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4 Fights that define your wrestling fandom


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Rock/Austin (Wrestlemania X7) - First main event of my first proper Wrestlemania. The Rock was always my guy, and I never forgave that bastard Austin for aligning with Vince McMahon. I probably remember the build-up more than the match itself - the teases every week with the Limp Bizkit 'My Way' video packages just made it feel like the biggest fucking deal. Watching it now, the build up had its flaws, i.e the whole deal with Debra becoming Rock's manager etc, but you're not analysing that kind of thing too critically when you're only 12. 

Booker T/Lance Storm (Nitro, sometime in late 2000) - Before I discovered WWE's weekly shows, I actually first started watching WCW Nitro/Thunder. When Cartoon Network used to finish on satellite at 9pm on a Friday and TNT took over, WCW came on. It must've been just after Bash at the Beach because Booker T had the belt, and Lance Storm had something like three titles he carried around with him. I'd been watching for a couple of weeks by this point and had grown to like Booker, but Storm was the first truly technical wrestler I'd seen put on matches in that particular style and it caught my eye immediately, as did his spiffy white tights with the Canadian flag on them. He was a clearly a baddie, but I couldn't really comprehend most of what the promos were about at that point and his actual wrestling caught my eye. So after a couple of weeks I think Storm challenged him to a match, and from what I recall it was really good. Could be totally wrong but it sticks out in the memory. I remember watching it in my parents holiday caravan in Skegness, of all places! Only a couple of weeks before this I'd seen Nitro appear on TV for the first time and asked my mum what this was. She said "It's fighting, but they don't do it properly." 

Rock/Hogan (Wrestlemania 18) - Already mentioned Rock was my guy, but this was the one and only time I switched allegiances in a match. Just a spectacle, and it actually opened the door for me to look back at older matches throughout WWE for the first time from different eras etc. Not everyone's cup of tea, but horses for courses etc. Started to get more interested in the inner workings of the business by this point, as I think we started getting a better internet connection and I began finding more wrestling news about the nWo coming in, backstage gossip about them, etc. 

Bate/Dunne (Takeover Chicago) - My favourite match of the modern era and one I always point to when introducing people to the NXT/UK scenes. Just a fucking GREAT match with spontaneous standing ovations throughout and some genuinely great false finishes with a supercharged crowd. Not sure if it defines my fandom as such but it's one of the very few I've gone back and watched multiple times because of how much I enjoy it. 

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DDP winning the title shot in a Wargames match at Fall Brawl on the Fall Brawl/Uncensored best of VHS is one I had fond memories of as a kid, terrible though the match was in hindsight, I loved all the big names, the side drama with Woyah, and the shot of DDP escaping through the crowd to the strains of Nirvana.

The Rock v HHH at Backlash 2000 in the match that should've main evented Mania is one that got endless rewatches as a kid. It encapsulated everything that was right with that era; unmatched drama and two hungry, charismatic guys on the cusp of greatness, who had unrivaled chemistry. It's a pity that promo on Smackdown a few years back never led to their full circle moment at Wrestlemania.

Shawn Michaels v HHH at Summerslam 2002. Michaels' return was an event moment for me and I remember being astonished at how crisp he was after so long out of the game. The win was a feel good moment, and HHH's dastardly actions after the bell achieved the dual end goal of ensuring a natural continuation to the feud and consolidating HHH's bastardry. 

Invasion 2001 main event. It was the summer before I started secondary school. Full of possibilities. Much like the possibilities surrounding WCW being an entity within WWE. The possibilities didn't amount to much. But the main event that night was decent enough to maintain a degree of hope about to things to come; RVD also announced his arrival in an organic way that not many can replicate nowadays. Also remember my mother tucking me into bed after the PPV and telling me that sleeping on your side is the healthiest way to sleep. With a tear in my eye. :(

Dishonorable mention for HHH v Scott Steiner being the most uncomfortable match I've ever had to watch. Cringe-inducing.

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