Beginning this month, our own Scott Edwards compiles his own list of the best WWE matches of each month. From Raw, SmackDown, and NXT, the options are seemingly endless. The matches will include ones you may not think about as well as one’s you hear about on social media as soon as they finish. PPV or TV, these matches will be the best of the best from the previous month of WWE action and receive a rating out of 100. (DISCLAIMER: This list is subjective and is compiled exclusively by Scott Edwards; 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!)
As professional wrestling attempts to slowly make their return here in the summer of 2020, there are some companies that have not missed a beat due to COVID-19. WWE not so shockingly did not stop and have kept the train rolling, failed practices aside, to give their fans the action every week no matter the problems in the world. June included a WWE PPV and the first NXT TakeOver since November, so it presents itself as the perfect month to begin a matches of the month article and rating. The order is based on the chronological order in which the matches happened.
Finn Balor vs. Damien Priest (NXT TakeOver: In Your House, 6/7/20)
Impressive this match made the list, considering the non-excitement fans had for it heading into the event. But Finn Balor may have had his best match since his return to NXT in this one. And it was certainly the coming-out party that Damien Priest desperately needed. Physical from the word go, these two hammered each other. It was a good way for Finn to show he still was capable of being that top name that he’s become. Priest, on the other hand, showed that he can go with NXT’s best. The match included a crazy spot where Priest was bounced by Balor to the outside, crashing down and smashing his back onto the steel steps. Balor, as expected, came away victorious but it proved to be a win-win for both men, something hard to deliver at times.
NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee (c) vs. Johnny Gargano (NXT TakeOver: In Your House, 6/7/20)
Anytime you put Johnny Gargano on the NXT TakeOver stage, you know he is going to deliver. Add in the fact that he is facing NXT’s fastest rising male star in Keith Lee and you should be prepared for something special. The story in this one was Gargano attacking the eye of the bigger Lee, giving him a shot at making it a fair fight. The big vs. little man story was perfectly told with these two. And unlike many previous Gargano championship matches, it wasn’t a chore to put him away for Keith Lee. Add in the fact that Lee pounced the challenger into the second row, through the plexiglass and you really add to the fun of this one. Lee walked out as the winner and seemed to finally get back that momentum he had at the end of 2019.
NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai (NXT TakeOver: In Your House, 6/7/20)
The first three matches are not so surprising from an NXT TakeOver, and this one happened to be the best of the bunch, as well as the month as a whole. Leading into the In Your House, no one was for certain what could the main event. However, with Charlotte Flair involved and the eventual result, it was the perfect call for the excellent show. Io Shirai was the story of this match, as she added a great dynamic to the WrestleMania duo. Rhea Ripley and Flair played their roles while Shirai delivered the best performance in her NXT career. She felt like a star as she opposed “The Queen,” something that isn’t always easy when across the ring from a Flair. From the dive on to both women on top of the entrance to the perfect finish, it was a true match of firing on all cylinders.
The match’s finish saw Flair lock-in the Figure 8 Leglock on Ripley, and for those who remembered WrestleMania, it was possible it was over. As those two fought, Shirai climbed to the top rope to come crashing down on the head of Ripley, totally wiping her out. Flair was defenseless as her legs were locked in with Ripley’s, giving Shirai to get the pin and finally win the NXT Women’s Championship. Shirai’s moment or not, this match was to write home about. It helps that she won too, of course.
Asuka vs. Charlotte (Raw, 6/8/20)
People may have been getting sick of Charlotte more than ever but that doesn’t mean she is bad in the ring by any means. And when she’s in there with Asuka, it tends to be excellent. The same was the case on an episode of Raw earlier this month. Asuka was forced into facing Charlotte just one night after “The Queen” lost her NXT Women’s Championship and it was a case of greatness between these two rivals again. And it being a TV match is only more credit to them. Charlotte eventually got the win thanks to Nia Jax’s interference, which is the only detriment to this TV match, as it would have been even better with a clean finish. This is not the last of these two on this list.
Intercontinental Championship Tournament Final: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown, 6/12/20)
These two names usually lead to some great in-ring action. And they did not disappoint. It was another day in the office for Daniel Bryan while it was good to see the AJ Styles of old once again. Technical, ground-based greatness was exhibited by Bryan who happened to control the majority of this one. And what made it greater was the care that both men were able to exude to become the Intercontinental Champion. The finish was a masterpiece. As Bryan attempted for his running knee, Styles caught him in mid-air to plant him down with the Styles Clash. A Phenomenal Forearm later and it was all she wrote as Styles won his first-ever Intercontinental Championship. WWE figured out that TV wrestling matches can and should deliver this month.
