Top 5 Batalhas de Pro-Wrestling – Novembro/2018 (Versão em Português)

5. A. Kobayashi & R. Ito vs J. Numazawa & J. Kasai (BJW)

Quando comecei a assistir deathmatches, esses quatro eram os caras que eu realmente admirava. Todas aquelas coisas malucas que eles estavam fazendo no ringue com tubos de luz e arame farpado eram impossíveis de ignorar. É por isso que isso foi meio emocional. Esses caras têm sido os pilares de uma divisão que foi fortemente negligenciada por anos, mas, agora que a Big Japan parece viver seu melhor momento, eles tiveram a chance de brilhar. Eles não são mais os ases da divisão deathmatch. Ito parece aquele tio que você não vê em anos e está surpreendentemente velho quando o encontra novamente. Kobayashi está ficando cada vez menos móvel com o passar dos anos, embora ele ainda tenha aquele carisma. Numazawa também passou do auge. Kasai é provavelmente o único desse grupo que ainda consegue fazer alguma coisa, mas também está próximo do fim. Essa era a canção do cisne deles. Essas lendas do deathmatch estão indo embora e sentirei falta delas, mas elas estão deixando algo especial para trás e essa é uma batalha que eu me lembrarei por um longo tempo.


4. A. Black vs J. Gargano (NXT)

Cara, se eu não amo a “besteira melodramática de Johnny Gargano”. Parece-me que estamos testemunhando o que pode ser o futuro do wrestling profissional aqui: narrativa complexa dentro do ringue, encenada com uma intensa inspiração Shakesperiana. Ok, talvez isso seja demais. Este foi de longe a melhor batalha de Black que eu vi até agora. Foi rápida, os ataques pareciam duros e a história foi bem contada. Gargano também ficou muito melhor em suas expressões faciais. Batalha memorável.


3. M. Takeda vs M. Takahashi (BJW)

O maior reinado deathmatch / hardcore de todos os tempos chega ao fim com outra batalha fantástica. Takeda foi responsável por trazer um monte de pessoas para assistir BJW e é um sério candidato a wrestler do ano. Ele venceu todos as lendas ao longo de seu reinado no campeonato e só perdeu o título porque não há mais ninguém para ele vencer. Vai ser interessante ver se Takahashi será capaz de manter a divisão no mesmo nível ou se é apenas uma questão de tempo até que Takeda recupere o cinturão.


2. T. Ciampa vs V. Dream (NXT)

Quando eles fazem certo, eles fazem certo. Estou impressionado com a capacidade de HHH como booker. Quando você olha para este TakeOver, cada batalha foi diferente, e elas foram todas acima de 4 estrelas para mim. Essa foi ainda melhor. Dream é uma estrela. O modo como ele encapsula a energia da multidão e a joga de volta é único. A maneira como ele se move no ringue é única. Fazer a rotina Hogan nesta partida foi brilhante e combinou muito bem com um Ciampa arrogante e amargo. Isto foi narrativa em seu melhor, e foi muito simples. O babyface jovem que está fazendo sucesso com o público zomba do heel ciumento que quer ser a estrela, mas perde a batalha por causa da inexperiência. É simples, e é lindo quando feito corretamente.


1. T. Ishii vs M. Suzuki (NJPW)

Assistir dois homens espancando um ao outro é inestimável. É ainda melhor quando esses homens são Suzuki e Ishii. Essa batalha é tudo que eu amo no Strong Style. Os ataques duros, o no-selling, o selling realista e exagerado, os sons guturais, o espírito de luta, os rostos zangados… Deus, isso foi incrível. No final do dia, tivemos dois dos melhores wrestlers do planeta, entregando um verdadeiro candidato a MOTY. Se um dia ficarmos com apenas um estilo de pro-wrestling, espero que seja este.


P.S. Traduzido do artigo que eu próprio escrevi em inglês porque eu sou preguiçoso demais pra escrever tudo de novo.

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Top 5 Pro-Wrestling Matches – November/2018

5. A. Kobayashi & R. Ito vs J. Numazawa & J. Kasai (BJW)

When I first got into death matches, these four were the guys that I really looked up to. All of that crazy stuff they were doing in the ring with light tubes and barbed wire was impossible to ignore. That’s why this was sort of emotional. These guys have been the pillars of a division that was strongly overlooked for years, but, now that Big Japan seems to live their best moment, they had a chance to shine. They are not the aces of the deathmatch division anymore. Ito looks like that uncle you don’t see in years and is surprisingly old when you meet him again. Kobayashi is getting less and less mobile as the years go by although he still has that charisma. Numazawa is also past his prime. Kasai is probably the only one of that bunch who can still go, but it’s also a couple of years of slowing down. This was their swan song. These deathmatch legends are going away and I will miss them, but they’re leaving something special behind and this is a match that I will remember for a long time.


4. A. Black vs J. Gargano (NXT)

Man, if I don’t love the “Johnny Gargano melodramatic bullshit”. It seems to me we are witnessing what can be the future of professional wrestling here: complex storytelling within the squared circle played with an intense Shakesperian inspiration. Ok, maybe that’s too much. This was by far the best Black match I’ve seen. It was fast-paced, the strikes looked stiff and the story was well told. Gargano also got a lot better on his face expressions. Memorable match.


