The 20 Best Matches Of The Month: June Edition
Another amazing month of wrestling and a heavy digesting many different styles and wrestling companies. There were many rematches but also first time ever affairs. The month of June started with New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best Of The Super Juniors tournament Finals and maybe the best match of the entire year. So let’s get to the 5 matches that just missed the list:
The 5 Honorable Mentions
Dalton Castle vs Mark Haskins- SMASH Gold
Fred Yehi vs Joey Janela- FIP title match at FIP: In Full Force
Samoa Joe vs Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor- WWE Extreme Rules
Lio Rush vs TARIK- SMASH: Gold
Trevor Lee vs Penta OM- AAW Heritage title match at AAW: Killers Among Us
#20. Silas Young vs Jay Lethal- ROH: Best In The World
A feud raging for months finally reaching it’s peak and although it didn’t have a satisfying finish or aftermath, these 2 went full-tilt to entertain the fans. Young has broken through to the main events with this rivalry with ROH’s “Golden boy” as Silas likes to say. The Beer City Bruiser is holding back Young but no need to worry about him in this one, Lethal took out Bruiser with a chair before the match started. A hard-hitting match with Silas taking his knee brace off at one point to deliver a knee strike.
The match spilled to the floor where Lethal went for trademark triple suicide dives but Silas caught Lethal with a chair shot on the third dive. Silas is more athletic than he looks, almost winning with a moonsault plunge. The referee got shoved and Lethal countered a Silas rollup into one of his own to get the important victory.
Result: Lethal wins. ****
#19. Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs Anthony Henry- FIP: In Full Force
On paper this may not be a must-see match but it won’t be long before everyone knows where they have been and the rivalry they have had. Maxwell Jacob Friedman has only been wrestling for 2 years- from Combat Zone Wrestling- but he has main event charisma and a character you love to hate, with his scarf matching his gear. Henry has been on the independents since 2012 and this is just the opponent for Henry’s plucky babyface character.
The match goes to the bar in the building early and they do some brutal spots into the building structures, Irish whipping each other into them. Friedman ruined Henry’s Style Battle win so this got heated, Friedman spit in Henry’s face leading to a superkick and Fujiwara armbar. 2 more kicks and a brainbuster would have finished it but the girlfriends got invoved and Amber Young (Henry’s girlfriend) tossed him a chair for a Van-Daminator, double stomp and frogsplash for 3. As exciting as it gets between 2 stars on the rise.
Result: Henry. ****
#18. Austin Aries vs Neville- Cruiserweight title Submission match at WWE Extreme Rules
Aries had his third shot at Neville after Neville had to claw his way out of the Last Chancery previously. Aries made Neville tap finally on 205 Live so he earned his title shot in a submission match. Neville is every bit what WWE is looking for in the Cruiserweights, it’s just the wrong place and the wrong time for Aries. A fantastic match where Aries not only keeps up with the younger Neville but is just as impressive.
Neville was reeling when Aries went for a suicide dive but Neville moved and Neville tasted the floor. Neville finished it with the best Red Arrow he has ever hit, right on the back and you could hear the impact. Then “The King Of The Cruiserweights” locked in the Rings Of Saturn and Aries had to tap out.
Result: Neville retained the Cruiserweight title. ****
#17. Toni Storm vs Kay Lee Ray- Progress women’s title match at Progress Chapter 50: I Give It 6 Months
A women’s match being featured in Progress in the UK every month is terrific for matches like this, Kay Lee Ray diving off the top rope to the floor onto Toni and the security team. Lots of back and forth and Kay Lee Ray almost became champion with The Gory Bomb. Toni Storm is one of the toughest females out there as well, escaping the ICW women’s champions Koji Clutch. Kay Lee kicked out of the first piledriver but succumbed to an avalanche piledriver.
Result: Toni Storm retained the Progress women’s title. ****
#16. Cody Rhodes vs Christopher Daniels- ROH World title match at ROH Best In The World
Cody can have a great match but it depends on the opponent sometimes, here it is a veteran of ROH since the very beginning and Cody gets to dethrone him. The drama was certainly there the entire way, the fans were split between the ROH legend and The Bullet Club star. A back suplex threw a table off the apron onto the floor took both men out. Daniels kicked out of Crossrhodes. Counters led to a second Cross Rhodes and a clean pinfall win for his first World championship right before his Birthday.
Result: Cody Rhodes became the new ROH World champion. ****
#15. A.J. Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin vs Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler vs Sami Zayn- Money In The Bank ladder match at Money In The Bank
The format of the match may be becoming a bit tiresome, the match was still very hot with action and crazy spots. Corbin took out Nakamura during his entrance before the match even started. Styles was left to hang from the briefcase and fall to the mat at one point. Kevin Owens took the most punishment, thrown off the top rope into a ladder by Zayn and thrown into a Ladder by Styles on the floor. Incredible sunset bomb off a ladder to Ziggler by Zayn. Nakamura finally came down and gave everyone a Kinshasa. Staredown between Styles and Nakamura and they climb the ladder but Corbin shoves it over and collects the briefcase in the biggest win of his career.
