10 Classic Matches Bettered By Spiritual Sequels


Backlot Brawl Chicago Street Fight

General consensus would have it that some matches are unimpeachable in their brilliance.

Something like the first entry on this list, for example, is so ingrained as a classic that it never gets spoken of as having been improved upon. But is that fair? Many critics are very quick to criticise the modern day product. Selling isn't treated with the reverence it used to and still should be; they all flip a bit too much now, don't they; yada yada yada, FDM. It's tedious.

A commitment to simulated hatred has broadly been supplanted by near-fall shortcuts and an overabundance of back and forth, everybody-shines action. The generic structure of a modern match is more mutually helpful than driven by hate. A not inconsiderable amount of matches held this decade are very much guilty of this. However, there are talents out there keen to use the foundations of wrestling's past to create something which is often more progressive and exciting than what came before it.

This isn't a troll-job. This isn't nyuh WWE sucks and here's proof.

Nothing can take away their status as very good to great matches - so consider this list a case of 'if you like X, you'll love Y'...

10. Bret Hart Vs. Mr. Perfect - WWF SummerSlam 1991

Backlot Brawl Chicago Street Fight

Bettered by: CM Punk Vs. Daniel Bryan - WWE Over The Limit 2012

Perfect Vs. Hart isn't just a technical feast - it features within it one of the greatest feats of intestinal fortitude in WWF/WWE history. It was significant, too. Up until that point, unless Randy Savage was involved, the majority of lengthy, important WWF matches followed a similar pattern: massively muscled face gets his opening shine, heel establishes upper hand via nefarious means, and cuts off a few comebacks before ultimately being vanquished by the superior hero.

Hart and Perfect, along with Savage and Steamboat, helped develop the in-ring language of the WWF for the better with this submission and story-driven masterwork.

Punk Vs. Bryan operated within a similar framework - but improves upon it. The submissions were more cutting edge and fearsome - Punk at one point was practically bent over backwards in Bryan's modified surfboard - and there was a more tangible sense of animosity between the two men arising from the stiffness of their strikes.

The elbow blows with which Bryan smashed Punk to establish early dominance were a particularly neat touch; in lifting inspiration from Mixed Martial Arts, the two former Ring Of Honor World Champions were able to assemble a more dangerous-looking and believable contest.


Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!