Every month, our own Dan Niles compiles his personal 20 Best Matches list from around the world, from North America to Europe to Japan. Some are obvious best matches choices, some are dark horses, but they’re always fun to find some matches you may have missed the previous month! (DISCLAIMER: This list is subjective and is compiled exclusively by Dan Niles; there will obviously be matches he may have missed that you may feel deserve credit – we encourage you to list some of your best matches of the month in the comments section below to help add to the list! In regards to videos, we only show FULL MATCHES that are authorized by the promotions; video highlights are used where possible; we encourage you to seek out these matches through promotions VOD or streaming networks)
#20. WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Cedric Alexander (c) vs Buddy Murphy, WWE Super Showdown
Cedric Alexander’s year-long undefeated streak came to an end in Murphy’s hometown of Australia and Alexander lost the Cruiserweight Championship in the process. The champion was almost pinned immediately by a knee strike after “The Juggernaut Of 205 Live” refused a handshake to start the match. Murphy somehow kicked out of an avalanche Michinoku Driver. A Spanish Fly and Lumbar Check only earned near falls on the hometown hero. Alexander went down to Murphy’s Law.
#19. Chris Ridgeway vs Will Ospreay, Rev Pro Global Wars UK
Chris Ridgeway has proved himself to be one of the toughest in the modern day UK scene with a hybrid style that is hard to combat, Ospreay found that out the hard way by giving Ridgeway a breakthrough victory in Rev Pro. Will Ospreay has improved his ground game so much this year but it was still no match for the Ankle Locks. Ridgeway changed up the offense a lot but Ospreay still connected with a huge Rainmaker. Will Ospreay injured his ribs when he attempted a Pele kick to the top rope and landed awkwardly, Ridgeway took advantage and a Suplex transitioned into a Sleeper Hold finished “The Aerial Assassin.”
#18. WWE United Kingdom championship: Pete Dunne (c) vs Noam Dar, WWE NXT UK TV
The best match of Noam Dar’s WWE career so far, the champion was even driven onto the apron by a Fisherman Suplex in a highlight reel moment. Noam Dar once was the captain the “Pinky Party” in Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) but that pinky was punished by Dunne in typical and brutal fashion by Dunne. Dar had his fingers bent backwards and stomped on, Dunne was soon wrapped up in a Kneebar that did severe damage. Dar was struck by a hard forearm in mid-air and The Bitter End sealed the deal.
#17. Timothy Thatcher vs Minoru Suzuki, Over The Top Wrestling (OTT) Fourth Year Anniversary
Some wrestlers are criticized for their lack of selling and rightfully so. Not Timothy Thatcher. The match started as a chess match but quickly devolved into a strike-fest with Thatcher going down due to some of the stiffest forearms imaginable. Suzuki was trapped in the Fujiwara Armbar but the innovator of Pancrase knew a counter and palm strike attacks followed. Thatcher put up a great fight with such a similar style but it would be the Gotch Style Piledriver that would end Thatcher’s night.
#16. Tessa Blanchard vs Brian Cage II, Bar Wrestling 12: BreastleMania
The Impact Wrestling X-Division champion faced off against the Impact Wrestling Knockouts champion in a rematch from WrestleCircus this Spring, this match wasn’t as epic as that last bout but this had many thrills you can only witness in intergender wrestling. Cage tasted the boot of Tessa with several superkicks but Cage threw Blanchard on the apron to turn the tide. Tessa’s explosive offense put this match into high-gear with a tilt-a-whirl DDT and a couple of Magnums. A top rope Senton had Cage kicking out at the last second. Blanchard’s momentum ended when Cage tossed Tessa into the corner buckle with a dangerous Gorilla Press and Weapon X finished Tessa Blanchard’s night.
#15. Concrete Jungle Deathmatch: LAX (Santana and Ortiz) and Konnan vs The OGz (Homicide, Hernandez and Eddie Kingston), IMPACT Wrestling: Bound For Glory
It was twelve years ago when Homicide and Hernandez were at the top of the tag team division in Impact Wrestling, it only makes sense it’s an all-out war with the new LAX all these years later to see who is truly the best LAX. The ring mat was pulled from the ring right away, leaving Kingston to suffer a sickening Belly To Belly Suplex into the corner and onto the exposed wood. Hernandez tossed his own partner onto Santana and Otiz on the floor with a Border Toss. Mexican legend, Konnan, finally made his way to the ring to help LAX battle the Originals. Eddie Kingston is thrown through a table and The Street Sweeper ends an amazing tag team rivalry in 2018.
