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

Liam O'Rourke

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I never think of having particular favourite matches so a tuff one to call


Match 1


Bret Hart Vs Mr Perfect - Summerslam 91


I think this was the first time I had seen WWF on Sky and it was days after the event had taken place. Up until then I think I had always rooted for the bigger guys Hogan/Warrior but this match changed everything. I know there are better matches to reference from this time but I was 13/14 at the time and this match changed my view on wrestling completely


Match 2


Bryan Danielson Vs Nigel McGuinness - Unified


Got to see this live and it lived up to the hype. Rooting for Nigel all the way and still have the Final Countdown ringing in my ears until this day


Match 3


Rey Misterio Jr Vs Juventud Guerrera - Big Ass Extreme Bash Night 2


I was introduced ECW and like Hart Vs Perfect it changed everything for me. The match had everything whilst a lot of matches are in my mind having watched this recently it was firmly at the forefront

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1: Eddie Guerrero vs Brock Lesnar @ No Way Out 04.


Really good, emotional build up and match, crowd were hot and the result was fabulous to unexpected teenage me. One of my happiest memories as a wrestling fan, was delighted for Eddie


2: RVD vs John Cena @ One Night Stand 2006.


Match itself was middling,but the atmosphere and the way Cena handled the sheer hatred the crowd threw at him was fantastic. A match that always brings a smile to my face.


3. Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit @ Royal Rumble 2003.


Just a phenomenal display of technical wrestling by both men, a match that I still find myself watching at least once a year.

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Although I've just rewatched Angle/Jericho/Benoit summerslam 2000 for the Euro/Intercontinental belts and it's incredible. I'm subbing that for Taker/Rock.


Angle, Jericho and Benoit didn't have a triple threat match at SummerSlam 2000. And you didn't have an Undertaker vs Rock match in your picks anyway.

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Im splitting my 3 into catagories. An epic match, a fun match and the best type of match, an Austin match.


Michaels vs Taker at Mania 25.


This is my "epic match" pick. Im not even going to attempt to explain this one because it doesnt need any explaining.


TLC 2 at Mania X-Seven.


One of the funnest watches in a perverse way due to the sheer carnage. Loads of personalities, loads of spots and that X-Seven crowd were awesome.


Last pick is the Austin v Bret match from Mania 13.


This is the best match ever. That is all.


3 belter matches that i would gladly spend years watching them with my desert island best friend Sondico (ball from Sports Direct)

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1. 92 Rumble for the same reasons as everyone else, the commentary, Flair, the post match interview, you could just watch that every day.


2. Lesnar Cena Summerslam 2014. Partly because I don't want everyone on this island watching the same matches as each other but partly because he just keeps on going. German followed by German with Heyman counting along, he just keeps going it's ace. Cena sells it brilliantly, lesnar just looks like a fucking monster, great stuff


3. Bayley v Sasha iron man match. Yes the Brooklyn one is probably better but the iron man has Sasha making Izzy cry which I could watch all day long. Also if I'm relaxing in a gentleman's manner on this island then 30 minutes of sasha isn't bad. There are other women's matches which if they're there purely for that reason would top it (anything with Blue Pants!) But this is an ace match as well so ticks many boxes.

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Long time listener, first time contributer. Keep up the excellent work - many a time have I burst into laughter at you guys on the bus and made a complete tit out of myself!


1) Like a lot of people have said - CM Punk vs John Cena MITB 2011. Whilst it may not have moved numbers (July 4th being the obvious reason!!) the week after the pipe bomb was essential viewing for me and my housemates. We rarely stayed up for Raw due to being at work early the next day, but with Austing guest hosting we did. We very nearly gave up and then that pipe bomb. We were sat in silence for ages following the bomb, and had to tune in weekly without fail. MITB was the first night we stayed up for a PPV since Mania, and I have never felt more electric when watching a match with zero idea how it would end. The crowd, the story, the action... It was perfect and one of the few matches I've been able to rewatch from the modern era and it still holds up. Pure magic.


