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THE BEST OF... THE UNITED STATES TITLE

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If we are going best of the best, Luger v Callous doesn't meet the expectations.  I would like to leave the write up though because it had a Disorderly Conduct reference.

 

Magnum and Tully is an automatic yes.  I'm not going to go into why since I think we will all agree the hate carries that guy.

 

Luger and Pillman starts with Luger trying to muscle Pillman around but can't keep the quicker man contained.  This is simple collar and elbow stuff but its effective to get the story line started.  Luger than decides to slap Pillman around and Brian goes off like, dare I say, a Loose Cannon?  Pillman sends Luger scurrying with a flurry and a MUTHA of a chop.  Pillman keeps the pressure on and gets in position for his springboard clothesline but Luger bails.  High pace is clearly Pillman's game plan and he chases Luger around the ring.  But Lex suckers him in with a knee through the ropes.  Lex controls for a bit but gets caught in a armdrag.  This sort of happens for a while, Luger gets advantage with some brawling and Brian takes him down with holds.  

 

Luger makes a mistake here in that he decides to jaw with a fan while in the arm bar, which makes it look like he is just being held in place rather than hurt by the hold.  It's a bad miss.  Then it turns out he is yelling at ECW's Hawaiian Shirt Guy.  Well I guess it plays into the rest of the contest as Luger finally gets the heat on Pillman when Brian misses a superfly splash.  He keeps going back to the crowd to talk ish like he isn't taking Pillman seriously.  He blasts Pillman with some high impact stuff including a wicked clothesline to the back of the head.  Luger looks quick here.  He's using acceleration to good effect and is working his heat segment like a babyface rally in terms of pace.

 

Pillman gets a sunset flip for a two and manages to duck out of the way of a clothesline immediately after sending Luger over the top to the outside.  Pillman rallies and hits some stuff but he kind of lacks the offensive punch at this point to really get a hot series of two counts.  He hits the springboard clothesline but it knocks Luger to the other side of the ring where he can get a foot on the ropes.  Pillman then "misses" a missile dropkick?  I don't know what happened here.  He didn't make contact.  He sold that he missed.  But it looked like Luger fell backward out of the way like it did hit him?  Its weird.  Luger follows up with a hotshot for the pin and the face reaction.

 

I say no.  This falls in the realm of good not great.  The jawing with the fans was off as was the missile dropkick deal.  Otherwise solid contest.

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I really kind of love the Magnum vs Wahoo cage match. I think it should be on the table at least.

Talk to me about this one, because I just watched it, and I need a little perspective as to why I should vote for it. I reeeally liked it and there's some really great brawling. Fucking Wahoo's elbowdrops on Magnum's forehead were SICK. And I really loved Wahoo going for about a million nearfalls to get the fuck out of there. Which made the sudden finish pretty damn awesome. I actually yelled outloud when it finished. Not sure if it fits what I think of as a best of, so I'd like to hear your perspective, to see if I missed anything.

 

 

First off, it's really a Youth vs Experience match, and I love those. This one is especially about Wahoo using every trick in the book to survive Magnum. He has two shots to the groin to take back over, one leverage pull into the cage, etc. etc., and it all seems organic and fresh and so full of desperation. Every trick in the book. There are points where you wonder how Wahoo (Who is admittedly, one of the toughest kayfabe guys in the history of wrestling) is going to possibly take back over, and of course he finds a way because he's that damn crafty. Magnum on the other hand brings out the righteous fury at least twice. Magnum rearing back and punching someone in the head is one of the best things in the history of JCP/WCW. He just has this momentum behind him here. He seems so fresh. I love his feud vs Mr. Wrestling II in Mid-South too, but I don't think we have any match there which is as good as this. By the time he's wrestling Tully, he part of the establishment with the music videos and everything else. There's an occasional awkardness to him here that just comes off as charm. They really do beat the crap out of each other. I love Wahoo's elbow drops but Magnum's really cool fist drop as well. I do think they could use the cage more but what they do with it is very well done. The finishing stretch is sudden but also set up smartly with Magnum getting two rope breaks on pins, surviving Wahoo's last ditch attempt before turning it around and hitting the Belly-To-Belly for the win. The crowd erupts. I think you can see the potential of Magnum here and just what we lost in his accident almost even more than in the later matches where he's a bit more polished/complete.

