Every month, our own Dan Niles compiles his personal 20 Best Matches list from around the world, from North America to Europe to Japan. Some are obvious best matches choices, some are dark horses, but they’re always fun to find some matches you may have missed the previous month! (DISCLAIMER: This list is subjective and is compiled exclusively by Dan Niles; there will obviously be matches he may have missed that you may feel deserve credit – we encourage you to list some of your best matches of the month in the comments section below to help add to the list! In regards to videos, we only show FULL MATCHES that are authorized by the promotions; video highlights are used where possible; we encourage you to seek out these matches through promotions VOD or streaming networks)
#20. WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Buddy Murphy, WWE 205 Live
Twenty-eight year old WWE Cruiserweight champion Cedric Alexander has been top of the pack on 205 Live since WrestleMania when Alexander beat Mustafa Ali in the tournament finals. Buddy Murphy has taken out competitors like Kalisto in spectacular fashion with Murphy’s Law and the fans have taken notice. The match was fast paced but also had enough build to get to that sweet spot in pacing in a twenty minute main event. Alexander took a fall onto the announce table and a back Suplex on the apron. After two devastating Neutralizer ‘s and the Lumbar Check, Buddy Murphy’s quest for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship ends…for now.
#19. WWE Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. The Miz, WWE Backlash
The Miz is a consistent performer but just not on the level of some main eventers but he proved a lot of naysayers people wrong with this performance. The Miz can have a quality match with the right opponent and Rollins has been on the roll of his career. Rollins attempted a Ripcord Knee on the apron but his knee ate nothing but steel post. The Miz followed through with the Figure Four Leglock and two Skull Crushing Finales but that wouldn’t put the WWE Intercontinental champion away. Rollins utilized one of the best Frog Splashes in the business, but a rollup exchange into the Blackout stomp put The Miz away in a tremendous opening PPV match.
#18. Keith Lee vs. Minoru Suzuki, OTT ScrapperMania IV
Keith Lee is on the final run of his farewell tour on the independent wrestling scene and his time in Over The Top Wrestling (OTT) in Ireland culminated with a match against the Japanese legend Minoru Suzuki. Lee didn’t take it easy on the veteran, laying in elbows left and right. The forty-nine year old Suzuki stood and traded shots with Lee in the most intense portion of the match. Lee made the mistake of going up top for a Doomsault and Suzuki moved out of the way. The Sleeper choke and Gotch Piledriver on the 320-pound “Limitless” Lee was a sight to see and the last thing we would see in this dream match.
#17. Marty Scurll vs. KUSHIDA, NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors
Very smart and familiar psychology between both technical masters from the start of the bell here. “The Villain” attacked the arm and KUSHIDA returned the favor. Scurll taunted commentator Jushin “Thunder” Liger, who competed in his final Best Of The Super Juniors tournament last year, with a surfboard stretch on KUSHIDA in a great heel moment. Scurll turned up the heat with a reverse suplex and another one off the top rope. KUSHIDA showed off his smooth as silk offense with a DDT float over into the Hoverboard Lock and a hip-toss effortlessly into an armbar. KUSHIDA finished it with Back To The Future.
#16. Joey Janela vs Jimmy Havoc, No DQ Match, PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16
Joey Janela and Jimmy Havoc were destined to brawl like this one more time and chairs collided right away. Both took Death Valley Drivers into steel chairs then “The Bad Boy” jumped off the stage to send Havoc through a table with a splash. The violence was as brutal as the first match, Janela got sent into cinder blocks again then got stomped into thumbtacks. Jimmy Havoc went for the kill but Janela moved as Havoc missed a double-foot stomp into thumbtacks. Havoc’s feet were covered in tacks in horrific fashion allowing Janela to Suplex Havoc for the win.
#15. ACH vs. Flip Gordon, NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors
ACH brought the AAW Pro championship with him to the ring and deserves a regular spot with the rest of the Junior Heavyweights with his high-risk attacks and undeniable charisma. Flip Gordon had a very memorable tournament debut and he started the match with ten kip-up’s then dove off the stands into the crowd on ACH. Flip Gordon would miss a corkscrew splash and take a Yakuza kick followed up with an implant DDT earned ACH a big tournament victory in a very impressive match.