2. TLC1. This was the match that made me a wrestling fan, and yes, 2 is better but still, just a phenomenal match that I'll watch again and again and still get caught up for. I long for the day that Tag Team wrestling is this hot again. Such a fantastic match.


3. Steven Richards vs Tyson Tomko Unforgiven 2004... Only joking. Although a good candidate for a match you wish to exile to a desert island!


3. Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho Royal Rumble 2001. I know - a second ladder match. But what a story! And even though it features he who must not be named... And Krispin Wah.... It is perhaps one of the best matches I have ever seen. That Chair shot - which is perhaps bad taste knowing what Benoits brain was like - the walls of Jericho on the top of the ladder... Such amazing visuals. That was what me and my mates discussed in the playground the next morning - not Chyna!


Love the podcast and keep up the good work guys!

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Probably end up going with 


1. Samoa Joe vs. Necro Butcher - IWA-MS Something To Prove 2005


Hard to think of a match i've been able to watch as many times as I have this and still come away loving it as much as I did when I first saw it. There's so many matches I can rewatch regularly and still feel entertained by them, or still get along with them on some level but I always find that a lot of the time minus all the zeitgeist of the time, the build up, the hype and the worrying about outcomes and whatever else you get caught up in as a fan leading up to a match that it loses something. Not enough to ruin it, but enough to bring you back down to earth and slowly remember all those rest holds, down periods, fuck ups and quieter moments of what you remembered being an amazing match. Absolutely never got that from this though, and i'd need about twelve hands to remember the times i've watched it alone, with mates, with someone who wants to know why people give a toss about wrestling and everything in between. 

It's demented. It kicks off at 100 MPH and just doesn't slow down from it. It kicks off with Samoa Joe throwing the fucking referee headfirst out of the ring, then Necro, then a Suicide Dice and it keeps that pace. It's under ten minutes long, too. This is the company that built itself on deathmatches and indy dream matches, with talent allowed to go on way longer than necessary in matches that really, really don't hold the same interest now. This is a match that had elements of both, Joe being an indy god at the time and Necro being the figurehead of the polar opposite, but still managed to surpass pretty much everyone's expectations in less time than it took for Chris Hero to finish his entrance back then. It's everything the type of match that the people wanted the first Sabu/Cactus match to be


The way i've always thought about this math is like when you hear about something like punk rock or black metal or jazz for the first time and you essentially imagine what it's all like in your head before hearing it. You go through countless hours of shit, in this case you watch fuck knows how many plodding 200 light tube matches or Fans Bring The Weapons shitfests, and none of it measures up. Then you get to this match and you've found your Kick Out The Jams or your Blaze In The Northern Sky or your Rahsaan Roland Kirk. 


As mentioned, it's never lost it's shine. It's still as demented and hard to watch and wild as it was 11 years ago. If I hadn't thought about it. i'd have run with Necro vs Toby Klein from King Of The Deathmatch 2004, but having seen it recently even that suffers from all the trappings of what I mentioned IWA MS was notorious for. Joe and Necro is perfect. 


2. CM Punk vs John Cena - RAW, February 25th 2013


As much as I love the MITB match I think this match edges that one out as their best. I wish I could give some well thought out explanation as to why but truthfully it might just be down to the piledriver Punk gives Cena. That first MITB match is still great, and every time I think about it I remember how I felt as a fan, and how exciting it was to be genuinely engaged again, it suffers from the same fate of something like RVD and Cena at ONS 2006. Looking back you sort of knew what was going to happen. At the time I was convinced they were going to do the wrong thing but removed from it all, you knew they were always going to make the right choice. 