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I'll give YES votes to Luger/Steamboat-GAB, Luger/PIllman and Magnum/Tully in the cage.  I mean, those are essential.

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(Note: God bless auto-saved content)

 

Wahoo vs Magnum:  No.  Originally I had this as yes, but Magnum/Nikita set the bar for what a 'Yes' was going to be for me.   I've never really seen any Wahoo matches before, but I definitely liked him as the wily veteran using all the tricks in the book to defeat the widly popular challenger.  In a way he reminds me of Finlay:  A guy who wrestles a non flashy style and makes everything look like it hurts.  That's not to say Magnum didn't hold up his end of the deal, he really looked like a star in that match.  I liked that at the end of the match that Magnum got tired of Wahoo's antics and gave him a taste of his own medicine by going after the cut on Wahoo's head.  I just thought it was a neat way of showing that while Magnum's a good guy, you can push him too far and he'll retaliate in kind.

 

Mangum vs Nikita: Yes.  So we're at match 6 of 7, both guys know each other well by now.  You know this is going to be great when Magnum puts Nikita in a headlock and you believe Magnum wants to crush the Russian's head with it.  Magnum then does some amazing armwork to make sure  Nikita's sickle is out of the picture.  I mean seeing Nikita's arm bent like that and the vein popping out made you believe Magnum was trying to tear it off.  Then you have Magnum refusing to break the hold, dragging Nikita out and then posting the arm.  I think that works really well with the storyline of the series, as it's not so much good vs evil now as it is survival (Magnum) vs victory (Nikita).  Nikita has his own game plan and once he gets in control of things he's out to crush the life out of Magnum.  It feels like every move he does is to choke/crush Magnum's will to survive out of him.  It's interesting that this is match with a lot of basic submission spots, yet none of them feel like breathers or time-killers.  Also this match might have the best Dusty Finish ever.  If I could give this two yeses I would.

Magnum vs Tully:  Yes.  I remember watching this for the first time when the WWE Cage Match DVD came out.  It was so good that I immediately watched it again.  Now watching it again it really is just an amazing way to end a feud.  It's become apparent to me that Magnum is just so good at being the good guy pushed past the point of no return.  There's really no one in modern wrestling that does it as well as Magnum does, if at all.

 

Luger vs Steamboat: No.  This was definitely eye opening for me as my memories of Luger are from the dying days of WCW.  This Lex Luger is a who other guy, shockingly athletic for a guy his size.  Not only that he hit some nasty clotheslines on Steamboat, especially the one to the outside,  Steamboat was great here as well, using his speed to take advantage of the bigger Luger.  Getting launched from one ring to the other was a great visual, but man it looked like Steamboat wasn't going to make it for a second.  The ending was a neat way to give the crowd what they wanted and Steamboat chasing Luger with the chair was great, but it kind of felt like a letdown to me.  Even though I'm giving this a no I liked it a lot, but it's a 'Very Good' match, not 'The Best',

 

Luger vs Rich:  No.  Man Luger is such a glorious bastard in this match.  He  just radiates smugness at all times and his preening at the start of the match after hitting a couple simple moves was the best.  Tommy Rich is great as the guy who gets in flurries of offense and can frustrate Luger and get in his head.  But in then end Luger shows he really is the Total Package by using his brains to defeat Rich.  While I think that the Steamboat match was the better technical match, I think this match had a lot more character to it.  But still it falls into the 'Very Good' category.