#14. Zack Sabre Jr vs. David Starr, PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16
Zack Sabre Jr and David Starr are very familiar with each other after competing one-on-one across several promotions the past few years and it shows. “The Product” threw lariat after lariat to attempt to weaken “The Technical Wizard” as Sabre combated that with heel hooks and Penalty Kicks. Starr almost advanced in the Super Strong Style 16 tournament with Ode To Ciampa (Project Ciampa) and the Blackheart Buster (Brainbuster over the knee). The resilience of Sabre was second to none as the Product Placement was countered into Orienteering With Napalm Death for the submission victory over “The King Of Taunts.”
#13. Tyler Bate vs. Kassius Ohno, PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16
One of the finest matches of Bate’s career to date, taking Ohno’s best shots and even deadlift German Suplexing the man twice his size. Amazing sequence when Bate went for the rebound lariat but took a KO elbow for a long two-count. Bate suffered several more elbow strikes and cyclone boots before the rolling heel kick comeback. Ohno was sent for the ride in a wild torture rack airplane spin and the veteran was down for the count after Tyler Driver ’97.
#12. Taiji Ishimori vs. Will Ospreay, NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors
Ishimori debuted in NJPW in a big way by leaving Pro Wrestling NOAH for Bullet Club and “Reborn” beats the IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion in his first ever Best Of The Super Juniors match. Ospreay started off as hot as can be by diving from the stands but Will’s bad neck eventually caught up with him. Ishimori nailed a beautiful sliding German Suplex from the second rope. Even the NJPW commentators were going crazy by the time “The Aerial Assassin” unleashed a shooting star press and Spanish Fly. Ishimori was better on this night, countering the Os-Cutter into a Lung Blower in their first encounter.
#11. Matt Riddle (c) vs. Keith Lee, WWN Live Championship, EVOLVE 105
Keith Lee said goodbye to EVOLVE Wrestling with another classic against “The King Of Bros” and Riddle mentioned post-match on the microphone that he only knew “Limitless” Lee for a year but they faced each other everywhere since and the matches get better every time with respect between the two. Lee stole Riddle’s Bro To Sleep and Riddle stole Ground Zero in a game of anything you can do I can do better. Matt Riddle kicked out of a Spirit Bomb at one! Keith Lee had to take a Ripcord Knee and two more knee’s to the back of the head to be finally go down for the three-count.
#10. Chris Brookes vs. Kassius Ohno, PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16
WWE allowed Kassius Ohno to enter PROGRESS Wrestling’s Super Strong Style tournament and he arguably performed better than anyone else in the tournament and lived up to the strong style name in this match. Brookes hit big moves like the slingshot cutter but it was no match for Ohno’s precise strikes. Brookes got Ohno up for the Brainbuster then seconds later Brookes was taken out with a leaping version of Death By Elbow.
#9. Marty Scurll vs. Hiromu Takahashi, NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors
Hiromu Takahashi and “The Villain” had one of the very best matches of this years Best Of Super Juniors tournament and they used the most of the twenty minutes given to throw everything on the table. Scurll has improved his offense tenfold by adding a Pumphandle Neckbreaker. A tombstone on the apron and the Time Bomb countered into the Crossface Chickenwing had the entire arena invested. Scurll snapped Hiromu’s finger then stomped on his head for further emphasis. Fantastic closing moments when a victory roll turned into a triangle choke for Hiromu Takahashi as Marty Scurll was forced to submit.
#8. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) vs. Super Smash Bros. (Evil UNO & Stu Grayson), ROH War Of The Worlds: Toronto
Evil UNO and Stu Grayson (formerly Player DOS) are a mainstay in Canada for SMASH Wrestling but they know The Young Bucks very well after years in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla together. ROH came to Toronto and the match didn’t disappoint in the slightest with Super Smash Bros busting out a Cannonball and 450 Splash at the same time! Stu Grayson jumped on everyone’s heads to hit a hurricanrana as the Superkick Party got into motion. Grayson ended up giving his own partner a Tombstone when his knee’s took Superkick’s then the Meltzer Driver earned Matt and Nick Jackson another big win. ROH Honor Club is worth the price of admission for matches like this.
#7. Zack Sabre Jr vs. Kassius Ohno, PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 Finals
A rivalry that has spanned across North American and the UK for years now, Sabre was actually Ohno’s final opponent in EVOLVE Wrestling when Ohno re-signed with WWE last January. Sabre knew he was in for a fight so he brought the Penalty Kicks and tried to tie up Ohno until a Piledriver from Ohno. It looked to be over after elbows and mafia kicks but Sabre won the Super Strong Style 16 tournament with the European Clutch.
