Before I finish the countdown, here are some honorable mentions.
Bob Backlund vs. Shawn Michaels happened after Michaels initially went heel and before Backlund went all crazy. I was told that in IWA-Mid South, there was Austin Aries vs. Mr. Anderson in a match where CM Punk was on commentary ragging on how terrible Daredevil was. For comedy entries, there was the time Carl Winslow and Steve Urkel fought the Bushwackers as well as a masked Mr. Ernst vs. Captain Lou Albano on Hey Dude. Brock Lesnar and Ron Waterman vs. Rico and Randy Orton as a Raw dark match is an oddball encounter, but I thought Lesnar and Orton were better represented elsewhere on the list. Umaga vs. Kamala on Raw was a cool generational gimmick pairing in the same light as Hall vs. Carlito, but their encounters were set up strongly enough on TV that there’s not enough obscurity in there.
Now let’s get to the good stuff.
20) ESSA RIOS vs. SAMOA JOE
Suggested by Dr. Video Games 0055
This one’s a bit of shock to me, not for the appearance by Samoa Joe, but the knowledge that Essa Rios was around in 2001 WWF. I have no memory of that. For those who don’t recall, Rios was a highflyer with an amazing moonsault who’s biggest claim to fame is introducing Lita as his manager. Once Lita split, he faded into obscurity and unemployment. His match with the wonky-looking-compared-to-how-we-remember-him Samoa Joe was good for the in-ring stuff, but only if you watch it with the sound off. The commentary had Coach and Michael Hayes not only discussing the XFL for way too long, but discussing the storyline between Jesse Ventura and Coach Rusty Tillman. God, that was one of the saddest things. McMahon really wanted some kind of on-air rivalry, so he had Ventura try to overly criticize Tillman. Ventura got into it, but Tillman refused to care. He just wanted to coach football and leave this soap opera crap out of it. Yet you had this awesome match going on and the commentators were forced to talk about this made-up hatred. Even when they got to actual wrestling angles, their dialogue came off as extremely forced.
With the actual match, we got some really keen spots, including a Samoa Joe powerbomb reversed into a DDT. Essa Rios won, but Samoa Joe looked pretty good for a guy taking the nameless jobber role.
19) ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER vs. ZEUS
Normally I wouldn’t have cared about this match if it wasn’t for how brief Tiny “Zeus” Lister’s wrestling career even was. The guy was an actor whose role in a bad movie spun off into a feud with Hulk Hogan that lasted about four months. So what the hell was he doing against Abdullah of all people? What made WWC think he was worth bringing in other than his status as having main-evented Summerslam?
Not only was it a bad match, but it was bad and way too long. Zeus was only able to do four things: flail his arms around like windmills as a way of punching, bearhugs, strangleholds and pounding his chest while looking intimidating. The last thing was the only one he could do believably. While Hogan and Beefcake were good enough performers (yes, I’m serious) to work around Zeus and make him seem almost acceptable, Abdullah had none of that magic. He just stood there for the 12 minutes and absorbed the punishment while looking bloody and dazed. When Abdullah got offense in, the only reason Zeus sold any of it was because he looked like he had tired himself out more than anything else. The match ended with the two brawling to the back and being counted out. Throughout the match, the Puerto Rican crowd rained garbage into the ring and I think at one point some of them left the building to gather more garbage from neighboring buildings so they could throw that too!
Front row kid in the pink shirt loved that shit, though.
18) THE ROCK vs. TRIPLE H vs. BROCK LESNAR
Suggested by Psycho Mantits
This match took place in Australia for an event called Global Warning in-between Brock Lesnar brutalizing Hulk Hogan and beating Rock for the title at Summerslam. In one pairing, you had Rock and Brock testing out their ability to work together. In another pairing, you had Rock and Triple H, who had worked together so many times it was second nature. Then you had Brock vs. Triple H. This is the only Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H match there is.