 

Luger vs Flair: Yes.  This is sort of the counter-point to Magnum/Wahoo.  Here we have wily veteran Flair desperate to beat Luger so he can go on to face Sting; yet Luger has no desire to give Flair what he wants.  Luger has joined the forces of good at this point it seems and I must admit I miss the smugness from his other two matches;  thankfully we have Flair who more then makes up for it.  Watching the opening part of this match it dawns on me that Batista really took a lot from Lex's playbook.  Lex looks like a monster just shrugging off Flair's inital onslaught and making the Nature Boy pay every time he stopped to gloat.  But Flair goes into 'Dirtyest Player in the Game' mode and suddenly Lex is very vulnerable and does a great job showing it.  Lex sends Flair sailing off the top rope and they get the perfect shot of it, making it look that much more impressive.  The ending looks like it's going to be a let-down, but then Stan Hansen shows up and just mugs the crap out of Lex.  My first reaction upon seeing that was "Man I want to see that match".  But wasn't it Hansen that Lex had troubles with and caused him to head to the WWF?  Or is my timeline off?  Either way a great match with a great build up to another match.  An easy Yes for me.

Dustin vs Rude:  Short haired Rick Rude looks pretty damn bad ass, but the real shocker is how massive Dustin looks compared to Rude.  I'm not a huge fan of Ironman matches as they often end up stretching a match out too much.  I feel like this match has about 10 minutes of dead time that could have been cut out and it would have been much better for it.  That being said both guys were great here, especially Rude.  He, like Lex Luger, just exudes smug confidence.  But he also does lots of little things, like after Dustin works his back over he tries to do the hip swivel but is in too much pain; or when he comes off the top with an elbow to the head on Rhodes as if to say "You Rhodes aren't the only ones who can do that".  Dustin also does some great stuff, especially when his counter out of the tombstone and counter into his own.  It wasn't the usual reversal spot, it was more of a struggle to get free sort of deal.  Of course my WWE-washed brain boggled at the tombstone only getting a 2 count. but it's a different time and place.  The last four or so minutes get really good, but the ending's a bit of a let down.  In the end I think it's a really good match, but runs a bit long to be a 'Yes' for me.

 

Sting vs Rude: Apparently the match itself isn't on Youtube and the Dailymotion version has been taken down.

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I saw this mentioned in passing earlier in the thread but I think I'm going to go ahead and make a case for Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero from Vengeance 2003.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKSZwsQZvno

 

The early and middle portion of the match are pretty much what you'd expect from these two, really really good, straight laced wrestling. Towards the finishing stretch there's a ref bump and interference from Rhino, which might put some people off, but it facilitates some fine Guerrero lying/cheating/stealing, and the main event style shenanigans make it a very distinct match; you won't find many Benoit-Guerrero matches with this kind of ending, but you won't find many WWE main events with that quality of wrestling either. It's the best of both worlds, a smooth and satisfying hybrid, and makes the U.S. belt feel more important than it ever has in WWE outside of maaaaybe the Benoit-MVP stuff.

 

I love the touch from the ref at the beginning, going over the rules and demanding a handshake. Little touches like them completely ignoring the handshake request add so much to the story they're telling.

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This might be the best "Champion Works The Clock" match that Tully worked. Its the kind of match he and Mike Rotundo perfected as TV champ. Terry Taylor is the perfect plucky babyface. I enjoy the hell out of this match. One of the few Tully matches on TV during his short US title reign

 

 

James

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I think that one thing that is coming from this is how much more robust the TV Title is when it comes to good to great matches given the nature of the belt. A lot of times during, let's say 1991-1992, the TV Title would be defended 6-7 times a month on TV while the US Champion would be mainly in tags and six mans. 

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I think I've updated everything,

Bret Hart vs DDP - 10/26/98

 

DDP is super over as a face and Bret is a complete smug prick bastard.  He busts out a huge top rope superplex that always looked great.  DDP sells his ass off. Bret has a running conflict with the ref during the match and gets his comeuppance in the end.  His post-match beatdown of Page is just icing on the cake.

Just now watched this for the first time and holy cow does Bret give a master class in Heel. Maybe one of his best character performances ever. And the story is brilliant with him not giving a shit about DDP and just dominating him regardless. It puts him over as a pretty dangerous individual, and gives some credit to DDP for never giving up and coming through when it matters. I love that DDP recognizes he's waaaay behind on points and doesn't have the strength for sustained offense, so it's rollups and small cradles for the fluke - a strategy perfect for him since his finisher is so sudden. Bret is pretty evil here. Love this.

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Apologies for lack of Youtube clips - unable to access at work.

