Welcome to the fifth annual Voices of Wrestling Match of the Year Poll!


The brainchild of VOW co-owner Rich Kraetsch, it all started in 2012 with a modest four person panel of myself (Joe Lanza), Rich, VOW’s PWG reviewer “Larry”, and Billy Carpenter of 4 Corners Radio. We each selected our ten best matches of the year, wrote short blurbs on why each match was selected, and combined the lists to come up with a collaborative top ten.

It produced a fine list of matches, but a list that was the product of four voters who for the most part have very similar tastes in wrestling. There was a ton of crossover on the four lists, and while an impressive variety of five different promotions ultimately ended up being represented in the top ten, we were basically dealing with a tiny sample size of voters who essentially watched and enjoyed the same pool of matches over the course of the year.

For 2013, I approached Rich about expanding on his original idea by extending invites to dozens of other wrestling critics. Each year in the world of film, there are media/critic polls ranking the top films of the year. There was nothing like those critic polls we see in film that had ever existed for wresting matches. With that template in mind, we sent ballots to dozens of journalists, bloggers, radio hosts, podcasters, historians, reporters, and critics who we knew loved wrestling, had a reputation for having a solid base of knowledge and strong opinions, and had quality endeavors that we could help expose to our readers in exchange for participating. We knew not everybody would respond, but we were quite pleased with who did, and we feel like the results did bear out the variety of matches and wrestling styles that we were seeking. 25 total voters responded by voting for over 90 matches from 23 different promotions.

The growth continued with the 2014 poll, with 67 voters voting for 156 different matches, from 35 different promotions. The 2015 poll featured 97 voters voting for 199 different matches from 42 different promotions. Another year, another massive leap in growth, and more importantly, more across the board diversity in the selections.

For the fourth straight year, we’re proud to announce that we’ve once again shattered all previous records. An utterly ridiculous 117 voters checked in and accounted for the widest variety yet, with 239 matches emanating from 49 different worldwide promotions. For a full archive of our past Match of the Year countdowns, visit voicesofwrestling.com/match-of-the-year/archive/.

We’ll get to the matches in a bit. But first, here is your panel, all 117 voters for the 2016 Voices of Wrestling Match of the Year Poll, followed by an explanation of how the results are tabulated (note – some voters chose to not include websites/affiliations and/or Twitter handles):