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Bobby Lashley (Backlash, 6/14/20)
Let me tell you, I really expected greatness from this one and did they ever deliver. Drew McIntyre‘s reign as the WWE Champion has been nothing short of stellar and his rivalry with Bobby Lashley presented a chance for both men to show what they could really do. For Lashley more than Drew, it was a chance to step back into the spotlight that he enjoyed in IMPACT Wrestling as their world champion. And with MVP by his side, he has been exceptional. McIntyre and Lashley tore the house down, beating each other limb from limb to try and capture/retain the WWE Championship. It was far and away Lashley’s best match since returning to the company and one of McIntyre’s as well.
It displayed great chemistry between the two and the only thing that hurt them was the finish. Lana being involved in anything tends to be bad television, and she led to being the reason that Lashley was Claymore’d into next week. McIntyre retained and it’s a real shame their program is done. Great hoss fight.
Edge vs. Randy Orton (Backlash, 6/14/20)
People will give this a lot of flack as to whether or not we should consider it a real match. But we are going based on what we were delivered and that was not “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever.” However, it turned out to be a great match. Utilizing finishers of the past greats, kicking out of each other’s finishers more than once and making it personal made this a great match in itself. The knocks that come with it are how it was delivered along with the fact that the piped-in crowd noise was incredibly unnecessary. Randy Orton needed to use a low blow and the Punt to finish off Edge and win. The return of that move was necessary and helped Orton in a huge way. This one is worth going out of your way to see if you were a fan of either or through the years.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Bayley & Sasha Banks (c) vs. Tegan Nox & Shotzi Blackheart (NXT, 6/17/20)
It’s almost a crime that Bayley and Sasha Banks are only just getting on this list after the roll they have been on. And their defense at Backlash was a last-second subtraction following NXT’s championship main event. The women who helped put women’s wrestling back on the map in WWE returned to the place they delivered that magic, NXT. They were in line to face Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart in a match that carried plenty of excitement. In the main event of NXT television, these four ladies had an excellent match that could have got 5-10 more minutes to be that much better. Either way, these four ladies tore down the house and the hope can be that they get another match down the line.
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (Raw, 6/22/20)
They are just so good together. It makes it even better when it comes to a clean finish. Asuka and Charlotte competed for the Raw Women’s Championship on Raw after Charlotte defeated Asuka the two weeks prior. Nia Jax had attacked Flair a little bit before the match, leading to her arm being damaged. Asuka, the smart champion she is, made that a goal during the match. These two still managed to go back and forth to a great match. It was Asuka’s first time defeating “The Queen” in a singles championship match. And to make it even better, it was via submission. This was even a bit better than their match a few weeks prior.
NXT North American Championship: Keith Lee (c) vs. Finn Balor vs. Johnny Gargano (NXT, 6/24/20)
Read the names, be even less shocked these three showed up. This match was not only for the NXT North American Championship but for the opportunity to move onto the first-ever Winner-Take-All match against Adam Cole. Keith Lee vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Balor was everything you would hope for. Lee managed to show how truly dynamic he is in there with smaller opponents after spending the past few months with the bigger talents on NXT. Lee’s strength and ability in the squared circle were on display as he managed to outsmart the former NXT Champion Finn Balor, moving out of the way of the Coup De Grace, lift him up, and hit the Big Bang Catastrophe for the win.
Tony Nese vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (205 Live, 6/26/20)
205 Live has for a long time been one of the most underappreciated brands in professional wrestling and that continues to today. The final match on the list of June comes from Tony Nese vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. These two were the only match and segment featured on the episode as they were given time to show the world what was up. Nese and Scott destroyed each other, to the point where you were nervous about their health on certain moves. However, this match didn’t fit the usual high-flying action you’d expect, as a lot of it saw grounded moves from both men and thunderous strikes. “Swerve” walked away with the win after hitting a double foot stomp onto Nese from the apron to the floor, rolling him into the ring and doing the same for the three count. Go out of your way to see this one along with the rest of the list.
It wasn’t a month full of instant classics, but plenty of good to great matches worth your time. Be sure to check back next month for July’s best WWE matches!
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