 

DDP vs. Raven vs. Benoit at Uncensored 98 would get a vote from me. A three way dance that was well scripted, not a formulaic one guy in, one guy out type of match.

 

Pity the Bowery Death Match wasn't for the title, was far better than the Spring Stampede 98 clusterfuck.

 

Could even raise the Goldberg/Raven match here too..

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I nominate Barry Windham vs. Lex Luger Chi-Town Rumble '89:

 

 

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I actually have a big Goldberg v. Raven apologia that I am going to post when I can put the YouTube video with it. I'm on my phone now.

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Rude-steamboat, both superbrawl II (the heat on rude is nuclear) and beach blast. . .

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Yes to Rude/Steamboat from SuperBrawl II, as it was just fucking awesome, screwy ending aside. 

 

However, I have to point out that the Steamboat/Rude Iron Man Match from Beach Blast was non-title.  It was just a way for Steamboat to win the fued without getting the US Title.

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Yes to Rude/Steamboat from SuperBrawl II, as it was just fucking awesome, screwy ending aside. 

 

However, I have to point out that the Steamboat/Rude Iron Man Match from Beach Blast was non-title.  It was just a way for Steamboat to win the fued without getting the US Title.

Sorry, forgot about the non-title stip. . . 

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Part of the fun of these 'best of' threads is randomly searching for matches to nominate and finding some things that you wouldn't normally find.  

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7HTs-jHdyY

 

Magnum TA © vs. The Barbarian w/ Paul Jones

 

Clipped to shit so not nominating it but its four minutes of pretty good stuff.  Konga is of course built like a house with face paint so despite what I assume is a minor push is still an immediate threat.  He just manhandles Magnum who has to out quick and out think the bigger guy.  Barbarian is impressive with his power displays including a press slam and a powerslam but can't hit the diving headbutt.  There is a moment here where I thought Mags was going to hit a belly-to-belly on the floor but alas it was not to be.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhOVTNd26mM

 

Dustin Rhodes © vs. Rick Rude World Wide May 16th, 1993

 

Totally worth a nomination here.  Rude is back from getting stripped of the title and Dustin has it after winning a tournament.  This is major test for Rhodes who was coming off the Windham tag team and trying to cement himself as a single.  Rude does a great variation on his usual spiel by having it go through Gary Capetta because the meatheads aren't worth wasting his breath on.  Story of the contest is that Dustin is actually handling the pressure of major competition.  He doesn't ever really look overwhelmed or out of place here. 

 

Rude shows this off right off the bat by pointing at his foe and laying in the bad mouth but Dustin isn't backing down.  They tie up and they fight over it in a corner which is enough to set the tone.  Rude then manages to push Dustin back and hammer away with corner shoulder rams before giving him the Irish Whip for a corner bump.  But when Rude goes to the shoulders again, Dustin is waiting and meets him on the button with a knee lift and a middle rope lariat.  Dustin shows off a bit of cagey veteran savvy at this point.  Like he laid a mini trap for Rude and the guy who was always portrayed as pretty smart walked right into it.  Dustin takes over with a few Irish whips to set up a side salto but he isn't rushing in like he's desperate to get the three like a total underdog would.  Dustin sends Rude flying with a backdrop and goes into a reverse chin clutch.  Again, not rushing and now using one of Rude's usual wear down moves.

 

Tape machines are rolling!

 

We are back and Rude has Dustin in a bear hug and the champion bites his way out of it.  Both guys can't get a throw in due to back issues and they clothesline each other.  Nice bit of selling here where by both guys as neither is ignoring what has already happened in the contest without going completely over thew top with it.  Rude manages to get Dustin over in a powerslam but it more of a leverage thing than a muscling his man over so it works.  Rude then heads to the top and drops a knee on Dustin's shoulder for two with a really lax cover.  Rude then makes a major error in going for the tombstone only to have Dustin reverse.  The whole thikng is a slow and steady struggle though and you see Rude fighting it the whole way.  You know, until he gets planted.  Dustin then goes to the top but eats a boot and a clothesline.  Rude back up top but he has to leap frog over Dustin who closes the distance and snags Rude in the DDT.  A sleeper comes next but Rude counters with the jaw breaker.  Rude goes to the top again but takes a face first toss off the ropes followed quickly with a another face first bump off a back drop.  

