As part of an ongoing series on the Place to Be podcast, Scott Criscuolo and Justin Rozzero have been reviewing pay-per-view cards from the WWF/WWE month-by-month and putting together their all-time shows, plucking one match from each year. It’s made for some awesome shows and riveting discussion.
But have you been listening and found yourself now and again yelling “That’s not how I would have done it!” and becoming that weirdo on the train or in your office in the process? Well, I certainly have, and I’ve decided to do something about it.
Every time Scott and Justin build their all-time cards, I will do the same, offering my commentary on the PiCs’ selections.
-One match must be selected from each year
-No competitor can be used more than once unless they undergo a drastic gimmick/persona change
-The WWF/WWE, World, Intercontinental and WWF/WWE Tag Team titles must all be defended
With that out of the way, let’s get to it…
Scott & Justin’s Pick: WWF Champion Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel in a No Holds Barred match
Ben’s Pick: WWF Champion Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel in a No Holds Barred match
Ben’s Take: Kinda crazy to toss out our respective WWE title picks on the very first show, but there’s not much argument against this one. HBK has a few decent April matches, but none as good as this, Diesel takes off following this match in 1996 and returns for only one subpar six-man seven years later at Backlash 2003, plus this stands the test of time as a really fun brawl; off to a good start.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart
Ben’s Pick: Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart
Ben’s Take: Not even close to being on the level of their WrestleMania 13 match, obviously, but the only opportunity to get Bret on the card, and while Austin has some decent showings down the line, none are good enough to justify excluding the “Hitman” altogether.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: Sable vs. Luna Vachon in an Evening Gown match
Ben’s Pick: Sable vs. Luna Vachon in an Evening Gown match
Ben’s Take: Most of the matches on this card eat up either wrestlers or belts you want available later, but with this one you get your gratuitous T&A plus Sable, a huge star of the Attitude Era, stacking the roster pretty well three years in for our all time card.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: Triple H vs. X-Pac
Ben’s Pick: Hardcore Champion Hardcore Holly vs. Al Snow
Ben’s Take: I didn’t know if I’d need to come back to the well with Triple H, but I figured better safe than sorry; besides, I knew I wouldn’t use Snow or Holly again, plus I got the Hardcore title on there and those two have good chemistry. I lose X-Pac in his prime, but I’ll take the trade off.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Scotty 2 Hotty
Ben’s Pick: Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Scotty 2 Hotty
Ben’s Take: The hidden gem of all hidden gems with two guys and a title you’ll never use anywhere else; no brainer.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle in an Ultimate Submission match
Ben’s Pick: Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle in an Ultimate Submission match
Ben’s Take: Two more big name players who get an extended period of time to show off their wares in a specialty match tailor made for them. There would be other opportunities to use both guys in later years, but they’re magic against each other, and the stip seals the deal.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman vs. Tajiri
Ben’s Pick: Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman vs. Tajiri
Ben’s Take: Not much disagreement between me and the boys thus far; another great match with more or less one shot competitors, another title on the show.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: The Rock vs. Goldberg
Ben’s Pick: The Rock vs. Goldberg
Ben’s Take: Goldberg’s only April appearance, whereas the Rock skipped a lot of the latter post-Mania shows to film movies or he had WWF title matches I’d deem inferior to HBK/Diesel from ’96.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton vs. Cactus Jack in a Hardcore match
Ben’s Pick: Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton vs. Cactus Jack in a Hardcore match
Ben’s Take: The match that made Randy Orton’s career and that Mick Foley considers one of his personal favorites of all-time. It also gets the IC title on the card, and though you could argue some close contenders, you won’t find one better than this.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: Val Venis vs. Tyson Tomko
Ben’s Pick: Kane vs. Viscera
Ben’s Take: Scott and Justin had to somewhat cheat, using a Sunday Night Heat match, whereas I just went with Kane against Big Vis. Not a mat classic by any means, but it’s not long, you have Trish Stratus and Lita on the outside, plus Viscera having fun in a role that finally allowed him to display some character and post-match shenanigans.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: Women’s Champion Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus
Ben’s Pick: Women’s Champion Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus
Ben’s Take: Nowhere close to their awesome WrestleMania 22 match, but this pairing always paid off, it never hurts to include Trish on an all-time card, and I’m an advocate of having the Women’s title represented if possible.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: World Champion The Undertaker vs. Batista in a Last Man Standing match
Ben’s Pick: World Tag Team Champions The Hardy Boyz vs. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch
Ben’s Take: You can flip a coin on which Undertaker World title match you enjoy around this time period; I decided to bypass his LMS against Batista because it opened up a chance for me to cross the Tag Team titles off my check list with a good fast-paced match between the Hardys and the underrated Cade/Murdoch team. I’ve learned in doing a couple of these that using the Hardys or Edge & Christian as a team can often come back to bite you later, but we’ll see.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: U.S. Champion MVP vs. Matt Hardy
Ben’s Pick: World Champion The Undertaker vs. Edge
Ben’s Take: Bit of a flip here, as Scott and Justin took a Hardy in 2008 rather than 2007, whereas I swapped the World title matches. I think the early stages of the Undertaker/Edge feud had a lot of gas and I’d prioritize getting Edge on the card in a featured role over Batista if it comes down to that. MVP/Matt had heat behind it, but I’m ok with my 2007-2008 combo over what the guys picked.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: ECW Champion Jack Swagger vs. Christian
Ben’s Pick: Chris Jericho vs. Ricky Steamboat
Ben’s Take: I appreciate getting the ECW title in there, and Swagger and Christian had great chemistry, but to me, Jericho and Steamboat represent a classic moment rather than just a decent match. The opportunity to include Ricky Steamboat’s brief but incredibly feel good 2009 comeback seems one too good to pass up for me—so I didn’t.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: Edge vs. Chris Jericho in a Steel Cage match
Ben’s Pick: Triple H vs. Sheamus in a Street Fight
Ben’s Take: Obviously Scott and Justin using Edge and Jericho here impacted their last two years worth of choices versus mine, but I’m glad to get the matches I got and still have a great option here in the Street Fight. Truth be told, I love Edge and love Jericho, but always thought they had more potential in their matches that never got tapped. I’ll go with a great use of Triple H in putting over a new star—regardless of where it went—and Sheamus in his best incarnation as the ruthless heel brawler.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes in a Falls Count Anywhere match
Ben’s Pick: Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes in a Falls Count Anywhere match
Ben’s Take: I’m a huge fan of the initial Mysterio/Cody match from WrestleMania XXVII, and this didn’t quite measure up, but I still have a lot of affection for this feud. I did realize around this point I had probably sacrificed CM Punk making the card and tried to shuffle some things around, but ultimately couldn’t find anything I’d be willing to lose.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar in an Extreme Rules match
Ben’s Pick: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar in an Extreme Rules match
Ben’s Take: Confession: I don’t like this match as much as most people. I didn’t think it had a good flow, though it is fun garbage and both guys work their asses off. That said, most people put it as match of the year for 2012, and I’m not going to let my personal opinion get in the way, particularly considering the box office.
Scott & Justin’s Pick: WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No vs. The Shield
Ben’s Pick: U.S. Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose
Ben’s Take: And here I realized I didn’t have any Daniel Bryan, but I had already burned both my Tag Team title match and Kane. Once more, I went back and tried to rearrange—and tried to fit Punk in as well—but in every scenario found myself losing more than I gained. I like Kofi against Ambrose fine, but no question it’s inferior to Hell No/Shield; my biggest sacrifice of the exercise.
Ben: Not a whole lot to get into as our overall cards look very similar. Obviously I wish I could have had CM Punk on the card, but Scott and Justin didn’t find a way to work him in either. They did manage to get Daniel Bryan on the card, but I couldn’t rearrange my puzzle pieces to justify it. Most of our differences come out pretty even, and I’d say their biggest win over me would be in 2013, but I’ll take my 2010 pick over theirs. Regardless, I’d watch either of these cards; definitely the easiest to put together so far and very little in the way of filler.