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Str8 Gangster, No Chaser: 2008 Wrestling Awards Part 3 - My Favourite Wrestling Matches of 2008



27 January 2009

Wrestling 101 UK Scene RSS Feed | Feeds

< PART TWO

Alright kids, without further ado, your boy presents you with the most gangster matches of 08'. Before we get started, I'll start with the honourable mentions. The Ladder of Love match was very nice, and honestly should have made the list, but I negated it for too long and it was left off. Also, I didn't get a chance to see any of the Christian vs. Angle matches from the beginning of the year, and I'm sure I would have loved that. Same goes for Triple H vs. Cena at Night of Champions. I kept hearing how gangster that one was, but just never had the money to cop it. Other DVDs kept getting in the way. So, yeah, there we go, now let's get it crunk....

20

Match: John Cena vs. JBL - NYC Parking Lot Brawl
Place: WWE Great American Bash - July 19th, 2008
Duration: 15:00
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE Great American Bash 2008


The Review: There are a lot of sides to a wrestling match, one of them is fun. And that's exactly what this one is, fun. JBL is about as decent a wrestler as Maria is smart enough to not choke on oxygen. But given the right stipulation, and the right wrestler, and the guy can actually have a decent outing. I've always liked the parking lot brawl, ever since I saw Finlay and Regal go at it on Nitro, I thought it was awesome. Van Damme's Lionheart come to life! This one was damn cool with a lot of nice spots. JBL setting the car on fire wasn't exactly necessary, but made for a cool spot, as it was an intended attempt at Cena's life. Busted car doors, shattered windshields, dented hoods, it had it all. The thing I felt truly missing from it was some bloodshed. It's a brawl inside a circle of cars for God's sake, c'mon. Mindless fun.

The Rating: * * * 3/4th

----------

FlashBack

Match: John Cena vs. Eddie Guerrero
Place: WWE Smackdown
Duration:
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: Viva La Raza: The Legacy Of Eddie Guerrero

The Review: I've always liked the parking lot brawls. It's just an excuse to get brutal, and roll out some nice spots. This one was no exception to that rule. Everything was brought out here, from shovels, to hubcaps, to even lawn mowers. This match was probably the more brutal of all the parking lot brawls, as countless windshields were busted, and a good amount of windows were broken with skulls. Even a move as simple as a suplex is a mark-out moment,  because it's being done on top of a car. You've got to see this match, if only for Eddie's frog splash in the end. Great stuff. Oh, as a PS, also check out Finlay and Regal's PLB from Nitro 1996. You can find it on YouTube, it's a gem as well.

The Rating: * * * 3/4th

----------

19

Match: CM Punk vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Tommy Dreamer vs. John Morrison vs. The Big Show - Singapore Cane Match
Place: WWE One Night Stand - June 1st, 2008
Duration: 8:33
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE One Night Stand 2008

The Review: A nice little moment during the exceptionally great One Night Stand PPV. Sandwiched in between Jeff Hardy and Umaga's great opener, and Beth Phoenix and Melina's considerably underrated I Quit match. It had a great beginning with everyone ganging up on the Show, to try and get him out of the race early. Action spilled to the outside at one point, and Show grabbed a nice pair of steel stairs before being tripped and legitimately smashed his face on the stairs and busted open his eyebrow, great stuff. All 5 really brought it, and this was just a fun little hardcore outing. My only complaint was I've always hated how poor, loyal, passion by the gallon Tommy Dreamer has to do the JOB on the PPV.

The Rating: * * * 1/2th

18

Match: Team HBK [Shawn Michaels, Crime Tyme, Rey Mysterio, & The Great Khali] vs Team JBL [JBL, MVP, Kane, John Morrison & The Miz]
Place: WWE Survivor Series - November 23rd, 2008
Duration: 18:04
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE Survivor Series 2008


The Review: I have no idea why this match didn't receive more accolades than it did. It was awesome. Morrison, Miz, and Mysterio stole the match. Crime Tyme was great, JBL just stuck to power moves and limited ring-time, and the Great Khali was barely used at all. Those are all important ingredients to success. It was one of the more entertaining traditional SS matches I've seen in a good while, and I think it deserves a second look from a lot of people.

