Mathew brings you the next set in his 25 Best Matches of 2018! What filled 15-11?
Welcome back to our countdown for the Top 25 Matches of 2018 and thank you so much for following the list that I have been providing for you guys during this time. We’ve already done ten matches and now have fifteen more to go, and if you’re just tuning in and like to see the previous two before continuing on, there’s links down below before you read this next set of five matches. I’m sure you guys are pretty impatient, so let’s not waste anyone’s time and just get right to the next five.
15. Masashi Takeda vs. Isami Kodaka (BJW at Korakuen Hall 6/20/2018)
I’ll be one to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of death matches due to the fact that most promotions would just do certain spots with weapons just because with little to no substance. Big Japan Wrestling, however, usually provides some great death match wrestling along with FREEDOMS as they would give us stories on top of what they give us with this type of wrestling. Masashi Takeda is someone I consider one of the best when it comes to this type of wrestling of the modern era due to the fact that he can wrestle on top of doing death matches and has that genuine charisma.
This is my first time seeing Isami Kodaka wrestling and he kinda reminded me of a young Marufuji with his kicks and was quite impressive in the ring. Both of these men delivered an incredible match with having proper use of the weapons in the match and actually incorporating crisp wrestling action to go on top of it. Takeda would retain the Death Match Heavyweight Championship after a brutal and bloody battle. If you’re into this type of wrestling, then this one is definitely for you and if you’re someone that’s not too much into it, then I still think it’s worth watching since it has that perfect balance of both styles unlike CZW.
14. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano (NXT Takeover: Brooklyn 4 8/18/2018)
A rivalry that has been developed in 2017 when Tommaso Ciampa attacked Johnny Gargano after losing their Ladder Match against AoP. Ciampa would unfortunately need to have surgery and the rivalry would be put on hold until he would make his return in 2018, attacking Gargano to pick up right where they left off.
These two men would have a trilogy of matches for the NXT Takeover shows as they main evented each of those three shows with Gargano winning New Orleans, Ciampa winning Chicago, and our conclusion which would take place at Brooklyn. Originally it would involve these two and Aleister Black in a triple threat match, but injuries would sideline Black to make it a one on one match to end the rivalry. This is definitely the year for Last Man Standing Matches since this is the third one on here, about time they get some exposure. All three matches were great in their own right but to me this one was the best way to close out the rivalry. Ciampa would win in the most clever way possible to give it that much more emotion for Gargano that he could’ve had the win but Ciampa still found a way and solidified himself as a main eventer.
13. Jordan Devlin vs. WALTER (OTT WrestleRama 2 8/18/2018)
Who doesn’t love a good underdog or David/Goliath story if done right? If I had to pick one for this year, I would tell people to watch WALTER vs. Jordan Devlin as my choice. This has been an incredible year for WALTER as he’s been turning a lot of heads with his performance and the brutality he gives to his opponents no matter how big or small they are. Jordan is someone I wasn’t completely sold on until I saw this match and the potential he has in the ring.
This was also my first time watching Over The Top Wrestling, which is a promotion based around Ireland and this was a great first recommendation. Jordan played a great underdog in the match and the crowd was electric for him too and there were times in the match that made me believe he was actually going to defeat WALTER. WALTER would eventually be too much for Jordan and added another title to his collection. If you’re also new to OTT, then this match I would check out for a good starter.
12. Shingo Takagi vs. Shuji Ishikawa (AJPW Champions Carnival 4/29/2018)
About time All Japan makes their way to the list and it starts off with my favorite tournament of the year, the Champions Carnival. I was covering A Block which had guys like Shingo Takagi, Yuji Hino, Shuji Ishikawa, Kento Miyahara, and Joe Doering and the majority of my block matches had incredible bouts that I believe is a great starting point for people that wanted to get into All Japan. On the final day of my block, Shingo Takagi and Shuji Ishikawa would face off and this match was a fantastic way to end the A Block.
For me, this whole tournament made me wish Shingo signed with All Japan instead of New Japan because he would fit in perfectly with All Japan if they wanted to have a new star for the top of the ladder nd just seeing his matches here showed he did belong there. I also do understand that he wanted to wrestle with a bigger company on a bigger stage, so I wish Shingo the best of luck all the same. Both of these men delivered with amazing wrestling and the crowd being excited from beginning to end. The one takeaway I would have is that I wish Shingo would win this match to advance to the finals against Marufuji to finally get that dream match people wanted to see, but still a fantastic match that should be viewed by everyone that loves professional wrestling.
11. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2018 5/4/2018)
What can you say about these two in the ring together? One of the greatest stories in Japanese wrestling for this generation would rekindle with a new trilogy after being separate from each other for a couple of years. This match had much more at stake than just being the number one guy in the company, but this was also Tanahashi defending his legacy as Kazuchika Okada was tied for most successful title defenses during this reign and if Okada wanted break that record, he would have to defeat the man that holds that record himself, Hiroshi Tanahashi.
The match was super important to both of these men, especially Tanahashi who was trying to keep his legacy intact while still showing that he still has what it takes to be the top guy in the company again no matter how banged up he was. The match was so emotional that the audience were on the edges of their seats as each minute would go on and you would even see some of the fans tearing up, that shows you how much Tanahashi still means to these people after all he’s given to them over the years. Okada would defeat his rival once again to break the record and had another classic under their belt. They would also fight at the G1 Climax where they would end in a draw but Tanahashi still won since he had more points, and they would fight at the Destruction tours with Tanahashi getting a victory over Okada and the last time he pinned him was at Wrestle Kingdom 9. All three of these matches were incredible and I wish I could put them all into this one number, but the one at Dontaku takes it due to the story and what was at stake. I would still watch all three of them regardless as they can never have a bad match together.
Thank you guys for reading and I hope you guys enjoyed reading this set of matches as we now reach our top ten, starting tomorrow. Who will be in our next set of matches? Well, you’re gonna have to find out about the next five tomorrow. See you guys till next time!
Chris King: One More Spear and Jackhammer for Goldberg?
After his WWE Super ShowDown with The Undertaker wasn’t well received, is there room for Goldberg to have more “proper sendoff” to end his career?
By now you’ve heard the troubling news that during Goldberg and The Undertaker’s first-ever-match something went terribly awry; Goldberg smashed his head square into the ring-post, instantly he began bleeding profusely and was knocked out. What followed was extremely hard to watch; several signature maneuvers were horribly botched, and I was 100% concerned for both superstars’s health and well-being. This is not what we hoped would occur, and this should not be the last image of Goldberg that we witness in WWE.
There was speculation that Undertaker was furious at Goldberg for his performance that appeared absurd to me; how could Undertaker a locker room leader held in such high respect get into a screaming match backstage? On top of that there was also rumblings about Vince McMahon the CEO of WWE, was fuming, and had to break things up between the legends. He apparently told both superstars they were finished wrestling careers were over.
Thankfully the rumors were quickly refuted by not only WWE officials who were in Saudi Arabia, and TalkSport’s Alex McCarthy, and Mike Johnson on PWINSIDER.
Goldberg has admitted he was knocked out during his match with Undertaker at #WWESSD and that is why the final minutes were what they were.
Undertaker was angry with how the match went, but reports suggesting things got heated backstage with Goldberg aren't true, I'm told.
— Alex McCarthy (@AlexM_talkSPORT) June 8, 2019
Mike Johnson confirmed that after chatting with WWE officials he can confirm that after the bout Goldberg was too weak to muster up the energy to engage in a heated altercation.
Johnson said: “I have not heard one person with any legitimacy claim this as being true. In fact, when I asked about that rumor, it was quickly shot down by those who were actually in Saudi Arabia, so I tend to think that story is 100% fiction.”
Goldberg the WCW veteran was last seen in the squared circle on the Post-Mania-Raw, twenty-four hours after dropping the Universal championship to Brock Lesnar. The WWE Universe gave him a standing ovation for his love for the business throughout his illustrious twenty-year pro wrestling career.
Goldberg has battled some of the biggest wrestlers in WWE; The Rock was his first feud after his arrival in 2003 at the Backlash pay per view, followed by his almost year-long rivalry with HHH and “Evolution” where he won the World Heavyweight championship. He finished his initial run in the company in 2004 in a “Battle of Behemoths” with Lesnar. In 2019, there are many new powerhouses since he left the company in 2004. Below I will be listing the 5 Potential Opponents for his final match in WWE.
