Every 5 Star Match in WWE History (According To Dave Meltzer)

Hamish Woodward

Updated on:

WWE
dave meltzer 5 star WWE matches

One of the most polarising things wrestling fans argue about is Dave Meltzer’s five star WWE match list.

The Wrestling Observer Journalist has been covering wrestling in his weekly newsletter since 1980 and is considered the primary expert on all things professional wrestling (he has also been covering the UFC since it’s very first event).

In his weekly newsletter, Dave Meltzer regularly rates the biggest matches of the week. He awards them a star rating based on how he viewed the match and how good he thinks it is.

He utilises a star ratings system which is generally considered to go between 0 and 5 stars.

However, the fabled 5 star rating has been beaten on occasions, most notably when he awarded Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega an incredible 7 star rating for their famous 2 out of 3 falls match in NJPW.

He has long been accused of having a bias against WWE – however, he has long been a friend to numerous WWE talent and was even a confidant to a number of people in the company.

These included Vince McMahon and Bret Hart (he was the man that Bret Hart called to tell all after the infamous “Montreal Screwjob”).

He has given other promotions more 5 star matches in the past, with the top Japanese promotions like All-Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling being historically his favourites.

However, he has also given All Elite Wrestling (AEW) a number of five star matches in the past and continues to so, as recently as earlier this year.

Dave Meltzer has awarded WWE 15 five star matches in the history of the company. This includes matches on Raw, Smackdown, Pay Per View and even the developmental shows in NXT and NXT UK.

Here is the list of ever WWE five star match that Dave Meltzer has given in the Wrestling Observer and our thoughts on the incredible bouts.

Sheamus vs Drew McIntyre vs GUNTHER – WrestleMania 39 Night 2

Possibly the best Triple Threat match of all time occurred on the second night of WrestleMania 39.

Gunther defended his Intercontinental Championship against two more of Europe’s finest – Sheamus and Drew McIntyre.

In a hard-hitting encounter, Gunther overcome both opponents in a classic match. It was only the fourth five-star match in WrestleMania history, but the second in 2023.

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Star

Cagematch Rating – 9.40

Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs The Usos – WrestleMania 39 Night 1

The first ever five star match from Dave Meltzer to main event WrestleMania is Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs The Usos, in the end of the first night at WrestleMania 39.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens main evented the first night of WrestleMania 39 Night 1, in a history-making tag team bout against The Usos.

The huge victory in the main event of WrestleMania was the culmination of a multi-decade long story, that saw the pair go from the dank gyms in Montreal, all the way to the main event of WrestleMania.

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Star

Cagematch Rating – 9.18

Sheamus vs GUNTHER – Clash At The Castle 2022

Sheamus picked up his first five-star match in Cardiff, when he defended his Intercontinental Championship against Sheamus.

They battled in the historic Clash at the Castle event in the UK, as 70,000 fans crammed in to watch this tremendous match take place.

It was one of the most physical and intense matches in WWE history, and fantastic value for it’s five-star rating from Dave Meltzer.

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Star

Cagematch Rating – 9.17

Cody Rhodes vs Seth Rollins – Hell in a Cell 2022

Cody Rhodes vs Seth Rollins at Hell In A Cell

The third match in the historic Cody Rhodes vs Seth Rollins trilogy turned out to be the best, despite a disturbing injury to Cody Rhodes.

Before the match begun, Rhodes removed his rope to reveal a huge bruise on his chest, resulting from a torn pectoral muscle.

The injury was unbearable, but Cody Rhodes fought through the pain to put on the third five-star match of his career.

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Star

Cagematch Rating – 8.95

Ilja Dragunov vs WALTER – NXT Takeover 36

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5.25 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.63

Ilja Dragunov vs WALTER – NXT UK 29/10/22

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.65

Tyler Bate vs WALTER – NXT UK Takeover Cardiff

The greatest match I’ve ever seen love is the five-star match between WALTER and Tyler Bate from NXT UK Takeover Cardiff.

Defending his United Kingdom Championship, WALTER was against the crowd, who were firmly behind the British hero.