Result: Baron Corbin wins Money In The Bank. ****
#14. Kassius Ohno vs Aliester Black- WWE NXT on June 21
A strike-fest of a match you do not get to see every day in WWE. Things did start slow to allow Black to show what he can do chain wrestling wise for the first 5-minutes. It quickly became about what these guys knows best, trading blows and see who can get back up. These 2 used to be known as Hero’s Eventually Die, a tag team where Ohno took Black under his wing on the independents. They previously faced off in the Progress Super Strong Style tournament. The result is the same and Black even delivered his old Blood Moon Stomp. Black shook off the vicious elbows and won with Black Mass.
Result: Aliester Black wins. ****
#13. War Machine vs reDRagon- AAW Killers Among Us
These teams know each other well from Ring Of Honor but have never really had a classic outside of ROH together. A spectacle of tag team wrestling, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish kept it old-school working on Ray Rowe’s arm and shoulder. O’Reilly even hit a leg-trip divorce court on Rowe which looked nasty. War Machine fired back and it turned into chaos. Powerbomb and splash is only 2 for War Machine. Rowe takes Axe And Smash strikes, a backdrop driver and an armbar but it’s not over. Hanson hits an assisted pop-up-powerslam on O’Reilly and Rowe takes out Fish with a suicide dive on the floor for the win. One of the finest tag matches of the year.
Result: War Machine wins. ****
#12. Trent Baretta vs Austin Theory
A match where Baretta made his return to Evolve but Theory turned heel by the end. Even though Theory is only 19 year old, he is improving and really is reminiscent of a young Trent Baretta. The control from Baretta is on display as he is now the veteran of the ring, even giving Theory a piledriver on the floor! Trent hits a Gotch piledriver for 2 in the ring, showing Theory’s unreal resilience. Theory fought back but took a Dudebuster for 3. Perscilla Kelly came down and her and Austin Theory humiliated Trent after the match.
Result: Trent Baretta wins. ****
#11. Marty Scurll vs KUSHIDA- ROH TV title match at ROH Best In The World
Scurll lost the TV title to KUSHIDA so this was his rematch on PPV and he made it count in a great 20-minute battle. Scurll and KUSHIDA both attack the arm and have submission finishers so the mat work was flawless. KUSHIDA eacaped the Chickewing and put Scurll up top where he snapped his fingers, giving him a taste of his own medicine. The top rope Back To The Future connected followed by another one.
Result: KUSHIDA retained the ROH TV title. ****
#10. The Young Bucks vs Roppongi Vice
The years long Jr tag title rivalry faced its final matches and The Young Bucks came out on top again. Roppongi Vice defeated The Young Bucks at Wrestle Kingdom in a feel-good moment but they were in for another superkick party. Nick and Matt Jackson had more than that in store however, using technical wrestling to win the titles with a sharpshooter.
#9. Michael Elgin vs Sami Callihan- AAW title match at AAW Killers Among Us
Elgin finally got his shot and earned a contact signing for this massive main event clash with the resident kingpin of AAW. Callihan loves to brawl but he got caught right off the ring of the bell with a spinning back fist. Elgin with a deadlift suplex and cascading death valley driver on the apron. Elgin eventually got caught in the Stretch Muffler but made it to the ropes. Elgin looked to put it away but got his leg kicked out and got rolled up for 3. Awesome 26 minutes main event.
Result: Callihan retained the AAW title. ****
#8. Zack Sabre Jr vs Jaka- Evolve title match at Evolve 77
Jaka showed how much upside he has, mostly known as a tag team wrestler and his team with Chris Dickinson-the current Evolve tag team champions. Jaka really is a brute with agility, overpowering but mixing in kicks. Sabre couldn’t put Jaka away with a Penalty Kick nor could he tap out the big man. Jaka jumped a sweep kick, Sabre ducked a spin kick and Sabre locked in a submission. Jaka got out and went for his chokeslam but Sabre rolled up Jaka instead.
Result: Zack Sabre Jr retains the Evolve title. ****
#7. Zack Sabre Jr vs Matt Riddle- Evolve champion vs WWN champion Matt Riddle- Evolve 76
The 2 main attractions and best wrestlers of the WWN network on Floslam collided to see who was best. Riddle has only been champion since Wrestlemania weekend but he has proved his worth just like Sabre in the upper echelon. The mat wrestling was incredible, hold for hold with Riddle actually being outwrestled despite his UFC background. Riddle hit the bro to sleep and german suplex for 2. Sabre locked in a wild submission, tying Riddle in knots forcing him to tap out.
