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25.5.11 0214
The 7 - Pro Wrestling - Time to cash in the chips, what is the best wrestling MATCH OF THE YEAR?
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The Vile1
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#1 Posted on 29.12.04 2108.56
Reposted on: 29.12.11 2109.01
Well now that the year of 2004 is coming to a close for the world and WWE, just wanted to hear what you thought was the single best match of the year in the world of professional wrestling. Doesn't have to be WWE. It can be NWA-TNA, ROH, indy, puro, or even something you saw at a house show.

My pick for MOTY:

Wrestlemania XX Triple Threat Match for The World Heavyweight Title - Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (c)

I'm trying to think what else can be said about this match that hasn't been said. I wasn't fond of this idea at first. I thought a Wrestlemania main event should be one on one, and I thought the build-up to this match was a little poor. I was pissed about HBK beating Benoit on RAW and his insertion to the match, and I certainly wasn't expecting Benoit to go over so strong. But this match truly was perfection and definitely one of the better if not the best three-way wrestling matches of all time (even better than Benoit/DDP/Raven from Uncensored 1998). Also seeing the Madison Square Garden get behind the underdog, Benoit, even in spite of the usual fan favorite, HBK, was a thing of beauty. It proved that the regular fans wanted to see Benoit fulfill his dreams as much as the net smarts (that brought him to so much prominence) did. Anyway, Benoit is the first man to beat HHH via tapout (at least I think so) and wins the world heavyweight title, which he would end up holding for five months. Anyone see that coming?

Honorable mentions:

Backlash 2004 Falls Count Anywhere Street Fight for the Intercontinental Title - Cactus Jack vs. Randy Orton(c)
Orton's best match and performance to date. It wasn't just a mindless spotfest, and it mixed some great wrestling in as well with the brutal moments.

RAW, June 2004 Six Man Elimination Match - Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Edge vs. Evolution (Batista, Orton, and Flair)
This was the night after Bad Blood on free tv, and it was better than anything on that show you had to pay 35 dollars for. This match went 2 commercial breaks and over half an hour. Benoit is the only survivor after making Randy Orton tap out to the Sharpshooter.

Wrestlemania XX WWE Title Match - Kurt Angle vs. Eddy Guerrero (c)
Well unlike the world title match, this feud had great build-up and the end result was fantastic. For the first half Angle and Eddy work each other over with some great chain and technical wrestling. The second half builds up to the great finish with Angle's relentlessness in trying to apply the ankle-lock being his un-doing allowing Eddy to get the win. Eddy and Angle have had a ton of matches in the last couple years, but none of them were as good as this one here, especially the ones after Angel's return in August.

Royal Rumble 2004 - The Royal Rumble Match
Really, try to name a better, tighter Rumble than this one? Benoit goes from start to finish, and is able to overcome the monstrosity and improbability of eliminating the Big Show at the end. It featured the commentating team of Tazz and Jim Ross, which I personally would like to see more of (hey, maybe Tazz and Lawler could switch brands next year, wouldn't that be cool?) Some great moments and good showings by some other people really make this the best Rumble of all time.

Backlash 2004 Final Encounter Triple Threat Match For The World Heavyweight Title - Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H vs. Chris Benoit (c)
Benoit's first title defense on PPV in his hometown of Edmonton. This match was not quite as good as the WM match, but it was longer and they still made it great and interesting. The Survivor Series moment was pretty dramatic, and followed by the crowd's thunderous chant of "YOU SCREWED BRET" and HBK's obvious dismay. I think a lot of people saw Benoit beating HBK in Canada by making him tap out to the Sharpshooter as a retribution of sorts for the Screwjob in Montreal in 1997...and I agree.

(edited by The Vile1 on 29.12.04 2244)
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#2 Posted on 29.12.04 2130.27
Reposted on: 29.12.11 2131.31
For MOTY I'd have to go with Triple H v. Chris Benoit v. Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania. The very definition of a perfect match. I personally can not find any flaws in it. It had great booking and, in the end, I was totally marking out, SCREAMING for Hunter to tap. NOW THAT'S A DAMN FINE MATCH!!!

However, I really can't fairly comment on this, as I've heard nothing but good things about Joe/Punk II. However, I haven't seen it yet, as I recieved it for Christmas, popped the tape in, and found out that ROH sent me a fucked up copy, with the picture jumping around the screen the whole time, which is quite headache-inducing. They're sending me another copy as we speak. Until then, though, Hunter/Benoit/Michaels beats out anything else I've seen this year.