3. M. Takeda vs M. Takahashi (BJW)

The greatest deathmatch/hardcore reign of all time comes to an end with another yet fantastic match. Takeda was responsible for bringing a lot of people to watch BJW and is a serious wrestler of the year contender. He beat all sorts of legends throughout his championship reign and only fell short here because there’s probably no one else for him to beat. It’s going to be interesting to see if Takahashi will be able to carry the division in the same level or if it’s just a matter of time before Takeda gets his belt back.


2. T. Ciampa vs V. Dream (NXT)

When they do it right, they do it right. I am impressed with HHH ability as a booker. When you look at this TakeOver, every match was different, and they were all above 4 stars for me. This match was even better. Dream is a star. The way he encapsulates that crowd energy and throws it back is unique. The way he moves in the ring is unique. Doing the Hogan routine in this match was brilliant and played very well to an arrogant and bitter Ciampa. This was storytelling at its best, and it was very simple. The young babyface who’s getting over with the crowd mocks the jealous heel who wants to be the star but loses the match because of inexperience. It’s simple. And it’s beautiful when done right.


1. T. Ishii vs M. Suzuki (NJPW)

Watching two men beating the hell out of each other is priceless. It’s even better when those men are Suzuki and Ishii. This match is everything I love about Strong Style. The stiff strikes, the no-selling, the realistic over-the-top selling, the guttural sounds, the fighting spirit, the angry faces… God, this was awesome. At the end of the day, we had two of the best wrestlers on the planet delivering a true MOTY contender. If one day we are left with only one style of pro-wrestling, I hope this is the one.

Top 5 Pro-Wrestling Matches – October/2018

5. A. Aries vs J. Impact (IMPACT Bound for Glory)

Forget the finish. Forget asshole Austin Aries ruining everything. This match was something else. Out of nowhere, it seemed like Aries and Impact joined 1985 UWF and went all out on one of the most believable matches of the year. They went on to play a more common match later on, but that start with Maeda-style open hand slaps and Billy Robinsonish holds is something to remember. I firmly believe this is the best IMPACT title match in many years.


4. Ricochet vs A. Cole vs P. Dunne (NXT)

This match proved that you can deliver in a TV main event. This was a simple triple threat with a simple story being told: three guys going for a belt. Cole’s charisma, Dunne’s toughness, and Ricochet’s awesomeness mixed together perfectly here. They had the perfect dynamics and created a very memorable bout.


3. K. Omega vs Cody vs K. Ibushi (NJPW King of Pro Wrestling)

A lot of people complained when this match was booked, but it ended up delivering. Wrestling-wise, it wasn’t as good as the NXT match, but it had something different to it. The good friends/better enemies story was perfectly told and fit well the triple threat dynamics. Cody is great at playing a character. Give him a role in a story, and he will always deliver.  Omega always delivers, so you don’t have to worry about him. Ibushi is one of the best wrestlers on the planet, and grumpy Kota is even better. This had some nice exchanges and ended up being very good.


2. WALTER vs W. Ospreay (OTT Fourth Year Anniversary)

This had one of the hottest crowds I’ve ever seen in my life and God that helped this match. Classic face/heel dynamics with Ospreay playing the underdog and Walter the monster. It was the heart of the little guy against the cockiness of the big dude. Both guys worked their asses here. The ring action fit perfectly into the action with Ospreay working a more believable style when attacking Walter, choosing kicks and strikes over high-flying to beat the Austrian champion. The only thing that stopped this from being a true MOTY contender was Will not winning. The crowd was behind him and the structure of the match was perfect for it. When the ring belled the crowd went down instantly, showing that this was the perfect moment to put the belt on Ospreay.


1. K. Okada & T. Ishii vs K. Ibushi & K. Omega (NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed)

You know when you’re watching a match and you feel something special. This was the case here. They started slow and went all out from it. It was four of the best wrestlers on the planet on a true All-Star tag team main event. I particularly loved Ishii and Ibushi in this one with both playing their grumpy characters and being really vicious. It was the best match of this month for me and I believe it’s going to be one of those matches that we are going back at some point in the future and realize how great this era in wrestling actually is.

Pro Wrestling Week (10/6-10/13)

KING OF PRO WRESTLING (NJPW)

E. Desperado & Y. Kanemaru vs J. Liger & T. Mask

This was a disappointment to some people. Since I did not watch their previous match, I wasn’t expecting much of it. Normal opener. ***

B. Luck Fale & T. Ishimori & T. Tonga & T. Loa vs C. Owens & H. Page & M. Jackson & N. Jackson

Another chapter of the ELITE vs OGs feud, this was a nice little match with not much to it. Matt’s selling here wasn’t as impactful as in previous situations. Your traditional multi-men match with not many implications. ***1/4

BUSHI & SANADA & S. Takagi & T. Naito vs K. Okada & SHO & YOH & T. Yano

This match was booked to introduce Shingo in New Japan. The best spot of the evening was SANADA traping people in the Milano Collection AT hold that I can’t name right now. I like that move, though. ***1/4

