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Thread: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

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    Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018


    You think we've got a chance of making the list, Shawn?

    Yes, it's back. Christmas is over, my January exams are over, the WC awards have been out for almost a month and we're well into talking about the good the bad and the ugly of 2019, but I still have my 2018 match list to reveal so we're not done with the reminiscing just yet. 2018 was a year that saw women take over the WWE, Daniel Bryan coming out of retirement, WWE co-opt Progress Wrestling, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa have a feud more exhausting than watching Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy in one sitting, WWE co-opt wXw, The Elite leave ROH after ROH bankrolled All In, Eddie Kingston run over a child as gang warfare rages on in Impact, WWE co-opt Evolve and Shawn Michaels coming out of retirement to wrestle in Saudi Arabia. I don't think this is reflected in the list at all, but the two biggest promotion's in the world, WWE and NJPW, had horrible years creativity and my personal enjoyment of wrestling was probably down last year on where it normally is. That being said, there were still a lot of great matches last year and I can't wait to get this countdown going.

    Just like last year I'm going to post these in 10 match blocks, starting with the honourable mentions. The matches eligible to make the list were matches that aired between January 1st-December 31st 2018.

    Up first is the hoots/honourable mentions. 10 matches that for one reason or another I can't class as one of the top 100 matches of the year, but they're entertaining in their own way and deserve some sort of recognition.
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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

    I look forward to your list Ed. Gun to my head it would be hard for me think outside a few Matches not Joshi related to put on my Top 10 list from 2018. I'm prepared to have my mind refreshed on what was the best of the best for you.

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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

    Am very much looking forward to it, should be a hoot to see what you can come up with.

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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

    Woo, subbed. Can't wait.

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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018


    The Honorary Mentions
    (in no particular order)



    April 8th
    John Cena Vs The Undertaker - Wrestlemania


    This match was penciled in for the hoots of the year as soon as I watched it live, but what has strengthened it is the total misuse of Undertaker since this match. Undertaker in Australia and Saudi Arabia was a total embarrassment and not entertaining in the slightest. Undertaker at Wrestlemania doing a 2 minute sprint after all the build up and entrances was perfect, and if he has to continue working, that's the way to book him. The fans don't come for the great Taker matches anymore because they're mostly all sensible to know that his body can't work at that level anymore, but what they do come for is the gong and the theatrics and to see the legend in front of their eyes. The program gave us some fun Cena moments like his road to Wrestlemania storyline and buying a ticket and sitting with the fans for the first hour, then the swerve from Elias that helped him get on the card, before swerving us again that Taker was in fact showing up. I thought this whole thing was quality sports entertainment.



    July 19th
    Toru Yano Vs Zack Sabre Jr - G1 Climax Night 4

    A common theme running through the hoots is going to be matches delivering over my low expectations of them and you can't get much lower an expectation in my anticipation of a wrestling match than a summer of 9 Toru Yano singles matches in the G1. Before a certain Tongan came along, he was my most hated man in G1 tournaments and the one guy I would keep my fingers crossed would miss out some how. It's the same old comic relief 5-10 minute match in a tournament that didn't really need a court jester and after all the years I've watched the tournament, I just got tired of seeing him. That temporarily all changed this year with the G1 match against Zack Sabre Jr where instead of cheating, bending the rules and quick roll ups, the fool tried a match seriously against the greatest technical wrestler in the world and I got the biggest kick out of it. Seeing Yano run through some grappling exchanges with one of the best was hilarious to me. While this is all going on your experience of watching Yano tells you that this must be a ruse and at some point he'll catch Zack off guard by luring him into a false sense of security and would use his old book of tricks to steal a win and 2 big points. Well, that's nearly how it played out because it wasn't too long before Yano needed to use ref shields and exposed turnbuckle pads to help him swim against the tide. However, eventually Zack win with a bridging pin. Block B even delivers for Yano matches.



    December 14th
    Bully Ray Vs Flip Gordon - ROH Final Battle

    I cannot believe I enjoyed this match as much as I did. Maybe it was just having a breath of fresh air from the elite on Final Battle, but there was something about the silliness of this match that just connected with me. In truth this feud was well past it's expiration date by December, I think you could of paid it off in the summer and no-one would of complained, but Bully Ray was in commanding form here and was the most hated man in the Hammerstein Ballroom. A fun, mindless EC DUB tribute matches with multiple run-ins with the end goal of putting over one of ROH's brightest talents. The live crowd ate this up.



