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If Could Take Only 3 Wrestling Matches To a Desert Island...

Liam O'Rourke

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So for this week's podcast, we're taking a page from an old radio show called "Desert Island Discs" and applying it to wrestling matches to try and break down some of the classics with a different perspective. So the question is, if you were being shipped off to a desert island tomorrow, and were only allowed to take 3 wrestling matches with you to watch forever, which 3 would you choose, and more importantly, why?


Do you choose the best three matches you can think of, do you try and get a mixed flavour for what you like, or do you go for matches based on personal experiences and nostalgic memories?


As always, the best contributions will be read on the show and you'll be credited accordingly, so what would make your list of three, and what is the rationale behind your choices?


EDIT - Part 1 of this series, featuring a great many of your contributions is now online and available to listen to at the following link: http://squaredcirclegazette.podbean.com/mf/play/5u7tdk/SCGRadio73-DesertIslandDuelsPart1.mp3


EDIT - Part 2 of this series, featuring a great many of your contributions is now online and available to listen to at the following link: http://squaredcirclegazette.podbean.com/mf/play/qyreex/SCGRadio74-DesertIslandDuelsPart2.mp3

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Rock Vs Hogan - WrestleMania 18. My favourite wrestling match ever. So simple yet so good.


Triple H Vs Mick Foley - Royal Rumble 2000. These days Foley can't help but do my head in. However watching this reminds me that Foley used to be good.


CM Punk Vs John Cena - MITB 2011. I often over look the last 10 years or so but this match can't be forgotten.

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Fantastic topic.


I am going to go:

1. Austin/Bret at Mania '13, simply one of my favourite feuds of all time, Austin antagonising Bret at every turn was just fantastic, put an S in front of hitman and you have my exact opinion of Bret Hart. It looked like a fight, a raw boned fight, nothing looked like a scripted piece of backyard shite, it was hard hitting, brutal and the ending was classic. I have 2 favourite times as a Wrestling fan, this was one......


2. My other favourite period of Wrestling....the Late 80's, Hogan vs Andre at Mania 3, and the match the sums up my formative years, I cannot recall how many times I watched this match, it must literally be 100. To me this is THE defining match, and no matter WWE's inflated attendance drew thousands of people to what was a spectacle.


3. RVD/Jerry Lynn at Living Dangerously 99 - I was a massive ECW mark in the late 90's, I used to get the tapes and try to push them on my mates at school who watched WWF, this match to me was the peak of my love for the company, rarely have I seen better chemistry between 2 guys, there is a sequence in this match where Van Dam goes for a leg sweep and Lynn hurdles and Leg Drops him in one motion, fucking poetry. How over was Van Dam.

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I did this topic years ago. Keep up Liam! Should make for great radio.


1. Warrior vs. Savage (WrestleMania 7). Still my favourite match ever. The story going in is great, the story coming out is great and the story they tell through the medium of shoulder blocks, flying elbows and talking to your hands is quiet simply brilliant. I don't think I've ever seen another match where the story being told was so utterly simple or so completely compelling. I could watch this every day for the rest of my life so it'd be quiet useful on an Island.


2. Royal Rumble 1992. I know technically this is cheating but this is the match I've watched the most down the years. In fact, I sometimes just listen to the commentary at work. I don't need to watch it, I can see it in my mind.


3. Hart Foundation vs. Demolition (SummerSlam 1990). Another childhood favourite that I could happily watch any day of any week. No match brings a smile to my face like this one. Bret's my favourite ever, Harts are my favourite tag team ever and this is their defining match together. I'm not going to claim that this is the best tag match ever because technically it clearly isn't but it's by far my favourite and the LOD interference to stop the blatant cheating just had me bursting with excitement as a ten year old.

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HBK/HHH from Summerslam 2002 : I have never been so intensely invested in a match as I was in this one.

Even though I was 22 years old at the time and knew wrestling was fake, for that half hour or so, I believed it was real again thanks to a stunning performance from HBK who I never thought I'd see again in the ring.

