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The 10 best WWE Velocity matches you shouldn't have missed

WWE produces hours upon hours of television programming every week for millions of fans around the world. With dozens of action-packed matches hitting the airwaves every month, a few classics are bound to get lost in the mix.

Many of those overlooked matches took place on WWE Velocity. The second show of the SmackDown brand, Velocity aired from 2002 until 2006 on television and, later, WWE.com. The program featured many of the blue brand’s Cruiserweights in high-flying bouts that blew the WWE Universe away.

Velocity also gave WWE fans a glimpse at some future Superstars early in their careers, taking on sports-entertainment’s best before they were even signed by the company. Unfortunately, these young competitors didn’t always get the attention they deserved — until now. WWEClassics.com has compiled the 10 best matches to take place on WWE Velocity, featuring Superstars like John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Rey Mysterio. Go ahead and make up for lost time.

See photos of the action |  Watch the high-flying bouts

10

Paul London vs. Matt Hardy – June 21, 2003

Matt Hardy takes his frustrations out on Paul London.

Before he was even hired as a full-time member of the WWE roster, Paul London made a major impression on WWE Velocity. The highflier stepped into a WWE ring in June 2003 with major buzz following him after some big wins on the independent scene.

London had a big challenge on Velocity in the form of Matt Hardy, who may have thought he was in for an easy bout. Hardy got surprised, though, as London used his speed and agility to outmaneuver the decorated Superstar.

Watch Hardy Boyz highlights |  Matt Hardy photos

Surprisingly, London almost had the match won on several occasions. However, a missed Shooting Star Press led to the end for the upstart. A frustrated Hardy executed two Twists of Fate to seal the victory — and make sure his tenacious opponent stayed down.

Though he came in a virtual unknown to the WWE Universe, Paul London was all WWE fans could talk about after this impressive showing.

9

John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan – Feb. 8, 2003

Two future World Champions square off on Velocity.

One month after his impressive bout with Jamie Noble, Daniel Bryan was invited back to WWE Velocity to test his skills against one of WWE’s hottest up-and-coming Superstars at the time, John Cena. Despite a size advantage, Bryan approached the match like he would any other.

Bryan used his grappling ability in the early goings of the match to keep Cena on the mat, unable to use his strength to overpower his foe. Eventually, though, Cena was able to muscle off the mat and take advantage of the bout, nearly clotheslining Bryan out of his boots.

Relive John Cena's early years |  The best of Daniel Bryan on WWE NXT

The submission specialist let a flurry of strikes loose on Cena in one last attempt to swing the match in his favor. It was too little, too late for the rookie, as a spinning suplex from the Cenation leader made sure the future WWE Champion left Velocity with a win. Bryan did not appear in a WWE ring for seven years until he reemerged on the inaugural season of WWE NXT in 2010.

 

 

8

World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. Ultimo Dragon & Funaki – Nov. 9, 2003

The Cruiserweights from Japan join forces to take on The World's Greatest Tag Team.

High-flying cruiserweight action wasn’t the only thing that Velocity was known for. WWE’s finest tag teams got to showcase their skills on the late-night show. That was the case in this November 2003 match, when the dominant tag team of Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin took on the makeshift pair of Ultimo Dragon and Funaki.

The self-proclaimed World’s Greatest Tag Team underestimated their smaller foes, only to get surprised when Funaki muscled Haas and Benjamin around, setting them up for a double dive on the arena floor.

Where do Haas & Benjamin rank among the top 50 WWE tag teams?

Haas was able to regain control, with he and his partner using their strength advantage to keep Funaki isolated. However, he was unable to reach Ultimo Dragon, who came in and rained down on Haas and Benjamin with a flurry of strikes and high-flying moves. Unfortunately, the flurry ended with Dragon on the wrong end of a superkick from Benjamin, which halted any hope of a victory for the Japanese Superstars.

Ultimo Dragon highlights

7

Chavo Guerrero vs. Ultimo Dragon – March 20, 2004

Old rivals collide over the Cruiserweight Championship.

Ultimo Dragon came into WWE amid much fanfare. His reputation as a champion in WCW, Mexico and Japan preceded him. Many thought that he would become a top contender to the WWE Cruiserweight Title as soon as he arrived. It was a smart bet, but the legendary grappler couldn’t get his hands on the prize.

During this title opportunity, Ultimo Dragon not only had to contend with champion Chavo Guerrero, but his father, Chavo Classic, who loved to make his presence felt at ringside.

Learn how the Cruiserweight Title changed sports-entertainment

Familiar from their battles in WCW, the two exchanged holds and counterholds, showing how well they knew each other. Ultimo’s aerial expertise made it look as though he would be on the verge of claiming a championship in WWE, but Chavo Classic stuck his nose in the proceeding, giving his son the chance to retain his title.

6

Spanky & Paul London vs. The FBI – Nov. 29, 2003

The Full Blooded Italians battle the speedy combination of Paul London & Spanky.

When Johnny Stamboli and Chuck Palumbo weren’t busy running numbers with Nunzio in the locker room, The Full Blooded Italians were trying to muscle their way to the WWE Tag Team Titles. The big paisans often had to deal with smaller competition, like Paul London and Spanky.