NameWebsite/AffiliationTwitter Username
Aaron BentleyVoicesofWrestling.com@AaronBentleyVOW
Abbey ArthurTop Rope Press, Angry Marks@AbbeyA
Alan CounihanF4W/DKP/FSM@Alan4L
Alexandra FraserWrestling With Words@NOAHs_Savior
Alfredo Esparzaluchaworld.com@therealfredo
Andrew RichVoices of Wrestling - Writer@andrewtrich
Arnold Furious411mania.com, Brit Wres Roundtable@arnoldfurious
Aussie GregAnswering the Ten Count podcast@AnswerTheTen
Barry HessVoices of Wrestling@bfhess171
Barry MurphyPWPonderings/Fighting Spirit Magazine@TheBarrylad
Ben Carasscubedcirclewrestling.com (Check out our 2016 Yearbook!)@BenCarass
Billy Carpenter4 Corners Radio@BillyCarpenter_
Brad WPlace to Be Nation@brad21126
Brandon HowardFightful@adecorativedrop
Brandon WagemannWrestling With Words@BrandonWagemann
Brennan PatrickVOW/Burning Spirits Podcast@bren_patrick
Brent BrookhouseFloSlam.tv@BrentBrookhouse
Brian ElliottEditor, Fighting Spirit Magazine@FSM_Editor
Brock JahnkeWrestling With Words@NotBrockJahnke
Bryan RoseWrestling Observer@br26
Carl MannWrestling With Words@carlitosway745
Case LoweVoices of Wrestling, Open The Voice Gate@_InYourCase
Chad Campbellplacetobenation.com@bigboysplaywcw
Chad Perry411 Mania@cpgoat
Chris CharltonLive Audio Wrestling@reasonjp
Christopher DuarteVoices of Wrestling@duarteyouknow
Damon McDonaldNew Japan PuroCast@purocast
Daniel BakerI Maintain The Double Footstomp Is Silly
Danny KuchlerGet in the Ring/Meet the Press Slam@GetintheRing123
Dave MusgraveWrestling Culture, Place To Be Nation@puropotsy
David ForrestI Maintain The Double Foot Stomp Is Silly/The Puro Pourri Podcast@PuroPodcast
Devon Haleswrestlingvirtues.blogspot.com@OracleofWrestling
Drew WardlawBurning Spirits/Voices of Wrestling@_burningspirits
Dylan Diot411mania.com@DoubleDD121
Dylan HalesProfessional podcast guest at PlaceToBeNation.com and WrestlingWithWords.com@DylanWaco
Dylan Harrispuroresuspirit.net, Eastern Lariat Podcast, Lucha Talk Podcast@DylanZero0615
Dylan Justinvoicesofwrestling.com/thegraps.wordpress.com@DylanJx4
EddyPW Pondering@PIWShow
Eric RitzSegunda Caida@segundacaida
Florian SchreiberCAGEMATCH.net@cmflosch
Garrett Kidneywww.voicesofwrestling.com@garrettkidney
George ThompsonI Maintain the Double Foot Stomp Is Silly@PuroPodcast
Glenn ButlerPlace to Be Nation - http://placetobenation.com/@glenniebun
Greg ParksPWTorch.com@gregmparks
Head Cheeseyoutube.com/channel/UC2qMOSwytxwjeQgdF93SwNw Whamandcheese.Wordpress.com@blu_ReyMysterio
Heikki Oinonenhttps://www.facebook.com/daniel.bryan.futurechamp@NastyYaffa
Iain SeatonDKP / Brit Wrest Roundtable contiributor@bme_87
Ioan MorrisPlace To Be Nation@iomamo
J OnwukaWorld Champions Podcast www.worldchampionspodcast.com@thenearzone
Jack Stevenson411Mania
Jake Mandellhttps://m.youtube.com/channel/UCqDijgITqYrLXgjmVA56kSA@JoshByNatureLI
Jamie O'DohertyDramatic DDT (https://dramaticddt.wordpress.com/)@JamieOD/@DramaticDDT
Jeff HawkinsVoices of Wrestling@Crapgame13
Jeff Martinhttp://heat.rentathugcomics.com@HEATcomic
Jeremy BotterHouston Chronicle@jeremybotter
Jeremy SextonVoices of Wrestling@jeremysexton
Joe GagneJoe vs the World, Funtime Arcadee@joegagne
Joe LanzaVOW@voiceswrestling
John CarrollVoices of Wrestling/Open the Voice Gate@toshanshuinla
JoJo RemyVoices of Wrestling/Japanese Audio Wrestling@jojo_runs
JR GoldbergVOW@wrestlingbubble
Kelly HarrassVoices of Wrestling & PanelsOnPages.com@comicgeekelly
Kevin BrownWrestlingsuckss.blogspot.com@darukinoi
Kevin HareBurning Spirits@stan__hansen
Kevin PangThe A.V. Club@pang
Kevin Pantoja411mania.com@the_kevstaaa
Kim Wonghttp://wrestlingwiththoughts.tumblr.com/@rightwong
Kris ZellnerBetween the Sheets/Exile on Badstreet@KrisZellner
LarriknWrestling With Words@Larrikn
Larry Csonka411mania.com@LarryCsonka411
Lawrence O'BrienP2BN@lob_3
Martin BentleyFighting Spirit Magazine@themib
Matt "Swarles" Johnsentalkimpact radio@talkimpactradio
Matt MacLeanVoices of Wrestling@shining_wiz13
Matt WatersPro Wrestling Ponderings@mattcwaters
Michael AndersonGet in the Ring/Meet the Press Slam@beastmike
Michael SpearsVOW - Open the Voice Gate@fujiiheya
Mike (Papa) HalesWrestling with Words and PW Ponderings@mikehales9
Miles FrancisTheFansPodcast.com, Lucha of the Hidden Temple@MrMostDaysOff
Morten HansenWrestlingWithWords/Stablewars/RealHero@mortenvh
Nathan MajorPWPonderings@NathanKenMajor
Nathan Neumannhttp://www.EyesOnTheRing.com@Headliner5
Oli CourtVOW/F4W/LAW@AnotherOli
Patrick AlvarezWrestling With Words/FOW Radio@YellowManPA
Paul Cookewww.crossarmbreaker.com@stomperspc
Pete SchirmacherPWO-PTBN@Titansowrestlin
Phil SchneiderSegunda Caida@philaschneider
Quentin MoodyWrestling With Words (¡Sorpresa! ¡Es Lucha!), Place To Be Nation (Psychology is Dead)@qt_moody
Renato SimõesFórum de Pro Wrestling (http://fpwrestling.forumeiros.com/)@FProWrestling
Rich KraetschVoices of Wrestling@voiceswrestling
Rich LaconiPwponderings.com,LastwordonProWrestling.com, RunningwildPodcast.com,Rohworld.com.@Rich_Laconi
Rob McCarronShake Them Ropes@ShakeThemRopes
Rob Viperwww.highspots.com@RobViper
Robin ReidVoices of Wrestling@theRDouble
Sam DiMascioHost of We Don't Know Wrestling@concrete1992
Sean FlynnVoices of Wrestling@spiffie6123
Sean Orleansseanorleans.wordpress.com@SeanOrleans
Sean Ross SappFightful.com@SeanRossSapp
Sean SedorThe Wrestling HUB Reviews Blog, VOW@SASedor2994
Steven GrahamPro Wrestling Super Blog (https://prowrestlingsuperblog.wordpress.com), Place to be Nation, Pro-Wrestling Super Show@StevenGrahamTWS
STRIGGAMLW Radio / Cagematch.net / Purolove.com@STRIGGA
Suit WilliamsPWPonderings@SuitWilliams
Tanner TeetPTBN MOTW/Burning Banter@Tanner1495
Timothy BuechnerPTBN-PWO & Wrestling with Words@luchaundead
TJ Hawke411mania.com@TJHawke411
Tom Holzermanhttp://wallsofjerichoholic.blogspot.com@tholzerman
Tommy GunnAnswering the Ten Count podcast@AnswerTheTen
Trask BryantWrestling With Words / wrestlingwithwords.com@wrestlewords
Travis WoloshynPlace To Be Nation@lucha_aftergrnd
Warren TaylorVoices of Wrestling@WarrenETaylor
Wrestling Gurusportskeeda.com@ishankhanna4


