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Monday, September 4, 2017

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Eyes On WWE: 5 Underrated Matches

By @AmeenKnows

I've been away from writing for a while and decided while I have a day to myself to supply you with premium content which you can find only on EOTR. I'll try my best to limit generic commentary but every now and then, I may or may not throw in some government mule talk and a Jerry Lawler dad joke. A few of these are critically acclaimed matches that the hardcore fan may easily remember but still they are great matches that don't get talked about consistently. This isn't necessarily my top 5 as I've seen way too many to just remember all of them off the top of my head but I feel like I've put a solid list together.

*Shelton Benjamin vs Christian: TLC 2009

-This match is criminally underrated and I can't seem to figure out why. Maybe it's because of the stigma that came with being associated with the WWE/ECW reboot but nonetheless this match delivers. The match was built up by the theme of friendly competition including Christian ruining Shelton Benjamin's promotion of the all new Smackdown vs Raw 2010 video game simulation of their match. Now it was time to put down the controllers with the ECW Championship hanging high above the ring under a ladder match stipulation. It featured a fair amount of spots that didn't seem rushed or overbearing including a fabulous turnbuckle powerbomb onto a ladder by Benjamin. Benjamin was his natural great self using athleticism to pull off a flip onto Christian who was on the floor being treated by trainers. It provides everything a ladder match should: random commentary (Matt Striker knowing Texas Athletic State Commission Rules), good spots with ladders, and a lack of pretending like they can't unhook the belt while waiting for the next spot (there was one spot but Striker does a great job of saving it by mentioning an injury suffered earlier in the match).

*CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio: Capitol Punishment 2011

-I have no idea why WWE created this event and why they thought the fake Obama apperance would appeal to the crowd but nonetheless we were blessed with a fire Stage Set and a great showing from two former rivals. After trading wins on Monday Night Raw, the only logical thing for WWE creative to do is to throw the same match on PPV once again! This match being one of the first steps in the Summer of Punk was nothing short of your standard "This is Awesome" chant in 2015-Present. I don't remember a lot from their previous encounters because they were okay showings, but during Punk-Morrison's 15 minutes of fame, Punk finally found the magic with WWE's resident underdog. With the New Nexus banned from ringside, it was all Punk that night. It was the standard slow build mixed in with good counters from two guys who knew each other well. It climaxed with Punk reversing the 619 in to a GTS for the 3 Count. The lack of crowd reaction hurt it thus knocking it down a peg in the normal fan's memory.

*Sheamus vs Cesaro
Night of Champions 2014

-This match is the true definition of a gem and if this list had a set order. I would most likely have put this at numéro uno. Heading into the contest, the focus was all on Brock vs Cena rematch. However, the match you feel like you've seen a bazillion times would be the one to steal the show. Cesaro was in the midst of what was, unfortunately, the biggest singles push of his career. I say unfortunately because it wasn't really a push but that's a story for other days! Sheamus was still in the midst of his corny "I'm Irish and Love to Fight" shtick he stole from Finlay and had won the United States Championship in May of that year, but that is unimportant to  what he did leading up to here. Two guys. Nothing to lose. A solid time limit. What could possibly go wrong? Sheamus winning. That's what. Yet it was another notch on the belt for both of these guys as to how underappreciated they were. It was really a hard hitting and technical bout with smooth counters (check the number of times I've mentioned good counters in this article). Cesaro, showing off an impressive feat of strength, hit Sheamus with a glorious dead lift superplex from outside the ring. The match was truly great from start to finish and would have been even better if Cesaro was rewarded with the United States Championship.

*Seth Rollins vs Neville: Raw August 3, 2015

-This match will go down in Raw history as one of the best show openers. You have an arrogant WWE Champion in Seth Rollins who showed up to the same place he won the title to brag about breaking John Cena's nose a week earlier. And with Seth wanting to prove that anything Cena could do, he could do better, he decided to issue an open challenge for the WWE Championship. The call would be answered by none other than the Man that Gravity happened to Forget, who fit the unique requirements the champion demanded. From there, we got an exciting back and forth between the NXT Alumni. At the height of the match, Neville hit an incredible Red Arrow which sent the crowd into a fever pitch. Neville rolled the champion up for a 3 count but the referee did not ring the bell on the account of Neville accidentally placing the champion's foot on the rope (You have to see it to get it). Neville's complaining to the ref gave Rollins just enough to time to come to his senses when Neville went for a second Red Arrow. Rollins dodged it and ended it with a Curb Stomp dashing hopes of seeing Neville as WWE Champion.

*CM Punk vs John Morrison: ECW August 7, 2007

-There was a few contender's for this spot, among those being Gargano vs Ciampa at CWC, but I can do a 6-10 gem/underrated matches article another time. Over the course of the summer, Punk and Morrison put on some really, really bad matches. Morrison clearly wasn't ready to be face of a brand. That being said Punk was but WWE wasn't ready to pull the plug on Morrison's reign just yet. One of the best tidbits of Morrison's run was his 15 minutes of fame. If you can beat him or last 15 minutes with the Champ, you get a title shot. Punk would earn this opportunity and with a hot crowd ready to see his ascension, the stage was set. The crowd was into Punk's every move from beginning to finish. Every near fall began to mean so much more as time had worn on and the crowd had completely forgotten that all Punk really had to do was survive the 15 minutes of the match. It was hurt by a random commercial break which cut out 4 minutes of the match from the viewing audience at home. However, it did not damage the finish with Morrison desperately trying to beat Punk. Another great thing about it is there was no sloppy transitions or botched moves (actually Morrison did botch a springboard kick, but he still connected after regrouping) that completely fucked up past bouts. With a ECW Championship opportunity hanging in the balance, Punk went for broke as he reversed a Moonlight Drive into a GTS and got the three count ensuring he would get a shot at gold. Punk would go on to lose the title match at SummerSlam, but this match had the atmosphere and desperation the feud had lacked leading up to it and it didn't disappoint.



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