The 20 Best Matches Of The Month: August 2019 Edition

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Best Matches
Photo: Stardom

Every month, our own Dan Niles compiles his personal 20 Best Wrestling Matches list from around the world, from North America to Europe to Japan. Some are obvious best wrestling 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. Arisa Hoshiki vs Utami Hayashishita- STARDOM 5 Star Grand Prix

Utami may only be twenty years old but she’s already gaining lots of experience and is a multi-time champion already. Utami vs Jungle Kyona was also considered for this list as Kyona suffered a Torture Rack Bomb onto the apron in another fantastic tournament bout. The Wonder Of STARDOM champion went for the head early with stiff kicks and a Meteora on the floor. Sleeper holds were traded as both literally clawed their way out of submissions looking for victory until a hook kick stopped Utami in her tracks. Hoshiki missed a twisting splash from the top rope, Utami becomes the first person to pin Hoshiki since her retirement with a Torture Rack Bomb.

Rating: ****

#19. Femme Fatale Championship: Mercedes Martinez (C) vs Jordynne Grace- SHIMMER/Smash/RISE/Femme Fatale: The Summit

The best bout from Toronto’s all-female offering, this got the time it deserved and with a finish that leaves you wanting more. Mercedes takes every cheap shot she can when dominating the offense until Grace fires back with a top rope Senton. Grace hurts her back on the Senton and an avalanche Death Valley Driver do her no favors. Martinez is frustrated she can’t win the match and shoves the referee. Grace spikes Martinez with the Grace Driver and goes for the title that the champion introduced to the match. Martinez suckered in Grace for a Yakuza kick and a Fisherman Buster on the title to retain and put in one of our best matches.

Rating: ****

#18. Cesaro vs Ilja Dragunov- NXT Takeover UK: Cardiff 

Best Matches
Photo: WWE

All intensity, all the time from these two and it was almost like Ilja was looking in a mirror into his potential future against “The Swiss Superman.” Ilja hit some Kenta Kobashi-style chops with the wrist-clutch but his 619 was caught to a forty second Swing. Ilja was taken up for a Gorilla Press and landed in a GTS more than a Gutbuster in ugly fashion. Dragunov came so close to winning with a Death Valley Driver in the corner and a top Senton. The Torpedo Moscow was countered to a massive uppercut and the Neutralizer gives Cesaro the win.

Rating: ****

#17. Candice LaRae vs Io Shirai- NXT Takeover: Toronto 2

NXT Takeover Toronto
Photo: NXT

A freshly heel Io Shirai hit on all cylinders in this match but Candice proved she should have been featured on a Takeover a long time ago with some sensational offense like a Suicide Dive into a tornado DDT. Candice is thrown onto the announce table with a Suplex and a running Air Raid Crash soften up the neck even more. Candice landed a Poison Hurricanrana and Io hit a perfect top rope Spanish Fly. Candice became the first woman in WWE to kick out of Io’s Moonsault so a modified Koji Clutch taps out Candice.

Rating: ****

#16. WALTER vs Daisuke Sakamoto- wXw Toronto

Photo: wXw

A rematch years in the making, it isn’t much different than watching the new Godzilla movie as both refuse to stay down from the heavyweight offense. WALTER is all over Daisuke with a back suplex to the apron and a Tombstone Piledriver. WALTER eats knees trying a top rope Splash and Daisuke cleans WALTER’s clock with a Lariat. Daisuke misses a Dragonheart Elbow and the Kojira Clutch is sunk in on Daisuke. The devastating Fire Thunder Driver pins Daisuke in Toronto and takes home a spot on our list of best matches.

Rating: ****

#15. Kota Ibushi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi- NJPW G1 Climax 29

Photo: NJPW

Always a classic match because of the gameplan that both bring to the ring: Ibushi is looking for his kickboxing background and Tanahashi is trying to make him forget that training. Dragonscrews set up the Cloverleaf but Ibushi throws “The Ace” with a Lawn Dart instead. Ibushi gives Tanahashi a German Suplex from the second rope with a busted mouth. The Last Ride and Bomaye have Ibushi kicking out at the last second! Tanahashi couldn’t hit the High Fly Flow and he goes down to the Kamigoye.

Rating: ****

#14. Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA- NJPW G1 Climax 29

Best Matches
Photo: NJPW

The third encounter in 2019 between the IWGP Heavyweight champion and “Cold Skull” after SANADA’s losses to Okada in the New Japan Cup and the main event of NJPW Wrestling Dontaku. SANADA takes a DDT onto the floor early and Okada is taken surprise by a Tiger Suplex. A TKO and the Skull End with hooks can’t even defeat the champion. Okada connects with two short Rainmakers but as he winds up for the finish it’s SANADA that hits Okada with the Rainmaker! A pop-up Cutter and two Muta Moonsaults in a row finally give SANADA a win over Okada with twelve seconds left on the thirty minute time limit and takes a spot on the list of best matches.