Each voter was sent a ballot and asked to vote for ten best matches of the year, ranking them from 1-10. We used the same weighted balloting system used by Major League Baseball for their Most Valuable Player voting, with a first place vote worth 14 points, and a descending 9-8-7… scale from there, a system which places heavy emphasis on each voter’s choice for best overall match of the year.

The points for each match are then totaled, with any ties broken in the following order:

  • 1.) Most total votes
  • 2.) Match which received the highest singular vote on any ballot

For example, if two matches are tied in total points, with one match appearing on more total ballots, it will not require the second step tie breaker. The match appearing on more total ballots would place higher.

If two matches are tied in total points, and remain tied by appearing on the same number of ballots, the match with the highest singular vote wins the tiebreaker.

Each voter was also encouraged to add short blurbs explaining why they voted for each match. These blurbs give our panel a voice to explain why they voted for each match, and as we move deeper into the results, give the reader multiple perspectives of why a given match was great.

Our panel was free to vote for any worked match in the world that took place between January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016.

Our long term goal is to become the most comprehensive and respected MOTY poll in all of wrestling, while continuing to cross promote the great ventures of our voter pool and exposing fans to matches that they otherwise never would have discovered.

Enough talk. Here are the 239 best matches of 2016!

We’ll begin today with a look at the honorable mentions (dubbed “Sadness Village” by current staff member John Carroll ), with a new chunk of matches released each day until we reveal the Top 10 on Friday, January 27 (with a sneak preview of the Top 10 to be released on the January 26 VOW Flagship Podcast).

Here are the honorable mentions, which is every match that received a vote but failed to crack the Top 100:

1 Point

MatchDatePromotionTotal VotesOverall PointsHighest Vote
Drew Gulak vs. Mat Fitchett3/18AAW1110th
Skayde Jr./Gringo Loco vs. Bandolero/DJ Z4/30AIW1110th
Kento Miyahara vs. Kengo Mashimo6/15AJPW1110th
Chip Day vs Sami Callihan4/17AWE1110th
Martin Stone vs Zach Sabre, Jr.10/23AWE1110th
Ryota Nakatsu vs Ikuto Hidaka1/21BASARA1110th
Donovan Dijak vs. Brian Fury12/11Beyond Wrestling1110th
Hideki Suzuki & Yoshihisa Uto vs. Yasufumi Nakanoue & Yuji Okabayashi5/30BJW1110th
Caristico/Mistico/Mascara Dorada vs Ultimo Guerrero/Euforia/Rey Escorpion5/6ELITE1110th
Matt Riddle vs. Jeff Cobb12/10EVOLVE1110th
Trent Seven vs. Mark Haskins9/23Fight Club Pro1110th
Mustafa Ali vs. GPA8/26Freelance Wrestling1110th
Kenichiro Arai vs. Kazuhiro Tamura1/7HEAT UP1110th
JT Dunn vs Ace Romero5/28Limitless Wrestling1110th
Killshot vs. Marty "The Moth" Martinez9/14Lucha Underground1110th
Kenny Omega vs. Michael Elgin7/30NJPW1110th
KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay6/19NJPW1110th
Kyle O'Reilly vs Katsuyori Shibata10/10NJPW1110th
Michael Richard Blais vs. Marky10/22PWA1110th
Apollo vs. Carbide8/28Robot Wars1110th
Keith Lee and Shane Taylor vs. War Machine8/28ROH1110th
Will Ospreay vs. Vader8/12RPW1110th
Allie vs Rosemary10/22SMASH Wrestling1110th
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn5/1WWE1110th
Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens10/30WWE1110th
American Alpha vs. Revival6/24WWE (NXT)1110th
Asuka vs Bayley4/1WWE (NXT)1110th

