Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels and 9 other old-school WWE classics that don’t hold up today
The nostalgia is always amazing when you look back. In wrestling, that usually means looking back with fondness at classic matches that have generally been seen as such. But often wrestling match nostalgia is filled with rose-colored glasses. For example, if you’re trying to rewatch the original Survivor Series matches that are nearly an hour long, they’re a little tough to get through.
Wrestling podcast mogul Conrad Thompson has said on his shows that nostalgia equates to a 10-year window of your youth where you’re most impressionable. Unfortunately, even some of the greatest wrestling matches or at least the matches perceived as classic don’t stand the test of time.
ten Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – Wrestle Mania 12
For over 60 minutes, two of the greatest wrestlers, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels captivated the WWE Universe. For some, it was a technical marvel. For others, it was just a long marathon in which it was difficult to get involved. Bret and Shawn’s Iron Match is actually those two things.
Yes, two of the biggest superstars of the 90s were able to hold a clinic, but it’s a long game to pass, and both men have had much more exciting matches throughout their careers.
9 Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant – WrestleMania 3
At WrestleMania 3, over 90,000 fans packed the Pontiac Silverdome to witness what was then the biggest event in sports entertainment.
The event was headlined by the greatest match in WWE history, the match that truly launched Hulkamania and WWE as we knew it – Andre The Giant challenging Hulk Hogan for the WWE Title. While the image of Hulk Hogan slamming Andre is iconic, the match itself was one of the worst in WWE history.
8 The Undertaker Vs. Mankind – SummerSlam 1996
One of the first big matches in the legendary saga of The Undertaker and Mankind was the very first Boiler Room Brawl. The first half of the match was a pre-recorded…well, a fight in the Gund Arena boiler room. Then the live portion would feature the two men battling to the ring to grab Paul Bearer’s urn.
If you were in the audience that night, there were no giant screens and you had to try to watch the game on the televisions deployed. It made a weird match even weirder, not to mention the outflow during the match as well.
seven The Ultimate Challenge – WrestleMania 6
Just because Pat Patterson was able to engineer and create one of the best games of Warrior and Hogan’s careers doesn’t mean it was a great one either. While Hulk Hogan was capable and had better games during his storied career, he was usually managed by people way better than him.
Warrior, on the other hand, did better when led by guys like Rick Rude. It was definitely a unique match, but two hard-working big guys trading bear hugs and pity locks for several minutes doesn’t make for a decent match.
6 Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – Survivor Series 1992
One of the first televised singles matches between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart was indicative of wrestling at the time – two midcard guys trying to wrestle “big” because they were on the main event at the time.
Because of this, the two game-changing technical masters didn’t quite fight their kind of match, which made it a bit slower than expected. But at least Santa Claus came to celebrate with The Hitman.
5 Jake the Snake Roberts Vs. Model Rick Martel – WrestleMania 7
One of the most fun matches that took place at WrestleMania 7 was between Jake The Snake Roberts and The Model Rick Martel. The script was perfect – months earlier, Jake had been blinded by The Model’s Arrogance cologne.
After months of treatment, Jake regained his sight and challenged The Model to a Blindfold match. While the match was a testament to the quality of the two superstar workers (working with the crowd in the biggest hot and cold match in the world), the headband aspect of the match did not lend itself to a true wrestling match.
4 Shawn Michaels vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – WrestleMania 14
After suffering a career-altering back injury at the Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels did everything he could to make it to WrestleMania 14 and headline against The Texas Rattlesnake. That meant lots of bed rest and lots of painkillers.
For years on the house show circuits, Austin and Michaels demolished houses. But with Michaels now plagued by injuries, the match that kicked off The Austin Era was a bit of a miss.
3 The Ultimate Warrior Vs. Macho King Randy Savage – WrestleMania 7
Many old-school fans have tears in their eyes at the long-awaited reunion of The Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth and the end of The Macho King’s career (at least for a little while). But while this moment might still be the most endearing and emotional moment in WWE history, can anyone remember the actual match?
The big blow came when Randy Savage dropped about 80 elbows on The Ultimate Warrior, and he still kicked out. Maybe that was the start of the finisher burnout.
2 The Undertaker Vs. Jeff Hardy – Raw July 1, 2002
One of Jeff Hardy’s career defining moments came at the end of a ladder match where he challenged The Deadman to a ladder match for the undisputed WWE Championship.
As he gritted his teeth and climbed the ladder, Jim Ross exclaimed one of his big calls to make The Rainbow Haired Warrior’s climb all the more thrilling. But the match was nothing more than an Attitude Era glorified squash match.
1 Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant – Saturday Night Main Event – February 5, 1988
For nearly a year after WrestleMania 3, Andre The Giant was essentially the uncrowned WWE Champion, or so he thought he was. Meanwhile, Ted DiBiase actually wanted to try and buy the WWE title from Hulk Hogan.
These are the features that led to one of the greatest, if not the greatest angle in WWE history. But the match was another in the line of mediocre matches of that era, partly due to Andre’s inability to move.