20 Best Matches Of The Month: February 2019 Edition

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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. Stardom High Speed Championship: Hazuki (c) vs AZM, Stardom Queen’s Fest

Photo: Stardom

When great young athletes are discussed in pro wrestling today, one can’t forget about twenty-one-year-old champion Hazuki and AZM who is just sixteen. Since this is for the Stardom High Speed title, the action hardly let up for a second with Hazuki starting the match with ferocious kicks. AZM connected with a diving double-stomp but Hazuki would return the favour, catching AZM running up the ropes for a tree of woe stomp. AZM performed a spectacular tilt-a-whirl Fujiwara Armbar but a Michinoku Driver finished AZM. Hazuki lifted AZM off the mat to break the pinfall and a Brainbuster put the finishing touches on AZM.
Rating: ****

#19. Zack Sabre Jr vs EVIL, NJPW New Beginning In Sapporo

Photo: NJPW

Zack Sabre Jr and EVIL will meet again in the New Japan Cup tournament, this time though EVIL got a measure of revenge against the Suzuki-Gun technician and the fans were behind EVIL all the way. Sabre hit the ramp hard courtesy of a Fisherman Buster. The match got even more physical when Sabre couldn’t put away EVIL with a Penalty Kick and same for EVIL with his Lariat. Sabre is always so adept at counter wrestling but the final flurry had Sabre seeing stars after the STO that EVIL calls, Everything Is EVIL.
Rating: ****

#18. Wonder Of Stardom Championship: Momo Watanabe (c) vs Jamie Hayter, Stardom Kyoto Max

Photo: Stardom

Oedo Tai’s UK member went to town on the champions legs in Watanabe’s tenth title defense. Jamie Hayter actually ended up dominating the majority of the match, almost winning the title with a version of the Irish Curse Backbreaker. Watanabe is suplexed into the corner in rag doll fashion as fans wonder if Watanabe can fight back in one of wrestling’s most beautiful venues. Watanabe could not lock in the Crossface Chickenwing but the Half Nelson Suplex will do. A Buzzsaw kick and Peach Sunrise keep the title with Momo Watanabe.
Rating: ****

#17. ICW Women’s Championship: Kay Lee Ray (c) vs Toni Storm, ICW Square-Go

Photo: ICW

Storm and Ray went hard considering the match results in no winner, nonstop victory roll start the match. Storm locks in a rough STF and the champion almost hits a Gory Bomb right away after a backslide attempt. Ray goes for broke with a headbutt but Toni Storm does the same and falls into the pin for a long two-count. It’s Toni time with a Suplex but Ray rolls through for a Guillotine Choke. Ray kicks out of a Piledriver and an Avalanche Piledriver! The Austrian kicks out of the Gory Bomb. Former ICW Women’s champion, Kacey, comes down to the ring to blast both in the head with the title, effectively making this a No Contest.
Rating: ****

#16. WALTER vs Kassius Ohno, NXT UK TV

Photo: WWE

WALTER only just recently arrived in NXT UK and already the big matches are coming to WALTER, in this case with a striker that’s not even a part of the NXT UK roster. Great visual seeing WALTER go red from taking chops. WALTER is such a beast that he slams Ohno while being locked in a cravat. WALTER went for a Sleeper but it was too early so a German Suplex throws Ohno across the ring instead. WALTER boots away an elbow strike, Ohno elbowed away a Lariat and WALTER goes crashing down from an elbow to the face. WALTER gets his bearings and wins with a Shotgun Dropkick and Powerbomb.
Rating: ****

#15. Gauntlet Match: Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan vs Jeff Hardy vs Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles vs Randy Orton, WWE Smackdown Live

