19. Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Vader – May 2, 1999
After his WWE run flopped, Vader returned to Japan. But instead of returning to New Japan, he went to All Japan instead and ran roughshod over that company’s main event scene. Vader destroyed challenger after challenger until he encountered Misawa in this Tokyo Dome show that was filled with an estimated 65,000 people.
This match might not be at the same standard as others on this list, mainly because Vader – as good as he was – wasn’t at the same level as AJPW mainstays like Kawada, Kobashi, or Steve Williams during their primes. But Vader was still excellent here, wrestling in the same brutal style that had made him an internationally-recognized star in the first place.
What makes this match so must-see is that it shows what Vader could’ve been as a main event wrestler. He’s in the ring with Mitsuharu Misawa, one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, and is more than holding his own. Vader isn’t slow, plodding or boring in any way; his offense is believable and his pacing is perfect.
If WWE were to have led this Vader wrestle, things might’ve been altogether different in WWE while he was there.
Also, this match needs to be seen for the ‘Misawa German Suplexes Vader/Vader Suplexes himself’ spot, which causes an eruption in the Tokyo Dome and really brings the crowd to life.Published 30 Jul 2018, 08:46 IST