It was a long road getting here. In 2010, I started watching wrestling promotions all over the world in chronological order, spanning the years 1990 – 1999. I was interested in immersing myself in the time period, getting a sense of what was good and bad, what was fresh and stale, and seeing how my takeaways may differ from those who followed everything in real time. As expected, there was both agreement and disagreement with the most common opinions espoused during the time period.
This countdown is the result of my watching over 3500 matches that spanned over 1200 hours in duration. After nearly five years of viewing, I have isolated what I consider the cream of the crop — the 500 most essential matches that were recorded and to which we have access. I have also linked to the thread dedicated to each match at ProWrestlingOnly.com, where other posters and I provided thoughts in real-time (I’m Loss – @prowresonly on Twitter).
My hope in sharing this is that you find a treasure trove of wrestling that you have not seen to watch and enjoy. I’ve taken a shot at some sacred cows and expect to get bludgeoned for a few of the choices, but that’s par the course and even part of the fun of list-making. I might even look back on some of these rankings and disagree with myself at some point, but that’s the joy of being a pro wrestling fan — matches are not “old” or “new”, they are “viewed” or “not viewed”, and our perceptions are very much alive and breathing.
(Editor’s note: Charles is tweeting out links to the matches online, as well as other discussion @prowresonly. The spirit of this list is to expose others to new promotions, wrestlers, or matches they may not be familiar with. He’ll also be providing a written recap with more of his ranking process once the list release is finished).
150. Lightning Kid vs Wellington Wilkins Jr. (PWA 06/10/91)
149. El Dandy vs El Satanico (EMLL 10/26/90)
148. Hayabusa vs Mr. Gannosuke (FMW Goodbye Hayabusa II 08/25/99)
147. Volk Han vs Mitsuya Nagai (RINGS 12/24/94)
146. Negro Casas vs Ultimo Dragon (CMLL 03/19/93)
145. Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (AJPW Real World Tag League 11/29/91)
144. El Hijo del Santo vs Felino (CMLL 07/04/97)
143. Toshiaki Kawada vs Kenta Kobashi (AJPW October Giant Series 10/18/96)
142. El Satanico, Zumbido, Valentin Mayo, Virus & Rencor Latino vs Starman, Astro Rey Jr., El Oriental, Tiger Blanco & Mr. Aguila (Ruleta de la Muerte 07/18/99)
141. Jushin Liger vs Shinya Hashimoto (NJPW Fighting Spirit 02/24/94)
140. Olimpico vs Halcon Negro (CMLL 10/23/98)
139. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW Summer Action Series 07/24/95)
138. Royal Rumble (WWF Royal Rumble 01/19/92)
137. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue (AJPW October Giant Series 10/15/95)
136. Kiyoshi Tamura vs Mikhail Ilioukhine (RINGS 01/21/98)
135. Fuerza Guerrera vs Octagon (CMLL 11/01/91)
134. Masato Tanaka vs Mr. Gannosuke (FMW Goodbye Hayabusa II 08/20/99)
133. Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko vs Ricky Steamboat & Dustin Rhodes (WCW Clash of the Champions XVII 11/19/91)
132. Sting vs Diamond Dallas Page (WCW Monday Nitro 04/26/99)
131. Akira Hokuto vs Kyoko Inoue (AJW Dream Rush 11/26/92)
130. Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki vs Masato Tanaka & Tetsuhiro Kuroda (FMW 03/19/99)
129. Espectrito, Piratita Morgan & Pequeno Pierroth vs Octagoncito, Misteriocito & Mascarita Sagrada (CMLL 04/17/92)
128. Wild Pegasus & Shinjiro Otani vs Great Sasuke & Black Tiger (NJPW Super Grade Jr. Heavyweight Tag League 10/18/94)
127. Vader vs Sting (WCW SuperBrawl III 02/21/93, Strap Match)
126. El Hijo del Santo, Bestia Salvaje & Scorpio Jr. vs Negro Casas, El Dandy & Hector Garza (CMLL 11/22/96)