The Rating: * * * *

17

Match: Raw Elimination Chamber - Jeff Hardy vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho vs. JBL vs. Umaga vs. Triple H
Place: WWE No Way Out - February 17th, 2008
Duration: 24:00
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE No Way Out 2008

The Review: I've always been a big fan of the chambers. They make for interesting match dynamics, as well as suspense and drama. This one started off great with Shawn Michaels and Jericho, just as the original one from 2003 did. It starts with the mat-based 'wrestlers' wrestling, then Umaga comes out and it gets all sorts of brutal. This match actually marked the time in which I actually started to enjoy Umaga's performances. He was a nice entity here, and really helped the match out. JBL getting all fussy after being pinned and bringing the chairs in to wreak havoc was awesome. A great match that would have almost been impossible to screw up.

The Rating: * * * * 1/4th

16

Match: Randy Orton (C) vs. Triple H vs. John Cena vs. JBL - WWE Championship
Place: WWE Backlash 2008 - April 26th, 2008
Duration: 28:11
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE Backlash 2008


The Review: A match I had a lot of hope for, despite the addition of JBL and I was not let down. I was so happy to see it was elimination style, and not your typical WWE affair of first one to score a pin, or submission wins. My only real complaint was how Cena was eliminated RIGHT after JBL was. I felt it would have given the match a little more dynamic if it had been whittled down slowly, not rushed like that. The first half was all 4 men tearing the roof off, and the 2nd half was Triple H and Orton doing the same exact all by their lonesome. They turned that match into a blood feud just like that. It was lengthy, and intense. A great moment came when Cena had Orton in the STFU and JBL appeared to be making the save, but just stopped and stared at Orton while screaming "TAP! TAP! C'mon on, son! You can't make it, tap!". Followed promptly by Triple H clamping the cross face on JBL, just as Orton gets out of the STFU, and then extracts revenge by getting in JBL's face and repeating the same rhetoric. Great stuff, with the MVP of the match being Orton and Triple H's lone performance in the 2nd half.

Rating: * * * * 1/4th

---------- 

FlashBack

Match: John Cena (C) vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton
Place: WWE Backlash 2007
Duration:
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE Backlash 2007   

 The Review: A year ago Backlash also hosted a 4 man main event for the WWE title. It was a simple first-pin-or-submission wins. While I don't think it was better than the night's earlier 5 star classic Last Man Standing match-up, I do think this one was deserving of the main-event. It was very fast paced, all four athletes more than carried their own weight. Loved the dynamic between Orton and Edge as they played on their previous teaming as Rated RKO and forged an alliance here and there, until Edge saved Orton from a piledriver onto a table, only to smash his head with a steel chair. The ending was great, as all 4 men executed their finishers, and Cena got the accidental pin by getting superkicked, and falling on an unconscious Randy Orton. Very refreshing ending. To me, this is the greater of '07-'08 Backlash main events.

The Rating: * * * * 1/2th

----------

15

Match: Randy Orton (C) vs. John Cena vs. Triple H - WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Place: WWE WrestleMania 24 - March 31st, 2008
Duration: 14:15
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE Wrestlemania 24


The Review: When I first saw this match, I hated it. I scored it about * * stars. I thought it was too short, and the ending was bullshit. Not that Orton won, just in the manner. However, after going back, I've grown to absolutely love it. Yeah, it's a little shorter than I would have liked, but had it gone any longer, it probably would have meant more rest holds, or some of that 'you're knocked out, now it's just us two' type of thing. Instead of all that, we got incredible amounts of action that went on for 15 minutes. All 3 men evenly played off one another, and no one seemed like a third wheel out there. It was high-intensity, and the crowd was eating it up. The fact Orton won just made it all that much more great, especially with a clean finish. As it set him up as a true main-event player, and really shocked the hell outta everybody. Good times.

