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 our best matches through promotions VOD or streaming networks)
20 Best Matches Of The Month
#20. Wonder Of Stardom Championship: Momo Watanabe (c) vs Utami Hayashishita- STARDOM American Dream In The Big Apple
Fellow stablemates main evented STARDOM‘s first foray to North America, Watanabe made her thirteenth title defense a memorable one. Utami tried to win a fifth title to her collection currently, both also hold the Goddess Of STARDOM tag team titles together. Momo lands some serious kicks while Utami goes to the power game. Momo Watanabe comes off the second and top rope with Meteora’s. Utami locks in the trademark Torture Rack but Momo comes back with the Crossface Chickenwing. Utami runs into a high kick and Peach Sunrise puts down the challenger.
#19. Dragon Lee vs Barbaro Cavernario- WrestleCon: Mark Hitchcock Memorial SuperShow
What an exciting and near breathtaking match this is between two completely different Luchadors during WrestleMania weekend. Barbaro amazingly performs a suicide dive from the apron and through the middle turnbuckle and then a top rope gut buster. Lee hits a big Last Ride for a near fall. The caveman Luchador came off the top rope to the floor with a splash on Dragon Lee! Lee is floored by a flipping DDT back in the ring but Lee rebounds with a Canadian Destroyer! A top rope double-stomp and a unique Sit-out Powerbomb keep Barbaro’s shoulders down for three.
#18. Tessa Blanchard vs Britt Baker- SHIMMER 113
A scary moment almost stopped this match entirely after Baker had the wind knocked out of her by a top rope Senton but Britt Baker fought through the possible broken ribs and almost won the match with a Canadian Destroyer. Baker had the pain brought early by a very intense and “Undeniable” Blanchard with a Magnum. Baker fired back with a huge Superkick and tornado DDT. Baker trapped Blanchard in the Rings Of Saturn but Tessa transitioned into a version of her own. Tessa’s Sitout Powerbomb and Britt’s Brainbuster earn long two-counts. Baker makes it to the ropes after a top rope Magnum but the rolling elbow and Buzzsaw DDT finally pins Baker.
#17. ROH TV and NEVER Openweight Championship: Will Ospreay (c) vs Jeff Cobb (c)- NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard
The perfect way to start the NJPW/ROH spectacular in Madison Square Garden, Ospreay’s speed against Cobb’s raw strength in a title vs title bout. Ospreay’s Sasuke Special is caught but Ospreay turns it into a DDT onto the floor. Cobb is crazy athletic as well for his size, landing a perfect Samoan Drop, kip up and standing Moonsault combination. Ospreay gives The Amazing Red a shout-out for his recent retirement announcement by hitting Code Red on the big man. Cobb throws Ospreay off of the Os-Cutter but Ospreay lands on the middle rope and hits the Os-Cutter for a big near fall! Jeff Cobb holds both titles up high after an Avalanche Tour Of The Islands and another follow-up Tour Of The Islands. It was a strong start for G1 Supercard making its mark in our best matches.
#16. WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs Kofi Kingston- WWE WrestleMania
A twenty-five minute WWE championship match with most of the action boiling down to counters and strikes, no interference necessary here except for a quick Trouble In Paradise to Erick Rowan. Bryan hit some forearm blows to the back of the head early and that seemed to fire up Kofi more than the champion could have imagined. Kofi kicks his way out of the LaBell Lock and a rollup stops the running Knee Strike. Kingston unleashes all of his frustrations and fury out with Bryan’s own stomps and the Trouble In Paradise crowns a new champion at the grandest stage of them all.
#15. IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito (c) vs Kota Ibushi- NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard
Naito took the match at his pace but it was still no match for the challengers lightening fast attacks even after Ibushi landed on his head hard numerous times. Ibushi is spiked by a tornado DDT and gets thrown off the second rope by a German Suplex. Ibushi gets spat on and that turns the tide, Naito takes a straight Jan to the face. Naito’s Poison Rana and running Destino are only two-counts. Ibushi borrows from former IWGP Intercontinental champion and current WWE Smackdown Live star, Shinsuke Nakamura, with the Bombe Ye but Naito kicks out! The Last Ride and Kamigoye take the title off Naito.
#14. Zeus vs Kento Miyahara- AJPW Champions Carnival
A brutal match with back and forth action reminiscent of their Triple-Crown title bouts in 2018, Zeus gets his revenge here after somehow kicking out of Blackout Knee after Blackout Knee. Miyahara with the headbutt’s and Zeus with the chops but Miyahara seemed to have a real sense of urgency with every hard hit. Zeus goes for a Chokeslam on the apron but gets dropped with a DDT on the apron. Zeus uses his wide frame to break free from the Shutdown German Suplex like Superman ripping out of his shirt, two Muscle Explosion Lariat’s followed up with the Jackhammer pin the champion in the Carnival.