    January 30th
    Team Little Big (Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman) Vs Ginger Snaps (Sami Zayn and Becky Lynch) - Mixed Match Challenge S1E3

    I've picked this match because from memory it's the best, but the Mixed Match Challenge was never about match quality, it was about putting together wacky team combinations and seeing how well they could gel and entertain fans. No two wrestlers epitomised this better than Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss with their odd couple sexual tension and funny promo skits that were a level beyond most teams trying to force their two catchphrases into one (we're boss club and we're too sweet/we're day one glow-ish). I think the series really helped develop Braun Strowman's babyface character and got him even more over. I think this is the best match to get a feel of that, as well as Sami being a great douchebag. Also, Bliss doing twisted bliss off of Braun's shoulders never gets old. Team Little Big were a huge loss from Season 2.



    April 20th
    Black Danger, Ultimo Maldito and Mirage Vs Arkangel Divino, Black Destiny and Genio del Aire - AAA 20/4/18

    This was a 10 minute trios match that caught fire on twitter last year for being fucking insane and a gift to gif makers. 100% pure spotfest.



    January 23rd
    Cederic Alexander Vs Mustafa Ali - 205 Live

    This was the episode of 205 Live where everything changed. Enzo had been fired and the title was vacated, Triple H was back in control of the show and the week before the tournament got underway we were treated to a match between best friends Alexander and Ali that was very good and got people talking positively about the show again after months of the 'Zo Train and Neville's depature hurt the credibility of the show. This was the start of 205 Live becoming the A-Show in WWE and this was significantly better than their HEART VS SOUL match from Wrestlemania's preshow.



    September 5th
    Meiko Satomura Vs Killer Kelly - Mae Young Classic First Round

    There are easily better Meiko Satomura matches in the year and in the countdown, but I did want to show some love to this match for the presentation of Meiko's WWE debut. This was treated with a lot of respect and they completely represented Meiko to be the true legend she is. Considering WWE knew at this point she wasn't signing a contract with them, they really didn't have to go to that extent but it's one of the most respectful debuts in the company I can remember. The match rocks too and is comfortably Kelly's best outing of the year. Hard not to become a fan of Satomura if this was your first time watching her.



    April 5th
    Minoru Suzuki Vs Matt Riddle - Matt Riddle's Bloodsport

    I actually think that the Walter/Filthy Tom Lawlor match is the stronger match from Bloodsport, but I've got too much Walter on this list as it is and it's nice to get some attention on the fallen king of the indies, Matt Riddle. This was a match if you remember that wasn't even supposed to happen, the scheduled main event of the show was Matt Riddle Vs Low Ki but Ki being Ki pulled out of the match the day before it was going ahead. Thankfully, someone perfect for the MMA/grapple style, no ropes show was in town and had the day off, so Suzuki came in to save the day. There's so much choice now come Wrestlemania weekend for which shows to watch that it really pays to be different and in GCW's bloodsports you definitely got something a little different.



    September 1st
    Over Budget Battle Royal - All In

    2018 was actually pretty decent for Battle Royal's because the one on Evolution was really good too, but the one I'm putting some shine on is the pre-show battle royal from All In where the winner gets an ROH world title shot on the main show. Like any good battle royal, it's all about having moments once the ring opens up after jobber eliminations and I think they had that with the likes of Marko Stunt getting in Bully Ray's face, Jordynne Grace powerbombing Cage and eliminating him, Billy Gunn teaming up with his son Austin and of course Chico El Luchador unmasking as Flip Gordon as he dumps Bully Ray to win the match to pay off both the Ray/Flip feud and the Flip's not booked gag on Being The Elite. I thought this was a fun way to lead into All In.



