I have no massively strong feelings for either (as a stand-alone piece in the case of the Cell, at least). That made picking here deceptively difficult for me. I appreciate the Triangle Ladders Match much more than any of its TLC descendants thanks to its naturally greater restraint, as the participants had only started to explore what they could do with their new format. Some might say the result is a more tepid experience, but I find it more satisfying. The Hell in a Cell, however, putting aside its bizarre promotional tag line, endures in my mind not only as the more affecting match on an emotional level but also as a superior achievement in genre wrestling, importantly redefining rather than whimsically experimenting like the ĎMania XVI Tag Championship affair did. I vote for the End of an Era Match that didnít end any Eras.

    (4) Undertaker vs. Triple H (í12) wins 4-3

    (3) Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (í10) vs. (6) Undertaker vs. Edge (í08)

    Steve: Well ain't this a bitch. I love both matches. They're both great and both stand tall in Taker's Mania legacy. At the end of the day, it comes down to story and emotion to separate the two. This would've been much more difficult to determine had it not been Shawn's farewell, built upon such a solid storyline leading up to it.

    Mazza: I am by no means a huge HBK fan. I mean I like the guy but he is clearly overrated to an insane level by sections of the IWC. I have the same view of Edge to be honest. As for these two streak matches, I like the Edge bout, but I really really liked the HBK retirement match. The tetralogy marches on for me.

    mizfan: I have a bad feeling Iím going to lose this one, but in my mind Taker/Edge is by far the superior of these two matches. Both matches tell a good story, but while Taker/HBK II is almost all bells and whistles to cover up Takerís quickly deteriorating body, Taker/Edge is a prime showcase for the deadman. The story of Edge having scouted Taker within an inch of his life and pulling out unexpected counters all match long to keep his head above water before finally resorting to some dirty tricks (which results in some pheneomanl bumps from Edgeís cronies, by the way) is an underrated and stupendous one, and sets the tone for the all time great feud between these two men which would dominate the rest of the year. Taker/HBK is a lot more hot air and suffers from the ďself conscious epicĒ style that Michaels sometimes fell into during his second run. Really pulling for Taker/Edge here!

    'Plan: This is quickly transforming into a Shawn Michaels tournament and I wonít have it!

    Admittedly, I do really like WrestleMania XXVIís main event and a damn sight more than the more over-hyped first encounter between the Dead Man and the Heartbreak Kid from the year before I have to say. I think the sequel tells the stronger story, has a greater sense of direction in the first half and is generally a less glossy, more substantive experience to revisit. Having said that, I anticipate this will prove a close vote and I think the WrestleMania XXIV closer needs every vote it can get, in spite of it being, to me, the clear victor. Edge vs. The Undertaker is a match I have totally rediscovered in the process of researching these bouts, and one that, for all the people that do love it, probably still remains terribly under-appreciated. Itís a genuine opus for both its participants and itís the vote winner for me.

    Oliver: Iím going for Taker vs Edge here. Why? Because I can. Also because I love that match. Taker had a real renaissance working with Edge and Bats in the late 00s, and Iíd rather watch those matches again and again than his Michaels and HHH work. So there.

    Skulduggery: Is Taker/Edge going to be the Retirement Match killer in this tournament? It whacked Edge/Del Rio in the first round, now itís up against HBKís final bow, a bout which licked Flairís ďfinaleĒ in the first round! And yeah, Iíll hand it one of the four necessary swords to attain that status. Again Ė the XXIV main event isnít one that I rate quite as loftily as many do, but itís still very, very good.

    SirSam: The desperation of Shawn Michaels is palpable in the 2010 match, he simply will not go quietly into the sunset. Even though this match does its best to do something different to their 2009 match I will got for the Undertaker v Edge match. It was the first time in a long time Undertaker had been given that main event spot and Edgeís first opportunity in it, as hungry as Shawn Michaels was in kayfabe, these two were hungrier in reality to steal the show and prove why they deserved the coveted position.