#13. IWGP Heavyweight Championship: “Switchblade” Jay White (C) vs Kazuchika Okada- NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard
Gedo is still on Okada’s head during the opening moments of this contest but by the end of the thirty minute main event, Gedo and White were both left lying and defeated by Okada. White is floored by the supreme vertical leap of Okada with two shotgun dropkicks. White stuck to his nasty new move-set and it worked, for the most part, a Saito Suplex over the top rope and a Butterfly Suplex in the corner have Okada reeling. The New York fans are shocked by the White’s kickout of the Rainmaker! A Blade Runner connects but “Switchblade” can’t capitalize and a second Rainmaker crowns a new champion.
#12. Iron Man Tag Team Match: LifeBlood (“Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams and Mark Haskins) vs Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham- ROH Masters Of Our Craft
It’s not too often one witnesses an Iron Man tag team match but this is a real treat right up until the third and final fall of the match. There are Figure Four Leglocks, Sharpshooters, and Armbars but it’s Gresham that taps to Haskins first. Lethal and Gresham set up Williams for an Innovative launching double-team Cutter for a fall. Gresham hooked Haskins in a cradle to break the tie and put them in the lead. Haskins takes Hail To The King from Lethal as the clock expires. Lethal and Gresham win with two falls to one.
#11. NXT North American Championship: Velveteen Dream (c) vs Matt Riddle- NXT Takeover: New York
Another sensational outing from Velveteen Dream and his NXT North American championship match with Buddy Murphy on NXT TV just missed the list as well. Riddle gets his bare foot stomped on and Dream goes to the top but a double axehandle is stopped by a German Suplex on the floor! The champion kicks out of the Bro To Sleep but Riddle is unrelenting, taking Dream down with a triangle choke and ankle lock. Dream kicks out of a German Suplex off the top rope reminiscent of Kota Ibushi and the debuting “ Floating Bro”, a corkscrew senton. The Bro-Mission is turned into a cradle and Dream retains.
#10. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori (C) vs Dragon Lee vs Bandido- NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard
It’s too bad these three didn’t get longer than ten minutes but that timeframe just meant this Three-Way Dance wasn’t gonna stop for a second. Ishimori went to the floor with a Moonsault and Bandido takes a pop-up Cutter back in the ring. Bandido picked up both opponents on the top rope and landed a flipping Blockbuster! Bandido is taken out by a high knee and Poison Rana from Dragon Lee. Dragon Lee takes advantage of the wild pace and pins Bandido with a Sit-Out Powerbomb to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion.
#9. Tessa Blanchard vs Gail Kim- Impact Wrestling: Rebellion
“Legends come and go but diamonds are forever” so said Tessa Blanchard before this dream match between the most celebrated Knockouts champion in Impact Wrestling history and quite possibly the best female on American soil. A very hot start results in Kim crashing down with a Springboard Legdrop. Tessa trash talks Kim’s husband, chef Robert Irvine, in the front row before tossing Kim off the ramp with Hurts Donut! Tully Blanchard is there live to witness his classic Slingshot Suplex from Tessa but it gets countered so Gail Kim gets press slammed off the top rope! Tessa proves she is “Undeniable” by kicking out of Eat Defeat. Kim gets her shoulder up after the Buzzsaw DDT but Tessa grabs Gail’s arm and Kim is forced to tap out to a stranglehold Crossface choke.
#8. Minoru Suzuki vs Josh Barnett- GCW Bloodsport
There may be no definitive victor after a time limit draw but you won’t find many harder hits this year. Suzuki main events his second Bloodsport event in a row after defeating Matt Riddle for Game Changer Wrestling in the main event in 2018. Both don’t take long jockeying for position as Heel Hooks and a Fujiwara Armbar come from Barnett early. Suzuki catches Josh in a Kneebar and Barnett is seriously rocked by the forearm exchange. Suzuki did use a chair at one point but other than that, this is pure grappling at it’s finest. A strike-fest concludes this mixed martial arts inspired bout with headbutt’s, forearms and palm strikes after twenty minutes from the former UFC star and King of Pancrase.
#7. NXT Tag Team Championships: War Raiders (Ray Rowe and Hanson) (c) vs Ricochet and Aleister Black- NXT Takeover: New York
A near-perfect tag team match and it just happened to be for the NXT tag team titles and Aleister Black and Ricochet’s final night in NXT. Ray Rowe and Black trade heavy to start and end up trading knee strikes. Hanson unleashes his inner Cruiserweight with a handspring elbow and tope off the top rope to the floor. Black Mass followed up by Ricochet’s Shooting Star Press almost ends it but Hanson breaks the pin on Rowe. Ricochet goes down hard to Thor’s Hammer and Fallout keeps the titles on The War Raiders.
