VoicesofWrestling.com - Voices of Wrestling 2015 Match of the Year

Welcome to the fourth annual Voices of Wrestling Match of the Year Poll. Yesterday, we kicked off the countdown with a look at the poll’s origins, our record-breaking voter pool and our honorable mentions. Today, we start the Top 100 with a look at #100-50. As you’ll see, there’s an incredible diversity of matches in this countdown — you’ll find wrestling from Mexico, America, multiple Japanese promotions, American independents, intergender, cage matches, hardcore matches and incredible displays of technical wrestling.

The format of the matches is simple. The matches rank will appear in large numbers atop of the match, then you’ll see the combatants, the date, the promotion in which the match occurred and last but not least, total points the match received. In this total points we’ll also note the highest vote said match received. As a reminder, each voter was sent a ballot and was asked to vote for their 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.

Follow Voices of Wrestling’s 2015 Match of the Year countdown:

100

Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly
December 18
Ring of Honor
6 overall points (Highest Vote: 7th)

This match won’t get the love it deserves but it was fantastic…an absolute gem. How good is Kyle O’Reilly? -Damon McDonald

99

Roderick Strong vs. KUSHIDA
May 12
Ring of Honor
6 overall points (Highest Vote: 8th)

This is one of the matches I’m most looking forward to. They didn’t disappoint and tore the house down. We start with a battle for control. Kushida gets an early shine sequence. Strong cuts him off a dive by slamming him back 1st on the apron. Here Roddy just destroys his back. He even uses a Tarantula. Kushida is pretty great at selling the back. Kushida builds to his comeback. I love Kushida going after the arm. We see a hover board dive. Kushida is on fire. The guys build to a really hot finish with a lot of great nearfalls. The finish was a great payback to the back work on Kushida. -Pete Schirmacher

T-96

Mia Yim vs Eddie Kingston
August 14
AIW
7 overall points (Highest Vote: 4th)

Intergender Wrestling isn’t for everyone, but I like it when it’s done right. This was AIW’s second all-intergender show which in my opinion had no bad matches on it. Yim and Kingston beat the crap out of each other, not holding back, and it was amazing. Mia Yim is one of the best wrestlers in America, and Kingston has always been at the top of the food chain no matter where he goes, so together the two put on something amazing. This one is not for the weak of stomach, but for my money this was one of the best matches of 2015. -Jen

T-96

Alberto El Patron vs. Johnny Mundo
May 6
Lucha Underground
7 overall points (Highest Vote: 4th)

Two of the best glowers in the business, plus rhinestone pants, apron entanglement, and broken stairs? Bring Mundo back to the WWE and I will watch these two go at it all day. As long as they don’t hit one another in their beautiful faces. -Maia Nolan-Partnow

T-96

Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll
June 28
Revolution Pro Wrestling
7 overall points (Highest Vote: 4th)
 

Even better than their Jan 17, 2016 bout -Brian Elliot

95

Prince Puma vs. Mil Muertes
August 5
Lucha Underground
7 overall points (Highest Vote: 5th)

94

Young Bucks & AJ Styles vs Kazuchika Okada & Roppongi Vice
May 16
Ring of Honor
7 overall points (Highest Vote: 9th)
 

More than any other match this year, this was all out, non-stop action on a dizzying level. Impeccably timed, well paced and with some really fun exchanges in there (most notably anytime Styles and Okada came together as well as Okada’s failed attempt to stand up the The Bullet Club three on one), this was all magic. Not to mention the glorious overkill that was the finish. Some may look at this match and think “overkill” in a bad way, but when it’s this much much fun who the hell cares? When matches are as loaded with energy and joy as this was it’s hard to fault. -Garrett Kidney

T-90

KUSHIDA vs. Kyle O’Reilly
October 2
Revolution Pro Wrestling
8 overall points (Highest Vote: 3rd)

I enjoy a jaw-dropping series of spots as much as the next man but when you see a match that really feels like a struggle you know you’re onto a winner. That’s the perfect two word description for this match: a struggle. One of the things I care most about in a truly great match is flow, and this match had that in abundance. The whole match flowed together into one great masterpiece, with every hold feeling purposeful, every transition looking graceful and every momentum change being hard-fought. When I hear the words technical wrestling this is what I think of as the pinnacle. -Rob Reid

T-90

Virus vs. Avisman
April 12
Chilanga Mask
8 overall points (Highest Vote: 3rd) 

