When you take away all the theatrics from the WWE, it is at its essence about storytelling and athletic performance. In over half a century of WWE matches, you can point to several examples of wrestlers who achieved true mastery of their craft. These wrestlers created matches that fans simply must see, and thanks to the WWE Network, you can appreciate them all at your leisure.
In creating the definitive list of WWE matches you must see before you die, the key considerations were in-ring work and narrative. Those two factors tend to have the biggest impact on entertainment quality. Sense of occasion is also important. A wrestler might have a five star match on a house show, but that's always going to pale in significance to a four star match in a stadium. History has illuminated several WWE matches into even loftier reverence.
Circumstance in looking back on history also means that there'll be a natural slant towards matches in the last thirty years. The athletic performance has evolved to the point where golden era WWF wrestling is nothing at all like modern pro wrestling. Vince McMahon changed the very fabric of the wrestling product in the early 80's and fans are now programmed to certain styles and expectations.
Looking solely upon the WWE, these are the 30 matches you need to see, ranked in order of their greatness.