I was genuinely worried for Michaels' back (a testament to all involved from his selling, and the commentators selling of his selling) and my pots were gone throughout, and that is the best compliment I can give any wrestling match.
When HHH hit him with the sledgehammer after Michaels' dramatic rollup, I was up off my seat wishing fire poker, cactii and pumice stone rape on HHH and cursing him from a height...believing he really hurt him again.
Absolutely brilliant stuff, and the last time I genuinely cared about a match to that extent.


Shield/Wyatts from Elimination Chamber 2014 : Unpopular choice, but this match excited me. It was fresh and it made me happy I keep persisting with watching wrestling. It had it all, for me.


Royal Rumber 1992. To steal from our Rick up there...

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1) Warrior v Savage - Wrestlemania 7: Easily the match I have watched the most times since being a fan. I practically wore the VHS out watching it over and over. The fact that Warrior, the untamed beast, can sense the importance of the situation and walks to the ring rather pelting it down all guns blazing, gave his whole character a completely different layer. Ofcourse Savage carried him throughout, but in doing so made Warrior look like the star that he should have been during his WWF title run


2) CM Punk vs. John Cena- MITB 2011: a redhot crowd who are actually invested in what's going on rather than just busting out dual-chants for no reason can really enhance the overall experience of a match, and that is exactly what happened here. The pop at the end is like a football match for Punk winning the big/proper one in his hometown. It also shows how great John Cena can be when he wants to be, which thankfully has been most of the time since this match


3) The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar - Wrestlemania 30: I know this might sound like a daft choice to most, but it's purely down to the result and it's significance. When the three count happened, I sat bolt upright from my couch and actually shouted "holy fuck!". I couldn't believe that it had actually happened, to quote Tony Schiavone "I've seen it, and I still can't believe it". The streak, a pro-wrestling attraction that took on a whole life of it's own seemingly be accident and the one constant in wrestling since I started watching in 1991. Everything that had happened and changed in the industry in that time, 'the streak' was always there. And then, just like that, it wasn't. Arguably the biggest moment in wrestling since the Hogan heel turn.

The match itself isn't particularly great due to Taker getting dropped on his bonce early in the match, but the in take of breath from the crowd, and the moment of realisation when the 21-1 graphic displays is still evidence of how great wrestling can be when it gets it right. And yes, Lesnar was the right choice


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1. Misawa/Kobashi vs Taue/Kawada AJPW June 1995 - It's simply the greatest match I have ever seen. Everyone has a role in it and they play it to perfection. Misawa is the ace, Kobashi is the rising star, Kawada is the violent asshole who feels he's being overlooked and Taue is there to make sure Kawada's temper doesn't get the better of him. The only gripe I have with this match is that I very much doubt I will ever see a match better than this. It's that good.


2. Cena vs Punk MITB 2011 - Even with the botches, I still hold this close to my heart. Ever since Punk did the Pipebomb promo, I was sucked into the angle. The botches may stop this from being a five star match, but it's still one of my personal favourites.


3. Funk vs Lawler, Empty Arena Match, 1981 - One could argue this is more of an angle rather than a match, but I simply don't care. I personally rate Terry Funk above Ric Flair when it comes to the best 80s wrestler and matches like this are my arguement for that point. Funk's promo at the start stating Lawler doesn't have the balls to turn up and fight him is pure gold, and his selling at the end of the match might be some of the most convincing I've ever seen in a wrestling ring. You almost feel sorry for the psychopathic bastard.

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I've gone for three that have tremendous nostalgia/importance factor as well as being dead good.


Rock vs Austin, WrestleMania X-Seven. But it has to include the My Way build-up video as well.


Undertaker vs Triple H, WrestleMania 28. It's up there with the best that either of them have ever done, and it's a phenomenal performance from Shawn Michaels. Three of the best birds of all time with one stone.


Edge vs John Cena, Unforgiven 2006. The iconic match from one of WWE's best-ever rivalries.


My answers change if I haven't also taken three pornographic films with me. If I'm relying on the wrestling vids for my wanks, there'd have to be a Roman Reigns vs Randy Orton match in there.

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For me:


SS88: 5 tag teams vs 5 tag teams. A cracker in every sense. Even if marred by a slightly dodgy ending


Razor vs Michaels ladder match 1: a stunning piece of storytelling


Hogan vs Rock WM7: for sheer hair on end, chills down the spine nostalgia nothing tops this for me. I was 22 at the time and it was about 2am and i marked out like a 9 year old.


