The countdown continues with a look at matches 25 through 16 on the Voices of Wrestling 2013 Match of the Year poll. If you haven’t already, please read through our introduction and matches 50-26. In both posts we explain the methodology in voting, detail our great voters and much more.

The biggest theme thus far has been the crazy diversity of promotions involved in the countdown, this was deliberate but has been farther reaching than either Joe Lanza or I could have imagined. In 50-26 alone we had 11 promotions represented from three countries.

We’re dealing with a smaller sample size in 25-16 but the diversity is still there as five different promotions are named including two from Japan (NJPW and Dragon Gate),  two American promotions (WWE and the lesser-known  AIW) and Mexico’s CMLL.

You’ll also notice in this section a distinct lack of ties, which was a prevailing theme in 50-26 as matches with only a few votes crossed lines, people voted similarly, or matches only had one or two votes.

In 25-16, that’s history. The cream is starting to rise to the top and we’re getting multiple votes for each match as most in this category have between four and seven votes. You’ll also notice the higher ranking matches in this category standing out even among their contemporaries — for example the #16 match has nearly double the amount of points as #25.

Enough with the talk, here’s 25-16 in the Voices of Wrestling 2013 Match of the Year poll.


Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
“G1 Climax”
August 11
18 points

“This is probably not in everyone’s top 10 but it is in mine. Draws are usually kind of lame, especially in pro wrestling but when it’s used right it works extremely well, as is the case here. The work here was excellent as well as the crowd, but you needed a finish like this as they almost certainly were going to go at it again later in the year. The time limit draw added more drama to this bout which made it the second best match they had this year.”

– Bryan Rose, Cubed Circle Newsletter

“The most underrated match of the series. A great 30-minute draw with a finish that has resonated with me, an exhausted Okada going for a last gasp Rainmaker as the time expired. I strongly dislike 60-minute draws because I think 60 minutes is too long for cohesive psychology in a wrestling match and too difficult to pack with action. I’ve always felt the sweet spot for a great match is 25-30 minutes. This match peaked at just the right moments and in a year that had quite a few draws, this was the best one.”

– Joe Lanza, Voices of Wrestling


Daniel Bryan vs. Antonio Cesaro
July 22
18 points

“The middle match of a gauntlet meant to punish Bryan turned out to be a broadway worthy of pay-per-view. Cesaro laid on the punishment thick, and Bryan had a comeback for everything the Swiss Superman laid out, exemplified best by the finish, a counter to the Swiss Death with an inside cradle.”

– Thomas Holzerman, The Wrestling Blog

“It’s crazy that two wrestlers can be this good. There were so many great spots here. My favorites were: Cesaro floating over off the German and being in perfect position for a kick from Bryan; the crazy bicep strikes from Cesaro on Bryan; and of course Cesaro throwing Bryan in the air for the uppercut but Bryan catching him in a small package for the pin. These guys are awesome together. As much as the commercial breaks sucked, I liked this too much to not rank it high.”

– Dave Musgrave, Wrestling Culture Podcast


Michael Elgin vs. Josh Alexander
“Absolution 8”
June 30
19 points (1 first place vote)

“Two men, arguably having the best years of their career, put on a 30 minute wrestling clinic. The match itself never had a proper ending, as it went to a time limit draw, but the excitement throughout this match made it something everyone needs to watch. It’s not like these are two high flyers putting on a spot fest for 30 minutes. These are two big heavyweights putting on a fantastic match with ring psychology, wrestling, and respect. Nothing but good things to say about this match, my personal MOTY.”

– Ant, 4 Corners Radio


Rey Cometa/Stuka Jr vs. Namajague/Okumura
“CMLL on FOX Sports Homeaje A Dos Leyendas”
March 15
19 points

“Great decision by CMLL to let these guys main event the major show even though it was a midcard feud. The four guys responded with a fantastic match that got an apathetic crowd going wild by the end. Rey Cometa delivers one of the best performances of the year.”

– Rob Viper

“Repeated patterns: I like finale matches with callbacks to previous ones, and I like them when they pull a crowd into it. Those who showed up at Dos Leyendas didn’t see these guys as main eventers, but these four usual midcarders won them back with an excellent match. Okumura is fine and Stuka is good at what he does, but this match was about Namajague and Cometa having strong chemistry against each other. Namajague will be missed in 2014, and Rey Cometa would be an easy choice for breakout Mexican luchador of 2013 if not for a flurry of similar people in 2013. The attempt to bring this back a month later didn’t work quite as well, but was still pretty watchable.”

