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Thursday, April 23, 2015

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CJ's Top Five: Cage Matches

5. AMW vs. XXX
Turning Point 2004

I'm not usually one to show TNA any love, but I couldn't ignore this match. Aside from that ridiculous spot where Elix Skipper walked across the top of the cage and connected with a hurricanrana on Chris Harris, this match kept an excellent pace and showed what the X Division had to offer. These two teams had such a good chemistry, they always put on quality matches with each other. This match was also under the stipulation that whoever lost, that team had to disband forever. The conclusion of the match occurred when AMW handcuffed Daniels to the ropes and performed their tag finisher, the powerplex, on skipper for the pinfall victory. If you ever want to go back and look at the old days of the X Division, this is definitely one match to check out.

4. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit
Raw 2001

Two men capable of putting on a wrestling clinic any night of the week, facing each other in a cage on the main event of Raw, do you need any more incentive to watch this match? Kurt and Chris always had an excellent rivalry that produced great content in the ring. This match is the definition of a show-stealer. High spot after high spot, suplex after suplex, all done at a break-neck pace. The spots everyone remembers from this match are Benoit's headbutt from the top of the cage, and Kurt missing a moonsault from the top of the cage. Even if those spots weren't there, this match would still be a must-watch. If you're a fan of pure wrestling technique as well as top-notch physicality, this is a match for you.

3. Ric Flair vs. Harley Race
Starrcade 1983

The Nature Boy squaring off against one of the toughest guys in the history of the business is going to be an entertaining bout under any circumstances. You enclose these two in a steel cage? You know you'll always get your money's worth. Flair and Race have always had a storied rivalry, and it proved that during their cage match for the NWA Heavyweight Championship at Starrcade '83. Ric and Harley traded blows for over 20 minutes, trading finishers and blood alike. The finish came when Flair, in classic heel fashion, shoved Race into special referee Gene Kiniski, followed by Flair hitting a crisis block for the pinfall victory and the NWA title.

2. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
Summerslam 1994

Just the mention of the names Bret and Owen Hart immediately bring images of high pace and technical expertise to mind, and their cage match for the Intercontinental Championship at Summerslam '94 was one for the ages. Owen, being the heel, gained the upper advantage at the beginning by attacking Bret and catching him off guard. Both traded blows and showed off that excellent Hart family in-ring chemistry. Owen hitting Bret with a piledriver, Bret suplexing Owen from the top of the cage to keep him from escaping, both men trading sharpshooters, these two absolutely stole the show. The conclusion of the bout came when Owen's leg became caught in the bars of the cage, allowing Bret top climb out and achieve victory. This is wrestling at its finest, from two of its greatest competitors.

1. Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum 
TA Starrcade 1985

This match showcases what the steel cage match was invented for: to be a knock-down, drag-out fight to settle the score. Magnum TA and Tully Blanchard had legit bad blood, and it certainly showed in the brutality of this match. This was an "I Quit" match for the NWA United States Championship, and neither of these man were prepared to give up without a fight. Blanchard and Magnum went at each other with everything they had. Stiff shots, heads rammed into the cage, Tully hitting Magnum in the head with a microphone, these men held absolutely nothing back. In a shot that is still iconic to this day, the end of this match came when Magnum took a sharp, broken piece of a wooden chair, and began jabbing it into the forehead of Tully Blanchard, forcing Banchard to quit and awarding the victory to Magnum TA. Not for the faint of heart, especially for its time. If you want to see a fight in a wrestling ring, this is a FIGHT.