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Top 10 WWE Matches to Show Friends Who Don't Like Pro Wrestling

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
Tired of defending your favorite pastime to critics who won't leave you alone? Here are some matches to silence the doubters. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 WWE Matches to Show Friends Who Don't Like Pro Wrestling. For this list, we'll be ranking the most unique or memorable WWE matches to use as evidence against those who might criticize sports entertainment or just want to get into it.
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Top 10 WWE Matches to Show Friends Who Don't Like Pro Wrestling

Tired of defending your favorite pastime to critics who won't leave you alone? Here are some matches to silence the doubters. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 WWE Matches to Show Friends Who Don't Like Pro Wrestling.

For this list, we'll be ranking the most unique or memorable WWE matches to use as evidence against those who might criticize sports entertainment or just want to get into it.

#10: The Undertaker vs. Triple H

"WrestleMania XXVIII" (2012)

Hell. In. A. Cell. Those four words evoke a lot of emotions within every WWE fan, with the mere mention of such a match virtually guaranteeing a memorable moment. The Undertaker and Triple H certainly didn't disappoint when they met in 2012 within this unforgiving steel structure for "WrestleMania XXVIII." Newcomers don't even need to know the back stories of the participants involved-including Shawn Michaels as guest referee-in order to enjoy this very physical match-up, which saw every weapon in the book being pulled out for that all-important 1-2-3. Plus, that long walk down the aisle by all three men after the match is over? Well, it's a "WrestleMania" moment for the ages.

#9: Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne

"NXT Takeover: Chicago" (2017)

The WWE's U.K. division was still relatively new in 2017 when the company's inaugural United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate defended his title against "The Bruiserweight" Pete Dunne at NXT Takeover: Chicago. Fans were still getting to know this fresh crop of talent from across the pond, but that didn't stop the pair from putting on an absolute stonker, a contest which threatened to steal the show. It's the lack of flair and pomp which makes this match a nice fit for traditional sports fans, as both Dunne and Bate deliver brutal, smash-mouth wrestling performances which are largely divorced from the bright, cartoonish vibe of 1980s "rasslin'."

#8: The Rock vs. John Cena

"WrestleMania XXVIII" (2012)

It was billed as "Once in a Lifetime," the moment when two titans of the pro wrestling industry, The Rock and John Cena, were to meet for an epic battle at "The Grandest Stage of Them All." Let's ignore the fact that WWE redid this just a year later for "WrestleMania XXIX," because The Rock vs. John Cena I was the sort of lightning-in-a-bottle match which put even casual eyeballs onto the WWE product. Was this a technical clinic? No, but it didn't have to be, because both men were at the absolute peak of their game, and brought to the table something special which translated beyond the worlds of wrestling and sports entertainment: magic. Plus, given that these two are household names because of their Hollywood success, it’ll be easy for new fans to get into it.

#7: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks

"NXT Takeover: Brooklyn" (2015)

Women's wrestling has certainly come a long way from the days of lingerie matches and bathroom breaks. Now, the WWE women's division is must see television, yet that position is largely thanks to the rumblings of its developmental territory, NXT. Bayley vs. "The Boss" Sasha Banks is, quite simply, one of the best women's matches of all time, and one which begs to be viewed by those who might still view the WWE as some sort of sexist relic. The pair brought together technical acumen, physical storytelling and emotional pathos into a match which evokes both tears and cheers from its fans, sending shock waves through the industry which can still be felt today.

#6: The Undertaker vs. Mankind

"King of the Ring" (1998)

It's perhaps the most infamous match in pro wrestling industry, on a night where the entire sports world, not just pro wrestling fans, were watching. Sure, the 1998 "King of the Ring" may have had the fortune of airing right smack dab in the middle of the money-making "Attitude Era," but that's not why this match between The Undertaker and Mankind is so iconic. It's a combination of things: Mankind's two frightening spills through the Hell in a Cell. Commentator Jim Ross' frenzied play-by-play. The audience's shocked expressions. It's moments like these which simply can't be replicated, and they were moments which went down in the history books of pro wrestling extremity.

#5: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommasso Ciampa

"NXT Takeover: New Orleans" (2018)

The next match on our list, perhaps more than others, feels personal. This is testament to the storytelling skills of both Johnny Gargano and Tommasso Ciampa, who put in serious "Match of the Year" quality performances with their 2018 grudge match at "NXT Takeover: New Orleans." The best aspect of this match is the level of athleticism on display, as well as the dedication by both men at taking some very severe bumps and blows. Ciampa's face at end of the contest tells it all: this was a VERY line-blurring contest when it came to real-life physicality, and as such was able to transcend the term "professional wrestling" into something which was almost uncomfortably violent.

#4: CM Punk vs. John Cena

"Money in the Bank" (2011)

This match was a perfect storm, if there ever was one. The mainstream media zeroed in on this epic conflict between WWE Chairman Vince McMahon's "evil boss" character and two of his biggest stars, CM Punk and John Cena, in a manner which hadn't been seen since the company's "Attitude Era." This was due, in part, to Punk's epic "pipe bomb" promo less than a month earlier, which set the stage for a truly high stakes main event. The match-up stirred up attention from all over the sports world, and it didn't disappoint, with the final image of Punk exiting through his hometown Chicago crowd serving as one of the most thrilling ever.

#3: Tables, Ladders and Chairs II

"WrestleMania X-7" (2001)

Call this match a case of "upping the ante." The first "Tables, Ladders and Chairs" match between Edge & Christian, The Dudley Boyz, and The Hardy Boyz was a groundbreaking, but this second meeting added everything and more to the table. There were more dangerous spots, more cringe-inducing hits and more exhilarating moments which make a live pro wrestling event unlike anything else in the world. It doesn't take a wrestling fan to appreciate these three teams leaving it all there on the mat, and that's what makes TLC 2 an absolute must-watch.

#2: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs. Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey

"WrestleMania XXXIV" (2018)

Ok, let's be honest: this delivered more than just about anyone imagined it would, right? Sure, Ronda Rousey's transition from the world of MMA to the WWE was met with a ton of sports press, but would she be able to shift her performance to a professional wrestling style? The answer was "HELL YES," as Rousey's natural athletic ability shined in what was an exciting, fast paced and (best of all), fun match which delivered the goods. It helps that Rousey was in there with legends like Triple H and Kurt Angle, but honestly, she more than held her own as someone with this sort of performance born in her blood. Believe the hype.

#1: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

"WrestleMania XXVI" (2010)

Professional wrestling is all about telling stories, and there are few better their job than The Undertaker and "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels. At its best, sports entertainment gets us all invested into the drama, hanging on to every word, kick and slam with equal measure. This "WrestleMania XXVI" main event did just that, with the stakes being The Undertaker's Mania undefeated streak being put on the line against the career of Michaels. The two icons didn't disappoint, either, with Michaels selling the gravity of the situation for all it was worth, bringing out the pathos and emotion for everyone to see. Simply stated: this is why we love this stuff.

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