The guy did so much in his two years that it’s easy to forget that Brock never tangled with Triple H on any mainstream level. Brock was about being fired to the top of the ladder with a jetpack while Triple H was about knocking people back down during that time. Well, during most times, but especially during that time. Even then, Triple H made Brock look like a million bucks. Though their battle time against each other was minimal in this match, Triple H put Brock down with the Pedigree and Brock kicked out! I may be wrong on this, but this had to be one of the earliest examples of someone kicking out of that move. Brock even got to kick out of the People’s Elbow. Since Triple H was the least protected with Summerslam on the horizon, he ate a Rock Bottom and got pinned while Brock was too weak to crawl over and break the pin.
Best part of the match was how Paul Heyman appeared to be possessed by the ghost of Daffy Duck.
17) BRUISER BRODY vs. THE UNDERTAKER
Suggested by CombineThresher
Bruiser Brody is another guy who was before my time. He died a good three years before I started watching and although I’ve seen very little of his work, I recognize that he was a pretty big deal. This generational jobber squash is also a pretty big deal. Bruiser Brody violently annihilated a tall, masked wrestler by the name of Texas Red, who was managed by Percy Pringle. Not only was Brody easily beating on the Undertaker years before his WWF debut, but it was also Undertaker with Paul Bearer in his corner! When you compare that Undertaker/Austin squash from earlier in the list, Austin got off easy. At least he didn’t have a psycho smashing him with a chair while not getting disqualified.
16) OWEN HART vs. CHRIS BENOIT
Suggested by Lone Rogue
Owen Hart and the Pegasus Kid had a series of battles in NJPW as early as 1991 where they proceeded to trade wins in a couple sweet matches. This also led to them being in a sobering tag match of Owen/Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Pegasus Kid/Dr. Death. Not only was it an odd grouping of talent, but it was a grouping of guys who are no longer with us.
The real story of this entry is that Owen and Benoit went at it in the WWF in a tryout for Benoit. They did want to sign him back then, but he ended up declining. WWF wouldn’t have given him the freedom to tour Japan every now and then while WCW said they would. They ended up letting him go like once and then never again, so he probably should have done Nancy a favor and signed with Vince.
15) SID vs. EDDIE KINGSTON
This one ranking so high is completely on my bias. Eddie Kingston is the first and current CHIKARA Grand Champion and has been a staple in the indies as a no-nonsense thug brawler who doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Even in the goofy fed of CHIKARA, Kingston’s always played the serious role, whether as a face or heel.
At this Pro Wrestling Syndicate show, Kingston interfered in a match for the sake of getting heat and proceeded to rail on the crowd for several minutes as a way to hype up his upcoming match with Sid. Really, it was more of a way to kill time and make it seem like part of the main attraction. Once Sid came out, Kingston went into full comedy heel mode and got the shit kicked out of him in a very, very short match. Sid won with a chokeslam and the crowd immediately booed it and chanted, “BULLSHIT!” Sid livened the crowd up a little more with a couple powerbombs on Kingston, but then emotionlessly wandered off to go pick up his paycheck and leave.
Probably for the best, since Kingston’s stiff style against Sid’s body is like a semi vs. Samuel L. Jackson from Unbreakable. Still, it’s such an odd pairing that I couldn’t help but include it here.
14) STING vs. KANE
A year ago, WWE started airing these cool vignettes to set up for Undertaker’s return that bewildered the fans because there was nothing especially special about Undertaker coming back. He was only gone for a few months! This led to speculation, mostly in regards to the idea that it wasn’t Undertaker they were leading up to but Sting. Sting vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania? Great Zampano, that would be a money match!
But no, it was just Undertaker coming back. Then Triple H came back. And then he buried Sheamus. And then he buried the entire roster. God, I hated that Wrestlemania.
I had read somewhere that there was a tag match in Mark Calloway’s final days in WCW where he faced Sting, though I haven’t been able to find any proof of that. What I did find is that Sting did get to beat up Undertaker’s brother back in the early 90′s.
Okay, maybe not his brother, but Sting did main event WCW Saturday Night against a man by the name of Bruiser Mastino. Despite being a virtual unknown, the massive Mastino at least came off as something resembling a threat to Sting. The match was actually decent for what it was, mainly on the Sting side of things. In about four minutes, he took down the Kane-to-be and made him tap to the Scorpion Death Lock.
