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 Best Matches Of The Month: August 2018 Edition
#20. Matt Riddle vs Darby Allin, EVOLVE 110
New WWE NXT signee, “The King Of Bros”, wrestled his final match for EVOLVE Wrestling against the hardcore upstart that debuted in pro wrestling just one year after Riddle. Both have less than three years experience in production wrestling, with EVOLVE Wrestling being their home promotion. Riddle went for an armbar right away then avoided a coffin drop as Darby crashed hard on the apron. The moment of the match occurred when Allin was caught out of the air from a moonsault into a jumping Tombstone Piledriver. Darby Allin was stomped in the face and dropped with two Fisherman Buster and still kicked out. Matt Riddle tried for kick and Darby Allin swept the leg right into The Last Supper pinning combination for a surprise victory. It was full circle for Riddle on this night as Johnny Gargano had passed the torch to Matt Riddle and Riddle does the same for Darby Allin.
#19. Sami Callihan vs Pentagon Jr, Mexican Death Match, IMPACT Wrestling TV
Sami Callihan and Pentagon Jr were made to wage this war that had now gone on for over two years from AAW Pro to IMPACT Wrestling. This is even a Mexican Death Match rematch from AAW Pro only the result was much different this time. A staple gun, baseball bat and trash cans were used on each man as the violence escalated. Callihan was driven through a table by a Death Valley Driver. Pentagon Jr was thrown into Legos by his own Package Piledriver. Pentagon Jr went to the top rope with Callihan, thumbs went into Pentagon Jr’s eyes and a Cactus Jack style stuff Piledriver off the top rope through a table finished Pentagon Jr.
#18. Buddy Murphy vs Kalisto, WWE 205 Live
“The Juggernaut” of the 205 Live division has feuded with the Lucha House Party all summer and this rematch had the Toronto crowd chanting for 205 Live heartily by the end. Murphy has borrowed some of the offense from Kota Ibushi like the knee strike yet Kalisto kept getting back up. Murphy pulled Kalisto right out the air on a suicide dive attempt and nailed a suplex on the floor. Great chemistry with counter wrestling that let to high-impact Powerbombs on Kalisto. Murphy kicked out of a reverse Hurricanrana and spike Hurricanrana! The number one contender to the WWE Cruiserweight championship was monkey flipped over the barricade, Murphy got back in the ring and Murphy’s Law ended another great match on WWE’s best wrestling product.
#17. AJ Styles (c) vs Samoa Joe, WWE Championship, WWE SummerSlam
Samoa Joe ruined his chance at becoming WWE champion when he took things too far at the end by calling out Styles’ wife. It was one of the best WWE Championship matches this year and went for twenty-five minutes until the Disqualification ending. Styles was thrown around the ring with Snap Powerslams and even the Muscle Buster was attempted by Samoa Joe for the first time since NXT. Styles took chops that would make even some of the biggest Heavyweights today blush. The challenger suffered a big Styles Clash until Styles lost control of his emotions and battered Samoa Joe with a steel chair. Styles and Samoa Joe may not be as fast as they were ten plus years ago in IMPACT Wrestling, the storytelling and big match feel are still there however.
#16. Adam Cole (c) vs Ricochet, WWE NXT North American Championship, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV
After years in Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG) together, Ricochet and Cole duked it out for a WWE Championship during Summerslam weekend. Ricochet got too flashy and Cole would take advantage any chance he could. Ricochet took a Superkick while upside down attempting a moonsault. The Last Shot only earned Cole a two-count on Cole. Ricochet avoided the Shining Wizard and a massive hurricanrana to the floor set the NXT North American champion up for the kill. Ricochet won his first WWE championship in his debut year in WWE with a 630 Splash.