There may be nothing I enjoy more in this world than Virus doing his thing in the ring. Even when he has a less than quality dance partner just watching him work holds and transitions is the reason I love to watch wrestling. Give him someone like Avisman who is more than capable to trading holds and transitions and you have the wrestling I dream of. They work a match built on the idea of the importance of free space and how limiting free space for your opponent can cause problems for them. They are on one another like glue, and they hardly relinquish the equal amounts of pressure they are trying to put on one another. Virus doing his thing with someone who can hang with him is borderline mesmerizing, and that’s what happens here. -Bill Thompson

T-90

Myzteziz vs. el Hijo del Perro Aguayo
February 8
AAA
8 overall points (Highest Vote: 3rd) 

Mistico/Myzteziz/Caristico’s return to Mexico has mostly been about trying to revive the dream matches of 2009. This was the one that actually really worked. Perro and Myzteziz had fight right out of the days of the last boom period, but still vibrant enough to feel like it meant something relevant in 2015. The moves weren’t as important as the emotion both guys could pull out of the crowd, and it’s a match where the blood made a huge difference. This was only the build up match. I don’t want to think too much about what the big match would’ve been like. -thecubsfan

T-90

Kyle Matthews vs. Rush
July 11
Empire Wrestling Entertainment
8 overall points (Highest Vote: 3rd) 

The best match that less than 500 people have seen, this was the blowoff to a months long storyline involving the redneck hoss Rush, and Kyle Matthews who is best known as the top “technical wrestler” in Georgia. Not often associated with violent brawls, Matthews stepped up to the plate and hit a home run in that setting in a crazy match that included dives from ladders into the crowd, belt whipping, Run DMC shirts, thumbtacks, and a people fleeing from the bathroom as the door got busted down. A rare case where overkill worked because of the timing, setting, and storyline. Must see stuff.  -Dylan Hales






 

T-88

HARASHIMA & Ken Ohka vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yohei Komatsu
November 17
DDT
8 overall points (Highest Vote: 7th)

One of the more unique matches to take place this year. Tanahashi plays the heel while indie cult favourite Ken Ohka tries to stand up to him. Young Lion Komatsu gets to show more of his promising talent higher up on the card and went toe to toe with HARASHIMA who is one of the more reliable wrestlers in the Japanese indie scene. The DDT crowd bring the fire as they cheer for their wrestlers to beat the New Japan team and prove they are nothing to be sneered at. The end result is a very fun match. -Jamie O’Doherty 

T-88

Jay Briscoe vs Jay Lethal
June 19
Ring of Honor
8 overall points (Highest Vote: 7th)

I’m suffering from live bias here, I think, but being there in the building this match felt like an enormous deal, even to someone who’s ROH viewing in the past few years was very limited. Briscoe and Lethal put on a match that really hit the “big match/main event” style well, a match worthy of two championships on the line. By the time the match had ended it felt like you had seen something really important, because these two men made it feel that way from the build-up to the post-match. -John Carroll

87

Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay
October 3
Revolution Pro Wrestling
8 overall points (Highest Vote: 5th)

86

Masato Yoshino vs T-Hawk
July 20
Dragon Gate
9 overall points (Highest Vote: 2nd)

The great story of the proven hand in Yoshino against potential ace T-Hawk on the big stage. The big match feel along with the high quality of ringwork just seals the deal on this one. The other match of 2015 that had me on the edge of my seat watching it live. Neither man disappointed and the biggest show of 2015 in Dragon Gate ended with a bang. -ChampJulius 

85

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
February 11
WWE (NXT)
9 overall points (Highest Vote: 7th)

The build to this match was great. Sami Zayn, after several months of chasing and coming just that close to winning, finally won the NXT championship. After just mere minutes of his win, Zayn was attacked by longtime, newly debuted Kevin Owens. Sami Zayn returned weeks later and refused to wrestle another match unless it was against Kevin Owens and Owens refused to fight Zayn unless the championship was on the line. The fans watching knew 3 things; They felt sorry for and loved Sami Zayn; They hated Kevin Owens; They knew that this match was going to be great, and it was. These two obviously showed great chemistry together and brought out a fantastic match that told a fantastic story. As every match of the year should, this match was a highlight of 2015. -Ryan Davis

84

Minoru Suzuki vs. Naomichi Marufuji
December 23
Pro Wrestling NOAH
10 overall points (Highest Vote: 2nd)