As for honorable-mentions: Royal Rumble match from Royal Rumble, Eddie Guerrero v. Brock Lesanr from No Way Out, Randy Orton v. Mick Foley from Backlash, Chris Benoit v. Shawn Michaels from the RAW: Battle in the Desert (or whatever it was called), Samoa Joe v. CM Punk (first match) from World Title Classic, Austin Aries v. Bryan Danielson form Testing the Limit, and Triple X v. AMW from Turning Point.

Interesting that I can think of a bunch of excellent WWE matches from the first half of the year. However, the second half of the year I have to rack my brain to think of any.
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#3 Posted on 29.12.04 2331.24
Reposted on: 29.12.11 2335.24
Nothing else I saw this year could touch the main event at WrestleMania.

ROH's Scramble Cage was really something to see. I mean, from a workrate snob standpoint, it was a total spotfest. But Man-O-Man, you couldn't have asked for a better one.

DeVito, on the platform in the corner of the cage, making that DeVito face with blood pouring down it, then moonsaulting 15 feet or so... well, I remembered the sheer exhilaration of marking out. And that wasn't even the best spot.
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#4 Posted on 30.12.04 0050.01
Reposted on: 30.12.11 0050.08
Not sure if the fourth post in a row will seal the deal, but the main event at Wrestlemania XX was without a doubt the Match of 2004.

Everything about this match worked. Everything. From the tremendous flow to the story being told in the ring to the chain wrestling to the high spots to the blood to the hot crowd solidly behind the underdog babyface (and not the established one) to the anticipation..and then for Chris Benoit to finally make Triple H tap out in the middle of that ring in Madison Square Garden at the 20th Wrestlemania is a feeling that can be taken away from no wrestling fan no matter what happens from here on in. Amazing.
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#5 Posted on 30.12.04 0209.52
Reposted on: 30.12.11 0210.26
The HHH vs HBK vs Benoit match was tremendous and the finest US match in 2004.

But, the Match of the Year was Kenta Kobashi vs Jun Akiyama from the 7/10 NOAH Tokyo Dome show.

MOTY thread from 10.24.04

(edited by NickBockwinkelFan on 30.12.04 0319)
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#6 Posted on 30.12.04 0248.38
Reposted on: 30.12.11 0249.25
The MOTYC has to be Goldberg versus Lesnar. People will still be talking about this one years from now.
No seriously I have to agree that Benoit, HBK, and HHH at WM and Backlash have to be probably the best 2 matches I saw this year.
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#7 Posted on 30.12.04 1044.21
Reposted on: 30.12.11 1044.21
WWE-wise, the WM main event comes at #2 for me, following Eddy-v-Brock. That's the match currently tying with Samoa Joe -v- American Dragon as MOTY for me, but I haven't watched Akiyama -v- Kobashi yet.
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#8 Posted on 30.12.04 1053.13
Reposted on: 30.12.11 1053.17
For being there live, this year's Royal Rumble was it for me. I have been to a ton of live events, but nothing like that match. I will say HBK vs. HHH vs. Benoit was a close number 2 followed by Eddie/Brock. Man, the WWE put on four great PPV Main Events in a row at the beginning of the year, what happened?
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#9 Posted on 30.12.04 1056.54
Reposted on: 30.12.11 1057.21
See, watching both Triple Threats now I actually think the Backlash installment is the superior match, quality-wise. They manage their time a lot better and have the crowd in the plm of their hand for the duration (admittedly not hard considering the location, but still). I mean, there's very little between the two and the WM match probably gets the edge due to the emotional pay-off, but I just thought I'd dd my cents' worth.
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#10 Posted on 30.12.04 1245.38
Reposted on: 30.12.11 1245.54
I just rewatched Punk v. Joe II for the third time since I got the dvd and every time I find myself finding new things to enjoy in the match. I loved the WM Triple Threat but I just cannot say in good conscience that it was the best match of the year. Punk v. Joe was as hot or more so (factoring in crowd size disparity), and even though this doesn't add to the actual match when you consider that it was put together on such short notice (only came off because Corino canceled) it makes it more amazing to watch.
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#11 Posted on 30.12.04 1908.23
Reposted on: 30.12.11 1909.13
I gotta go with Eddie vs Brock at No Way Out, personally. The WM XX match was pretty good, but not my ultimate choice as I find the above along with Michaels vs Benoit from May 5 & even the Eddie-Kurt WM match to be slightly better.
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#12 Posted on 31.12.04 1302.32
Reposted on: 31.12.11 1302.38
That Six Man Tag Team Elimination Match was at least the TV Match of the Year. The heat and the action was off the charts in that match.

