TCAW Classic Match of the Year Part 5: Top 5 Matches of 1988

We are up to 1988 in this list and we are very much still in Flair Country. 

5. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Tiger Mask II - AJPW Excite Series Day 14

It is Misawa under the mask in this one, which gives a preview of sorts to the matches they would have in the future. The first half of the match is pretty standard stuff but the second half of it is fantastic. The finishing sequence is expertly done and it is a match that you can do far worse than spending 20 minutes of your time watching. In fact here it is.

4. Hart Foundation, British Bulldogs, The Rockers, Young Stallions & Powers of Pain vs Demolition, Brain Busters, Conqistadors, Fabulous Rougeaus & Bolsheviks (Elimination Match) - WWE Survivor Series 

Much like the previous year, the 1988 version of Survivor Series had a massive tag team version of the elimination match and once again it was great fun. There were some fantastic teams in this match, especially in the face team, who have the Bulldogs, Rockers, and Hart Foundation. I'm not sure why I always found these matches better than the regular ones but they always seemed to play less off gimmicks and more off actual wrestling. 

3. Ric Flair vs Lex Luger (NWA Title) - NWA Starrcade

I have never been that high on Luger but I can't deny that he was still involved in a number of superb matches during the late 80s and early 90s. In the NWA/WCW at least. This may have been the best that Luger ever looked. How much of that was Flair putting in an incredible carry job is up for debate, but either way this was the closest Luger ever looked to a world class performer. It may have run a bit long but it was a great match nonetheless. You can check it out here

2. Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada vs Terry Gordy & Stan Hansen (AJPW Tag Titles) - AJPW Real World Tag League Day 22

This was actually the final of the Real World Tag League tournament, and as such had two prizes at stake. Hansen and Gordy are some big ol' Southern boys, and their smash mouth offense meshes fantastically with the brutality of the two Japanese men. It goes without saying that this is a stiff affair but the babyface work of Kawada and Tenryu is spot on, and it adds a lot to the overall feel of the match. You can experience it for yourself here.

1. Ric Flair vs Sting (NWA Title) - NWA Clash of the Champions 1

If I am being brutally honest with myself the tag match at number 2 is probably a better match but I have always had a soft spot for this one. This was the match that put Sting on the map and it's easy to see why. He gets given a ton of time to impress here and has the advantage for the majority of the match but can't quite put Flair away. It is an excellent match that also contains some great storytelling. I highly recommend going out of your way to see this if you haven't already.