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).
400. Mariko Yoshida vs Mika Akino (ARSION 1st Anniversary Stardom 01/17/99)
399. Marty Jannetty vs Doink the Clown (WWF Monday Night RAW 06/21/93, ⅔ falls)
398. Kiyoshi Tamura vs Kazuo Yamazaki (UWFI 10/23/92)
397. Tracy Smothers vs Chris Candido (SMW Bluegrass Brawl 04/01/94, Ladder Match)
396. Arn Anderson vs Dustin Rhodes (WCW Saturday Night 01/04/92)
395. Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat (WCW Saturday Night 05/14/94)
394. Kenta Kobashi vs Hiroshi Hase (AJPW Summer Action Series II 08/26/97)
393. Bret Hart vs Roddy Piper (WWF Wrestlemania VIII 04/05/92)
392. Riki Choshu vs Genichiro Tenryu (NJPW 04/06/93)
391. Masa Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki (NJPW Muscle Storm 03/07/95)
390. Nasty Boys, Dusty & Dustin Rhodes vs Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Buck, Terry Funk & Col. Parker (WCW Fall Brawl 09/18/94, War Games)
389. Steve Austin & Brian Pillman vs Marcus Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio (WCW Worldwide 05/08/93)
388. El Hijo del Santo vs Psicosis (Promo Azteca 10/03/97)
387. Owen Hart vs Davey Boy Smith (WWF Monday Night RAW 03/03/97)
386. Rob Van Dam vs Dan Kroffat (AJPW Super Power Series 06/09/95)
385. Shawn Michaels vs Jeff Jarrett (WWF In Your House II 07/23/95)
384. Ric Flair, Roddy Piper & Kevin Greene vs Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & Syxx (WCW Slamboree 05/18/97)
383. Jun Akiyama vs Yoshinari Ogawa (AJPW Summer Action Series II 09/11/98)
382. Jushin Liger vs Brian Pillman (WCW SuperBrawl II 02/29/92)
381. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW Tokyo Dome 05/01/98)
380. Nobuhiko Takada vs Super Vader (UWFI 12/05/93)
379. Hiroshi Hase vs Kensuke Sasaki (NJPW Masters of Wrestling 06/26/92)
378. Rey Misterio Jr. vs Dean Malenko (WCW Great American Bash 06/16/96)
377. Genichiro Tenryu vs Keiji Muto (NJPW Strong Energy 05/03/99)
376. Rick & Scott Steiner vs Nasty Boys (WCW Halloween Havoc 10/27/90)