13) GIANT GONZALEZ vs. NAILZ
Yes. I’m not kidding you. This match happened. I’ve mentioned some terrible shit in this list, but when looking through Gonzalez/Gigante’s history, I found that after his WWF career, he had a match with Nailz at an event called NJPW G1 Climax 1994 Tag 1. Oh my God. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. Not only does this have to be the worst match of all time, but I think it’s mathematically the worst match of all time. Presumably, Gonzalez vs. Zeus could be worse if you were ballsy enough to book such a match, but I don’t know. Nailz was pretty awful in his own right.
Even stranger is that while Gonzalez/Kamala made sense in that it was a dark match and they had those guys just hanging around the roster anyway, New Japan decided to fly these two guys in and have them wrestle. What did they expect to happen? Was this some kind of ritual to unleash a Lovecraftian demon onto the population?
I HAVE to see this match. I need to. It’s my new holy grail. I went to Bearnt! about it, since he’s my contact for finding obscure clips to upload on YouTube. He scoured leads and found that it was released on a tape called NJWP on Eurosport Volume 2. Although he could not get me a clip of it, he was able to come across a wrestling fan starting up a thread about the worst matches ever seen. Here’s what Mr. Ludevig has to say:
What is the worst match you have ever seen?
For me it would have to be a match i saw from New Japan Pro Wrestling. Strange as that statement may sound i have no idea why either wrestler got booked and booked against each other. Even the English speaking commentators (Oliver Humperdink and Craig Degeorge did commentary for New Japan matches when they were broadcast on Eurosport in the UK) apologized after the match as to how bad it was.
Nailz vs El Gigante. Ended in a double DQ (which rarely happens in NJPW) after both men just grabbed each other by the throat and choked each other til Tiger hatori DQ’ed both men. It was all matter of rotten from start to finish and the first time i heard a NJPW crowd openingly booing 2 participants in a match.
That match belongs in a museum! While Bearnt! wasn’t able to find the footage, he did cheer me up by uploading this completely unrelated gem.
12) KEN SHAMROCK and STEVE BLACKMAN in 80′s WWF
This one took me by surprise. I was looking through a site that has the complete history of WWE’s shows and I found a ho-hum event in Greensboro, North Carolina on July 29, 1989. The show itself was less than hype-worthy, as the last two matches were Dusty Rhodes vs. Ted Dibiase and Demolition vs. Powers of Pain. Nothing to really get excited about. Hell, Red Rooster vs. Brooklyn Brawler was THIRD on the card if that tells you anything.
The opener was Barry Horowitz – usually the go-to jobber of those days – getting the win against Ken Shamrock. Yes, THAT Ken Shamrock. The World’s Most Dangerous Man. I didn’t know this but apparently before Shamrock went into mixed martial arts and all that, he made a brief attempt at professional wrestling.
In the same vein, Steve Blackman’s WWF career even predates that. Not only did Blackman get a couple of matches back in 88 and 89, but he won a couple, got to be in the middle of the card at house shows and even showed up on Prime Time Wrestling in a six-man tag match with Outback Jack and Brady Boone against the Islanders. His most notable opponent is David Sammartino back in 88, which was Blackman’s house show debut. Sammartino cracked to the pressure and attacked a heckler, which led to him being fired. Getting fired is probably a better path than having Blackman tear your heart out and show it to you before you die, so that was probably a good move on his part.
11) JESSE VENTURA’s wrestling debut… against BILL GOLDBERG?!
YouTube (highlights only)
In 1999, Jesse Ventura surprised the nation by becoming governor of Minnesota. NBC scrambled to capitalize on this and created the Jesse Ventura Story, starring Nils Allen Stewart. Since I couldn’t afford WWF’s Over the Edge PPV (and thank God for that), I ended up watching this biographical quagmire. The movie showed a hackneyed take on Ventura’s life as narrated by what was supposed to be his current self, though he more closely resembled Dr. Phil. WCW was connected to this movie, which led to some odd alterations to the time-space continuum. Like did you know that Jesse Ventura’s last match was against Chris Kanyon? Did you know that Ventura was directly involved in the Montreal Incident and that instead of Shawn Michaels, it was Raven who won the title?