This match on RAW has what I feel like none of their other matches had  though, and that's total desperation from both of them. Watching it back now, with how it was at the time and CM Punk's eventual thoughts on his position on the card etc they both just look so absolutely fucking determined to take this win and go on to the main event and nothing sums it up better than that one piledriver out of fucking nowhere. It's not often i've ever been sat at home and reacted physically and audibly to wrestling since I was about 4 but I was honestly sat there watching this live tense as fuck wit absolutely no idea how this was going to go and when that piledriver landed I wish I could say I said or did something profound but I bolted up and yelled "FUCK OFF!" as loud as I could. It was and still is mental. For what was apparently an out of the blue and called on the spot thing, it's so perfectly timed. It's like Rollins Phoenix Splash at Royal Rumble against Lesnar/Cena. It's throwing everything you fucking can at once to win and it heightened the drama of the whole thing so, so fucking perfectly.


The rest of the match aswell though - still first class. Fantastic story telling. Still their best, to me. One that I could watch over and over.


3. HHH vs Cactus Jack - Royal Rumble 2000


like Cena and Punk these two always seemed to bring out the best in one another. It was hard to pick between this, No Way Out 2000 and the Madison Square Garden match but this just about takes it. There's something weird about this whole event. Like it feels like a totally spruced up and brand new WWE compared to Armageddon just a month before. It's brighter, more dangerous, and with about three years of on and off going at each other both HHH and Foley here feel as big time as they ever had up to that point.


The build up package with the KOTDM, 1997 and recent clips of HHH reacting to Cactus Jack making a comeback are fantastic. The match itself is fucking mesmerizing. I wish I could say as much as I could about the other two, but this is just a solid, violent brawl between two people who feel like they're fighting for the same goal of making it to the top of the company and doing anything they can to each other to do so, and in a way that isn't massively uncomfortable or almost one sided ala Foleys match with The Rock in 99. HHH actually looks like he's shitting himself at having to be in the same state as Cactus Jack.


A lot of fun to watch even now, and one that out of all three reminds me of some of the better memories of the time it happened. 

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1) Royal Rumble 92 - I won't bother parroting what everyone else has said. Just track down air_raid's review of it from a while back. A masterpiece of a match and Heenan still somehow steals Man of the Match without taking a bump.




2) War Games 1992 - had to include something from early 90s WCW as that's what got me into wrestling in the first place pretty much. Having a tight-arse dad meant WCW on ITV on a Saturday was all I had to work with for a couple of years. Until my dad finally got Sky installed. Anyway, this match has been wanked over enough on here over the years. And rightly so. You can't go wrong with a match of Sting, Steamboat, Windham, Rhodes and Koloff vs Rude, Double A, Beautiful Bobby, Larry Z and Stunning Steve, can you? Then add in the War Games stip. Then a top performance from Paul E on the outside as the dastardly bastardly manager of the Dangerous Alliance. Add in the commentary of Tony Schiavone and Jesse The Body, who were great together. It wrapped up the Dangerous Alliance angle (too soon, IMO, but whatever), created questions on what would happen next after the way it finished with Zbyszko and everyone played their part just right. Fucking perfect. Probably WCW's best match. It's my favourite anyway.


3) Bret Hart vs Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13 - one of the most dramatic and exciting matches I've ever seen, from one of my favourite rivalries ever, between two of my favourite in-ring performers to watch. About as realistic as a wrestling match could be in late 90s WWF and I completely bought into Bret and Austin legit hating each other, and this was long after I'd realised wrestling was fake. I actually like their match at Survivor Series 96 just as much as this, but I'd pick this one for the significance and the ending. Absolute classic.

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Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit vs Edge and Rey Mysterio No Mercy 2002.


Probably still in my opinion the best North American tag match I've ever seen. Hard pressed to find one that even got close to how good this was.


The Shield vs The Wyatt Family. Elimination Chamber.


The energy and anticipation before the match was unreal. The fact they exceeded such high anticipation is a testament to all 6 guys. Even Erick Rowan. Watching it now brings chills all over and I much have watched it once maybe twice a month since.


Bryan Danielson Vs Nigel McGuinness - Unified 


Same reasons as above. I was there. This made me a wrestling fan again. I was burnt out completely on WWE at the time and TNA was not doing much for me. I bought as much ROH as I could after this and finally watched all the stuff I'd taped off the Wrestling Channel. Security was so crap I took in and sank 8 Fosters during the show. A trick I repeated at the two five year anniversary shows the next year. And again I still get chills hearing about 700 people humming along to the Final Countdown. I loved Danielson's cheap heat from the Beatles at the start and the match just draws you into to its own little bubble and you can't take your eyes off it.

