The 20 Best WWE/WWF Championship Switches

Monday, October 10, 2011

The WWF/E Championship has changed hands in 110 different matches.  I've probably seen a hundred of those matches.  Here are the 20 best of those matches.  These aren't the 20 best WWF matches, not the 20 best WWF title matches, these are the 20 best WWF title matches in which the belt changed hands.

List now updated through 4-2014

1. March 1996 - Shawn Michaels d. Bret Hart
2. July 2011 - CM Punk d. John Cena
3. April 1992 -Randy Savage d. Ric Flair
4. February 2004 - Eddy Guerrero d. Brock Lesnar
5. September 2003 - Brock Lesnar d. Kurt Angle
6. February 1997 - Bret Hart wins Fatal Four Way
7. August, 2013 - Daniel Bryan d. John Cena
8. March 2003 - Brock Lesnar d. Kurt Angle
9. May 2000 - HHH d. Rock
10. January 1992 - Ric Flair Wins Royal Rumble
11. November 1995 - Bret Hart d. Diesel
12. March 1999 - Steve Austin d. Rock
13. September 2001 - Kurt Angle d. Steve Austin
14. September 2006 - John Cena d. Edge
15. August 2011 - CM Punk d. John Cena
16. November 1997 - Shawn Michaels d. Bret Hart
17. December 1998 - Mick Foley d. Rock
18. April 1989 - Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage
19. April 2001 - Steve Austin d. Rock
20. March 1998 - Steve Austin d. Shawn Michaels


Blog said...

Wow. I don't think that I've ever seen a list like this that didn't include:

April 1990 - Ultimate Warrior d. Hulk Hogan

Austin d. Michaels was a disappointing, plodding match that was really hindered by Shawn's injury, and Meltzer gave it a half star lower rating than the WM6 main event.

Jim said...

I've got Michaels/Austin a half star higher.

I think expectations management is driving a view to the contrary; Michaels/Austin was disappointing, for the reasons you note - and it was one of the best matches either Hogan or the Warrior ever had. But still, Austin/Michaels was better.

It raises an interesting alternate list - best ever matches between bad workers. You can get a good match with a bad worker and a good worker - but its hard to find good matches between two bad workers, particularly if you take out garbage matches.

Blog said...

September 2011 John Cena d. Alberto Del Rio and October 2011 Alberto Del Rio d. Cena/Punk also received higher Meltzer ratings, and the latter seemed to receive more love from the IWC.

What did you think of August 2011 John Cena d. Rey Mysterio?

Lot of material to choose from in the past few months...feels like 2000 Nitro.

Best bad worker'll need to define "bad worker". Hulk Hogan would make the argument that he is an excellent worker given the reactions he receives, and I think that that argument has legs to it.

That said...DDP vs Goldberg?

Jim said...

3 1/4 for Cena/Del Rio

3 1/2 for Punk/Cena/Del Rio, I'd have it in the conversation for a bottom end slot with a bunch of matches, including Hogan/Warrior.

I didn't even go 3 for Cena/Rey.

Defining quality as who is most popular or who draws the most money isn't something a serious critic in any other field would consider. Match quality discussion gets pushback from the wrestling industry (and wrestling journalists often conflate business success with quality, to which I object)but I don't take it more seriously than would I if McDonalds said by definition their hamburgers were the best tasting. It is the element of wrestling discussion with which I most disagree.

Page was a good worker, not better than that, but good for a few year stretch. If Goldberg/Nash had a 3 1/2 star match, that would be in the Hogan/Warrior discussion.

Blog said...

You were talking about "workers", and the term "worker" is not necessarily synonymous with quality. My own definition is the ability to "work" the crowd to get the reaction that is desired, be it through a double moonsault, a hand to the ear, or a thonged ass to the face. Justin Gabriel probably couldn't get a reaction doing any of those things...

I do have my hopes up somewhat for the upcoming Mark Henry vs Big Show to be a good bad wrestler match. With the experience they have, they could probably pull off a quite good WWE style match that somebody else designs for them.

Jim said...

Show/Henry would count, yup. I am not optimistic.

I care so little about crowd reaction that (as now I watch most of my wrestling on the computer) I watch with the sound off as I listen to a podcast. Multitasking = important in a million wrestling matches to watch a year universe.

Blog said...

As far as I can tell, this is the biggest omission from Meltzer's list:

February 2009 Triple H d. Edge/Big Show/Jeff Hardy/Vladimir Koslov/Undertaker ****1/4

Jim said...

That was the Smackdown Elimination Chamber Match, I had it at 3 1/2; so it would be in that group that just missed my bottom of the list; there are probably ten matches that could go in those last couple of slots.

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