“For Your Consideration is a number of columns from our writers here at Voices of Wrestling talking about their favorite matches of 2020. These matches don’t have to be their number 1 match of the year, and in fact, don’t even have to necessarily be in their top 10 for the MOTY poll that this series will lead in to. These simply have to be matches that each particular writer thought were important enough to write about and highlight. I hope you enjoy this look back at what are likely to be some of the hidden gems and standout matches of 2020. I hope it is able to make 2020 just a little bit better or a least help your MOTY list be a little more complete. At the very least it should get you looking forward to Match of the Year season and hopefully get you looking forward to where some of these may place in the VOW MOTY poll in the next few months.”
VOW MOTY 2020 For Your Consideration Archives: voicesofwrestling.com/category/vow-latest/columns/2020-match-of-the-year/for-your-consideration/
Mei Suruga vs. ASUKA – 20 Minute Time Limit Draw
Gatoh Move ChocoPro 16
May 23, 2020
By Paul Völsch (@Darth_Dragon)
I don’t think that anyone would really disagree with that sentiment given that the majority of the year was dominated by the first true global pandemic in over a hundred years. While that alone would be enough to have the year go down in infamy there were a ton of other awful things that happened in 2020 some of which were related to the pandemic and many more that were not.
But even this awful year managed to reach a new low in late May when Hana Kimura committed suicide after some truly vile only harassment directed her way. All because some dumb reality TV show decided it needed to engineer some fake outrage at her expense. At only 22 and gifted with all the talent in the world Hana was truly beloved by both wrestlers and fans alike. As such her death felt like a gut punch and everyone was in shocked disbelief. This match happened the very next morning and involved one of Hana’s closest friends.
ASUKA and Hana were part of WRESTLE-1’s small women’s division and bonded during that time even forming a brief tag team. They also had quite a few singles matches against each other from that time and I especially encourage you to seek out their September 2, 2018 match from W-1’s Yokohama Bunka show.
Given the close relationship between the two no one would have faulted ASUKA for pulling out of a match in front of no physical crowd in a former dentist office in a cul-de-sac back alley of Tokyo. But when Gatoh Move’s owner Emi Sakura called her up in the morning the first thing ASUKA said was that she wanted to do the match.
At the start of the match it’s quite obvious that what happened is still weighing on ASUKA’s mind, but quickly Mei’s boundless energy and sunny demeanor pulls her right into the match and she starts enjoying herself. ASUKA (22) and Mei (21) are two of Japan’s brightest young talents and are already tremendous workers. What makes this even more impressive is that Mei only has only two years experience. She works a really interesting high-speed technical style, which works very well for as she is a tiny human being at only 1.48 m or 4 foot 10. ASUKA, on the other hand, tends to be largest woman in the match most of the time and has developed a much more dominant ground and pound style where she tends to dominate her opponents physically. Whenever she does intergender matches it tends to be against top-level workers like Togo, Takeshita or Hino, which has helped her development as well.
Here these two styles mesh together incredibly well. ASUKA just towers over Mei who looks like a child next to her. Mei tries to bring down ASUKA throughout the match while trying to dodge out of the way of ASUKA’s strikes and kicks. But everything she tries tends to get foiled by ASUKA just using her superior strength to stop her. Mei gets so frustrated that she uses a Kendo stick that was left at ringside by Minoru Fujita in the first match. Not a name I expected to pop up in a MOTYC. But it works in giving Mei a leg up and she starts tying up ASUKA in her wide variety of cradles. But its still not enough to give her the win. As time starts ticking down both women get more and more desperate but neither manages to get a decisive advantage as time expires leaving both exhausted.
At the end of the show, ASUKA is giving a heartfelt speech about Hana and what she meant to her. It really felt like this was something that ASUKA really badly needed on that day and so did the audience. This speech as well as the match felt like therapy for everyone involved and gave people some much-needed relief during a really shitty time. Sometimes all a match needs to be a match of the year is to happen in the right place at the right time. To me, this match best sums up 2020 as it is surrounded by something incredibly dark and sad and yet manages to bring people together from all around the world to celebrate this silly little sport that we all love.
Marcius Pitt vs Davis Storm for the EPW Coastal Championship
EPW Going For Broke
March 7, 2020
By Kevin Chiat (@kevinchiat)
I reviewed this show for VOW just as the world was falling apart.
Though Western Australia has arguably been the best place in the world to be in terms of controlling COVID (the state has been free from community transmission for over six months); at times it felt like honestly, this might be the last match we’d ever see take place live in the state. And you know, if it had been, then what a hell of a match it would have been for West Australian wrestling to end on.
I was interested in re-watching this match and seeing how it would hold up with more distance from the electric atmosphere of being there live. It very much lived up to my memory and the immediate emotions I felt watching the match live; despite everything that has happened in the wrestling world/wider world since.
There’s heightened stakes to this match as you have the local legend Davis Storm putting his career on the line in search of the one championship in EPW he hadn’t earned. The crowd is 100% behind him
Meanwhile, Marcius Pitt puts on a clinic as Storm’s dance partner for the night. Re-watching this (and seeing Pitt work live again at the start of the month), really solidified for me that Marcius Pitt is one of the most underrated wrestlers in the world. Pitt has insane power and strength with a superstar aura. What I’ve really been impressed with in his work this year is how excellent Pitt has been at playing a total heel whilst still having a great workrate match. He isn’t sacrificing his character or the emotional effect they are trying to create with the match in search of This Is Awesome chants or Twitter Gifs. He can work this spectacular match; but still does these little touches to just make sure that the crowd is completely against him. When he hits Storm with the Ibushi Deadlift German off the ropes, you’re still more concerned for Davis then you are popping at Pitt’s strength. He very much feels like the type of evil jock dangerous pro-wrestler who has been underutilized in modern independent wrestling in favour of dumb meme wrestlers who are more interested in Twitter kudos than actually drawing an emotional reaction out of an audience.
The story of the match is really intricately structured. It solidified two other wrestlers’ babyface turns in Julian Ward and Gavin McGavin without sacrificing the work Pitt and Storm did. This match then sets up the story of the excellent Storm vs McGavin match from EPW’s return show on December 5th.
One of EPW’s guardrails is permanently warped by the impact of Storm crashing into it off an Overhead Belly to Belly Suplex. The pop afterward for Storm beating the Count-Out is the biggest I’ve heard for a count-out tease in my life. Both men just gave all of themselves to this match and delivered a performance that won’t be forgotten by anyone who was in the building. If you want to see the best of Australian Wrestling in the cursed year of our lord 2020, this is the match to start with and EPW currently has the entire Going For Broke show up for free. ****¾