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

Welcome to the fourth 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 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 was 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, we see end of year media/critic polls ranking the top films of the year. There is nothing like those critic polls we see in film that has ever existed for wresting matches. With that in mind, we sent ballots to dozens of journalists, bloggers, radio hosts, podcasters, experts, 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 for the 2014 poll, with 67 voters voting for 156 different matches, from 35 different promotions.

This year, we’re proud to roll out a poll that 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.

We’ll get to the matches later. First, the 97 voters (note – some voters chose to not include websites/affiliations and/or Twitter handles)

NameWebsite/AffiliationTwitter Username
Izzac Mackenrothwrestlingwithwords.com@Izzacwrestles
TJ Hawke411mania.com@TJHawke411
Larry Csonka411mania.com@LarryCsonka411
Damon McDonaldNew Japan PuroCast@purocast
Tanner TeatWrestlingWithWords.com@Tanner1495
Sean SedorThe Wrestling HUB Reviews Blog@SASedor2994
Nathan Neumannhttp://www.EyesOnTheRing.com@Headliner5
Chris CharltonJapanese Audio Wrestling/The LAW@reasonjp
Lawrence O'BrienWrestlingWithWords.com@lob_3
Trask BryantWrestlingWithWords.com@traskbryant
Dylan Harrispuroresuspirit.net@DylanZeroPS
Bryn Edwards GunnVoices of Wrestling@LosBryngobernables
Al McMahonWrestlingWithWords.com@amcmahon_www
Dave MusgraveWrestling Culture@puropotsy
Kevin Pantoja411mania.com@thekevstaaa
Sean Ross SappWrestlingInc.com@SeanRossSapp
Martin BentleyFighting Spirit Magazine@themib
Wyatt Beougher411mania.com@webeougher
Dave Walshhttp://www.liverkick.com@dvewlsh
Kelly HarrassPanelsOnPages.com@comicgeekelly
Robert McCarronVoices of Wrestling@ShakeThemRopes
Charles Humphreysfreewrestling.wordpress.com@TheFrayMovement
Bill ThompsonWrestlingWithWords.com@MOTYPod
Danny KuchlerWrestlingWithWords.com@GetintheRing123
Alex WendlandVoices of Wrestling@AlexWendland
Jamie O'DohertyDramatic DDT@JamieOD/@DramaticDDT
Arnold Furioushistoryofwrestling.weebly.com@arnoldfurious
Pete SchirmacherPro Wrestling Only/Place To Be Nation@titansowrestlin
Bryan RoseVoices of Wrestling/Wrestling Observer@br26
Greg ParksPro Wrestling Torch@gregmparks
Brian UbbenPWPonderings.com@BrianDaBrain
Andrew RichVoices of Wrestling@AndrewTRich
John CarrollVoices of Wrestling@toshanshuinla
Kris ZellnerPro Wrestling Only/Place To Be Nation@KrisZellner
Case LoweVoices of Wrestling@_InYourCase