The strangest thing of all is Ventura’s wrestling debut. His opponent was announced as the undisputed champion Goldberg. This wasn’t Bill Goldberg playing a wrestler. This was Bill Goldberg as Bill Goldberg! Despite this being the 70′s, there were several Scott Steiner signs in the crowd, a WolfPack sign and someone wearing a Sting shirt. Goldberg seemed to be his usual intense self, not thrown off by his time-traveling adventure, while Ventura gave off some of the most awkward poses to show he was ready. Despite Ventura being the heel, Goldberg cheapshotted him from behind. Goldberg pressed an early advantage until Ventura turned it around and left Goldberg beaten with a bodyslam.
So… what, Jesse Ventura won the WCW title on his first match? Huh. I figured I’d remember that.
10) EARTHQUAKE vs. JOEY ABS
Suggested by Lone Rogue
Earthquake was given a tryout with WWF in late 2001, just after the WCW InVasion had died down. Filmed before Smackdown, Earthquake took on Joey Abs in a dark match. The existing footage doesn’t show too much outside of Abs succeeding in suplexing him and Earthquake doing his splash to a huge ovation. There are two reasons why I have to include this match. First, there’s the weird time distortion feel to it. It was a match during the Crossover Era between a guy mainly known for the Hogan Era and New Generation Era and a guy known for the middle of the Attitude Era. It’s like seeing a caveman fight a cowboy during the Crusades.
Then, well, I just plain loved Earthquake. He’s one of my all-time favorites. It strikes me that he was in the Wrestlemania 17 gimmick battle royal almost a year earlier, which was the company’s way of calling him over-the-hill and yet they briefly played with the possibility of giving him one more run anyway. Too bad it didn’t work out.
9) HULK HOGAN vs. BRET HART in the 70′s
Suggested by Elmyr
Back in the 70′s, Hulk Hogan wrestled for Georgia Championship Wrestling under the name Sterling Golden. On two different instances, he took on a young Bret Hart and defeated him. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any footage of these matches anywhere, but it would be cool to be able to see these two legends mixing it up in their 20′s.
I’m sure they were better than their big match in WCW 19 years later. Despite having never seen their GCW matches, I’d like to believe that neither was a ruse to reveal that Bret was really a member of Sterling Golden’s dominant rebel heel stable.
8) JOHN CENA vs. DANIEL BRYAN
This is another instance of too weird to be true. On Velocity, we had Bryan Danielson being fed to rising superstar John Cena, who was preparing for his upcoming match against Brock Lesnar. If having one of the big names of the indies take on a guy who was taking his first step into superstardom wasn’t enough, you had the addition of Cena’s bright yellow long pants, pre-Thuganomics theme song and the commentary team of Josh Matthews and Ernest “The Cat” Miller. Although it’s only a few minutes, Cena tried to actually – *gasp* – wrestle! The two showed promise of having a lengthy classic somewhere down the line, but their careers took two drastic paths, meeting up again years later as Bryan kicked Cena in the head, spat on him and declared, “YOU ARE NOT BETTER THAN ME!” Then he got fired, got rehired and they main evented Summerslam as tag partners. Go figure.
Not only was it a battle of the indy scene against the mainstream years before it would matter, but both guys would go on to have similar roles in this year’s Wrestlemania: building up for months for a guaranteed match.
7) STEVE AUSTIN and THE ROCK vs. THE NEW WORLD ORDER
Suggested by friendo55
Wrestlemania 18 was a pretty big deal, all things considered. Though the angle died pretty quickly, they went with the big dream feud of Austin and the Rock against the nWo. This would lead to Austin taking on Scott Hall, Rock facing Hogan and Kevin Nash doing very little because unlike today, they were wise enough to know not to have Nash wrestle on a PPV. A week prior on Raw, the five of them were put into a handicap match. Despite the qualms about having Rock and Hogan face off before Wrestlemania, the match was rather well-booked. Hogan only got involved when his team had the advantage and Hall and Nash were able to take out Austin and Rock with teamwork and constant interference.
