6 Fantastic Wrestling Shows You’ll Never See On The WWE Network
A look at 6 great wrestling shows that fall outside of the WWE umbrella.
The list of fantastic wrestling shows that have taken place throughout history is near endless and a whole hell of a lot of them are not available on the WWE Network, either because the WWE had absolutely nothing to do with them or, in the case of two of the shows on this list, WWE owns at least some of the rights to them and haven’t uploaded them. These aren’t necessarily the six best shows but they are shows that highlight all of the good things about the company they represent or in some cases are the embodiment of a whole wrestling scene.
AAA When Worlds Collide
– Mascarita Sagrada & Octagoncito vs Espectrito & Jerrito Estrada
– Fuerza Guerrera, Madonna’s Boyfriend & Psicosis vs Heavy Metal, Latin Lover & Rey Mysterio Jr
– 2 Cold Scorpio, Pegasus Kid & Tito Santana vs Blue Panther, Jerry Estrada & La Parka
– El Hijo Del Santo & Octagon vs Eddie Guerrero & Love Machine Art Barr (2/3 Falls, Mask vs Hair Match)
– Perro Aguayo vs Konnan (Steel Cage Match)
This show was run by Mexican federation AAA, in association with IWC and WCW. It marked the first time that a non-US federation was shown on a US PPV broadcast and Eric Bischoff played a role in securing that deal. The fact that WCW was involved in the production of this show means that it could well end up on the network at some point.
The show itself is great fun from top to bottom and Mike Tenay does a really good job in his commentary debut. The opening match is a Mini-estrellas (mini stars) match but it is most definitely not like the midget matches that the WWF would put on. This is not played for laughs as the wrestlers involved are good at their craft, throwing in dives to the floor and top rope moves. It’s a really good opener. The two 6-man tag matches that follow are both exciting examples of the lucha libre style and feature a number of wrestlers that would later appear in WCW, ECW and, later, WWE.
The best match of the night comes in the form of the Mask vs Hair tag match. It was the only match of the night to be fought under 2/3 falls, which doesn’t sound out of the ordinary but in lucha libre 2/3 falls is the norm. This match is absolutely fantastic. The heel work by the team of Barr and Guerrero is tremendous throughout and the storytelling is superb. It’s such a high quality match that Dave Meltzer gave it the coveted 5 star rating and it is richly deserved. Art Barr was a wrestler that had limitless upside but tragically he died just 17 days after this event at just 28. In honour of his friend Guerrero took the frog splash as his own finisher.
The main event was always going to struggle slightly having to follow a classic but it does a good job of putting on a different style of match. It’s a much more violent and bloody encounter than anything else on the show and, while it doesn’t involve the highest quality of wrestling, it does have grit and raw emotion in spades. Eddy Guerrero even does a run in and ends up getting in a fight with fans.
Overall, this is a show that deserves to be watched by all wrestling fans and serves as a piece of history as the first time that US audiences got to experience lucha libre.
AJW Dreamslam I & II
Dreamslam I Matches:
– Hikari Fukuoka & Plum Mariko vs Kaoru Ito & Sakie Hasegawa
– Saemi Numata & Terri Powers vs Shark Tsuchiya & Crusher Maedomari
– Ultima Tigirita & KAORU vs Mima Shimoda & Tomoko Watanabe
– Etsuko Mita & Suzuka Minami vs Miki Handa & Rumi Kazama
– Bat Yoshinaga vs Susan Howard (WWWA Martial Arts Title)
– Chigusa Nagayo vs Devil Masami
– Cutie Suzuki & Mayumi Ozaki vs Kyoko Inoue & Takako Inoue
– Aja Kong & Bull Nakano vs Eagle Sawai & Harley Saito
– Dynamite Kansai vs Yumiko Hotta
– Akira Hokuto vs Shinobu Kandori
– Combat Toyota & Megumi Kudo vs Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada
Dreamslam II Matches:
– Hikari Fukuoka vs Sakie Hasegawa
– Kaoru Ito, Saemi Numata & Tomoko Watanabe vs Michiko Futagami, Miho Kitamura & Takako Kuzumi
– Miki Handa & Rumi Kazama vs Bat Yoshinaga & Terri Powers
– Combat Toyota & Megumi Kudo vs Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda
– Bolshoi Kid, Cutie Suzuki & Plum Mariko vs Kyoko Inoue, Takako Inoue & Yumiko Hotta
– Harley Saito vs Suzuka Minami
– Bull Nakano vs Chigusa Nagayo
– Aja Kong & Akira Hokuto vs Eagle Sawai & Shinobu Kandori
– Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki (WWWA Tag Titles, 2/3 Falls)
Women’s wrestling is deservedly getting a lot of credit in recent times for it’s overall quality but there was a period where it was better. In the late 80s and early 90s a Japanese women’s federation named AJW had a legitimate claim to being the home of the best wrestling on the planet. A number of their wrestlers were consistently spectacular in the ring and I consider Manami Toyota to be a top 10 all time wrestler, male or female.