    (6) Undertaker vs. Edge (í08) wins 5-2

    (2) Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (í04) vs. (7) Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (í96)

    SirSam: For a long time in my early wrestling fandom, the Mania 20 Triple Threat was my favourite match of all time and I didnít have the patience for the Iron Man Match. Coming back to these two now I can see the guts and brilliance in the iron man match. The Triple Threat in many ways set the template for how these matches work but the Iron Man match does something totally unique in the WWE even up to today so gets it for me.

    Oliver: HBK and Trips wrestling an invisible man takes this one, hands down.

    Skulduggery: Iíve spoken a lot about character and themes and what not Ė and for this one, blast it. The triple threat is just more fun.

    Mazza: Once again I am not the worldís biggest fan of the Mania XX triple threat, however screw the ironman match from now until eternity.

    Steve: Iron Man all day. I've got a big Mania 12 soft spot and remember being awestruck by HBK vs The Hitman the first time I saw it on Coliseum Home Video. The nostalgia factor is off the charts. Given the ending of the WM20 bout, it may have actually hung in there with the same level of nostalgia had it not been for what unfortunately occurred later. If we're voting based on sheer match quality, this is a close one. It's Mania, though, and emotion counts.

    Speaking of my WM12 sentimentality, I just noticed that maybe my sentimental favorite WrestleMania match ever wasn't even included in this tournament. I don't know if I should be angry that Diesel vs Undertaker was overlooked or happy that I won't have to see people talk mad shit about it on the way to kicking it out of the mix. Same goes for Piper vs Goldust, which I also hold in high regard.

    So... thanks? Or screw you? Or something.

    'Plan: And now itís Shawn Michaels vs. Shawn Michaels. Again. Joy! Luckily, itís two Shawn Michaels matches I truly love. Unfortunately, itís two Shawn Michaels matches I truly love and struggle to separate. One redefined Triple Threat Matches for the next eleven years and one redefined what wrestling main events could strive to be. Both did it immensely successfully. Whatís more, both have genuinely emotional significance underpinning their conclusion, marking the end of a real world odyssey (even if one is now horribly tainted by its future history). Two watershed main eventsÖand I pick the earlier of the two. I vote Michaels vs. Hart, and I do so out of nothing more than personal preference. The only thing I can use to separate these two is the fact one has Bret Hart in, so I vote for that one!

    mizfan: Sad to see the Iron Man run up against such a tough opponent here, but I donít think it has a chance to go over the XX Triple Threat, which definitely gets my vote here. I did love the Iron Man much more than I remember on the re-watch and I think it deserves a lot of credit, but the Triple Threat is one of the finest matches I have seen in all of wrestling history, perfectly character driven and structured for maximum effect at every moment.

    (2) Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (í04) wins 4-3

    With a record number of 4-3 votes and only a single sweep to be found (Owen and Bret have yet to fail to secure a vote), this tournament is heating up! The panel is split more than Matt Hardy and Lita were in '05 - an indication of just how many great WrestleMania matches there are, and how difficult it is to truly separate them.

    Christian vs. Chris Jericho ('04) is now officially the Cinderella of the tournament, having knocked off both a (4) and a (5) seed! Can it reach the heights of its Billy Kidman predecessors?

    We're down to 16. Interestingly, 14 of them are 1-on-1 matches, only four WrestleManias have multiple matches still alive (and three of them were in a 4-year span - X-Seven, XIX, and XX, with X acting as the outlier), and Shawn Michaels has the most matches remaining, with 5.

    March Madness rolls on!

  2. #2
    Senior Member JacobWrestledGod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Such a great read, I am really mad that Rock vs Hogan is out of this as it is to date one of the biggest matches ever, I don’t quite remember a match that played the crowd emotions as effectively as Rock vs Hogan.
    And Jacob wrestled with God.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    I'm glad we've had a little Cinderella run so far - was worried we wouldn't get one without Kidman in here for us all to rally behind!