#14. Hideo Itami vs Mustafa Ali, Falls Count Anywhere, WWE 205 Live
Hideo Itami has been on the hunt for respect for months on 205 Live, even going as far as to injuring Mustafa Ali, this is the blow-off match with no rules and revenge on Ali’s mind. Both traded kicks until the action spilt to the floor, resulting in Ali being kicked off the announce table. Ali made a statement with a top rope crossbody on steel steps and then a Swinging DDT on the floor to Itami. This match environment allows for a lot more creativity and Ali took great advantage of that, winning with a 450 Splash through a table.
#13. Toni Storm vs Meiko Satomura, WWE Mae Young Classic 2 Semi-Finals
Toni Storm is one of the very best females to ever come from Australia and Meiko Satomura is one of the best females to ever come from Japan, the Mae Young Classic 2 was the perfect setting although these two also battled in wXw this month in Germany. Storm sent kick after kick Meiko’s way but it only fired up the Japanese legend, the Death Valley Driver set Storm up for the Scorpion Rising head kick. Toni Storm locked in an STF with a Muta Lock twist to bring her experienced opponent down to the mat. Meiko fell to Strong Zero in a very motivated performance from both and an exhilarated crowd to go along with it.
#12. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Tournament Final: KUSHIDA vs Marty Scurll, NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling
KUSHIDA is the most successful Junior Heavyweight in NJPW’s recent history with another title to put on the mantle and wins that seemed to be out of reach, even against BUSHI in this tournament. Scurll locked in the Chickenwing but it was KUSHIDA who had the better game plan executed by attacking the arm of “The Villain” the entire match. KUSHIDA tried for his big moves too early but they paid off later in the match when the Hoverboard Lock set up Back To The Future.
#11. Sammy Guevara vs Rey Fenix, AAW Dia De Los Luchadors
Sammy Guevara is on the quest to become of one of the greats of the Junior Heavyweight style of this era and Rey Fenix is equally matched although with much more fanfare. Rey Fenix is a true King of the ropes and these two fit in as much as possible in eleven minutes. Guevara was spiked with a Mexican Muscle Driver in a Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG) Mystery Vortex V rematch in AAW Pro.
#10. RevPro British Heavyweight Championship: Minoru Suzuki (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii, RevPro Global Wars UK
Suzuki and Ishii have traded the British Heavyweight Championship from NJPW to Rev Pro with a rivalry that has everything but illegal weapons, although a steel chair battle did occur in this bout early. Both went back and forth with forearms and chops like gladiators until headbutts pushed both to exhaustion. Ishii escaped the Rear Naked Choke and a couple of Lariat’s only netted a two-count for “The Stone Pitbull.” Suzuki would succumb to the masterful power and strike combination of Ishii as The Brainbuster ended Suzuki’s reign atop Rev Pro.
#9. IMPACT Wrestling World Championship: Austin Aries (c) vs Johnny Impact, IMPACT Wrestling: Bound For Glory
Austin Aries really blurred the line between an on-screen heel and a real-life ego-maniac when the champion claimed Impact wasn’t on his level and even called Impact’s wife, Taya Valkyrie, “husky” in an attempt to enrage Johnny Impact and it worked. The match started with a brawl, the tension and real animosity was a bitter feeling in the air. Impact attacked with a flurry of punches every time Aries would smack Impact. A top rope Spanish Fly put the deck in the challengers favor until a Death Valley Driver on the apron sent Impact down hard. Aries did the unthinkable and assaulted Taya Valkyrie with a suicide dive to the floor! The Brainbuster and 450 Splash have Impact rocked but not enough for the end of the match remarkably. Aries tasted what it feels like to go down to the Brainbuster and Starship Pain put the IMPACT Wrestling World championship around a new and worthy champion.
#8. PROGRESS World Championship: WALTER (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr., PROGRESS Chapter 77: Pumpkin Spice PROGRESS
Super Strong Style 16 winner, Sabre, always has an old-school approach to every match but even more so with this World title main event. WALTER overpowered Sabre until he was eventually taken down with Armbars. WALTER hit Sabre from behind with one of the most hard-hitting Lariats ever seen and the Sleeper was locked in tight. Sabre escaped and kicked out of a big Powerbomb. WALTER nearly lost the title with a European Clutch until Sabre had to stop the pin due to a damaged leg on the bridge. WALTER capitalized with another snug Lariat and the Fire Thunder Driver dashed Sabre’s chance of becoming the PROGRESS Wrestling World champion again.
#7.Wonder Of Stardom Championship: Kagetsu (c) vs Hana Kimura, No DQs, No Countout, Stardom: True Fight
Former friends and Oedo Tai members waged a war before the bell even rang with Hana attacking the champion on the stage and the brawl spilt into the stands. Kimura, sporting a new look in tribute to her mother, tried to pick apart Kagetsu but the Oedo Tai faction members ringside would have none of it, tying a rope around Hana’s neck on the stage. Both broke chairs over each other’s heads as this became more intense by the minute. Kagetsu caught Kimura mid-flight with spraying mist but Kimura then took Kagetsu off the top with a Chokeslam of her own through a table. An Octopus Stretch to Kagetsu was transitioned into a triangle to Kimura and Hana Kimura passes out in a war.