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1. Team Austin vs Team Bischoff - Survivor Series 2003.


I'd have this as it contains a lot of great talent, it'd keep me entertained for a while as it is pretty long and basically has a little bit of everything that is great about wrestling. Chris Jericho in his 'King of the world' phase and a young dominant 'Legend killer' Randy Orton are hugely entertaining and HBK puts it in the shift of his life. Jim Ross' selling of the Austin leaves Raw stipulation and Eric being a smarmy prick are big added bonuses too.


2. Triple H vs The Rock - Backlash 2000


A match that should have been the main event of Wrestlemania. A match that at the time felt like the most important moment in wrestling. Hot crowd, amazing support cast and two guys in their prime. Brilliant.


3. CM Punk vs John Cena - Night of Champions 2012


I wasn't sure to put this or the MITB match but Punk's heel work, the added Heyman and New York Yankees attire make this in my opinion the highlight of Punk's reign and one of the best matches of the 'modern era'.

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I'd pick my 3 favourite matches because they're 3 very different matches, and they bring different levels of nostalgic memories for me.


1. Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania 21

This is my favourite match of all time. At the time I was starting to wonder if wrestling was for me any more. Triple H and JBL had been on top of their respective brands for so long that the main event scene hadn't really interested me in some time, especially with Orton's botched face run. I thought the story of Batista's rise was great but the big lug had yet to impress me in the ring, so I figured either we were in for a long run of dire matches with him at the top or Hunter would win the strap back soon afterwards to avoid that happening, and neither option thrilled me. Meanwhile it was obvious Cena was walking out as WWE Champion, and I was already bored of his face run following his year as US champ prior to this, to the point where I was just starting to warm to JBL and the prospect of Cena as champ was enough to make me consider stopping watching Smackdown altogether. But this was the feud I was really interested in going into Mania, and fuck me they didn't disappoint. To me this is still the perfect wrestling match no matter how many times I rewatch it, there were little to no stakes but these guys went all out and stole the show. It was this match that made me realise that for better or for worse, I was gonna be a lifelong wrestling fan because matches like this could still crop up even during the worst periods. WWE are trying their hardest to test that theory, but I'm always holding out hope that there's something like this just around the corner.


2. Bret Hart vs Owen Hart - SummerSlam 1994

I remember watching wrestling as a youngster but never being allowed to watch again after I cried at one of my favourites getting busted open. It's a foggy memory at best, I remember it being someone in bright face paint and it being on council TV on a Saturday afternoon, so logic says it was probably Sting in WCW, but I have no idea if that is the case. Fast forward, I didn't get back into wrestling until 1998, and since we only had cheap cable, I was limited to WWF on Sky 1 and getting my aunt and uncle to tape PPVs for years since they had Sky Sports. As such I missed out on most of Bret Hart's run, only knowing him from reading derogatory comments in WWF Magazine and WrestleMania: The Arcade Game on PC, until Channel 5 picked up WCW Worldwide and used "NEWT! MINT! ZAK!" style censoring. It wasn't until years later when I saw this match on WWE's cage match compilation DVD. I knew it was considered a 5 star match and genuinely wondered how that was even possible for a cage match. Then I watched it and saw these two masters go to work. This must have been over a decade after the fact, I knew fine well Owen had never won the big one but there was enough drama and false finishes that I was on the edge of my seat throughout. A masterclass in ring psychology, it made me sad that I had missed out on the careers of these two until Bret was long retired and Owen sadly long gone. There won't be another cage match match this good again, hell, probably few matches will be this good again.


