My 10 Favorite WWE Matches – #2

Previous Entries:
#10 – Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle, 60-Minute Iron Man WWE Championship Match (SmackDown!, 9/18/03)
#9 – Mankind vs. The Undertaker, Hell in a Cell Match (King of the Ring 1998)

#8 – Shane McMahon vs. Mr. McMahon, Street Fight (WrestleMania X-Seven)
#7 – The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family, Six-Man Tag Team Match (Elimination Chamber 2014)
#6 – TLC II: The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian, WWF Tag Team Championship (WrestleMania X-Seven)
#5 – Mankind vs. The Rock, No Disqualification WWF Championship Match (Raw, 1/4/99)
#4 – Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair, Career Threatening Match (WrestleMania 24)
#3 – CM Punk vs. John Cena, WWE Championship (Money in the Bank 2011)

Sometimes, a great match and a great story come together completely by accident. And sometimes, it takes a rabid and infuriated fanbase to serve as the catalyst to change some plans. Here’s the rundown, in the winter of 2014: Batista came back for one more run, with the plan being Batista (the babyface) beating Randy Orton (the heel) for the world title at WrestleMania 30. But the fans and the audience didn’t want Batista to be their hero; instead, they wanted their hero to be a 200-pound goat-bearded man from Aberdeen, Washington – a man named Daniel Bryan.

#2 – Daniel Bryan vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton, WWE World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match (WrestleMania 30)

Arguably the greatest narrative climax WWE has ever done, this match was the culmination of a four-year character arc for one Daniel Bryan, starting out in the “original” form of NXT before making his way up the midcard, with a run with the Big Gold Belt, a tag title run with Kane (which was GREAT), and his star-making feud with “The Authority.” Time after time after time, Bryan was screwed out of the world title, despite a very vocal audience voicing their irritation and anger toward it. And it all built up to WrestleMania 30, with Bryan doing double-duty on this night: the first match being against Triple H, the first match on the card, and the second being the world title match, injuries and bandages and all. What followed was 23 minutes of grueling, agonizing, nail-biting nervousness, all leading to the moment where Batista tapped out to the YES! Lock, and with 70,000-plus cheering the sight, and Michael Cole’s amazing call of “COME ON DANIEL! COME ON DANIEL! TAP OUT BATISTA! TAP OUT BATISTA!” (all without Vince yelling in his ear because he wasn’t backstage), Daniel Bryan’s four-year character arc reached a perfect climax. A miracle on Bourbon Street, indeed.

It took a lot for me to not make this my number one favorite, but when you see my actual number one, you’ll understand why this was the case.

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