Before capping off this countdown with my #1 favorite match, I’m going to put in a list of honorable mentions. Enjoy:
Shane McMahon vs. Kurt Angle, Street Fight (King of the Ring 2001) – A crazy fight of a match with the most insane bumps I’ve ever seen. Scope out the WWE Confidential feature about this match, where Shane and Kurt are interviewed about this match, it is nuts what they went through during it.
Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. McMahon, No Holds Barred Match (WrestleMania 22) – HBK hitting an elbow on Vince, who is on a table and inside a trash can. Need I go on?
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 25) – Arguably the best match in WrestleMania history, more for its objective reception than my own subjective opinion.
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena, Extreme Rules Match (Extreme Rules 2012) – All of the blood in this match caused the DVD of the show to be released with a TV-14 rating. The only downside was the ending, Lesnar should have won.
Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena (Raw, 4/23/07) – 55 minutes of television time, in front of a hot British crowd, only a few weeks removed from their excellent WrestleMania title match main event. Pop some corn and lean back, it’s a real fun ride.
The Revival vs. DIY, NXT Tag Team Championship 2 out of 3 Falls Match (NXT Takeover: Toronto 2016) – One of the best tag team matches WWE has ever produced, NXT or otherwise. It’s only on here because it’s too new a match, sorry.
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins, WWE World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match (Royal Rumble 2015) – The best triple threat match WWE has ever put on. To quote Bryan Alvarez, it was “one BILLION stars.”
I had to think long and hard over which match would be my number one. I was convinced that Daniel Bryan winning the title at Mania 30 would’ve been my favorite. But the more thought I put into it, weighing everything together, I realized that there was one match in particular that I enjoyed more than that one. And I bet you would’ve never guessed it, before now.
#1 – Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, NXT Women’s Championship (NXT Takeover: Brooklyn 2015)
This match was the crown jewel of what I call the “NXT Renaissance,” the timeframe where NXT was the only thing worth watching from WWE. And the story behind this match is one of the best, if not THE best, from this period: time and time again, Bayley came so close to winning the title, only for it to slip through her fingers, but leading up to this match in Brooklyn, Bayley earned her contendership by facing off the top woman in the brand, Charlotte, to prove to herself and everyone else that she was ready to challenge Sasha Banks. And what came out of this match was a true show-stealer; there was no way Finn Bálor and Kevin Owens could top this match, and they couldn’t, unfortunately. This became their show and their moment, usurping and topping everyone on this card and the main SummerSlam card. For nearly 20 minutes, both Bayley and Sasha Banks proved their greatness, their might, and their prowess, in front of 15,000 in Brooklyn and many more watching around the world. And then… the ending.
Bayley hit a Hurricanrana from the top rope, and one Bayley-to-Belly later, she got the pin and the title. And in my home, watching this on Saturday night, I was jumping for absolute joy in my living room, screaming like a mark over what I had just seen. Bayley was the everyman – or rather, the everywoman – who fought and clawed her way to the top for two years in NXT, and much like Daniel Bryan winning the belt(s) at Mania 30, it was the catalyst to her character arc. Fortunately for all of us, their followup, the 30-minute Iron Woman match at NXT Takeover: Respect, was a perfect continuation and a fitting sequel to one of the best matches WWE has ever put on, as well as my number one favorite WWE match EVER.