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Mathew’s Top Matches of 2019: Honorable Mentions

Mathew brings us over 250 honorable mentions. Another action packed year, if these just missed the cut, what made his Top 25?

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It’s around that time of year again where all of us write down our top matches of the year.

Just like last year, I would do my honorable mentions first before I do my actual countdown. It’s been a great year for professional wrestling and too many great matches but I can, unfortunately, pick 25 as my favorites.

Down below will be a list of matches from various promotions and which ones I enjoyed but didn’t make the cut. If you don’t see a certain match on here, that means that it either made it to my list, I didn’t get a chance to watch it, or just I didn’t like it.

These are my honorable mentions, in no particular order.

WWE:

  1. Pete Dunne vs. Joe Coffey (NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool 1/12/2019)
  2. Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet (NXT Takeover: Phoenix 1/26/2019)
  3. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Aleister Black (NXT Takeover: Phoenix 1/26/2019)
  4. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble 1/27/2019)
  5. AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan (Royal Rumble 1/27/2019)
  6. Velveteen Dream vs. Johnny Gargano (NXT 1/30/2019)
  7. AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton vs. Samoa Joe (Smackdown 2/12/2019)
  8. Akira Tozawa vs. Buddy Murphy (Elimination Chamber 2/17/2019)
  9. AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton vs. Samoa Joe (Elimination Chamber 2/17/2019)
  10. Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali (Fastlane 3/10/2019)
  11. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream (NXT 3/13/2019)
  12. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (Smackdown 3/26/2019)
  13. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Harper (Worlds Collide 4/4/2019)
  14. Matt Riddle vs. Velveteen Dream (NXT Takeover: New York 4/5/2019)
  15. WALTER vs. Pete Dunne (NXT Takeover: New York 4/5/2019)
  16. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (NXT Takeover: New York 4/5/2019)
  17. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton (Wrestlemania 35 4/7/2019)
  18. Tony Neese vs. Buddy Murphy (205 Live 4/9/2019)
  19. Buddy Murphy vs. Velveteen Dream (NXT 4/17/2019)
  20. AJ Styles vs. Seth Rollins (Money in the Bank 5/19/2019)
  21. Roderick Strong vs. Matt Riddle (NXT Takeover: XXV 6/1/2019)
  22. Chad Gable vs. Gentleman Jack Gallagher (205 Live 6/11/2019)
  23. Io Shirai vs. Shayna Baszler (NXT 6/12/2019)
  24. Chad Gable vs. Gentleman Jack Gallagher (205 Live 7/16/2019)
  25. Candice LaRae vs. Io Shirai (NXT Takeover: Toronto 8/10/2019)
  26. Pete Dunne vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong (NXT Takeover: Toronto 8/10/2019)
  27. Ricochet vs. AJ Styles (Summerslam 8/11/2019)
  28. Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar (Summerslam 8/11/2019)
  29. Roman Reigns vs. Buddy Murphy (Smackdown 8/13/2019)
  30. Daniel Bryan vs. Buddy Murphy (Smackdown 8/20/2019)
  31. Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews vs. James Drake & Zack Gibson vs. Mark Coffey & Wolfgang (NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff
  32. 8/31/2019)
  33. Baron Corbin vs. Chad Gable (Raw 9/16/2019)
  34. Adam Cole vs. Matt Riddle (NXT 10/2/2019)
  35. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks (Hell in a Cell 10/6/2019)
  36. KUSHIDA vs. WALTER (NXT 10/9/2019)
  37. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee vs. Roderick Strong (10/23/2019)
  38. Adam Cole vs. Daniel Bryan (Smackdown 11/1/2019)
  39. Angel Garza vs. Lio Rush (NXT 11/13/2019)
  40. Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson (NXT 11/20/2019)
  41. Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong vs. Dominik Dijakovic, Keith Lee, Kevin Owens & Tommaso Ciampa (NXT Takeover: Wargames 11/23/2019)
  42. Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, Kay Lee Ray & Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Rhea Ripley & Tegan Nox (NXT Takeover: Wargames 11/23/2019)
  43. Braun Strowman, King Corbin, Mustafa Ali, Roman Reigns & Shorty G vs. Damian Priest, Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, Tommaso Ciampa & WALTER vs. Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Randy Orton, Ricochet & Seth Rollins (Survivor Series 11/24/2019)
  44. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Roderick Strong (Survivor Series 11/24/2019)
  45. Adam Cole vs. Pete Dunne ( Survivor Series11/24/2019)
  46. Angel Garza vs. Lio Rush (NXT 12/11/2019)
  47. Humberto Carrillo vs. Andrade (TLC 12/15/2019)
  48. Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy (TLC 12/15/2019)
  49. Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole (NXT 12/18/2019)
  50. Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler (NXT 12/18/2019)

