The Live Wire - By Tony Cottam

TLW: 8 Hour Special

Well, hello. So, peeps – it is that fateful time once more… the time that I have to sit and pretend that I know what I’m doing and write something, and the time you have to pretend to enjoy it. Well, at least some of you should! Please? Oh, alright then. humph!

Well, hello. So, peeps – it is that fateful time once more… the time that I have to sit and pretend that I know what I’m doing and write something, and the time you have to pretend to enjoy it. Well, at least some of you should! Please? Oh, alright then. humph!

Anyway… last week, as you may know, we had the monthly SmashWrestling Predictamania challenge. And as usual, I failed miserably. One of the lovely peeps that did win, Mr. Reynolds, decided to issue a Royal Proclamation – he asked every one of the loooooooosers to compile an 8 hour tape of their favourite matches to take to a desert island that conveniently has a TV, Video and it’s own isolated self perpetuating electrical supply. Kinda handy that.

Well, I was outraged at such a challenge… only 8 hours? Pah! But it turned out 8 hours is sufficient for quite a substantial amount of wrestling. Armed with a calculator, a pad, a pen and the recaps of Justin Baisden, Scott Keith and Smash’s own Arnold Furious – I came up with this collection.

In Your House XVI – Canadian Stampede – 6 Jul 1997

British Bulldog, Bret “Hit Man” Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart & Brian Pillman vs. Goldust, Ken Shamrock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Legion of Doom (24.30)

— Included because of it’s incredible crowd heat… A great match to boot, but the pro-Canadian crowd really made this one.

WrestleMania X – 20 Mar 1994

Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart (20.19)

— One of the best pure wrestling matches I’ve ever seen. Still stands up as a classic to this day.

In Your House X – Mind Games – 22 Sep 1996

Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind (26.23)

— Mick Foley’s best ever match? He certainly seems to think so, and who am I to disagree…

WrestleMania X – 20 Mar 1994

Ladder Match : Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (18.47)

— The match that redefined wrestling. Some of the spots still make my jaw drop to this day. Underlines what a shame it was that Scott Hall couldn’t keep his demons under control.

Royal Rumble 2003 – 19 Jan 2003

Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle (19.47)

— Still the best match of the year, hands down. Will go down as one of the best ever. Angle & Benoit have such a great chemistry, the urge to slam on every encounter they’ve had was a hard one to fight off.

In Your House XVIII – Badd Blood – 15 Oct 1997

Hell In A Cell : Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (29.57)

— Michaels at his peak, disturbing camera shots, solid psychology, and a great story in the match to boot – This match HAS to be on this tape. One of the WWE’s greatest matches ever.

Ring Of Honor : Round Robin Challenge – 30 Mar 2002

Low Ki vs. American Dragon (32.07)

— The best match of 2002 for my money, even if I never saw it until 2003. Get this match and understand what true wrestling is all about, and then go watch some Ring Of Honor.

Royal Rumble 2000 – 23 Jan 2000

Street Fight : Cactus Jack vs. HHH (27.12)

— One hell of a bloody brawl. When Mick Foley resurrected the Cactus Jack character, you knew there was something special on the horizon – this was it, and it was special. Trips in full flight meets Foley at his most deranged. Genius.

No Mercy 2002 – 20 Oct 2002

Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio & Edge (22.02)

— The best tag team match I think I’ve ever saw. It gets better every time you see it, and there’s not many matches you can say that of. Every guy in this match put their ‘A’ game on show, and boy did it gel well.

ECW Anarchy Rulz 1999 – 19 Sep 1999

Mike Awesome vs. Taz vs. Masato Tanaka (13.48)

— An often forgotten classic – Taz finally drops the ECW Title en route to the WWF, and Mike Awesome becomes the new ECW franchise player. Great intensity, great emotion and some impressive power moves make this a must see.