“Okay, so there were literally hundreds, maybe even thousands, of matches that were technically better than this one in 2016. Still, having witnessed this spectacle live, there was simply no way I could not include it in my top 10. The heat in the building was like nothing I have ever experienced in 19 years of going to wrestling shows. York Hall in East London was absolutely nuclear on this summer’s night. Let’s be clear, the match was a total smoke and mirrors, gimmicked up, monstrosity. Nevertheless, the key spots – Ospreay flying off the ramp onto a pile of humanity and Vader landing a chokeslam off the stage through a table – were beyond anything I expected when the match was announced. Many people were upset about Vader going over and a few even decried Rev Pro for “killing” the UK scene (How’d that one work out, lads?) At least the interference from Pete Dunne, which led to Vader getting the win, played into the long-running Ospreay/Dunne feud and Ricochet coming out to help Ospreay fight Vader & Dunne brought the whole thing full circle. The idea was intended to set up a Ricochet & Ospreay vs. Vader & Dunne tag match that would see Ospreay get his win back, however Vader reneged on the deal and was never seen again in a Rev Pro ring. Having watched the match back, it is fairly obvious it is not a “match of the year” calibre outing. But those 6 minutes and 44 seconds on that special night at York Hall were one of the craziest and most exciting times I have ever experienced as a live wrestling fan. It was wild. It was mega-heated. IT WAS A GODDAMN SHOOT!” -Ben Carass on Will Ospreay vs. Vader 8/12

“BASARA could not have put together a better match to open its very first show. Nakatsu was one of my favourites in DNA but he graduated up to Isami Kodaka’s new group as it was being put together. It worked out for him because he got to shine here with Hidaka. There’s some satisfying sounds off of the high kicks in this match.” -Jamie O’Doherty on Ryota Nakatsu Vs Ikuto Hidaka 1/21

“When I was approached with the idea of Fightful.com being a combat sports/wrestling site, I knew it’d be a good idea with the emergence of guys like Matt Riddle. Ironically, we would end up getting him to work for the site, a fit I think is unlike any other. His raw skills translate so well to professional wrestling and his ability to adapt is uncanny. He does things in the pro wrestling ring that he can do to any person walking the street — except maybe Jeff Cobb. You know, that giant Olympian who plays a monster on Lucha Underground. This was a really good representation of the direction I feel wrestling is going. Besides the golf clapping crowd.” -Sean Ross Sapp on Matt Riddle vs. Jeff Cobb 12/10

2 Points

MatchDatePromotionTotal VotesOverall PointsHighest Vote
Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Seiya Sanada3/6BJW129th
Tetsuya Endo & Shuji Ishikawa v Kounosuke Takeshita & HARASHIMA11/23DDT129th
Kazusada Higuchi & Shunma Katsumata Vs Guanchulo & Kouki Iwasaki10/17DDT129th
Ronnie Mendoza vs Flamita vs Negro Casas12/15DTU129th
LA Park vs Blue Demon10/15ELITE129th
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Ricochet9/11EVOLVE129th
Chris Hero vs. Fred Yehi4/2EVOLVE129th
Chris Hero vs. Matt Riddle10/16EVOLVE129th
Matt Riddle vs Tracy Williams1/24EVOLVE129th
Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay4/2EVOLVE129th
Tomohiro Ishii vs Roderick Strong2/19NJPW129th
Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Minoru Suzuki2/24NOAH129th
Joe Graves vs. JR Kratos3/6PREMIERE129th
Jack Gallagher vs Timothy Thatcher2/14PROGRESS129th
Chris Hero vs Trent2/12PWG129th
Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll11/20ROH129th
Mat Fitchett vs. Gary Jay vs. Davey Vega11/18St. Louis Anarchy129th
Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks7/25WWE129th
Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose1/24WWE129th

“My enjoyment of this match boils down to the respective roles these two guys play, and how well they play them. Nakajima is still the same sympathetic, fighting underdog but he’s just a little too old for Suzuki’s shit at this point in his career. Suzuki is still the same evil bastard, not giving a fuck about the referee, trying to destroy Nakajima’s arm and demanding he lay down and not get back up. Nakajima’s spirit rules this match though. Even when his arm is not at 100%, he still lays into Suzuki with elbows and keeps fighting back. The armbar spot and subsequent selling from Nakajima was awesome, though upon second viewing, the aftermath felt like a time killer. The match itself loses some of its luster due to the finish. I loved Nakajima’s selling of the sleeper hold and Suzuki struggling to set his dead weight up for the Gotch-style piledriver but the comeback from the brink of passing out and finish felt abrupt. I wanted Nakajima’s battle to be bigger in the end. Paired with the 12/2 match, however, the complete story between these two is my favorite thing this year.” -Brennan Patrick on Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Minoru Suzuki 2/24  

