Last updated on May 8th, 2022 at 11:24 am
Ever since pro-wrestling went national and international, we’ve got to witness plenty of classic matches. Prior to this, television of matches was not commonplace and thus, there might be plenty of classic matches that we might have missed out on.
The early 1950s marked the convocation of the television era. Many analysts and fans mostly know this era as the Golden Age for the pro-wrestling industry, as the demand and national expansion made wrestling not only popular but a more lucrative form of entertainment. ‘
The televisation of pro-wrestling matches proved to be a success as wrestling was not only easy to understand but also had high drama, a little of comedy and vibrant characters.
Over the years, the WWE has been home to hundreds and hundreds of pro-wrestling stars. Many of these stars were not only exciting to watch but also pulled off plenty of million dollar matches.
While many of the stars on this list were already renowned stars, there were those who used these opportunities to show why they deserved to seat at the big table.
While it’s quite difficult to rank the greatest WWE matches, we’ve compiled several factors such as execution, match reception and many others to come up with the rankings. That said, let us look at the 10 greatest WWE matches of all time.
10. Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle Wrestlemania 19
Although he had only spent one year in the WWE, Brock Lesnar was undeniably miles ahead in comparison to other wrestlers. In just a few months, Brock Lesnar had turned from a rookie to a main event star. Only few wrestlers get to climb the ranks that quickly.
While growing up, Brock Lesnar had always looked up to Kurt Angle. Kurt Angle was not only his role model, but he had also been so influential in Lesnar’s career, especially during his formative years.
All these things made the Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle match at Wrestlemania 19 worth looking forward to. As expected, Lesnar and Angle put forth a classic technical wrestling masterclass..
A bigger part of the match was ground-based, which helped Lesnar show the entire WWE Universe that despite being one of the biggest WWE wrestlers, he still was equally talented when it came to the technical aspect of pro wrestling.
Despite nearly ending his WWE career with a shooting star, the move remains one of the most memorable and replayed moments of Lesnar’s career.
By the end of the match, Lesnar ended up not only winning the match but also getting crowned the new WWE World Heavyweight champion.
9. Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker-Wrestlemania 25
At Wrestlemania 25, two of the greatest performers in the history of the WWE squared off at the packed Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. While both the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels were nearing the end of their careers, they still had what it took to give one last brilliant performance.
The match began at an extremely fast pace, with both wrestlers delivering sharp blows and strikes. Because of the longevity and the brilliant performance of each of these wrestlers, the WWE fans in attendance were split right in the middle.
There were those who were chanting The Undertaker’s name, while there were those who were chanting Shawn Michaels’ name. When things got heated enough, the fans even stopped chanting the wrestlers name but resorted to “This is Awesome” chants.
As expected, the match was filled with lots of near falls. However, The Undertaker could finally catch Shawn Michaels mid-air when he was attempting another moonsault.
The Undertaker was able to successfully deliver his finishing move, the Tombstone Piledriver, which was more than enough to see him take the win.
With this win, The Undertaker could take his Wrestlemania record to 17-0. Because of the outstanding performance by these two wrestlers, this match ended up winning the Match of the Year at WWE Slammy Awards.
In addition, it also won Wrestling Observer Newsletter and Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s match of the year awards.
8. Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat Wrestlemania 3
Although this was not the main event match, the Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat match card ended up carrying the day and becoming one of the biggest wrestling matches of all time. Two of the greatest 70s WWE wrestlers squared off at the biggest event of the year.
For quite a long time, these two wrestlers were involved in a long-running feud after Savage inadvertently injured Steamboat, sending him out of the business for a few weeks.
Prior to this match, the two were already involved in various hardcore matches and thus fans had a rough idea of what to expect from this match. At Wrestlemania 3, Ricky Steamboat had another opportunity to have his revenge on Randy Savage by not only winning the match but also taking the Intercontinental heavyweight title.
The build-up to this match was nothing short of spectacular capped off by Macho Man’s ability to cut once-in-a-lifetime promos. Thanks to the Animal’s involvement in the match, Randy Savage could not use any of the unauthorized WWE weapons in the match.