    April 8th
    Ronda and Kurt Vs Stephanie and Triple H - Wrestlemania

    This one might annoys some people sticking it in the hoots and overlooking it for one of the top 100 best matches of 2018 because it was the MOTN for a lot of people at Wrestlemania. I think looking back on it it just felt too sports entertainment-y and a wild exhibition of Ronda's debut and beating up on Stephanie and Triple H, Angle hitting his greatest hits etc. When you look at the match after a year of other great Ronda performances (some of which make the list), you can tell the difference in quality and it didn't feel right to include this ahead of legitimate great matches during the year. This was the start of Ronda giving women their best ever career matches.

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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

    I disagree with Cena vs Undertaker. It might have been a decent use of Undertaker considering how awful he is, but it was a horrid use of Cena and just further made him feel like just another dude. Which is something that Cena should never be.

    I loved team Little Big. In my head I really wanted Bliss to be Braun's partner at Wrestlemania as a way to introduce new Mixed Match Tag Titles. Zayn and Becky were the second best team thanks to Sami's goofiness and cowardice, and I remember really enjoying this match.

    I think the Ronda debut match more than deserves a spot in the top 100, though you do watch significantly more wrestling than me so I'd reserve judgement. I've got nothing against a Sports Entertainment match, and this was the perfect blend of it. I enjoy it even more every time I watch it, and considering the limitations of everyone involved it far exceeded any sort of realistic expectations. A perfectly booked match that protected everyone's weaknesses and was very satisfying in the end. One of the most fun matches WWE has produced in years, and my MOTN for Wrestlemania.







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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

    I agree that most of these qualify as hoots and your reasoning behind them too is similar to mine.

    I think the only questionable one was the Cena/Taker only because of the terrible storyline that preceded it and even in-show execution was super cheesy and made what should be a fun thing kind of tedious.

    I think Ali/Alexander too while a good match wasn't that much of a hoot, but I don't have the love of 205 Dead-err Live that you do. Should have had a Hideki Suzuki goofy Ice match or the one from the Tag League where Okabayashi & Nomura danced instead.

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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

    Yeah Taker vs Cena for me was a utter disappointment for all the work going into it, just to have a short Match was like made me say myself why waste time on TV, just to give us that on TV. Ali/Alexander was a good shout, I thought Ali had better Matches though, but I imagine you have some of the others later, still any knowledge of respect for the A-Show is always good with me.

    Still need to see the Riddle vs Suzuki

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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

    Quote Originally Posted by Shock View Post
    I disagree with Cena vs Undertaker. It might have been a decent use of Undertaker considering how awful he is, but it was a horrid use of Cena and just further made him feel like just another dude. Which is something that Cena should never be.
    I don't really feel like it was a move that hurt Cena at all, I've not heard one person blame that defeat for a reason they aren't into him as much anymore, and live crowds still react to the guy louder than 90% of the roster. The 2 minutes of the match might of made him feel like just another dude but Cena got a hell of a lot of airtime on that Wrestlemania because he's still a star, he just doesn't occupy the main event scene anymore, wrestling clearly isn't his priority anymore and is selfless when he does make his appearances. As someone who has always wanted to see Cena/Taker even though I knew they were about 5 years late on it, I'm still glad it happened.

    I loved team Little Big. In my head I really wanted Bliss to be Braun's partner at Wrestlemania as a way to introduce new Mixed Match Tag Titles. Zayn and Becky were the second best team thanks to Sami's goofiness and cowardice, and I remember really enjoying this match.
    That was my rebooking idea too once i saw them do the Nicholas thing and vacate the titles. Given Raw's tag title history over the last 12 months, I'm not sure anyone would of missed that title being rebranded.