#15. Matt Riddle vs James Drake, EVOLVE 111
James Drake is known as “The Work Horseman” along with tag team partner, Anthony Henry, as he finally got his moment to clash in a big singles match. Riddle left EVOLVE on this weekend but not before an absolute war with James Drake. Drake ate knee strikes, they had little effect on the big man. Riddle was attacked by his own Powerbomb and knee strike combination. The crowd started to really erupt when Drake almost won the match with a shocking Canadian Destroyer and two top rope moonsaults! Matt Riddle then kicked out of Drake’s Styles Clash! After James Drake laid everything on the table he was pulled down to the mat for the Bro-Mission and it was over.
#14. WALTER vs Tomohiro Ishii, Rev Pro Summer Sizzler
WALTER and Ishii share a very similar strong style offense, this was a first time match that leaves you wanting more and leaves you wondering how WALTER would fare in NJPW full-time. Rev Pro made the dream match that WATER pursued, Ishii had the fight of his life by taking a 325-pound shotgun dropkick. Ishii was even floored by his own Lariat and Brainbuster but Ishii kicked out. The slug-fest ensued for fifteen minutes until Ishii put away WALTER with his trademark Brainbuster.
#13. TITAN vs Sobernaro Jr, Rev Pro Summer Sizzler
This is classic Lucha Libre action, the offense was so smooth and moves seamlessly blended into the next sequence in front of the United Kingdom fans. TITAN wrestled as the heel, turning down a handshake for a Lariat in return and prying at the mask of Sobernaro Jr. The dives to the floor were outstanding such as Sobernaro Jr’s flawless Fosberry Flop. TITAN went for a moonsault off the top rope to the floor and both Luchadors ended up falling into the stairs at the entrance ramp! Sobernaro had very innovative strikes like double knee’s into TITAN held in a corner tree of woe. TITAN outsmarted the younger but just as fast opponent with a beautiful exchange. Sobernaro Jr went down to a Dragon screw and TITAN walked out the winner when he tangled up Sobernaro in one of the most unique cradles you will ever see.
#12. Tetsuya Naito vs Zack Sabre Jr, NJPW G1 Climax 28
Tetsuya Naito thought he was the smarter wrestler by stalling the pace this match but it only ended up angering Sabre as Naito was forced to wrestle Zack Sabre Jr’s match. Naito suffered stiff penalty kicks and stretches to the arm in several different submission holds like the Octopus Stretch. Naito was able to connect with some big neckbreakers over the knee but every further attack led to a submission hold to Naito. Tetsuya Naito made the ultimate mistake when he went for Destino after already dropping Sabre with one, Sabre saw it coming and the 2018 New Japan Cup tournament winner turned Destino into the Zack Driver in mid-air.
#11. Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong) (c) vs Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate), NXT Tag Team Championships, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV
Not only were there callbacks to the past encounters between these two amazing teams but the chemistry was like unlike any other tag team match in WWE in some time. Tyler Bate landed a German Suplex on Roderick Strong with Kyle O’Reilly on his back, displaying the power of a pure strong boy. Trent Seven hit the Seven Stars lariat and Kyle O’Reilly followed it up with a Penalty Kick and Brainbuster. Roderick Strong kicked out of Tyler Driver ’97. The knee off the top rope and Burning Hammer combination from Mustache Mountain was only a two-count! Trent Seven refused to tap out to a kneebar but a chopblock then Total Elimination pinned Seven.
#10. Shane Strickland vs KUSHIDA, OTT WrestleRama 2
Shane Strickland never gets to wrestle many talents from NJPW, “The King Of Swerve” fit right into the Junior Heavyweight style with offense like a running knee strike into the crowd. KUSHIDA is one of the very best technical wrestlers in the world but he also pulled of a perfect West Coast Pop as well. KUSHIDA’s handspring elbow was caught into a German Suplex. The Swerve Stomp was a two-count on KUSHIDA until a cross arm breaker put Strickland’s arm almost out of commission. A second Swerve Stomp would not occur on this night but Back To The Future did for KUSHIDA in a match worthy of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
#9. WALTER vs Will Ospreay, DEFIANT Internet Championship, DEFIANT Wrestling Stacked
Two completely different styles and a first time meeting between a couple of the elite in the United Kingdom. WALTER actually used his own speed against the high-flyer with a leap frog and big boot. Ospreay was lawndarted into the ring post, WALTER then missed a chop into the post himself. “The Aerial Assassin” used a guillotine to stop the Powerbomb in a great reversal. Will Ospreay kicked out of a Fire Thunder Driver! WALTER saw the Os-Cutter coming and the Choke hold put Ospreay to sleep after a flurry of heated exchanges.