The big thing about this match is that it remains the only instance of Hulk Hogan vs. Steve Austin. The top two names in wrestling history could never agree on going one-on-one, yet here they were, facing each other from opposing sides of the ring. Their actual interaction was very minor. Hogan was tagged in and dealt with a prone Austin by strangling him and punching him a couple times before tagging Hall. That’s it! After Hogan pinned Rock cleanly, Austin dove back into the ring and pummeled Hogan until Hall and Nash overpowered him. Because of this, that match will always have a spot in wrestling history.
6) MR. PERFECT vs. BROCK LESNAR
Suggested by Lone Rogue
It took a long, long time for Brock Lesnar to appear as anything less than demonically dominant… or did it? Mr. Perfect had just come back to the WWF in a fantastic showing at the Royal Rumble (third place!). Shortly after, he competed in a dark match against upcoming big deal Brock Lesnar. Lesnar hadn’t quite worked out the kinks of his unstoppable monster style yet and the battle was more back and forth. Lesnar ran shoulder-first into the corner post, Perfect gave him the Perfectplex to a huge pop and he pinned him clean in the center of the ring. Eat THAT, Undertaker!
5) Tag action with ANDRE THE GIANT vs. CACTUS JACK
In his final years, Andre the Giant toured with All Japan Pro Wrestling. In mid-91, he took part in a tag match with Mighty Inoue to face Texas Terminator Hoss and a future legend in his own right, Cactus Jack. You know, “Texas Terminator Hoss” sounds like the Japanese title for a biographical film on Skip Sheffield. Anyway…
The match wasn’t so long, but it wasn’t so bad. Cactus and Hoss beat up Inoue until Inoue snuck in a tag to Andre. Cactus was the designated victim for Andre’s offense. Andre was pretty broken down around this time and seeing Cactus sell everything like death is kind of sad to watch. Still, Andre arguably did more work in the match than Hoss. Andre finished the match by elbow dropping Cactus and keeping his weight onto him for the 3-count. Hoss did absolutely nothing to break the pin.
4) REY MYSTERIO vs. EDDIE GUERRERO vs. CM PUNK
Suggested by Dragging Iron Feet
This is a match that I had heard about years ago and never watched until recently. Originally, it was going to be a lot lower on the list because in my mind, I always thought it was some OVW special attraction from when Punk was training there. Boy, was I wrong. This was before the company even changed their name to WWE and Rey Mysterio wasn’t even on the roster yet. Eddie was only involved due to some agreement with WWF while being on hiatus.
It’s a perfect mixture of what this list is all about. Eddie was under contract with WWF, but got to do some indy shows regardless. Plus he had a mullet. CM Punk was in the midst of building up his indy cred, while at no point looking like he didn’t belong in the mix. Plus he was blond. Rey Mysterio was in-between major jobs and since he hadn’t been signed to WWF just yet, he was maskless. Plus he was maskless.
To top it all off, the three had a really good match that went long enough and ended with Eddie stealing away Punk’s title.
3) STING and SHAWN MICHAELS team up
Suggested by Lamuella
Hoooooo boy. This one is insane. Much like Undertaker, Shawn Michaels never skipped town and joined WCW, meaning that Michaels vs. Sting was another major dream match we’d never see. The two have been shown to get along due to their equal enthusiasm in their Christian beliefs. Nothing wrong with that at all. While the two never combated each other and never will, the one time they worked together was completely batshit.
Detroit World Outreach’s Power Wrestling Alliance was a trippy wrestling show put together by the late Bishop Jack Wallace to spread the message of Jesus. The footage in the YouTube clip jumps around, so I’m not sure of the full initial context, not that it matters. Sting appeared to be in a match with Buff Bagwell, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine had interfered and put either another wrestler or a security guard through a table as the two heels beat up Sting some more. “Sexy Boy” started to play and Shawn Michaels came out. Due to being under WWE contract, he wasn’t allowed to have a match, but he still was able to do a run-in. A run-in with pyro and name graphic, but a run-in nonetheless. Even though Michaels rescuing Sting and giving Sweet Chin Music to Valentine and Bagwell should have felt like a big deal, the commentators failed due to their inadequacies. Sure, one actually came off as excited, but the other sounded like one of the women on SNL’s Delicious Dish skit. He went to the Droopy Dog Academy of Broadcast, apparently.