    I think the Ronda debut match more than deserves a spot in the top 100, though you do watch significantly more wrestling than me so I'd reserve judgement. I've got nothing against a Sports Entertainment match, and this was the perfect blend of it. I enjoy it even more every time I watch it, and considering the limitations of everyone involved it far exceeded any sort of realistic expectations. A perfectly booked match that protected everyone's weaknesses and was very satisfying in the end. One of the most fun matches WWE has produced in years, and my MOTN for Wrestlemania.
    In a really lean year or a year where I didn't watch anything but WWE it would of done really well, but it's going to be hard for this to make the cut when I prefer almost every other Ronda PPV match.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    I think Ali/Alexander too while a good match wasn't that much of a hoot, but I don't have the love of 205 Dead-err Live that you do. Should have had a Hideki Suzuki goofy Ice match or the one from the Tag League where Okabayashi & Nomura danced instead.
    It's not just 10 hoots, it's hoots/honorary mentions and Ali/Alexander was a good match that didn't survive the cut when trimming this down to 100 matches. In fairness I think there's a good number of 205 Live main events that were better than it with stronger stories and heel/face dynamics, but the combination of it being so much better than the mania match, the starting point in everything improving big time on that show and getting back to the excitement people had for the division in 2016, a fun match between two close friends where WWE took the bad agenting off their backs and let them do essentially a spotfest to wow crowds with their athleticism put it over the edge for me to include it.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoHo
    Still need to see the Riddle vs Suzuki
    Wasn't must see, but it was a fun 10 minutes.

    Hopefully 91-100 coming in the next 24 hours.
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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018



    #100 - January 28th

    Women's Royal Rumble - WWE Royal Rumble


    So we're starting the countdown ironically enough with the two rumble matches from last year. First up is the women's royal rumble match that I had real concerns going into with the state of the division in early 2018. Remember there was no Ronda yet, Becky wasn't over, Charlotte and Alexa as champions didn't take part, Riott Squad and Absolution had only just been called up, Paige had her career ending injury a few weeks before. As such, the match had to rely on a lot of surprise entries from divas of the past. The result was a fun match that celebrated the past, present and future of women's wrestling in WWE and with Asuka winning, they backed the right winner.




    #99 - January 28th
    Men's Royal Rumble - WWE Royal Rumble


    And just a smidge above that match for me was the men's Rumble which was technically much sounder and had a really fun beginning with Elias, Slater, Sheamus etc. Where the match turns into a top 10 rumble of all time for me is the final six where you get the Ruthless Aggression Era standing off against the current day stars. In Nakamura Vs Reigns, you've got a delightful final two that plays off the fears of everyone in the arena that Roman is yet again going to run through the crowd's favourite and win the Rumble.



    #98 - November 9th
    Tomohiro Ishii Vs David Starr - Rev Pro Uprising


    Two men that come to mind when you think of the British Heavyweight Championship title~! My sarcastic criticism of who Rev Pro push at the top of their cards aside, this was a damn fine title match. David Starr is an excellent shithead, and coming to the ring with a jacket that said 'Starr is Ishii's daddy' certainly was a move intended to piss off Ishii and his fans. This was a highly competitive match that elevated Starr in the Rev-Pro standings as being a real contender in the heavyweight division and set up Ishii nicely for a dome title match with Zack, but it's some distance away from being the best we'd see out of either man in 2018.



    #97 - May 7th
    Kassius Ohno Vs Zack Sabre Jr - Progress Wrestling SSS16 Night 3


    These two got into my 2017 top ten for Hero's final night on the indies and this is a match up that I've always loved, so it was certainly a nice surprise to get this match again when Ohno worked Progress' annual weekend tournament. It didn't reach those heavy heights this time around, not only because Ohno made the final via Tyler Bate's injury so he obviously wasn't winning, but also there wasn't as strong a dynamic between these two like there used to be where Zack was desperate to prove he was on Hero's level. Also, the win gave Sabre Jr a world title shot for the Wembley show but New Japan pulled him from that chapter so the importance of the match is also hurt in retrospect. All that being said this was a very good match between two masters of the ring and you could tell that Ohno really enjoyed his weekend back living the indie life.



    #96 - January 19th
    Gran Guerrero Vs Niebla Roja - Fantasticamania Night Six

    I thought this was the best match of the Fantasticamania tour from last January where Roja defended the CMLL World Light Heavyweight Championship against Gran Guerrero. Zero might hit me for saying it, but it's nice to have some big singles matches with CMLL stars that don't have the dopey first two falls over in a flash when they tap out in 1 second to something that doesn't look like it hurts and they finally get going in the third fall. I thought this was really fucking good from start to finish between two guys that hadn't really connected with me before this tour and some huge moves were attempted from the top rope in the closing stretch. This might have really popped for me bigger if I had watched their mask match and was more accustomed to their history.