#8. Tetsuya Naito vs SANADA, NJPW G1 Climax 28
Los Ingobernobles De Japon members rarely face each other, the setting of the G1 Climax tournament was the right stage for SANADA to prove himself against the leader of the NJPW faction. Both went to an NJPW tryout in 2005, now thirteen years later Naito and SANADA are at the top of their game. SANADA proved to be faster, Naito was the more self-aware performer from big match experience. SANADA locked in Skull End and even managed to use Destino himself as Naito fought back. SANADA almost won again with a bridging victory roll, the same way SANADA beat Sabre last month in an outstanding G1 climax match, Naito’s resiliency paid off with a second Destino in the end.
#7. Tomohiro Ishii vs SANADA, NJPW G1 Climax 28
Commentator and wrestler Rocky Romero even proclaimed “what a match!” after the intensity that took place between Ishii and SANADA, a rare singles match between the two members of warring factions. SANADA was brought to his knees by chops and a top rope stalling Brainbuster had SANADA really reeling. Amazing moment when SANADA powered up from a Saito Suplex only to take a Last Ride from Ishii for a huge near fall. A top rope Muta moonsault from SANADA was avoided but SANADA landed on his feet, Ishii saw that coming and took his opponent down with a chopblock. “The Stone Pitbull” fired himself up and a pop-up headbutt hit SANADA square in the face. Ishii sent Keiji Mutoh a tribute himself with a Shining Wizard! Two Lariat’s ended SANADA’s night but the fans rose to every key moment if this war.
#6. Tomasso Ciampa (c) vs Johnny Gargano, NXT Championship, Last Man Standing, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV
The best feud in WWE all year long still isn’t over but this match had everything you could ask for in a main event with no rules. Project Ciampa put down Gargano three times but not for the final ten-count. A steel chair, fire extinguisher and tables were used and then the ring skirt was taken off just like their last brutal match. With the wood exposed on the ring canvas, Gargano sent Ciampa’s head into the wood with a slingshot DDT. The ringside doctor was even brought into the melee with a Superkick, Ciampa took advantage and drove Gargano through the barricade and proceeded to bury Gargano under the rubble. Gargano escaped the clutches of defeat to his arch rival and former best friend as handcuffs were brought into play. The brawl went to the stage and NXT Takeover: Brooklyn three years was mirrored only in reverse. Ciampa ate a knee strike but Gargano sent himself flying off the stage from the impact. The NXT champion made it to his feet first by dropping from the stage in a masterful finish and way to prolong this blood feud.
#5. Will Ospreay vs Jimmy Havoc, 2 Out Of 3 Falls, No Disqualification’s, PROGRESS Chapter 75: These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends
The feud that has defined PROGRESS Wrestling and changed the careers of both men was put to rest for now in a jaw-dropping display of brutality and endurance. The rivalry has been flipped on it’s ear with Ospreay developing into the arrogant heel and Havoc as the savior of the company, the complete opposite of how these two met years ago. Ospreay had his arms taped together early and had a staple gun taken to his chest. A chair to the head and an Acid Rainmaker put “The Aerial Assassin” down one fall. Ospreay was double-stomped into thumbtacks and thrown off the balcony with an Essex Destroyer into two tables! Havoc was pinned with a backslide to even the odds. Special referee and former tag partner of Ospreay, Paul Robinson, was sent through a table and two other referees faces the same fate, leaving owner Jim Smallman to make the final count. Perfect storytelling because Smallman was forced to count Havoc when Havoc started his reign of terror years ago. Ospreay and Havoc stole each other’s finishers, Ospreay then hit the 630 but Robinson pulled out Smallman as he was making the count. Robinson swerved Havoc and curb stomped him into the thumbtacks after Ospreay took an axe to the crotch. Will Ospreay capitalized and The Storm breaker pinned Havoc after violence was promised and served in full.