It has been a long time since I was emotionally invested in a NOAH main event like this because nothing felt important. I didn’t think this match with a pretty obvious finish would get me this invested, however it did. One booking twist that added to the match was Killer Elite Squad defending their GHC Tag Team Titles right before the match which cast some doubts if Marufuji would really come out in the end. Not a lot, but some. Naomichi Marufuji as NOAH’s hero going into the FIGHT with the invader Minoru Suzuki who had been undefeated all year is a very basic formula many people had been critical about, however it worked. Not only did it work, it brought the otherwise very silent NOAH crowd onto their feet to scream from the top of their lungs. Minoru Suzuki tried to take Marufuji and NOAH down with everything he had, but the BRAVE hero fought back, even using Suzuki’s Gotch-Style Piledriver and secured the win for his promotion to keep it alive. This was a fight for survival it sure felt like one. -STRIGGA

83

Barbaro Cavernario vs. Titan
May 3
CMLL
10 overall points (Highest Vote: 5th)

It’s hard to believe when Titán embarked on winning the Mexican National Welterweight Title over a year and half prior he would imagine that he’d end up losing out to a Caveman, but alas life works in funny ways sometimes. This has been dropped sadly to a bit of a hidden gem status with casual fans after being pushed back with the worldwide popularity of the Dragon Lee vs Kamaitachi feud and it’s acclaimed matches. But trust me when I tell you this is every bit as good and in a lot of ways better with telling a story as well as just Cavernario’s style being an X factor as it’s not as based in flying, Titán was great in his role as well with his portion of the match being dominated by him trying to steal Cavernario’s signature moves. This battle of the former En Busca de un Idolo winners seemingly growing more heated the longer it went on. I especially love the finishing sequence as it’s as direct a callback as you can get being a reversal of their July 2014 title match (which would be a great idea to watch before this). Just a spectacular showing and a great MOTYC from my favorite Luchador and the Caveman who I’m not as enamored with as many, but brought his tip top best here. -Dylan Harris

82

Aero Star & Fenix vs Drago & Pentagon Jr
August 29
Pro Wrestling Guerilla
10 overall points (Highest Vote: 3rd)

This match said “Forget your psychology, forget your selling, and forget your rest holds. We’re gonna go out there and do cool sh*t and it’s going to be awesome.” The action in this one was incredible. I don’t think you can categorize a match like this as anything other than a spotfest. Bodies were flying everywhere and the crowd was absolutely electric. My words can never do a match like this justice, you need to see it for yourself to really understand why it ranks as one of the best of 2015. -Kelly Harrass 

81

Charlotte vs Becky Lynch vs Bayley vs Sasha Banks
February 11
WWE (NXT)
10 overall points (Highest Vote: 2nd)

All Four Horsewomen? STFU. GTFO. I want this again and again. -Maia Nolan-Partnow 

80

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Timothy Thatcher
August 15
EVOLVE
10 overall points (Highest Vote: 5th)

This was the King of the #Grapplefuck genre match right here as these guys just put on a goddamn master class on the mat working a tight style featuring lots of limb work and manipulation. I don’t think these two could have a bad match against each other and the way they control the ring when they are in there is a battle of not just physical action but mental action. Just a sublime match that I recommend everyone watch. -Kris Zellner

79

BxB Hulk vs Uhaa Nation
March 1
Dragon Gate
11 overall points (Highest Vote: 4th)

Emotion. That’s the word that best describes the greatness of this match. I fear that due to the sheer power of the post-match the match itself may be somewhat overlooked or forgotten but the performances bell-to-bell simply blew me away. I’m not somebody who often goes too crazy over Dream Gate matches, I often feel they drag and end up with overkill but this was the exception. I was engaged throughout and thought both men put on incredible performances. For me this was easily Uhaa’s best singles match in his entire career bar none, and the perfect match to end his Dragon Gate career on. -Rob Reid






T-77

HARASHIMA vs. Kota Ibushi
April 29
DDT
11 overall points (Highest Vote: 7th)

This was a rematch that headlined DDT’s big show at Saitama Arena in February. This match delivered in spades that match did not including HARASHIMA ever so lovingly dropping Ibushi on his dome and Ibushi not willingly to give up his top spot in the company. This match rules everyone. -Jahmale Hepburn

T-77

Drew Gulak vs Chris Hero
Mach 8
EVOLVE
11 overall points (Highest Vote: 8th)