Notable mentions to


Ss91: perfect vs Hart

Ss92 Bulldog vs hart

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Difficult, very difficult. Here are my three:


1. Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper, WM8


An unsurprising choice to anyone whose been here long enough to have put up with my ramblings. Probably my favourite match ever; in fact I frequently describe it as "a movie in a match". Great stories on both sides going into it, simple but excellent build-up, brilliantly paced, good action (with Piper showing he doesn't lose out in anything performance-wise while in a ring with Bret), and a great moment of people drawing on a legend's history to plead with him not to go back to his old ways but to carry on being the hero he's become to them. Doesn't end the way I wanted it to (as big a fan as I am of Bret, I really wanted Piper to hold on to what had been his only WWF title to date), but there's just so much right with this match, it's not even a negative - as Piper said, Bret needed a push at that moment in time.


2. D-Generation X vs. Legacy, Summerslam 2011


HarmonicGenerator covered this match in his excellent "A Summerslam Match A Day" thread. For a long time, I was very much of the opinion that a simple singles match was the best presentation of wrestling there was, and I disagreed with the assertion (I think it might have been Cornette, but wouldn't swear to it) that the tag match was the best. However, because of this match, I'm now not so sure, and, even though the other DX/Legacy tag matches were hailed as better, I just love this one - it's a tag war that you just can't help but be drawn into. Even Ted "Beige Lightning" DiBiase Jr. has a good showing in it.


3. Milano Collection AT vs. Ryo Saito, DragonGate 2005


Yes, I just edited my post. It was a tough choice, but I remembered how much I loved this match when I watched it. An awesome build-up, with the promos, vignettes and talking heads all discussing how Saito, an upcoming and exciting new talent, had faced the leader of Italian Connection twice before, and had lost both quite convincingly. The drama stemmed mainly from the idea that Saito still couldn't beat him, that Milano just had too much in his locker, both in terms of lucha high-flying and llave submissions, for Saito to overcome. The match itself was a brilliant expression of that story, with Milano outsmarting Ryo at nearly every turn - and then something clicks. Nothing Milano throws at Ryo works any more; the veteran becomes increasingly desperate as Ryo fights out of every submission, counters every hold, and then finally hits back with his own big gun, winning the match with the oddly-named Premium Bridge (a weird variant of the dragon suplex). Load of fun.

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1. War Games 1992

2. Royal Rumble 1992. 

3. Warrior/Savage WrestleMania 7. 


The first two are the pinnacle of both their respective gimmicks and dare i say will never be bettered. 

The 3rd one is a complete Randy Savage masterclass. Before he was back in the good books we were all told the Warrior was shite (and let's be honest - he was) but Randy made him look like an absolute superstar capable of great matches. 

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If I could only pick 3:


Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat - Clash of the Champions, 2 out of 3 falls

Technical masterpiece and the most real pro wrestling match I've ever seen.


Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant - WM 3

Arguably the most anticipated WM match ever. The build up, the huge crowd, amazing.


Super Dragon vs Scorpio Sky - 3 out of 5 falls, wXw FAN 2004

High flying brutality at its finest, most amazing match I've ever seen live. 

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Stone Cold vs The Rock - Wrestlemania 17

I know this has been taken, but it's easily my favourite match of all time. It's arguably the biggest WWE match of all time, isn't it? Forget what happened afterwards, the ending was brilliant at the time too. My little 9 year old self was devastated. It's now my go-to match if I'm drunk. I watched the shit out of it on Saturday night.


Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan - Wrestlemania 30

This is probably the most feel-good match I've experienced in real time as opposed to knowing the result beforehand. Fuck me, what a moment and what a match. It's a great standalone match, but it's absolutely excellent when you combine it with the storylines ranging back to the previous summer. Everything from the initial forming of the Authority to Batista returning and winning the Rumble made this arguably the last great WWE storyline. You could probably argue for days whether or not WWE ever intended this to be the main event of Wrestlemania or if Bryan was actually supposed to face Sheamus. If it was intended, it was a master stroke. If it wasn't intended, it was a brilliant save. Recent events have made this match that much more special too.


Divas Invitational Battle Royal - Wrestlemania 25

We can take the participants with us, can't we?

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