Let's see, it was only about 11 months ago that I typed but this ditty, so my thoughts now are about the same as they were then. Only difference is that I'd probably bump out the Jericho/Michaels Unsanctioned match due to awarding those two men the top spot and in it's place add the Brent Albright/Adam Pearce NWA title match from Ring of Honor's Death Before Dishonor event. Otherwise, everything stands.
Now before anyone asks, I have not seen ROH's Death Before Dishonor VI yet, so I cannot comment on the Brent Albright/Adam Pearce match which has earned lots of critical acclaim. I thought about putting off making this list until I'd caught up more on recent DVDs, but if I do that then it will be so long until I get around to this that it would be the spring and it would be silly. So having said this, let's get started.
9) Elimination Chamber: Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho vs. Umaga vs. JBL (WWE No Way Out).
The elimination chamber is such a great concept and has all sorts of potential, but the matches never seem to live up to the hype. This was an exception to that rule, as the action was chaotic and all over the place from start to finish. With the winner getting a Wrestlemania title shot, there was a lot at stake, and the crowd was hoping for a Jeff Hardy upset after he'd been so close to taking the title from Randy Orton a month earlier. The fans would have to wait, as a Triple H pedigree (and a wellness policy violation) would delay Hardy's rise to the top. ****1/4.
8) Jimmy Jacobs vs. Austin Aries (ROH Vendetta II).
The war between Aries and Jacobs continued at a sickening pace. The story was that Jacobs invited Aries to join the Age of the Fall, and used his own girlfriend, Lacey, to try and lure him into the group. Instead, Aries stole Lacey from Jacobs, infuriating the pathetic and insecure Jacobs. In retaliation, Jacobs had the Age of the Fall jump Lacey as she was leaving a gym and hurt her so badly she would have to leave wrestling. The build resulted in this brutal match. Aries would gain a measure of revenge and planted the seeds for Necro Butcher's departure from the group. ****1/4
7) Unsanctioned match: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (WWE: Unforgiven).
Speaking of outstanding build, Jericho had made it not just his mission to drive Michaels from the WWE, but to make sure he would forever be credited for doing it. At Summerslam, Jericho took a swing at Michaels and accidentally knocked out his wife. The story of this match was Michaels' quest for revenge, even if it cost him his soul. The match was brutal and evenly matched for quite a while, but ultimately the momentum swung into HBK's favor and he left Jericho a bloody and beaten mess. Many thought this would be the final chapter in their war, but Jericho wasn't finished, as he crawled out to a Scramble match later in the show to capture the World title. ****1/4
6) Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Edge (WWE: Summerslam 2008).
This was the climax to a feud that had spanned for more than a year. In a day and age when it feels like feuds are continually rushed, the bad blood between Undertaker and Edge started in May 2007 when Edge stole the World title from the Dead Man up until Summerslam in August 2008. In between, they had battled many times and Edge had continually screwed the Undertaker. All that came to a head in the Hell in a Cell, when suddenly none of Edge's tricks and short cuts could save him. Undertaker defeated his arch nemesis and sent him crashing into the ring canvas before "blowing up" the Rated R Superstar, sending him straight to Hell. ****1/4
5) Career Threatening match: Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE WrestleMania 24).
Over the past thirty five years, very few men have meant as much to professional wrestling as Ric Flair. While this was billed as a "career threatening" match, everyone knew going into it that this was it for Flair. It would be hard to imagine a more fitting way for a legend to go out on a high note. Flair and Michaels wrestled a quality match in front of one of the biggest crowds in American wrestling history. The finish was as emotional as anything I've ever seen in wrestling, as Michaels, knowing he had Flair beat, mouthed "I love you, I'm sorry" right before blasting Flair with the Sweet Chin Music. It's funny to think that just ten years ago Flair was being disrespected left and right in WCW and it looked as though his career was going to end on a quiet note. Instead, Flair found redemption in his second WWE run and got the retirement treatment and respect he deserved. ****1/4