Remember July? It seems like years ago with the G1 Climax just getting underway and Impact Wrestling gaining momentum, what matches emerged from July as the best of the best?
House Cleaning before we get to the matches: you can follow me (Lawson) at @Lawsoncomedy89 and my ace Jack Beckmann (@packerman120) who does the polls each month. You can listen to my podcasts Talking Smark (about wrestling), Talking Naruto (about Naruto) and I have a comedy special at Lawsonleong.com
Let’s dive into the matches!
10. LAX vs. The OGz, Impact 7/22 (2 points)
Very happy to see Impact’s Slammiversary show represented here. I was recently fortunate enough to see LAX in the best live match I’ve ever seen in Progress NY, and this was the first match I saw of these guys that made me think they really had something. This has been one of the best feuds of the year and arguably the best thing Impact had done during this new era. The OGz can still go and the new guys are worth putting over. This was a super fun short brawl and everyone played their part perfectly including Eddie Kingston and Konnan. If Impact died tomorrow but LAX stuck around the scene for the next decade, I’d be grateful that Impact at least gave us that.
9. Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kota Ibushi, NJPW 7/15 (2 points)
This was a breathtaking clash of styles that surpassed their great bout from last year’s G1. This was the rubber match of their series as Zack had scored the win over Ibushi in the NJ cup earlier in the year in another excellent match. This was my favorite of the 3, though. This match really captured both men’s styles to the maximum degree. They conveyed a true sense of struggle throughout the contest and it felt like they had to earn every bit of ground they gained against each other. This was just excellent pro wrestling and I wish we had more matches that felt like this.
8. oVe vs. The Lucha Brothers & Rich Swann, Impact 7/12 (3 points)
Another Impact match! This one aired on their television and was one of the better TV 6 mans I can remember. oVe did a bunch of their cool indie spots, including the tower of doom with Jake Crist catching one of them into a powerbomb. Jake Christ is my favorite oVe member, hands down. The babyfaces did a bunch of cool Lucha and Fenix continues to prove why he deserves to be in the “best in the world” conversation. This is a 6 man I could watch in multiple settings and promotions and enjoy.
7. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito, NJPW 7/19 (3 points)
These two have MOTY caliber matches in their sleep. This was maybe the 10th singles match I’ve seen with these two and they’ve all been over **** for me. They had another excellent main event here, and what’s truly remarkable watching these two together is the speed they can go through sequences. Naito moves like a gazelle in that he has short bursts of high speed attacks. Ishii can somehow match this, despite his clear tankier build. They know each other so well, the layers of their counter wrestling bears repeat viewing. Blink and you’ll miss something.
6. The Aggression vs. Takuya Nomura & Hideyoshi Kamitani, Riki Choshu Produce 7/10 (3 points)
This was an awesome puro tag match. Nakajima was absolutely vicious in this match. He kicked the hell out of both men, especially Nomura. All four men played their roles very well, but Nakajima was so fierce working from the top. Nomura was excellent in peril as well. The strikes here were very sharp. This match felt like a puro throwback in many ways. The knockout finish was very cool and memorable as well. I wish we’d see that more often. This was one of the most violent matches of the month.
5. Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy, WWE 7/13 (5 points)
205 Live is WWE’s wrestling A show. This was the rubber match in the series these two men have had this year, and it was my favorite of the 3. Buddy Murphy has been a revelation this year and Ali has my favorite wrestler on the planet. These men go out there and win every dead crowd over every night, starting from zero. This match was particularly epic, with innovative weapons spots and Ali bumping and selling like he’s in the Wrestlemania main event. It sucks that this brand is so tainted, because these two men are putting in classic performances each week, and this match is proof positive of their efforts.
4. Jay White vs. Juice Robinson, NJPW 7/7 (7 points)
I’ve been a fan of Jay White and his push ever since he returned as the Switchblade. We all knew he could wrestle and had massive upside and potential. But we were waiting on him to have his first big break out match. Juice has been the best babyface and promo in the company but we’ve been waiting for him to win the big one.
This match satisfied both waits. This was an excellent, heated contest that saw an unfortunate injury to JR on commentary and led to Josh Barnett chasing Jay White around ringside. White was in the zone on this night and Juice was the excellent babyface he always is.
3. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hirooki Goto, NJPW 7/21 (26 points)
These two have always had excellent matches against each other. They’re two bulls that you can line up, aim at one another and just let go. Full steam ahead, no backing down, let’s find out who’s tougher. In some ways there’s nothing to it but not many can pull it off like these two.
2. Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito, NJPW 7/15 (29 points)
This was my personal favorite match of the month. The feud and dynamic between these characters is so interesting to me. Bullet Club leader vs LIJ leader. The North American Ace vs the Japanese Ace. With this, the third match of their series, they have catapulted to my 2nd favorite match series of all time. I’ve gone full snowflakes on every match, including this masterpiece. The spot where Omega reverses the Destino by dropping Naito straight on his head had me leaping from my seat. Going into this match I was sure Naito would win, so I was surprised by the outcome. I can’t wait to see these two headline their own non G1 show.
1. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kota Ibushi, NJPW 7/28 (49 points)
It’s no surprise that such an awesome match occurred between the two MVP’s of the G1. This was the most violent match of the month. These two men threw bombs at each other. The striking felt dangerous because it likely was. Some people thought this match went too far. The violence this match had made it feel like a true struggle for survival. In a tournament full of excellent matches, this match stands above as the most physical. I’ll never forget it.
- Jiro Kuroshio vs. Masato Tanaka, ZERO-ONE 7/8
- Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tomohiro Ishii, NJPW 7/26
- Austin Aries vs. Moose, Impact 7/22
- Fenix vs. Petey Williams vs. Rich Swann vs. Taiji Ishimori, Impact 7/22
- ALL OUT vs. Team Sendai Girls, DDT 7/24
- Juice Robinson vs. Tetsuya Naito, NJPW 7/21
- Killer Kelly vs. Kay Lee Ray, EVE 7/14
- Moustache Mountain vs. Undisputed Era, NXT 7/11
- Pentagon Jr. vs. Sami Callihan, Impact 7/22
- Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus, AJPW 7/29
- Jordan Devlin vs. Mark Haskins, OTT 7/7