It should come as no surprise to anyone that I like wrestling. And not just professional wrestling, I also like freestyle wrestling that you might see at the Olympics or your kid’s high school. So, in honor of the upcoming WrestleMania weekend, I wanted to do my list of the greatest wrestling matches I’ve ever seen. Editor’s note: Most have little to do with wrestling.
Tommy Dreamer vs. Sandman, Packard Music Hall, Warren, Ohio Sometime in the late 1990s, I was home visiting my family, and I saw there was an Extreme Championship Wrestling show the next night near Youngstown. I’d never seen ECW before, but heard it could be a bit crazy. At one point, Dreamer put a garbage can over Sandman and invited the crowd to punch it and kick it, which my brother did. Good times.
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka vs. some crappy jobber
I don’t remember the match from the early 1980s. I only know that Superfly leapt off the top rope (as he was wont to do) onto his opponent. At the same time, my older brother leapt off the back of the couch onto my dad’s legs that were relaxing on his La-Z-Boy. My dad’s knee hyperextended, and we were banned from watching wrestling for a solid six months.
Justin Tuggle, Bismarck-Henning High School vs. some kid he was supposed to lose to in the Illinois High School Athletic Association regional finals
Tuggle was a scrawny kid with wild, curly hair who wrestled at 119 pounds. He was an OK wrestler with an OK record, but on this day he was good enough. Through a consolation match, he backed into the finals, caught a kid napping and rolled him up for a pin and a trip to the state tournament. I was covering the match for my paper and watching the match with a coach from another school, who looked at me and summed it up best: “Of all the guys out here,” he growled, “fucking Tuggle.”