5 Best-Suited Opponents For The Final Goldberg Match
5. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar toppled Goldberg for-the-first-time in his WWE career at WrestleMania 33; after a humiliating loss at 2016 Survivor Series, in a “Shocking” one minute and twenty-seven seconds. This was Goldberg’s first official match in WWE in twelve years; the two powerhouses have had a total of three encounters, they have manifested a buzz that surpassed all the other matches on the pay per view card. Despite the fact that Goldberg and Lesnar faced in each other only two years ago, it doesn’t rule out the possibility that Goldberg won’t come back for retribution. While this contest in the past has not been well-received by the WWE Universe, there’s still a sliver of a chance these Titans’ will go to war one final time.
With Lesnar as “The Beast in the Bank” his adversary could once again cost him the Universal or WWE Championship cash-in; reminiscent to 2004 No Way Out pay per view where Eddie Guerrero was challenging Lesnar for his WWE championship, and Goldberg (who had been given a front row ticket by Raw commissioner Stone Cold Steve Austin). He would then deliver a “Devastating” spear to cost Lesnar his championship, which led to their first clash at WrestleMania XX. Goldberg could cost Lesnar his opportunity and the two competitors could then revisit this hard-hitting personal rivalry.
4. Bobby Lashley
It’s still surreal to me that these two powerhouses have never crossed paths in both of their WWE tenures. Bobby Lashley returned to WWE after making an “Impact” (Pun intended) on the Raw after Mania 34. Despite being the fan-favorite to dethrone Lesnar at 2018 SummerSlam, Lashley was upset by Roman Reigns who eventually captured the Universal Championship. Goldberg vs. Lashley will still be a “Big Money” match that will put butts in seats and sell out arenas. This the kind of “once in a lifetime” physical confrontation contrary to Rock/Cena at WrestleMania 28 that people from all over the world would tune in to watch. The WWE Network could see a “massive” increase in subscriptions, and the weeks leading up to their collision we would most certainly be a pull-apart brawl and someone could likely to be taken to jail.
3. Goldberg vs. Lars Sullivan
“The Freak” Lars Sullivan has been leaving a pile of bodies on his path of destruction since his arrival on Monday nights. Currently, he’s annihilating the Lucha House Party, but after he’s finished bullying smaller wrestlers “,” Sullivan is going to be hungry for “Real” competition. Enter Goldberg. This wouldn’t do much for the WCW titan but it sure would be a “Huge” rub for the recent draftee. Sullivan was penciled into battle John Cena at WrestleMania 35 “,” but due to health reasons, it never happened. This victory over a legend of this caliber could catapult “The Freak” to the top of the food-chain in WWE.
2. Braun Strowman
To say “The Monster Among Men” has been mistreated would only be the tip of the iceberg. Strowman was the “Hottest” wrestler in 2017 with his horror-themed assaults on Roman Reigns. Unfortunately for Strowman, his name wasn’t “Roman Reigns” and despite his best efforts he never captured the Universal Championship.
Strowman was on a path of destruction until he went toe-to-toe with Universal champion Lesnar at 2017 No Mercy; in what should have been his coronation as the next champion, Strowman was crushed within a matter of minutes. Last year at WWE Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia he was heavily-favored to walk out with the vacated Universal championship; and instead WWE thought it was wise to start a lengthy program with Baron Corbin (who clocked Strowman in the back of the head with the title), and Lesnar dropped “The Monster Among Men” with 5 F5’s to start a second title-reign with the Universal championship. To say Strowman deserves a “Monumental” win would be a HUGE UNDERSTATEMENT!
1. Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns
The announcement of this match is enough buzz to sell-out WrestleMania 36. “The Big Dog” Roman Reigns has done it all in his short eight-year career, some accomplishments other wrestlers only dream to achieve. He defeated the seemingly-unbeatable Undertaker in his second loss in decades. Reigns is a Grand-slam champion, a three-time WWE Champion and former Universal Champion. Ever since the two crossed paths on the road to WrestleMania 33; and delivered a double-spear to Strowman on January 12, 2017, I believe this dream match has been quietly penciled in. Now that there may be “One More Match” for Goldberg before he calls it quits, this is the only true contest!
Rob: Let’s Talk About Shane McMahon
He’s the Best In The World!
Shane McMahon is a hot topic among WWE fans, and Rob is here to chime in on the rumors that Shane could become WWE Champion in 2019.