Jason MartinCagesideSeats.com/WGFX-FM 104.5 The Zone - Nashville, TN - Squared Circle Radio@GuyNamedJason/@ZoneWrestling
Rob ReidVoices of Wrestling@TheRDouble
Michael AndersonGet in the Ring@Beastmike
Casey Goss@CargoShorts4Lyf
Paul CookeCross Arm Breaker Blog @stomperspc
Jahmale HepburnRealHero@RealHero12089
Ru GunnVoices of Wrestling@ru_gunn
Brad ShepardVoices of Wrestling@TheBradShepard
Warren TaylorVoices of Wrestling@WarrenETaylor
Sean FlynnVoices of Wrestling@spiffie6123
Dean KnickerbockerDKP Show@dknick
Aaron BentleyVoices of Wrestling@AaronBentleyVoW
Reece Alan ThebergePWPonderings.com@RVDinator
Oliver CourtVoices of Wrestling & Tag Rope Magazine@AnotherOli
Dylan Diot411mania.com@DoubleDD121
Garrett KidneyVoices of Wrestling@garrettkidney
Jeff Martinhttp://heat.rentathugcomics.com@HEATcomic
Ryan Clingmanwww.cubedcirclewrestling.com@RyanClingman
Joe GagneVoices of Wrestling & Funtime Arcade, Joe vs. the World@joegagne
Brandon HowardVoices of Wrestling@adecorativedrop
Darren Broomfieldhttps://www.tumblr.com/blog/dynamopop@dynamoshels
Iain SeatonDKP Show@bme_87
ChampJuliusSee You on Thunder Podcast@ChampJulius
Jeff HawkinsVoices of Wrestling@Crapgame13
Alan CounihanDKP/ F4W / FSM / Fightgameblog@Alan4L
Chris BaconPWPonderings.com@cbacon87
Cain A. KnightCagesideseats.com
STRIGGACagematch.net, Purolove.com, MLW.com@STRIGGA
Aussie GregAnswering the Ten Count podcast@answertheten
CM FloschCAGEMATCH.de@cmflosch
Alex GiardiniVoices of Wrestling@mutascale_
Morten VHhttp://stablewars.com/@mortenvh
Daryl Surathttp://www.animeworldorder.com@DarylSurat
Ryan Davishttp://kowempire.wordpress.com@RyanDavisSpeaks
Sam DiMascioWe Don't Know Wrestling on Wrestling With Words@concrete1992
Steven GrahamPro Wrestling Only/Place To Be Nation@StevenGrahamTWS
Maia Nolan-Partnow@myster
Matt GerardiThe A.V. Club@gerardi
Kevin WilsonJoshiCity.com@PuroCentral
Billy Carpenter4CRwrestling.com@4CR_Billy/@4CRadio
Josh Mastersonhttps://m.youtube.com/channel/UCqDijgITqYrLXgjmVA56kSA@TNAisamazing
Mike FalconeDKP Show@mikevsphilly
Josh KatzkerThe Brothers of Destruction Podcast/Gator Pit Podcast@AmplifiedtoRock
Brian ElliottFighting Spirit Magazine@FSM_Editor
Dylan HalesPlaceToBeNation, Wrestling Culture & www.cubedcirclewrestling.com@DylanWaco
Taylor C. MitchellVoices of Wrestling@MrTCMitchell
Hugh LittleSheet Sandwich@hughlittlesheet
Ben Gordonwww.hitbox.tv/IRMStream@BigBen213
Sean GarmerWrestling 2 the MAX Podcast, 411mania.com@wrestling2max, @W2MNetwork
Mike SemperviveWrestling Observer/Figure Four@Sempervive
Boxing Robes aka LarryVoices of Wrestling
Rich KraetschVoices of Wrestling@voiceswrestling
Joe LanzaVoices of Wrestling@voiceswrestling


