Star ratings have been used by wrestling writers for years now. However, it was wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer that brought the star rating to professional wrestling. He has been rating matches for decades and has arguably watched more professional matches than anyone in history, making him the top historian in the industry.
However, over his career of rating matches, he has only given five WWE matches five stars. This angers many WWE fans, who see him give matches from Japan five stars more often (there were even six- and seven-star matches at one point at New Japan Professional Wrestling shows). These WWE matches didn't receive the perfect five-star rating, but they definitely should have.
10 Shawn Michaels Vs. Undertaker (WrestleMania XXV)
This is maybe the most puzzling match rating, as many fans --and Dave Meltzer himself-- hold this one in very high regard. However, despite that, he only gave the WrestleMania 25 match between Shawn Michaels and Undertaker 4.75 stars. There is really no reason that this match, which some consider the best WrestleMania match of all-time, didn't get five stars.
Undertaker had some great matches at WrestleMania and this was perhaps the best of his career. Shawn Michaels is Mr. WrestleMania and turned in one of his best performances ever here. If any WWE match deserves five stars, it's this one, but it still fell short.
9 John Cena Vs. A.J. Styles (Royal Rumble 2017)
When one thinks of John Cena, five-star matches are usually the last thing to come to mind. However, there have been some Cena matches that Meltzer loved and he actually gave one of them five stars. That was the 2011 Money in the Bank match between John Cena and CM Punk, but that match was as much about the fans as it was about the two wrestlers.
There were two more matches that almost got five stars -- one against Shawn Michaels from Monday Night Raw in 2007 and the Royal Rumble match against A.J. Styles in 2017. That match saw Cena take back the WWE title. Styles and Cena delivered an amazing performance and one that fell just short of that five-star ranking for Meltzer for no real reason.
8 Becky Lynch Vs. Charlotte Flair (Evolution 2018)
Arguably the greatest WWE women's match of all-time happened at Evolution in 2018. While Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks turned in some ground-breaking and historic matches at the start of the WWE women's evolution, it wasn't until Becky Lynch shot to the top of the WWE that the women really turned up the heat.
The main event at Evolution saw Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair battle in a match where anything goes, and they pulled out all the stops. It earned 4.75 stars from Meltzer, the highest rating he ever gave a women's match (the women have never reached the five-star pinnacle in ratings).
7 Johnny Gargano Vs. Ricochet (NXT TakeOver: Phoenix)
When giving out ratings for WWE, the NXT TakeOver events almost always end up with higher ratings than regular WWE PPV events, by a wide margin. The TakeOver events that match up with the Big 4 WWE PPVs are almost always near-perfect cards, with matches that all end up with high star ratings.
That was no different with the TakeOver that took place this year in Phoenix ahead of the Royal Rumble. Johnny Gargano, who was going through a spell as a heel before his comeback and huge title win in Brooklyn, faced Ricochet in one of his final singles matches before moving up to Raw. The two put on a near-perfect show that Meltzer capped at a 4.75.
6 Tyler Bate Vs. Pete Dunne (NXT TakeOver: Chicago)
When WWE announced that they were starting a new NXT brand in the United Kingdom, there was doubt that it would work without the top talent of WWE (or at least NXT) there to help push it along. The stars of the U.K. put those doubts to rest when they showed up for the U.K. tournament, proving to be just as good as the men and women wrestling in America.
Coming out of that tournament, Tyler Bate proved to be one of the most exciting stars on the NXT U.K. brand and Pete Dunne proved to be the face of that brand. Dunne won the title from Bate and carried that brand for two years. WWE called it one of their best matches of the year and Meltzer gave the match a 4.75.
5 Randy Savage Vs. Ricky Steamboat (WrestleMania III)
Until Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker, the match that most people considered the greatest WWE match of all time was Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat's victory over "Macho Man" Randy Savage at WrestleMania III. It had a great story and a great crowd, and was just a fantastic match between two of the best wrestlers of all-time.
Dave Meltzer might have been grumpy when the show happened, because he gave the main event (the long-awaited match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant that had the fans eating out of the wrestlers' hands) negative four stars. That was silly, but only giving Steamboat vs. Savage 4.5 stars was insulting.
4 Shawn Michaels Vs. Kurt Angle (WrestleMania 21)
Shawn Michaels always brings out his best when he competes at a WrestleMania event. At WrestleMania 21, he competed against one of the best professional wrestlers to enter WWE in many years: former Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle. The two men put on a spectacular match, one of the best of Angle's distinguished career.
Meltzer has always ranked Michaels' matches high since his ladder match with Razor Ramon, the only one to receive a perfect five-star rating. While Michaels vs. Angle was actually better than that ladder match, it capped out at 4.75, one of four matches of Michaels' to hit that plateau.
3 Bret Hart Vs. Owen Hart (WrestleMania X)
Meltzer gave the Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart steel cage match from SummerSlam 1994 a perfect five stars. In that match, Owen got his foot caught in the cage, which allowed Bret to hit the floor first. The choice to make it five stars was interesting since it was an escape-only match: as a result, there were no near pins or close submissions.
However, the one match between the two brothers that did include those big moments happened in the opening match of WrestleMania X. This was the match where Owen Hart beat his brother on the biggest stage of them all, only to watch Bret win the world title later in the show. While many call this the best opening match in WrestleMania history, Meltzer only gave it 4.75 stars.
2 Steven Austin Vs. The Rock (WrestleMania X-Seven)
Meltzer said at one time that the reason people believe that Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage was so great was that it was -- at the time -- the best WWE match on any big show for the company. He also said that it was never matched or beaten until Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13 -- a match that he gave five stars to.
However, he didn't give five stars to any one of that trilogy of matches between Steve Austin and The Rock -- three matches that helped define the Attitude Era. The best of those matches came at WrestleMania X-Seven, where Austin beat the Rock to win the WWE Championship.
1 Triple H Vs. Shawn Michaels Vs. Chris Benoit (WrestleMania XX)
A match that no one will talk about today because of the circumstances surrounding the fate of Chris Benoit, but still one of the best matches in WrestleMania history. At WrestleMania XX, Triple H put his WWE World Championship on the line against Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit in a triple threat match.
In a huge surprise, it wasn't Triple H or Shawn Michaels (two WWE Hall of Fame stars) who won but Chris Benoit, finally winning the big one. The sight of Benoit and Eddie Guerrero in the ring celebrating after the match was one of the greatest sights in WWE history, sadly spoiled by what came later. Meltzer gave the spectacle 4.75 stars.