    Some of these were super close for me to separate so I can see why there are so many 4-3 votes going down. And things are only going to get tougher, which I can't wait for. Good work everyone!

  4. #4
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Newcastle, Australia
    I loved how easily we made the decision on the Owen v Bret match. You picked a great panel here Skull, a lot of diversity and some real close calls.

  5. #5
    The Brain
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Well, it'll be hard to top Steve's story about watching Taker/HBK '09. That's quite a thing.

    Overall, very pleased with these results! Almost everything went my way, even a few I didn't expect to win on just yet. Very pleased indeed!

    I feel like we may have talked about it before, but I do find it strange that Skul dislikes Daniel Bryan so. I guess it just shows there are no sacred cows in wrestling, everybody has a detractor somewhere.

    I'll concede that I used a bit of hyperbole about the first MITB match when it comes to Benoit, however there are some really unsettling shots to his head in the match, and it's enough to knock it down a peg in my book.

    Curious if Ollie's comment about TLC2 redefining the way wrestling is worked is in earnest. I'm assuming not, though it's an interesting example of tropes that would become far more pronounced in the years to come.

    Pleased that Angle/HBK was already on the verge of elimination. We really only need one convert to put it out in the next run. Ollie, where's that blind HBK hate now?!? I know you loved Taker/Bats, we could have put it through here!

    Beyond pleased that HHH/Taker '11 has fallen by the wayside. On some level I can respect Plan's assertion that what I see as melodrama is simply an unapologetic embracing of a certain mindset, but it never stops looking silly to me. Case in point, I get to keep posting that HHH/Taker '12 gif where Shawn Michaels has a blubbering tantrum.

    Even though I didn't vote for it, I absolutely love that Christian/Jericho is toppling matches with a lot more reputation to their name. Definitely one of the best midcard bouts in history!

    And lastly, loving that Taker/Edge is getting recognition here. I consider it one of the all time greatest 'Mania main events, and one of the most underrated in that category as well. I don't think it has the juice to win the whole thing, but I'm really glad it made it this far at least.

    Loving this Skul, my next write up is headed your way shortly!

  6. #6
    The Doctor's Orders
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    What a powerhouse Sweet 16 for the HBK-Taker-led group. This continues to be a marvelous piece of work gentlemen. So much of what I read on the internet these days, column wise, pales in comparison to the quality of what you guys are doing here - conceptually, this is a brilliant idea that feeds the WrestleMania mythology bubbling to the forefront of most of our minds at this time of the year, but this is also being executed with content that is highly engaging. I just love it.

    I really think that Jericho vs. HBK is underseeded. It's comfortably one of the Top 20 WrestleMania matches ever, so how it slipped is, I think, being questioned in the glowing praise it keeps receiving and the big statements regarding it's status as one of the all-time best matches period (Mania lore and beyond)

    On that front, it remains shocking to me that Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock was a fucking NINE SEED! I felt like it had the potential to be like the Kentucky team from a few years back (2014, I want to say) that underperformed all year until the tournament started and gave their seeding a big middle finger for three weeks en route to the final. I thought Rock vs. Hogan would prove itself underseeded like HBK vs. Jericho did. Alas, here we are...and one of the most immersive fan experiences in history gets knocked out for a friekin' stunt brawl ladder match

    Aside from that, the group headlined by TLC II made for a fascinating read when judged against one another. All four match-ups went 4-3. That's a really intriguing Sweet 16 group too. I could see very clearly three distinct possibilities among those remaining four for which advances to the Final quartet

    Whew on Angle vs. HBK. It's survival will come down to very simply, if the four who keep voting for it continue to feel it's as totally awesome as the three who keep voting against it feel it was completely overrated. I'm in the "you're nuts, it's amazing, what the hell were you watching if you don't agree" category myself. Go HBK-Michaels!

    Also, can't help but feel like, seeding aside, the Taker-HHH match going out before the Sweet 16 is just a massive surprise. What a powerhouse performance from two all-time greats, doing something completely different and unconventional and casting aside any all pretenses to basically kill each other for 30 minutes - shifting from 1st to 5th within minutes and never downshifting.

