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).
350. Genichiro Tenryu vs Shinya Hashimoto (NJPW G-1 Climax 08/01/98)
349. Hiromitsu Kanehara vs Masakazu Maeda (UWFI 02/29/92)
348. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Yusuke Fuke (PWFG 02/24/92)
347. Jushin Liger vs Norio Honaga (NJPW 04/30/91)
346. Aja Kong & Bison Kimura vs Bull Nakano & Kyoko Inoue (AJW 06/18/91)
345. Jerry Lawler & Jeff Jarrett vs The Moondogs (USWA Kennett, MO 01/17/92)
344. Rey Misterio Jr. vs Psicosis (ECW TV 10/17/95)
343. Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi (AJPW New Years Giant Series 01/24/92)
342. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Steve Williams & Johnny Ace (AJPW Real World Tag League 12/10/94)
341. Manami Toyota vs Aja Kong (AJW 03/26/95)
340. Hulk Hogan & Genichiro Tenryu vs Road Warriors (SWS Wrestlefest 03/30/91)
339. Steve Williams vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW Championship Carnival 03/29/94)
338. Kenta Kobashi vs Akira Taue (AJPW Championship Carnival 03/21/95)
337. Cactus Jack vs Sabu (NWC 10/30/94, Falls Count Anywhere)
336. Heavenly Bodies vs Tracy Smothers & Dirty White Boy (SMW Superbowl of Wrestling 08/04/95)
335. Shinjiro Otani & Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs Koji Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka (NJPW 10/11/99)
334. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW New Years Giant Series 01/21/92)
333. Bret Hart & Davey Boy Smith vs Owen Hart & Bob Backlund (WWF Action Zone 02/26/95)
332. El Dandy, Ringo Mendoza & Sangre Chicana vs MS-1, El Satanico & Ken Timbs (EMLL 11/16/90)
331. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Akira Taue (AJPW Summer Action Series II 09/10/95)
330. Mayumi Ozaki vs Dynamite Kansai (JWP 07/09/95, Street Fight)
329. Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue vs Steve Williams & Terry Gordy (AJPW October Giant Series 10/07/92)
328. Tomoaki Honma vs Shadow WX (BJW 10/17/99, Light Bulb and Barbed Wire Board Death Match)
327. Great Sasuke, Sato & Shiryu vs Super Delphin, Jinsei Shinzaki & Gran Naniwa (Michinoku Pro 02/04/94)
326. Jushin Liger vs Norio Honaga (NJPW Super Heavy Crush 05/31/91)