#6. Will Ospreay (c) vs. KUSHIDA, IWGP Heavyweight Championship, NJPW Wrestling Dontaku
Will Ospreay can wrestle at a speed most wrestlers can only dream of and KUSHIDA can catch those moves out of the air into any submission, that’s part of what makes this one of the finest Junior Heavyweight rivalries in modern times .Ospreay has finally beaten another one of his rivals and the action was near flawless with Ospreay going for the Spanish Fly off the apron that hurt his neck against Marty Scurll but KUSHIDA used a DDT to counter. Back To The Future was reversed to Ospreay’s Essex Destroyer. Ospreay hit a Cutter off the top rope and his new finisher, the Stormbringer wrapped up this battle for respect. The finish was executed with maximum effort as Deadpool would say: both traded and KUSHIDA turned around for the Pele kick allowing Ospreay to kick him in the back of the head because KUSHIDA turned for just a second.
#5. Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Keith Lee, British Heavyweight Championship, Rev Pro Epic Encounter
“The Stone Pitbull” defended the British Heavyweight championship for the first time in a rematch against Keith Lee and this one was even more hard-hitting than the first match. Ishii couldn’t combat the shoulder blocks or slingshot crossbody from the big man early in the bout. Lee performed AJ Styles’ drop-down, leapfrog and dropkick sequence that is going to leave WWE NXT crowds stunned if Lee is indeed WWE-bound. Ishii amazed the crowd as well with a stalling Superplex. Tomohiro Ishii landed two Brainbusters in the end to retain Rev Pro’s top prize.
#4. Jordan Devlin (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr, OTT Championship, OTT ScrapperMania IV
OTT did an outstanding job with the video package before this memorable match even took place with Jordan Devlin’s trainer WWE’s Finn Balor explaining how much the OTT title means to both and the career parallels. Sabre kicked out of Balor’s trademark: the shotgun dropkick and Coupe De Grace to a massive pop from the excited Dublin crowd. Sabre was so smooth with his transitions, applying a guillotine and triangle choke just when it looked like he was in the most trouble. Devlin absorbed some seriously stiff kicks and proved why he is the champion by reversing a backslide into the biggest Package Piledriver Devlin has ever hit.
#3. Matt Riddle vs. Will Ospreay, OTT ScrapperMania IV
“The King Of Bros” and “The Aerial Assassin” have met before just one month ago in New Orleans (they were in the top six of the 20 Best of April list for a WWN Live championship match where Matt Riddle retained). Will Ospreay won this round but it took everything out of him to do so, including crawling under the ring for a rest in the finishing stretch as he was so exhausted after stomps to the head. Riddle executed a perfect Powerbomb and reeled Ospreay in for a knee strike. Both went hold for hold and countered each other’s big moves for Will Ospreay to come out victorious with the Stormbringer. OTT made this match free on YouTube because it stole the show at ScrapperMania.
#2. Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, IWGP Heavyweight Championship, NJPW Wrestling Dontaku
The rivalry between Okada and Tanahashi has been quite possibly the best and most epic rivalry of any kind over the past twenty years and it culminated here with Okada looking to surpass “the IWGP Heavyweight title record of defenses held by “The Ace.” Okada knows how to control a match but there aren’t many more seasoned than Tanahashi in a big match. Tanahashi wore down Okada’s leg and even stole a move out of Okada’s playbook: the Tombstone Piledriver. The audience was loud for Tanahashi on a second High Fly Flow attempt but Okada got his knees up to counter. The match became a spectacle and every bit as enjoyable as their last encounters when they exchanged palm strike after palm strike until Okada caught his rival in The Rainmaker to prove Okada is the new “Ace” once and for all for a new generation.
#1. Dragon Lee vs. Hiromu Takahashi, NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors
The Best Of The Super Juniors has been a treat for fans of any style of pro wrestling with no clear MVP but Hiromu Takahashi has yet to have an underwhelming match, with this rematch standing out amongst every match this month from any company. “The Ticking Time Bomb” has a history with Dragon Lee that dates back years to CMLL where Takahashi had his head shaved before reinventing himself in NJPW after a stay in ROH. The match went all over the floor but featured callbacks to their classic past bouts where Dragon Lee got caught this time going for a hurricanrana on the apron and took a Powerbomb. Dragon Lee kicked out of The Time Bomb and pinned the man that beat him one year ago for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship, with the Dragon-Plex.