Rating: ****

#13. NEVER Openweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii (C) vs KENTA- NJPW Royal Quest 

Photo: NJPW

Full of strikes and you wouldn’t expect anything less than these two going straight ahead at each other like bulls. KENTA receives genuine negative reactions from the crowd and it’s as loud as KENTA’s kicks. Ishii stuns the new Bullet Club member with a Headbutt and both trade German Suplexes before collapsing. “The Stone Pitbull” stops Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa from interfering but it’s not for long as the Magic Killer sets up a new champion. KENTA takes the Brainbuster but the distraction allows him to win the NEVER Openweight title with the GTS.

Rating: ****

#12. NXT UK Tag Team Championship: Grizzled Young Vets (Zack Gibson and James Drake) (C) vs Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster vs Gallus (Wolfgang and Mark Coffey)- NXT Takeover UK: Cardiff 

https://twitter.com/WWENetwork/status/1166764885427933185
Photo: WWE.com

This is the most exciting three-way tag team match in a very long time with several near-falls having everyone buying in. Andrews and Webster are on fire the entire match, offense like a Poison Hurricanrana/Knee Strike Combo. Flash headbutts both Vets but he gets taken down by a Powerslam/Enzugeri combination by Gallus. The champions nearly retain with Helter Sketler and a 450 Splash. Flash hits a 630 Splash and The Vets take Wolgang out on the floor with a Suicide Doomsday Device! The action comes to an end when Andrews pins Coffey with a Shooting Star Press after The Vets screwed themselves out of the titles by taking out the referee and hitting Ticket To Mayhem.

Rating: ****1/2

#11. Will Ospreay vs EVIL- NJPW G1 Climax 29

Best Matches
Photo: NJPW

Ospreay had a banger of a match with another Los Ingobernobles De Japon member last month in the G1 Climax tournament and that was against SANADA where Ospreay suffered a stinger to his neck. EVIL targets that neck the whole match, Ospreay even takes a chair shot with another chair wrapped around his neck. EVIL surprisingly matches Ospreay for speed, Darkness Falls puts Will in serious jeopardy. A Coast To Coast Dropkick and Spanish Fly put the odds in Ospreay’s favor but not for long. The Os-Cutter is caught and Ospreay takes vicious Half Nelson Suplexes. Ospreay lands on his neck hard again from a Lariat and Everthing Is EVIL on this night.

Rating: ****1/2

#10. Tetsuya Naito vs “Switchblade” Jay White- NJPW G1 Climax 29

Best Matches
Photo: NJPW

The winner would go to the Finals of the G1 Climax 29 tournament against Kota Ibushi, a shocking conclusion to this match leaves fans satisfied by the match even if they weren’t happy with the result. Naito is thrown head-first on the apron early and a flying forearm is caught into a brutal Uranage from White. The Kiwi Crusher in turned into a DDT in mid-air but the referee takes a low-blow as the action is picking up. Blade Runner is countered to Destino but White kicks out! Naito is dazed by three Half Nelson Suplexes and an Implant DDT sets up the Blade Runner and puts it on the list of best matches.

Rating: ****1/2

#9. Three Stages Of Hell, NXT Championship: Adam Cole (C) vs Johnny Gargano- NXT Takeover: Toronto 2

Three Stages of Hell - Gargano vs Cole
Credit: WWE

The culmination of a rivalry that has boiled over all year long, the ending may have gotten a bit over-the-top but the score must be settled in a match bigger than a singles match. Gargano takes a Wheelbarrow German Suplex on the apron but then he gets himself Disqualified by using a steel chair to lose the first fall. Cole is backdropped through a table and Gargano wins the second fall with the Gargano Escape. Once the Cage dropped, Cole took a tornado DDT into chairs and the violence escalated. Cole jumped off a ladder for Panama Sunrise but “Johnny Wrestling” would use a sledgehammer to Cole’s ribs! Gargano chases Cole to the top of the Cage with a strand of Barbed Wire but both crash off the top of the cage and through the table! Cole manages to drape his arm over his rival to retain the gold.

Rating: ****1/2

#8. Tomohiro Ishii vs Juice Robinson- NJPW G1 Climax 29

Photo: NJPW

Not just one of the most overlooked matches of this G1 Climax tournament but a match that deserves another look among the busy Summer wrestling season if you missed it. Robinson turns it up another notch when he faces Ishii, something is triggered inside Juice that tells him to be at his best ever since their match in Over The Top Wrestling (OTT) last year. Juice smacks Ishii and takes throat chops for his disrespect! Ishii hangs on from a top rope Hurricanrana attempt and lands a diving Kneedrop like Togi Makabe. Juice thinks a Superplex will do the trick but Ishii gets right back up and throws Juice with a Powerslam! The Juicebox lands Ishii on the top of his head in a scary moment and the Jackhammer follows it up. Pulp Fiction is countered to a Tiger Suplex and the Brainbuster pins Juice.

Rating: ****1/2

#7. Ladder Match, AAA Tag Team Championship: Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix) (C) vs The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)- AEW All Out

All Out
Photo: AEW

The expectations were high but these teams delivered and had their best match together to date with more wild moments than one could count. The Bucks take spears off the apron the start the madness. Fenix gets shoved off a ladder but he lands on the ropes and goes to the outside for an Asai Moonsault to the other Jackson brother. Matt Jackson is sent through a table by a Destroyer off a ladder! Penta is trapped in a ladder in a crossface/sharpshooter combination. Matt Jackson unmasked Penta and Superkicked Fenix off the ladder but Matt gets shoved off onto another ladder. The Lucha Bros finish Matt Jackson with a Fear Factor/Double Stomp combo onto a ladder!