– thecubsfan,


Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Karl Anderson
“The New Beginning”
February 10
20 points

“There’s something to be said for two guys that can take a match with an obvious finish and still put you on the edge of your seat. That is exactly what happened with Anderson/Tanahashi. After multiple near falls and a stunning amount of offense from Anderson you start to doubt the obvious finish, can he actually win this? Of course, he doesn’t but that doesn’t take away from one of my matches of the year.”

– Rich Kraetsch, Voices of Wrestling

“This match I believe far exceeded everyone’s expectations. And this isn’t because Anderson sucks or anything like that- in fact, this match proves that he’s a top player. He held his own here against Tanahashi and it led to people believing that he might actually just walk away the new IWGP champion, which no one thought he had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning prior to the match. Just awesome.”

– Bryan Rose, Cubed Circle Newsletter

“This kind of got lost amongst the G1 and Okada/Tanahashi hype, plus it seems even longer ago since Anderson became the #2 in Bullet Club, but these two actually had a great babyface v babyface title match which people in the crowd believed Anderson might win. And it was awesome.”

– Chris Bacon, PWPonderings


La Sombra vs. Volador Jr
“80th Anniversary”
September 13
21 points (1 first place vote)

“The biggest match of the year in Mexico and both guys had to deal with a harsh crowd but still came through. If you are a fan of both of these guys you can’t be unhappy with their performances here.”

– Rob Viper

“Only CMLL’s top young feud surprisingly coming to a definitive conclusion in the biggest show for the promotion in years. Sombra and Volador had many great big singles matches this year, and the previous ones, and managed to surpass all of them in this match. This was more about athletic ability than storytelling, but there were enough nods to what led them to this point to feel like an end of their story. Sombra and Volador got a hostile crowd into their match, even if it wasn’t quite the way they wanted the fans to react. The only match on this list that included a guy diving into the crowd 3 meters away from me, which may be why I’ll have it way higher than everyone else.”

– thecubsfan,


Guerrero Maya Jr vs. Virus
“Arena Mexico – Guerreros Del Ring”
October 6
22 points

“These two had my MOTY in 2011 and they almost equaled that performance with this match. The opening matwork has been compared to a 1970’s NWA title match and Dylan Hales commented on how enjoyable it was to see everything executed in the middle of the ring where escapes were a necessity, not bailout techniques like ring ropes. This match develops into a great sprint in the third fall with Virus proving to be one of the best wrestlers in the world with a brilliant hip toss spot on the outside. Guerrero Maya can be hit or miss both times but these two in a title magic is magic every time out.”

– Chad Campbell, Place To Be Nation

One of four truly great lucha title matches from 2013, and the best match of any kind from CMLL. These guys had an equally good match, a year or two back, but this mixed in some old schoolish elements (particularly in the first fall) that even that classic lacked. This had all the staples of the style, including a mat clinic in the opening fall, a crazy convincing (and violent) finish in the second fall and a third fall that was two guys for broke with big dives, near falls and drama. Guerrero Maya Jr. kicking out of the Virus victory roll off the top was one of the more jaw dropping near falls in wrestling to me all year, and a good way to protect him in defeat. These guys are made for each other.

– Dylan Hales, Wrestling Culture Podcast &

“Every time Virus has a major singles title match he delivers. Too bad he’s not given the chance more often. Maya threw everything he had at Virus and the crowd really believed a title switch was coming but as usual Virus busts out a never before seen move to retain his belt.”

– Rob Viper

“An overdue rematch of the best matches of two years ago that put Maya on the map. Maya’s grown as a wrestler, and this was even more of a hold for hold battle (and break from the normal) than that previous match. Virus is criminally restricted to few spotlight occasions per year, but appears to be the best wrestler in the world at his side whenever he gets a full chance to prove it, and Guerrero Maya is one of the few young guys CMLL has who can regularly keep up with him. Smartly worked all the way to the finish.”

– thecubsfan,


Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
June 24
24 points (1 first place vote)

“Daniel Bryan has had a mammoth year in WWE, and to be honest, Randy Orton has been quietly solid for the same amount of time at least. They’ve had higher profile matches, but this hardcore match was their finest. Both guys took big shots, but the finish with Bryan choking Orton out with a kendo-assisted LeBell Lock was one of the most iconic images of the year.”