Photo: WWE

The match that made Kofi Kingston into one of the most buzzed names in pro wrestling, when he was a last-minute injury replacement for Mustafa Ali. It’s well deserved if one watched this hour-long performance where Kofi outlasted three wrestlers in one match. Daniel Bryan started as the WWE champion and thought it would be an easy win with the Labell Lock. Erik Rowan tossed Kingston over the barricade behind the referees back and Bryan set up for the Running Knee but ate Trouble In Paradise instead. Jeff Hardy was next quickly pinned after SOS from Kofi. Samoa Joe looked to kick Kofi’s head off and lock in the Kokina Clutch but Kofi rolled up Samoa Joe like Kofi was Bret Hart wrestling out of Roddy Piper’s Sleeper Hold. Joe took out his frustrations on Kofi with one of the most brutal Uranages ever seen and Styles came out next, telling Kofi he didn’t have to do this but Kingston said he has waited eleven years for this! Kofi goes for a meteora into the post on Styles but AJ moves and Kofi bashes his knees off the post. The Calf Crusher forces Kingston to tap out and Orton gets the cheap Gauntlet win after an RKO on Styles.
Rating: ****

#14. Shane Strickland vs AR Fox, EVOLVE 122

Photo: WWN

The man that helped shape the early days of EVOLVE against the man that doesn’t care about the company other than being their champion. “Swerve” has been such a masterful heel to watch in EVOLVE Wrestling, going after opponents arms and winning no matter what the cost. Fox runs up the post to hit a Moonsault onto the floor. Strickland tried to leave the ring to avoid Coast To Coast but Fox hit it anyways all the way across the ring. A Swanton is Fox’s last chance at victory, Strickland throws Fox into his Skulk faction members and Swerve Stomps everyone on the floor! Fox hits a couple Cutters but he gets his arm snapped trying to hit a Springboard Cutter. The JML Driver finishes AR Fox.
Rating: ****

#13. ICW Zero-G Championship: Joe Coffey (c) vs Ilja Dragunov, ICW Square-Go

Photo: ICW

Ilja Dragunov is perhaps the most intense pro wrestler alive today, Dragunov has been putting in work at the gym and it shows against the buff ICW Zero-G champion from the ring of the bell. Coffey is rocked by a spinning backfist and Ilja flips over the top rope for his trademark Lariat. Things really get crazy once the match spills to the floor. Coffey flies over the barricade for a crossbody and Ilja jumps off the stage for a senton into the crowd. Coffey nails Fall From Nebula back in the ring and both wipe each other out with Lariat’s. Ilja pop right back up after a German Suplex and Dragunov comes from Moscow to Glasgow with Coast To Coast. Just when Ilja Dragunov is about to win and he’s on fire, Coffey blasts the challenger with Best From The Bells for three.
Rating: ****

#12. Kento Miyahara & Daisuke Sakamoto vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yoshi Tatsu, Giant Baba 20th Anniversary Memorial

Photo: AJPW

A dream meeting between “The Ace” of NJPW and “The Ace” of AJPW in tag team action only at the Giant Baba Memorial. Miyahara used Tanahashi’s air guitar early and the guitar gets passed around until the fun ends and the brawling begins. Daisuke Sakamoto was the ultimate strong man of the match, using a Torture Rack and Lariat on Yoshi and Tanahashi. Miyahara hit his trademark Blackout Knee Strikes and a Brainbuster to Tatsu almost ends the main event. Tanahashi is taken out on the floor by Daisuke’s Spinebuster. Yoshi Tatsu kicks out of three knee strikes so the Straightjacket German puts away Tatsu from Kento Miyahara.
Rating: ****

#11. No Disqualification: Tony Nese vs Noam Dar, WWE 205 Live

Photo: WWE

One of the best matches from 205 Live so far, the stipulation allowed for more creativity and a show-stealer from Nese. “The Premier Athlete” jumped off the ropes for a Moonsault on Dar propped onto steel chairs. Dar applied an Armbar with a chair and then Tequila Sunrise while bashing Nese’s knee against a chair. Dar had his leg stomped on while wrapped in the chair. Noam Dar tried to subdue Nese with a Triangle Choke on the apron but Nese reversed it with a Powerbomb onto steel steps and through the announce table instead! That’s it for Dar after being sent through the barricade with a running knee that Nese calls Running Nese.
Rating: ****

#10. Velveteen Dream, Ricochet and Aleister Black vs Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa, WWE Half Time Heat

