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).
100. Eddy Guerrero vs Rey Misterio Jr. (WCW Halloween Havoc 10/26/97, Mask vs Title)
99. Bret Hart vs Undertaker (WWF One Night Only 09/20/97)
98. Wayne Shamrock vs Naoki Sano (PWFG 05/19/91)
97. Taka Michinoku, Mens Teoh, Dick Togo, Shiryu & Shoichi Funaki vs Gran Hamada, Gran Naniwa, Super Delphin, Tiger Mask & Masato Yakushiji (Michinoku Pro These Days 10/10/96)
96. Wild Pegasus vs Black Tiger (NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 06/11/96)
95. El Hijo del Santo & Negro Casas vs Scorpio Jr. & Bestia Salvaje (CMLL 03/19/99, Hair vs Mask)
94. Midnight Express vs Southern Boys (WCW Great American Bash 07/07/90)
93. Taka Michinoku, Shoichi Funaki, Dick Togo, Mens Teoh & Shiryu vs Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada, Super Delphin, Masato Yakushiji & Naohiro Hoshikawa (Inoki Festival 12/01/96)
92. Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda vs Ayako Hamada & AKINO (ARSION 12/11/99)
91. Mayumi Ozaki & Dynamite Kansai vs Yumiko Hotta & Takako Inoue (JWP 01/15/93)
90. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka vs Yoshihisa Yamamoto (RINGS 05/22/99)
89. Konnan, Perro Aguayo & Rayo de Jalisco Jr. vs Cien Caras, Mascara Ano 2000 & Sangre Chicana (CMLL 03/01/92)
88. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama (AJPW Excite Series 03/06/99)
87. Aja Kong vs Meiko Satomura (GAEA 09/15/99)
86. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka vs Mikhail Ilioukhine (RINGS 11/20/97)
85. Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi (AJPW Super Power Series 05/22/92)
84. Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon (WWF Wrestlemania X 03/20/94, Ladder Match)
83. Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs Aja Kong & Kyoko Inoue (AJW Tag League The Best 12/13/92)
82. Terry Funk vs Atsushi Onita (FMW Origin 05/05/93, No Rope Barbed Wire Exploding Ring Time Bomb Death Match)
81. Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior (WWF Wrestlemania VII 03/24/91)
80. Aja Kong vs Dynamite Kansai (AJW Championship Night In Osaka 08/30/95)
79. Steve Williams vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW Championship Carnival 04/16/94)
78. Manami Toyota & Akira Hokuto vs Toshiyo Yamada & Kyoko Inoue (AJW 12/10/93 – #2)
77. Manami Toyota & Akira Hokuto vs Toshiyo Yamada & Kyoko Inoue (AJW 12/10/93 – #1)
76. Ultimo Dragon vs Shinjiro Otani (NJPW J*Crown 08/05/96)