Subscribe to the podcast via: iTunes | RSS Feed | Email Newsletter
1. Bret Hart vs The British Bulldog – WWF Title (In Your House 5)
We start the list at the end, with the main event of the final pay per view of 1995. After a card that was brisk, if unremarkable, the gates were opened to Bret and Bulldog to have plenty of time, and the pair delivered. While the match started slowly, the intensity ratcheted up a notch once Bulldog drove Bret into the ring steps. Bret bladed, causing the first sight of blood in the WWF in a long time. It added an intensity to the match that nothing else could come close to.
2. Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title – Ladder Match (Summerslam)
Would this match had topped the charts had we not have seen it in 1994? Quite possibly. Shawn and Razor worked really hard and, thanks to some preposterous new rules, couldn’t even use the ladder as a weapon. Despite this they pulled off another classic, Shawn taking an absolute beating before rallying, stuffing up an overambitious finish about three times before retaining his title. For all of the negatives of Shawn Michaels, he was still a star. Plain and simple.
Read More: How Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon made the Ladder Match
3. Shawn Michaels vs Jeff Jarrett – Intercontinental Title (In Your House 2)
There’s a lot negative written about Jeff Jarrett, how he was overpushed relative to his ability or that he was only pushed due to his name. Sure, Jarrett was worked with Shawn Michaels, but both deserve credit for a spending effort that built over the part of 20 minutes. It would be Jarrett’s lackey – “The Roadie” who cost him the match, and an eventful night for the pair of them, who followed Jarrett miming a musical performance of “With My Baby Tonight” with walking out on the company.
4. Bret Hart vs Jean-Pierre Lafitte (In Your House 3)
If Bret Hart was the mid-card Champion of 1994, he was the champion of the mid-card in 1995. As WWF went full steam ahead on a Diesel-push, Bret as the #2 face was relegated to mid-card feuds. Fortunately, occasionally the company would put him with a motivated mid-carder, and Lafitte was the perfect opponent. Feuding over just a jacket, Bret and Lafitte had a 20 minute classic – hard hitting, high flying, brutal action. Bret and Shawn were making a habit of saving these In Your House shows.
5. Diesel vs Bret Hart – WWF Title (Survivor Series 1995)
It was November when Bret finally returned to the main event, this time to put champion Diesel out of his misery. The build (an eight minute picture in picture interview on Raw the week before) was excellent, the match not far behind. Bret and Diesel worked a slow, methodical match – Bret wore down the champion with Diesel not far behind. Bret took a tumble through the Spanish announce table (before that became a cliché), before Diesel set Bret for the Jacknife. Bret was barely standing, before synching in a shock inside cradle for a three. Diesel mouthed “MOTHER FUCKER” as the match ended. He’d found his edge, Bret had regained his title.
6. Bret Hart vs Hakushi (In Your House 1)
It would perhaps be overstating it to say Bret had a point to prove after his abomination of a match with Bob Backlund at Wrestlemania (which won our award for worst match of 1995) – one match doesn’t define a career, even if Bret describe it as his worst. But given the opportunity early on in the first In Your House, Bret and Hakushi showed that two good workers could have a very good match, even if the main focus of the feud was Hakushi unveiling a mould of Bret’s severed head.
7. Bam Bam Bigelow vs Lawrence Taylor (Wrestlemania)
An indictment of 1995 that this was the only match from Wrestlemania really worthy of consideration, and it was more for the entertainment factor that it was the in ring quality. Bam Bam and NFL player Lawrence Taylor had all the smoke and mirrors you could need, but in the end they weren’t really required. Bam Bam as the base, Taylor working off him, the match overdelivered and just about held its own. How did Bam Bam fall so far so quickly after this?
Read More: Bam Bam Bigelow vs Lawrence Taylor At Wrestlemania XI
8. Skip (w/ Sunny) vs Barry Horrowitz (Summerslam)
It would be very, very difficult to overlook a match that incited a “BARRY, BARRY” chant on more than one occasion. In front of a spicy crowd, the company afforded two undercard workers the luxury of working in the mid-card of their biggest summer show. A classic it wasn’t, but credit for two young guys for taking an opportunity and putting on a stellar effort.
9. Diesel vs Bam Bam Bigelow – WWF Title (Raw, April)
The last moments of Bam Bam’s babyface run, and a sample of what Diesel could do against a big man that *could work*. This wasn’t a great match, but it was believable for two big guys slugging each other, and really should’ve been an indication to the powers that be that Bigelow represented Diesel’s most able “big” opponent. The match and post show angle helped Raw to a 3.9 rating – its highest to date.
10. The Undertaker vs Jeff Jarrett (Raw, May)
The rating held for around a month, when Taker and Jarrett levelled it (but with a higher viewership) in another very-good TV match that was a qualifier for King Of The Ring. This wasn’t the only really good KOTR qualifier that eliminated someone who could’ve vastly improved the quality of the main tournament. It also, easily, went down as Undertaker’s best match of 1995 – who said Jarrett couldn’t work?
Bret vs Diesel at the Rumble is good – spoiled by a schmoz of a finish. Diesel and Shawn at Mania is good, it doesn’t make this list as it could and perhaps should have been a lot better (Shawn’s refusal to fight fans cheering him under cut it). Jarrett vs Razor from the Royal Rumble, Bret/Hakushi from Raw later in the year, Owen vs Razor from Raw in January. The “Wildcard” 4 on 4 at Survivor Series, while a mess in a number of ways, has enough going for it.