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).
250. Manami Toyota vs Yumiko Hotta (AJW Grand Prix 09/03/95)
249. Ric Flair vs Genichiro Tenryu (SWS 09/15/92, ⅔ falls)
248. Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama vs Vader & Stan Hansen (AJPW Real World Tag League 12/05/98)
247. Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan vs Nasty Boys (WCW Slamboree 05/22/94, Street Fight)
246. Genichiro Tenryu vs Shinya Hashimoto (WAR 1st Anniversary 06/17/93)
245. Masa Chono vs Shinya Hashimoto (NJPW G-1 Climax 08/09/91)
244. Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue (AJPW Real World Tag League 11/28/97)
243. Bret Hart vs Mr. Perfect (WWF King of the Ring 06/13/93)
242. Nobuhiko Takada & Masahito Kakihara vs Tatsumi Fujinami & Yoshiaki Fujiwara (UWFI Scramble Wars 06/26/96)
241. Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue (AJPW Super Power Series 05/23/96)
240. Bull Nakano vs Devil Masami (JWP 1st Anniversary Memorial Rally 04/18/93)
239. El Hijo del Santo vs Espanto Jr. (UWA 05/14/92)
238. Keiji Muto & Masa Chono vs Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki (NJPW Dream Tour 11/01/90)
237. Genichiro Tenryu vs Yoji Anjo (WAR vs UWFI 07/21/96)
236. Steven Regal vs Larry Zbyszko (WCW Saturday Night 05/28/94)
235. Yuki Ishikawa & Alexander Otsuka vs Daisuke Ikeda & Takeshi Ono (BattlARTS 10/30/96)
234. Bret Hart vs Terry Funk (Terry Funk’s Wrestlefest 09/11/97)
233. Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama vs Toshiaki Kawada, Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa (AJPW Summer Action Series 07/02/93)
232. Mayumi Ozaki vs Takako Inoue (JWP 05/14/96, Dress Up Wild Fight Texas Death Match)
231. Hayabusa, Daisuke Ikeda, Hisakatsu Oya & Ricky Fuji vs Kodo Fuyuki, Koji Nakagawa, Yukihiro Kanemura & Gedo (FMW King of Fight 06/19/98)
230. Aja Kong vs Yumiko Hotta (AJW King Legend 01/24/94)
229. Genichiro Tenryu vs Nobuhiko Takada (UWFI vs WAR 09/11/96)
228. Manami Toyota & Mima Shimoda vs Mariko Yoshida & Kaoru Ito (AJW Hakata Star Lanes 09/28/96, ⅔ falls)
227. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Steve Williams & Johnny Ace (AJPW Summer Action Series 07/22/94)
226. Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko vs Chris Jericho & Eddy Guerrero (Brian Hildebrand Tribute Show 11/29/98)