Despite getting waffled with Michael’s signature move, Valentine and Bagwell sold it by sadly walking away through the crowd, as if Michaels had told them to go their rooms. Having finished his posing for the fans, Michaels almost-briskly walked behind them. That left Sting in the ring and that… my friends… is when things got weird.
Sting stood around in confusion until the lights dimmed and a group of thugs in red facepaint described by the competent commentator as “demon-like people” terrorized Sting like bullies in a musical. They went from beating him and shoving him around to throwing alcohol and pills at him (as described by the commentators) and then putting him in chains. It went on until Sting was finally rescued. Was it by Shawn Michaels? What about Road Warrior Animal or Jim Neidhart, who were said to be in attendance? No, it was Bishop Jack Wallace, telling all those facepainted guys to get. Wallace must have been a badass. I wonder why ECW never hired him.
Rather than get Sting out of those chains, Wallace grabbed a mic and told Sting to break the chains. Sting looked to him and yelled, “NO! YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN MY LIFE!” He whined that no money, drugs, women or big wrestling events could allow him to break the chains. Wallace was about to mention the one man who could most definitely help Sting break the chains, but then he was interrupted by “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase.
Just so we’re square, he was about to talk about Mark Henry, right?
Dibiase claimed that he himself could help Sting break the chains because might = money and he had a lot of it. Then he did his awesome laugh. Wallace argued that it wasn’t Dibiase. It was someone who Dibiase couldn’t buy because this guy already paid the price. Admittedly, that’s a pretty cool line. The crowd began to chant, “JESUS!” Wallace left Sting to his own devices and our hero collapsed to the mat.
As if things couldn’t get more bonkers, a passion play appeared on a nearby stage with narration and song as a black guy depicting Jesus got beaten to a bloody pulp. They put him on the cross and one of the Romans even swayed to the music while putting up the devil horns with both hands. They carried him away while a guy lipsynched a song “This Blood is for You” and then Jesus came out from the back in a white robe, tripped over the stairs and came to find the beaten and desperate Sting. The chains fell right off, Sting stood tall and they held their hands up like they just won the tag team titles. Which doesn’t sound like a bad idea if you ask me.
From there, the rest of the segment became Sting and the other wrestlers taking turns doing motivational speaking from inside the ring. All you need to know is that during his piece, Sting said, “At one point the Devil had the Scorpion Death Lock on me.”
And that’s the story of how Shawn Michaels saved Sting.
2) THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR’s house show opponents
Back in the day, the on-air wrestling angles were meant to sell the house show circuit. Two guys would feud, they’d have a series of matches across the country that you had to pay to see and it would usually get some kind of televised blow-off down the line. Sometimes on Saturday Night’s Main Event and sometimes on PPV. For instance, in 1989 Ultimate Warrior feuded with Andre the Giant for a little while. They had a series of house show matches where Warrior more often than not beat him in under a minute. That ultimately meant nothing to the people at home, so they ended up bringing closure via their match at Survivor Series. Warrior got the last word and they were able to move on.
With the Ultimate Warrior, that didn’t seem to happen as much as it should have. Due to his history of bailing on the company for whatever reason, Warrior ended up taking part in a bunch of storylines that went nowhere, but gave us some house show matches that are worth talking about.
To start with, Warrior feuded with the Undertaker in 1991. This came from a televised segment of Paul Bearer’s Funeral Parlor where Warrior was a guest. Undertaker attacked him, locked him in a coffin and the rivalry was on. I myself got to see the two take each other on in a Bodybag Match at Madison Square Garden. Warrior won after stealing the urn, bouncing off the ropes, diving at Undertaker and clocking him with the urn to knock him out. Then he put him in the bodybag, left the ring in victory and Undertaker casually tore out of the bodybag and stood up. It was pretty cool. Other matches on the circuit had them do regular singles matches that ended in disqualification. Their feud crossed over into the comic book world, yet they never fought on TV.