    #95 - April 21st
    Zack Sabre Jr Vs Lucky Kid - wXw We Love Wrestling Tour: Frankfurt


    This is the type of match that wouldn't have a shot of making a 2019 list because my fandom of wXw is pretty much shot and as yet another co-opted European wrestling promotion I can't really get invested in individual character arcs and career progression anymore. The first 6 months or so of 2018 I was #ALLIN on the young lion of the RISE stable, Lucky Kid, with his wacky character work coming together with impressive in-ring performances and I thought this guy was all set to break out as one of the leading young wrestlers of European wrestling. There's another match coming up later that's a better example of his skills, but this was a match I really loved at the time. Zack's a wXw legend, but his career success now means he only works a few matches a year in Germany, so to get booked one on one with Zack in the promotion is a huge nod and means there's an effort being made to get you over and accepted as one to watch. This was worked in a vet Vs rookie style where Kid was trying to hang with Zack, Zack was overly arrogant in the match and like most Sabre Jr matches it turns out to be very good but what made it stand out a bit more to me than most Zack matches on the indies was when Kid's tag partner and big brother mentor Tarkan Aslan threw some brass knuckles into the ring to cheat his way to victory, but little brother refused and tried to win on his own terms. He didn't, Zack submitted him in a grounded abdominal stretch, but it was a some good character growth for Kid that further drove a wedge between him and Aslan and continued to turned him babyface.



    #94 - November 17th
    Tommaso Ciampa Vs Velveteen Dream - NXT Takeover Wargames


    Far from a faultless match given the style of match they were going for and the amount of big nearfalls survived on a night of bloated action, but it was refreshing to see Ciampa outside of the Gargano feud flex his muscles as a heel and I always have the purple tinted glasses on with Dream and think he's one of the most captivating wrestlers in the world when Triple H decides to book him. I get such a kick out of him stealing looks and moves from legends of the past because his character already sees himself as being a legend and he's doing whatever he can to get notoriety, including paying homage to Hulk Hogan. I remember going into this match a little down because I thought Dream had zero chance of winning and it was the wrong time to have him challenge, but these two knocked it out the park and had me doubting myself at certain moments thinking a title change might be on the cards.



    #93 - October 28th
    Kairi Sane Vs Shayna Baszler - WWE Evolution


    Evolution felt like too great a show to just include one match so I'm going with my pick for the 2nd best match on the show, the NXT womens title match between Sane and Baszler where Shayna made history as the first ever 2 time NXT womens champion. You won't find a better pure babyface Vs heel dynamic in wrestling in 2018 than these two. Baszler I think is the best heel womens wrestler in the world and it was a cool callback in the feud to see her go for the arm stomp that injured Dakota Kai which made Baszler the #1 enemy in the NXT locker room. I wouldn't say the interference hurts the match because everyone's playing their roles really well here and setting up the next chapter of the story, but it wasn't hidden very well, you knew it was coming so you were waiting around for it to happen before a finish would occur.




    #92 - May 20th
    David Starr Vs WALTER - Progress Chapter 69, Be here now


    Here we go, it's the first Walter match on the countdown. This feels like a lifetime ago for Walter where the biggest thing he was doing back in 2017 was this one sided career rivalry with David Starr in wXw that other promoters latched onto and would run in different parts of the world. I feel like they've dropped the ball on this story in many ways because it was all leading up to this big moment where David Starr would finally score a victory over Walter and it would propel him to the next chapter of his career and maybe even the wXw Unified Heavyweight Championship, however another year has passed without that victory coming and the changing landscape of professional wrestling has sent Walter to NXT UK while David Starr pitches his UK tent in Rev-Pro and makes less and less appearances for wXw. If it's gonna happen anywhere, it's probably gonna happen in OTT. ANYWAY, this match. The record before this match was 9 matches, 9 wins for Walter and this was right after Walter had vacated the Atlas championship in Progress and was eyeing up the world title, so obviously he's winning again. What I enjoyed about this match was they finally told a different story, this wasn't about chops and Starr's gameplan to nullify the hands of Walter, this time Starr had decided to focus on Walter's leg. Cut the big man down to size and whenever he starts to build up momentum, kick him in the leg to slow him down. Naturally as it's Starr Vs Walter the result still goes in Walters favour when he turns a sharpshooter into a small package to steal a victory. Starr this time was the better man against Walter, but still comes away empty handed. In a year dominated by Walter being the destroyer, this was a rare match where he did most of the match selling and fighting from underneath.



