It’s been an entire year, and now we can finally focus on which match was the one that blew people away the most. The slight twist on The Chairshot: Match of the Year will be, the personalities will vote for a Top 5, and from there, the poles will be open to everyone until the end of the year. So the first Match of the Year article of 2018, will name the winner and go back to our established weekly format.
The match that won November was Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream at NXT Takeover War Games. So the list is finalized, let’s see what we’re working with.
Match of the Year Candidates:
- AJ Styles vs “The Demon King” Finn Balor – WWE TLC
- AJ Styles vs John Cena — WWE Royal Rumble
- The Usos vs The New Day — WWE Hell in a Cell
- Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada II — NJPW Dominion
- Kazuchika Okada vs Minoru Suzuki -NJPW New Beginning: Sapporo
- Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada — NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11
- Kushida vs Will Ospreay — NJPW Best of the Super Juniors
- Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega — NJPW G1 Finals
- Tetsuya Naito vs Tomohiro Ishii — NJPW King of Pro Wrestling
- Kento Miyahara vs Shuji Ishikawa — AJPW 45th Anniversary Show
- Eli Drake vs Johnny Impact — GFW Victory Road
- Motor City Machine Guns vs The Young Bucks — ROH Death before Dishonor
- Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Brian Cage — NOAH Summer Navigation
- Eddie Edwards vs Naomichi Marufuji — NOAH Great Voyage 2017 in Yokohama Vol 2
- Pete Dunne vs Tyler Bate — NXT Takeover Chicago
- Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream – NXT Takeover War Games
Now most of the major promotions do have a dog in the fight, as well as a couple lesser known companies. That’s kind of important since wrestling is at it’s most accessible and WWE isn’t really the only game in town anymore. So with that said I’ll put in my two cents for the Top 5:
1. Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada II @ NJPW Dominion
Okada and Omega put NJPW on the map to a larger percentage of wrestling fans after the Wrestle Kingdom 11 match, but this match added a nice step. Not only was it a 60 minute Broadway, it was the Champion Okada challenging Omega because he felt that Omega outshone him in the match and had something to prove. Even though this only helped to further establish Omega’s fame, it hinted nicely towards a humbling for Okada and even being undefeated in title defenses, this opened up a small struggle that he had to work through for the last 3 weeks of the G1 while making Okada look his most vulnerable in a long time. So the story it told, on top of what it did for both men the rest of the year, is why it’s my number 1.
2. Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Brian Cage @ NOAH Summer Navigation
This match was surprising, and that’s primarily why I rank it so high. Nakajima is very good with numerous wins over established amazing talent, but Brian Cage was impressive. Most people are familiar with his work from Lucha Underground, and he wrestled a totally different style during this match than his character in LU. More high flying, a number of seemless transtions between power moves and speed moves… this was kind of a coming out for Brian Cage to the grander scope of people. I know this match is on Youtube, use the search bar and you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
3. Kazuchika Okada vs Minoru Suzuki @ NJPW New Beginning: Sapporo
Coming off of his “6 Star” classic with Omega, there weren’t too many people who could follow that act. But to be fair, at this point in the year, I enjoyed this match more than Omega vs Okada I. This had a good balance of Suzuki-Gun interference and outside weapon usage and Suzuki’s brutal strikes and submission wrestling. At one point in this match Suzuki had Okada tied up in different holds for about 5 minutes straight and it looked like he was slowly dissecting the champion. This told a great story with the returning Suzuki-Gun attacking Chaos at New Years rush, which lead up to making this match happen. This brought out a different side of Okada and showed the early resolve the champion had before he had an entire year of super human resiliency.
4. The Usos vs The New Day @ WWE Hell in a Cell
This ended their feud beautifully. It had numerous brutal spots with weapons and utilizing the cage in innovative ways, in conjunction with great spots like when Big E did the STO off the apron and Xavier slid down in time to get his knees up for a devastating looking combination move. Brutal without needing to be bloody, showed how much both teams wanted the belts since they were all beat down unmercifully, and the Usos just wanted it a little more. As for story telling, the 3 months of matches leading to it was filled with the best tag matches since Edge & Christian vs Hardy Boyz vs Team 3D. Then from there we saw the Smackdown Tag Division open up nicely, a creation of a new team, new debut, it was all very nice since the division felt very weak before this point.
5. Motor City Machine Guns vs The Young Bucks @ ROH Death before Dishonor
Now it’s no secret I’m not a fan of The Young Bucks since 85% of their matches are all spots and no story. But this match was a culmination of 8 years of bad blood. Going back to TNA when the Bucks were known as Generation Me, the Guns had their number in the few matches the Bucks had in TNA. So the Guns wanted to prove they still had it since they were never ROH Tag Champions and the Young Bucks were trying to prove they were a much different team than back in 2009. The match was paced well, both teams got in most of their stuff but then The Addiction tried to interfere. This was nice cause it was a small coalition between the Guns and Bucks to take out The Addiction with a two Indy Takers from mixed partners. That may seem dumb to some, but it got across that they respected one another, they just each had something to prove. It was one of the better stories The Young Bucks have ever told in the ring.
Well, now that I’m done babbling about my choices, it’s time to wait and see how the rest of The Chairshot personalities vote. Next week we’ll see a Top 5 for the Match of the Year.
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Top 5: WWE Raw Superstars That Should Go To Smackdown In 2018
The brand split has given us two distinct rosters with their own faults. While both shows could stand to mix the rosters up, today we look at five Raw superstars that should come to Smackdown Live within the next year.
