For the 2nd year in a row, I voted in the Voices of Wrestling Match of the Year. Pretty cool to see that 6 of my top 10 matches ended up the overall top 10 list. It’s always fun going back and reviewing the best matches of the year. 2019 was an excellent year for professional wrestling. Here are my top 10 matches from 2019.
10. Lucha Brothers vs. Young Bucks (8/31 – AEW)
The Escalera De La Muerte was absolutely insane. Easily one of the craziest ladder matches I’ve ever seen. These guys went above and beyond to make this ladder match special. Pentagon’s Super Canadian Destroyer to Matt Jackson off the top of the ladder will forever be engrained in my brain. I don’t we’ll see a tag team ladder as crazy as this one anytime soon.
9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay (7/20 – NJPW)
One of the highlights of G1 29 was Will Ospreay having banger after banger with the guys in the heavyweight division. A lot of people, including myself, had the Ospreay/Okada matchup circled on their calendars a MOTY candidate before the match even took place. The atmosphere for this match was electric. Two of the best workers in the world going at it and having a classic. There wasn’t a dull moment in this match. They match was laid great with tons of counters and reversals that had on my feet!
8. Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii (8/8 – NJPW)
If somebody asked me “what is Strong Style?”, I would show them this match. Two hosses cracking each other with forearms and lariats. Both men pushing each other to their limits. Each man displaying their fighting spirit by kicking out a one after big moves. It doesn’t get much better than this.
7. Kota Ibushi vs. Will Ospreay (7/18 – NJPW)
Ibushi came into this match nursing an ankle injury, while Ospreay came recovering from a neck injury. However, these injuries didn’t stop them from having a phenomenal match. This match was more violent than their Wrestle Kingdom 13 encounter. Both worked over the injured targets with no regrets. This bout was full of drama and several callbacks to their Tokyo Dome encounter. The closing stretch was exhilarating as both desperately tried to put each other away.
6. Dragon Lee vs. Will Ospreay (6/9 – NJPW)
Will Ospreay had the pressure of matching the quality of the epic encounter he had with Shingo just a few days before this match. He and Dragon Lee knocked it out of the park here. This match was a highlight reel of high flying excellence. Ospreay and Lee started the match off at 100 MPH and kept that pace throughout the match. They executed one insane sequence after another. These guys have great chemistry, they’re both amazing wrestlers and delivered a perfect match in my eyes.
5. Jay White vs. Kota Bushi (8/12 – NJPW)
The G1 29 Finals matchup between Jay White and Kota Ibushi told a great story. Ibushi had to overcome his nagging ankle injury, Bullet Club shenanigans, and Jay White’s out of nowhere counter-attacks. The crowd was locked in and were on the edge of their seat with every near fall. They wanted to see the evil Bullet Club Villian thwarted and see the Golden Star rise. At the end of the match, the fans got their wish as Ibushi put his knee through Jay’s dome and won the G1.
4. Jordan Devlin vs. David Starr (10/26 – OTT)
The rivalry behind Devlin, Starr, and WALTER in OTT has produced some of the best matches and promos over the last two years. The story told between these three men was incredible. The story between these men climaxed with this match. Starr came out in ‘Import Killer” gear. A look and moniker that belonged to Devlin. But Starr presenting himself as the Import Killer was perfect as the crowd was starting to see Devlin as the import from NXT UK. Devlin and Starr tore the house down in from a molten hot crowd. This was an excellent display of what professional wrestling should be.
3. WALTER vs. Tyler Bate (8/31 – NXT UK)
This match was David versus Goliath story executed at an extremely high level. WALTER used his large stature and strength advantage to bully Bate. Bate took a beating but continued to fight back. Bate unleashed every from his arsenal and when that wasn’t enough he used signature moves from his Moustache Mountain stablemates. Even with all that Bate could not keep WALTER down. This was an exciting battle and the best match that WWE produced this year.
2. Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (1/4 – NJPW)
The IWGP Championship was not the only thing on the line. This was a battle of two philosophies of pro wrestling. Tanahashi representing the traditional New Japan philosophy of classic wrestling. On the other hand, Omega was representing the “Change the World” philosophy that would bring a break in tradition bringing things like Triple Threat matches and ladder matches to the forefront. In the midst of this battle was the influence of Kota Ibushi. Throughout the match, both men tried to one-up each other using the other man’s philosophy. This was an epic match filled with violent strikes and high-risk maneuvers.
1. Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay (6/5 – NJPW)
The Best of the Super Juniors final between Shingo and Ospreay was absolutely incredible. Two of the best wrestlers in the world going head to head and having a match for the ages. The story of the match was great. Shingo came into the final as the undefeated juggernaut who decimated everybody in his block. Ospreay was the ultimate underdog which is a position he’s not often in. I knew that the match was going to be awesome, but I was expecting Ospreay to become just another victim for the Dragon. I lost my mind when Ospreay unleashed all of his top moves and defeated Shingo. This match checked all the boxes for me: hard-hitting moves, innovative spots, a great story, and a hot crowd. For me, this is easily the best match of 2019.