NJPW:

  1. Will Ospreay vs. Kota Ibushi (Wrestle Kingdom 13 1/4/2019)
  2. Tetsuya Naito vs. Chris Jericho (Wrestle Kingdom 13 1/4/2019)
  3. Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada (Wrestle Kingdom 13 1/4/2019)
  4. Taiji Ishimori vs. KUSHIDA Wrestling Kingdom 13 1/4/2019)
  5. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. KUSHIDA (Road to New Beginning 1/29/2019)
  6. Tetsuya Naito vs. Taichi (New Beginning in Sapporo 2/3/2019)
  7. Jay White vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (New Beginning in Osaka (2/11/2019)
  8. Will Ospreay vs. Jay White (47th Anniversary 3/6/2019)
  9. Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Taiji Ishomori (47th Anniversary 3/6/2019)
  10. Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito (New Japan Cup 3/10/2019)
  11. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Taichi (New Japan Cup 3/13/2019)
  12. Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii (New Japan Cup 3/23/2019)
  13. SANADA vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (New Japan Cup 3/23/2019)
  14. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr (G1 Supercard 4/6/2019)
  15. Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito (G1 Supercard 4/6/2019)
  16. Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White (G1 Supercard 4/6/2019)
  17. Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA (Wrestling Dontaku 5/4/2019)
  18. Shingo Takagi vs. SHO (BOSJ 5/13/2019)
  19. Rocky Romero vs. Will Ospreay (BOSJ 5/16/2019)
  20. Will OSpreay vs. El Phantasmo (BOSJ 5/22/2019)
  21. Dragon Lee vs. Shingo Takagi (BOSJ 5/23/2019)
  22. Will Ospreay vs. Bandido (BOSJ5/23/2019)
  23. Rocky Romero vs. El Phantasmo (BOSJ 5/24/2019)
  24. Will Ospreay vs. Robbie Eagles (BOSJ 5/26/2019)
  25. Taiji Ishimori vs. Shingo Takagi (BOSJ 5/31/2019)
  26. Will Ospreay vs. Ryusuke Taguchi (BOSJ 6/3/2019)
  27. Jon Moxley vs. Juice Robinson (BOSJ 6/5/2019)
  28. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White (BOSJ 6/5/2019)
  29. Shingo Takagi vs. Satoshi Kojima (Dominion 6/9/2019)
  30. Will Ospreay vs. Dragon Lee (Dominion 6/9/2019)
  31. Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito (Dominion 6/9/2019)
  32. Will Ospreay vs. Robbie Eagles (Southern Showdown 6/29/2019)
  33. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax 7/6/2019)
  34. Zack Sabre Jr vs. SANADA (G1 Climax 7/6/2019)
  35. Will Ospreay vs. Lance Archer (G1 Climax 7/6/2019)
  36. Jay White vs. Hirooki Goto (G1 Climax 7/13/2019)
  37. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Jeff Cobb (G1 Climax 7/13/2019)
  38. Shingo Takagi vs. Juice Robinson (G1 Climax 7/13/2019)
  39. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. KENTA (G1 Climax 7/14/2019)
  40. Kota Ibushi vs. EVIL (G1 Climax 7/14/2019)
  41. Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr (G1 Climax 7/14/2019)
  42. Will Ospreay vs. SANADA (G1 Climax 7/14/2019)
  43. Jay White vs. Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax 7/15/2019)
  44. Will Ospreay vs. Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax 7/18/2019)
  45. EVIL vs. SANADA (G1 Climax 7/18/2019)
  46. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Jon Moxley (G1 Climax 7/19/2019)
  47. Shingo Takagi vs. Taichi (G1 Climax 7/19/2019)
  48. Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay (G1 Climax 7/20/2019)
  49. Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax 7/24/2019)
  50. Jon Moxley vs. Shingo Takagi (G1 Climax 7/24/2019)
  51. Lance Archer vs. Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax 7/27/2019)
  52. Kazuchika Okada vs. KENTA (G1 Climax 7/27/2019)
  53. Tetsuya Naito vs. Jon Moxley (G1 Climax 7/28/2019)
  54. Jay White vs. Shingo Takagi (G1 Glimax 7/28/2019)
  55. Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr (G1 Climax 7/30/2019)
  56. EVIL vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (G1 Climax 7/30/2019)
  57. Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA (G1 Climax 8/3/2019)
  58. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax 8/3/2019)
  59. Jay White vs. Jon Moxley (G1 Climax 8/4/2019)
  60. Tetsuya Naito vs. Shingo Takagi (G1 Climax 8/4/2019)
  61. Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL (G1 Climax 8/7/2019)
  62. Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr (G1 Climax 8/7/2019)
  63. Will Ospreay vs. KENTA (G1 Climax 8/7/2019)
  64. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Will Ospreay (8/10/2019)
  65. Lance Archer vs. EVIL (G1 Climax 8/10/2019)
  66. Hirooki Goto vs. Shingo Takagi (G1 Climax (8/11/2019)
  67. Taichi vs. Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax 8/11/2019)
  68. Tetsuya Naito vs. Jay White (G1 Climax 8/11/2019)
  69. Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White (G1 Climax 8/12/2019)
  70. Will Ospreay vs. Amazing Red (Super J Cup 8/22/2019)
  71. SHO vs. Will Ospreay (Super J Cup 8/24/2019)
  72. El Phantasmo vs. Dragon Lee (Super J Cup 8/25/2019)
  73. KENTA vs. Tomohiro Ishii (Royal Quest 8/31/2019)
  74. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr (Royal Quest 8/31/2019)
  75. Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki (Royal Quest 8/31/2019)
  76. KENTA vs. Kota Ibushi (Destruction in Kagoshima 9/16/2019)
  77. Hirooki Goto vs. Shingo Takagi (Destruction in Kobe 9/22/2019)
  78. Tetsuya Naito vs. Jay White (Destruction in Kobe 9/22/2019)
  79. Kazuchika Okada & Kota Ibushi vs. EVIL & SANADA (New Japan Road 10/7/2019)
  80. Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Minoru Suzuki (Kings of Pro Wrestling 10/14/2019)
  81. Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA (Kings of Pro Wrestling 10/14/2019)
  82. Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles vs. Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo (Super Junior Tag League 10/16/2019)
  83. KENTA vs. Tomohiro Ishii (Power Struggle 11/3/2019)
  84. Will Ospreay vs. BUSHI (Power Struggle 11/3/2019)
  85. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer vs. Zack Sabre Jr & Taichi (World Tag League 11/17/2019)
  86. EVIL & SANADA vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay (World Tag League 12/8/2019)