KUSHIDA vs M. Scurll

I think this was better than I thought, with Scurll playing the evil and serious side of him. Some nice looking holds and stiff strikes later and KUSHIDA is once again junior champion. Maybe the next challenger should be an outsider. ****

K. Omega vs Cody vs K. Ibushi

A lot of people complaining about this, but the dynamics worked pretty well. When the people involved in triple threats are smart, we can have nice matches. This was the case with every guy playing an important part in it. I liked the good friends/better enemies story they played here because it really added to the action. Cody is one of the best storytellers on the planet right now and the Golden Lovers are probably the best wrestlers alongside Okada, Tanahashi and Ishii. It was very rewarding in the end. ****1/4

MAE YOUNG CLASSIC (WWE)

I. Shirai vs Zeuxis

They went all out from the start and Io’s offense already is one of my favorites in the world right now. She looks like she is going to kill her opponent at any point but you can notice how safe she is at the same time. It’s a shame that she will be lost in the shuffle when she gets to the main roster. ***1/4

D. Purazzo vs X. Li

I’m not as much into Purazzo as most people. She’s good, but that pretty much it. Li, on the other hand, has something different. If they capitalize on her style, I think she can provide some unique matches. ***1/4

N. Matthews vs T. Nox

I think this was really ordinary. Don’t remember much of it. ***

Kaitlyn vs M. Yim

They were quick and lost no time here. It was different from everything else in the tournament, what is something really good. They played Goldberg/Lesnar with a nice upset at the end. What’s next for Kaitlyn, though, after she lost here? ***1/4

NXT

Ricochet vs A. Cole vs P. Dunne

What the main roster fails to do with the amazing wrestlers they have right now, NXT succeeds very well. This was a simple match that didn’t burn any major future matchups for big shows and still delivered. It was fast, flashing and beautiful. Cole is a superstar, Dunne is a freaking badass and Ricochet is one of the best things this business has ever produced. ****

Pro Wrestling Week (9/23-9/29)

DESTRUCTION (NJPW)

BUSHI vs KUSHIDA

Although I really wish we had some different scenarios for the Junior Heavyweight title picture, KUSHIDA advancing to the final is not something bad. Actually, is not bad at all. We all know he is great, but the problem here is that it starts to feel like he’s being a little overexposed. That being said, this was a very good match that showcased both men abilities to deliver in a big spot. ****

H. Tanahashi vs K. Okada

Another classic by two of the greatest wrestlers of all time. Well, that’s a pretty safe assumption at this point. I jumped late on the Tanahashi/Okada train since I was not that involved with the product when they had their first run of classic bouts. Recently, though, they’ve had three awesome matches together, and that was enough to put this right up there as one of the greatest rivalries in pro-wrestling history. This time, things were different, though. For the first time in a while, Tanahashi had the edge here, with broken Okada needing the win more than ever. However, it was, once again, the Ace’s night. The perfect chemistry in a perfectly structured match with perfect characters. That’s modern New Japan 101. *****

MAE YOUNG CLASSIC (WWE)

H. Matsumoto vs R. Evers

The final part of the first round started with a very nice match by two strong competitors. Matsumoto is no Satomura, but her Joshi style mixed very well with Evers’, providing a nice match for everyone to watch. ***1/4

J. Elaban vs T. Conti

I confess that I am biased towards Conti since she is from Brazil. The thing is, I love her offense. She is a perfect mix of a spoiled blondie with a shoot-fighter. Character-wise, she is doing very well. Her selling still needs some work, though. Give the girl some Minoru Suzuki tapes and she will be fine. Nice win for Conti here. ***

I. Dawn vs N. Matthews

I don’t remember much from this match, only that it was kind of boring what says a lot. **3/4

I. Shirai vs X. Brookside

This was your perfect example of how to create a star through a loss. Xia is going to be great if you let her be your badass underdog. Give this girl some Tsuyoshi Kikuchi tapes and she will be fine (I have to stop telling WWE to give their “superstars” Strong Style tapes, they’ll never do it). Even though Brookside shone through it, Shirai is your star right now. She’s tough and it looked like she was killing little Xia with every move she delivered. By the end, this was all action and exactly what it had to be. ***1/2

DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR (ROH)

J. Liger vs K. King

They had a storytelling match here with King playing the honorable guy that turns heel by cheating on the legend at the end of the match to get the victory. It was a nice open to the show. ***1/4

C. Daniels & F. Kazarian vs J. Briscoe & M. Briscoe

Daniels is the best veteran in the business right now. Kazarian is a ring general. The Briscoes deserve to be in the best tag team of the year conversation. That being said, this was a very good match, structured the way it should be. ***1/2

S. Sakai vs T. Dashwood

This was the best Sakai match I’ve seen since she became champion. That’s not much, though, since she kind of sucks. I understand that Dashwood was hurt so she could not win anyway. Now, they have to find someone to beat Sumi for the title because she is not championship material. Figure out a deal with Tessa, bring Chelsea Green or try with a different Joshi, but bring someone who can give you good matches, please. **3/4