How The Voting Works

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.

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

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

As an example, if two matches are tied in 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 points, and remain tied by appearing on the same number of ballots, the match with the highest singular vote will win the tiebreaker. Each voter was also encouraged to add short blurbs explaining why they voted for each match. These blurbs are what will give our articles flavor as we release the results.

All worked matches in the world that took place between January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015 were eligible.

Our long term goal is to become the most comprehensive, inclusive, 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 and putting ourselves over. Here are the the best 199 matches of 2015! (Note – A small handful of match votes needed to be excluded for various reasons, either due to ineligibility or unclear distinction)

We’ll begin with a look at the honorable mentions and follow each day with a new section of matches until we reveal our Top 10 on Friday, January 29. Again, we’ll begin with our honorable mentions which are all matches that failed to make our Top 100 but still received votes. 

1 Point

MatchDatePromotionOverall PointsHighest Vote
Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy vs Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards1/16TNA110th
Fred Yehi vs. Slim J3/28Anarchy110th
Masato Tanaka vs. Shingo3/29Zero-1110th
Triple H vs Sting3/29WWE110th
Kazuchika Okada vs Bad Luck Fale4/5NJPW110th
Akira Tozawa vs Shingo Takagi5/8DG110th
Drago vs. Fénix vs. Laredo Kid vs. Daga vs. Steve Pain vs. Aerostar vs. Bengala vs. Súper Nova vs. Súper Fly vs. Hijo del Fantasma6/14AAA110th
KUSHIDA vs Kenny Omega7/5NJPW110th
Tim Donst vs NIck Gage7/10AIW110th
Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoshihiro Takayama7/18NOAH110th
Akira Tozawa vs. Eita7/20DG110th
Kazuchika Okada vs Hirooki Goto8/1NJPW110th
Rey Mysterio vs. Myzteziz8/9AAA110th
Drew Galloway vs Mike Bailey8/29PWG110th
Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani vs DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko9/23Stardom110th
Madison Eagles vs Su Yung10/2SHINE110th
AJ Styles vs Kazuchika Okada10/12NJPW110th
Volador Jr. vs. La Sombra10/30CMLL110th
George Gatton vs. Dan O'Hare10/31Inter Species Wrestling110th
Aerostar, Australian Suicide, Fireball vs Daga, Hijo de Pirata Morgan, Steve Pain11/6AAA110th
Cesaro vs. Roman Reigns11/16WWE110th
Chris Hero vs Pentagon Jr11/18AAW110th
Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne11/22TCW110th
Daisuke vs. Tatsuhiko Yoshino12/5GUTS World110th
Michinoku Pro Great Space War12/10Michinoku Pro110th
Sheamus vs Roman Reigns12/14WWE110th
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady vs. Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson12/16WWE (NXT)110th

“The King of Gate tournament has been very good to Dragon Gate fans in recent years. Last year, T-Hawk and Akira Tozawa lit up Korakuen Hall, and the year before, Shingo Takagi and Ricochet had a classic to close out the tournament. This year, it was Tozawa and his then stablemate, Shingo Takagi, who wowed the Korakuen faithful and delivered one of my favorite matches of the year. Takagi’s offense was something to behold here. Everything he did looked like it hurt Tozawa so, so much. Tozawa, who I can safely call the best babyface in wrestling, put the crowd firmly behind him and with the support of those people, he was able to catch Takagi by surprise and roll him up for the pin. A match that very much represents the “Dragon Gate style” that some people hate, and those people, sadly, are missing out. This match was wonderful. Most years, this would be a Top 5 contender. This year, it squeaks onto my ballot at #10.” -Case Lowe on Akira Tozawa vs. Shingo Takagi (5/8)

“Probably the most insane match of the year and I use the word insane by its literal definition. The kind of match that makes Chikara, DDT and Inter Species Wrestling all go “that’s a bit much.” You have a wrestling match(?) featuring a bunch of Star Wars characters, Superman, Ultraman and ET. Superman no sells everything. Then C3PO is a dick to ET. Then a wrestler in a mankini shows up out of nowhere. Then the ring gets deconstructed as the match goes on. Then Sasuke does his annual “Why the fuck would you do that?!?” bump. Twice! The poor nutjob does a Swanton Bomb inside a barrel and then gets powerbombed onto the steel ring frame. It’s a bizarre, unbelievable and wonderful thing that exists and must be seen.” -Jamie O’Doherty on Michinoku Pro Great Space War 12/10

“This match was the sixth of a best of five series (yes, you read that right), and the conclusion to a great in-ring rivalry that started in late 2014, and would end up being the last great in ring feud in Anarchy history. As one might expect, the match was filled with callbacks to the previous five encounters (rewarding those who had watched the series), but even as a stand alone match it was excellent. Combining sound psychology, dynamic spots, and snug mat work, this match was the prefect end to the series, and helped put Fred Yehi on the map.” -Dylan Hales on Slim J vs. Fred Yehi (3/28)