But I'd also have to go for Guerrero/Lesnar from NWO. I remember the crowd popping for submissions that neither guy normally uses very often because they were so into the match. It was really different from anything you usually see in a WWE Main Event.
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#13 Posted on 31.12.04 1411.15
Reposted on: 31.12.11 1412.43
I probably should've put Eddy/Lesnar as an honorable mention at least because it was a fantastic match. I remember eary on Eddy attempted a rana but Lesnar blocked and just dropped Eddy on the back of his head and neck. I was surprised Eddy was able to keep going at such a great pace afterward, because that spot looked absolutely nasty.
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#14 Posted on 1.1.05 1547.26
Reposted on: 1.1.12 1551.25
TV MOTY, that's a fun one. There were so many matches, yet the majority of them run together because they're all the same guys. Luckily, certain awesome people make comps for themselves.

1. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit, 5/3 (World Title)
Natch. This would've been a MOTY if they'd gone to nearfalls and a real finish instead of the shitty shit fuck fuck one they did. The finish is also the fulcrum on which the year turned, the beginning of the transition from all the goodwill and great TV brought on by the Wrestlemania period to the horrible booking slide that would continue for the rest of the year. Irregardless, what a great match. The moonsault to the floor gives me something of a boner. The world would be a better place if they'd done this singles match at Backlash with the Sharpshooter finish and saved the threeway rematch for Bad Blood, erasing the buttrocious HIAC from the public record and getting three straight classics on PPV. ****1/2

2. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit, 2/16
These guys' matches are so good with such frustrating finishes. It's funny to think of a time when you were worried for Benoit because he needed booking help in the leadup to Wrestlemania and he wasn't getting it. Here I thought for sure you put him over since he needed pumped up to Michaels and HHH's level going into Mania. Instead, Shawn, who hardly needed the win, won after a lame distraction. But Benoit got to win 99% of his matches with clean tapouts for the next five months, so it worked out. ****1/4

3. Michaels/Benoit/Benjamin/Foley vs. Evolution, 4/12
Another one that stands out, because 1) Mick Foley wrestled on TV, 2) it had nuclear heat in Chicago, 3) I'm pretty sure it's the only time that all four of Evolution teamed up in the same match, 4) it evoked the famous 2/7/2000 Dallas, TX eight-man tag. Odd choice of finish with Michaels pinning Orton. I think it was because this was the week before Backlash and Shawn was going to do a major job and Orton was going to get a major win, so you even-steven them here. ****

4. Benoit/Edge vs. Orton/Batista, 5/17 (World Tag Titles)
5. Benoit/Jericho/Edge vs. Orton/Batista/Flair, 8/2
These are overlooked because, duh, it's the same guys over and over and over and over and over again done to death and they all run together. But these are the two standouts at the **** level. The first match came during that sweet nuts April-May period when they had a great long match on Raw for something like seven consecutive weeks. It has a greeeeat finish where Benoit does the diving headbutt but Orton is holding the belt, and Benoit kicks out in a tremendous nearfall. Then Orton is like RKO? RKO! and Benoit goes Fuck You Randy Orton You Are In The Crippler Crossface!!!!!!!! and he taps. ****

The six-man is more Orton and Benoit fun. This was in the buildup to SummerSlam and the heat was super. Benoit was catching on in a big way as a take-on-all-comers champion by this point, as there were WE WANT BENOIT chants in the middle of the match for no reason. Other than they want Benoit. Benoit puts Flair in the sharpshooter and Orton swoops in to give him the RKO (the same finish that he hilariously whiffed on in January) and pin the champ. ****

5. Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio, 3/18 (WWE Title)
This was pretty nifty for a throwaway world title match. What a time to be alive when they were actually positioning Eddie as the face of the company. You fuckers. The weird part of this -- besides Guerrero and Mysterio headlining in a world title match -- was Eddie working as a babyface (the top babyface) against someone he was so much huger than who was also working as a face. But they're both really good so it's really good. ****

6. Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton, 8/16 (World Title)
Remember when I asserted that the Michaels/Benoit finish in May is the one that started the downward slide in the booking? Well here's where the wheels totally fell off three months later. The match was quite good, for nobody kicks Orton's ass like Benoit kicks Orton's ass. It was supposed to be the Unforgiven main event ... but OOPS, gotta turn Orton immediately and ruin everything they'd done prior and everything they'd do afterwards. You fuckers. ****