C. Sabin vs P. Martinez

Martinez is one of the best big guys in the business. Sabin is another ring general who’s actually a former world champion as well (forgot that?). This was a nice little match, good enough for the TV belt. ***1/4

B. Ray & S. Young vs C. Cabana & F. Gordon

I am probably the only person in the universe who enjoys Bully Ray. I also like Young character a lot. Colt is a legend and Gordon is the future of ROH. This was one of the feel cases where a screwed finish actually added to the match. I enjoyed this more than everyone, probably. ***1/2

CHAOS vs BULLET CLUB ELITE

I expected more from this match considering the talent involved. It was still good, but it lacked something. Everyone was good here, but that was it. ***1/2

J. Lethal vs W. Ospreay

Two of the best talents on the planet got in the ring for a very strong performance. The wrestling here was actually surprisingly great. Because Ospreay is such an amazing high-flyer, sometimes we forget how good of a technical wrestler he actually is. Lethal is always great, so let’s skip that part. ***3/4

Pro-Wrestling Week (9/16-9/22)

DEATH VEGAS (BJW)

M. Takeda vs R. Ito

Takeda’s journey continues as he keeps wrestling the deathmatch legends. This time Ito was his opponent and I was impressed by how old he looked. Still, Ito is a great old school brawler and put a hell of a fight against the deathmatch champion. I believe this was something like 100 Light Tubes Deathmatch, so the ring was filled with them. I started to wonder if being hit on the head by a light tube is safer than a chair shot, I think so. Also, BJW refs and young lions are fantastic on removing the shattered glass from the ring. Although safety may sound weird on a deathmatch, these guys do their best. Takeda won this won and kept on his path of becoming the best deathmatch guy of all time. I may be going too far here, but maybe it’s time to insert him into the wrestler of the year conversation. ****1/4

DESTRUCTION (NJPW)

M. Suzuki vs T. Naito

A lot of people hated this. I don’t know if I keep pressuring myself on liking these New Japan main events, but I actually enjoyed this match. I am a huge Suzuki fan and although Naito does not always click on me, he’s one of the best on the planet.  This was worked on the old Suzuki-beats-guy-the-whole-match-gets-beaten-in-the-end. Naito is probably not the best person on that spot because he can be kind of blend sometimes, but this connected enough to entertain me. I enjoy Suzuki brutality to a point that I can ignore a couple o rough spots sometimes. ****1/4

205 (WWE)

C. Alexander vs D. Gulak

205 is the only weekly WWE show that I stop to watch once in a while, and these main events always delivered. They started slow here with a lot of headlocks and I was afraid they would get in WWE land, but things picked up and they ended up having a very good match. I was rooting for Gulak on this one because I believe he can be WWE’s Suzuki if booked right. He’s a great technical wrestler and his offense looks sick (including that awesome lariat he’s got) so I would be totally into a Gulak’s reign here. I think this also improved the match for me. It may sound silly but it always improves a match when you want someone specifically to win. The match wasn’t hurt by the finish, though, since the other guy is also really talented and will keep having good matches as long as Vince keeps his hands away from this division. ***3/4

MAE YOUNG CLASSIC (WWE)

Kaitlyn vs K. Devi

The third day of Mae Young Classic started with two returning faces. I must admit that I was really impressed by Kaitlyn on this one (didn’t she use to suck?). Maybe because I had very low expectations for this match I ended up enjoying it more than most people. ***1/4

Jinny vs T. Storm

Storm is a star and we all know that. This match was not the best start though. It was solid but really average and although it’s just the first round, I would like to see some more coming from Toni. ***

Karen Q vs X. Li

This match had the coolest start I’ve ever seen. Both wrestlers got into a kung fu fighting position and the crowd went nuts. I think nobody realizes how this thing would be popular, right? Well, WWE now have two girls who can be worked into this style and do that in the future, but do you think they will be able to? Anyway, the match kinda went down when the girls did not pay the crowd with what they wanted. I don’t blame them since there would be no way they would predict that reaction. Still, they created a very different feel to the match, bringing something out of the style and ending up having an enjoyable bout. ***1/2

A. Kay vs M. Yim

These two have faced each other a million times I suppose, but this was a first time for me. I confess that I don’t really care that much for any of them, what says a lot considering they entertained me enough for me not to fall asleep. Well, let’s be fair, it was nice. ***1/4

Pro-Wrestling Week Review (9/10-9/15)

MAE YOUNG CLASSIC (WWE)

D. Purazzo vs P. Kelly

The second round of the Mae Young Classic Tournament started well, with Purazzo advancing over the owner of the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen in a real person. Well, that doesn’t really matter, does it? The fact is Purazzo’s Fujiwara armbar looks awesome and I’m excited to see her at the next round. ***1/4

A. Monroe vs Zeuxis

I was impressed that Zeuxis advanced in this one considering the amount of time spent by the announcing team to put Monroe over. Besides, the luchadora kinda sucked here, with some very awkward spots. Her rudo antics are nice, though, and bring an old school Lucha Libre feel to the table. The Super Spanish Fly was an awesome finish, by the way. ***

