Going in this year’s WWE Extreme Rules event, very few people were actually anticipating the WeeLC matchup between Hornswoggle vs. El Torito on the pre-show. The feud between the two was pure comedy and both of their prior matches failed to entertain.
However, Torito and Hornswoggle did the impossible at Extreme Rules by having one of the better matches of the night and it wasn’t even on the actual card. With mini tables, ladders and chairs surrounding the ring, the two competitors went all out and put on a highly entertaining contest that exceeded expectations.
The pay-per-view pre-shows are hardly ever looked at as must-see. That being said, there have been a handful of instances in the past where the match that took place on the Kickoff ended up being better than any one originally thought it to be.
Criteria for matches included on the list and how they’re ranked include the match’s buildup, in-ring action, significance, lasting impact and overall entertainment value.
5. Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz (Survivor Series 2013)
Over the last five years, Kofi Kingston and The Miz have more matches together than anyone can probably count. However, each one of them has been entertaining and it’s a well-known fact that the two have great chemistry with each other.
On the Nov. 18 edition of Raw, Miz and Kingston took on The Real Americans in tag team action. Before Kingston could tag out, Miz walked out on his partner, setting up a match between the two for the Survivor Series pay-per-view pre-show that Sunday.
As expected, they had a highly enjoyable matchup with neither individual clearly having the upper hand at any point. In the victory, Miz reversed one of Kingston’s pinfall attempts into a roll-up of his own to score the clean victory.
Following the bout, Miz extended his hand out to Kingston out of respect only to be met with a slap to the face in return. Granted, the feud from this point forward was horrendous, but this match definitely showcased the skills of both competitors.
4. Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow (WWE Payback 2013)
For the better part of 2013, Sheamus was directionless and wasn’t involved in anything notable at all. However, his brief feud with Damien Sandow brought the best out of him and showed that Sandow could in fact hang with the top-tier talent in WWE.
Like The Miz and Kofi Kingston, the two had already faced off multiple times in the past, bu their match at June’s Payback pay-per-view was by far their best bout to date. Not only was it given great time by exceeding the 10 minute mark, but fans in attendance bought into Sandow’s pinfall attempts and thought he might actually emerge victorious.
Yes, Sheamus was ultimately deemed the winner, but not before being taken to his absolute limit by Sandow. Sandow proved in this match against the former multi-time world champion that he was capable of being a main event player in WWE, setting the stage for his Money in the Bank Ladder match victory the following month.
3. The Usos vs. Curtis Axel and Ryback vs. The Real Americans vs. Los Matadores for the WWE Tag Team Championships (WrestleMania 30)
Since June 2013, The Usos have been lighting the tag team division on fire with their amazing aerial maneuvers and unique offense. After four years, they finally got what they deserved when they captured the WWE Tag Team Championships for the first time in March.
Instead of defending against the former champions, The New Age Outlaws, at WrestleMania 30, The Usos were placed in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination match against Curtis Axel and Ryback, The Real Americans and Los Matadores with the titles up for grabs. The odds might have been stacked against them, but the Samoan natives were up for the challenge.
Thankfully, Los Matadores and Rybxel were eliminated early, leaving the two best teams in the matchup to go all out. The Usos and The Real Americans put on an absolute clinic with members of the audience sitting on the edge of their seats with every punch thrown.
Jack Swagger and Cesaro put up one heck of a fight, but it was The Usos who came out on the winning end after hitting their signature splash to a loud pop from the live crowd. It was a match that belonged on the main card, but there’s no questioning that it kicked off ‘Mania on a very high note.
2. El Torito vs. Hornswoggle in a WeeLC Match (Extreme Rules 2014)
After seeing them chase each other on the stage at the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, I had a very bad feeling that they were set to feud. My suspicions were (unfortunately) confirmed on the April 15 edition of WWE Main Event when Hornswoggle was named the newest member of 3MB and joined in on their never-ending rivalry against Los Matadores.
I didn’t at all enjoy the first two matches between El Torito and Hornswoggle and, based off the reaction from the live crowds, not many other people didn’t, either. I saw their spot on the Extreme Rules pre-show to be a complete joke and waste of space that could have been used for Superstars more deserving, such as The Usos.
Despite that, Hornswoggle and El Torito ended up having an extremely entertaining WeeLC match that exceeded expectations big time. They climbed ladders, battered with steel chairs and even sent spiraling through tables!
Kudos to the other members of 3MB and Los Matadores who also played their parts perfectly and pulled off some insane spots. The live crowd loved it and it surely set the tone for the rest of the evening.
It may not have been the best pre-show match in WWE history, but it was undoubtedly the most pleasantly surprising. I still hate the fact the feud between 3MB and Los Matadores is still going even after the event, but this match made all the terrible comedy worthwhile.
1. The Shield vs. The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championships (Money in the Bank 2013)
The only Superstars to crack the list twice, The Usos have had a heck of a year since being repackaged last June and this match was only the start of it. They were still being built back up at the time this match came along, so not many people expected it to be much more than a squash considering The Shield had been so dominant.
Regardless, Shield members Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns had their work cut out for them when they put their straps on the line against The Usos at 2013′s Money in the Bank event. The two tandems put their athleticism on full display and showed what true tag team wrestling is all about.
Exciting action from bell to bell, there were several points in the matchup where the fans in Philadelphia that night thought they might witness new champions crowned. After taking an insane amount of risks, Rollins and Reigns were able to secure the victory and maintain possession of the twin titles.
Before this bout, the Uso brothers were looked at as enhancement talent. Afterward, they began to be taken much more seriously and as threats to every other team in the division.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham “GSM” Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and “like” his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.