Yeah, it’s time to talk about the Best in the World Shane McMahon. Shane has become a real thorn in the side of many on wrestling twitter and not in the way that Vince intended. A lot of you guys don’t like the amount of TV time he gets (even I’ll admit that this week was a bit much), don’t like that he got a win over Roman Reigns at Super Showdown (I don’t either but so long as things play out the right way in the end I’m willing to see it as a needed piece of a bigger story), and really got nuts when the NEWZ sites starting ‘reporting’ rumors that he may become WWE World Champion down the line. Some of you guys are even threatening that you’re done if it happens, and I believe you this time. And this all makes me wonder if certain aspects of wrestling storytelling are just not viable in 2019 anymore. Because this is the kind of thing that would have been a layup for mega heat back in the day but now seems to only result in scorn towards the bookers, or in this case Vince, from a lot of you guys for even considering it.
Now I can’t tell you guys what to like or not like, but there are a lot of times when I see the takes being thrown around on Twitter and wonder if I’m watching the same TV show that you guys are. I also wonder, often out loud and in this space, just what it is some of you guys want. Because I see people complain about emotional investment but from my earliest days as a fan one of the quickest ways to get emotional investment was to do something that would make people angry. But it seems like in 2019 way too many people on Wrestling Twitter don’t ever want to get angry, and take that as a crime committed by Vince McMahon and not a storytelling piece. And I don’t know how you rectify that.
Who knew this would lead us to “The Best In The World,” Shane McMahon???
By my estimation, someone like Shane McMahon getting the title is perfect for the ‘You Deserve It’ era, because he obviously doesn’t deserve it. And to win it dirty off of someone like Kofi Kingston who toiled for 11 years to just get a chance to win it should be a heat magnet. But instead all I see is that it’s bad booking, that it’s a sign that Vince hates the fans and needs to go, etc. So again I have to ask just what is it that some of you guys are looking for? Heels are part of wrestling, and heels have to prevail sometimes. A lot of you guys won’t boo Kevin Owens no matter low he stoops in turning on or assaulting people. And one of the few guys who gets booed from the crowd because the people there don’t like him, Baron Corbin, gets ripped every day by ‘smart’ fans for being a bad choice to even put on television.
Maybe I’m out of date here but for me part of having heels is that at least every now and then something has to happen that you don’t want. The people you root for have to lose, the people who should be champion have to be denied, somebody has to do something that you find to be beyond the pale, etc. And it can’t just happen when you expect it or are ready for it, it has to happen at a time when you aren’t ready for it to get the maximum effect so that you’ll get angry enough at the perpetrators to want to see them get their comeuppance. But it seems that getting mad at the characters is a bridge too far on Wrestling Twitter, that the point of a heel is to get shout outs on Twitter for ‘good heel work’, and that anything or anyone that you find truly loathsome is now grounds to change the channel. Thus the constant ‘Corbin has go away heat’ takes on Twitter. Where I’m from Go Away Heat meant ‘can somebody please come out and get this guy outta here? and not ‘why is he on my TV, what else is on?’
I mentioned before that we’re in the ‘You Deserve It’ era, and what I mean by that is that a lot of ‘smart’ fans are judging what they watch based who’s in it and whether or not they ‘deserve’ to be there. And deserving it is almost entirely based on their personal career journey or perceived skill level. Workrate guys and gals deserve it, as do those who went down some long, grueling road to get there. Even if they’re playing a heel some of us cheer them based on how good they are in the ring or what they had to go through to get there, while on the flip side anyone who doesn’t meet our technical standards or didn’t suffer enough should be relegated to supporting roles or just removed from our television altogether. The fastest way to get someone booed now it seems is for ‘smart’ fans to find out that they didn’t have to struggle hard enough (by their measures) to get a big spot. Hell, we just had a WrestleMania main event where the winner’s whole elevation came despite acting like a heel because the personal career story of the woman behind the character was deemed more important than the actions of her character on screen.
So now back to Shane. If you can’t get some people to boo heels over sneak attacks, cheating to win (don’t get me started on the whole ‘heels are fine but they shouldn’t cheat too much’ takes I’ve seen…..smh), etc. and the thing some fans get most consistently upset about is whether or not the ‘most deserving’ people are in the right places, then putting someone in the highest position who absolutely does not deserve it seems like an inevitable choice. I’m not telling you that you’re not a real fan if you don’t like it, but I am telling you that there is some very sound logic behind it if they go that route. And all the arguments against it – that Shane is not a full time wrestler, that he’s the boss’s son, etc – seem to me like just more reason to go ahead and do it.
Anyhow……until next week, everyone.