K. Catanzaro vs R. Gonzalez

The David/Goliath formula didn’t work here as well as it should because that was already used last week. Still, it was impressive to see the size difference between both wrestlers. Catanzaro winning was also a problem considering that the underdog won the other match as well, but I’ve heard she’s one of the hottest prospects in the promotion, so I’m fine with that. ***1/4

A. Rayne vs M. Martinez

This was kind of disappointing considering the talent involved. I’ve just watched Rayne taking part in what I believe to be the best women’s wrestling match to take part in American soil at All In, and I know Mercedes is awesome. Somehow this didn’t click, though, and it was an ordinary half-boring match. ***

DESTRUCTION (NJPW)

K. Omega vs T. Ishii

When two of your favorite wrestlers on the planet get in the ring together nothing can go wrong, right? Yes, right. This was awesome. Once again, these two delivered a great match that only added to their resumés. I knew Kenny wasn’t losing here, but I couldn’t avoid rooting for Ishii. The Stone Pitbull has that sort of charisma that makes you cheer him no matter what. We all know he will never get the big one, but we always hope, it’s sorta like an impossible love. Anyway, they gave us another fantastic performance. Maybe, this wasn’t as good as their encounter at the last G1, but was still amazing. If Omega reign keeps at this level, we will have another legendary run with the title. ****1/2

Pro-Wrestling Week Review (9/2-9/9)

JUN KASAI PRODUCE TOKYO DEATH MATCH (FREEDOMS)

M. Takeda vs J. Kasai

We start the week with another classic deathmatch performance by Takeda, this time facing a legend on the genre, “Crazy Monkey” Jun Kasai. Takeda has had an amazing year so far, establishing himself as the best hardcore match of today and maybe even of the modern era. This was no different. It was a great spectacle with everything you expect from a deathmatch and even more. Glass boards, light tubes, and even an exposed ring. I think it was actually the first time I saw someone removing the wooden boards and throwing someone into the empty space under the ring. Takeda showed some viciousness as usual, but Kasai was right after showing a fighting spirit that I have never seen before in a deathmatch. Best performance of the Crazy Monkey career, another classic by Takeda (****1/4).

LUCHA UNDERGROUND

P. Dark vs Hernandez

When it comes to the ring, Lucha Underground still delivers. This was far from being a classic but set once again Penta as one of the best luchadors of today. Hernandez showed some cockiness and nice athleticism, but that was all. Solid match (***1/4).

MAE YOUNG CLASSIC (WWE)

T. Nox vs Zatara

The first match of this year’s tournament was solid. Not memorable, though (***).

MJ Jenkins vs R. Ripley

Ripley is a future star. Jenkins is too WWE for me. I found out that she was trained by Johnny Rodz, and I’m impressed that the guy is still alive (***).

L. Lane vs V. Kraven

I usually hate the David vs Golias formula but it worked just fine here. Not only they told the story well, but the in-ring also reflected it, with Lane keeping it quick and Kraven throwing power moves. I was surprised by the upset at the end, and it only added to the match. Very good match (***3/4).

K. Kelly vs M. Satomura

I think this was actually the first time I saw a Satomura match, and I already want more. Her Billy Robinson style offense is awesome, and let’s be honest, Killer Kelly was great here as well. I was legit scared that Kelly would win and that was all for Satomura, but that didn’t happen. I think I have my favorite to win the tournament now, but probably I won’t get it. Anyway, best match of the tournament so far and great show for both wrestlers (****).

ROAD TO DESTRUCTION (NJPW)

D. Finlay & J. Robinson & T. Makabe & T. Honma vs H. Tenzan & M. Nakanishi & S. Kojima & Y. Nagata

This was Nagata’s 50th Anniversary show but was Kojima’s match. Kozy just came back from an injury and had his chance to shine here. This was a nice showcase for the legends, Robinson and Finlay. By the way, kudos to little David for selling that Kojima lariat the way he did (***1/4).

Best Pro-Wrestling Matches 2018/1

By the end of last year, it was clear that we were living through a golden era within the realms of professional wrestling. The New Japan Renaissance finally put the Japanese promotion in a place where it could rival wrestling’s behemoth WWE, at last. The number of great wrestling matches has been unbelievable in the last half-decade, and things are not slowing down.

Indie wrestling in America is hotter than ever. Lucha libre has gathered some attention thanks to some great performances taking part in Mexican soil. British wrestling is also going through their own resurgence. And only WWE seems to be the same boring product (but not for long if they want to keep their position as the top promotion in the world).

The point is that 2018 is the year to change everything. The G1 Climax is here. All In is coming. But that’s only the second semester. So far, we have already seen some of the most insane matches ever when it comes to in-ring quality and great storytelling. And it’s only fair that we select the Top 10 matches that have taken place this year so far.


10 – O’Reilly & Strong vs Burch & Lorcan – NXT – TakeOver Chicago

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Burch and Lorcan had a short lower-midcard feud in NXT for some weeks, and it was really interesting. This is one of those situations where a thrown-together tag team really works. Both guys have a very similar hard-hitting style, and by teaming together they’ve only accentuated that. And what a better way to show that than facing one of the best tag teams in the whole planet? This match was everything you should expect. It was the chance Burch and Lorcan needed to show they could be assets to the company, and they did. Insane action from start to finish, more than worth a watch.


