Ah yes, as we approach the end of the year it’s time to reminisce and look back on what was by all measures a really awesome year of professional wrestling. Larry has been doing a great job giving you his Year in Review and Best Of lists but we wanted to get a definitive list for our readers. Joe Lanza, Larry, myself and a Twitter friend Hashtag Wrestling (@HashTWrestling) came together to come up with this list. The scoring in case you’re curious was done by inverse weighing, so if I had a match #1 on my list, it received a 10, #10 a 1 and matches that were featured on some lists but not others received a zero for their exclusions.
The most interesting thing for me was the range of matches featured on our four lists, 23 separate matches received votes and the scoring was extremely close all the way down. The winner and second place had the largest margins and 4-10 was decided by an average of 1 point (even had a three-way tied for 6th place).
Enough with the rambling crap, you want to watch some matches, right? Damn right. I present to you the VoicesofWrestling.com Top 10 Matches of 2012!
Michael Elgin vs. Davey Richards – Ring of Honor “Showdown in the Sun: Day 2”
March 31, 2012
Oh boy. Michael Elgin is perhaps America’s breakout star of 2012. This was his breakout performance. An absolute epic match against ROH Champion Davey Richards. This was current ROH style personified. If you like it, you will absolutely love this match. If you don’t, you will still like it.
For as much shit that Davey Richards takes around the internet for his style, he certainly appears on plenty of “Best of…” matches every year. This match took place WrestleMania weekend, and was the runaway winner Match of the Weekend. If this match happened at WrestleMania, we would be talking about one of the greatest matches of All-Time.
Elgin would play his role as “unbreakable” to a T. Davey played the resilient champion perfectly. Everything was stiff and hard-hitting. The near falls had the entire crowd shitting themselves. I was personally there at this event, and I fell out of my seat no less than 35 times. I jumped out of my seat approximately 66 times. Nigel’s commentary on this event won him Ring Announcer of the Year, for me. He gets up out of his seat and does color for half the match. The crowd goes bonkers in this match, which is a testament to the performers in the ring, as the ROH event had several technical difficulties that took the crowd out of the event for a while. Nevertheless, by sheer willpower, they grabbed the crowd by the balls and demanded they get the fuck up out of their seat. – Larry
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki – New Japan Pro Wrestling “King of Pro-Wrestling”
October 8, 2012
Would win most years, and will probably win many polls this year. Every move mattered. Dave Meltzer called it one of the greatest matches he’s ever seen. I wouldn’t go that far, but it was fantastic. Tanahashi & Suzuki understand how to play their roles to perfection. Both are masters of the craft and put together a masterpiece. – Joe Lanza
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada – New Japan Pro Wrestling DOMINION
June 16, 2012
My favorite feud (if you can call it that) of 2012 went to perhaps, two of the best going in the world today.
This match would come with the BIG MATCH feel. Tanahashi is Japan’s Shawn Michaels. He always steps up to the plate and hits a home run on the biggest stage. This match was no different. Building on the first encounter, both men would learn and adapt for match number two. Great use of and booking of Okada’s finisher in both matches. These two great matches would make a star, cement a legacy, and set up perhaps the biggest match of 2013 at Wrestle Kingdom 7 and wrestling’s most organic Super Fight in over decade. – Larry
Johnny Gargano vs. Akira Tozawa vs. AR Fox vs. Ricochet – Dragon Gate: USA “Freedom Fight 2012”
November 4, 2012
Purchase the full Freedom Fight 2012 event at http://wwnlive.com/event-dgusa-11-04-12.html
One of the best four-ways I have ever seen. Each guy did something breathtaking and the flow of the match was the best I’ve seen for a multi-man match.
There wasn’t that usually lull where it seemed guys we waiting for “their turn”. With that said, I did not like Gargano winning under those odds. Had too much of a super-Cena/Hogan feel, but that didn’t kill it. An elite match for 2012. – Rich Kraetsch
El Generico vs. Kevin Steen – Ring of Honor “Showdown in the Sun: Day 1”
March 30, 2012
Two of my faves, Kevin Steen & El Generico, put on a BRUTAL last man standing here. A little bit spotty, but big spots are great when they’re done right, and this match was a prime example.
This is a blood feud and this match played to that aspect. Fantastic brawl and the involvement of Jimmy Jacobs was perfect in regards to the story. – HashTagWrestling
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan – World Wrestling Entertainment “Over The Limit”
May 20, 2012
Nothing short of a Wrestling Geek’s dream match, CM Punk v. Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson, for my fellow American Indie Wrestling geeks) is a match I have wanted to see for YEARS. These two had some matches on RAW and Smackdown and while both were very good, they were matches that were used to push other storylines and thus, the finishes lacked.
They would be put together in a bit of a mini-program over the summer and the results in the ring did not disappoint. This was a great example of what Pro Wrestling should be at this stage. They went around 25-minutes and each guy got over like a million bucks. Both guys came in very hot. Both guys left Death Valley hot. Great match and without question from these eyes, the best PRO WRESTLING MATCH the WWE offered in 2012. – Larry
Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – New Japan Pro Wrestling “A New Beginning”
February 12, 2012
This is the bizarro world version of the aforementioned Dragon Gate 4-way match, because the finish took what was otherwise a well-worked and competent match to an entirely different level. This was the big upset that propelled Okada to instant stardom. – Joe Lanza
The Undertaker vs. Triple H – World Wrestling Entertainment “WrestleMania XXVIII”
April 1, 2012
This was the culmination of a story that began before WrestleMania 25, and this match should’ve been the swan song for both men. I was there live for this one, and I honestly don’t think anything came close in terms of crowd reaction—maybe Cena/Rock, but that was more for the novelty of seeing Rocky wrestle his first match in 8 years.
This was art, and my most enduring wrestling memory of 2012. – HashTagWrestling
Kota Ibushi vs. Kenny Omega – DDT “Nippon Budokan Peter Pan 2012”
August 18, 2012
Nestled neatly in between the Ibushi/Generico trilogy, this should be watched in between Ibushi/Generico I & II if you wish to watch a great four match story. The trainwreck/stuntshow aspect may not appeal to all, and many will argue that this isn’t even the best Omega match this year (Omega had great matches against Shuji Kondo, Hiroshi Yamato, KAI, Kaz Hayashi, and others in All Japan during his great AJPW Jr Title run, plus several great matches back home in DDT), but this was my favorite. – Joe Lanza
El Generico vs. Kota Ibushi – DDT “Samurai! TV”
October 21, 2012
You can pick any of these three matches out of a hat and have three match of 2012 contenders. I chose the third one because it’s the final chapter and arguably the smartest worked one. Just watching this one without the other two does it a disservice because counters, moves and the flow only make sense as a final chapter.
This is in-ring storytelling at it’s finest. Ibushi spent a lot of the match countering things that Generico had used successfully in the first two. Just awesome. More surprisingly than anything is how it ended, Generico again with his hand raised. Yet, you don’t think Ibushi is being buried, just that he hasn’t QUITE figured out Generico yet. Awesome match. – Rich Kraetsch
Other matches receiving votes: Kazuchika Okada vs. Naito, The Rock vs. John Cena, Super Smash Bros vs. The Young Bucks vs. Future Shock, Low Ki vs. Ibushi, Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena, Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan, The Shield vs. Team Hell No/Ryback, CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho, Akira Tozawa vs. PAC, Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe, The Young Bucks vs. The Super Smash Bros., Low Ki/BxB Hulk/Tozawa v. Pac/Mochizuki/Ricochet, Masato Tanaka vs. Tomoaki Honma.
Photo credit: simononly via photopin cc