#6. Full Metal Mayhem for the Impact Tag Team Championships: Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr and Rey Fenix) (c) vs LAX (Santana and Ortiz)
Chaos so insane that it appeared as though the competitors in this match were hurt more than once from the crazy bumps off ladders and involving all of the weapons. Lucha Bros start the match with Tope’s through tables. Pentagon takes the huge combination that helped LAX beat The Lucha Bros back in January. Fenix is double stomped into Tower Of London onto a steel chair! Santana takes Fear Factor onto six steel chairs! Rey Fenix nearly breaks his neck going for a Spanish Fly off a ladder through a table and doesn’t completely rotate, landing right on his head on the ramp. Santana kicks out of the Pentagon Driver on a steel chair. Pentagon trades with Santana on top of a ladder but a fork jabs Pentagon, setting up a Powerbomb off the ladder by Ortiz and through a table and thumbtacks to pin Pentagon Jr.
#5. Champions Carnival Finals: Kento Miyahara vs Jake Lee- AJPW Champions Carnival
Jake Lee has consistently made himself known in AJPW over the past couple years and he didn’t so much choke in the biggest match of his career as much as simply losing to the best there is in the company. Lee has Miyahara against the ropes after a series of kicks so Kento comes back with headbutts. Lee measured Miyahara with Yakuza Kicks in the corner but that just motivated the Triple Crown champion to smash Jake Lee with Blackout Knee Strikes. Lee takes Miyahara down for two-counts after a Doctor Bomb and a Backdrop Driver. It takes about eight Blackout Knees and the Shutdown German Suplex but it finally ends Jake Lee’s run in the Carnival tournament.
#4. NXT United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne (c) vs WALTER- NXT Takeover: New York
So many stiff shots in this match, both made even the simplest of moves look utterly devastating. WALTER shakes off a Lariat like it’s nothing and floors Dunne with a big boot. Dunne is chopped and stomped on, while WALTER gets fingers on both hands snapped. Dunne takes a huge Lariat off the top rope, the champion still manages to drop WALTER with the Bitter End but it’s only a near fall. Dunne makes the mistake of trying a triangle choke on the top rope and WALTER ends the physicality with a top rope Powerbomb and Splash.
#3. Vacant NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Adam Cole- NXT Takeover: New York
Cole and Gargano tore the house down with this thrilling Two Out Of Three Falls title match and Gargano had to fight through just about everything to finally become the NXT champion. The Shining Wizard pins Gargano early for the first fall. Gargano takes The Fairy Tale Ending on the announce table since Tomasso Ciampa couldn’t compete in this match due to injury. Cole busts out the Panama Sunrise but it only gets two! The lawn dart throws Cole across the ring so The Undisputed Era gets involved. Cole taps to The Gargano Escape so Adam Cole hits The Last Shot. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish get involved while Roderick Strong distracts the referee but somehow Total Elimination won’t put away Gargano. “Johnny Wrestling” traps Cole in the Gargano Escape again and it’s over after two falls to one despite The Undisputed Era.
#2. Will Ospreay vs Bandido- WrestleCon: Mark Hitchcock Memorial SuperShow
Magical chemistry from a couple of the best in the world at the Junior Heavyweight style, this had a real epic feel especially in the closing moments. Both run at each other at the ring of the bell as Bandido runs right into a Spanish Fly! Bandido kicks out of a Shooting Star Press so Bandido slows down the pace with a Romero Special. Ospreay is thrown down by a sit-out Gorilla Press with one-arm! A Snap Dragon Suplex from a fired up Ospreay is topped by Bandido’s flipping pop-up Powerbomb. Ospreay lands on his feet from the Slingshot German Suplex off the ropes but “The Aerial Assassin” ends up taking a Torture Rack GTS! The Rainmaker borrowed from fellow CHAOS member, Kazuchika Okada, and the Os-Cutter is somehow just a near fall! The Stormbreaker is enough for three on Bandido.
#1. IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr- NJPW Sengoku Lord
Such a perfect mix of styles, Sabre and Ibushi has been a match dying for a main event since their previous G1 Climax and New Japan Cup matches. Sabre takes it to the champion with an Octopus Stretch in the guardrail and then leg scissoring the head on the apron. Ibushi rolled from a Powerslam into a moonsault but gets caught by a triangle choke, the beauty of all styles shown in this match. Sabre’s European Clutch is a two-count and so is Ibushi’s bridge counter. Ibushi finally has enough of Sabre’s kicks and flattens the British master with a huge palm strike heard around the arena. Ibushi takes the Zack Driver but Sabre goes down to a high kick. The Last Ride gets two so just when the Kamigoye is set up, the Octopus Stretch is locked in again! Tremendous storytelling and teasing of a finish but Ibushi escapes and a GTS off the shoulder followed up by the Kamigoye keeps the title with Ibushi after his first defense.
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