AJPW:

  1. Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa vs. Dylan James & Joe Doering (New Years Wars 1/2/2019)
  2. Kento Miyahara vs. KAI (New Years Wars 1/3/2019)
  3. Kento Miyahara vs. Suwama (Excite Series 2/24/2019)
  4. Kento Miyahara vs. Naoya Nomura (Dream Power Series 3/19/2019)
  5. Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa vs. Yuji Okabayashi & Daisuke Sekimoto (Dream Power Series 3/19/2019)
  6. Shuji Ishikawa vs. Yuji Okabayashi (Champion Carnival 4/4/2019)
  7. Yoshitatsu vs. Suwama (Champion Carnival 4/10/2019)
  8. Dylan James vs. Yuji Okabayashi (Champion Carnival 4/20/2019)
  9. Zeus vs. Yuji Okabayashi (Champion Carnival 4/21/2019)
  10. Jake Lee vs. Suwama (Champion Carnival 4/21/2019)
  11. Kento Miyahara vs. Yuji Okabayashi (Champion Carnival 4/25/2019)
  12. Zeus vs. Shuji Ishikawa (Champion Carnival 4/25/2019)
  13. Naoya Nomura vs. Suwama (Champion Carnival 4/28/2019)
  14. Naoya Nomura vs. Jake Lee (Champion Carnival 4/28/2019)
  15. Kento Miyahara vs. Jake Lee (Champion Carnival 4/29/2019)
  16. Kento Miyahara vs. Shuji Ishikawa (Super Power Series 5/20/2019)
  17. Kento Miyahara vs. Yoshitatsu (Dynamite Series 6/30/2019)
  18. Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa vs. Odinson & Parrow (Dynamite Series 6/30/2019)
  19. Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus (Summer Action Series 7/28/2019)
  20. Kento Miyahara, Naomichi Marufuji & Yuma Aoyagi vs. Shuhei Taniguchi, Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama (Atsushi Aoki Memorial 8/11/2019)
  21. Hitoshi Kumano & Naoya Nomura vs. Jun Akiyama & Takashi Sugiura (Atsushi Aoki Memorial 8/11/2019)
  22. Kento Miyahara vs. Jiro Kuroshio (Royal Road Tournament 9/18/2019)
  23. Kento Miyahara vs. Jake Lee (Royal Road Tournament 9/23/2019)
  24. Kento Miyahara & Yuma Aoyagi vs. Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama (Real World Tag Team League 11/11/2019)
  25. Kento Miyahara & Yuma Aoyagi vs. Naoya Nomura & Jake Lee (Real World Tag Team League (12/9/2019)