7. Chris Jericho vs. Christian, 5/10 (Cage)
Also during the Raw streak of great TV matches. Kind of short for a cage blowoff at sub-12 minutes. But excellent while it lasted, even with Tyson Tomko trying to fall down doing another kick. They should've let Jericho and Christian do the Hell in a Cell at Bad Blood as their blowoff in lieu of this. Although then you wouldn't get such glorious moments like Jericho's Oh Shit crossbody off the top of the cage, or Christian leaving Trish to die in the Walls of Jericho to scramble up the cage. ****

8. Chris Benoit vs. Triple H, 7/26 (World Title Iron Man)
I was at this match live live live and it played way better in person than on TV, I think. Not that it was a classic, but the arena audience finally got majorly sucked in at about the halfway point after being dead for the first 30 and the second half of the match was really dramatic, two things (heat and drama) that did not come across on TV at all. Benoit's comeback is really cool. Unfortunately, the whole thing is rather ruined because they spent 55 minutes building a match just to set up somebody else running in. And that person was Eugene. Though it should be noted that his pop was ricoculous, like a retarded Steve Austin was coming to help Mick Foley win the WWF Title. Again, it would've been nice if they'd built to their own straight dramatic finish instead of getting their schmozz on. Athletically, Lesnar and Angle blew them out of the water, but psychologically, this match told a much better story. ***3/4

9. Benoit/Edge vs. Flair/Batista, 4/26 (World Tag Titles)
They ran this two straight weeks and this was the rematch off the title switch. Flair's a-dancin' to set up the figure-four and Edge spears him mid-spinning toehold. It rules. ***3/4

10. John Cena vs. Undertaker, 6/24
This was really underrated and impressive, IMO, and better than every single post-Mania SD PPV match except Eddie/JBL the First. Undertaker works heel and carries Cena to a shockingly dramatic, shockingly good match. He was under the control of Paul Heyman and reluctantly evil for like a week, if you recall. Then he killed Paul Bearer to turn face. Taker beating Cena was fucken retarded, especially since Taker didn't even stay heel. But he does give Cena a visual pinfall and only beat him after a chainshot. This must be Cena's second best match ever and shows the potential there was for Taker working as a monster heel (for a program with Eddie Guerrero [where Eddie gets to stay world champion {you fuckers}]). ***3/4

10. Shelton Benjamin vs. Triple H, 3/29
I believe I have my reaction to the finish saved around here somewhere yes here we go: "Ah bah huh wha holy shit." Up until May 3rd, Hunter was trying to trick everyone, pretending to be The Good Triple H, who did jobs and was having good matches again and put people over and sold big for Tajiri. The interesting thing about this match besides the finish is that it's the only time all year when the supposedly-great-but-really-only-pretty-good Triple H actually carried someone to a very good match. It's one thing to have **** matches with Benoit and Michaels, but if you can't hit *** with Eugene and Randy Orton, then you're not as great as you think you are. You fucker. Maybe The Good Triple H could've gotten it done. ***1/2

12. Smackdown Royal Rumble, 1/29
They really put their thinking caps on for the battle royals this year, especially the Raw one for the world title shot in May and the Raw one for the world title shot in July. Not to be confused with the Raw one for the world title shot in December. But this is the special one, because a) Royal Rumbles are cooler, b) Eddie Guerrero gets to look really strong and win and go to No Way Out, and c) Eddie and Kurt do a tremendous final 5 minutes with all sorts of ballsy teetering elimination teases. ***1/2

13. Edge vs. Randy Orton, 7/19 (IC Title)
Rematch from Vengeance, with the advantage of being about half as long. So instead, they just get to do their finisher exchanges and false finishes, which they're very good at, instead of working a long match, which they're not very good at. ***1/2

14. Benoit/Edge vs. Flair/Batista, 4/19 (World Tag Titles)
15. Chris Jericho vs. Christian, 4/19
Same night! It was a good night! In Calgary, I think. First match is the tag title switch. Benoit & Edge (or Benoit & Any Raw Babyface) are the default tag team of the year just because they had so many really good TV title defenses against Evolution. They shouldn't have taken the belts off of them until Edge turned. ***1/2

