The WWE puts out some amazing matches that can get lost in the shuffle of squash fights and flavorless bouts. Still, these five matches all proved to be the most entertaining WWE performances in 2012.
Money in the Bank Match For the World Heavyweight Title contract
Money in the Bank
There were two "Money in the Bank" matches at the July 15 event, but Dolph Ziggler stole the show in the first high-stakes bout. The Showoff beat Damien Sandow, Tyson Kidd, Christian, Santino Marella, Tensai, Cody Rhodes and Sin Cara, and all of the wrestlers involved put on a better show than the main event ladder match later that night.
There was something more to be proven from these eight midcarders; they all tried to make their spots memorable. It also started the progression of Ziggler to the main event, a process that is still under way and most recently saw Mr. Money in the Bank successfully defend his briefcase against John Cena at TLC in December.
Extreme Rules Match: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar
The day after John Cena lost to The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII, Brock Lesnar returned to face the Cenation Leader. It was a highly-anticipated return, and even knowing that the former MMA Heavyweight Champion was planning a WWE return, hearing his music hit was one of the most exciting moments in pro wrestling in 2012.
When April 29 came, and the two were ready to face off, it was as brutal as anyone could have hoped for. The match closed the pay-per-view, going on after an excellent WWE Championship match between Chris Jericho and CM Punk; Lesnar vs. Cena managed to top the previous bout and helped make Extreme Rules the best pay-per-view of the year.
World Heavyweight Championship 2 Out of 3 Falls Match: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
Even though Lesnar vs. Cena was the show’s closer, Daniel Bryan and Sheamus stole the show. Less than a month after the massive upset, seeing Bryan lose the World Heavyweight Championship to the Celtic Warrior in 18 seconds, the two men had a WrestleMania worthy match.
Bryan is the greatest in-ring performer that WWE has at the moment, despite his place on the card not reflecting that. The 2 out of 3 falls match at Extreme Rules allowed him to show off what he had to offer and bring out the best in Sheamus, giving the Great White an excellent first title defense.
WWE Championship Match: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan
Over The Limit
Daniel Bryan comes in on this list again, because as we said earlier, he’s the best that WWE has to offer. CM Punk bares the moniker "Best in the World," and he may be the second to Bryan when it comes down to it.
The two put on an outstanding fight and had a fun early summer feud. They had a few matches for the WWE title, to the delight of Ring of Honor fans who saw these two face off as up-and-coming performers, putting on matches that were just as good then as they were now.
Hell In A Cell – Triple H vs. Undertaker w/ Shawn Michaels as the Special Guest Referee
This match really was the end of an era. There were no two performers that stuck with WWE throughout the Monday Night Wars in the 90s and established themselves like Triple H and the Undertaker -- adding Shawn Michaels as the referee only added to the drama.
It seems to be unanimous that this match was the fight of the year. It won the Slammy from WWE, and has come in on several online countdowns already, and it deserves all the acclaim. It was brutal, it was psychological, it was everything it could have been, and a great sendoff to the most entertaining era in pro wrestling history.