 

But Rude comes back into it with a poke to the eye and whips Dustin into Nick Patrick.  We then go into a two referee, back suplex, double pin, who is the winner Dusty finish... which sucks because it is the worst finish but is which is kind of okay I guess since we are building to something else down the line.  This is World Wide after all but both guys had their shoulders up.  But the camera shot is really good showing the second referee not being able to really see Dustin's shoulder coming up.

 

Jesse Ventura is awesome in this by the way.  He is the one pushing the story of Dustin being not the real US Champion but admitting that Dustin could remove all doubt with a win here.  Really nice way of getting over the story while still cheering for Rude.  This is like the Iron Man already nominated but with no wasted anything.  Even the 'rest holds' immediately come back into play so they aren't a waste and they were pretty much eaten by the commercial so who cares?  Really, really good stuff.

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Alright, I'd like to nominate Raven v. Goldberg 4/20/98

 

 

It's funny, because when I hear the phrase "US Title", this is the first match I think of, but my initial reaction is that most people would probably vote it down and it would end up being classified as a very good effort, but not much more. To me, it really depends on what we are looking for in a great wrestling match. While I readily admit that the in ring talent here is a significant drop off compared to people like Rude, Rhodes, Tully and even Luger, I would say that Raven and Goldberg do an absolutely fantastic job of telling a really clear and concise story that the audience wants to see, and they manage to do it without exposing either performer. 

 

The opening of the match is just so hot. The crowd wants a coronation ceremony, and Raven, by simply putting the belt down on the ground, creates a perfect moment that shows off that Goldberg is going to have to go through him. By being so aggressive in the early going, Raven shows not only how important the title is, but also puts over Goldberg as someone that he can't pull his usual lackadaisical schtick with. Even something as simple as a drop kick counter out of the corner shows off how Raven actually prepared for this one and has a game plan beyond "sit in corner, use a chair, stiff the shit out of someone with a DDT". 

 

When the chair does come out, it actually feels like a big and necessary moment, because the announcers actually do a great job of putting over how this is completely new territory for Goldberg. While Goldberg was never really known for his selling (nor should he have been at this point in his career), I think he does a really good job of getting over how this is a different fight than he is used to, and he has to spend some time to figure it out. The segment goes on just long enough that the crowd never loses its heat, but when Goldberg does hit that initial spear, they still go absolutely insane. Also, since this is DVDVR, can we talk for a minute about Raven's punches? I never really thought of him as a dude with great strikes, but they were pretty fantastic here. I have this sort of weird dichotomy with Raven; even though I watched him throughout his prime and have really fond memories of his stuff, I always picture him as really bloated and slow from his ECW comeback and after. Any time I see a match like this, seeing how fast and athletic he was is a revelation.

 

Anyway, on to the schmozz. I think if you dock this match any points, it's Kidman's fault for being so terrible. Really, the entire Flock is bad, but he somehow stands out as beyond awful. I do think this section really works though, and was a smart inclusion. Having Goldberg win directly off the spear would have been fine, but having him kill a few random jobbers gave him a unique hulk up moment that is a brilliant turning point. It is almost like the fatal flaw in the super villain's plan: Raven had him on the ropes, but by sending the grunts out there, Goldberg was able to get back on familiar ground and start to build momentum. I love the "fans" throwing Raven back in. Goldberg was such a phenomenon, and really captured how much his ascension meant for the WCW faithful. It is simultaneously charming and carny. 

 

Lastly, I really hate to throw around meaningless words like "timeless" when it comes to wrestling, but I honestly believe that you could run that match on Raw next week and it would still be considered a classic. I mean, couldn't you see the exact same match, almost move for move between Ambrose and Reigns? With Rollins running in and getting dump trucked? Wouldn't it still be really over? I think that quality alone makes it worthy of consideration. 

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Ugh Michael Buffer.