9 – Men’s Royal Rumble – WWE – Royal Rumble

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WWE was able to create something special before ruining everything for the rest of the year, and that was the 2018 Men’s Royal Rumble match. After a streak of disastrous Rumbles, WWE finally got the story right. This year’s match had a different feel to it, with a great story being told, some nice spots, great surprises and a winner that people actually wanted to see winning. You thought they’ve finally learned what a modern-day Rumble should look like, right? But, then, we had Saudi Arabia and… well, never mind!


8 – Suzuki vs Makabe – NJPW – 46th Anniversary

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One of the most underrated matches of the year, the Makabe/Suzuki encounter was something to watch. This year has been something special for Suzuki. He’s been as good as it gets, and at his age, everything becomes even more surprising. Makabe is very popular among the Japanese audience, and this time he brought his best game. It was hard-hitting and exciting. Watch two psychos beating the hell out of each other is something I will never get tired of.


7 – ACH vs Gordon – NJPW – Best of the Super Junior

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Another match that won’t make most MOTY lists, this encounter was special for a handful of reasons. First and foremost, you have two guys who were not favourites to win the BOTSJ tournament having to prove themselves. And they did. ACH and Flip Gordon had a match with a little bit of everything. Besides that, you also had an unspoken story in the background. To me, it felt like there was some jealousy here. Gordon is the upcoming young talent that can do things no one else in the world can do. Well, when I started watching wrestling back in 2012, ACH was this guy for me. Now, he is no longer that. He’s the guy who’s been sort of forgotten for the most part when we talk about great wrestlers even though he always delivers bell to bell. Once more, he proved that here.


6 – Cole vs EC3 vs Dain vs Sullivan vs Ricochet vs Dream – NXT – TakeOver New Orleans

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NXT put their hottest signees, their two best built in-house guys, and two of their most talented regular talents in a ladder match. What was the result? A fantastic spotfest that got those five stars from uncle Dave. This match became an instant classic, and it’s going to make it to WWE historical rankings, no questions asked.


5 – Tanahashi vs ZSJ – NJPW – New Japan Cup

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The New Japan Cup was the perfect way for Zack Sabre Jr. to establish himself as a Main Eventer in an international level. After beating an impressive set of opponents, he had to face none other than Hiroshi Tanahashi. It’s not stupid to say that Tanahashi is the best seller on the planet right, and that worked very well within the context of this match. Sabre’s style is perfect for the offense, while Tanahashi’s allows us to be in a constant position of uncomfortableness. The masterfulness of every submission hold by Sabre combined with Tanahashi’s perfect selling mad this something really special.


4 – Omega vs Okada – NJPW – Dominion

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The fact that this match is only number four in our list shows exactly the kind of year we are having. This seven-star epic was the culmination of almost two years of great storytelling and even better matches. New Japan was able to crown Kenny as champion in a way that we all felt like we were witnessing an important moment that would live forever in the minds of professional wrestling fans. The two out of three falls stipulation was for many a matter of concern. These two, though, were able to make more than an hour of action look like a couple of minutes of sheer and excitement. Masterful modern pro wrestling can be resumed by this.


3 – Young Bucks vs Golden Lovers – NJPW – Strong Style Evolved

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Great storytelling was something usual in 2018. Another match that showcased the ability to tell a great story between four ropes was this tag team special. Omega reuniting with Ibushi at the same time he had a break up with the Bucks was a smart move, no doubt about this. This tag team match would be a must watch anyway, but the way it was built, it made everything a lot better. It was magnificent to witness friends facing each, struggling while doing it. It was painful, even. Only a few matches will get you involved at a point that will make you cry. Bucks vs Lovers is one of those.


2 – Gargano vs Ciampa – NXT – TakeOver New Orleans

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If you were there, watching as the show was ending, and saw Tommaso Ciampa turning into Johnny Gargano and breaking up DIY, you were waiting for this match. It took some time for us to get to this point, but not enough to make us lose interest. This was carefully built to make us care. And we did. This was old school heat meets modern action. No one watched this match wanting Ciampa to win. It didn’t matter how great you might have thought he was. We wanted our babyface, our good guy, our fan favourite to win. We wanted Johnny to make Ciampa pay for being an asshole, for destroying something special. And we got it the best way possible. This was spectacular. Fast, smart, brutal. Beautiful. Magic.


1 – Ospreay vs Scurll – NJPW – Sakura Genesis

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This match might have lacked the background history that the three previous entries on this list had, but it paid out with pure sadistic viciousness. You know all that talk about pro wrestling being fake? Well, it’s matches like this one that makes you forget about that. The spot on the apron where Ospreay almost ended his career (and, possibly, his life) is one that I will remember forever. Yes, it made me worry. Yes, it made me feel uncomfortable. But it took the match to a new level. From that point on I believed. I believed that these guys wanted to kill each other, and that brought that blood-thirsty animal that lives inside of each and every one of us, and Scurll working the neck of Ospreay only made things worse. All that combined made this the best match of the first half of 2018.