5. Apollo Crews (Titus Brand)
Since coming to RAW, Crews was able to find a mentor in Titus O’neil, and did get a few wins under his belt. With Reigns and Lesnar holding both singles titles, the best opportunity for gold lies with the tag team championships, and that doesn’t seem probable at this point. A switch to Smackdown Live, not only for Crews, but Titus Brand, would open up opportunities. Smackdown’s tag team division is the best it has been in a while, and with a new U.S. champion getting crowned Crews can be a viable challenger for the victor.
With both Asuka and Paige top contenders for Alexa Bliss’ Woman’s Championship, and Sasha and Nia waiting in the wings, Bayley doesn’t have much she can do. Smackdown Live’s Woman’s division is in need of new competition, with Becky Lynch and Ruby Riott being the freshest competitors to challenge Charlotte. Reports are coming out that WWE is giving up on Bayley, but a switch to the blue show could open up
3. Samoa Joe
Unless he wins the Intercontinental Championship, there doesn’t seem to be anything for Samoa Joe to do on RAW until Roman eventually gets the Universal Championship. Even then the likely candidate to be a worthy challenge to the Big Dog is Braun Strowman. A move to Smackdown Live would give the main event scene a big player heading into WrestleMania and could provide for some memorable dream matches. Joe is one of the few NXT call-ups that still has a good bit of his aura still intact, but moving to SmackdownLive could provide much more prominent role.
2. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel
While a trade to the blue brand might not do much for the Miztourage, a change of scenery could do them justice. Bo and Axe are two talents most fans believe to be underutilized, as Axel is the son of Curt Henning and Bo is a former NXT Champion. The Smackdown Live tag division is flourishing at the moment, and while the two may not be challenging for the titles, at least Harper and Rowan can have another team to destroy outside of Breezango.
1. Finn Balor
Like Joe, Balor will have to wait a while before getting the chance at one of the two singles titles on Monday nights. A plethora of challengers awaits Roman Reigns with both his I.C. and Universal Championships, and while Balor could be one of those challengers, it is unlikely he will take one of them. A brand change could open up a possible run at AJ Styles, as Balor has a victory over him. Not to mention, like Joe, the plentiful amount of dream matches that could come of this.
Official Rundown: The Chairshot 2017 Match of the Year
All of the voting is done, and we finally know the winner of the Inaugural Chairshot Match of the Year. We’d like to thank everyone who participated across multiple groups, we saw a total of 400 people express their opinion in the results. Each of the five matches brought something a little different to the table, and in most groups we had a difference of merely 3 or 4 votes between first and second place. However, one group tipped the scales significantly for the match that ended up winning.
So let’s see where each of the Top 5 ended up in the final rankings:
(t) 5th – The Usos vs The New Day – WWE Hell in a Cell – 17 votes
While many people enjoyed this match, the in ring quality wasn’t quite up to par with the other options, as well as people preferring one of the other matches between these two teams. Given the year both teams had, and how The Usos are most people’s tag team of the year…tying for 5th in this vote isn’t really an insult.
(t) 5th – Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Brian Cage – NOAH Summer Navigation – 17 votes
This match suffered from the lack of overall exposure to the general crowd. Brian Cage’s popularity in Lucha Underground helped to put this on some people’s radar but, Japanese companies not named New Japan still have issues garnering more fans. This match showcased a lot of Brian Cage’s ability not seen on Lucha Underground. So the fact it at least tied for 5th, instead of getting no traction, is a small testament for word of mouth still doing work in the social media age.
3rd – John Cena vs AJ Styles – WWE Royal Rumble – 56 votes
The WWE’s Match of the Year, finishes third, with a respectable number of votes. A very good match for WWE standards, had the uphill battle of following Wrestle Kingdom 11, and put up a good fight. Cena ties Ric Flair’s record 16 Heavyweight Title reigns with this match, but it sadly didn’t measure up to the caliber of our top two matches this year.
2nd – Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne – NXT Takeover: Chicago – 91 votes
When this match ended and Meltzer’s ratings gave it less than 5 Stars, the internet wrestling community collectively lost their minds. NXT as a brand is highly beloved since it’s basically the WWE’s version of a Indy promotion, with better production values. The match was quite good and even won the vote in a few of the groups we extended the poll into. Definitely a well deserved Top 5 entrant, but still fell to the match that won over many critics and decisively won our vote.
1st – Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega – NJPW Dominion – 219 votes
Was there really any doubt? These two have put on enough classic matches this year to basically have a Top 10 of matches just including them. Not only did this match surpass their first bout, which was Kim Kardashian’s backside levels of breaking the internet, it immediately drew comparisons to Steamboat vs Flair thanks to the 60 Minute Broadway, which isn’t seen often, much less for the Heavyweight Championship. Regardless of where you lie on your feelings between the best match of the trilogy, or what trilogy is the best, or who the better wrestler is, the main fact is; without these matches capturing your interest, you wouldn’t have a basis for argument in the first place.
This vote caps off 2017 nicely as the year of New Japan. It became more visible to the public even before Jericho’s announcement and gives fans a plausible number 2 to try to rally behind. Would it be nice to see WWE step up their game a little? Yes it would, but it probably won’t happen yet. Should you be hopping on the Japanese Wrestling Hype Train and look into NOAH, Dragon Gate and All Japan? Definitely yes, at times those three companies put on matches that were better than New Japan and have stars that can easily compete with your favorites in NJPW.
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