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Friday, January 1, 2016

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EOTR Retrospective Roundtable: Top 5 Matches of New Generation Era

As New Generation Week winds down, we take time today to discuss the top 5 Matches of The era. Join us for a trip down memory lane and enjoy this look at the top 5 Matches of The New Generation Era.

Here are my choices:

*Shawn Michaels vs Mankind at In Your House: Mind Games

-One of those matches where every hold, every punch, every spot, and every moment created a story that was damn near flawless.

*Bret Hart vs Owen Hart
Steel Cage at Summerslam 1994

-Bret and Owen looked to top their classic first major encounter at WrestleMania by competing for the WWE championship. The two brothers turned bitter rivals waged war in a Steel Cage that didn't have the brutality that you expected but damn good wrestling. The finish is one of the best I've seen in wrestling period.

*Undertaker vs Mankind at Buried Alive, October 1996

-Mankind is like Undertaker's Joker. His nemesis in the wresting world. The Buried Alive match gave the story between these two rivals it's epic climax.

*Bret Hart vs The British Bulldog at In Your House, Seasons Beatings 1995

-One of my personal all time favorite matches. Bloody, physical, and great commentary from Jerry Lawler.

*Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels 
Ironman at Wrestlemania 12

-The match that made me start watching wrestling. So it definitely means a lot to me. That's all I can say.

Here are my top five matches from the New Generation Era as #NewGenerationWeek continues. Some of my choices may be controversial, but everyone's opinions are different so let's get to it.

5. Goldust vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper
Hollywood Backlot Brawl
Wrestlemania 12

-This match was absolutely crazy, they started out in a parking lot and Piper beat the fucking shit out of Goldust, only for Goldust to get into a yellow Cadillac and be "chased" by Piper who was driving a white bronco. However the footage that was spliced in was actual footage of the OJ Simpson car chase from the same year. So they used the footage of the car chase and eventually the two found themselves back inside of the arena where the match would finally end with Piper stripping Goldust of his ring gear to reveal ladies lingerie in what was one of the weirdest matches of the entire era.

4. Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel
In Your House Good Friends Better Enemies

-This match was really good in fact, it was way better than their Wrestlemania match, by this time Diesel was still WWF Champion which unfortunately also meant that he was still main eventing pay per views (and you wonder why 95 was the single worst year in company history.

Not only that, but Diesel is still to this day the lowest drawing WWE Champion in company history and lets face it we have had way worse champions than him (Sid comes to mind right away). This match put the New Generation Era on the map and started the trend of great matches to come during that time frame. However that was partly due to Michaels for having to carry a polished turd through a match.

3. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon
Wrestlemania 10

-This match redefined the Ladder match, although the WWE wants you to believe that this was the first match of its kind, which is complete bullshit. This match was both really good and historically significant. Had it not been for this match, we may not have gotten the Money In The Bank ladder match 11 years later at Wrestlemania 21 and in the years following leading up to it getting its own pay per view named after it. Some will argue that the rematch Shawn and Razor had at Summerslam 95 was better, which I tend to agree with, but this match was still very very good. For those that don't know the back-story, Shawn was again stripped of the IC Title due to injury and then a tournament was held on RAW for the vacant title in which Razor Ramon won. Shawn resurfaced with a fake Intercontinental Championship belt which created the need for this match and man was it a classic. The best part of it was the finish where Shawn fell off of the ladder and conveniently got his foot stuck in between the top and middle ropes which would allow for Razor to climb the ladder and grab both titles uninterrupted. And what do you know, as soon as Razor grabbed the titles, Shawn was able to free himself from the ropes, but it was too late as Razor had already won both the match and the titles in a match that instantly became a classic.

2. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart
Wrestlemania 13

-This is my personal favorite match of all time and it did a great job in doing a few things. It told a great story and made Stone Cold Steve Austin into the character we would know him as going forward. It also featured perhaps the best double turn in wrestling history. It was so subtle yet so effective that it spoke volumes. These two absolutely beat the hell out of each other in a match that neither of them wanted because according to legend, the match that would eventually happen in Montreal between Bret and Shawn was supposed to happen at this event and Steve Austin wasn't even supposed to be on the show. Neither man was really excited about going into this match with one another, not because they didn't want to do it but because after Survivor Series 1996, they thought they would be done with each other. However they took what they were given and turned it into a masterpiece of a match. The finish of the match featured Bret Hart locking Stone Cold Steve Austin, who at the time was a bloody mess, into a Sharpshooter and rather than having Austin tap out to lose the match he passed out due to losing too much blood. A finish that spoke volumes and did a great job of establishing what the Steve Austin character would become and re-establishing Bret Hart and his new role as top villain. This is hands down the best match of the New Generation era, but there's a reason why it's not number one so keep reading.

1. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Survivor Series 97

-This choice of mine is a bit controversial due to it being the "Montreal Screwjob" match, however this match makes it on the list due to the fact that it is historically significant to the era because it signified the end of the New Generation Era and ushered in the Attitude Era. This match was dare I say better than the match that they had at Wrestlemania 12, which was a one-hour snooze fest given the circumstances. I often wonder what the original finish would have been had what had happened not happened but I think I have an idea. The match would end with Shawn Michaels putting Bret Hart in the Sharpshooter and turning him over, but before Shawn turned Bret over, Bret told Shawn that he had his legs positioned wrong and told Bret to change it.

Shawn did what Bret told him to do and little did Bret know he was loading his own gun to put himself out of his misery, as once Shawn turned Bret over, Earl barely asked Bret if he wanted to give up and instead rang the bell, causing Shawn to play dumb and release the hold and pretend he had no clue what was going on. He was promptly given the belt and escorted to the back for shenanigans to ensue.

As soon as Bret figured out what happened, he spat in Vince's face destroyed monitors and eventually would go to the back and supposedly punch Vince in the face although nobody ever saw Vince get hit. I could write about this match more but we all know all of the controversies surrounding it, but if you don't, and would like to know more, check out the Montreal Theory documentary.

So, I'll be honest. In the NG Era, I was more of a WCW guy. Blame Sting and Booker. However, as I got older, I began to look back at the era and started vibing with the energy. While most of it bordered on trash, there were some legit gems. So, without more fluff, here's my top five, in no particular order.

*Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon 
Wrestlemania 10
-Their first ladder match for the IC Championship.

*Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon II 
Summerslam 1995
-Their second ladder match

*Bret Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin
Wrestlemania 13
-One of the matches which set the first steps to the Attitude Era in motion.

*Bret Hart vs Owen Hart
Summerslam 1994
-This is possibly my favorite WWE match of all-time, still wish Owen could've gotten the WWF Championship, though. RIP

*Stone Cold vs Jake Roberts 
King of the Ring 1996

-A classic for more than the "Austin 3:16" to me.

Here are my five choices.

1. Bret Hart vs Stone Cold
Wrestlemania 13

2. Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon 
Wrestlemania 10

3. Razor Ramon vs 1-2-3 Kid
May 1993 RAW

4. Bret Hart vs Bob Backlund 
Survivor Series 1994

5. Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart 
Wrestlemania 12

For me, this list proved to be quite tough. However, all my choices are personal favorites of mine. As follows.

*Bret Hart vs Owen Hart
Wrestlemania 10

-This was the match to me. Watching this one back, it is one of the best Wrestlemania matches ever and the best opening match in Wrestlemania history. Most would select their cage match and it's in my personal top 10, but this one is miles ahead due to no stipulation.

*Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart 
Survivor Series 1996

-Most people would select their Wrestlemania 13 encounter and while it is one of my all time favorite matches, it is a gimmick match. A hardcore match with a submission stipulation. As far as pure wrestling goes, their first encounter was absolutely electric and one of the most amazing matches for the era, without a doubt.

*Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart 
Wrestlemania 12

-One of the greatest matches in history, this Ironman match pretty much is my go to match when people ask about the New Generation Era. For one hour, two of the all time greats went at it for the WWF Championship.

*Shawn Michaels vs Mankind 
Mind Games 1996

-I don't usually like the gimmick matches as far as including them on a list, but this one was a no brainer without a doubt. Foley and Shawn had amazing chemistry in this one off title match that saw both men pushed to the limit. Classic match to me.

*Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon 
Wrestlemania 10
-Nuff said. The classic.

What about your top 5? Let us know below in the comments.



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