The story of Hero as the elder statesman of indie grappling becoming appalled by the effort of Gulak was just wonderful. -Sam DiMascio

76

Vampiro vs Pentagon Jr
August 5
Lucha Underground
11 overall points (Highest Vote: 5th)
 

The storyselling, psychology, and physicality were great. It led to a new story and helped create a new star for Lucha Underground. -Brad Shepard 

75

Chris Hero vs. Timothy Thatcher
August 29
Pro Wrestling Guerilla
12 overall points (Highest Vote: 4th)

Chris Hero has wrestled Timothy Thatcher two times previous to this, and both matches were worked more to Thatcher’s sensibilities. This time out it is Thatcher who wrestles a Hero match and the end result is unique and exciting to watch. Hero lays in his shots, escalating the violence minute after minute. But Thatcher is right there with him, and I’m fully convinced that in the moment when he Slapped Hero to the ground in the corner he became a made man in Pro Wrestling Guerilla. A hard hitting affair, that makes both men look tough as nails and like two of the best wrestlers on the planet. -Bill Thompson 

74

John Cena vs. Cesaro
June 29
WWE
12 overall points (Highest Vote: 4th)

Magic. This match was magic. This match is why we suffer through the three hours(THREE HOURS) every Monday night when we really don’t need to, to see something great like this. At this point, Cena had already been on a roll having great matches for the United States Championship and Cesaro is well, Cesaro. Cesaro knew that this could be his moment to make a name for himself if he hadn’t already and John Cena knew that Cesaro was going to outshine him if he didn’t perform at his very best. So the two went out there and killed it. Watch it, love it. -Ryan Davis

73

Jimmyz vs MAD BLANKEY
August 16
Dragon Gate
12 overall points (Highest Vote: 3rd)

Dragon Gate is well-known for its amazing multi-person tags, but few times do they feel more important than when a unit’s very life is at stake. Both the Jimmyz and MAD BLANKEY had survived a Unit Must Disband match a few weeks earlier (with the poor Millenials going down instead) only to shockingly end up back against each other, this time with no other unit to take the fall. You have to understand some context here: both units had been around well over 3 years, which is practically an eternity by modern DG unit standards. MAD BLANKEY was possibly the most popular DG heel unit of all time, with an enormous fan base behind them. The Jimmyz, on the other hand, were probably the most popular current unit, period. So two immensely popular and long-serving units clashing with one of them having to disband was high stakes indeed, and the match lived up to it: fast-paced and exciting, everything you could want out of a DG multi-person elimination match. In the end, K-ness’ surprise turn (which made total sense if you listened to his post-match explanation) helped the Jimmyz come out on top and survive, while MB’s demise would pave the way for the coming rise of VerserK. It was an important turning point in DG’s year, and a fantastic match to boot. -John Carroll 

72

Roderick Strong vs. Mike Bailey
June 26
Pro Wrestling Guerilla
12 overall points (Highest Vote: 2nd)

There were many matches that were technically and psychologically superior to Strong/Bailey in 2015 – in fact, both men had better technical showcases and psychologically sound matches throughout the year. However, there were far fewer bouts as blazingly hot in terms of crowd reaction and in-ring intensity. Strong made Bailey on the night, propelling him from the level of a plucky new recruit with some buzz coming off a match with Biff Busick, to the gates of indie stardom in what was, ignoring Bailey’s still contrived finisher, the height of my indie wrestling viewing in 2015. -Ryan Clingman

71

Dragon Lee vs. Kamaitachi
March 20
CMLL
12 overall points (Highest Vote: 6th)

In what was probably the best in-ring feud of the year in Mexico this was the best of their singles matches as both men put everything on the line here to save their masks. Kamaitachi was basically just a guy before this match although was starting to impress people working against DL II but this match gave him a boost and once he lost the mask and was able to show his charisma without it, he was in for a solid year. -Kris Zellner

70

Jimmy Rave vs Anthony Henry
August 7
Empire Wrestling Entertainment
12 overall points (Highest Vote: 6th)

There are so many other matches that deserve to be on the Top 10, but for the “vanity spot”, this one really stood out for me after culling the list over & over to get down to that final lineup. I’ve been a fan of Rave for well over a decade and he always turns it up. Between Wildside, ROH, TNA and NJPW, he has cemented his position among the best. Henry, on the other hand, was a bit of a mystery to me, but holy shit does he deserve to be in the same ring as Rave. This was a technical wrestling fest, full of solid work , chain wrestling & even a dose of what the cool kids are calling “grapplefuck” these days. That straight jacket surfboard reversal from Henry! Oh my God. So much back & forth between the two, while managing to avoid the tired “we do movez” tropes that I see in a lot of indie wrestling. Both did a solid job of telling the story. -skillcrane

