8. SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder Match
There are few Money in the Bank ladder matches with more action and a well-balanced story like the SmackDown Money in the Bank match from 2011.
The lineup was fairly mixed with the likes of Sin Cara, Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater involved, but there were a number of potential winners in the mix. Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett seemed like obvious candidates but it was oft-neglected indie darling Daniel Bryan who nabbed the briefcase.
Bryan had not been pushed much to this point in his WWE career and a win of this magnitude in Chicago was a classic moment.
Seriously though this match is fantastic if you can ignore Michael Cole on commentary. Go check it out if it’s been a while.
7. Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio – Extreme Rules
Christian is going to appear a few times on this list. 2011 was a year where Christian showed why he is one of the best wrestlers in the world and why he is deserving of a main event spot.
After Edge was forced into retirement after WrestleMania, the World Heavyweight Championship was vacated with this ladder match deciding the new champion.
Another example of a fantastically underrated ladder match, Christian got his big day in the sun, winning his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The match was built more around the story of Alberto Del Rio working over Christian’s arm than high spots and it still holds up today.
While Christian’s reign may not have gone the way anyone wanted, this night remains one of the best world title wins in recent memory.
6. Christian vs. Randy Orton – SummerSlam
Why was Christian’s World Championship reign so s**t? Let’s ask Randy Orton, shall we?
On the SmackDown after Christian won the title at Extreme Rules, Orton won an impromptu title match to take the title for himself. Not a good reign for Christian at all.
It did, however, lead to the best in-ring feud of 2011 as the two wrestled throughout the summer. Their final pay-per-view match of the year came at SummerSlam. Christian, who was now a heel, had regained the title through nefarious tactics and now faced Orton in a No Holds Barred match.
This match was so much fun. A perfect blend of sanitized WWE violence and exceptional in-ring work from two of the smoothest wrestlers in the business. Christian may have never gotten the big win he deserved in this feud but he more than made up it with his performances.