#10 – Dean Malenko vs. Scott 2 Hotty (Backlash ’00)
There were so many options for the #10 spot on our list, but we opted to give Malenko and Scott 2 Hotty the rub because this might just be the best early 2000s WWE match that absolutely no one ever talks about. In fact, I venture a guess that 50% of the conversations ever had about Dean Malenko vs. Scott 2 Hotty at Backlash 2000 are about how it’s one of the best underrated WWE gems that no one ever talks about.
Scotty didn’t exactly have a thriving singles career in the Fed, and found much more success and fame as part of a group, but boy did he turn it up here. Malenko channeled his WCW days in what felt very much like one of his technical showcases. This was somehow his best singles match in a WWE ring too – one of life’s more frustrating mysteries.
#9 – AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose (Backlash ’16)
I’m struggling to find a wrestler who had a better debut year in WWE than AJ Styles. Maybe Brock Lesnar? Probably Brock Lesnar.
He started the year with a massive Royal Rumble debut, wrestled Chris Jericho at WrestleMania, took Roman Reigns to one of his best matches at Extreme Rules, and pinned JOHN CENA in a classic at SummerSlam. It makes sense that his immediate next step was to dethrone Dean Ambrose and win the WWE Championship.
This is a very good match, although it’s a bit lower on our list because if you’re going to watch a Styles/Amrbose match, the one three months later at TLC is better in almost every way.