3. The Rock vs Triple H - Judgement Day 2000

This one I'm picking for mostly nostalgic reasons. 2000, as I'm sure it was for so many of us, was the peak of my wrestling fandom. I was an 11 year old mark who hated that dastardly bastardly Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and loved The Rock more than I love just about anything these days. What a sad bastard I've become. Anyway, the promise of these two going at it for an hour was both an exciting and a daunting prospect, I was used to the short matches of the Attitude Era and didn't know if my attention span was long enough to handle a match like this, but my eyes were glued to the TV for the whole time. It was the perfect storm of overbooked anarchy with some damn good wrestling to boot. And for as many returns as he's had, to date this is still the best return The Undertaker has ever had. Forget that, his return here is still my favourite moment in wrestling history. Taker is my all time favourite wrestler, and I find myself watching the end of this match probably once a month and still getting goosebumps every time JR bellows "bah gawd it's the Undertaker!" I was crushed as a child that Triple H won the title back on this bullshit DQ after DX had been interfering on his behalf, but isn't that what wrestling is supposed to do - make you feel something? The less said about American Bad Ass era Taker after this night the better though. Keep rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin'...

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Great topic. Desert Island Discs may be old but it's still absolutely worth a listen! I'm all about the Radio 4.


Anyway, I remembered I'd posted in a 'Personal Top Ten Matches' thread on here not too long ago so I've borrowed my top 3 from that.



Undertaker vs. Triple H, WrestleMania XXVII

This is my personal favourite match of all time. I honestly believe it is a GIFT to wrestling fans. The ones who spend their time watching the shows, talking about them with their friends, online, in their own heads, spending their money, those who have dipped in and out for decades, those who never dipped, those who are invested, this match is here to tell them 'it was worth it' - for moments like this one, it's worth all the other shit you've put up with.


Some of the reasons are… The build-up:


The first segment building it up was perfect. That was all the build-up they needed, right there. It told you everything. No words are spoken. No moves are hit. But there are three huge long-term character-based story lines going on here. One is the five-year story with Undertaker, Triple H and Shawn Michaels that is woven in and out of everything they did from 2007-2012. The second is the Streak, the 'constant' of my entire wrestling fan life (which I covered in a post the other year). The third is exactly what Max Landis spoke about in his video last year - this is Triple H to a tee. His obsession with being the best, or being better than Shawn Michaels, has led him to interrupt the Undertaker and do what Shawn couldn't, what Shawn gave up his career for. That glance tells you everything. And Undertaker's smirk tells you just as much. But he can't turn down the challenge.


The feel of it being something huge:


This quote from Triple H in the video package gives you the gist of the stakes. 'If [the Streak dies], you die. And if I can't end it, I'll die trying'. Gives me goosebumps just typing it out. It's two massive stars, it really feels like the stakes cannot be higher, the match cannot be bigger, it's what WrestleMania was made for. The character work in this match, by the way, the body language and the facial expressions, are perfect. Perfect.


The spectacle of the entrances:


Johnny Cash starts playing. The floor of the stadium fills with mist. And there's The Undertaker. I get chills running up and down my arms watching this part. The lyrics and the music of 'Ain't No Grave' are, and I'm going to use this word a lot, perfect. "Ain't no grave can hold my body down…" that's the story of the match, of the Undertaker's entire WrestleMania career, summed up in eight words.


The match itself, the story of the Streak and whether Undertaker would ever lose:


What a fucking treat to have been there live for this match. They go right into the big stuff early here, and again, that is perfect for the match. If you are trying to beat the Streak you HAVE to go all out IMMEDIATELY. There's no other way. 


The way Taker grabs a chair after hitting the Tombstone, but has to use it as support to get up. The way Triple H moves his legs. Little details like that which build up to create the big picture is another part of why I love this match.


The way Taker starts to look afraid. He does not lose at WrestleMania. He just doesn't. But is he starting to doubt himself? The way Triple H's disbelief at Taker's refusal to stay down turns to anger as he batters him with a chair. Taker looking like he has no idea where he is, or what's going on, but he is still trying to get up. Triple H now looking distressed, and JR pointing out that his voice tells a better story than they ever could. 'Stay down, what's wrong with you?!' he shouts at Taker, and shakes his head. He doesn't want to win like this, there's no honour in it. BUT TAKER STILL GETS UP. 


