Countdown: Top 500 Matches of the 90s – #50-#1


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, 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).

Previous entries:

#500-#451 #450-#401 #400-#351 #350-#301 #300-#251 #250-#201 #200-#151 #150-#101 #100-#51

50. El Samurai vs Shinjiro Otani (NJPW Top of the Super Juniors 06/03/99)

49. El Satanico vs Pirata Morgan (AAA 11/26/93, Hair Match)

48. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue (AJPW Real World Tag League 12/03/93)

47. Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker (WWF Badd Blood 10/05/97, Hell in a Cell)

46. Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (AJPW October Giant Series 09/30/90)

45. Shawn Michaels vs Mankind (WWF Mind Games 09/22/96)

44. Jushin Liger vs Shinjiro Otani (NJPW 02/09/97)

43. Aja Kong vs Dynamite Kansai (AJW Legacy of Queens 08/25/93)

42. El Hijo del Santo, Black Warrior, Silver King, Dr. Wagner Jr., El Satanico, Scorpio Jr. & Kevin Quinn vs Negro Casas, Ultimo Dragon, Atlantis, Shocker, Mascara Magica, La Fiera & Brazo de Oro (CMLL 04/18/97, Torneo Cibernetico)

41. Keiji Muto vs Masa Chono (NJPW G-1 Climax 08/11/91)

40. Jushin Liger vs Naoki Sano (NJPW 01/31/90)

39. El Hijo del Santo, Negro Casas, Antifaz del Norte, Emilio Charles Jr., Felino, Olimpico, Tarzan Boy & Tony Rivera vs Bestia Salvaje, Black Warrior, Blue Panther, Fuerza Guerrera, Rey Bucanero, El Satanico, Ultimo Dragon & Zumbido (CMLL 11/26/99, Torneo Cibernetico)

38. Mayumi Ozaki, Cutie Suzuki, Candy Okutsu & Sumiyo Toyama vs Dynamite Kansai, Devil Masami, Hikari Fukuoka & Hiromi Yagi (JWP Dead Heat 03/21/95, 4 x 4 1-Count Match)

37. Jushin Liger vs Great Sasuke (NJPW Summer Struggle 07/08/94)

36. Yuki Ishikawa & Alexander Otsuka vs Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammed Yone (BattlARTS 01/12/99)

35. Jushin Liger vs El Samurai (NJPW Top of the Super Juniors 04/30/92)

34. Kiyoshi Tamura vs Yoshihisa Yamamoto (RINGS 09/21/98)

33. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue (AJPW Super Power Series 05/21/94)

32. Akira Hokuto & Shinobu Kandori vs Aja Kong & Bull Nakano (AJW Queendom 03/27/94)

31. El Dandy vs Angel Azteca (EMLL 06/01/90)

30. Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura (RINGS Mega Battle Tournament 01/22/97)

29. Stan Hansen vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW Excite Series 02/28/93)

28. Bret Hart vs Steve Austin (WWF Wrestlemania XIII 03/23/97, I Quit Match)

27. Steve Williams vs Kenta Kobashi (AJPW Summer Action Series II 08/31/93)

26. Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW October Giant Series 10/21/92)