I quite like the Jericho/Christian match. It was almost on par with Wrestlemania and I really wish they'd done it at Backlash instead of the intergendered affair. I also wish they'd have done a straight single longer than 15 minutes. Oh well, this still rules. Except that Tyson Tomko debuts and falls on his Rear End for the finish. ***1/2

16. Chris Benoit vs. Edge vs. Triple H, 11/29 (World Title)
A lot of the Raws during the Babyface GM Era made me want to punch myself in my face with my fist, and perhaps never moreso than this night's Outright Lie Battle Royal followed by a 15 minute segment of Randy Orton molesting six girls (I mean, can't talk, busy masturbating). This match saved the show and has pretty much propelled the show since then thanks to what I thought was a clever, if contrived, finish. ***1/2

17. Rey Mysterio vs. Tajiri, 1/3 (Cruiserweight Title)
Rey and Tajiri had about four really good matches in between September and January but only one of them was on PPV (No Mercy). This was better than any cruiserweight title match in 2004, and made giving Rey vs. Noble at the Rumble ~1.5 minutes that much more frustrating. ***1/2

18. Benoit/Edge/Jericho vs. Orton/Batista/Flair, 6/14 (Elimination)
This was really ... long. And lasted deep into the witching hour of like 11:30 p.m. EST. Bask in an endless series of Flair backdrops with too much drop and not enough back. He was kind of sad here, whereas in all the other matches I've listed he was really feeling it. But this was still a neat match, and doing elimination rules made it stand out. It also beats to hell the elim. match they did at Survivor Series, and it's a crock of urine that we didn't get the Evolution blowoff tag match for Survivor Series. It didn't even have to be a Wargame. Anyway, major props to finishes like this one that prove that Chris Benoit Is Better Than Everyone. ***1/2

19. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton, 7/5 (IC Title)
Kind of a unique one because I'm pretty sure that it's the only singles match they had all year. It was in Winnipeg and Jericho got the title shot for winning Musical Chairs, a match that also probably should have made this list. Thusly, Jericho was majorly over as a face and they had a nice long match. Jericho didn't have a standout year on PPV because he went on that summer run of Tomko, Batista, and a no chance threeway, but he had a handful of very good TV matches like this one and the Christian feud that could've become great PPV matches. Orton wrestled Edge and Shelton all summer and had decent matches with them, but working extensively with Jericho would've done him a lot of good. ***1/2

20. Eddie Guerrero vs. John Bradshaw Layfield, 7/15 (WWE Title Cage)
Must find way to discuss match without complaining about who won. Can't. You fuckers. ***1/4
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#15 Posted on 1.1.05 1840.30
Reposted on: 1.1.12 1841.00
Some notable TV matches you didn't mention Shapiro, were Jericho/Edge on the 8/9 RAW. I think Angle and Mysterio had a pretty good match on Smackdown! shortly after Angle's return.

(edited by The Vile1 on 1.1.05 2207)
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#16 Posted on 1.1.05 1900.17
Reposted on: 1.1.12 1906.59
I did like that Edge/Jericho match. I wish they'd have done it at SummerSlam. It would've been funny with Edge getting booed.

I actually didn't get a chance to see Angle vs. Mysterio because I was locked out of the house at the time. You fuckers.
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#17 Posted on 1.1.05 2219.37
Reposted on: 1.1.12 2223.33
I have been meaning to make a somewhat long, somewhat useless post in this thread for a few days, but I always think too much.

There is a ton of ROH I need to catch up on, including all the Joe/Punk matches, so ROH is poorly represented here.

1. Kurt Angle v. Eddie Guerrero - 8/15, SummerSlam
I'm way in the minority here, I guess, but I absolutely loved this match. This was 14 minutes of go-go-go mat wrestling. They went for something different and killed it. Loooved this match, just looooved it. ****1/4

2. Brock Lesnar v. Eddie Guerrero - 2/15, No Way Out
The first of Eddie's great matches this year. Would probably beat out the Angle/Eddie match except there was the Goldberg involvement that nobody liked, just nobody. ****1/4

3. HHH v. Shawn Michaels v. Chris Benoit - 3/14, WrestleMania XX
I am not as high on this as everyone else but it's not like I didn't love it. ****1/4

4. Randy Orton v. Chris Benoit - 8/16, RAW
Benoit opens up on Orton and just wails on him, and I have a ball with it. Superior to their match the night before and by a good bit, and I liked that match. If this had a better finish (how redundant is that? almost as redundant as all these matches having Benoit or Eddie) it could've been something else. Orton was just going with Benoit's flow and Benoit's flow was heavy. Wait ew. ****