#6. IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega (c) vs Kota Ibushi vs Cody Rhodes, NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling
The major wild card in this match was Cody but not only did Cody step up in an NJPW main event but he didn’t look out of place and actually almost won the IWGP heavyweight championship. All of the big moments from The Golden Lovers were executed to near perfection from the double Golden Triangle Moonsault to the crazy finishing stretch with everything thrown until the final bell. Cody nailed a huge Crossrhodes on Omega and Cody even tried to destroy Kota Ibushi with Crossrhodes off the apron, a flashback to Wrestle Kingdom 12 in January. Cody thought he had Ibushi in his sights after one of the greatest Three Ways in recent memory but Omega capitalized with One-Winged Angel on Kota Ibushi.
#5. Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship: Zeus (c) vs Kento Miyahara, All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) Raising An Army Memorial Series
Kento Miyahara rose to the top of All Japan once again but it was at the expense of a short Triple Crown title reign for Zeus. Miyahara hit headbutts to combat the chops and Lariat’s of the overpowered champion until Zeus connected with a huge Air Raid Crash on the apron. Miyahara showed true fighting spirit with knee strike after knee strike in a comeback flurry. Zeus kicked out of the Straightjacket German Suplex and Miyahara kicked out of the Jackhammer! A couple more stiff knee’s stun the champion for another Straightjacket German Suplex and Miyahara earns the three-count in a very memorable title clash.
#4. WWE Smackdown Live Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs Charlotte, Last Woman Standing, WWE Evolution
Women’s wrestling in WWE doesn’t really get any better than this, a classic title match with the right story and the right stipulation, at the right event. Lynch took her own Exploder Suplex on the floor and a Moonsault from Charlotte didn’t break a table but a somersault from the top rope sent both crashing through the table. A kendo stick was used and the most inventive Figure-Eight yet was performed with Becky trapped in a ladder. Charlotte had her will put to the ultimate test when a legdrop off a ladder sent Charlotte through the announce table and the challenger was buried under chairs. Becky was turned inside-out by a Spear on the floor. Charlotte took one chance too many by climbing to the top rope, Lynch sent Charlotte through another table on the floor with a Powerbomb to retain the Smackdown Live women’s championship.
#3. wXw Interim Unified Championship: Ilja Dragunov vs Bobby Gunns, wXw World Tag League
The crowd is insane! The storytelling most importantly is so superior, this match felt so personal with the match starting in the crowd after a Guillotine Choke and both crashing into steel chairs amongst the fans. Gunn viciously went after Ilja’s right arm but Dragunov exploded with a left arm lariat! Uppercuts were traded with serious ferocity then Saito Suplexes were exchanged! Ilja Dragunov came across the ring with a Coast To Coast dropkick but Gunns made Dragunov pay with a powerslam on the apron. Gunns snapped Dragunov’s finger and flipped Ilja the bird, allowing Ilja to snap Gunns own middle finger! The Torpedo Moscow crowned Ilja Dragunov the wXw Unified interim World champion. Did I mention the crowd is insane? Chants for both wrestlers didn’t stop until fifteen minutes into the match, this has to be the most excited, hot crowd of 2018.
#2. Pheonix Of RISE Championship: Tessa Blanchard (c) vs Mercedes Martinez, 60 Minute Iron Woman, RISE 10: Insanity
The longest female match in women’s history at seventy-five minutes in Chicago. RISE is going through financial issues so this event is well worth the price of watching On Demand, it’s an exceptional Iron Woman’s match that is rarely seen with Tessa winning five falls to Martinez’ four falls. The last contest between these two was a classic thirty-minute Iron Woman match but Mercedes has been through the wringer before with a seventy and seventy-three-minute match in the past so this rematch required the length. The champion, Blanchard, had a lot more stamina for this second round and hit everything to win the title including having to overcome the over-time odds.
#1. OTT Championship: WALTER (c) vs Will Ospreay, OTT Fourth Year Anniversary
After watching twenty-seven minutes of this heated OTT Championship match, one would be hard pressed to say this isn’t one of the best of 2018. So many unforgettable moments occurred like Ospreay attempting an Os-Cutter only to suffer a massive chop to the back on the way down. Ospreay taking a Powerbomb on the stage. Ospreay pulling off a jumping Tombstone on the big man. Ospreay landing on his feet from a Shooting Star press but immediately being sent out of the ring by a Shotgun Dropkick. Ospreay was finally finished by a top rope splash after showing the heart of a champion with the ability of a Heavyweight and Junior Heavyweight somehow simultaneously. And WALTER may have had the best 2018 of anyone.