As many of you are probably like me and are lifelong wrestling fans, I have seen a lot of matches. Now finding matches to watch now is relatively easy now with youtube and some of the other outlets out there. However before the internet I traded tapes to see the early days of ECW because I had heard so much about it but hadn't seen it. I've been asked so many times what's my favorite match? Well, that would be next to impossible. There are so many great matches that I watch over and over like HBK vs Bret in the original Iron Man match, Bobby Eaton vs Arn Anderson for the WCW TV Title, Terry Gordy vs Steve Williams for the UWF Title, Four outstanding matches from The Great American Bash '88, HBK vs HHH for World Title on RAW from San Antonio. But there are only two matches I credit with really cementing the fact I wanted to be a pro wrestler, so if you want to blame someone blame them.
RIC FLAIR VS RICKY STEAMBOAT 2/3 FALLS FOR THE NWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
APRIL 2, 1989
Its no secret who my favorite wrestler of all time is, Ric Flair but Steamboat isn't running far behind. I was 7 years old when I waited on pins and needles for the much anticipated 2 out of 3 falls match at Clash of the Champions VI. When the day finally come, I was not disappointed. I sat there in awe for this almost hour classic. I had said for years that I wanted to be a wrestler but after watching this match I KNEW I had to become a wrestler. That's how I looked at the match with a 7 year olds eyes now I look at it as just a masterpiece of work. This was work not choreography, the ability to go out there and create a great match on the fly, in the ring. Even though the following match between these two in Nashville is considered the best of their series with a fast paced 20 minute up and down match it was that 2/3 falls that really hooked me.
Now the other match is pretty much a 180 from the Flair/Steamboat classic just mentioned. Its important for a whole different reason.
THE UNDERTAKER VS MANKIND: HELL IN A CELL
KING OF THE RING 1998
Everyone knows the match, everyone knows the bumps, everyone knows how important this one match is to the career of Mick Foley. Well, its important to mine as well. I had just turned 17 about 3 weeks before and I was seriously considering when I turned 18 to take the leap and try to make my way in pro wrestling. I sat at a friends house as we watched the King of the Ring pay per view. I don't think anyone knew what we would all witness that night.
When Undertaker threw Mankind off the cell crashing down through the announcers table, everyone I was watching with stood up in complete amazement. The match was over but what an ending or so we thought until Foley came off the stretcher and climbed once again to the top of the cage. Only this time he wasn't thrown off but choke slammed through to the "unforgiving" mat. Once again, we all stood up in amazement. Just when I thought I had run the gambit of emotion for a match, out come the tacks! We all stood up, yet again. When Taker tombstoned Foley for the 1,2,3.. we had witnessed the single greatest effort in wrestling history and we stood one last time for a living room, pay per view party standing ovation.
Now, yes this match made me want to be a pro wrestler. But no that doesn't mean I wanted to be hurled off a 20 foot structure breaking several bones on the way down or slammed through said structure giving me a concussion and few less teeth. What it did was make me realize that if I wanted to be a wrestler than I would care no less about it than Mick Foley. It made me realize that the fictional Mankind may have loved pain but very real Mick Foley loved pro wrestling, pro wrestling fans and that's why he did what he did. I would give no less, because I promise that's what wrestling deserves and when "The Golden Boy" Greg Anthony makes a promise its as good as gold.
----Greg Anthony is a regular on the local area circuit. He won RRO Booker of the Year 2008 and is listed in the top 5 of the RRO Top 10 2008. Greg currently can be seen tagging with legend Bobby Eaton and Brian Thompson as “Midnight Gold”.