 

Dragon Gate:

  1. Naruki Doi vs. YAMATO vs. Kzy (Truth Gate 2/5/2019)
  2. Susumu Yokosuka vs. U-T (Dead or Alive 5/6/2019)
  3. Big R Shimizu vs. Kzy vs. Naruki Doi vs. Shun Skywalker vs. YAMATO (Dead or Alive 5/6/2019)
  4. PAC vs. Dragon Kid (Dead or Alive 5/6/2019)
  5. Ben-K vs. YAMATO (King of Gate 5/9/2019)
  6. Shun Skywalker vs. Masaaki Mochizuki (King of Gate 5/9/2019)
  7. Dragon Kid, Masato Yoshino & Ultimo Dragon vs. Masaaki Mochizuki, Shuji Kondo & Takuya Sugawara (Kobe Festival 7/21/2019)
  8. Kzy vs. Shun Skywalker (Kobe Festival 7/21/2019)
  9. Susumu Yokosuka vs. Flamita (Kobe Festival 7/21/2019)
  10. PAC vs. Ben-K (Kobe Festival 7/21/2019)
  11. Big R Shimizu & Eita vs. KAI & YAMATO vs. Kaito Ishida & Naruki Doi (Kobe Festival 7/21/2019)
  12. Susumu Yokosuka vs. Kaito Ishida (Gate of Destiny 11/4/2019)
  13. Ben-K vs. Masato Yoshino (Gate of Destiny 11/4/2019)
  14. Ben-K vs. Naruki Doi (Final Gate 12/15/2019)

NOAH:

  1. Kaito Kiyomiya vs. Kenou (Navigation for the Future 1/6/2019)
  2. Minoru Tanaka vs. Daisuke Harada (Great Voyage in Yokohama 3/10/2019)
  3. Takashi Sugiura vs. Go Shiozaki (Spring Navigation 3/17/2019)
  4. Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Takashi Sugiura & KAZMA SAKAMOTO (Global Tag League 5/4/2019)
  5. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Go Shiozaki (Misawa Memorial 6/9/2019)
  6. Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Takashi Sugiura & KAZMA SAKAMOTO (Global Junior Tag League 6/13/2019)
  7. Kaito Kiyomiya vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (Global Junior Tag League 7/27/2019)
  8. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kotaro Suzuki (Departure 8/4/2019)
  9. Go Shiozaki vs. Alexander Hammerstone (N-1 Victory8/18/2019)
  10. Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Kenou (N-1 Victory 8/29/2019)
  11. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Takashi Sugiura (N-1 Victory 9/7/2019)
  12. Takashi Sugiura vs. Go Shiozaki (N-1 Victory 9/15/2019)
  13. Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Kenou (N-1 Victory 9/15/2019)
  14. Takashi Sugiura vs. Kenou (N-1 Victory 9/16/2019)
  15. Kaito Kiyomiya vs. Kenou (The BEST 11/2/2019)
  16. Shuhei Taniguchi vs. Kazyuki Fujita (The BEST 11/2/2019)
  17. Michael Elgin vs. Takashi Sugiura (The BEST 11/2/2019)
  18. Atsushi Kotoge vs. Daisuke Harada (Starting Over 11/16/2019)
  19. Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Go Shiozaki (Starting Over 12/3/2019)