2-6 Points

MatchDatePromotionOverall PointsHighest Vote
Jimmy Susumu vs BxB Hulk2/5DG65th
Marty Scurll vs. Zack Sabre Jr.5/25PROGRESS65th
Chris Hero vs. Trevor Lee5/30EVOLVE65th
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tetsuya Naito7/24NJPW65th
Ethan Page vs Allysin Kay8/14AIW65th
AJ Styles vs Michael Elgin vs Adam Cole vs Roderick Strong9/18ROH65th
New Day, Bad News Barrett & Sheamus vs. Ryback, The Usos & Lucha Dragons11/23WWE65th
Joe Graves vs Timothy Thatcher11/28PREMIER65th
The Briscoes vs. The Kingdom2/21ROH57th
Akira Tozawa vs Kzy2/28DG56th
Misaki Ohata vs LuFisto4/12SHIMMER56th
Akito vs Shigehiro Irie5/17DDT56th
Frankie Pickard vs Joe Gacy7/1CZW56th
Chris Hero vs Timothy Thatcher7/11EVOLVE56th
Kevin Owens vs. John Cena7/19WWE56th
Sting vs Seth Rollins9/20WWE56th
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Damian O'Connor10/2RPW56th
Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena10/25WWE56th
Matt Cage vs. Shane Mercer12/11IWA-MS56th
Big Daddy Walter & Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Axel Dieter Jr.12/11wXw56th
Jimmy Rave vs. Kyle Matthews1/29Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment47th
Ricochet vs. Matt Sydal2/27PWG47th
Will Ospreay vs Zack Sabre Jr5/25PROGRESS49th
LuFisto vs Heidi Lovelace5/30Infinity Pro47th
Masato Tanaka vs Fujita Hayato7/16Zero-147th
Daisuke Sekimoto vs Yuji Okabayashi7/20BJW48th
Roderick Strong vs Jay Lethal7/24ROH49th
The Mack vs Cage7/29LU47th
Katsuyori Shibata vs Hiroshi Tanahashi8/8NJPW47th
Kazuchika Okada vs Roderick Strong8/22ROH48th
La Sombra/Rush/Dr. Wagner Jr. vs Atlantis/Volador Jr./LA Park8/28CMLL47th
Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori vs Kento Miyahara & Go Shiozaki8/29AJPW47th
Moose vs. Cedric Alexander9/18ROH47th
Jason Jordan & Chad Gable vs Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa10/28WWE (NXT)47th
Drew Gulak vs Johnny Gargano11/7EVOLVE47th
Tommy End vs. Big Daddy Walter11/20Tetsujin Shoot Style47th
Kenny Omega vs. Mike Bailey12/11PWG47th
Roderick Strong vs Kyle O'Reilly2/21ROH38th
Angelico, Son of Havok, Ivelisse vs Bael, Cortez Castro, Mr Cisco2/22LU38th
Masato Tanaka & Takashi Sugiura vs Diasuke Sekimoto & Kohei Sato3/1Zero-138th
Samoa Joe vs ACH3/13ROH38th
Trevor Lee vs. Mikey Bailey4/3PWG38th
Chris Hero vs Tommy End4/3PWG38th
Athena vs Mia Yim4/11SHIMMER38th
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hirooki Goto5/3NJPW38th
Adam Cole vs. AJ Styles5/12ROH38th
Jay Briscoe vs. Bobby Fish5/13ROH38th
Daisuke Sekimoto, Masato Tanaka & Takashi Sugiura vs. HARASHIMA, Yuji Hino & Yuji Okabayashi6/30BJW39th
Johnny Mundo vs. Alberto El Patron8/5LU38th
Biff Busick vs Timoth Thatcher8/16EVOLVE39th
Zack Sabre Jr vs Ricochet8/29PWG39th
HARASHIMA vs. Yukio Sakaguchi10/25DDT38th
Twin Towers vs Strong BJ10/29BJW38th
La Sombra vs Rush11/13CMLL38th
Meiko Satomura vs. Kairi Hojo12/23STARDOM38th
Mia Yim vs Kiyoko Kimura4/11SHIMMER29th
Ivelisse/Son of Havoc/Angelico vs. Big Ryck/The Mack/Killshot vs. King Cuerno/Cage/Texano (vs. The Crew)4/22LU29th
Drew Galloway vs. Tommy End4/26ICW29th
John Cena vs Sami Zayn5/4WWE29th
Volador Jr. vs Mephisto5/8CMLL29th
Kairi Hojo vs. Mayu Iwatani5/17STARDOM29th
Yohei Komatsu vs Jushin Thunder Liger5/22NJPW29th
AJ Styles vs. Katsuyori Shibata7/20NJPW29th
Seth Rollins vs. John Cena7/27WWE29th
Jimmyz vs MAD BLANKEY vs Millenials8/6DG29th
Michael Elgin vs Hirooki Goto8/12NJPW29th
Io Shirai vs. Mayu Iwatani8/23STARDOM29th
Mike Bailey vs AR Fox9/12CZW29th
Madison Eagles vs Nicole Savoy10/11SHIMMER29th
Finn Balor vs. Apollo Crews11/4WWE (NXT)29th
Tommaso Ciampa vs Zack Sabre Jr12/6PROGRESS29th
Roy Wilkins vs. Trevor Lee vs. Brad Attitude vs. Lance Lude vs. Chet Sterling vs. John Skyler12/26CWF Mid-Atlantic28th