Rating: *****

#6. Kazuchika Okada vs Kota Ibushi- NJPW G1 Climax 29

Best Matches
Photo: NJPW

A G1 Climax tournament classic with the winner going to the Finals after this long-awaited clash. Ibushi hasn’t had the chance to wrestle Okada one-on-one in many years and he made the most of it by matching Okada dropkick for dropkick. Ibushi hit an Ibushi Driver to counter a Tombstone Piledriver. A backslide is transitioned to a Short Rainmaker to Ibushi. The Last Ride has Okada getting desperate for the win but the Rainmaker is stopped by a Ripcord High Kick! Okada kicks out of Kamigoye but not the second time as it looks like we get this match again at WrestleKingdom 14 after Ibushi’s big win.

Rating: *****

#5. Tetsuya Naito vs Shingo Takagi- NJPW G1 Climax 29

Photo: NJPW

Both avoid each others big moves early showing how much they know each other being friends and fellow LIJ members. Naito is tossed for a pop-up Death Valley Driver. Naito explodes with a top rope Hurricanrana and a Poison Hurricanrana but it’s time for Shingo’s Pumping Bomber! Naito suffers a Saito Suplex on his head and somehow comes back with a Dragon Suplex on “The Dragon”. Made In Japan almost ends Naito’s night and Last Of The Dragon is countered to Destino. Shingo with a headbutt and Naito with a Brainbuster as a second Destino is only a two count! Shingo is an absolute monster but is finally put down by a third Destino.

Rating: *****

#4. IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (C) vs Minoru Suzuki- NJPW Royal Quest 

Best Matches
Photo: NJPW

Every time Minoru Suzuki gets Okada in the ring he makes him his punching bag, almost like there is real animosity for Okada being chosen as the top echelon of NJPW. The forearms to Okada in this match are quite frankly unbelievable and Okada even puts his arms behind his back to feel every one of those shots. Suzuki takes liberties and gives Okada a forearm blow to the back of the head when he’s on his knees.  Suzuki completely has the UK crowd in his palm, running down the ramp for a Penalty Kick and soaking in the live reactions. Suzuki has a beautiful dropkick at fifty years of age but The Rainmaker eventually stopped Suzuki in his tracks. Suzuki tries the Gotch Piledriver too many times and he is drilled by a Tombstone Piledriver instead and another Rainmaker pins Suzuki.

Rating: *****

#3. WWE UK Championship: WALTER (C) vs Tyler Bate- NXT Takeover UK: Cardiff

Best Matches
Photo: WWE.com

This is a rematch from PROGRESS Wrestling last year, Bate wrestled his heart out despite the champion being double his size and he had the entire arena believing he would become a two-time WWE UK champion. A suicide dive early is caught to a Powerbomb onto the apron and the post! Bate is bullied in the ring but WALTER is thrown off the apron by an Exploder Suplex. Bate performed a finger snap like Pete Dunne and executed an avalanche Exploder. An airplane spin, Burning Hammer, Deadlift German Suplex and Tyler Driver all can’t take the title off WALTER! The Spiral Tap is also a near fall! Bate takes a Sleeper Suplex and top Splash but the Strong Boi kicks out. A Powerbomb is only a one-count to Bate! Finally, Bate is flattened by a Lariat for the finish at forty-two minutes.

Rating: *****

#2. Shingo Takagi vs Tomohiro Ishii- NJPW G1 Climax 29

Best Matches

The way these brawlers tested each other was really something to be seen to be believed, Chris Charlton on commentary translated Ishii saying “don’t even feel it” from an early shoulder-block. A wild exchange of Suplexes leave Ishii bleeding from his ear. Ishii absorbs Lariats but be couldn’t absorb the Pumping Bombers. Shingo is turned inside out by Ishii’s Lariat. Ishii kicks out of Made In Japan. Both kick out at one from Lariats and Ishii is finished by The Last Of The Dragon.

Rating: *****

#1. Wonder Of Stardom Championship: Arisa Hoshiki (C) vs Jungle Kyona- Stardom X Stardom 2019

Best Matches
Photo: Stardom

Arisa Hoshiki has arguably had the best streak of great matches in all of 2019 and it continues with a very memorable title defense against the underdog favorite in Jungle Kyona. Jungle had the plan to attack the legs and take away the strikes but Arisa put a stop to that with a high kick. A meteora is caught by Jungle and Arisa is thrown hard on the apron to set up the Canadian Backbreaker but Jungle turns it into a facebuster. Jungle takes the champion for the Big Swing and a top rope Splash is a near fall. Arisa is locked in a Stretch Muffler and The Kinnuku Buster is only a two-count! Jungle runs into a kick to the head and two fast knee strikes follow. Jungle is knocked out by a high kick to the head.

Rating:  *****

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