 

Rest of this was a blast.  Voting YES

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Alright, time for round two:

Tully vs Taylor: No.  This was actually a tough call for me.  On the one hand you have Tully who is amazing in this match.  Whereas Luger and Rude exude smugness, Tully oozes scummyness.  Even his style of wrestling has this scummy, reckless feel to it.  He also does a great job of making everything Taylor does look like a million bucks.  One thing that really stood out to me is that every time Tully would be mugging to the crowd. he would instantly focus right back on Taylor before the challenger could get back on his feet.  It really helped reinforce the fact that Tully saw Taylor as a threat to his title. thus he was giving him no quarter.  Conversely there's Terry Taylor, who is definitely an awesome wrestler, I mean that bodyslam he hit Tully with at the beginning of the match looked killer; how often do you say that?  But my problem with him was that I got no real emotional feel out of him.  He didn't wrestle like he hated Tully, or like he was hungry to win the title, or any other sort of motivation.  He came off as a dude who wanted to wrestle a good match, if that makes any sense.  So I sat there debating the pros and the cons and basically decided that if my instant reaction to match isn't "That was amazing" then it gets a no.

 

Luger vs Pilman: Yes.  To me this is like a better version of Tully/Taylor.  Again you have the smug champ vs plucky challenger setup, but here you can feel Pilman's desire to win.  It's a title match and Flyin' Brian is all fired up.  Luger comes out brawling and JR wonders why he isn't tossing Pillman around like a ragdoll.  We get the answer for that early on as Pillman has counters for whatever Lex tries, including a super-sweet spin counter to a hip-toss.  Lex also takes an awesome spill out of the ring that looked super dangerous,  But Lex bides his time and soon enough Pillman makes some mistakes going to the top rope and Luger swoops in for the kill.  I love that in every match they talk about how Luger's tortue rack is basically the kiss of death, but in none of the Luger matches has he had to resort to using it.  It makes him look like a bigger deal in my mind, plus if/when he does bust it out you automatically know it's serious business.

Bret Hart vs DDP: No.  I think Jae and I are going to have to disagree on this one.  This was a good match but to be honest I was a tad disappointing in it, mostly in Bret.  During the match you have the announcers talking about the vicious assault Bret put on Sting, yet in the ring Bret's acting like a mid-card rudo on a C-show.  He'd do a move, do some half-assed crowd taunt and repeat.  Now part of that may be the way they planned out the match but it really came off as Bret sleepwalking through the match.  The scary thing is sleepwalking Bret is still really good.  DDP brought the goods though, going the extra mile to make everything Bret did seem killer.  Honestly though the postmatch beat-down was way more compelling then the match itself.  Bret got that chair and went psycho on DDP, which really made me want to see the blow-off to that.  But even so it gets a no from me.

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Benoit: Yes.  I feel like I might be biased here because these were my two favorite wrestlers.  Eddie's the bad guy here but the crowd can't help but love him.  Benoit got sneak-attacked previously so he's looking for some...vengeance.  This is the crown the new US champ so both guys are even more fired up.  The main thing here is the story of how evenly matched these two are since they were friends for so long.  It didn't matter if it was strikes, submissions or suplexes. the two of them were matched blow for blow.  Eddie was fantastic with his cheat to win shtick and his reaction when he realized that his attack on the ref went a little too well was priceless.  In the end it took an outside influence to break the stalemate and Eddie was more then happy to take advantage.  His 'what are you going to do?' look as he was walking up the ramp iced the cake.

 

Daniel Bryan vs The Miz: No.  As an aside, I forgot how atrocious Evil Michael Cole was.  When you make Matt Striker sound like JR, it's gone too far.  But as for the match itself it was really good and did a great job of drawing the crowd in as it went along.  Having The Miz focus in on a body part was a good strategy as it not only made The Miz look smart, it kept him from doing some of his less stellar looking offense.  Daniel Bryan certainly played the plucky underdog well and busted out neat counters and flash pins, which I think got the crowd into the match ever more.  The getting crotched on the ropes/diving clothesline spot was nifty, but took a beat too long to set up and sort of felt out of place with the pace of the rest of the match.  Like I said, a really good match, but not up to the level of other matches.