Photo: WWE

Shawn Michaels is on commentary for this special Network special during the Superbowl Half Time show and Velveteen Dream is rocking faux-football gear. Ricochet is unbelievably fast but Black unleashes Moonsaults of his own as Black and Ricochet continue their tag team on main roster WWE since. Adam Cole hit The Panama Sunrise for the very first time in WWE on Ricochet! The offense came from all six men by the end of the match and even Gargano and Ciampa further tease another match when Gargano almost Superkicked Ciampa. Cole suffers Black Mass, a Dream Valley Driver, a Springboard 450 Splash and the Purple Rainmaker for a huge finish.
Rating: ****

#9. OTT Championship: WALTER (c) vs PAC, OTT Homecoming 2

Photo: OTT

These two have known each other long before they became the popular acts they are today, PAC has become “The Bastard” and WALTER is the respected powerhouse. PAC tried to use his speed but massive chops caught up with PAC quick. PAC was caught out of the air and thrown like a child with a German Suplex. PAC managed to dive over the top rope onto WALTER with a Fosberry Flop and Moonsault, PAC followed it up with a Superplex on the big man! PAC delivered a Sunset Powerbomb that shook the ring. WALTER would hit a Death Valley Driver before leaving the ring and grabbing his OTT championship. A Disqualification is handed out after PAC’s low-blow and an appearance by Jordan Devlin, the man WALTER pinned for the OTT title.
Rating: ****

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvnWYRw3FtI

#8. IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs “Switchblade” Jay White, NJPW New Beginning In Osaka

Photo: NJPW

The biggest match of Jay White’s career and not only did he make it count but it was a clean win for “Switchblade.” Tanahashi is almost caught in the Blade Runner immediately, a Saito Suplex over the top rope though hurts Tanahashi’s left knee. Tanahashi tried the same game plan to set up the Cloverleaf but White had more stamina and power, using a Bladebuster for a near fall. White’s manager Gedo takes an elbow but White moves from the Sling Blade with a smile on White’s face. “The Ace” would come back with Styles Clash but the High Fly Attack is caught out of the air for the Blade Runner and we have a new IWGP heavyweight champion.
Rating: ****

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWBoO2JTfdw

#7. Impact Tag Team Championships: LAX (c) (Santana and Ortiz) vs The Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr and Rey Fenix), Impact Wrestling TV

Photo: IMPACT

LAX and The Lucha Bros wrestled a couple other times in February, this Impact Wrestling rematch is the can’t miss match of the feud. The Lucha Bros went for their double team finish right away but instead a Lungblower from Pentagon Jr and a double-stomp from Rey Fenix connect. Santana hit a double rolling Cutter on the brothers but he Spring-boards into Pentagon Driver for a two-count. LAX unleash a huge combo on Fenix but he kicks out even though that finished Fenix at Homecoming in January. Pentagon Jr breaks up the pin on the Street Sweeper. It takes three Fear Factors with Fenix’ assisted stomp on Santana to crown new Impact Wrestling tag team champions.
Rating: ****1/2

#6. PAC vs Will Ospreay, Rev Pro High Stakes

Photo: RevPro

Both kip up and Ospreay cartwheels out of a hurricanrana, PAC has the look of a man possessed in the opening minute. Ospreay went for a Sunset Bomb on the floor but PAC flew to the floor with a Moonsault. PAC wrestled in his best heel fashion, sending Ospreay down on the ramp with a Brainbuster. Ospreay lands on his feet from a German Suplex and the Os-Cutter is only a two-count! PAC attempted a Tombstone from the second rope but Ospreay transitioned into a tornado DDT. Chris Brookes and Jonathan Gresham of CCK make their way down to the ring but they get tossed out and Ospreay gets the Rainmaker on PAC for a two-count. Ospreay uses a finger snap on PAC and Oapreay borrows Ricochet’s Benadriller for another near fall. Stormbreaker is turned into Styles Clash and the thirty-minute time limit draw is reached after PAC’s low blow.
Rating: ****1/2

#5. PROGRESS World Championship: WALTER (c) vs Chris Ridgeway, PROGRESS Chapter 84: Eskeewd Beef! Have Anybody Got Any Bookle Oran Doove?