Result: Evolve champion Zack Sabre Jr wins. ****
#6. Keith Lee vs Matt Riddle- WWN title match at Evolve 77.
Lee has been working his way up the Evolve ranks, showing why he is “Limitless.” Riddle had a massive test but fared very well, even gutwrench suplexing Lee. This a match of 2 very equal competitors, so equal that there almost was no winner. Lee caught a senton into the biggest Spirit Bomb ever for only 2! Both got up and traded strikes until Riddle collapsed on Lee for the shocking 3 count.
Result: Matt Riddle retains the WWN title. ****
#5. Donovan Dijak vs Pete Dunne- Progress Chapter 50:I Give It 6 Months
Dijak was the surprise opponenent in this non-title match with the Progress World champion and did he ever impress. Mooonsault to the floor to start from the much taller Dijak. Chokeslam on the apron to Dunne. Dijak caught with a forearm and a pedigree for 2. Dunne ate Dijak’s shots and sent him sailing in the corner with one of his own. Feast Your Eyes but Dunne rolled to the floor ony to take a dive. Dunne bit the fingers and hit The Bitter End to win in a belter of a match. Dijak recieved a standing ovation after and was very fired up about the loss.
Result: Dunne wins. *****
#4. Commonwealth Catch Kings vs British Strong Style- Progress tag team title match at Progress Chapter 50: I Give It 6 Months
CCK debuted and went after BBS right away, taking the tag titles away from them in the process. Dives off the stage by Chris Brookes and Kid Kykos before the match even started. Everybody is thrown into rows of chairs and the bell finally rings when they take it to the ring. It really broke down and there were double superkicks, double knees,double lowblows and even a double flip of the bird by the ref to Trent Seven and Tyler Bate. Bate stuffed a spanish fly off the top from Lykos,hit a flipping kick and a german suplex on top of Brookes and Seventh Heaven piledriver for 2 on CCK! Finally a top rope brainbuster to Bate from Lykos got CCK the Progress tag team titles. This was utter madness.
Result: CCK became the new Progress tag team champions. *****
#3. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito- IWGP Intercontinental title match at NJPW Dominion
A big rematch from Wrestle Kingdom where Naito solidified himself as a top star, Tanahashi wanted to prove his time is not over. Another classic between these 2, Tanahashi worked over the leg and it did Naito no favors. Naito would still hit some trademark offense but he was hindered a bit, although he kicked out of The High Fly Flow. Tanahashi gave an ode to former New Japan star Shinsuke Nakamura with a gesture when he went up top. Tanahashi forced Naito to give in to the Texas Cloverleaf after another masterpiece between these 2.
Result: Hiroshi Tanahashi became the new IWGP Intercontinental champion. *****
#2. Will Ospreay vs KUSHIDA- NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors finals
Ospreay failed to defeat KUSHIDA for the IWGP Jr heavyweight title on 2 occasions last year after Ospreay became the first ever UK winner of the Best Of The Super Juniors tournament. This was even more of a classic, over 30 minutes of all styles of wrestling blended beautifully. Reverse ‘rana on the apron to KUSHIDA was crazy and so were the 10 cheeky Nando’s kick to KUSHIDA’s head in a row. Os-Cutter countered into an armbar. Trading Kawada kicks. Ospreay went for a super Os-Cutter but took a Back To The Future off the top rope and strung into another one for 3. One of the best of the year and one of the best Jr matches in recent memory.
Result: KUSHIDA wins the 2017 NJPW Best Of The Suoer2 Juniors. *****
#1. Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada- IWGP heavyweight title match at NJPW Dominion
A one-hour draw that got the world talking about Okada vs Omega again 6 months later, after their 48 minute match at Wrestle Kingdom in January. How hard these guys hit each other and the endurance is remarkable. Both took it to the floor early for dives until Okada’s leg tweaked. Omega smelled the blood and went after it. Omega hit the One Winged Angel but Okada got his hand on the rope to make the save. Okada kicked out of Dead In Debt and fired back.
Once Omega was reeling and having taken 2 Rainmakers, The Bullet Club came down to check on Omega. Cody Rhodes thought about throwing the towel in as 45 minutes had gone by. The pace was amazing, only taking a break to sell big moves. Omega hit vicious V-Trigger knee’s but took a couple huge dropkicks. Both collapsed on a Rainmaker attempt in an unforgettable moment. Okada could not finish Omega after several Rainmakers and the match was announced a 60-minute draw.
Result: Kazuchika Okada retains the IWGP heavyweight title by way of draw. *****