    Happy to see that its sequel didn't get knocked out too. Those two matches when watched together are just an amazingly unique pro wrestling experience. I think Warrior vs. Savage exemplifies the concept of sports entertainment more than any other in history (sad to see it eliminated already - it'd make my final four - no bullshit), but Taker vs. HHH comes pretty close. Its The Godfather P1 and P2 of WWE lore.
    LOP Writer since 2004. Former Smackdown, ECW, Raw, and WWE PPV Reviewer. Current LOP Columnist since 2010. LOP Columns Hall of Famer. Host of "The Doc Says..." on LOP Radio.

    The Doc's first book: "The Wrestlemania Era: The Book of Sports Entertainment" - now in its third edition - is on sale now. Click here

  7. #7
    The Brain
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    I feel you to a certain extent on the Hogan/Rock match. I think it's a polarizing match and a lot of factors go into how you view it. How invested are you in Hogan and the Rock individually? Did you see it live, or watch it later? How much do you value crowd reaction? How much do you value wrestling itself beyond the basics? In certain respects I think it deserves to be regarded as one of the best, and in others I think it's not much to look at.

    Really have to object to the idea that HHH/Taker '11 was a match wrestled in 5th gear though. My quibbles with the match aside, it's an indisputable fact that most of the match is spent lying around on the mat. I can understand (sort of) why that works just fine for some people in context, but it doesn't exactly race down the highway from any perspective.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    JWG - Cheers for the read, man! Lots of adoration for the Rock/Hogan match, which I can't deny has a really volcanic crowd, but I honestly think the crowd is propped up more in the minds of many because of how disparaging it was to the action. Matches that have a similar level of crowd eruption, but have action in the ring that matches it, get overlooked because there's not as big a gap. The famous description of Rock/Hogan, I think originally by Chris Jericho, is that if you mute and watch, it's not a good match. Well, I can think of half a dozen matches with a similar crowd vibe, that if you do mute and watch those matches, they're still pretty decent.

    Oli - Yeah, I loved that there were so many 4-3 votes. Although it would've been nice if a few more swung my way! (Like the WrestleManis 32 Women's Championship match).

    SirSam - That Owen/Bret thing was a great unintentional touch. Lots of match-ups were getting decent sized write-ups, and then it was pretty much one-liners, no-brainers throughout for the Harts!

    mizfan - Your line about the blind Oli HBK hate not showing up this round, to the detriment of your wish to evict HBK/Angle, made me chuckle! I thought that match might be a goner for that exact reason, too. I will say this - nothing in this tournament has changed my mind about disliking Daniel Bryan, but I have voted for a couple of his matches because they're honestly good matches, despite him winning. Which makes me sour.

    Doc - Glad you're still enjoying it, and thanks for the continued feedback! Jericho/HBK definitely busted the bracket despite my love for MitB I...thing is, if it's a top 20 WM match, that would see it seeded probably as a 4 or 5 I guess a 6 isn't super low-seeded if you're of that opinion? It's all good, I knew I'd be opening myself up to debate no matter how I seeded these things!

    Interesting thing that touches on points made by both you and mizfan - I can't speak for him outright, but based on Steve's write-up, anyways (1 of the 3 votes to knock out Angle/HBK), his vote seemed a lot more pro-Taker/Bats than it was anti-Angle/HBK. So I don't know if he's quite on the same train as 'Plan and mizfan in their dislike for that one. But we'll see what happens! We'll see how people's opinions on that one stack up to Christian/Jericho a year before.

    mizfan - I'm more or less in agreement with you on Rock/Hogan. Really glad it swept its way through the first round, but I think it met its match and was knocked out fairly in Round 2. Really special moment, but it's just up against so much great competition that at one point or another, its lack of comparative in-ring magic was going to catch up to it.

    Thanks again to all for participation and for the discussion!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts