20.) Rock & Mankind vs. New Age Outlaws (9/23)
The team of Rock and Mankind always seemed to deliver in some capactity. Whether it be Rock making the crowd pop beyond control, or Foley being the lovable yet hardcore crazy man. The team of NAO really opened my eyes after rewatching some of their ‘99 run. Billy was a crazy bumper and Road Dogg always seemed to be bubbling with charisma. I enjoyed this finish of Foley bumping into Rock which flowed into Rock getting Fame-Assered.
19.) Big Show vs. Mankind (12/23)
The recklessness in this match is what made it. The amount of stiffness was great, seeing Big Show beat the shit out of Foley, but Foley coming back at him with some stiff and brutal chair shots. Big Show, despite his size, had this great aura about him during this time that I dug. The post-match brawling here was quite fun to view as well.
18.) Kurt Angle vs. Edge (12/23)
The transition between the two men’s contrasting styles was interesting to watch here. Kurt with the more ground and pound and Edge with a more spotty moveset. Angle was able to control Edge on the mat, but whenever Edge was allowed to his feet, he made Angle pay for it. There was a really nice belly to back suplex here that was particularly cool, as was Edge’s sell of it. Really cool performance for Kurt early in his career.
17) Edge vs. Christian (12/16)
Christian being able to shine in a singles match against the very man that held him down, Edge, was nice. Christian was able to show that he could go it alone against someone who was basically a brother to him. Both men knew each other so well that the match seemed really natural. The toe-to-toe feeling and countering of maneuvers was really fun. The finish, however, sucked.
16) Al Snow & Mankind vs. The Hollys (11/4)
The pacing in this match was really key to it’s placement on my ballot. It was paced perfectly for it’s spot on the card and for a SmackDown taping. Bob sold an atomic drop perfectly in this match. As a matter of fact, everyone’s selling was top notch in this match-up.
15) Triple H vs. Kane (9/9)
Again, more methodically carried out wrestling. Trips performance was pay-per-view quality, as was the match. The whole thing about the mercurial strength of Kane and no man being able to take him down was nice to see unfold as Trips tried his hardest to get him down. Cool story.
14.) The Rock vs. Al Snow (12/2)
More-so that any other Rock matches on this set, Rock seemed like he legit wanted to spill Al Snow’s guts. Snow’s performance was on par with his others, playing the demented crazy man who wanted to rip out Rock’s heart. Fast and hard-hitting mixed with hate makes for a fun match.
13.) Rock vs. Kane (No Holds Barred) (12/23)
This was a modern-day brawl that you’d expect to get for free on TV. Rock and Kane battled on the stage and seemed to be putting a little elbow grease behind each strike even though they really didn’t need to. This bit of added realism really added to the overall quality of the match, not to mention Kane’s bump.
12) Chris Jericho vs. X-Pac (9/2)
After seeing so much methodical wrestling and heavy hitting, it was cool to see some reckless bumping that didn’t involve the Hardys. Jericho took a really nice bump over the top ropes -- the kind you’d expect to see from Jeff. Pac was not to be outdone with bumping, which he did all around the ring like a pinball. Y2J also hit a sweet backbreaker. The DQ fin held the match back because it impeded the quality.
11) Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy (12/16)
This was a particularly good Hardy match because it featured three distinct elements: two brothers who know each other front-ways and back-ways, reckless and dedicated bumping, and stiffness. The Hardys weren’t really known for being stiff, but I think because they were facing each other, they stepped that element up. Since they knew each other so well, much like Edge and Christian, this match had a great counter vs. counter feel to it.
10) Matt & Jeff Hardy & Big Show vs. New Age Outlaws & X-Pac (12/2)
I dug this match because everyone in it seemed to have a role in the match: Hardys & X-Pac were the crazy fliers, Big Show was the enforcer, and New Age Outlaws were the ones in control. There was a really neat Southern-style feel to the match in how quick it was mixed with the cool pin breakups and the clear-cut faces and heels.
9) Edge & Christian vs. Matt and Jeff Hardy (Texas Tornado) (10/7)
Talk about crazy. All four of these guys seemed to be out to prove something in the WWF at the time, therefore, they were willing to risk life and limb for fans’ reactions. Having all four guys in the ring led to some cool spots, especially Matt’s DDT on the outside of the ring. Jeff had this great exhausted look on his face, conveying the message that Edge and Christian were real competitors and not to be taken lightly.
8)Triple H vs. The Rock (8/29)
Shawn Michaels as the ref in biker shorts? No thanks. It seemed like Michaels was a legit referee, staying out of the way and simply counting the pinfalls, but his screwing over of the Rock was a nice touch that added to the magnitude of the match. Triple H’s selling was decent and the Rock’s was excellent. The brawling was just about what you’d expect for the match... good.
7) Jeff Hardy vs. Al Snow (12/23)
Snow played his character up really well, conveying that he was a madman. His aggressiveness and intensity really came through like he was trying to bury Jeff in the canvas. Jeff took a great bump off the rail to the floor and sold his knee in the tree of woe excellently. Really cool style mix between the two.
6) Jeff Hardy & Christian vs. Taka Michinoku & Funaki (12/23)
Was a huge fan of WWF bringing the M-Pro style to the forefront with this showcase. The quick and fluid style of Taka and Funaki really played off well with arguably the best lightweight wrestler in the company, Jeff Hardy. Jeff was able to cooperate with Christian even though some dissension was detected. Just really fluid and great wrestling from all four guys.
5) The Rock vs. Val Venis (10/7)
Val’s selling in this match seemed to be on a whole other level from his other work. He got a huge rub going up against the top guy in the company and deservingly so. His grimacing and pained facials were great in this match. Foley’s antics on the outside kept the crowd entertained along with the match. Rock had the people hanging on his every move. Finish on the outside saw Rock put both Foley and Val through a table at the same time with a Rock Bottom. How great!
4) Matt and Jeff Hardy vs. Edge and Christian (10/14)
The mutual sense of both teams trying to one-up each other trying to see who was the dominant tag team in the WWF was a great feat to witness. Christian particularly shined in this match with his huricanrana on Matt, which both looked awesome and Matt sold great. Jeff and Edge seemed like they broke out in the match. When they faced each other, they seemed to be really trying to showcase who was the better leader of their respective tag team. Fun, quick pace.
3) New Age Outlaws vs. Hardys (Cage) (11/25)
Arguably one of my favorite bumps on the set happened in this match. As Jeff was getting backdropped by Dogg, he caught the top of the cage, and fell from the top 15 feet to the floor! In ring, Billy was bumping around like a crazy man while Matt tried to hold his own against the Outlaws. Good selling in the ring accompanied by fun bumps = good times.
2)The Rock & Mankind vs. Big Show & Undertaker / Buried Alive Match (9/9)to
Nearly my number one match on the set. So much fun brawling happening all over the place. The match broke into Rock vs. Taker and Show vs. Foley, leading to Foley taking a sick bump, being thrown onto the mound of dirt. So much stiffness and heat in the match, but Foley’s bump really made this match. For this match to be free on TV was incredible. I loved it.
1.) The Rock vs. Al Snow (Cage) (12/23)
Snow vs. Rock may not seem like the typical Number One match of the year, but this was great. As in usual Al Snow style, he looked like a madman. One of my favorite bumps in this match came when Snow set up a chair in the corner and charged for Rock who was situated in the corner, only to have Rock lariat him onto the opened chair. There was no need for that! That man’s got a family! Fans ate this match up, leading to loud pops, jeers, and cheers. I dug the energy for a big match feel that definitely delivered.