The New Generation Era transitioned WWE from the land of the giants to the newer evolution of performers. Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage leaving WWE forced them to come up with new stars to build the future around. Names like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Diesel became thee new top stars often having main event spots competing for the WWE Championship.
We will look at the best overall main events from this era of WWE. The biggest shift was seeing the weaker main events featuring names like Hogan and Ultimate Warrior gone with stars like Michaels and Hart pushing the business forward. Find out which matches created a new level of quality in the ring. The following matches were the best main events from the New Generation Era in the early 90s.
10 Shawn Michaels vs Vader (Summerslam 1996)
Shawn Michaels’ WWE Championship reign in 1996 led to many outstanding matches on PPV. Vader was the big challenger for Michaels at Summerslam 1996. It was a huge opportunity to main event the second biggest show of the year for the title.
Michaels led Vader to the best match of his career before retaining the title. WWE started to trust Michaels to lead struggling wrestlers to the best matches of their WWE careers. Vader was another to have a great match with Michaels.
9 Sycho Sid vs Bret Hart (In Your House 12: It’s Time)
Sycho Sid lucked out by having great opponents leading him to some of the best matches of his career. Bret Hart had the first title shot against Sycho Sid at the In Your House 12: It’s Time event. The match was quite entertaining with the result always in question.
Sid proved he could have good matches with the right opponent if put in a position to succeed. Hart had a great match to close the show in grand fashion even with the loss. Sid’s title reign worked partially due to the match here giving him momentum.
8 Sycho Sid vs Shawn Michaels (Survivor Series 1996)
The WWE Championship reign of Sycho Sid started at Survivor Series 1996. Sid defeated Shawn Michaels in a surprisingly great main event for the time. Madison Square Garden fans shocked everyone by cheering for Sid and booing the face Michaels.
An unpredictable crowd always adds to the big matches if the environment is unique enough. The match here main evented the show with great results. Sid won the title to the delight of the crowd even though Michaels was the one leading him.
7 1995 Royal Rumble match (Royal Rumble 1995)
Shawn Michaels had one of the best performances of his career at the 1995 Royal Rumble event. The spot as the first entrant in the Rumble match allowed him to last the entire match before winning the whole thing.
Davey Boy Smith and Michaels were the first two and last two in the match. Michaels skinning the cat to avoid elimination was a stunning moment at the time before coming back into the ring to eliminate Smith for the win. Pamela Anderson celebrated with Michaels as part of the aftermath.
6 Bret Hart vs Bam Bam Bigelow (King of the Ring 1993)
The King of the Ring 1993 event featured Bret Hart having one of the best nights of his career. Hart reached the finals of the one-night tournament against Bam Bam Bigelow after defeating Razor Ramon and Mr. Perfect in great matches earlier in the night.
The finals saw Bret working a different style against a big man. Bigelow and Hart had great chemistry in a compelling match that sold the importance of the tournament. Bret winning the match and King of the Ring prize felt like winning a world title.
5 Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart (WresleMania 12)
The Iron Man match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart at WrestleMania 12 proved that the audience would invest in a long technical wrestling match if done right. Michaels and Hart both played faces looking to outperform the other in the hour-long time limit.
The ending of a draw and Michaels winning in overtime was perfect for the time. Hart left in anger at being forced to defend the title in OT to write him off for a break. Michaels was set up to become the new face of the company after such a great moment in the spotlight.
4 Bret Hart vs Davey Boy Smith (In Your House 5: Seasons Beatings)
Bret Hart and Davey Boy Smith had outstanding chemistry. Most fans remember their Summerslam 1992 match in Wembley Stadium, but they had a few other great matches in the main event picture. WWE made Smith a top challenger for Hart at the end of 1992.
The two brothers in law had a great match at In Your House 5: Season Beatings. Smith brought a physicality as a heel that changed up the usually technically sound Bret matches. Both styles were featured here with an outstanding match for the WWE Championship.
3 Shawn Michaels vs Diesel (In Your House 7: Good Friends, Better Enemies)
Shawn Michaels had his first WWE Championship defense against one of his best friends. Diesel’s final WWE appearance came in the No Holds Barred match against Michaels at In Your House 7: Good Friends, Better Enemies with the title on the line.
Both wrestlers had a lot to prove with one starting a new legacy and the other ending his in WWE. This was one of the first exciting hardcore style matches in company history. Michaels won after various weapon shots, table bumps and the use of a prosthetic leg.
2 Bret Hart vs Diesel (Survivor Series 1995)
The WWE Championship reign of Diesel struggled for about a year from late 1994 to 1995. Much like most other limited wrestlers, Diesel only had standout performances against elite workers like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels.
WWE made the big title change of Diesel dropping the title to Hart to ensure the latter had the title heading into WrestleMania season. Hart and Diesel worked a perfect match of Bret overcoming the odds by breaking down Diesel little by little before the big victory.
1 Shawn Michaels vs Mankind (In Your House 19: Mind Games)
Shawn Michaels had a classic WWE Championship match against Mankind at In Your House 19: Mind Games. The great work of Michaels helped Mankind get a chance to work a different style of match in the main event spot.
Both wrestlers found magic on this night with the exciting back and forth match never slowing down. The only negative here was the DQ finish of others interfering before we could get a decisive winner. Mankind benefited from just having the match, so a clean loss to Michaels would not have hurt anyone on this night.
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