“In the interest of full disclosure, this is a bias pick for me as I know all three guys and worked for SLA. That said, I defy you to find a more emotional title match on the independent scene. The final match at the final show of St. Louis’ best independent promotion saw Fitchett defend the title against Vega and Jay in a scintillating triple threat match. Because of the circumstances surrounding the show, the match carried an extra layer of emotion, which the crowd and wrestlers absolutely fed off of.” – Sean Orleans on Mat Fitchett vs. Gary Jay vs. Davey Vega 11/18

“ZSJ and Ricochet are the very best at what they do. This match stood out to me in particular, as I was in person and that certainly added to the impressive feats these two can demonstrate in the ring. Together, their styles worked well together and watching Ricochet match ZSJ by escaping his submissions was a treat. I could watch these two wrestle every night of the week and I’m positive each match would look different.” – Rich Laconi on Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Ricochet 9/11

3 Points

MatchDatePromotionTotal VotesOverall PointsHighest Vote
Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto10/31BJW239th
American Alpha vs. The Revival6/8WWE (NXT)239th
Martin Stone vs. Jimmy Rave12/27AWE138th
Meiko Satomura, DASH Chisako, Cassandra Miyagi vs. Command Bolshoi, Hanako Nakamori, Manami Katsu9/4CHIKARA138th
Mascara Dorada vs. Mephisto2/19CMLL138th
Shingo Takagi, YAMATO, & BxB Hulk vs. Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi, & Akira Tozawa11/3Dragon Gate138th
Drew Gulak & Tracy Williams vs. Fred Yehi & TJP5/6EVOLVE138th
Tsukushi vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto11/3Ice Ribbon138th
Rey Misterio Jr./Prince Puma/Dragon Azteca Jr. vs Fenix/Jack Evans/PJ Black vs Cortez Castro/Mr. Cisco/Joey Ryan vs Son Of Havoc & Ivelisse4/27Lucha Underground138th
Michael Elgin vs Katsuhiko Nakajima8/13NJPW138th
Marty Scurll vs. Ryan Smile10/29OTT138th
Johnny Gargano vs. Mark Haskins6/26PROGRESS138th
Donovan Dijak vs. Lio Rush vs. Kamaitachi vs. Jay White8/19ROH138th
The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks12/3ROH138th
Meiko Satomura vs Chihiro Hashimoto10/16Sendai Girls138th
Scotty O'Shae Vs. Brent Banks10/23SMASH Wrestling138th
Triple H vs. Dean Ambrose3/12WWE138th
Asuka vs Bayley8/20WWE (NXT)138th
Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe4/1WWE (NXT)138th

“Chikara’s commitment to presenting joshi stars in the US is commendable, and all six stars here go all-out in the King of Trios finals, displaying dazzling spots and outlasting more and more punishment as the match reaches a crescendo.” Glenn Butler on Meiko Satomura, DASH Chisako, Cassandra Miyagi vs. Command Bolshoi, Hanako Nakamori, Manami Katsu 9/4

“This was an absolutely magnificent conclusion to a really enjoyable tournament for BJW. Strong BJ brought their ever-present ‘force of nature’-ness, whereas Yankee Two Kenju fought back with their speed, teamwork and tenacity. It was electric right from the opening bell, with not a single second failing to be filled with edge of your seat excitement inducing action.” –Robin Reid on Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto 10/31

“Violence. Complete Hatred. One of the longest feuds in Smash history was finally settled in one of the most brutal Cage matches I’ve ever seen. This feud all started with the once squeaky clean Scotty O’Shae becoming completely jealous of the fan favorite rule breaker Brent Banks. Struggling to win and the lack of reception O’Shae snapped on his once tag partner/competitive rival Banks and pushed this feud from healthy competition to brutal violence. One month prior the two had an ultra violent Fans bring the Keyboard match. IT was hard to imagine just how much more violent you can get from breaking a keyboard over another man’s head and jamming the broken piece into his head and feet. The cage match more than exceeded those expectations and it got so violent it was almost uncomfortable to watch. This may not have been the most flashy cage match but i perfectly showcased the original intention of the match type. This match wasn’t about trying to escape a door or over the top, it was about two men’s hatred for each other and needing a cage to inflict violence on each other. They literally tore the cage apart and beat each other with it. Now I’m not a huge fan of hardcore wrestling, but in the context of the feud it completely made sense. This match had intensity, it had called backs to prior matches and had an organic violent intent more than anything else I’ve seen all year.” -Christopher Duarte on Scotty O’Shae Vs. Brent Banks 10/23

