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post #30 of (permalink) Old 06-12-2012, 12:49 PM
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Re: Classic Wrestling General Discussion & Review Thread

This next one holds a special place in my heart as my favorite match of all-time. I was about 16 years old at the time and it was when I really started to analyze the details of what makes a great match.

Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon - Wrestlemania X - Ladder Match for the IC Title

I had seen ladder matches prior to this contest, having grown up watching Stampede Wrestling, but nothing I had ever seen in the world of professional wrestling could have prepared me for this. These two took a mediocre gimmick match and turned it into a combination ballet/spectacle/bar brawl.

The build and character work leading up to the match was new and innovative as 'the Bad Guy' had become a full-fledged babyface based solely off of Hall's incredible charisma. Since he first kicked Jannetty through the Barbershop window I had (and continue to) hated the prissy, preening prima donna in HBK, that said, there's not much I enjoy more than watching him get the living tar kicked out of him. I was stoked for this match and 'my guy' was the hero for once.

Holy shit. Before there was ever a 'holy shit' chant.

It changed everything. Spot after spot without giving up an inch in storytelling, matches would never be the same again, this was the new gold standard. I hate when interviews make like Scott didn't play his part ("HBK and a ladder") because despite being limited in-ring, Hall was a great hand who understood the cardinal rule that 'it's not what you do, but when/how/why you do it'. Michaels fans can always look back at this one as his break-out work. Both men deserve a tonne of credit for making history.

I've heard sentiment that the match doesn't hold up, but it's still my favorite and I watch it every couple years. While other ladder matches have come along and expanded on the work created that day, there will always be a 'first' and a wonderful sense of nostalgia that accompanies it.

I love professional-wrestling.
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