Stardom:

  1. Kagetsu vs. Jungle Kyona (8th Anniversary 1/14/2019)
  2. Kagetsu vs. Hazuki (8th Anniversary in Osaka 1/27/2019)
  3. Mayu Iwatani vs. Konami (New Years Stars 2/24/2019)
  4. Momo Watanabe vs. Andras Miyagi (Dream Slam 3/28/2019)
  5. Bea Priestley vs. Kagetsu (QQ Produce 5/4/2019)
  6. Arisa Hoshiki vs. Momo Watanabe (Gold May 5/16/2019)
  7. Hazuki vs. Bea Priestley (Gold May 5/16/2019)
  8. Arisa Hoshiki vs. Tam Nakano (Shining Destiny 6/16/2019)
  9. Jungle Kyona & Konami vs. Momo Watanabe & Utami Hayashishita (Big Summer in Nagoya 7/15/2019)
  10. Hazuki vs. Arisa Hoshiki (Big Summer in Tokyo 7/24/2019)
  11. Arisa Hoshiki vs, Jungle Kyona (Stardom x Stardom 8/10/2018)
  12. Momo Watanabe vs. AZM (5Star Grand Prix 9/7/2019)
  13. Mayu Iwatani vs. Tam Nakano (5Star Grand Prix 9/7/2019)
  14. Kagetsu vs. Arisa Hoshiki (Champion Wars 10/14/2019)
  15. Mayu Iwatani vs. Bea Priestley (Best of Goddesses 11/4/2019)
  16. Arisa Hoshiki & Tam Nakano vs. Jungle Kyona & Konami (Goddesses of Stars 11/24/2019)
  17. Jungle Kyona & Konami vs. Riho & Starlight Kid (Goddesses of Stars 12/14/2019)
  18. Kagetsu vs. Hazuki (Goddesses of Stars 12/14/2019)

AEW:

  1. Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega (Double or Nothing 5/25/2019)
  2. Cody vs. Darby Allin (Fyter Fest 6/29/2019)
  3. Kenny Omega vs. CIMA (Fight for the Fallen 7/13/2019)
  4. Adam Page vs. Chris Jericho (All Out 8/31/2019)
  5. Kenny Omega vs. PAC (All Out 8/31/2019)
  6. Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley (Full Gear 11/9/2019)
  7. Cody vs. Chris Jericho (Full Gear 11/9/2019)

Misc:

  1. Shotaro Ashino vs. T-Hawk (W-1 Sunrise Tour 1/5/2019)
  2. Jiro Kuroshio vs. T-Hawk (W-1 WRESTLE WARS 3/21/2019)
  3. Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Shotaro Ashino (W-1 WRESTLE WARS 3/21/2019)
  4. Shuji Kondo vs. T-Hawk (W-1 Triumph Tour 5/3/2019)
  5. Shotaro Ashino vs. Seigo Tachibana (W-1 Outbreak Tour 6/2/2019)
  6. Daiki Inaba vs. T-Hawk (Love in Yokohama 9/1/2019)
  7. Mizuki & Yuka Sakazaki vs. Riho & Shoko Nakajima (TJP Tokyo Joshi Pro ’19 1/4/2019)
  8. Miyu Yamashita vs. Shoko Nakajima (TJP Yes! Wonderland 5/3/2019)
  9. WALTER vs. Jordan Devlin (OTT Scrappermania 5 3/16/2019)
  10. Ilja Dragunov vs. Jordan Devlin (PROGESS Chapter 91 7/6/2019)
  11. Ilja Dragunov vs. Brian Cage (wXw Road to Superstars of Rising 5/31/2019)
  12. Timothy Thatcher vs. Hideki Suzuki (Josh Barnett Bloodsport 2 4/4/2019)
  13. Bobby Gunns vs. Timothy Thatcher (wXw World Tag Team Festival 10/5/2019)
  14. Giulia vs. Saori Anou (AgZ Act in Osaka 7/21/2019)
  15. Giulia vs. Maya Yukihi (Ice Ribbon: New Ice Ribbon #962 5/25/2019)
  16. Sareee vs. Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls Big Show in Niigata 6/8/2019)
  17. Sareee vs. Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls Joshi Puroresu Big Show in Sendai 10/13/2019)
  18. Maria, Mei Hoshizuki, & Mikoto Shindo vs. Nanae Takahashi, Sareee, & Takumi Iroha (Marvelous 7/22/2019)
  19. Maya Yukihi vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto (Ice Ribbon: New Ice Ribbon #974) 8/3/2019)
  20. Nick Aldis vs. Marty Scurll (NWA Crockett Cup 4/27/2019)
  21. Nanae Takahashi vs. ASUKA (SEAdLINNNG Luckiest 3/20/2019)
  22. Nanae Takahashi vs. Takumi Iroha (SEAdLINNNG Stay Tune 5/29/2019)
  23. Jushin Thunder Liger vs. TAKA Michinoku (JTO Go 11/14/2019)
  24. Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Kohei Sato (Zero1 Happy New Year 1/1/2019)
  25. Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Yuji Hino(Zero1 9/14/2019)
  26. Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi (BJW To Was Gat Early 1/13/2019)
  27. Masashi Takeda vs. Toshiyuki Sakuda (BJW Death Match Survivor 2/28/2019)
  28. Isami Kodaka vs. Masashi Takeda (BJW Death Match Survivor 4/14/2019)
  29. Michael Elgin vs. Daisuke Sekimoto (BJW 8/24/2019)
  30. Yuji Okabayashi vs. Kohei Sato (BJW Death Mania VII 8/25/2019)
  31. Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Yuji Hino (Zero1 Dream Series 2/2/2019)
  32. Blue Demon Jr vs. Dr. Wagner Jr (AAA Triplemania XXVII 8/3/2019)
  33. Kenny Omega vs. Dragon Lee (AAA Triplemania Regia 12/1/2019)
  34. Kento Miyahara &Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yoshitatsu (Giant Baba Memorial 2/19/2019)
  35. Hideki Suzuki & Minoru Suzuki vs. Masato Tanaka & Naomichi Marufuji (TAKAYAMANIA EMPIRE 2 8/26/2019)
  36. Shuji Kondo & Suwama vs. Minoru Suzuki & Taiyo Kea (The Destroyer Memorial 11/15/2019)
  37. Kento Miyahara, Jushin Thunder Liger, & Keiji Mutoh vs. SANADA, BUSHI, & KAI (The Destroyer Memorial 11/15/2019)
  38. Mistico vs. El Barbaro Cavernario (CMLL Super Viernes 5/24/2019)
  39. Michael Elgin vs. Brian Cage (Impact Slammiversary XVII 7/7/2019)
  40. Sami Callihan vs. Tessa Blanchard (Impact Slammiversary 7/7/2019)
  41. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Michael Elgin (Impact Bound for Glory 10/20/2019)
  42. Sami Callihan vs. Brian Cage (Impact Bound for Glory 10/20/2019)
  43. Tessa Blanchard vs. Gail Kim (Impact Rebellion 4/28/2019)
  44. Bandido vs. Dragon Lee (PWG Battle of Los Angeles 9/22/2019)
  45. HARASHIMA vs. Konosuke Takeshita (DDT Ultimate Party 11/3/2019)
  46. Masato Tanaka vs. HARASHIMA (DDT D-Ou Grand Prix 12/15/2019)

That goes the list for the honorable mentions! I know it’s a lot of matches but, so much happened this year that I had to give these matches credit.

Happy Holidays and I hope you look forward to my Top 25 Matches of 2019!


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Opinion

Steve Cook’s Fave Five: April 2021

It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means…

Published

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It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means.

It’s time to talk about my current five favorite wrestlers like I’m Booker T. Let’s break down the Fave Five!

5. Samoa Joe

I figure what happened between Samoa Joe & WWE was the following: WWE offered Joe an announcing contract since either they didn’t want to use him in the ring or their doctors wouldn’t clear him to wrestle. Joe looked at the contract, noticed the financial discrepancy, realized he could probably get NJPW to let him train young boys in California for that kind of money and said “thanks but no thanks”. Nothing else really makes sense to me.