4 Points

MatchDatePromotionTotal VotesOverall PointsHighest Vote
Strong BJ vs. Big Guns6/15AJPW147th
Martin Stone vs Tommaso Ciampa4/17AWE147th
Strong BJ vs. Twin Towers10/31BJW147th
Trevor Lee vs Cedric Alexander4/30CWF Mid-Atlantic147th
Konosuke Takeshita & Tetsuya Endo Vs Daisuke Sasaki & Shuji Ishikawa3/21DDT147th
Konosuke Takeshita vs Daisuke Sasaki2/28DDT147th
Mascara Dorada vs Rey Escorpion7/28ELITE147th
Zack Sabre Jr vs. Travis Banks7/8Fight Club Pro147th
Mil Muertes vs. Fenix3/16Lucha Underground147th
Mil Muertes vs. Matanza Cueto5/11Lucha Underground147th
Hanson & Ray Rowe Vs. Rob Lynch and James Davis8/14PROGRESS147th
Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr.5/11RPW147th
Io Shirai vs. Kairi Hojo1/17Stardom147th
Charlotte vs Sasha Banks10/3WWE147th
Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese7/14WWE (CWC)147th
Chris Hero & JT Dunn vs. Marty Scurrl & Zack Sabre Jr.10/1wXw147th

“Fans of CWF Mid-Atlantic love Trevor Lee’s other match from 2016 but this match connected to me more than the Roy Wilkins or Andrew Everett matches. This match felt like an early Ring of Honor match that hits my personal sweet spot of wrestling. Two wrestlers that did a modern match in old school type of environment for an extended amount of time. Lee is very similar to Bryan Danielson in terms of tempo and controlling a match masterfully. This was also great with Cedric in the best shape of his career performing a match that you won’t see him doing in WWE.” -JML on Trevor Lee vs Cedric Alexander 4/30

“Takeshita’ journey to the KOD title culminated in this Korakuen war, a match that absolutely certified how far ‘the future’ had come since that hyped debut with El Generico in Ryogoku at age 17. Yet it was Sasaki that shone, the Damnation leader cementing his place amongst the best character workers in the business with a fantastic heel performance.” -Chris Charlton on Konosuke Takeshita vs Daisuke Sasaki 2/28

“Just a day after Strong BJ killed each other on the Fortune Dream 3 show, they decided to throw bombs against The Big Guns and this was just a beginning of a 3 match series that was the main focus of the AJPW Tag division of 2016.” -RealHero on Strong BJ vs. Big Guns 6/15 

5 Points

MatchDatePromotionTotal VotesOverall PointsHighest Vote
Shuji Ishikawa vs. Konosuke Takeshita8/28DDT358th
CIMA, Masaaki Mochizuki, Dragon Kid, Don Fujii and Gamma vs Ben-K, Hyou Watanabe, Shun Skywalker, Yuki Yoshioka, Katsumi Takeshima12/1Dragon Gate358th
Shingo Takagi, Cyber Kong, Naruki Doi, T-Hawk, brother YASSHI vs. Akira Tozawa, Big R Shimizu, Masato Yoshino, Shachihoko Boy10/12Dragon Gate257th
Travis Banks vs Trent Seven11/25Fight Club Pro257th
Aero Boy vs Black Terry6/10Tulacingo Lucha257th
Sanada vs. Tanahashi7/18NJPW257th
Strong BJ vs. Big Guns11/27AJPW156th
Isami Kodaka & Takumi Tsukamoto vs FUMA & Daichi Kazato1/21BASARA156th
Volador Jr. vs Negro Casas3/18CMLL156th
Yosuke Santa Maria vs. Kotoka3/5Dragon Gate156th
Lio Rush vs. Anthony Henry8/5Empire156th
Emi Sakura & Nanae Takahashi vs. Arisa Nakajima & Tsukasa Fujimoto5/4Ice Ribbon156th
Mil Muertes vs Pentagon Jr. vs Prince Puma3/9Lucha Underground156th
London Riots vs. British Strong Style9/25PROGRESS156th
Chris Hero & JT Dunn vs. Matt Sydal & Ricochet3/5PWG156th
Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay vs. Dragon Lee12/2ROH156th

“Hard-hitting tag team match with a really good story. Pete Dunne looked like an absolute animal trying to claw out Rob Lynch’s injured eye. Both Lynch and James Davis looked like warriors prepared to die on their sword before giving up. A fantastic end to the title reign of the first team of Progress, and a fantastic start for British Strong Style. My favorite Progress Tag Title match of 2016.” -Suit Williams on London Riots vs. British Strong Style 9/25

“This is really great match that featured great fun mixture of styles and a really good debut by JT Dunn with very good story telling. I would like to see more matches like to PWG to do more matches like this.” -Head Cheese on Chris Hero & JT Dunn vs. Matt Sydal & Ricochet 3/5

“Negro Casas vowed that if he had to beat Volador Jr. wrestling his type of match he would go that route and he did. Casas at his age kept to his promise and came close. He survived a sunset-flip powerbomb to the floor and multiple top rope frankensteiners. Casas even attempted a top rope headscissors on Volador Jr. Volador Jr. pulled off the win with an inverted Frankensteiner and showed why he’s good at the high-flying style. Casas legacy continued to grow.” -Alfredo Esparza on Volador Jr. vs Negro Casas 3/18