Such was the quality of the shows they put on I could have picked any number of them to highlight here. Big Egg Universe and Wrestling Queendom III are both shows that I highly recommend but for me the two nights of Dreamslam are the best of the lot. A large reason for that is the quality of it’s best matches. Dave Meltzer gave 3 of the matches a full 5 star rating. Those matches are the Suzuki & Ozaki vs Double Inoues tag match, Hokuto vs Kandori and the main event of Dreamslam II.
Two of those matches in particular are spectacular. The first is Hokuto vs Kandori from Dreamslam I. The way in which Kandori works the arm is so completely believable that every time she attacks it the crowd is fully invested. There is also the story of Hokuto fighting through an increasing level of blood loss but refusing to give up. This match represents what is great about wrestling. The storytelling, the psychology and the in ring work are all at the very highest level. It’s an absolute classic.
The other match is the main event tag from Dreamslam II. Tag team wrestling is often maligned for being less relevant than singles wrestling but when it is done well it can be just as great. This is an interpromotional match between AJW and JWP so the stakes are raised from the off and the fact that Kansai is a much bigger competitor than both members of the other team adds a great speed vs strength dynamic. The way the first fall goes down ends up adding to the urgency and excitement of the match and what results is a fantastic example of tag team wrestling.
These are honestly two of the greatest nights of wrestling that have ever taken place and anyone who is interested in women’s wrestling should seek out these shows.
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9
– ReDRagon vs Time Splitters vs Young Bucks vs Forever Hooligans (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles)
– Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma vs Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Jeff Jarrett & Yujiro Takahashi)
– Naomichi Marufuji, Toru Yano & TMDK vs Shelton Benjamin, Takashi Iizuka & Killer Elite Squad
– Minoru Suzuki vs Kazushi Sakuraba
– Togi Makabe vs Tomohiro Ishii (NEVER Openweight Title)
– Kenny Omega vs Ryusuke Taguchi (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title)
– Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson (IWGP Tag Titles)
– AJ Styles vs Tetsuya Naito
– Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kota Ibushi (IWGP Intercontinental Title)
– Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Heavyweight Title)
I could have picked any number of New Japan shows for this list including the Super J Cup ’94, which is possibly the best single night tournament ever, and Wrestle Kingdom 8 and 10. The show that is the best from top to bottom though is Wrestle Kingdom 9. The English commentary for this show is done by Jim Ross & Matt Striker.
Nothing on this card is bad, not even the match involving Jeff Jarrett. That is one of two matches that are forgettable though. The other is the 8-man tag involving TMDK, who are now TM61 on NXT. The rest of the card ranges between good to spectacular. There are 5 matches on this show that I would give four stars or higher to. It’s that good of a show.
The opener is a really fun sprint of a match with all the spots you would expect from a match involving these wrestlers. Makabe vs Ishii is a really stiff match that ticks all the boxes if you like strong style wrestling. Despite the quality of the matches to this point though, it’s the last three matches that cement this show as one of the all-time best.