    #91 - May 4th
    Will Ospreay Vs KUSHIDA - NJPW Wrestling Dontaku Night 2

    Will's tremendous run with the Jr title continued with another great match against a career rival in KUSHIDA, certainly in NJPW lore Kushida has been his biggest hurdle that it took him a while to overcome. This match was all action, they showed a great understanding of each other and knew their movesets inside out which made for cool counters, and the match moved from mutual respect to imma kill you for that title in a natural way. Kushida showed an awesome, will stop at nothing, desire to try to defeat Will here, teasing the ref to stop the match with his stomps on the back of Will's neck. I'm someone that hates the Oscutter move because of how dopey the opponent looks standing there taking it, so to see Ospreay bust out this new Storm breaker move that looks 10 times better was a sweet sight.
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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018



    #90 - August 19th

    AJ Styles Vs Samoa Joe - WWE Summerslam


    I think this was a feud that not a lot of people were really feeling given WWE stupidly gave them a D-level movie storyline of Joe wanting to fuck Wendy Styles and tormenting AJ's family rather than just say these two great wrestlers have a lot of history together and Joe wants the title and will do anything for it, BUT I really enjoyed their matches together over the championship. Joe isn't the wrestler he was 10 years ago (who is other than Rey), but I saw a noticeable jump up in quality from the Nakamura feud to Joe in AJ's long reign. The action was great, the heat was real good after Joe's mic work, and the aggression was there. The headbanging counter to AJ's calf crusher is my favourite counter in wrestling and I pop every time it's used. It's the best use of a DQ finish all year because it worked with the context of the story, seeing red and caring more about your family than a wrestling match should be AJ's reaction in that moment - that was the perfect set up for a HIAC match but no clearly Braun and Roman needed that stipulation for their match that stopped all the interference from happening. The 'daddy your bleeding' moment is pretty endearing too, that actually might just be the factor that swung it going onto the list. I think this smokes anything Joe did in NXT and I'd give it the edge over on the great Roman Reigns Raw match from the start of the year for the honour of best Joe match in WWE.



    #89 - September 16th
    Jeff Hardy Vs Randy Orton - WWE Hell in a Cell

    A match that shattered all my expectations of it. As much as I have admired the Randy Orton masochist character change, it hasn't really lead to an improvement in his matches or a rise up the card. I've also never been a big fan of singles Jeff Hardy even when he was in his prime, so the idea of them having one of the HIAC matches when really heated feuds like Joe Vs AJ, Charlotte Vs Becky and Bryan Vs Miz going on at the same time felt like a big mistake and got two thumbs down from me. However the outcome was one of my favourite HIAC matches in recent years, I'd go as far as to say a top 10 of all time. They worked to the stipulation rather than have a regular match surrounded by a cage; the intensity was up, there was a level of hatred there and they were more vicious on the offence, Orton particularly. I think it's a match that also highlights the magic of selling and the illusion of being in pain when you're not being way more effective than taking a stupid bump on the apron or taking a hundred light-tubes shots to the head - you can keep your Masashi Takeda deathmatches, they don't resonate with me as strongly as Randy Orton torturing Jeff's ear lobe with a screwdriver. A stronger finish (or just Orton getting off the table 2 seconds later) would of pushed this even higher up my list, but Orton yelling at the referee to make the count when Jeff looked dead was fantastic stuff. This really should of led to Orton getting a title shot before Bryan did.



    #88 - March 11th
    Yoshi Hashi Vs Kota Ibushi - NJPW New Japan Cup

    I had to fit tacos in somewhere didn't I? and this is legitimately one of his best ever matches I feel. It's one of those matches where I come out of it baffled by people that don't think YH is a good wrestler or he's only ever ok if he's in there with the right opponent. Some people really believe their own bias against him and will do anything to avoid admitting he's had great matches in tournaments. ANYWAY. This was rad, they brought the intensity, YH felt like he was on Ibushi's level and an upset might of been on the cards because anything can happen in the cup and the crowd was really invested in the battle.



