1001 MATCHES: First and Last
(by PHIL RIPPA)
I am sadly a little too proud of being able to do this where all the firsts were first and the lasts were last.
716) THE SUPER POWERS (DUSTY RHODES, NIKITA KOLOFF, PAUL ELLERING, ROAD WARRIOR HAWK AND ROAD WARRIOR ANIMAL) vs. THE FOUR HORSEMAN (RIC FLAIR, ARN ANDERSON, LEX LUGER, TULLY BLANCHARD, JJ DILLION) – NWA GREAT AMERICAN BASH ’87 (07/04/87 – WarGames)
The O.G. War Games match.
717) RIC FLAIR vs. STING – NWA CLASH OF THE CHAMPIONS (03/27/88 – NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
The main event of the first Clash of the Champions. And I will forever giggle at my memories of even PWI calling bullshit on the draw finish.
718) JUMBO TSURUTA vs. STAN HANSEN – ALL JAPAN (04/18/89 – PWF Heavyweight Title / NWA International Heavyweight Title / NWA United National Title Unification)
Yup – the match that created the Triple Crown.
719) TOSHIAKI KAWADA vs. KENSUKE SASAKI – NEW JAPAN (10/09/00)
The Main Event of the first New Japan vs. All Japan show. Kawada, loyal company man, vs. Sasaki, the current IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Sasaki, who was in peak “Oh yeah – I see why Akira Hokuto wants to fuck you” mode, was so full of shame for the loss that he vacates the title.
720) CHRIS JERICHO vs. BOOKER T vs. KANE vs. ROB VAN DAM vs. TRIPLE H vs. SHAWN MICHAELS – WWE SURVIVOR SERIES ’02 (Elimination Chamber, World Heavyweight Championship)
The first Elimination Chamber match. Always interesting to go back and watch guys trying to figure out the gimmick while crippling themselves… including RVD taking direct aim at Triple H’s throat.
721) MIKE AWESOME vs. MASATO TANAKA – ECW (via WWE) “ONE NIGHT STAND” ’05 (06/12/05)
The last of the Mike Awesome/Masato Tanaka matches. While maybe not the best of their meetings – there is so much other weirdness going on that this is the one you want to watch. The WWE presenting ECW. A bitter Joey Styles shitting on Mike Awesome for the whole match. The fact that Awesome was so distraught over how much he was paid for the show that it lead to his retirement.
722) RIC FLAIR vs. SHAWN MICHAELS – WWE WRESTLEMANIA XXIV (03/30/08 – If Flair loses he must retire)
Ric Flair’s last match since we all agree that all the TNA nonsense never happened.
723) MISTICO vs. AVERNO – CMLL/NEW JAPAN FANTASTICAMANIA ’11 (01/23/11)
For some reason I still am tickled that the last match between these two occurred in Japan. When in doubt, always blame Mistico.
724) AJ STYLES vs. COREY HOLLIS – GEORGIA PREMIER WRESTLING (02/05/16)
AJ Styles last indie match. Would have been the best US indie wrestling year ever but then Chris Hero happened the same year.
725) MARIKO YOSHIDA vs. HIROYO MATSUMOTO (11/19/17)
Mariko Yoshida’s retirement match and she goes out in a blaze of spidery goodness.