The Rating: * * * * 1/4th

14

Match: Triple H (C) vs. Jeff Hardy - World Heavyweight Title Match
Place: WWE No Mercy - October 4th, 2008
Duration: 17:00
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE No Mercy 2008


Review: Ah, Jeff. Had he not botched it earlier in the year with the whole Wellness fiasco, this easily would have been his year. Not to say he didn't have an incredible one to boot. What with his great showing at No Way Out, his awesome match with Umaga inside the cage as well as One Night Stand, not to mention his title win. But for myself, the true highlight of Jeff this year was his showing against Triple H at No Mercy. These two had been hinting at a possible go-round since the Survivor Series 07'. Having also contended against one another in group matches, such as the Raw Elimination Chamber at No Way Out, and the Smackdown Scramble match at Unforgiven. It was truly only a matter of time before the Game, and the....what the hell is he called? Rainbow Haired Warrior? Charismatic Enigma? Whatever it is, it was only a matter of time before they locked horns one on one. Well, that place was No Mercy. And I tell you, this match did not disappoint. In what was probably Triple H's best match as champion, save for perhaps the Armageddon Triple Threat, in a mediocre title reign. Jeff's reckless, high-flying type of offense was met well with Triple H's more aggressive, mat-technician style. It was fast paced, and just kept raising the volume. The last 5 minutes are extremely exciting, with all the close-call pins, and attempts at finishers, you couldn't help but think that Hardy's time was here.

Rating: * * * * 1/4th

13

Match: John Cena vs. Batista
Place: WWE SummerSlam 2008 - August 17th, 2008
Duration: 14:10
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE SummerSlam 2008


The Review: I think the video package that aired before this match is all they needed to do for the hype. While some matches need months worth of stuff to really build, all this one needed was John's promo of "one day". It was awesome, and made us realize the way their careers have really paralleled. As for the match, it was WWE's Main Event Style done completely right. They went full-tilt for damn near 15 minutes, and never let up. It was a clash of the big-men done right, with a clean finish. Hell, did anyone see that powerbomb coming near the end? Didn't think so.

The Rating: * * * * 1/4th

12

Match: The Undertaker (C) vs. Edge - World Heavyweight Championship
Place: WWE Backlash 2008 - April 26th, 2008
Duration: 18:20
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE Backlash 2008


The Review: The 2nd meeting for these two in their 5-match series, proved to probably be the weakest. While it was by no means a bad match, and the lead-up to it was great with Vickie forcing Undertaker into gruelling matches in order to weaken him for the Rated R Superstar. In this one, Edge didn't seem as blood-thirsty as he did at WrestleMania 24. I liked the psychology of Edge constantly working the back, and the Undertaker truly selling it. It was the best match on the card, but not the best in their series. I also didn't like the choke-out finish, as it had just been done at WrestleMania, and I felt like perhaps Edge could have gone over here to make anticipation for their 3rd meeting even higher. Nevertheless, great stuff here.

The Rating: * * * * 1/4th

11

Match: Chris Jericho (C) vs. John Cena - World Heavyweight Championship
Place: WWE Survivor Series 2008 - November 22nd, 2008
Duration: 21:00
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release:  WWE Survivor Series 2008