By the end of the match, Ricky Steamboat could finally have his revenge on Randy Savage by winning the match and becoming the new Intercontinental Heavyweight champion.
7. John Cena vs Shawn Michaels-Raw April 23 2007
Heading into this match, John Cena was still one of the most criticized wrestlers in the WWE. There were those who claimed that Cena could not wrestle, while there are others who claimed that they would put a better match than John Cena.
When looking at what Cena has accomplished in the squared circle, one thing stands out. He is a cloth cut from a different fabric.
Despite being a non-title match, the John Cena vs Shawn Michaels match lived up to its expectations. Both wrestlers were brilliant from the moment the bell went off.
While these two wrestlers were from different eras, their in-ring chemistry spoke volumes about their character and commitment to the business. Their ability to tell a story in what is arguably the longest match in the history of RAW carried the day.
6. Triple H vs Batista-Vengeance 2005
The two top dogs, the Triple H vs Batista match-card, were going to be nothing but spectacular. Their approach to wrestling was similar. Many wrestling fans at the time knew that this was going to be a brawl.
To cap it all, this match was scheduled to take place in a steel cage. Many WWE weapons were legal, including steel chains, steel chairs and sledge hammers.
Heading into this match, Triple H had never lost a match inside a steel cage, while Batista the then WWE World Champion, had never been in one. The history between these two wrestlers as members of the Evolution stable made this a match made in heaven.
Their recent fall out because of internal wrangles ensured both wrestlers came out, all guns blazing once the officials locked the cells. As expected, this encounter turned out to be a physical brawl, with both wrestlers trading blows, kicks and lashes from a steel chain.
If you are not a fan of brawls, then this classic match is not for you. By the end of the match, both wrestlers were not only exhausted, but their bodies were in utter pain.
While Batista could pick up the win, both wrestlers definitely got a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance.
5. Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon-Wrestlemania 10
Arguably the greatest singles ladder match of all time, the Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon encounter had plenty of history behind it. Shawn Michaels was undefeated, while Razor Ramon had won the Battle Royal.
Moreover, both wrestlers were not only reckless but also daredevils in their own unique way. Many of those in attendance knew exactly what to expect from such a match.
From the moment the bell rang, both wrestlers showed their technical expertise with the usual armbars and chin lock. It did not take long before Razor Ramon ultimately brought a ladder into the match.
Instead of using the ladder to access the belts, these two wrestlers would begin using the ladder as a weapon. Whether it was throwing the ladder directly at an opponent or climbing on top of a ladder for a frog splash, Michaels and Ramon did what they could to keep the entire audience on the edge of their seats.
Both these wrestlers had gained some significant amount of wrestling experience and this is was clearly evident throughout the match. However, what made this match special was the fact that these two wrestlers had some history.
Michaels and Ramon had not only wrestled against each other in the WWE but also while being signed with the Central States Championship Wrestling. With Shawn Michaels’ foot trapped in between the upper and middle ropes, Ramon climbed the ladder to pick his first ever WWE Intercontinental Champion.
4. John Cena vs CM Punk-Money in the Bank 2011
While we’ve seen plenty of exciting matches over the years, the Cena vs Punk encounter is undeniably one of the greatest WWE matches of the modern era.
With the stakes high, it’s clear to see why this match remains to be one of the greatest matches ever witnessed at the Money in the Bank PPV. Unlike Wrestlemania, Money in the Bank PPV has never been held with such high regard in the history of the promotions.
The build-up to this match was palpable, while the tensions had been getting high. CM Punk’s contract was about to expire, which meant one thing; he might just leave the company with the WWE Championship title.
Vince McMahon was more than determined to ensure that this did not happen even if it meant he had to pull another version of the Montreal Screwjob. Prior to signing with the WWE, CM Punk had gained tons of experience from various promotions, such as ROH, TNA, and the Indie scenes.
Unlike most matches on this list, the Cena vs Punk encounter began at a rather slow pace. However, as the match progressed, the match gained momentum.
As expected, the match was full of near falls, with each wrestler serving at least three. Vince McMahon ultimately grew impatient and came out asking the referee to ring the bell.