5. Chris Benoit v. HHH - 7/26, RAW
The iron man match. More Eugene garbage and another lame sports entertainment finish, but prior to that this was a great match. I liked this better than Angle/Lesnar from '03. ****

6. Eddie Guerrero v. JBL - 5/16, Judgment Day
I like this match more every time I watch it. Guerrero was the only guy who got to get away with having non-WWE formula matches this year, from the Lesnar match to this program and then the Angle match at SummerSlam. All that blood, all that brawling and fighting and clawing and hatred. Very old school because they had no other choice about how to go about it, because Bradshaw isn't much for versatility. He can brawl. ****

7. Chris Benoit v. HHH v. Shawn Michaels - 4/18, Backlash
A lot like the other one. ****

8. Eddie Guerrero v. Kurt Angle - 3/14, WrestleMania XX
Somewhat disappointing but a really, really good match. I look back on it more fondly now because I liked their second one-on-one so much. Unfortunately the 2/3 falls match wasn't very good or they could've made this list three times. ***3/4

9. Chris Benoit v. HHH - 7/11, Vengeance
This was an excellent match up until that horrible Eugene'd finish. ***3/4

10. Mick Foley v. Randy Orton - 4/18, Backlash
This was no Austin/Dude Love or Michaels/Mankind or HHH/Cactus or anything, and really not even close to any of them, but Foley made Orton a star in this match. Just ask him. ***3/4

11. Chris Benoit v. Shawn Michaels - 5/3, RAW
12. Chris Benoit v. Shawn Michaels - 2/16, RAW
Both of these fit into the category of matches that were going quite well and then had annoying TV finishes, which should probably be expected because it's an annoying TV show, but I still would've liked for at least the second one to go clean. But both of the matches were very good and are the reason I hope for Benoit/Michaels at Mania this year, so they can settle it one-on-one finally. ***3/4

13. Rey Mysterio v. Chavo Guerrero - 6/27, Great American Bash
Really a good wrestling match that I felt was overlooked. Probably the best Rey/Chavo match, I liked it a smidge or so better than the NWO match. ***1/2

14. Eddie Guerrero v. JBL - 6/27, Great American Bash
This wasn't really near as good as the first match because you could expect something decent this time and expectations do play some part in a match, I think. But again, I can't remember the last time they had an honest to God bullrope/strap match like this, and anything that was different than the same old match they always do stuck out for me this year. I don't know why the GAB was so universally hated, there were two really good matches there, I thought. ***1/2

15. Batista & Ric Flair v. Chris Benoit & Edge - 4/19, RAW
I think this was the first of these and it was also my favorite. Most of the Evolution tags from the spring and summer were roughly the same, and most of them were pretty good. ***1/2

16. Chris Jericho v. Christian - 3/14, WrestleMania XX
One of the few matches of the year where guys actually used moves they don't use every match, and I about crapped when Christian broke out the Texas cloverleaf. This was my favorite of their matches, the twist ending was "necessary" and well-done, and it was the tide-changer in a well-booked feud between a couple guys they wouldn't have been doing much with otherwise. ***1/2

17. Chris Benoit v. Randy Orton - 8/15, SummerSlam
Benoit carries Orton big like he had done for HHH twice in the previous month. ***1/2

18. Flair/Batista/Orton v. Foley/Rock - 3/14, WrestleMania XX
Not the most technically sound match or anything, but one of the more fun matches to watch all year as Foley, Flair and Rock are there to have fun on the big stage, Batista is in the role that best suited him at the time of not doing much and grunting after spinebusters, and Orton was peaking character-wise. The one thing I didn't like about the way this ended up developing was Flair and Rock were having such a ball with each other that it kind of detracted from the fact that these a-holes had embarrassed and brutalized Mick Foley, and Foley was coming out of retirement just to get revenge, and called his old pal Rock, who shows up and goofs off. I mean, you know? But otherwise a lot of fun was had by all, but mostly by Flair. ***1/4

19. HHH v. Shelton Benjamin - 3/29, RAW
In my opinion this was HHH's best performance of the year as he carries Benjamin to a dramatic, exciting match, taking every page out of the old "Flair makes a green guy look better than he is" book and doing a pretty good job in the process. If Helmsley would stop taking himself so seriously that he needs to end every RAW shouting NOOO. NOOOO NOOOO then he'd probably still be pretty entertaining. It's so rare that you get this type of upset anymore that it actually felt special. ***1/4

