We knew this month was going to be a tight one for Match of the Month and we knew there were a few notable contenders and two that stood out from the pack. How tight and how close? Nobody could’ve predicted it.

In the end, only 1.1% separated our #1 from our #2 match, our smallest margin ever but in the end, the NXT ladies emerged from the pack to take the top spot in May. Not taking anything away from Owens/Cena which I absolutely loved, but Banks and Lynch deserved it. Not only for their tremendous in-ring work and story but what that match meant to so many people. Owens/Cena is compelling television and I was obviously in love with the match but Banks/Lynch hit me and obviously a number of our voters on a different level. Knowing the path those two took to get to where they are just makes it that extra bit of special you can’t describe to your non-wrestling fan friends.

Elsewhere on the list you’ll see a number of matches from the epic ROH/NJPW tour (War of the Worlds & Global Wars) which, deservedly so, took up a majority of the top 10. We also have a New Japan Pro Wrestling proper matches, a much-hyped Dragon Gate tilt and one of the craziest and best matches in Lucha Underground history.

For those new to the project, I’d suggest checking out our previous months to get an idea of what we do here and why we do it:

For those who have been with us from the beginning, nominated matches this month or helped out in the voting process — thank you. We couldn’t do this each and every month without all of you. -Rich Kraetsch

Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
May 20, 2015
Takeover: Unstoppable
640-157 (80.3%)

Watch: VoicesofWrestling.com/WWENetwork

H2H Analysis: While the overall voting came down to the wire, Banks/Lynch went 38-27 against Cena/Owens. Banks/Lynch had a >70% rate against every match, except for Cena/Owens and Strong/Tanahashi. Just an incredibly solid performance across the board.

Match Analysis: Last year, Natalya vs Charlotte was the highest vote getter in our Match of the Year poll, coming in at #20. I have to feel May’s classic between Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch will surpass that ranking. This match wasn’t just about the high level of work inside the ring, but the years of work put in by Sasha Banks and the decade plus of Becky Lynch. Banks in NXT has been as much of a game changer as possible, and in five years, we may be looking back on this period in a whole new light if Banks can do even half of what she’s done here on the main roster of WWE. This match is a must see. Not just for women’s wrestling fans, not just for NXT fans, but for all pro wrestling fans. -Rob McCarron (@ShakeThemRopes)

John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
May 31, 2015
World Wrestling Entertainment
Elimination Chamber
621-163 (79.2%)

Watch: VoicesofWrestling.com/WWENetwork

H2H Analysis: As mentioned above, Cena/Owens only lost to Banks/Lynch. These matches were neck and neck through the entire voting period. It worked out that this match finished second, since it lost that head to head battle. Just like the #1 match, this finished >70% against everything except Strong/Tanahashi.

Match Analysis: When beloved everyman Kevin Owens made the transition to NXT, he quickly settled into a familiar niche feuding with long time rival and best friend Sami Zayn. No one expected him to escalate through the ranks so rapidly and start butting heads in a PPV ring with John Cena. This was something totally fresh and new; it was surreal for many, and most importantly it was a match that had real consequences. There are matches that are memorable for awesome, impressive in-ring skill, and then there are matches which capture the hearts of the fans because there’s a very real feeling that a victory for one participant will mean that nothing will ever be the same again. While opinions differ on the first point, although it’s hard to argue that the teased package piledriver spot was masterful and other moments over-delivered with drama;  the fact remains that when Owens held Cena down for three, we knew that we were on the brink of something very important. -Ru Gunn (@doctordala)

Roderick Strong vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
May 13, 2015
Ring of Honor
War of the Worlds: Night 2
407-157 (72.1%)

Watch: ROHWrestling.com

H2H Analysis: The consistency of the voting was visible here, as well. Strong/Tanahashi only lost to the top two matches. It definitively took down the two matches they were ranked right above.

Match Analysis: Matches like this are why companies like ROH and New Japan are so beloved. The passion of both performers gelled into a dramatic back and forth contest made even more impressive by fact one performer suffers from a bad back and the other had a nasty cut open up in match. When the wrestlers care about their craft like Strong and Tanashi do than it is hard for fans to not do the same. -Warren Taylor (@TeddyNoir)

Adam Cole vs. A.J. Styles
May 12, 2015
Ring of Honor
War of the Worlds: Night 1
406-228 (64.1%)

Watch: ROHWrestling.com

H2H Analysis: This is the first match to have any quirks in the data. While it finished a hair higher than KUSHIDA/Strongin the overall rankings, Cole/Styles actually finished 14-19 in the head to head.

Match Analysis: A spectacular main event between the returning Adam Cole and a man who is putting himself right in the Wrestler of the Year conversation in 2015, A.J. Styles. The story of the match was Cole coming back too early from injury — the doctors, his friend, his family, everyone in the back told him to wait but he just couldn’t, he had to get back in the ring. For most of the match, it seemed Adam was right but he was unable to hoist Styles towards the end of the match, favoring his still-tender shoulder, allowing Styles to get the win. 