69

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
July 20
New Japan Pro Wrestling
12 overall points (Highest Vote: 8th)

First night of the G1 Climax had a stacked card, but this was a wonderful cherry on top. Ibushi acting every part like he belonged here, in the main event, like he deserved to beat Tanahashi; throwing casual deadlift Germans on the apron. The last few minutes of this match were a complete joy, I was on the edge of my seat. -Ru Gunn

68

Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe
December 16
WWE (NXT)
13 overall points (Highest Vote: 4th)
 

I got into independent wrestling during the time of Samoa Joe as ROH World Champion, and this match was a complete throwback to that time. I really felt as though I was looking at the Samoa Joe of 2005; the world beater, the ass kicking machine and the man who owned the independent scene in the first half of the 2000s. I could have seen that match in the Rexplex or the New Yorker hotel ballroom and it would have fit like a glove. -Ben Gordon

67

The Young Bucks & Super Dragon vs Andrew Everett, Biff Busick, Trevor Lee
August 29
Pro Wrestling Guerilla
13 overall points (Highest Vote: 4th)

I’m not sure that I can really explain the fascination with Super Dragon, but this was the first Super Dragon match in over three years and while he wasn’t 100%, my god, Super Dragon.

Everyone was busting their asses in this match and the end result was an absolutely insane six-man tag that I won’t forget anytime soon. Plus, SUPER DRAGON. -Dave Walsh 

 






 

T-65

T-Hawk vs CIMA vs Shingo Takagi vs KZY vs YAMATO vs Ryo “Jimmy” Saito
May 5
Dragon Gate
14 overall points (1 First Place Vote)

The best cage match of the year across any promotion is once again Dragon Gate’s annual cage match at their “Dead or Alive” show, effortlessly and seamlessly integrating high-flying/grappling/striking with outlandish gimmickry/interference/general hijinks. Neither diminishes the other; the drama is just as real as the jokes because both are timed and executed so well such that everything lands (no easy task). For all its convoluted rules (“you have to score a pinfall or submission before you can attempt to escape by way of retrieving a flag; last person left loses their hair) it’s clear that the stakes are high despite no title being wagered. The one who ultimately loses is the biggest star nobody expected to; a definitive herald of a new age of aces. Dragon Gate embodies all that is great and wonderful about “professional wrestling,” and this is the distillation of “Dragon Gate” into a single match. This may be too “out there” for many, so I’ll note their singles and tag matches rival (and often outshine) the best of America, Europe, Mexico, and the rest of Japan. If only Dragon Gate didn’t make it so hard for us to watch their current product and virtually impossible to watch their past shows, perhaps they’d get the buzz that New Japan/PWG/Lucha Underground receive among English-language viewers. -Daryl Surat

T-65

Drew Galloway vs Johnny Gargano
March 28
WWNLive
14 overall points (1 First Place Vote)

In this match two of WWN’s greatest champions went at it to prove who truly was at the top of WWN. They had a great dramatic and highly entertaining match that with the story and wrestling combined I think deserves this spot. -Josh Masterson

64

Will Ospreay vs Jimmy Havoc
July 26
PROGRESS Wrestling
14 overall points (Highest Vote: 3rd)

Though the match benefits more from having been through the elaborate near-2 year story of Jimmy Havoc’s war with PROGRESS over the championship, as a standalone match, Havoc/Ospreay served up plenty of drama, and a pure story of courage standing up against evil that very few were able to tell in 2015.