AJ Styles vs Tetsuya Naito is a fantastic example of storytelling. Yoshi Tatsu had legitimately been injured by the Styles Clash and it was being treated as a killer move in Japan because of that. Styles teased it at the start of the match and from there the crowd were hooked. AJ trying to hit the move was the story of the match and the crowd reaction when he hit it from the second rope is one of shock. It’s great.
The co-main event is the match of the night, just. Nakamura and Ibushi deliver a match that hits every beat of an all-time classic. This is Nakamura’s best performance ever and from a wrestler of his calibre that really is saying something. To add to that, Ibushi has his star making performance here too. This is the best match of 2015 and one everyone should watch.
The main event had a hell of a lot to live up to after the previous match but the two wrestlers you would want in that situation are Tanahashi and Okada. These two have had a whole host of matches and every single one of them is great. Some wrestlers are just made to wrestle each other. They come so close to matching the quality of the previous bout that they deserve all the credit in the world. This show finishes with one of the best one-two punches ever.
– Matt Sydal vs Colt Cabana vs Jonny Storm vs Spud (Four Corners Survival)
– Davey Richards vs Jimmy Rave
– B.J Whitmer vs Claudio Castagnoli
– Chris Hero vs Colt Cabana
– Doug Williams & Jody Fleisch vs Go Shiozaki & SUWA
– Robbie Brookside vs Chad Collyer (FWA Heavyweight Title)
– Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs Jay & Mark Briscoe (ROH World Tag Titles)
– Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuinness (ROH World Title & ROH Pure Title)
Unlike most cards on this list this isn’t a front to back classic, in fact most of the undercard, with the exception of the Williams & Fleisch vs Shiozaki & SUWA tag match, are throwaway matches. The reason this show is here is partly because of the amount of future WWE wrestlers on the card and partly because the last two matches are superb.
Matt Sydal (Evan Bourne), Colt Cabana, Claudio Castagnoli (Cesaro), Chris Hero (Kassius Ohno), Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) have all wrestled in WWE or NXT. In addition to that Spud, Davey Richards, Jimmy Rave, Doug Williams, Austin Aries (again) and Nigel McGuinness all wrestled for TNA. That is not all though. McGuinness is currently commentating on NXT and Robbie Brookside is a trainer at the WWE Performance Center.
At the time of this show there hadn’t been a title change of any kind in ROH for 8 months so every title match had fans on the edge of their seat in anticipation of a new champion. The tag title match is a really good example of that. Aries & Strong had held the titles for 8 months but they were up against the their toughest team yet, The Briscoes. It’s a great match that goes back and forth throughout and serves as a perfect appetiser for the main event.
Going into the main event, Bryan Danielson had held the ROH World Title for 11 months and Nigel McGuinness had held the ROH Pure Title for 350 days. In that time they had beaten everyone, including each other in defences of their respective titles, and they both had a claim to being the most important champion in the company. That led to this unification match to determine the true champion of ROH.
This show took place in Liverpool and so McGuinness was treated like the hometown hero and Danielson plays the heel perfectly. The match itself is an absolute masterclass in how to book your two biggest stars against each other. It’s a fantastic match that I would say is easily one of the best matches ever to take place in an ROH ring. It is a mixture of technical prowess and brutally hard hits. There will be some people that will find it hard to watch this match today due to some of the unprotected shots to the head, including an insane unprotected headshot into the ringpost that to this day is the hardest skull on post impact I’ve ever seen in wrestling. If you can look past this though it is an unbelievable example of professional wrestling.
