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).
200. Jerry Lawler vs Tommy Dreamer (ECW Hardcore Heaven 08/17/97)
199. Volk Han vs Yoshihisa Yamamoto (RINGS 06/17/95)
198. Rey Misterio Jr. vs Juventud Guerrera (AAA 04/21/95)
197. Chris Benoit vs Booker T (WCW Great American Bash 06/14/98)
196. Terry Funk vs Sabu (ECW Born To Be Wired 08/09/97, Barbed Wire Match)
195. Bret Hart vs Steve Austin (WWF Revenge of the Taker 04/20/97)
194. Bull Nakano vs Shinobu Kandori (LLPW 07/14/94, Chain Match)
193. Yoshinari Ogawa vs Masahito Kakihara (AJPW New Years Giant Series 01/15/99)
192. Manami Toyota vs Aja Kong (AJW Big Egg Universe 11/20/94)
191. Vader vs Sting (WCW Great American Bash 07/12/92)
190. Mariko Yoshida vs Hiromi Yagi (ARSION Hyper Visual Fighting Tournament 05/04/99)
189. Espectrito vs Super Munequito (AAA 07/08/95)
188. Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs Toshiaki Kawada, Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa (AJPW Super Power Series 06/03/93)
187. Mr. Gannosuke vs Hisakatsu Oya (FMW New Year Generation 01/05/99)
186. Taka Michinoku vs Great Sasuke (Michinoku Pro 10/10/97)
185. Nobuhiko Takada vs Gary Albright (UWFI 06/10/94)
184. Yuki Ishikawa vs Carl Greco (BattlARTS 04/24/98)
183. Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, Brian Pillman & Davey Boy Smith vs Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust & Legion of Doom (WWF Canadian Stampede 07/06/97)
182. Kenta Kobashi vs Akira Taue (AJPW Summer Action Series II 09/11/98)
181. Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Steve Williams & Johnny Ace (AJPW Super Power Series 06/07/96)
180. Dynamite Kansai & Kanako Motoya vs Mayumi Ozaki & Reiko Amano (JWP Extreme J Night 06/16/96)
179. Shinya Hashimoto vs Shiro Koshinaka (NJPW G-1 Climax 08/07/94)
178. El Hijo del Santo vs Felino (CMLL 07/25/97)
177. Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Steve Williams & Johnny Ace (AJPW Summer Action Series II 09/05/96)
176. Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda vs Tomoko Watanabe & Kumiko Maekawa (AJW 08/20/97)