WWE’s next PPV, Extreme Rules, is right around the corner!
I am a huge wrestling fan, but as sad as it is to admit…I kind of missed the boat when it came to wrestling’s “extreme” heyday. The Hardcore Championship, ECW…blood during matches. I was too young when all that stuff went down to truly appreciate how matches like that paved the way for wrestling legends and matches today.
That’s not to say that I don’t understand now how big that era was to professional wrestling. Now that I am older and am a much bigger fan, I can look back on that era with fondness and rediscover some of these matches and wrestlers I didn’t know about at that age. I’m kind of glad, to be honest, that I didn’t watch that kind of wrestling growing up because now I get the opportunity to discover it all.
That being said, there have been quite a few extreme style matches since I started getting REALLY into professional wrestling that stood out to me, matches that after watching them I said to myself, “Damn. No wonder everybody loved matches like that.”
So, since Extreme Rules is upon us I thought it’d be fun this week to talk about my top five favorite extreme style matches since I started watching wrestling. Bear in mind, I’m not saying that these matches are the greatest of all time in their particular category. I’m also not saying that any of these matches are better than anything that happened during the Hardcore title’s heyday. I’m saying that these matches stood out to me as a shining example of brutal matches in modern-day pro wrestling.
Number 5: John Morrison vs. The Miz- WWE Championship Falls Count Anywhere Match: RAW January 4, 2011
Number 4: Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk- WWE Championship Chicago Street Fight: Extreme Rules 2012
This match was intense as hell. While it may be considered a bit tame compared to the other matches on this list, it just blew me away when I watched it. I think it’s a prime example of a grudge match: two dudes just beating the holy hell out of each other over a championship belt. I think that’s why I liked the match so much. I felt the hatred that Morrison had for Miz and I was rooting for him so hard to win. Morrison is well known for his extreme, high risk offense. He took all kinds of risks during this match and unfortunately, paid for it with a loss.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho – Chicago Street Fight by duh_itsemilyChris Jericho made things personal leading up to this match. He insulted Punk’s family. He insulted Punk’s straight edge beliefs. I cannot think of a match where I hated the bad guy more than I did Jericho in this match and he certainly paid for it. Punk was incredibly brutal and it made his victory that much better. My favorite part was when Punk leapt from the ring and dropped an elbow on Jericho through the Spanish announce table.
Ah…the Spanish announce table. They really need to enforce that thing ha ha.
Number 3: Randy Orton vs. Mick Foley- Intercontinental Championship No Holds Barred Match: Backlash 2004
Randy Orton vs Mick Foley Pt 1 by diamond__dustMick Foley has stated numerous times that this was one of his favorite matches ever and rightfully so. This match was plain and simple, hardcore. Randy Orton, though ultimately victorious, was completely out of his element. Don’t believe me?
Look at that face. How can you not look at that face and feel bad for the guy ha ha? In my opinion, this was probably the last great “hardcore” match in WWE and will always be remembered as a bloody, brutal fight.
Number 2: JBL vs. John Cena- WWE Championship I Quit Match: Judgement Day 2005
This, I believe was John Cena’s very first WWE Title defense and it will go down as one of his greatest defenses ever. It was bloody, it was intense and it was just an all around, straight up battle. John Cena made it well known that he would be the man in WWE with this match and showed how dominant he can truly be. JBL gets credit for putting up such a fight though. It took Cena ripping the exhaust pipe off a semi to get him to say I quit.
Number 1: The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar- WWE Championship Hell In A Cell Match: No Mercy 2002
WWE No Mercy 2002_ Brock Lesnar vs… by TheoMJ21Man. I was 12 years old when this match happened. I remember my older brother ordered the PPV and let me watch it with him. I was speechless. It was the first time that I had ever seen someone man handle another person like Lesnar did to Taker. This match speaks for itself. It is one of the greatest and most animalistic Hell In A Cell matches ever.
What matches do you think are the most extreme of the modern era? Sound off in the comments section below.