Dream matches are always a passionate discussion among wrestling fans. We always want what we can’t have, hence why we constantly pine for that elusive dream match in wrestling we feel we were robbed of seeing. If only Stone Cold and Hulk Hogan could have clashed before Austin’s neck injuries ended his career and Hogan was limber enough. Sting and The Undertaker is one fans still yearn for and many are upset that the WWE has yet to pull the trigger on it. If only egos and politics had not gotten in the way, we could have likely seen more dream matches.
Many of these fantasy matchups will remain just that, as it’s safe to say we’ll never see Austin/Hogan, Rock/HBK or Punk/Austin. Many dream matches that fans reflect on today though, have in fact actually taken place. There are many matches that took place which would have been legendary had they taken place on the stage it deserved or at a different time. A great example, at least from a WWE perspective, is Hogan versus Flair. While the two wrestles at house shows and year later in 2002, that matchup never got the WrestleMania platform it deserved. However their WCW feud was famous enough for us to leave that off a list like this.
This list will feature dream matches that we fans often throw out there, but when we think about it and delve a little deeper, we’ll realize that we actually did see them. After reading these 15, you’ll instead ask yourself, “why was this match wasted on a throwaway show?” or you’ll say, “man, if only those two had met a few years later.”
Here they are; the top 15 dream matches we forget actually happened.
15. Randy Savage vs. Shawn Michaels
Had Randy Savage gotten his way, everybody would have known about this encounter. While being phased down from a top star to an announcer/ambassador for the WWE, Savage pitched an idea for a two-year feud with rising star Shawn Michaels. The result would have been Savage putting HBK over before ending his in-ring career. Instead, the two merely competed once, on the WWE’s UK Rampage event back in 1992. Few people got to see the match and we’re left to wonder just how great a long feud could have been.
14. The Rock vs. Eddie Guerrero
The Rock and Eddie Guerrero were two guys who could interact with a crowd like so few could. They both had the ability to draw immense heat, yet make the crowd laugh at the same time. The two’s only notable one-on-one encounter was on an episode of Raw in the summer of 2002, shortly after Guerrero had made his return to the company following rehab. This was just a stop-gap match for The Rock though, as he was setting up for a clash with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. It’s too bad these guys never got the chance to build a program leading up to a big PPV match.
13. Chyna vs. Trish Stratus
Chyna and Trish Stratus faced each other, but the timing was less than ideal. While Eddie Guerrero was feuding with Val Venis, the two were active in the feud, which resulted in Chyna winning Val’s Intercontinental Championship. Eventually, the WWE phased Chyna into just wrestling other women, which is when her one-on-one encounter with Trish took place. Shortly after winning the Women’s Championship at WresleMania X-7 from Ivory, Chyna defended the title against Trish. Stratus was far from a decent wrestler by that point and we all know just how great she became. Had Trish had a few more years of experience, this would have been a doozy.
12. Mr. Perfect vs. Stone Cold
Unfortunately, Mr. Perfect’s run with the WWE in 2002 was very disappointing. After a promising return, which saw him last until the final three of the Royal Rumble match, Curt Hennig quickly found himself stuck in the lower midcard, without any notable feuds. He was inexplicably placed in a tag team with Shawn Stasiak and was jobbing to guys in a hurry. In his stint however, he had a match with Stone Cold Steve Austin, which was thrown away on an episode of RAW. With the charisma of both men, it’s curious as to why the WWE wouldn’t bother building a decent program for the two. Hennig was released from the company a few months later after the “plane ride from hell”.
11. The Hart Brothers vs. The Steiner Brothers
Bret and Owen never got a chance to team for an extended period of time. Their brief run together in 1993-94 was really just to set up their WrestleMania X encounter. By the time they re-uinted as part of The Hart Foundation in 1997, Hart was mostly on his own in the main event scene, while Owen was placed in the midcard.
If you were to pit a team of brothers against another team of brothers though, the Harts and the Steiners would immediately come to mind. As it happens, the two teams faced each other in an all babyface matchup in 1994. The match ended in a double DQ with both teams shaking hands, but if Bret and Owen had stayed together, this could have easily been a much bigger deal.
10. Triple H (Jean-Paul Levesque) vs. Ricky Steamboat
Triple H didn’t have many great moments in WCW, but one of his highlights was his match with Ricky The Dragon Steamboat, on an episode of WCW Saturday Night. Hunter was known as Jean-Paul Levesque at the time. I think this would have been a fantastic bout if both men were in their prime, as the high flying style of Steamboat would match well with Triple H’s storytelling and his ability to generate heat. Somehow, the ‘nom de guerre’ doesn’t quite sound as snazzy as The Game.
9. Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton
Many fans today would like to see this match happen, as Randy Orton is still one of WWE’s biggest names, but he’s in need of a fresh, exciting program to stimulate interest in his stale character. As it turns out, Orton faced Lesnar while both men were rookies coming out of OVW. While Lesnar was WWE Champion, he competed against a babyface Orton on an episode of SmackDown. This was merely a booster match for the champ and Lesnar won with the F-5. Today, the match would certainly make a bigger splash than their ’02 encounter.
8. The Rockers vs. The Road Warriors
The Road Warriors were the greatest tag team of all time when you break down their look, their charisma and their persona overall. The Rockers may have an argument as being the most exciting in-ring tag team of their time though. The two teams faced each other in 1991, but the encounter was secondary to the bigger story going on, as a loss by The Rockers was meant to lead to tension, causing them to split. If this had been a big PPV match with The Rockers still acting as a team, it might have made for a great underdog story.
7. Ric Flair vs. Bob Backlund
This one flew over our heads, as this was before the WWE’s Golden Generation, but the WWE had a big babyface champion in Bob Backlund, while the NWA had one of the best heels ever in Ric Flair as their champion. It’s too bad the match took place before pay-per-view, as this match was billed as a title unification bout and would have been seen as a colossal encounter. The match ended with a double countout, protecting both champions and allowing both companies to keep their titles.
6. Bret Hart vs. The Rock (Rocky Maivia)
Shortly after Bret Hart’s heel turn in 1997, he was placed in an Intercontinental title match against white meat babyface Rocky Maivia. Triple H actually suggested behind the scenes that Hart should beat the rookie for his title, but Hart refused, as he didn’t see any benefit to either him or the youngster. Instead, to protect both he and Maivia, the match on RAW ended in a DQ, after Hart refused to break a figure-four hold on the ringpost. If Hart had stayed in WWE a couple more years, this could have made for an amazing feud.
5. The Undertaker vs. Vader
When it was learned that Vader was coming to the WWE, many must have been thinking that a match between the monster heel and The Deadman was inevitable. The Undertaker was a monster face and a clash between the two seemed inevitable. The two actually faced off several times, with one even being for The Undertaker’s WWE Championship, but it was overshadowed, as it took place at the Canadian Stampede PPV. The focus was all on the Harts, leaving the title match forgotten about by fans. Another problem was Vader had lost a ton of steam in WWE thanks to poor booking. Had Vader been built up better, this would have been an unforgettable encounter.
4. Brock Lesnar vs. Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan’s career was full of encounters with monster heels. If Hogan had found a challenger like Brock Lesnar back in the 80s, it would have made for magic. However, the two instead met on an episode of SmackDown in 2002. While many of us hardcore fans are well aware this took place, many who stopped following WWE only to resume it today wouldn’t realize this match took place. In a shocking turn of events, Lesnar made Hogan pass out to a bearhug. It’s a little strange that this match didn’t take place at a PPV.
3. John Cena vs. The Undertaker
This match may very well happen at this coming WrestleMania, and it’s been a big match fans have wanted for a while. The face of this generation against a man who has been roster’s behind-the-scenes leader for the past 25 years. The one pay-per-view match between these two came at Vengeance 2003, a SmackDown exclusive pay-per-view, with ‘Taker getting the win over a cocky, upstart Cena. This encounter deserves the spotlight of a WrestleMania.
2. Ric Flair vs. Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle is arguably the greatest athlete to ever set foot in a WWE ring and Ric Flair was known as being the best conditioned wrestler of his time. On top of their ring work, both men were capable of doing amazing things on the mic. Their lone encounter came on a 2005 episode of RAW. Angle won the match with his Ankle Lock. This would have made for a great pay-per-view match a few years earlier, as Angle was capable of getting the most out of his opponents. He would have given an aging Nature Boy one hell of a ride.
1. Hulk Hogan vs. Bret Hart
Why does this get the no.1 spot? Well, if this match had taken place when it was supposed to, back at SummerSlam 1993 or possibly WrestleMania X, it would have been the ideal passing of the torch type match. What better way would there have been to signal the start of a new generation than Hogan putting over Hart?
When Bret Hart was hot off the Montreal Screwjob, many expected him to go to WCW and have a main event feud with their biggest heel, Hollywood Hogan. After toiling away in purgatory for much of his tenure, a Hart/Hogan match was thrown on free television in September of 1998. What’s worse is the match turned out to be a swerve, as Hart soon joined the nWo, as just another pawn.
All this encounter gave WCW was a one-week ratings win, but suffice to say, big money was left off the table.
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