So, how many of these matches have you watched? Do you agree with this list? What are your favourite matches of the year so far?

This month in professional wrestling – January 2018

Last year was an amazing year for professional wrestling, and that’s a fact. New Japan had their best year ever, NXT continued to deliver some of the best action in the world, ROH saw their business going up there with Cody as their figurehead, AJPW and NOAH went through a sort of resurrection, the Japanese indies offered awesome wrestling, and the Australian and New Zealander scenes become something to talk about.

However, one promotion still faced some problems, and the reason why it’s such a big deal is that they still are the number 1 promotion in the world. WWE started 2017 with another awfully booked Royal Rumble, a forgettable Wrestlemania, and went through a year so full of terrible things, that it is impossible to mention everything bad that happened at Uncle Vince’s Wonderland. We had to witness Randy Orton’s worst year, Bray Wyatt’s unbearable bullshit, and Jinder Mahal as WWE champion. So, it was only logical to expect nothing from 2018, right?


Thank God for January

I’ve started watching wrestling regularly back in 2012, and I’ve never seen such a great month. The last weekend, particularly, was so great that it was impossible to believe. As of February 1st, we already have two five star matches by Dave Meltzer. Last year, at this very moment, we had only one, and, by the end of the year, we had ten. However, what makes things really impressive is that Dave still has a couple of big New Japan main events to rate. We may witness a historic month with up to four 5 star matches, and that proves that 2018 is probably going to be even better, wrestling-wise, than 2017.

We started the year with the classic Tokyo Dome show, promoted by New Japan Pro-Wrestling. After last year’s amazing performance, the hype for the show has been huge since last year. It got even higher when Jericho vs Omega was announced as the semi-Main Event for the show. And, to no one’s surprise, the show delivered once again. The New Japan Rumble was their best yet, with great booking, and a sense of storytelling we didn’t see at the previous editions. The junior tag team match showed that the Young Bucks can fucking sell their asses off. Cody had the best match of his career against Ibushi. The junior heavyweight fatal 4 way gave everybody a little glimpse of the best division in the world. The highlight of the night, though, was the Omega/Jericho match. Y2J had the best match of his career, and Omega was Omega, great as always. The Wrestle Kingdom show was, once again, unforgettable.

My Star Ratings

New Japan Rumble – ***

Young Bucks vs Roppongi 3K – ****1/4

NEVER Six Men Gauntlet – **3/4

Cody vs Kota Ibushi – ***1/2

SANADA & EVIL vs Killer Elite Squad – **3/4

Hirooki Goto vs Minoru Suzuki – ***

Hiromu Takashi vs KUSHIDA vs Marty Scurll vs Will Ospreay – ****

Jay White vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – ***

Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega – ****1/4

Tetsuya Naito vs Kazuchika Okada – ***3/4

The trend continued the following night. This time, however, New Japan focused on great angles to establish future matches. At New Year Dash, we saw the rebirth o Suzuki as the most menacing wrestler on the planet as he attacked Tanahashi, and instantly became the #1 contender for the Intercontinental championship. Also, we got closer to the end of the Bullet Club as we know it with Ibushi playing a huge part in it. At the same time, Jay White recovered from a disappointing Wrestle Kingdom performance as he refused to join the Club and attacked Omega.  By the end, we also had the chance to see Chris Jericho attacking Tetsuya Naito, proving that Y2J will stay around and already have his next opponent.

My Star Ratings

Roppongi 3K & Cheeseburger vs The Elite – ***1/4

Leo Tonga, Chase Owens, Marty Scurll, Yujiro & Cody vs David Finlay, Juice Robinson, KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi & Kota Ibushi – ***1/4

Killer Elite Squad, Zack Saber Jr. & Minoru Suzuki vs War Machine, Michael Elgin & Hiroshi Tanahashi – ***

Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito vs Will Ospreay, Hirooki Goto, Gedo, YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada – ***

Using the momentum set by New Japan, a lot of other Japanese promotions also had their New Year’s shows. Also, Riki Choshu produced a very fun show full of legends and established stars.

My Star Ratings

Yusaku Obata vs Masato Tanaka (ZERO1) – ****

Zeus vs Joe Doering (AJPW) – ***3/4

Daisuke Sekimoto & Hideki Suzuki vs Twin Towers (BJW) – ***1/2

Daichi Hashimoto vs Ryuichi Kawakami (BJW) – ***3/4

Masashi Takeda vs Takumi Tsukamoto (BJW) – ****

Masa Kitamiya & Masato Tanaka vs Naomichi Marufuji & Shingo Takagi (Choshu) – ***1/4

Daisuke Sekimoto, TAKA Michinoku & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Gota Ihashi, Kota Ibushi & Riki Choshu (Choshu) – ***1/4

Kaito Kiyomiya vs Kenou (NOAH) – ***3/4

As the month moved on, we had another match by NWA. This time it happened at Impact Zone. The Empty Arena wasn’t great at all, but it helped to showcase the incredible talent of Jeremy Borash, what resulted on a WWE contract offer later on.