No Mercy 1999 – 17 Oct 1999

Ladder Match : The Hardys vs. Edge & Christian (16.29)

— The first Tag Team match to incorporate ladders that I can recall, and the match that started the progression of all four men to stardom, and TLC hell. Just a great match all round.

WWE Raw 2002 – 21 May 2002

Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho vs. HHH & Steve Austin (13.55)

— Is this the greatest match ever shown on regular TV? It gets my vote – Drama, a title change, elevation of Benoit and Jericho to a higher level… plus that fateful injury to Trips as well. Fantastic stuff

WrestleMania X6 – 2 Apr 2002

TLC Match : Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz (22.28)

— For sheer “oh my GOD!” value, this gets in. Some of the spots in this match were unbelievable, and it was constant too. Still the best TLC match if you ask me.

ECW Barely Legal 1997 – 13 Apr 1997

Great Sasuke & Gran Hamada & Masato Yakashiji vs. Taka Michinoku & Terry Boy & Dick Togo (16.55)

— Only saw this for the first time a couple of weeks ago, but boy, was the wait worth it. As exciting as any other match I’ve seen, the crispness of the moves and just the all out madness – incredible. You have to see it to believe it.

King Of The Ring 2001 – 24 Jun 2001

Street Fight : Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon (26.00)

— Shane’s best ever match in the WWF, and bar the near neck breaking moments, hardly any stuff that could be classed as ‘nuts’ at all. Angle and Shane had a great chemistry together, and this match was a brutal classic.

Ring Of Honor : Honor Invades Boston – 24 Aug 2002

Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe (17.00)

— Another mat classic from Ring Of Honor – the classic ‘Brother vs. Brother’ match, with no need for burns, masks or murder – just good, old fashioned jealousy and some gorgeous wrestling. Would have been my MOTY if not for Dragon vs. Ki.

SummerSlam 2002 – 25 Aug 2002

Shawn Michaels vs. HHH (27.02)

— The Showstopper proved us all wrong and not only came back – but put on a hell of a show too. I don’t know who carried who, but neither guy has had a better match since this one. Great storytelling all the way through.

Wrestlemania XIII – 23 Mar 1997

Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (22.05)

— Simply had to be in here somewhere. Bret at his finest against an Austin who was on fire. The greatest story ever told in one match, and it managed to turn Bret heel and Austin face in one match. Amazing stuff.

ECW Hardcore Heaven 1999 – 16 May 1999

Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn (26.58)

— The best of the much vaunted Lynn – Van Dam encounters, and easily Rob’s finest hour. Jerry probably can’t remember much about this after his brutal ‘skull meets concrete’ experiment, but it was still one of his finest matches ever regardless.

No Way Out 2001 – 25 Feb 2001

Three Stages Of Hell Match : HHH vs. Steve Austin (36.25)

— Nearly forty minutes, no run ins and probably Austin’s last truly outstanding match. Placed square in the middle of the PPV, it still managed to steal the show from everything else, and still does.

Backlash 2000 – 30 Apr 2000

Scotty Too Hotty vs. Dean Malenko (12.55)

— An overlooked classic, in my opinion. Scotty’s finest match ever, couple with Dean Malenko’s best WWF match made this a great contest. Should have kick-started the Light Heavyweight division, but it wasn’t to be.

SummerSlam 2000 – 27 Aug 2000

2 Out Of 3 Falls Match : Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit (13.20)

— And to finish – more Benoit goodness, with my favourite of the Jericho vs. Benoit series from 2000. The two has such a great chemistry, and this gave them a great platform to put on a show – and they didn’t disappoint.

By my dodgy adding up, that works out at 7:59:42 – and if it doesn’t, it’s close enough for me.

So there you go… my 8 hours of wrestling perfection. Notice no NWA/WCW matches… I didn’t get to see a lot of NWA/WCW, so there’s your explanation.

You could add another hour and throw in a best of Ric Flair mini series and it would top it off, I guess – but I’m happy with my choices.

Until next week, fave fun go mad,

Tony Cottam

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