Photo: PROGRESS

Ridgeway has been on the rise in PROGRESS Wrestling with his shoot martial arts style so it really seemed like Chris Ridgeway would have the tools and momentum to be the man to finally beat WALTER for the PROGRESS World championship but it wasn’t to be. WALTER patted Ridgeway on the top of the head at the start of the match so Ridgeway is all over WALTER with strikes. WALTER batters Ridgeway and punt him in the head! Ridgeway lives up to his nickname, “Hard As #@$*”, by surviving a Tombstone Piledriver but it ends up hurting WALTER just as much. WALTER landed on his knee after getting stiff leg kicks. Ridgeway’s Kneebar transitioned into WALTER’s Sleeper and Powerbomb was so smooth. Ridgeway locks in his own Sleeper but WALTER climbs up to the top rope and falls backwards on Ridgeway, the Lariat ends the challenger.
Rating: ****1/2

#4. ROH Women Of Honor (WOH) Championship: Mayu Iwatani vs Konami, Stardom New Year’s Stars

Photo: Stardom

Mayu had just defeated Kelly Klien for the Women Of Honor championship so Mayu put the title on the line in her home company of Stardom. This is a star making performance for Konami, usually relegated to tag matches, Konami wrestled on par with Stardom’s Ace. The ankle lock transitioned into a half Boston crab on the champion after Konami is lit up by kicks. Mayu went to the top but got trapped in a hanging heel hook on the top rope! Mayu made the mistake of going for a diving double-stomp but she battered her own legs doing so. Konami kept attempting a Triangle Lancer and went for a Stretch Muffler instead and trapped Mayu’s arm at the same time. The champion showed true heart and escaped to land a wicked Buzzsaw kick and Moonsault for the three-count from ROH referee Todd Sinclair.
Rating: ****1/2

#3. Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship: Kento Miyahara (c) vs Suwama, AJPW Excite Series

Photo: AJPW

Suwama really put on a performance that will be remembered at the end of 2019, his chances at the top are rare so every bit of sweat was poured into this title match. Miyahara hit some brutal headbutt’s and Blackout Knee Strikes, one even to the back of Suwama’s head in the corner! Suwama with huge double chops but when Suwama went for his biggest offense, it was turned around on the Suwama. The challenger tried a Last Ride and Sleeper Hold but the Straightjacket German Suplex keeps Suwama’s shoulders down.
Rating: ****1/2

#2. Open The Dream Gate Championship: PAC (c) vs KZY, Dragon Gate: Truth Gate

Photo: Dragon Gate

This match received a lot of attention for the middle rope Tombstone Piledriver from PAC but this is full of great psychology until the huge finish occurred. A fired up crowd witnesses KZY send out huge European uppercut after another. PAC’s athleticism is uncanny, flawlessly executing a Springboard 450 Splash and Shooting Star Press. KZY came so close on so many occasions, landing a top rope Brainbuster and Frogsplash for two-count. PAC tried a lowblow but got wrapped in a small package. PAC escaped and the Avalanche Tombstone and Black Arrow put away the challenger.
Rating: ****1/2

#1. Jordan Devlin vs David Starr, OTT Homecoming 2

Photo: OTT

This wasn’t even the main event but rather the opening match for OTT Contender’s 2 with the number one contender’s slot on the line for the OTT World championship and the intensity at its peak before the match even starts. Both trade shots at the ramp before the bell even rings and both connect with really stiff punches back in the ring. Devlin comes crashing down with a Double-stomp like his mentor, Finn Balor, then a Moonsault. Devlin tried a top rope Package Piledriver but Starr reversed it to a Superplex rolled through into the Blackheart Buster and a Lariat but it’s only a near fall! Devlin ran into a DDT onto the apron but fired back with a Canadian Destroyer. Both trade forearms one more time with Devlin winning the exchange and following up with not one, but two Package Piledrivers for the three-count.
Rating: *****

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