 

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I was ready to post "how had no one nominated the piper vs valentine dog collar match?" And then i double checkwd and saw it was a non title match. Had totally forgotten that.

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Same here. And I'm pretty disappointed that I can't find footage of Greg Valentine's US title reigns on Youtube. NOT EVEN A CAMERA PHONE RECORDING.

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Bumping this to see if anyone else has seen anything now that the Network exists.

 

Also Monday I'm going to start a new thread for a new title. I'll probably open a new one up every month.

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There have been enough posts that have come just thisclose to nominating the Benoit-MVP match of Mania 23, I don't know if my mentioning it here is officially suggesting it, or if this is a "YES" vote for it somewhere.

I watched it in a room filled with non-smark, wrestling-is-real-kinda-sorta fans and, with no flashy gimmickry or standout performers other than Porter and Benoit, this was clearly the MOTN for that crowd. It stole a lot of the show in its own way. I still put it in the top three matches of that Mania. The fact that it included the US title stands out to me as pretty telling of how important that title could be booked to mean for those that vie for it.

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I'll say yes to the matches I remember:

 

Lex Luger vs. Ricky Steamboat, July 23rd, 1989

Lex Luger vs. Brian Pillman, October 28, 1989

Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit, July 23, 2003

Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz, September 19th, 2010

 

I'll second JRGoldman's nomination of Raven vs. Goldberg from the post Spring Stampede 1998 Monday Nitro. One of the hottest short matches ever.

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I've never been a fan of the US title (I'm a huge Tv title fan).

But I'd nominate the Bret v Luger title change.

What I wrote in the past about how Bret and Luger match up well (comparing Bret v Luger handheld with Bret v Narcisus from Colliseum video and the US title match):

 

 

I left feeling that the two match up well which is something I don’t think I’d have ever said before. Just the way they run the ropes or something, just go “Hey these two guys are oddly on the same page”: no sense of Bret dragging something out of Luger or Luger resisting. There are Luger v Sting matches where you go "Luger doewsn't want to be doing this", not here.

The two WWF matches are near identical. I don’t remember Luger’s nice backbreaker in the non-handheld one and don’t think there was a double noggin knocker in the handheld. I always dig chickenshit Luger. The match for the Coliseum video is one where really early on I called “this needs a run in finish”. “These guys are going back and forward with no guy ever feeling like they have a clear advantage and I just don’t see either moving toward ending this”. Filling time toward a run in. Lots of Hart matches have these long even finish runs. These aren’t really your turn my turn move-exchanges, but extended runs with changes in momentum with no one being “guy with advantage”. The Colliseum one really felt like the match was building toward a run in, the handheld which was structured similarly felt to me more like guys building toward a finish.


The WCW match does seem a lot more "complete. "-more beginning middle endish"-The WCW US Title match IMO is the best of the three. It's a lot better than I remember it being. I don’t want to over sell it but the match is pretty fucking good. I don't want to say it's greatest thing ever but you get the sense that if you could photoshop Lyger's mask on Bret and Olympico's on Luger you could talk some people into arguing that it was a MOTY from Delphin show. This is somewhat surprising since the general talking point is that Luger is better (more natural) as heel, and that Bret prefers to work face (resistant to heel work). Also that Bret was unmotivated in WCW, and Luger was completely washed up and (unmotivated for a decade). Luger brings less to the table than he did in the Narcissus matches but sometimes a well worked one man show is better. Bret does a nice job as heel feeding Luger face spots and for whatever its worth Luger doesn’t fuck those up, and sells well. Crowd totally eats those face spots up, and is pissed when the face gets run cut off. Bret also is really great at bumping and selling for Luger’s stuff making the one set of punches in corner look great and making the clotheslines all work.

For match between roided guy who the WWF implied killed his wife vs guy working cerebral technical heel, this match smokes all the 04 matches between roided WWF guy who actually did kill his wife and guy working cerebral technical heel.

Tim Cooke and Benbeach also comment on the Luger v Bret matchup here:
http://z11.invisionfree.com/wrestling_ko/index.php?showtopic=874&hl=
 

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