20. Royal Rumble Match - 1/25, Royal Rumble
I never really know how to compare a Rumble to a regular match but this year's was pretty good. There were some dull moments and I think the match as a whole is slightly overrated because Benoit won, but it was divinely booked and had they not softened Benoit up so much to add Michaels into the Mania match, Benoit/HHH at Mania could've really been something special, not that the triple threat didn't end up being special, but I mean a different kind of special. Special special special! NR

EDIT: I forgot the Chicago eight-man and that should really be on here, but I'm not going to edit something out NOW, so let me just say that was a fab match with awesome heat and Chicago is arguably the best wrestling city in America now. ***3/4

Indy (IWA MS and a handful of ROH)
1. Bryan Danielson v. Homicide - 4/24, ROH
Brilliantly worked and executed match. Just a great storytelling effort from both guys. ****1/2

2. Mike Quackenbush v. Bryan Danielson - 9/18, IWA MS
This match was...beautiful. Yeah I said it. It doesn't make me less of a man. Totally logical and Danielson proves there's a planet with him on it as far as NA workers go and everyone else just gets to visit. ****1/2

3. Chris Hero v. B-Boy - 4/10, IWA MS
Hero's best match of the year by a SMIDGE over the last Punk match, made somewhat better than that match because B-Boy/Hero isn't yet quite as cliche as Punk/Hero is, plus this match had a whole point to it with it being Hero's return to the US after a stint in Europe, and the fact that these two went to a draw at the end of '03 in the same building. Really great match that I've found has some other staunch supporters. ****1/2

4. Samoa Joe v. AJ Styles v. Bryan Danielson - 9/18, IWA MS
The best three-way of the year for my money. If you look at it relatively, the crowd heat and enthusiasm here was every single bit as hot as the Mania three-way, and I don't mean that to crap on the Mania match but to give props to how good and how special this one was. Weird parallels: Joe is a dominant champion (from another promotion, but it's not like that's a line they blur or anything), Styles is the underdog and Danielson...was trained by Shawn Michaels. Hmmm. Indeed... ****1/4

5. CM Punk v. Chris Hero - 11/26, IWA MS
Really liked this match, and I think it might've been my second-favorite in their series. This will probably get passed over in the same way the June match kind of did, being looked at as just another match between Punk and Hero, but I don't really agree with all that, I think you should look at the matches singularly as well as all part of one big whole of work, and as a stand-alone product, this match is fantastic. ****1/4

6. Samoa Joe v. Roderick Strong - 9/17, IWA MS
Oh me oh my, what a tremendous, hard-hitting, epic, brutal match. I kind of have a thing where I subconsciously pick apart Indy Matches That You Probably Have To Like Indy Wrestling To Really Enjoy, and Indy Matches That I Would Recommend To People Who Aren't Familiar With The Stuff, and this one goes into the latter category. They beat the shit out of each other and somehow work you into thinking that Roderick Strong might actually beat Joe. Hell of a good match. ****

7. CM Punk v. Austin Aries - 9/17, IWA MS
This would also go into that latter category. This match is actually quite comparable, style-wise, to the WWF main event style of '00-01 when you had all those awesome, dramatic matches with tons of false finishes, and since this was placed in a setting where tons of false finishes doesn't happen all the time, it made it feel really unique. ****

8. AJ Styles v. Matt Sydal - 4/10, IWA MS
Awesome, awesome, awesome cruiser-style match that made people take notice of Sydal. ****

9. CM Punk v. Chris Hero - 6/11, IWA MS
A lot like the other one but a hair worse. ****

10. Jimmy Jacobs v. Brandon Thomaselli - 11/26, IWA MS
The most surprisingly excellent indy match I watched this year as Thomaselli is relatively new and Jacobs isn't known for his work as much as his character. This was a great back-and-forth match and did for Thomaselli what the Styles match did for Sydal. ****

11. Briscoe Brothers v. Havana Pitbulls - 4/23, ROH
This was my favorite tag match of the year and I think I was about the only one that liked it as much as I did. Lots of give-and-take and the Pitbulls being dicks with the Briscoes not backing down from them at all. It went from being a "dream match" kind of a thing to getting really heated, and Rocky Romero is just too awesome. ***3/4

12. Samoa Joe v. Chris Hero - 5/29, IWA MS
Off the charts heat. This wasn't a technically great match and I think they could have a much better wrestling match than this, but as an event this was among the best of the year. ***3/4

