The Best Friends and Santana and Ortiz Street Fight on AEW Dynamite was met with critical acclaim last month, with Jim Ross saying it is the “best Street Fight” he has ever called. This is a big claim from JR, who has seen some of the greatest Street Fights ever during his time in the booth.
Let’s look at some of the best Street Fights of all time.
Vince McMahon vs Shane McMahon – Wrestlemania X7
The Street Fight stipulation demands less quality in-ring ability, instead of requiring big moments and captivating storytelling – of which this match has in abundance. Following Shane’s Kayfabe purchase of WCW, under his father’s nose, he faced off against at WWE’s biggest show of all time.
The two men battered each other in and around the ring, with Stephanie McMahon and Trish Stratus facing off after Trish finally turned face and left Vince. We also had Linda McMahon at ringside “sedated” in a wheelchair. But Linda would, somehow, get one of the biggest pops of the night, standing up from her chair and kicking Vince in the McMahon family jewels.
Shane then hit a coast-to-coast to claim victory over his father in an exceptional match. With the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock and TLC 2 on the card, Shane and Vince may have looked out of place on the card, but the storytelling beats and crowd popping moments showed that this match more than earned it’s place in what may be the best card in wrestling history.
Triple H vs Shawn Michaels – Summerslam 2002
Despite Street Fights being less about in-ring quality, it clearly doesn’t hurt when you put two of the best of all time in one together. Summerslam 2002 is also renowned as one of the WWE’s greatest pay-per-views of all time, with the Game and the Heart Break Kid helping to cement its legendary status.
Shawn Michaels returned to the ring for the first time since Wrestlemania 14, with many wondering if the Sexy Boy would be able to deliver matches near the quality, he had in the ’90s. Spoilers: He could. HBK delivered an incredible match against his former best friend, hitting an elbow drop from a ladder and a splash through a table on the outside.
Michaels eventually won after countering a Pedigree into a Jackknife Roll Up, the only possible downside of the match as he didn’t get the cleanest win upon his return.
Best Friends vs Santana and Ortiz – AEW Dynamite
Although JR’s quality in the booth has been in question of late, his seal of approval is still a huge accolade in the world of Wrestling.
The match blended the perfect level of intensity and comedy that both teams are capable of, with brutal moments throughout the match, as well as laugh out loud comedy with Orange Cassidy and Trent’s Mum Sue flipping off the Proud and Powerful.
Many have criticised the use of Santana and Ortiz in AEW, with one of the best tag teams in the world being reduced to Chris Jericho’s lackeys. But as the former LAX members appeared in the Dead Presidents face paint, they felt like stars.
Orange Cassidy saving Chuck Taylor from a brutal steel pipe attack as he appeared from the boot of Trent’s Mum’s car, and Trent’s Crunchy to Santana in the back of a pickup truck will be highlights of AEW Dynamite for years to come.
The two teams struck a perfect balance within the match and showed the potential to be top of the AEW tag team division in the future.
Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon – King of the Ring 2001
Having grown up on the mean streets of Greenwich Connecticut, Shane McMahon is clearly a natural Street Fighter. After costing Kurt Angle a second consecutive King of the Ring title in the final against Edge, Angle came into the match furious. Angle dominated the future best in the World, with Shane occasionally finding his way back into the match against our Olympic Hero.
But this match is infamous for the brutal suplexes into the King of the Ring glass, with Shane bouncing against what was supposed sugar glass but wasn’t. Shane landed on his head after bouncing off the glass but told Kurt to Suplex him through the glass again, causing both men to bleed from the broken glass. But Shane would fight back, hitting Angle with a trash can lid and an Angle Slam, only getting a two count.
Angle eventually picked up the win in a brutal match with a top rope Angle Slam before Shane was carried to the back and was met with a round of applause from the New Jersey crowd. The match is obviously remembered for the suplex into the glass, but this match is filled with excellent spots and near falls that make it a must-see for all wrestling fans.
Triple H vs Cactus Jack – Royal Rumble 2000
The match between Triple H and Cactus Jack is not only one of the best Street Fights of all time, but it’s one of the greatest title matches in the Attitude Era.
The match had a legendary build-up, with the incredible promo where Mankind revealed that we wouldn’t be challenging Triple H for the WWF Championship, but it would be Cactus Jack instead. But the match lived up to the incredible promo, with the match being a brutal and bloody affair.
Cactus Jack took a number of chair shots from Hunter, who would eventually handcuff him before striking him with a chair before the Rock came to save his former tag team partner. The two men brawled around the street style entrance that had been set up at Maddison Square Garden, utilising bricks and pallets around the entrance.
The match also has a legendary finish, with Cactus Jack kicking out of the highly protected Pedigree before Triple H hit him with his finisher once again onto thumbtacks to retain the WWF Championship. When people discuss some of the most legendary feuds in wrestling history, Triple H and Mick Foley have to be up there, with this match being the pièce de résistance.