THAT near-fall…


This moment, where Triple H hit the Tombstone on Undertaker, and Undertaker kicked out… the noise of the crowd reacting to it, Triple H's face like he's seen the fucking devil… ths is why I love wrestling. Throughout the match, they've been dragging people in, hooking them, grabbing them, and it all culminates here, at this stretch of a few seconds. Because everyone believed again. I know I did. For these moments, I was 100%, completely and totally invested, I was sucked in. I thought he'd won it. Everyone did. I can remember myself going 'no no no no no YES, thank God, thank God' when it was happening. The number of times in the 15 years I've been watching regularly again, I could count on one hand the number of times I've felt like that. Actually, it's probably three. One was the ending of WrestleMania XX ('tap, Triple H, TAP') and one was the Streak ending ('No. No, no no nononononononononono.') and one was this moment here. This one is the only one that didn't actually end the match. They sucked me in so completely and it wasn't even the finish. Because you've been watching these guys for years and years, and you're so invested in them as characters, and in what they've been doing to try and end each other in the match, and like I said, it all builds to this one moment where disbelief is completely suspended and you're in the moment completely. No other match has done that for me like this match did.


The ending:


Triple H, who has tapped, basically because he had to tap, because Taker was just NOT going to let go of Hell's Gate, is just about able to stand up afterwards, and is staring with venom at Undertaker, who has still not moved. A medic is checking over him. The supernatural, demonic, immortal Undertaker is mortal, like the rest of us. He will never give up the Streak but he can be beaten to within an inch of his life in the attempt. This is the beginning of the end of the Streak. Brock Lesnar's victory began here, with Undertaker unable to walk out of the ring. Triple H, clutching his arm, looks back at Taker, who is reeling on the apron. He sits up as Triple H looks on, regret evident in his body. Taker just flops forwards onto the floor, and Triple H's first instinct is to rush over to him. Like everything leading up to and during this match, the character work here is superb.


Triple H went into this match determined to end Undertaker and his Streak. He did not do the latter, but he may have done the former - and I don't think that's what he really wanted. He realised partway into the match that he wasn't going to win without destroying Undertaker, and as much as he wanted to end the Streak, he didn't want to go as far as he did. That rushing towards Taker says so much. But after a moment, he walks on, leaving Taker to be helped onto a cart that will take him away. Vulnerable, hurt, and still undefeated, but at what cost?


What a match.


This match made me believe again and, especially these days, that is what I want more than anything from my wrestling. 


(I wrote about it at length for another thread last year, which you can find here)



TLC II, WrestleMania X-Seven

The peak of ‚Äėstunt‚Äô wrestling in my mind ‚Äď not necessarily because it was the biggest stunts (though I defy anyone not to be impressed by Edge and Jeff‚Äôs suspended Spear or Matt and Bubba being shoved off the ladder by Rhyno through all those tables) ‚Äď but because they were huge stunts in front of an enormous, hot crowd, in the virtual culmination of one of the defining tag team rivalries. This match left me in awe the first time I saw it, and it still does. They take ridiculous risks, which you can't help but watch with your hand over your mouth in shock, but you care about who wins as well.


Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage, WrestleMania VII

There’s something about WrestleManias that end in a 7. Anyway, to put it simply: huge stakes, huge match, best ending ever. Warrior’s never looked better, but it was Savage’s night.




Honourable mentions for Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at Bad Blood 1997 and Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H at Summerslam 2002.


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1. Taker vs michaels WM25

Maybe my favourite matchever, almost as perfect as wrestling can be


2. Goldberg vs Raven nitro US title

Love the intensity, the rabid crowd so pro Goldberg and something about it just is so enthralling to me! I loves it


3. kobashi vs misawa 2003

Two absolute legends slug it out. The tiger suplex from apron is brutal and this match opened my eyes to the wonderful world of japanese wrestling.

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