13. Matt Sydal & Delirious v. B-Boy & Homicide - 5/7, IWA MS
Fantastic match, sort of like a current indy equivalent of say, Rey & Juvy v. Arn & Benoit in 1996 or something like that. Not as good as that would've been -- and not close to as good as that COULD have been -- but sort of the same thing where Sydal and Delirious need to use their speed to counter the blue-collar, beat-your-ass team opposing them. ***3/4

14. Alex Shelley v. Jimmy Jacobs - 6/11, IWA MS
Best cage match of the year that I saw and the IWA MS blowoff to a long feud, though they continued it in ROH. ***3/4

15. Arik Cannon v. Bryan Danielson - 7/31, IWA MS
The best of Cannon's matches from the summer where he wrestled Hero, Danielson, Homicide, Super Dragon, Petey Williams and AJ Styles in order on the Highland shows. Cannon has room to improve and Danielson made for the best match, which is no surprise. ***3/4

16. Samoa Joe v. Homicide - 4/23, ROH
The most Homicideish performance of the year, where he reverts into being a despicable thug, fireballing Joe and starting a huge locker room brawl. Prior to the wild conclusion there was a really good wrestling match here. ***3/4

17. Joe/Punk/Whitmer v. Hero/B-Boy/Homicide - 5/30, IWA MS
The follow-up to the Hero/Joe match from the night before where Hero promises to make Joe tap out or leave IWA Mid-South. Elimination rules and it comes down to Joe and Hero, and Hero heroically (baha) makes Joe tap out to the hangman's clutch. ***3/4

18. Super Dragon v. B-Boy - 10/22, IWA MS
The best match of the Revolution Strong Style tournament, which isn't too surprising given how familiar these two are with one another. B-Boy hurts his elbow somewhere in here but ends up winning with three backdrop drivers, which would be gratuitous perhaps if that weren't the whole point of the "American Strong Style", which has finally been properly defined as "hitting each other really fucking hard and dropping each other on the head." ***1/2

19. Lacey v. Daizee Haze - 6/11, IWA MS
KO or submission match. Really interesting as a slugfest since women don't do that much here, and it ended up far exceeding my expectations. Lacey is really a good worker. ***1/2

20. Briscoe Brothers v. CM Punk & Colt Cabana - 4/24, ROH
Good match made better by the fact that the crowd in Chicago Ridge was so hot for the hometown boys to win the belts from the Briscoes. Really a formula tag more than the other two I put on the list and this may have been Cabana's best performance of the year. ***1/2

(edited by ScottChrist on 1.1.05 2327)
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#18 Posted on 4.1.05 0040.19
Reposted on: 4.1.12 0041.05
Since Scott and Justin did a great job with the WWE and the independent circuits, I thought I'd put up a list of the best Japanese matches I've seen this year.

Kenta Kobashi was the MVP this year, wrestling in three of the top matches this year including his incredible match with Jun Akiyama.

Get some of these tapes, they blow away everything you've seen this year. I recommend either:

1) Kenta Kobashi vs Yun Akiyama
7/10 (NOAH) Tokyo Dome
This match has incredible psychology, story telling and the wrestling is off the charts. It's almost sick how stiff some of the spots are (the vertical suplex off the apron onto the concrete is insane). It's vastly superior to the WM XX main event w/HHH, Benoit and HBK (which is unquestionably the best US match this year).
2) Kenta Kobashi vs Yoshihiro Takayama
4/25 (NOAH) Encountering Navigation 2004
3) Mitsuharu Misawa vs Satoshi Kojima
7/18 (All Japan) Sumo Hall Tokyo
4) Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA
4/25 (NOAH) Encountering Navigation 2004
5) Kenta Kobashi vs Akira Taue
9/10 (NOAH) Budokan Hall
6) Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs HiroshiI Tanahashi
8/15 (New Japan) G-1 Climax Finals Sumo Hall Tokyo
7) Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA vs Suzuki & Ricky Marvin
6/1 (NOAH) Sapporo
8) Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Low Ki
9/10 (NOAH) Budokan Hall
9) Jadoh & Gedoh vs American Dragon & Curry Man
6/5 (New Japan) Osaka Crush II
10) Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA vs El Samurai & Wataru Inoue
1/10 (NOAH) Great Voyage 2004

(edited by NickBockwinkelFan on 4.1.05 0143)
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