It was a monumental weekend for World Wrestling Entertainment.
Vince McMahon and his travelling menagerie of beefy guys and gals hit the road for the first time since Wrestlemania 37. In what was the organisations return to a full-time touring schedule.
Like many, the impact of Covid-19 majorly halted the plans of WWE.
However, unlike any other wrestling promotion in the world, the sports entertainment juggernaut flexed their financial muscle to continue their weekly programming.
In the summer of 2020, the company announced the arrival of the WWE Thunderdome venue.
It was created as a bio-secure bubble for the leading wrestling company in the world to put on live weekly television shows. Along with marquee pay-per-view events.
The Thunderdome was a necessary factor for WWE to offer up content to their fans. Especially when some of them needed it the most.
During the Thunderdome era, WWE’s loyal fanbase were treated to high calibre matches, engaging PPV shows, and the finest production value they had to offer.
Saying that, nobody will miss the old place.
Thankfully, full crowds returned at the most recent episode of Smackdown in Houston, Texas. Along with a packed house witnessing the excellent Money in the Bank PPV, in Fort Worth, Texas.
So, with WWE Thunderdome hopefully a thing of the past. Now seems like the ideal time to check out the best matches ever held in the venue.
If your favourite is missing, make sure to shout it out in the comment section below. There certainly was a hefty collection to choose from.
5. Drew McIntyre vs Sheamus (Raw, March 1st, 2021)
Sheamus was lowkey one of the highlights of WWE’s ‘pandemic era’, with the Irishman putting on hard hitting brawls with the likes of Big E and Riddle.
It’s safe to say he done his best work when tangoing with former friend, Drew McIntyre.
The pair met in this underrated gem back in March. With the two Celtic warriors clubbing each other from the word go.
It was the simplest form of wrestling at the highest level.
Two behemoths coming to blows in a bruising battle. With both competitors having the welts to show for their efforts in the aftermath.
Sheamus and McIntyre would go on to have a further two notable matches in the ensuing weeks, with McIntyre coming out on top on two occasions, including this one.
But the first of their recent trilogy was by far the most wince inducing.
4. Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn (Smackdown, July 2nd, 2021)
Man, WWE sure did love to let two former friends beat the piss out of each other on random ass weekly shows in the Thunderdome, didn’t they?
These two rivals seem destined to fight forever, call it recency bias, but their latest chapter was chef kiss levels of fantastic.
KO and Zayn met in a Last Man Standing match, in the most recent entry on this list, and boy god, they knocked it out of the park.
The match was built on bone shattering spots, excellent facials and of course, call backs to their prior meetings in WWE.
It had genuine stakes on the line, with a place in the men’s Money in the Bank contest up for grabs.
While Vince McMahon is far from consistent with how one may qualify for that match. That’ll take nothing away from this full throttle violent extravaganza.
3. Roman Reigns vs Daniel Bryan vs Edge (Wrestlemania 37)
Well, turns out heel Roman Reigns is a box office attraction.
The tribal chief had some stonker fights with the likes of Jey Uso and Cesaro, but this is up there with his best work of the year, but not quite his best, as you’ll come to see later.
With the wealth of talent involved, this was always going to be one of the greatest triple threats in recent memory, and that it certainly was.
Roman was the dominant champ; Edge was the nostalgic fan favourite and Bryan was the fly in the ointment.
This all built a wonderfully suspenseful Wrestlemania main event, with perfectly woven storytelling throughout the match.
We got uneasy alliances, elite level athleticism and outside interference to throw a spanner in the works.
Everyone looked like a superstar, especially Reigns, who retained his Universal title, stacking his two counterparts on top of each other for the win.
2. Bayley vs Sasha Banks (Hell in a Cell, 2020)
Bayley and Banks are a tale as old as time, with their storied rivalry stretching back to their NXT days.
Unlike so many on a Hell in a Cell card, this feud was worthy of taking place inside the intimidating structure. It’s just a crying shame no fans could be in attendance to witness it.
The match was beautifully paced and serviced long term fans who have witnessed the mishandling of this pairing on the main roster for so long.
Stolen finishers and seamless counters were a product of the lengthy history between these two.
Logical use of weapons played into the match’s climax.
Banks trapped her foe and hit her with a Banks Statement with a steel chair, which was enhanced by vicious stomps to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
It was a mirror image of the same famous moment in their NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn clash in 2015, with the roles reversed.
1. Roman Reigns vs Daniel Bryan (Smackdown, April 30th, 2021)
Despite the ratings plummeting, the best match from the Thunderdome took place on Smackdown, we can’t believe it either.
Reigns and Bryan are the ideal blend of good & evil, power & speed.
Not long after their stellar performance at Wrestlemania 37, two of the three men from that classic met again. With the added stipulation that if Daniel lost, he’d be banished from Smackdown.
That pressure only bolstered Bryan’s performance.
His speed, raw emotion and physical intensity was boosted into overdrive.
Reigns acting as the villainous big boss was perfect.
Hitting his smaller opponent with massive power moves and exaggerating him as the ultimate underdog.
Not true to form, WWE followed through with the angle, and delivered on a definitive finish. With the Universal champion getting his hand raised, and Bryan forced to leave the brand.
Which is something that increases in value with every passing week he’s missing in action.
We miss you, Daniel Bryan.