6 Points

MatchDatePromotionTotal VotesOverall PointsHighest Vote
Tracy Williams vs. Drew Gulak5/7EVOLVE266th
Will Ospreay vs. Ryusuke Taguchi6/7NJPW266th
Will Ospreay & Mike Bailey vs. Marty Scurll & Trevor Lee3/13wXw266th
Mark Andrews vs. Chris Hero5/29PROGRESS267th
Kairi Hojo & Meiko Satomura Vs. Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani3/21Stardom267th
Suwama vs Jun Akiyama7/23AJPW165th
Chris Hero vs Jonathan Gresham2/28Beyond Wrestling165th
Ricochet vs Jon Gresham12/11Beyond Wrestling165th
Ryuji Ito, Yuji Okabayashi, Tsutomu Osugi & Hercules Senga vs. Shu Brahman, Kei Brahman, Shinobu & Takayuki Ueki2/2BJW165th
Konosuke Takeshita vs Tetsuya Endo7/17DDT165th
Chris Hero vs. Tracy Williams11/12EVOLVE165th
Timothy Thatcher vs. Drew Gulak10/16EVOLVE165th
Chris Hero vs. Ryan Smile10/28OTT165th
Rampage Brown vs Mikey Whiplash2/14PROGRESS165th
Will Ospreay vs. Shane Strickland8/28PROGRESS165th
Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly12/3ROH165th
Meiko Satomura vs Io Shirai7/2Sendai Girls165th
Royal Rumble Match1/24WWE165th

“This has to be one of the best Big Man vs. Small Man matches committed to film. Andrews doing everything in his power to firstly avoid being murdered by the bigger Hero before mounting an unlikely comeback and eventually coming up short. It was great storytelling and Hero’s frustrations were the backbone of the match. Proof that Hero is one of the world’s best and Andrews isn’t as far behind as you’d imagine.” -Arnold Furious on Mark Andrews vs. Chris Hero 5/29

“If I’d have watched this knowing the result in advance, I might not have rated this so highly, but wrestling is built on emotion, and my list isn’t a dispassionate ranking of technical acumen. So here we are – a Taguchi match in my year’s Top 10. Ever since I saw Ospreay, at that point completely unknown to me, wrestle Matt Sydal in a typically sweaty York Hall in 2014, I’ve been pulling for him to do well, because the man has all the talent in the world. When New Japan announced his participation in the 2016 Best of the Super Juniors, I assumed he was nailed-on to win it. My belief wavered when he lost his first three tournament matches, but I never should have doubted Papa Gedo’s booking. Similarly to Kenny Omega, Taguchi showed here that when he keeps the ass-based nonsense to a minimum, he’s a very good pro wrestler – while Ospreay provided the breathtaking flips and twists, this was by no means a carry job. The New Japan junior division looks set for a Renaissance in 2017, and on this showing there’s no reason why both these men can’t play a full and active part.” -George Thompson on Will Ospreay vs. Ryusuke Taguchi 6/7

7 Points

MatchDatePromotionTotal VotesOverall PointsHighest Vote
Hirooki Goto vs. Kenny Omega10/10NJPW277th
Shuji Ishikawa Vs Tetsuya Endo6/26DDT174th
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Satoshi Kojima3/19NJPW174th
Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Masa Kitamiya, Maybach Taniguchi, Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima8/14NJPW174th
Young Bucks vs. Fenix & Pentagon Jr9/2PWG174th
AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Shane McMahon & Bray Wyatt vs.Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman11/20WWE174th
The Revival vs American Alpha7/6WWE (NXT)174th

“This match is totally over looked, way more of a spectacle than the famed ***** 6 man tag. Best “spotfest” I saw all year.” -Matt Swarles Johnsen on Young Bucks vs. Fenix & Pentagon Jr 9/2

“The DIY match was a hair better, but The Revival had a near perfect year.” -Brent Brookhouse on The Revival vs American Alpha 7/6

8 Points

MatchDatePromotionTotal VotesOverall PointsHighest Vote
Kota Ibushi vs. Brian Kendrick8/31WWE (CWC)388th
Mascara Dorada vs. Barbaro Cavernario3/28CMLL284th
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomohiro Ishii2/11NJPW284th
EITA vs Jimmy Susumu6/2Dragon Gate287th
Sami Callihan vs Pentagon Jr.7/23AAW183rd
Zack Sabre Jr vs Jonathan Gresham7/17Beyond Wrestling183rd
Barbaro Cavernario vs. Volador Jr.9/30CMLL183rd
Danny Limelight vs. Douglas James vs. Eli Everfly vs. Suede Thompson2/20Finest City Wrestling183rd
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Jeff Cobb8/12RPW183rd
Rush vs. LA Park6/3Tijuana183rd