#4. Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, NJPW G1 Climax 28 Semi-Finals
The greatest rivalry in NJPW history just continues every year with a new chapter or two, this was a rematch from their G1 Climax bout last year that went to a thirty-minute draw. The trademark offense of Okada usually targets the neck, Tanahashi was never softened enough for The Rainmaker. Okada and Tanahashi had a marvelous IWGP Heavyweight Championship match that was won by Okada this year, “The Ace” was bound and determined to not play second fiddle yet again to the new top player in NJPW. Kazuchika Okada has not been himself his losing the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and it showed. Tanahashi slipped out of Okada’s finishing blows and The High Fly Flow came up big for “The Ace.” Hiroshi Tanahashi went upstairs for another High Fly Flow but the thirty-minute Time-Limit expired.
#3. Jordan Devlin (c) vs WALTER, OTT Championship, OTT WrestleRama
WALTER always pummels away at every opponent as hard as he can until the inevitable happens and WALTER beats his worn out opponent. OTT champion Jordan Devlin represented Ireland and presented a new challenge for the big Austrian and that was to use agility and elusiveness. WALTER wrestled one of the very best matches of his career, throwing Devlin off the top rope with a German Suplex. Devlin fired back with innovative moves like the Slingshot Cutter. Devlin hit headbutts like a dirty soccer player right to the jaw of WALTER. Devlin stole WALTER’s choke and he shouldn’t have done that when he had WALTER hurt. The PROGRESS Wrestling World Champion, Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG) and DEFIANT Wrestling Internet champion won yet another championship with a Sleeper Choke followed up with a Fire Thunder Driver.
#2. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi, NJPW G1 Climax 28 Finals
It’s astounded this match isn’t number one this month but that’s just the quality of pro wrestling in 2018 around the world and G1 Climax season at it’s finest. The ideologies we’re discussed at great length by the translator on commentary and it told the entire story, Kota Ibushi is the risk taking athlete that believes in no teacher to guide him, “The Golden Star” is mostly self taught, kickboxing aside. Hiroshi Tanahashi entered his G1 Climax final match after previously winning the tournament twice. Tanahashi has a strong belief in the legacy of NJPW and the legends have helped form his career to what it is today. After a grueling month long tournament, Ibushi and Tanahashi traded palm strike after palm strike until Hiroshi Tanahashi overcame the odds. Tanahashi may be more broken down physically but he is still as fluid in the ring as ever, locking in a very strenuous Cloverleaf on Ibushi. It all came down to a trio of High Fly Flow’s, Hiroshi Tanahashi showed why he is “The Ace” yet again.
#1. Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi, NJPW G1 Climax 28 Semi-Finals
Just about every high-impact maneuver employed by The Golden Lovers in this match was on the neck, this is one of the most sheer violent matches all year and it’s between two best friends. The IWGP heavyweight champion sent Ibushi down hard with an inverted Piledriver on the apron. For every high kick by Kota Ibushi, Kenny Omega would hit a V-Trigger knee strike. Kenny Omega took a German Suplex from the top rope and The Golden Star Powerbomb for only a two-count! Kota Ibushi kicked out of a Jay Driller! Kota Ibushi landed on his feet after an attempted avalanche Dragon Suplex and Kenny Omega became the first man in NJPW to kick out of the Kamigoye knee strike! Omega thought the One Winged Angel would seal the deal but Omega has never pinned his tag team partner and maybe he never will. Kota Ibushi blasted Omega with the Kamigoye, the craziest and most anticipated main event of the Summer came to a close.