There’s marks against it, such as the run-ins, having one of the owners come in to be the replacement referee, and having Ospreay kick out of a Burning Hammer onto a steel chair. Throw those nitpicks out, and strip the match down to its bare essentials – the demonic champion wants to end his plucky challenger for good, the underdog challenger goes through hell to come out on top – and no wonder why 700 hardcore fans in London went crazy throughout the match. Being part of that crowd myself, nothing else made me feel that way throughout the year. It was the perfect cap to excellent long-term storytelling that the big promotions struggle to comprehend. -Martin Bentley

63

AJ Styles vs. Jimmy Rave
May 18
ProSouth
15 overall points (Highest Vote: 3rd)

A match I attended live, this had the vibe of a traveling NWA championship match from the territory era, with Styles in the role of Flair, and Rave in the role of the hometown star. Going 25 minutes, in front of a small crowd, in a cramped and brutally hot building, in my view the two best wrestlers of 2015 worked well above what was required of them in the situation and put on a legitimately great match. -Dylan Hales

62

Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
October 25
WWE
15 overall points (Highest Vote: 2nd)

I was not the least bit excited about a return feud between Taker and Lesnar. I had very low expectations for this match, and ended up being blown away. Hell in a Cell proved to really be the difference maker in getting people to care about this program as well. Originally, most thought the Cell would hurt the match, but it ended up improving it drastically. Brock and Taker had an all out brawl and even bled all over the place, which is a rarity these days in WWE. -Al McMahon

61

The Young Bucks & Roderick Strong vs Tommy End, Zack Sabre Jr & Marty Scurll
August 28
Pro Wrestling Guerilla
15 overall points (Highest Vote: 6th)

60

Johnny Gargano vs Timothy Thatcher
November 6
EVOLVE
15 overall points (Highest Vote: 5th)

I’m not a Gargano fun. That much has been well documented. But starting with this match and his match with Drew Gulak the next night, he won me over. This was Johnny Gargano having to bring himself to work the new EVOLVE style of grappling. This wasn’t Dragon Gate USA anymore. CIMA wasn’t coming anytime soon. This was Johnny Gargano face to face with the best technical wrestler in the world, and he more than lived up to the challenge. The limb work from both work was tremendous, and I’m just saddened that more people probably didn’t see this. -Charles Humphreys

59

Katsuyori Shibata vs Kazushi Sakuraba
July 5
New Japan Pro Wrestling
15 overall points (Highest Vote: 6th)

New Japan exhibited much patience in waiting nearly three years to run a singles match between natural opponents Kazushi Sakuraba and Katsuyori Shibata. Even when the singles match became inevitable earlier in the year, the promotion took its time and allowed the two wrestlers a multi-month period to become familiar with each other in multi-man tag matches. That patience paid off in the form of a very fun match that was perhaps a different submissions-based match than what one might expect between these two. Rather than attempt to work a shoot style match in a post-shoot style world, Shibata and Sakuraba wrestled a match that had a familiar New Japan feel to it while still incorporating intricate and interesting submissions. The long build towards the singles match also proved fruitful in the form of several key spots that they teased during the build and paid off here. In an ideal world, this is what more modern New Japan matches would look like – compact, stiff, and with a heavy focus on interesting submissions. -Paul Cooke

58

Joe Doering vs. Go Shiozaki
January 3
All Japan Pro Wrestling
16 overall points (Highest Vote: 3rd) 

The start to Go Shiozaki’s tumultuous year was a thunderous one in Korakuen on an evening before Wrestle Kingdom 9. Because of that circumstance, this match was a bit overlooked by many but certainly should not be slept on. Triple Crown champ Joe Doering came off as a total unstoppable force for the smaller, quicker and craftier Shiozaki to overcome. A match that at one point saw Doering take 3 straight DDTs and get right up from them ended in appropriate final battle like manner when Go gave a drooling Doering so many lariats that he could no longer stand. An incredible atmosphere in Korakuen for this heavy hitting and dramatic title change. -Lawrence O’Brien

57

Dr. Cerebro vs. Virus
August 16
Chilanga Mask
16 overall points (Highest Vote: 2nd)

A match that is basically made for me, the eternal Virus fan. Virus again gets to do his thing with a worthy opponent in Dr. Cerebro. This has the trapping of a Maestros match, but it’s not quite that. It’s a mat clinic from two Luchadores who are at home on the mat. They work sequences that are built on the idea of continuous flow. An Arm Wringer isn’t just an Arm Wringer, it’s the beginning of a sequence where body contact will never be broken and Cerebro will end up being Arm Dragged into the ring and almost locked into a Figure Four Leglock. Virus and Cerebro flow from one move to the next, never letting up, never letting go, and providing the sort of Lucha mat work that I cherish so very much. -Bill Thompson

56

Lucha Dragons vs The New Day vs The Usos
December 13
WWE
16 overall points (Highest Vote: 6th)