KUSHIDA vs. Roderick Strong
May 12, 2015
Ring of Honor
War of the Worlds: Night 1
397-229 (63.4%)

Watch: ROHWrestling.com

Match Analysis: KUSHIDA/Strong set the stage for an incredible week of shows and matches from Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling — the second match of the first night and the standard may have already been set. Some point to Cole/Styles, or Team ROH vs. Bullet Club but this was far and away my favorite match of the ROH/NJPW joint shows and a precursor to KUSHIDA’s stellar Best of the Super Juniors run.

A well-paced match that saw KUSHIDA work as the quicker, younger high flyer and Strong work as the slow-it-down veteran (let’s ignore, of course, that KUSHIDA is actually older than Strong). -Rich Kraetsch (@voiceswrestling)

The Briscoes, War Machine & Roderick Strong vs. The Bullet Club
May 15, 2015
Ring of Honor
Global Wars: Night 1
359-295 (54.9%)

Watch: ROHWrestling.com

Match Analysis: I remember the general consensus when we were preparing to review this show was that this match would just be a giant cluster and served to just get everyone on the show. The result was so much more.

This is what ROH multi-man matches are designed to be at their core: fast and hard. Live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse. These 10 wrestlers did just that at Global Wars and included a couple of spots that I definitely didn’t expect. Come for the 5-man superkick, stay for the 300 pounder jumping from the top rope to the floor. -Alex Wendland (@AlexWendland)

Hirooki Goto vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
May 3, 2015
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Wrestling Dontaku 2015
316-276 (53.3%)


Match Analysis: There were a lot of things to love about this match, but perhaps my favorite is it had a nice gradual crescendo building to the end. There was no rushing but at the same time no ‘down time,’ Nakamura and Goto have great chemistry and built the match to keep it entertaining without any overkill.  The counters and blocks all felt natural and the ending was perfect as Goto deserved this after always getting to the title match but struggling in winning it.  Fantastic match between the New Japan aces.Kevin Wilson (@purocentral)

Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly
May 23, 2015
Ring of Honor
Ring of Honor Television
288-277 (51.0%)

Watch: ROHWrestling.com

Match Analysis:  With wrestling matches even in the smallest promotions being available for viewing nearly instantaneously, it is easy for the hardcore fans among us to see so much of a performer’s work as to make his moveset entirely overexposed. As a result, the smartest and best workers find ways to demonstrate who they are to less-familiar viewers but also mix in just enough to keep off-balance those of us who have seen tens or hundreds of their matches. Lethal and O’Reilly deftly exhibited that ability here, working around O’Reilly’s constant quest for an armbar submission in ways that entertained and surprised me to the very end. While the booking surrounding this match was kind of strange, bell-to-bell, it was easily one of the best worked matches of the month.  -Aaron Bentley (@aaron_bentley)

Fenix vs. Mil Muertes
May 27, 2015
Lucha Underground
Lucha Underground on El Rey
274-289 (48.7%)

Match Analysis: What Grave Consequences gave Lucha Underground in its grandeur and brutality, the Death Match between Mil Muertes and Fenix gave it raw, unadulterated aggression.  Less world building than their previous affair, the Death Match was a sub 10 minute sprint to the jaw dropping finale, that, in one fell swoop, re-established Big Mil as the baddest motherfucker in the temple.  -Larry

Akira Tozawa vs. Shingo Takagi
May 8, 2015
Dragon Gate
King of Gate 2015
238-286 (45.4%)


Match Analysis: This match received MOTY praise from a number of trusted sources and while I enjoyed the hell out of it, I’m not sure it’s at that level. That shouldn’t take away anything from it though, it was well done, well worked and well paced. There were gripes about the beginning featuring too much standard Tozawa comedy but what made the match is the eventual transition into the real world: Shingo said enough of this shit, hit a big powerslam to Tozawa and it was on. The last half of the match featured both men legitimately trying to win and letting go of the comedy in the first portion.

Shingo got a little too overconfident at the end, attempting to show his obvious strength advantage but the smarter and quicker Tozawa rolled him up for the surprising victory.   -Rich Kraetsch (@voiceswrestling)

Dragon Kid vs. Akira Tozawa
May 5, 2015
Dragon Gate
Dead or Alive 2015
205-311 (39.7%)



Akito vs. Shigehiro Irie
May 17, 2015
Friendship, Effort, Victory in Nagoya 2015
159-301 (34.5%)


YAMATO vs. T-Hawk
May 8, 2015
Dragon Gate
King of Gate 2015
141-333 (29.7%)


Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Yohei Komatsu
May 22, 2015
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best of the Super Juniors (Day 1)
174-415 (29.6%)

Watch: NJPWWorld.com

Austin Aries & Bobby Roode vs. The American Wolves
May 29, 2015
Impact Wrestling on Destination America
152-377 (28.7%)

Biff Busick vs. Mike Bailey
May 31, 2015
123-314 (28.2%)

Watch: VoicesofWrestling.com/WWNLive

Kairi Hojo vs. Mayu Iwatani
May 17, 2015
Gold May 2015
125-326 (27.8%)


Will Ospreay vs. Matt Sydal
May 11, 2015
Revolution Pro Wrestling
RevPro TV
95-385 (19.8%)