The Big Strong Boy battled hard for 45 minutes, even kicking out of a powerbomb at the count of one before the match finish.

The match made Tyler Bate a star, and earned a rating of even higher than five stars in the WWE.

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5.25 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.57

Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano – NXT Takeover XXV

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5.25 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.13

Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano – NXT Takeover: New York

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5.5 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.16

Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong vs. Trent Seven & Tyler Bate – NXT 11/7/18

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.22

Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa – NXT Takeover: New Orleans

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.41

Adam Cole vs. EC3 vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream – NXT Takeover: New Orleans

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.16

Andrade Almas vs Johnny Gargano – NXT Takeover: Philadelphia

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.65

CM Punk vs John Cena – Money in the Bank 2011

14 years after the last five-star match, CM Punk walked out of Chicago as the five-star WWE Champion.

After his legendary pipe bomb promo, the WWE crowd was the hottest anyone had been since Steve Austin.

His hometown crowd at Money in the Bank were rabid to see him win, and exploded at the end of the night when he blew a kiss to Vince McMahon and John Cena as he left through the crowd as the World Champion.

Dave Meltzer Star Rating –

Cagematch Rating –

Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker – In Your House: Bad Blood

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.64

Bret Hart vs Steve Austin – Wrestlemania 13

Not only is this match a five-star classic (according to Dave Meltzer), it also tops our list of the best Stone Cold Steve Austin matches of all time.

This classic match was a submission match between two of WWE’s best wrestlers, and had been building up over the past year for this blockbuster match.

The match was a technical masterpiece as well as veering off into a long, bloody affair. The everlasting image of the matches ends lives long is the memories of anyone who saw.

Steve Austin, blood pouring down his face and locked in Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter was defiant until the end. He hung on as long as he could, passing out in a pool of his own blood as Hart was declared the winner

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.55

Bret Hart vs Owen Hart – Summerslam 1994

One of the first five star matches in WWE came in this incredible brother-vs-brother match. Bret Hart, in his first of two matches of the night, faced off with his younger brother Owen Hart at Wrestlemania X.

The feud pitted the jealous sibling against his brother Bret who was set to battle for the WWE Championship later that night, intent on stopping his brother from winning the gold.

Owen and Bret Hart pulled out a technical masterpiece that was 30 years ahead of it’s time. The pair showed incredible chemistry, pulling out spots at lightning quick speed and showing incredible in-ring psychology.

Owen worked over the knee of Bret during the match, intent on ruining his chances of winning the WWE Championship later that night.

He even pinned Bret Hart to win the match, shocking everybody in attendance and making a name for himself on the biggest stage with one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches of all time.

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.67

Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels – Wrestlemania X

The first five star match Dave Meltzer ever gave to a WWE match came in 1994 at that years Wrestlemania. At Wrestlemania X, Razor Ramon took on Shawn Michaels to decide the true, undisputed Intercontinental Champion of the WWE.

The match was a first in WWE. It was the first time a ladder match had been shown on American television and started a trend in WWE that would last for the next 30 years and beyond. WWE had put on a ladder match before, at a house show match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels (the ladder match was allegedly created by Bret Hart in Stampede Wrestling) and was moved to Wrestlemania in 1994 involving The Heart Break Kid vs Razor Ramon.

The ladder match soon became a staple of WWE but this first match was something to behold. Both men were famously best friends as part of The Kliq and had insane chemistry in the ring together. Their use of the ladder to attack their opponent, whilst also trying to climb it to grab the two championships hanging above, was innovative and violent in ways fans had never seen before.

Razor Ramon picked up the win in the incredible match that Dave Meltzer awarded an astonishing 5 star match. It was the first time that he had given a WWE match such a high rating, but would be the last time that Razor Ramon (Scott Hall in WCW) would appear on this list. However, Shawn Michaels would go on to have a number of five star matches after this one, including some incredible matches that shockingly did not reach that milestone (the Wrestlemania 25/26 double against The Undertaker comes to mind).

Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5 Stars

Cagematch Rating – 9.39

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