The Review: For some reason, I don't feel this match gets its due. People need to go back and re-watch this puppy, because it's a gem. Jericho had just got done terrorizing the Raw side of things for the WWE. Taking out stars such as CM Punk, Batista, and Shawn Michaels. A true heel if there ever was one, who could seemingly beat anybody. John Cena was coming back, fresh from neck surgery after a mishap at SummerSlam when he took the top-rope Batista Bomb. The match started with a bang, in that Jericho kept getting one up on Cena, and you could see his frustration growing, as well as his confidence sinking. Jericho was a classic heel in that he kept going after Cena's neck. From twisting it, and applying things like a full-nelson, to outright viciousness like a running kick to it while Cena was draped over the apron. Cena was obviously still a bit shaken since injuring himself, and the surgery, because he went for the top-rope leg drop early in the match,but just couldn't bring himself to do it. It was little moments like that that helped me love this match so much. Jericho also kept proving why he deserves to be where he's at. Instances like where Cena was calling for the tap, but as he went to grab Jericho, he snapped on Cena and took him down with a CodeBreaker outta nowhere. It was great. A match that people really need to go back and look at. And wrestlers need to analyze on how to tell a story in the ring.

The Rating: * * * * 1/4th

10

Match: Edge vs. The Undertaker - TLC Match for the Vacant Worlds Heavyweight Title
Place: One Night Stand - June 1st, 2008
Duration: 23:28
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE One Night Stand 2008, Edge: A Decade of Decedance

The Review: My favourite feud of the year. In my second favourite style of match. It's too easy. It was a great match, with a great amount of brutality (take in some of those chairshots that Undertaker absorbed!). My only real complaints were that they drove home the whole "he'll NEVER wrestle in WWE again" far too much. As we all know, retirement angles or matches if you will, in wrestling, are mostly bogus. So everyone probably assumed that Taker would go over, and when Edge did, we knew Taker would be back. I also didn't like all the interference from La Famillia. I mean, ok, we get it, Taker is a f**king machine. We don't need proof of that in every match. Regardless of all that, I got my money's worth. An awesome match and an awesome feather in their cap for the feud.

The Rating: * * * * 1/2th

9

Match: Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle (C) - Lockdown Cage Match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Place: TNA Lockdown - April 14th, 2008
Duration: 17:45
Company: Totat Non-Stop Action
DVD Release: TNA Lockdown 2008


The Review: Joe and Angle. Granted, the storylines for these two have been asinine a lot of the time, but they make up for it by having extremely awesome matches. Any time these two lock-up, I'm front row centre for it. While I'm still waiting for them to have their all out classic, I think this match is the closest we'll get for now. They actually delivered on this one from all ends. To the build-up and the delivery. The MMA training sequences were rather cool, and I even dug how Angle came out dressed in a MMA esq style of attire. The first 5 minutes of the match were interesting too, in that they were strictly MMA. The crowd started to turn on it a bit, which I don't blame them, as a little bit of MMA is cool, but for the most part, is boring as all hell. Once it got to the action, it never let up, and really let the crowd have it. My only real complaint was that it was inside a cage, yet, I think they used it maybe once. I was looking forward to that aspect, and unfortunately, they didn't use it. But regardless, it's a classic encounter, and one I've watched numerous times.

The Rating: * * * * 1/2th

8

Match: Samoa Joe (C) vs. Kurt Angle
Place: TNA Impact! - April 15th, 2008
Duration: 17:00
Company: Totat Non-Stop Action
DVD Release:  TNA Lockdown 2008


The Review: How on earth have I not seen this on anybody's list? I assume it just got lost amidst all the crap that TNA was shovelling. The rubber match to their Lockdown classic. They returned to their wrestling roots, and left behind the whole MMA theme that influenced the nights previous bout. What they went on to do was give us a match every bit as great as the one from the night before, and that's saying a lot. Gee, imagine that TNA. Take two guys who are great at wrestling and have them do such a thing. A novel concept, I know. But hey, let's give it a try instead of an angle where Samoa Joe is actually Kurt Angle's mother.