    #87 -
    April 6th
    Zack Sabre Jr Vs Tomohiro Ishii - Rev Pro NOLA Show

    Two great wrestlers wrestled their usually great match. Wrestlemania week can sometimes be a bit of a wash out where people take it easy because they're working multiple shows on the same day and they're trying to maximise their earnings so you get a fair level of phoning it in from established acts. Ishii doesn't have an off switch, he's going to give you the stonefaced pitbull every time he's booked and Zack was there to meet him with a motivated performance as he dropped the British Heavyweight Championship after a year in New Orleans of all places. Rev-Pro didn't have to make that booking decision, but they went for the impact of their own #WrestlemaniaMoment and I think it worked out well for them.



    #86 - January 4th
    Kota Ibushi Vs Cody - NJPW Wrestle Kingdom

    This is one of those pleasantly surprised treats of the year. Cody in dome matches before and after this one has been a complete bust and to see Kota after another year of being one of the greatest in the world be booked for this show in a no stakes match with The Elite's most mediocre wrestler seemed on paper to be a complete waste of everyone's time. However, this ended up being really great and one of my favourite matches on the show. In fact I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say it's the best singles match of Cody's career. Well defined face/heel dynamic, good work on Kota's neck, a memorable moment with the cross rhodes off the apron, the big Kota comeback, this really overdelivered. This match won a lot of good will with me to tolerate the Cody Vs Kenny storyline for as long as I did.



    #85 -
    April 6th
    Zack Sabre Jr Vs Munenori Sawa - WWN Mercury Rising

    Not only had I never seen Munenori Sawa wrestle before, I'd never even heard of the guy and his reputation before watching his three matches in mania week. If I had this match probably would of been my most anticipated of the weekend knowing how well suited these two are. Thought this was a delightful thinking mans wrestling match full of submissions and counters with Zack picking up a win over the Battlarts legend with his orienteering with napalm death finisher. I believe this makes Zack the only person to have two matches in my top 100 that happened on the same day.



    #84 -
    October 13th
    Minoru Suzuki Vs Timothy Thatcher - OTT Fourth Year Anniversary

    This wasn't quite the level of match I'd had in my dreams, but it was thoroughly entertaining to see student of the game Thatcher go toe to toe with the Japanese legend on tour. Everything they did was snug and packed a punch in this first encounter and I'm hoping for a rematch come bloodsports 2019 time.



    #83 - July 7th
    'Switchblade' Jay White Vs Juice Robinson - NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco

    If Jay White could work like this more than one night a year he'd resemble the type of wrestler deserving of the push he's getting in New Japan, but he isn't and that's why this stands out more than his bigger matches of 2019. Perhaps being tighter friends with him from their dojo days, Jay is more comfortable in how much he can punish Juice because I loved the intensity he brought in this one against one of the world's best pure heroes. To get heat from a US New Japan crowd takes some doing, but Jay got everyone to hate him in this match, including the commentators. This could be several entries higher if NJPW didn't make this the most pointless title change of the year by beating Juice over and over again in the G1 and re-running the 'he can't use his good hand' story too many times.



    #82 - April 7th
    6 Man Ladder Match NXT - NXT Takeover New Orleans

    So this is a match I shouldn't like on paper. It's a modern day ladder match featuring 6 men, it features a misfit cast of NXT leftovers who differ in talent level and experience and oh yeah it's 31 minutes long. But god damn this blew me away. the best version of this type of ladder match since Wrestlemania 21 and the first ever MITB match. What makes it so special is it wasn't just a spotfest with ladders and that's the only story, everyone had a story and had their own role in the match that they delivered in. EC3 and more importantly Adam Cole were being crafty at times and took some brutal bumps, Velveteen Dream again oozes star potential and pulled off some fucking risky moves to add to the wackiness of the match to ensure you remember his name, you had Lars and Killian wanting to kill each other but a smaller guy always got in the way to delay the big collision, and then there was the debuting Ricochet wowing his new fans with his high flying ability, and they weren't just flips for the sake of flips, that counter he does when the ladder is being tipped over to turn his fall into an offensive move is fantastic.