Unfortunately, those who thought that WWE wouldn’t utilize Joe to their fullest potential were right. It wasn’t all WWE’s fault though. Joe had a lot of miles on his tires when he got there. Injuries are always more of a concern with larger wrestlers the older they get. And when Joe was healthy, he did get to do some good stuff and show people a glimpse of the Samoa Joe that people like me raved about back in the mid to late 2000s.

In any event, Joe got his WWE run. It was a thing that happened. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t wind up in AEW because he seems like the kind of guy Tony Khan would throw all the money at. Should be fun!

4. Kris Statlander

AEW does have a pretty insane number of factions right now. It risks the possibility of all of the groups blending together, with none of them really capturing the attention of fans. However, there are positive things about AEW’s faction warfare that shouldn’t be overlooked. It makes booking fresh matches to fill cards pretty easy. You can have groups facing off each week, but in different combinations that keep it fresh.

Another good thing: It can help us decide how we feel about characters that we might be on the fence about. Kris Statlander’s character was a topic of discussion from the moment she entered AEW. A lot of people weren’t sure how to take her. Wrestling aliens, or wrestlers who think they’re aliens, aren’t exactly common. Its the kind of thing that gets over in the indies, because those feds attract fans that are more willing to buy into unique concepts. Mainstream is a tougher sell.

Aligning Kris with the Best Friends makes sense to those in the know, since she came up working shows with them. It also helps people that don’t know about her figure out more. The Best Friends are a happy go lucky group that are the whitest of white meat babyfaces you’ll find in AEW, and that’s a good thing. They’re welcoming to people with unique personalities, as Orange Cassidy’s presence establishes. A friendly alien couldn’t ask for a better group to surround herself with, and from their appearances so far she seems like a perfect fit.

Add in the fact that the time on the shelf helped her get into better shape and refine her look & presence, and the sky’s the limit for Statlander. As long as she can stay in the ring, I’m expecting big things from her in 2021.

3. Tay Conti

Sometimes, all one needs is a change of scenery to approach their true potential. Tay spent a few years at the WWE Performance Center learning how to be a professional wrestler. During her time there, Tay never showed much in the way of potential. Even though she had a combat sports background and had the type of physical appearance that gets attention, Conti’s TV time was very limited and uneventful. She seemed like one of those wrestlers that was bound to stay in developmental until WWE gave up on them, then drop off the face of the earth without most wrestling fans noticing.

Tay’s story took a different route. She ended up being one of the cuts that AEW took an interest in, and was brought in for the Deadly Draw Women’s Tag Team Tournament. Her teaming with Anna Jay worked well on & off-camera, and she pretty much fit right in with the group immediately. She started training with Dustin Rhodes, and pretty much immediately started looking better in the ring & figuring out what worked for her. Now, she’s one of the people helping AEW’s women’s division go to a higher level.

This isn’t meant to denigrate WWE’s Performance Center or its methods. There just isn’t a wrestling training center out there that’s going to work for everybody. Tay had to find what worked for her. The people that recently got cut will have to do the same. Hopefully, the people that recently got signed by WWE will thrive in that environment.

2. Bianca Belair

We’ve recently seen three new Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella, all of whom are great in their own way. I’ve talked about Rhea Ripley before, she’s got unlimited potential and so far she’s done very well on the main roster. Raquel Gonzalez is doing very well on NXT and her push to the championship made perfect sense & got over. I do think the best of the title changes was Bianca’s defeat of Sasha Banks in the main event of WrestleMania Saturday. It was a special moment for Bianca, a very fun match to watch, and a great performance from both Bianca & Sasha Banks, who did everything she could to make Bianca in that match.

You see the video of the NXT segment up above, with the three current Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella celebrating together. Apparently there was a picture taken in 2019, and there were pictures taken after this week’s NXT, with Triple H making sure to get in there as he likes to do with all new champions. I’ve never really been a fan of that sort of thing, even the “Horsewomen” celebrations on previous NXT shows didn’t do much for me.

Besides the usual complaints people have about things like that, the thing that I didn’t like was how Rhea & Raquel came off. They were all smiling & happy like they were Big Daddy Cool Diesel after beating Mr. Bob Backlund in 1994. Completely against what Raquel has been up to this point, and what Rhea has been when she’s been at her best. Hopefully this is just a one-time thing for Rhea for the portion of the NXT audience that likes their lady wrestlers crying & happy after their performances, and hopefully it’s leading to Raquel getting dismembered by Dakota Kai, who can’t be happy about her heater winning the championship and then turning into Smilin’ Diesel.