“The pressure is me seeing the light dimming. If I don’t win this…my dream is over”. The end of the Brian Kendrick arc in the CWC was a sad, emotional, and gratifying experience but realistic all at the same time. Brian Kendrick is a man chasing redemption. His life has been full of ups and downs, he’s been fired by WWE, and this possibly was his last chance to live his dream. In the first two rounds of the tournament we saw a Kendrick that was vastly different to that of his youth. No longer was he this jovial young kid. He was grizzled, desperate, and running out of time. In the quarterfinals he ran in to a buzz saw by the name of Kota Ibushi. Ibushi was presented as the odds on favorite to win the tournament early on so now you question if Kendrick’s miracle run can continue. It doesn’t…but not without Kendrick giving the fight of his life. He tries everything in his power to not only win, but not let that light dim. He goes after Kota’s injured neck, he tries the same tactics that got him to this point, he does the Sliced Bread No.2 for the first time in the tournament, and he even does a Burning Hammer. None of that was enough for Brian to win. During that entire run for Kendrick in the CWC, Daniel Bryan was unabashedly supporting his longtime friend on commentary. When the clock struck 12 on Kendrick’s Cinderella run, Bryan, who broke down in tears on commentary, came to the ring and embraced Kendrick. On the surface it’s a friend congratulating another on a job well done, but with the fact that Bryan had just retired earlier in the year, it adds another level that Kendrick has to possibly accept a future that his close friend did. It’s a cruel end to a story, but that harsh reality is what makes it cut so deep.” -Quentin Moody Kota Ibushi vs. Brian Kendrick 8/31

“If you made a list of the top whatever storylines in 2016, somewhere on that list would have to be “how Eita got his groove back.” After a pitiful late 2015 and early 2016, he got out of the doghouse and committed himself to becoming one of the top junior talents in the world, and the King of Gate tournament was really the start to all of that. Susumu had a hell of a year leading up to that point and the two were in the “group of death” for King of Gate and decided to have the best technical match in years in Dragon Gate. Eita decided to commit himself to the llave style that he picked up in Mexico and Susumu was the perfect foil for him in this match. Floating the Jumbo no Kachi-gatame into the deadly Apocalysis variant of El Numero Uno might be my favorite finishing sequence of the year. I began 2016 thinking that Eita was going to be an afterthought to the promotion, but I ended it thinking he might be the replacement for Akira Tozawa in Dragon Gate’s Big Six and this match was the start of that.” -Michael Spears on EITA vs Jimmy Susumu 6/2

9 points

MatchDatePromotionTotal VotesOverall PointsHighest Vote
Barbaro Cavernario vs. Rey Cometa7/1CMLL295th
Zack Sabre Jr vs Chris Hero10/8AAW192nd
Sami Callihan vs. Donovan Dijak2/28Beyond Wrestling192nd
Fred Yehi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.10/16EVOLVE192nd
Johnny Gargano vs Zack Sabre Jr.3/19EVOLVE192nd
Mustafa Ali vs Isaias Velazques1/8Freelance Wrestling192nd
Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks vs. KUSHDIA, ACH, and Matt Sydal2/26ROH192nd

“One of CMLL’s most reliable match ups, Rey Cometa and Cavernario always deliver versus one another since first being paired up in a hair feud on the 2014 anniversary card. This – their second hair match in thirty months – out did their anniversary show effort. Cavernario is a little more polished and a lot more confident than he was back in September 2014 and it showed. Those looking for a violent apuesta match won’t find one here, but what we did get was pretty great in its own right. The quality and volume of the flying spots matches up with any 2016 matches worked in a similar style (including both Kamaitachi/Dragon Lee matches) and the crowd was much more into the match than they were for the hair match 21 months earlier. The only negative is the match goes too long by several minutes and relies too heavily on Canadian Destroyers, but it is not enough to overshadow all of the many positives.” -Paul Cooke on Barbaro Cavernario vs. Rey Cometa 7/1

“The best indy match I saw all year would have taken the top spot had it not been such a phenomenal year for non mainstream lucha. I’m big on setting, I’m big on atmosphere, I’m big on things feeling like they matter. This has all of those things and some fantastic work from two guys who click perfectly in there. The febrile hipster pub basement might seem an odd environment shouldn’t do it for me, but both guys manage to control the crowd perfectly in a manner a lot of folks who work a similar style seem to be incapable of – the smarky bastards are largely kept in line by – shock horror – wonderful psychology, instead of just indulging them. But this feels high stakes, it feels major and it’s basically the world’s best Kevin Owens vs John Cena match if they didn’t fall off a cliff in the final third.” -Daniel Baker on Mustafa Ali vs Isaias Velazquez 1/8