Warrior ended up taking the guidance of Jake “The Snake” Roberts to help understand Undertaker’s dark ways. This was all a setup and Jake revealed he and Undertaker were in cahoots. They never got around to doing any Warrior vs. Jake matches and there was never any real follow-up to it. Warrior took a break from the feud so he could team up with Hulk Hogan at Summerslam and that’s when he got fired. So when you look at it, Undertaker and Jake Roberts were the first guys to ever win a feud against Warrior.
Warrior came back in 1992 at the end of Wrestlemania 8 to rescue Hogan from Sid Justice and Papa Shango. This was meant to springboard into a feud between Warrior and Sid and vignettes were even shown on TV to signify this, but it didn’t go so far. Warrior had a couple house show matches with Papa Shango and on April 26, he went up against Sid. Twice! WWF had split the roster into two tours that each had two shows that day, albeit one of those shows was canceled due to poor attendance. Yes, Warrior vs. Sid only happened twice and within hours of each other. The only details of the matches are that they were short (four minutes, apparently) and Warrior won via disqualification. I don’t know what was going on between the two, but after the second match, Sid stormed out of the building and quit the company in a huff. Warrior spent the rest of the tour wrestling with Papa Shango.
Warrior remained in the company for half a year and on the circuit teamed up with the now-face Undertaker. It was neat just for the two doing a promo together and Warrior promising that he was willing to let the past be the past. After Ric Flair regained the WWF Championship, he and Warrior had a handful of matches across the country. More were advertised, but two things happened. One, Warrior injured Flair during one of the matches, meaning he had to take on the likes of Ted Dibiase, Kamala and Nailz instead. Then Warrior simply stopped showing up and his matches were replaced with impromptu Undertaker vs. Nailz squashes.
During Warrior’s final run with the company, he had a series of matches against Vader, even before the initial steps of their feud were introduced. These matches involved Warrior winning via pin, winning via count-out or both of them getting counted out. The feud was meant to be based on Warrior teaming up with Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson against Jim Cornette’s stable of Vader, Owen Hart and British Bulldog, but he had yet another falling out with the company and they wrote him off TV by having Vader crush him repeatedly at the end of a Warrior vs. Owen match. The guy simply had a lot of unfinished business.
And it was Warrior’s tendency to no-show that gives us the #1 spot on the countdown.
1) RANDY SAVAGE vs. THE UNDERTAKER
You might be saying, “Wait, what? Savage fought Undertaker? I don’t remember that. I think I’d at least remember seeing some kind of segment setting up for a battle at the Nassau Coloseum where Savage goes on a crazy rant and Undertaker groans through a promo.” There’s a reason you’d never see such a thing. There was zero advertising for it. It was never supposed to happen and yet it did, several times.
In-between Wrestlemania and Survivor Series in 91, Savage was retired in-story. He lost his big Career-Ending Match against the Warrior and rode off into the sunset with Elizabeth. On TV, he didn’t wrestle until Sid Justice campaigned for it just before Survivor Series. He wasn’t advertised for any house shows. That’s not to say his in-ring presence wasn’t needed.
Hulk Hogan missed a couple house shows so we got Randy Savage vs. Sergeant Slaughter, where Savage made him submit with the Camel Clutch. Sid Justice missed a couple shows and Savage was used to take on Jake Roberts. In one of these shows, they explained his ability to wrestle by having him wear a mask and compete as Mr. Madness. Sadly, I don’t think there are any images out there of Mr. Madness in action.
When Warrior was in his feud with Undertaker, Warrior missed a few shows and Savage was thrown in there instead. This happened three times. Savage pinned Undertaker twice and Undertaker defeated Savage once. There’s no footage of any of this. Just the memories of a few who were lucky enough to catch two legends fight it out without warning for no reason more than, “Hey, Randy! Jim didn’t show up again! Get on out there!”
To hell with it. I’m building that time machine. I’m going to hit the hardware store, build this time machine, save Buddy Holly, buy tickets to watch Savage vs. Undertaker, return that copy of Maximum Overdrive to Blockbuster from back in 96 and then watch Savage vs. Undertaker again with better seats.
Before I go, are there any big or small matches hidden in yesteryear that I’m a big dummy for skipping on? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading and thanks to the Something Awful goons for giving me a hand.