The Rating: * * * * 1/2th

7

Match: Undertaker vs. Edge - Vacant World's Heavyweight Championship
Place: WWE Judgement Day
Duration: 14:00
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE Judgment Day 2008


The Review: I don't understand why people trash on Judgment Day. It had 3 great matches, and one of them, was this. An awesome, awesome outing by The Undertaker and Edge. One that damn near ties their WrestleMania24 bout, at least for me. In Backlash, Edge seemed to have lost a bit of his confidence after losing to the Taker at WrestleMania, so after a 2nd, one would think it'd be even worse, well, you'd be wrong. Edge came back with a fire in this one, and really laid into the Undertaker, just as he'd done in their first bout. The Undertaker wasn't slouching either, as he seemed to take Edge's attempt to shatter his spine the month prior a bit personally and wreaked havoc on Edge's back as well. We got not only a chokeslam, but a powerbomb into the turnbuckle, courtesy of the Deadman. This one was on fire the whole time, and at first I hated the ending, but grew to love it. As it not only kept things interesting, but made Vickie's stock as the most hated person ever rise just that much higher. Kudos.

The Rating: * * * * 1/2th

6

Match: Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles - Last Man Standing
Place: TNA Hard Justice - August 10th, 2008
Duration: 25:10
Company: Total Non-Stop Action
DVD Release: TNA Hard Justice, TNA Cross The Line PPV 3 Pack


Review: *sigh*...it sucks to know that one day I'll have to be a wrestling fan in a world without Kurt Angle. That being said, it's obvious I thought highly of what is TNA's best offering in 2008. The feud itself was a little daft, but the pay-offs were great and this is proof. With the match displaying the best of both men. Kurt was playing his mind-games by taking forever to get the match started, hoping for a more classic-wrestling type affair than AJ's more off-the-top-rope style of doing things. When his hopes were dashed, Kurt did what he could to take the air out of AJ's sails, up to and including a sick spot where Kurt delivered a pump-handle suplex on AJ into the guardrail. Later, after battling on top of the entrance ramp, Kurt back-drops AJ off, then proceeds to follow him with a front-flip off the stage onto to AJ. The crowd roars as Kurt jumps to his feet and yells "WHO'S TOO OLD?!". One thing that helped this match also score such a high rating with me was how unconventional it was compared to almost all other LMS matches. Most of them are extremely bloody affairs, with every weapon in the book coming out. In addition to having  an attempted 10-count once every minute to 2 minutes, this had neither. These men were wearing each other down with only their ability and wits. A pin and attempted 10-count didn't happen until about the last 5-7 minutes of the 25 minute match. To which that made for GREAT drama, because you could now sense it was close, and either man could have bit the dust. I just can't say enough about this match, and that's proving how great they both are by giving us one of the most exciting LMS match-ups ever.

The Rating: * * * * 1/2th

5

Match: Chris Jericho (C) vs. Shawn Michaels - Ladder Match for the World's Heavyweight Championship
Place: WWE No Mercy - October 4th, 2008
Duration: 22:25
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE No Mercy 2008


Review: Ah, the ladder match. Ah, 2008's best feud. This was bound to be a classic. Shawn had become synonymous with the ladder match, despite only being in 3. Jericho himself was no stranger to them having in been in multiple classics, as well as inventing Money in the Bank. My main complaint about most ladder matches these days is no one strives for the story or the psychology of the match. They just want to go spot after spot, and try to out-do what can pretty much never be without someone dying. Jericho and Shawn did nothing like this while at the same time did not go over the same ol' re-tread. We got an awesome match that included both new and classic manoeuvres, that were equal in flash with subtlety and brutality. The ending was great, one we had never seen before, and one that's sure to be duplicated throughout the years.

Rating: * * * * 1/2th

4

Match: Edge (C) vs. The Undertaker - World Heavyweight Championship
Place: WWE Wrestlemania 24 - March 31st, 2008
Duration: 23:51
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE WrestleMania 24


The Review: We all knew it'd be good. But this good? Wow. They had me eating out of the palm of their hands the entire match. I've been a wrestling fan for 15 years, and they took everything  I'm use to, and just flipped it on it's head. I had no idea what to expect outta these two. From putting on a mat-clinic to taking it in the air, reversal, counter, hold, move. This match truly had everything and went above and beyond what it means to truly be a WrestleMania main event. Very few men can get in the ring and seem to be on the level of the Undertaker and in this match Edge not only seemed to be on the same level but even perhaps a bit above it. I could go on for days, a f**king sensational match.