– Thomas Holzerman, The Wrestling Blog

“Just a match filled with intensity at the peak of the rise of Daniel Bryan. Amazingly electric crowd. A sign of really good things to come in match quality for WWE.”

– Eamon Paton, Inspire Pro Wrestling

I thought this was incredible and at the time listed it as my # 1 for match of the year. The opening exchange of punches was great. There were so many great spots including the tope into the chair, backdrop onto the ramp and then Bryan doing the dropkicks to Orton who still held onto the rope, leading to Bryan sliding under him and powerbombing him through the table. There was also one section where Bryan was laying into Orton with some awesome kicks in the corner. Orton getting out of the No Lock with a kendo stick was pretty cool and that leading to Bryan using the kendo stick in the no lock to get the submission was even better.

– Dave Musgrave, Wrestling Culture Podcast


Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazushi Sakuraba
“Wrestle Kingdom 7”
January 4
29 points

“In under fifteen minutes this match managed to create one of the most unique matches to take place in NJPW the whole year and it came about on the fourth day of the year. Sakuraba was able to feel comfortable in the ring with Nakamura being able to embrace his shoot stylings. This felt like the NJPW version of a UWF fight. They did some nice matwork, not something you see too much of in major promotions outside of Mexico, and had an awesome dynamic change via a slap. The highlight of this one was probably a killer knee from Sakuraba on a shooting Nakamura. While Nakamura put in an incredible performance this match showed that given certain circumstances Sakuraba can still pull out an amazing match.”

– Sam DiMascio, 4 Corners Radio

“The match was a great display of the good old UWF style, turned into something even better. The fact that younger fans appreciated the match made the match even more meaningful. It was a kind of match that Inoki is probably trying to realize at IGF.(Which he fails at) This match actually won the most votes in the first ballot of Tokyo Sports Puroresu Award.”

– yottsume

“When talking of the most unique matches of 2013 this may be one of the first that comes to mind. Being as big of a fan of shoot style pro-wrestling as I am, I adored this match. That isn’t to say that it was pure shoot style, because it clearly wasn’t, presenting multiple pro-wrestling spots towards the end of the match in particular. However, the mat work and general format of the match, together with the presence of Sakuraba, lended itself to more than a couple of special Tokyo Dome moments. Whilst Nakamura did serve to carry Sakuraba, Sakuraba lifted his fair share, particularly in the mat work department. For my eyes this was the match to shine the brightest at the 2013 Tokyo Dome show — strong praise considering the quality of the show.”

– Ryan Clingman, Cubed Circle Wrestling


Akira Tozawa/BxB Hulk vs. Naruki Doi/Ricochet
Dragon Gate
“Kobe Pro Wrestling Festival”
July 21
30 points

“Sometimes we forget that wrestling is supposed to be fun. The goal is simple – entertain us. In my review of Kobe World, I gave this incredible match ****3/4, nit picking about the lack of selling. After rewatching, I have no idea what I was thinking. First of all, context. This is Dragon Gate, where there is a unique brand of in ring psychology. Second, this was the most fun I had watching a match all year. It may have lacked the big match drama of an Okada/Tanahashi match or WrestleMania main event, but this was an incredible display of athleticism and the best tag team match i’ve ever seen. What it may have lacked in selling was more than made up for by the fact that it was simply a shit load of fun at a crazy pace and was perfectly executed from bell to bell.”

– Joe Lanza, Voices of Wrestling

“Sure, this is a total spot fest, it’s Dragon Gate, what do you expect? But let’s look at the bigger picture, of all the spot fests you or I have ever seen not a single one is as fluid, as smooth or as spectacular as this one. An absolute spectacle in the truest sense of the word, guys flying around, flips, ‘ranas everywhere but I can’t get over how smooth it all looks. There’s not a single missed spot or slip-up here, just the perfect spot fest”

– Rich Kraetsch, Voices of Wrestling

“Good match. They went all out here and did pretty much every move they knew but it was overkill and really they could have done half the stuff they did and still had as a good of a match. I really liked how Doi and Ric would cross over each other during some of their moves and Ric flew really well. This also went a little longer than it should have, but atleast it was very good. Ric did two 630’s here, an SSP, got german suplexed off the top and took a reverse hurricanrana on his head, amongst other things. He definitely was the highlight though.”

– Rob, ProWresBlog