However, Cena did not want to win the match in such a manner. This slight distraction ultimately proved costly for Cena as Punk took advantage of the confusion and ended up winning the match.
This win meant that Punk was not only the new WWE World Champion but also had the company where he wanted them to be.
3. Bret Hart vs Stone Cold-Wrestlemania 13
Just like most matches on this list, the Bret Hart and Stone Cold showdown at Wrestlemania 13 was one of the history books. Although this was not a titles match, it definitely lived up to its expectations. In the main event match, Sycho Sid went toe to toe against The Undertaker for the WWE World title.
Unlike this match, the main event match went down into the history books for all the wrong reasons.
While Undertaker’s match against Sid was a career-defining match for The Undertaker, it was the Bret Hart vs Stone Cold match card that stole the night. As expected, this was going to be a typical old-school submission match.
The promo for this match was superb with the two wrestlers setting up the pace and the mood for what was to come. Apart from making open threats, the two wrestlers were also quick to launch a series of attacks on one another.
At Wrestlemania 13, Bret Hart and Stone Cold finally locked horns, with Ken Shamrock serving as the special guest referee. From the moment the bell went off, the two wrestlers began trading blows.
Although they began the match with such a high tempo, the two wrestlers still maintained this tempo throughout the match. Being a classic old-school match, each of the wrestlers took their time using their favorite weapon of choice on the opponent.
Although Stone Cold ended up losing the match via submission (he did not tap out) the two wrestlers still gave out a classical performance that many of those in attendance will never forget.
2. Undertaker vs Triple H-Wrestlemania 28
While we had plenty of exciting matches at WrestleMania 28, only one match stood out from the crowd. Chris Jericho had a match against CM Punk, while John Cena had a match against The Rock.
But, despite all these amazing matches, there was that one thing that made the Undertaker vs Triple H match the main event of the night.
Undertaker’s undefeated streak was on the line. Two hardened and highly experienced soldiers were going to square it off against each other. The match proved to be a vicious one as the two wrestlers exchanged blows and chair shots. Like any other classic match, this encounter was full of many near falls.
As expected, this was an old-school fight between two hardened wrestlers. Very little to no traditional wrestling techniques here. Just open fists, chair shots, pedigrees and tombstone pile drivers.
Oh, did I mention that Shawn Michaels was the special guest referee? Oh boy, this was simply one of those matches that you did not want to see ended.
The match was also in a steel cage, which was nothing but the cherry on top of the icing. Looking back at history, Triple H had lost none match that Shawn Michaels was the guest referee.
From the get-go, the stakes were extremely high for this match. In the long run, The Undertaker lands one more tombstone pile-driver to win the match. This win would take The Undertaker’s undefeated streak to 20-0.
1. Stonecold Steve Austin vs The Rock-Wrestlemania 15
For many years, WrestleMania has been the holy grail of professional wrestling. It’s simply one of those events that every wrestling fan dream of. With WWE on the verge of becoming extinct, it was up to Vince McMahon and Stone Cold to ensure that the promotion survived these troubling times.
WCW was the talk of the town and it had some of the biggest stars in professional wrestling.
During this period, stone-cold was an anti-hero, determined to bring the boss down, including his side projects such as The Rock. In the previous months, Vince McMahon anointed the Rock as the WWE World Champion after screwing Mankind.
Being a no disqualification match, this match was everything that all professional wrestling fans dreamed of. Austin represented the will of the WWE Universe, while The Rock represented the will of the authority. Both wrestlers brought their A-Game and the result, one of the most exhilarating matches in professional wrestling.
At the end of the night, Austin emerged the winner, after landing a stunner on the Rock thanks to Folley’s interference. While both The Rock and stone-cold helped put an exclamation mark on WrestleMania XV, the event still played a crucial role in their pro-wrestling careers.
Just one caveat, though. If you intend to re-watch this match, then you should know wrestling events during these days did not include many fancy entrances. So, you should definitely lower your expectations with entrances but focus on the masterclass that these two wrestlers put forth.