It took one match for Kalisto to not only get himself out of the doghouse but to ensure he would be a part of WWE lore for years to come. That Salida del Sol through the ladder will be shown and remembered for a very long time. Of course, this match doesn’t get the #6 spot because of just that one spot. All nine of these men destroyed their bodies, many times leaving you asking, “WHO WOULD YOU DO THAT?!?” Well, they did it and they did it over and over again. And it does seem fitting that the match would end because of a trombone being thrown. -Charles Humphreys 

55

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins
August 23
WWE
17 overall points (Highest Vote: 2nd)

54

Shingo Takagi vs. CIMA
December 27
Dragon Gate
17 overall points (Highest Vote: 3rd)
 

Since Shingo Takagi beat Masato Yoshino for the Dream Gate Title in July which was followed by a great heel turn the leader of VerserK ran roughshod over the Dragon Gate veterans. His run started with a very good match against Don Fujii, continued with an even better one against Masaaki Mochizuki, took a bump against Gamma and bounced back with the Final Gate main event against CIMA. Just when it seemed CIMA and Takagi would maybe go into the direction of their 2013 match that dragged and became incredibly boring they picked it up and showed that they learned from their mistakes. If you had been watching every of Takagi’s defenses you were rewarded because near the end of the match CIMA started his comeback using the moves of his peers Fujii and Mochizuki. The beauty of Shingo’s reign however is that he is a complete dick who cuts off every hope the fans have a babyface dethroning him. Once more he was the dickhead and once more he destroyed the hope of every fan who was rooting for CIMA. After Shingo won the arena went dead silent and Big Boss Shingo had done it again. -STRIGGA

53

Volador Jr vs. Flamita
June 14
Cara Lucha
17 overall points (Highest Vote: 2nd)

This is a really good match and I can’t find the words to adequately describe why I like it so much, not now and not when I was reviewing it. It’s a dream match that lives up to the dream, it’s getting to see Volador in his natural role (Parka style jerk) against a fun underdog hero who actually pulls it off, it’s a testament to the strange landscape of lucha libre in 2015 where the tecnico ace of CMLL loses cleanly to an indie guy who’s eventually headed to AAA. This was a year of change in the landscape and hierarchy of lucha libre, and the match acted it out – big time star of major promotion is flipped on his head by a young upstart. It wasn’t easy, and – like this match – it might just be an isolated moment which doesn’t go anywhere in the big picture, but it was definitely remarkable in it’s moment. So was this match. -thecubsfan

52

AJ Styles vs. Will Ospreay
February 15
Revolution Pro Wrestling
18 overall points (Highest Vote: 2nd)

I utterly loved the story of this match. It wasn’t your typical back and forth 50/50 main event, this match managed to be compelling throughout all while presenting AJ Styles as without a shadow of the doubt the superior competitor throughout. Styles dominated the bulk of this match, and that allowed Ospreay to play to his strengths with him constantly fighting from underneath and having the crowd in the palm of his hand whenever a glimmer of hope appeared and he mounted a comeback. Styles did a terrific job of dissecting Ospreay, breaking him down from the opening bell to the inevitable Styles Clash to finish it. To have a guy dominate a big match doesn’t sound so ground-breaking but it really felt different here, and more than that it felt special. -Rob Reid 

51

Will Ospreay vs. Mark Haskins
September 6
PROGRESS Wrestling
18 overall points (Highest Vote: 4th)
 

This statement may not be met with fondness by avid World Of Sport fans but in my opinion, this is the greatest match between two British wrestlers ever. These two men redefined what is possible inside a wrestling ring with one of the most innovative, well executed matches in years. Haskins has reinvented himself and is a man to watch in 2016. -Alan Counihan

50

Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay vs. AJ Styles
October 2
Revolution Pro Wrestling
18 overall points (Highest Vote: 3rd)

When AJ Styles, arguably the best wrestler on planet earth right now, is the third best wrestler in a match through no fault of his own you know you’re watching something special. Marty Scurll, who’s developed and evolved by leaps and bounds in the last two years, delivered a world class performance as the glue that helped hold this match together. Will Ospreay was a pure bundle of energy including a sequence composed of a tope over the turnbuckle, a through the turnbuckle DDT and a Red Arrow that was easily the most awesome sequence I’ve ever seen in person at a wrestling show. All three men looked fantastic, the crowd were going nuts, it avoided an over-reliance on the tired two in, one out format of triple threat matches, the finish was novel, and I was so excited afterwards I was giddily bouncing up and down with excitement for a good twenty minutes – I adored this match. -Garrett Kidney

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