TNA Turning Point 2009
– Amazing Red vs Homicide (TNA X-Division Title)
– O.D.B, Sarita & Taylor Wilde vs The Beautiful People [Lacey Von Erich, Madison Rayne & Velvet Sky] (TNA Knockout – Title & Tna Knockout Tag Titles)
– British Invasion vs Motor City Machine Guns vs Beer Money (TNA Tag Titles)
– Tara vs Awesome Kong (Six Sides of Steel)
– Team 3D & Rhino vs D’Angelo Dinero, Hernandez & Matt Morgan (Street Fight)
– Scott Steiner vs Bobby Lashley (No DQ, Falls Count Anywhere)
– Kurt Angle vs Desmond Wolfe
– AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels (TNA World Title)
I felt like I really should include a TNA PPV on this list and while they put on a number of good shows and a lot of fantastic matches, they haven’t really had that one stand out PPV. That is why I have chosen this show, it has all of the things that are associated with TNA. It has the former WWE wrestlers that are arguably past their best, it features prominent appearances by the X-Division and the Knockouts, it has it’s three gimmick matches one after another instead of spreading them out and it ends with two very strong matches that represent what was great about TNA before it fell into decline.
Nothing on the undercard is bad but nothing reaches the level of great. The last two matches are what make this card though. Desmond Wolfe is the name TNA gave to Nigel McGuinness so this match always had sky high potential. It doesn’t disappoint either. It’s exactly what you would expect from two of the best wrestlers in the world, it’s a technical masterpiece. It’s a real shame that McGuinness wasn’t able to further his career in TNA or WWE due to contracting Hepatitis B.
The main event is a rematch of the best match in TNA history, from Unbreakable 2005. This match doesn’t quite live up to that one but it pushes it damn close. This stands as a wonderful bookend to the 2005 match, with that match being for the X-Division title and this one being for the World title. These three men know each other so well that they could have great matches with each other in their sleep but what is really impressive is how well they use the triple threat stipulation, which can often be a tricky stipulation to work with.
It’s a brilliant one-two punch to end the show with and it’s a highly recommended show for that alone.
WCW/NJPW Supershow I
– Kuniaki Kobayashi, Shiro Koshinaka & Takayuki Iizuka vs Brian Pillman, Tim Horner & Tom Zenk
– Jushin Liger vs Akira Nogami (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title)
– Arn Anderson & Barry Windham vs Masa Chono & Masa Saito
– Steiner Brothers vs Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki (IWGP Tag Titles)
– El Gigante vs Curtis Hughes
– Sting vs The Great Muta
– Ric Flair vs Tatsumi Fujinami (NWA World Title)
This is the second show that could end up on the WWE Network at some point as WWE owns the WCW rights to this show. It took place at the Tokyo Dome in March 1991 in front of almost 65,000 fans. It was one of six shows that WCW and New Japan ran together between 1991 and 1995. Two of those shows were on back to back nights in North Korea and took place in front of a combined 340,000 fans, easily the biggest wrestling shows in history. Of all the shows, though, Supershow I is the best.
This is a show that maintains a consistently good level throughout, with one glaring exception. The El Gigante vs Curtis Hughes match is predictably horrendous. The rest of the card all ranges between good and magnificent. The opening 6-man tag is a really fun Jr. heavyweight style match. Liger vs Nogami is an exciting title match and the tag match that follows it is good. Sting vs Muta is a dream match that is very entertaining despite not quite getting to the level of great.
The best match on the card is the IWGP tag title match. The Steiner Brothers were made for the stiffer style of Japanese wrestling. This is right up there with the best tag team matches of all time. It’s brutal but it still contains a lot of really good mat wrestling. The crowd is fully invested too and the wrestlers feed off that throughout. This was voted as the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Match of the Year for 1991 and it is richly deserved.
The main event is a good match but one that has a strange story that goes along with it. The US and Japanese broadcasts of the match were presented differently. It was announced at the show that Flair’s NWA title was on the line but not his WCW title. In the US these titles were one and the same. The PPV announcers stated that Fujinami’s IWGP title was on the line but this was never mentioned during the ring introductions. The finish to the match was also presented differently. To the Japanese audience Fujinami was presented as the winner by pinfall and therefore the new NWA champion. This title change was ignored in the US, however, as they deemed that Fujinami had been disqualified for throwing Flair over the top rope, which was an NWA/WCW rule at the time. A rematch occurred at SuperBrawl I which Flair won to either regain or retain the title depending on if you were in the Japanese or US audience. If the title change was recognised, Flair would be a 17 time world champion.