Stamboli and Palumbo thought they might have been heading for cannoli a little earlier than usual, but the speedy duo across the ring kept them guessing in the ring.

While Palumbo clobbered Spanky with right hands and clotheslines, the highfliers kept the pace of the bout extra fast. The match, however, was too fast for the referee. Spanky had the winning pin on Stamboli, but the official was busy checking on London. That gave The FBI the opportunity to hit a devastating double team maneuver on Spanky to get the victory.

 

5

Paul London vs. Akio – Jan. 15, 2005

Paul London and Akio take it to the air in this high impact match.

Paul London and Akio met again just one month after their first buzzworthy encounter. Unsurprisingly, the sequel was just as good as the original. The two foes wasted no time going after each other, locking horns right after the opening bell.

London got out to an early advantage, taking Akio out with an Asai Moonsault. The Japanese grappler regained control with a devastating suplex that sent London crashing into the turnbuckle. Akio’s offense, while high-risk, was very focused.

Eventually, the high-flying went out the window as London unleashed a flurry of clubbering blows on Akio. London tried to whip his foe into the corner, but Akio hit him with a back elbow, leaving London open for a corkscrew moonsault that left the WWE Universe with their jaws on the floor.

Despite the budding rivalry brewing between the two cruiserweights, London and Akio shook hands after the bout. 

4

Rey Mysterio vs. Kidman vs. Nunzio vs. Akio – April 10, 2004

The action never stops when four of WWE's best Crusierweights collide on Velocity.

WWE Velocity’s one-on-one cruiserweight bouts were high-octane affairs. The thought of a Fatal Four Way Match, with an opportunity at the Cruiserweight Title on the line, probably blew the collective minds of the WWE Universe.

The bout was frenetic from the get-go. Mysterio gained an early advantage and almost nailed Akio with the 619, but was cut off by Kidman. The four Superstars traded high-impact maneuvers back and forth, going for quick covers, with no one finding success.

Watch Rey Mysterio's career highlights

Unsurprisingly, the match moved outside the ring fairly quickly. In rapid succession, Akio hit a corkscrew dive, Mysterio springboarded onto his foes, followed by Nunzio crashing and burning on an attempted dive when everyone moved out of his way. The tenacious Italian grappler recovered, though, catching Kidman with a devastating DDT off the top rope to earn the title opportunity.

3

Daniel Bryan vs. Jamie Noble – Jan. 12, 2003

Daniel Bryan and Jamie Noble go one-on-one.

Long before he set out to prove that he wasn’t the weak link of Team Hell No, Daniel Bryan wanted to prove that he was worthy of being a WWE Superstar. Then known as Bryan Danielson, the future World Heavyweight Champion impressed WWE officials with accolades earned in rings around the world.

Watch Bryan capture the World Heavyweight Title

His stacked resume earned him a match on Velocity with one of WWE’s premier mat technicians, Jamie Noble. As the announcers noted that Bryan was trained by Shawn Michaels, Noble grew increasingly aggressive with the rookie repeatedly escaping his holds. Bryan showed that he had as much fire, unleashing his mean streak as he struck Noble.

Unfortunately for Bryan, his aggression was ultimately his undoing. Noble countered his attempt at a roaring elbow into a vicious spinning neckbreaker, which was enough for the win. He didn’t get the win, but Bryan impressed WWE officials enough to get an invite back to Velocity one month later.

2

Paul London vs. Akio – Dec. 4, 2004

Paul London faces Akio in what was one of the greatest matches ever on WWE Velocity.

If there was an award given to the MVP of WWE Velocity, Paul London would definitely be one of the top nominees.

Some of London’s most acclaimed bouts came during a series of matches against Akio that took place on Velocity in 2004 and 2005. Their first encounter was particularly memorable for its frantic pace. After a brief feeling-out period following the opening bell, the two aerial artists refused to let up.

London’s willingness to risk his body nearly cost him, as he got caught in the ropes while trying to counter one of Akio’s attacks. His landing was so nasty that it caused Josh Mathews to let out an expletive on commentary.

It was only natural that the bout reached its apex on the top rope. London won the tussle, shoving Akio off. A dazed Akio stumbled right back into London’s path, as the highflier dove from the top and planted him with a vicious DDT for the win.

1

Rey Mysterio vs. Jamie Noble – May 1, 2004

Rey Mysterio and Jamie Noble go one-on-one.

WWE Velocity was often a showcase for SmackDown’s Cruiserweight division. There was no better example of this than when Rey Mysterio took on Jamie Noble in May 2004.

Noble did everything he could to keep The Master of The 619 grounded, utilizing a plethora of holds and grappling techniques. Mysterio, though, showed off his unparalleled speed, using it to slip out of Noble’s grasp. Rey’s offense would be short-lived, ending when Noble contorted his body into a unique position, resulting in a maneuver that nearly snapped Mysterio’s arm.

Watch Mysterio in championship matches

Noble continued working over Rey’s injured limb, ultimately trying to end the bout with an armbar. Mysterio valiantly fought out, though Noble was still on the offensive. The masked marvel, however, was able to reverse Noble’s Tiger Bomb attempt, leaving his foe in perfect position for the 619. Picking up the victory was academic for Mysterio after that. The WWE Universe was on its feet screaming as he covered Noble for the three count.

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