Fortunately for Bianca, it does nothing to affect her character or our opinion of her. That’s why I think her title run will go best. I’m also putting her here because I’m pretty well convinced there isn’t a wrestling move or spot she can’t do well. Insanely talented, and the more experience she gets the better she’ll be.

1. Darby Allin

Sometimes you just want to watch something that’s stupid fun. Something that doesn’t need too much thought in order to enjoy it. Just people doing crazy things to entertain an audience. Darby Allin matches are just what you need when you’re looking for something like this. There isn’t anybody crazier in pro wrestling today than Darby, which is probably for the best. I’m convinced this kid has a death wish.

The one thing that kinda gets me about Darby sometimes is how he kicks out of everything. Poor Matt Hardy wasn’t going to beat that kid unless he shot him with a gun, and apparently there’s a metal detector at Daily’s Place. (Shoutout to Matt by the way, hell of an effort in that match.) But then I remember that Darby Allin is a daredevil and constantly posting videos online where he’s jumping off high places and doing crazy things. Obviously, it’s going to take a little more to beat a daredevil than your average pro wrestler.

What’s it going to take to beat Darby Allin? That’s a good reason to keep watching.


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NXT Minus 6: About that Cole-O’Reilly match…

It was the Takeover match that held the most promise. Where did it go wrong? 

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It was the Takeover match that held the most promise. Where did it go wrong? 

Exclusive: Kyle O'Reilly is ready to renew his career-long rivalry with Adam Cole at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver

6. I was jacked to 11 for Adam Cole versus Kyle O’Reilly. I was ready to give it a Tokyo Dome 6 stars. MOTY before the bell rang. A masterwork of storytelling. I correctly predicted it would be an unsanctioned match. Then the action started, and it quickly became “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”

NXT TakeOver: New Orleans | WWE

5. After the first few acts of violence, it was apparent that the problem with the match would be the stipulation. The last NXT unsanctioned match was Johnny Gargano versus Tommaso Ciampa in 2018. That was 3 short years ago, but things move quickly in today’s world. There is very little chance an unsanctioned match can deliver the level of violence it promises as long as NXT is on the PG-13 Peacock.

The Most Brutal Spots from Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly's Insane Unsanctioned Match at NXT Takeover - EssentiallySports

4. Fans are losing their minds over all the content Peacock is leaving on the cutting floor. A lot of it was offensive and would never work today, but that’s not the point. The fact is there’s only so much violence Peacock’s parent company NBC will tolerate from wrestling. Take the chain, for example. Other than the clothesline, it was practically useless. O’Reilly tried to make it work, but it fell flat. In an unsanctioned match, 20 feet of heavy duty chain should be all you need to decimate another human being.

The B Word: Did Pro Wrestling's Blood Dry Up? | Ring the Damn Bell

3. Maybe I’m a victim of my own wrestling memory. An unsanctioned match in Memphis in the 80’s would have been a bloodbath. Someone would have been hung over the top rope with the chain around his neck. Whipped across the back. Hog tied. Someone would have wrapped it around their fist for a few stiff shots to their opponent’s forehead. But that goes back to my original point. None of that would fly today even if NXT was only on the WWE network.

5 Hilarious moments from this week's WWE programming

2. I’ll go so far as to say the only violent-promising stipulation that interests me is Falls Count Anywhere. There is zero drama in wrestlers pulling chairs from under the ring. The chance to use the naturally occurring environment as a weapon still holds a world of suspense. Someone is going through windows, walls, off the stage, over the guardrail, stuffed in a locker. Honestly, I’m tired of people getting hit in the stomach with folding chairs. Of all the ways to hit someone with a folding chair, that’s the least practical. 

WWE Announces Multiple Injuries At NXT New Year's Evil - WrestlingRumors.net

1. I’m sorry to say Kyle O’Reilly versus Adam Cole didn’t deliver what I expected. Maybe I’m in the minority. Maybe I don’t need over-the-top violence to entertain me. Maybe I don’t need wrestling to keep pushing the envelope. Five of my top 6 matches of 2021 are straight up wrestling matches. Maybe all I need is two (or three or four) strong characters and a good story. Damn, I sound old. 


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