    #81 - October 24th
    Mustafa Ali Vs Hideo Itami - 205 Live

    If match quality is all you care about, then 205 Live was the best wrestling television show of 2018 and while I think the bloom might be starting to come off that rose, they were still killing it a few months with another great Mustafa Ali program. As I eluded to when talking about Hideo's departure from WWE, he has a sneaky great little collection of matches from his time there and this is one of the best ones as he ends his feud with Ali in a falls count anywhere match. Sure the RESPEC' ME stuff was nothing to get your teeth sunk into, but the action was superb. Ali's ability to bump and sell to make his opponents look great was surely the quality that swung the decision to call him up to Smackdown ahead of the other talented wrestlers in the cruiserweight division. Loved the tornado DDT off the stairs counter.

    Last edited by Ed; 02-14-2019 at 09:39 AM.
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  12. #12

    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

    I think I need to just sit down and watch Orton/Hardy. I keep seeing it on various top 100 matches and each time I see it on a list, I'm baffled. On paper, it looks like such a supremely average 2 star match.

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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

    I'd completely forgot Munenori Sawa was a thing briefly back in the first EVOLVE shows. I think he had just two matches with TJP and Danielson and both were getting massive praise - I don't recall them just being carry jobs either.


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  14. #14
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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

    Glad the NXT ladder match is this far back. It's not a bad match or anything, but it's been hella overrated.

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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018

    Sawa was OK but I wasn't impressed with any of his EVOLVE comeback matches. If anything found his 'antics' to be fairly tedious. The Jaka match was best because it was the least exhibition-y but even then I wouldn't put it on a list like this.

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    Re: Ed's Top 100 Matches of 2018



    #80 - November 17th

    Shayna Baszler Vs Kairi Sane - NXT Takeover Wargames

    A match that felt quite un-takeover like in how fast paced it was worked and was over, particularly for a 2 out of 3 falls match. That was so welcome on a show that felt exhausting. There's more interference in this match than ever, but instead of taking away from the match I thought it added nicely to the drama and who's gonna moan about seeing Io Shirai hit a moonsault in skin tight jeans as she makes the save.



    #79 - October 5th
    Ringkampf Vs CCK - wXw World Tag League Night 1

    Probably the best match from an underwhelming tag league tournament compared to the high standards of other years. The delight in this match comes from seeing Jonathan Gresham on parole from ROH allowed to mix it up with some of his fellow greatest wrestlers in the world and there's much enjoyment to be had from seeing him go toe to toe with the killer Walter who is twice his size. I actually think Gresham is a bit reserved when he tags with Brooks because he's playing the little brother role subbing in for Kid Lykos, you don't get the best of him in these situations. Still though, he's very good and gets the crucial submission of the match when he gets Thatcher to tap out to the octopus stretch.



    #78 - May 27th
    KUSHIDA Vs Sho - NJPW BOSJ Night 8

    Sho was really someone who took the bull by the horns during the best of the super juniors to have a standout tournament, his star looks like it'll shine brighter than Yoh's when RPG3k are done. One of the matches for me that really impressed was his match against the man who has seen and done it all in this division, the former 5 time Jr Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA. When there are so many matches in a tournament, it pays to be a little different, and the slower pace and mat based focus of the match meant there were more eyes on this match than anything else on night 8. Clever, well executed and a match that elevated Sho even in defeat; one of my favourites from the BOSJ for sure.



    #77 - February 9th
    Bad Bones Vs 'Speedball' Mike Bailey - wXw Dead End

    Mike Bailey had a run in wXw that lasted a couple of months at the start of 2018 which to me provided more quality work than what I've seen out of him in Japan. Here he faced the Unified Heavyweight Champion and #1 heel of the company, Bad Bones, who was threatened by his RISE stablemates that if he did not retain the title against Bailey, then they would be forced to elect a new leader because they were getting tired of his shit. For the first time in ages Bad Bones was going to have to win a title match without the interference help of his stable. The stakes were high and Jon Klinger came through this breathless heavyweight/Junior match win the win and prove he's still the man.



    #76 - February 11th
    Tyler Bate Vs Zack Sabre Jr - Progress Chapter 63</