The Rating: * * * * 3/4th

3

Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho - Unsanctioned Match
Place: WWE Unforgiven - September 6th, 2008
Duration: 28:00
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE Unforgiven 2008


The Review: Ah, these two again. It's a known fact that I love me some hardcore matches. I can't be happy with just two goobers hitting each other with barbwire bats and cheese graters for 10 minutes. Hardcore to me is no limits. It is being able to do whatever it takes to defeat your opponent. When done right, there's nothing better. However, it isn't exactly something that's easy to do, as so many have proved before. I love hardcore matches because you take awesome wrestlers like Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, Edge, and Shawn Michaels and tell'em there isn't anything they can't do. The result is always something special, and this was no exception. These two men waged a war on each other, the result is something that's sure to be borrowed from and also down right stolen from. They didn't go all out hardcore, as Shawn did in his previous 5 star classic with Triple H at WWE SummerSlam 2002, instead they peppered weapons and the like in amongst an awesome wrestling match. On top of all that was Shawn's seemingly mental breakdown. He couldn't hurt Jericho enough. It was something in Shawn we'd never seen, especially with him being on the side of the Lord now. He become a man possessed. Having to be pulled off Jericho, then superkicking the very ref who just committed this seemingly unforgivable act. The man stood there, chin-quivering and eyes welling up, knowing in his mind what he's done, and what he's become. And the scariest part of all being that he liked it. The story, the psychology and everything else was just off the charts. Truly a match I don't think people give enough credit to.

The Rating: * * * * 3/4th

2

Match: Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels - Career Threatening Match
Place: WWE Wrestlemania 24 - March 31st, 2008
Duration: 20:45
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE WrestleMania 24, Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection


The Review: You've probably read everything you're ever going to read about this match. So the less I say, the better. Incredible story, obviously. Most people think the wrestling aspect was around 3 and a half stars, I'd say no way, it goes to at least 4 and one fourth. Flair was out their pulling out every dirty trick he knew, most he hadn't used in years, to try and put down Mr. WrestleMania. Unbelievable last 20-30 seconds, probably the greatest in any match ever.

The Rating: * * * * *

1

Match: Undertaker vs. Edge - Hell in a Cell
Place: WWE SummerSlam - August 17th, 2008
Duration: 26:41
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: WWE SummerSlam 2008, Edge: Decade of Decadence


Review: Ah, Edge and The Undertaker. While Jericho and Shawn probably had the better feud as far as the drama and storyline goes, nothing could top Taker and Edge's matches for me. Undertaker is once again involved in my favourite series of matches again this year. In 2007 it was with Batista, this year, the Rated R Superstar. The lead up to this was awesome. No longer did Edge seem to be intimidated by Undertaker's head games, and instead went deep inside his own head to figure out what needed to be done. The promo with Mick Foley was great, as was the systematic attack on La Famillia. He'd truly snapped, and reverted to the Edge of old. What came of the match was nothing short of classic. In a type of match where you think everything has been done, they wrote brand new chapters. All the highlight reel worthy material was sewn together with Edge and Taker's classic mat-based chemistry. Edge truly brought it to the Undertaker in ways few have, but in the end, the Taker got the best and proved why he isn't someone to f**k with. While I felt the fire was a bit much, the chokeslam through the ring was an awesome way to end it. I've heard some people complain they didn't go on top of the cage, but really, what would be the point? We've already seen someone thrown off of it, thrown through it, and even pinned on top of it. So to go up-stairs would just be re-hashing old shtick. An incredible match, and my favourite Hell in a Cell.

The Rating:
* * * * *

Caliber Winfield

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