Also, NJPW helped promote another CMLL FantasticaMania that took place, once again, in Japan, with some very fun bouts. It was a great chance for those who don’t watch Lucha to get to know some very interesting wrestlers.

My Star Ratings

Tim Storm vs Jocephus (NWA) – **3/4

Gedo, Kazuchika Okada & Ultimo Guerrero vs Atlantis, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Mistico (NJPW/CMLL) – ***

Niebla Roja vs Gran Guerrero (NJPW/CMLL) – ***1/4

Volador Jr. vs El Barbaro Cavernario (NJPW/CMLL) – ***3/4

We’ve finally got to the end of the month, and if you thought this was already a fantastic period, you’d be even more impressed with the weekend that followed.

NJPW promoted two nights of the New Beginning show.  First, we had a series of matches building up future feuds. At night 1, however, the main event was the highlight. Suzuki & Tanahashi had the best singles match of the weekend, and I think Minoru just became my current favourite wrestler in the world. Suzuki destroyed the Ace in every way possible and, right now, it seems like only Brock Lesnar could beat the leader of Suzuki Gun.

Night 2 also provided good matches and even better angles. The Bucks showed, once again, that they can sell their asses off when they want to in another match against RPG3K. Omega also proved why he is one of the best wrestlers in the world helping to establish Jay White as a superstar in the process. And, by the end of the show, we saw the implosion of the long built Bullet Club crisis. After Kenny lost his belt to White, Adam Page came down to challenge for the U.S. championship. He took the belt only to be shoved aside by Omega who gave the title back to White in a sign of respect. That resulted in Cody and the rest of the Club coming to ring and starting an argument. In the heat of the moment, Kenny pushed an injured Matt Jackson to cause even more intrigue to the story. As everybody left the ring and things seemed to be, once again, alright, Cody turned on Omega and beat the hell all of him, trying to get Page to join him. However, there came the help in the shape of Kota Ibushi. The Golden Lovers were reunited, the Bullet Club was in pieces. Long-term storytelling paying off in one of the greatest angles in the history of professional wrestling.

My Star Ratings

Night 1

Adam Page, Marty Scurll & Cody vs Juice Robinson, David Finlay & Kota Ibushi – ***1/4

Will Ospreay & YOSHI-HASHI vs Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito – ***1/2

Gedo, Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada vs BUSHI, EVIL & SANADA – ***

The Elite vs Jay White & Roppongi 3K – ***1/4

Minoru Suzuki vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – ****1/4

Night 2

The Young Bucks vs Roppongi 3K – ***3/4

Jay White vs Kenny Omega – ****

As New Japan set a high standard at the very beginning (no pun intended) it was only logic for WWE to do their best and keep the momentum going, right? Well, if you’ve been watching their product lately you wouldn’t be so sure, what made things even more surprising when they, actually, delivered.

Of course, we all expect NXT to be great, we’re used to it. And they were. We had another great tag team match with the Authors of Pain involved, what makes me think this may be their year to become the best tag team in the world. Also, Cole and Black tore the house down in an Extreme Rules match.

To me, however, the greatest disappointment of the evening was the women’s match. The structure of the match was terrible, the booking was awful and Moon vs Baszler is a Worst Match of the Year contender for me.

The main event, however, set new standards. I’m not as high as most people on the match, but I still think it was an awesome match. There’s one little problem that hurt the match to me, and that was the non-use of Tommaso Ciampa. Ciampa was the perfect reason to justify Gargano’s loss. Don’t get me wrong, I love myself a good clean finish, but, in this case, the story demanded the interference. The heat would be out of this world. Almas would move as the champion who uses other people to get his wins, and he could get his clean win later on against another opponent to establish him as a great champion. I wanted to be left with the feeling that Gargano should be champion right now, and the only reason he was not was Ciampa. I think I got myself into a work there.

My Star Ratings

The Authors of Pain vs Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly – ***3/4

Shayna Baszler vs Ember Moon – **

Aleister Black vs Adam Cole – ***3/4

Andrade Almas vs Johnny Gargano – ****1/4

And, then, we got to the scariest moment of the year: the Royal Rumble. I haven’t had fun with a Rumble since 2012, and that is more than enough to justify how scared I was before this started. Yes, this time we also had the Women’s Royal Rumble just in case the Men’s sucked, but I was still scared. The idea of Roman Reigns winning another Rumble still gives me nightmares. My fears, however, did not become reality. WWE delivered their best big event in I don’t know how long despite the terrible matches aside from the rumbles. Also, they presented what’s probably the best Royal Rumble match ever. They have set a dream match in AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura. They pushed Asuka to the moon. They debuted Ronda Rousey. They brought us the nostalgia acts we all love and gave some NXT stars the chance to shine in a mainstream environment. You know, this makes you realize: it’s not that hard, Uncle Vince!

My Star Ratings

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs AJ Styles – ***

Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin vs The Usos –  ***

Men’s Royal Rumble – ****1/2

Kane vs Braun Strowman vs Brock Lesnar – ***1/4

Women’s Royal Rumble – ***1/4