“I put this as my #9 but on my personal favorite list this was top 3. It’s pretty much a one-man show by Volador. Mephisto does his part always being in the right place at the right time but this is all about Volador putting on a display of how to be the ultimate tecnico/babyface. He’s so great that at one point a young girl hugs him after a dive, moments after a regular front row old man who barely moves or smiles puts in the effort to sit up and shake Volador’s hand after a dive. That is the rarest of rare in Arena Mexico. CMLL, and wrestling in general for that matter, would be better off if tecnicos like this existed in bunches.” -Rob Viper on Mephisto vs. Volador Jr (5/8)

“This was the culmination of the previous matches in AIW 2014 and at the SHIMMER ChickFight iPPV on 3/28/15 these two had together. They had garnered praise from fans so Dave Prazak decided to up the ante by having this a two out of three falls. The atmosphere was electric and the battle hard fought. Given this was to be Athena’s last SHIMMER weekend prior to being signed with WWE, there was no better way for her to be sent off than by wrestling Mia Yim – the two debuted the same weekend for SHIMMER in September of 2010, Yim on the pre-show SPARKLE, Athena on the main tapings. Their journeys have intertwined since then and it was a fitting farewell to pit the Wrestling Goddess against the War Queen.” -Jen on Athena vs. Mia Yim (4/11)

Shibata’s elevation to main event status in 2016 will be out of necessity, but it started here. A culmination of Tana and Shibata’s arc, with great callbacks to Fujinami and Inoki for the hardcores.” -Chris Charleton on Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata (8/8)

Seth Rollins vs. Sting: I vote based on what pulled me in the most during the year, and this match pulled me in like almost no other. As this begins to look like Sting’s final match, while the injury is unfortunate, it is heartening that after years of desultory performances in TNA, he went out with a stellar performance worthy of a (WWE) Hall of Fame Career. -Sean Flynn

Marty Scurll vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: This was without a doubt my European match of the year and also the funniest match I’ve seen all year. Some comedy spots had me laughing so hard that I almost laughed tears and not only the comedy spots were convincing, but also the serious chain and ground based wrestling Sabre and Scurll presented here was fantastic. Changing from comedy spots to serious pro-wrestling doesn’t work for many matches, but these two have such a rich history with one another that they made it work and more so exactly this mix of comedy and seriousness made the match special. The PROGRESS fans proved to be an amazing crowd once more as they not only called the Chickenwing vs. Armbar story as the match started, but they also created a very special, familiar atmosphere for the confrontation of former tag team partners. The story the fans called was of importance throughout the match and also provided the framework for the finish of the match. -STRIGGA

Check back tomorrow for the next listing of matches, all leading to Friday when we announce the Top 10!

Follow the 2015 Match of the Year project at https://www.voicesofwrestling.com/category/columns/2015-match-of-the-year/ and discuss it on our forums at https://www.voicesofwrestling.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=844&p=17413#p17413