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 Best Matches of November 2018
#20. Cedric Alexander vs Lio Rush, 205 Live
If this main event were given more time there would have been room for even more innovation between the equally matched Rush and Alexander but that will be saved for future rematches. Rush was so arrogant that it got the better of him but Rush did earn some big near falls, the spinning Unprettier from Rush is a thing of beauty. Alexander felt the Rush Hour but Cedric Alexander landed a smooth Spanish Fly of his own. Rush couldn’t keep up with the former WWE Cruiserweight champion on this night, the Lumbar Check gave Cedric the three-count.
#19. Champion vs Champion: Brock Lesnar vs Daniel Bryan, WWE Survivor Series
Brock Lesnar didn’t take Daniel Bryan seriously going into this match but he had to be having second thoughts after this match, that’s what nobody was expecting. Bryan goes to Suplex City immediately but Bryan is smarter than to play Lesnar’s game. The referee is knocked down by an F-5 so Bryan gets in a low blow and Knee strikes for two counts! Lesnar’s knee collapses on a second F-5 attempt and Bryan almost wins the match with the Yes Lock until Lesnar gets back to his feet for the F-5.
#18. David Starr vs Ilja Dragunov, PROGRESS Chapter 78: 24 Hour Progress
All intensity, all the time from Ilja Dragunov, the face of wXw in Germany travelling to the United Kingdom for more bookings recently. David Starr brings a serious tenacity to the ring every night out as well, sending forearm after forearm Ilja’s way. “The Product” had the wind taken out of him by several sentons, even taking one on a chair in the crowd. Starr combines flash and entertainment with a smash-mouth offense, no better example than when Starr cartwheel kicked Ilja’s Lariat away to take Dragunov down with his very own Lariat. The Torpedo Moscow sends Starr down to the mat but Ilja can’t capitalize and a returning Travis Banks returns to PROGRESS Wrestling by ruining this great match and making it a No Contest.
#17. Mustafa Ali vs DJ Z, EVOLVE 115
DJ Z took exception to Ali’s confidence early in the match and took matters into his own hands, tripping up Ali on a springboard attempt and sending “The Heart Of 205 Live” into the crowd. Ali made a rare independent wrestling appearance from WWE for EVOLVE Wrestling against Darby Allin as well at EVOLVE 116, DJ Z seemed to have a chip on his shoulder and that made this match all the more heated. Ali defeated his former training partner with a victory roll.
#16. Jordan Devlin vs Chris Ridgeway, PROGRESS Chapter 78: 24 Hour Progress
The current “king of Irish wrestling” met the former kickboxer for a gem of a PROGRESS Wrestling match even if it only lasted eleven minutes long. Ridgeway threw his own shoulder into Devlin’s kicks, not caring about the consequences. Ridgeway took a Brainbuster but came right back with a Suplex into a Chokehold to Devlin’s surprise. A moonsault was caught into a Triangle Choke from Chris Ridgeway. Jordan Devlin kicked out of an axe kick to the head and a Gotch Piledriver! The Ankle Lock was transitioned into a Package Piledriver to Ridgeway in a banger of a finish.
#15. Tetsuya Naito vs Zack Sabre Jr, NJPW Power Struggle
The third match in the trilogy between Naito and Sabre in 2018 with Sabre winning the first two matches. Naito was dismantled limb by limb just like their previous matches, Naito even had his bicep stomped on after excruciating holds. A flying forearm was caught into an Octopus Stretch as Zack Sabre Jr made all the technical wrestling look easy. Sabre had his neck targeted though by a series of neckbreakers resulting in a near-fall from Destino. Sabre was thrown on his neck with a reverse DDT and a second Destino finally earned Naito a victory over Sabre.
#14. RevPro Tag Team Championships: Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr) (c) vs Aussie Open (Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher), Rev Pro: Uprising
Minoru Suzuki intimidated young Kyle Fletcher so much that it was a real treat to see Aussie Open take it to Minoru Suzuki. The satisfaction wasn’t long for Fletcher as he was tortured in Crabs and Bow And Arrows. The excitement really picked up after Fletcher hit a triple-jump X-Factor and a Launching Cutter. Minoru Suzuki became the first person ever in Rev Pro to kick out of the Fidget Spinner. A Gotch Piledriver from Suzuki to Fletcher ended Aussie Open’s tag team title dreams.
#13. PAC vs “Speedball” Mike Bailey, Rev Pro: Live in Portsmouth
PAC made his long-awaited return to the UK against the beloved high-risk “Speedball.” PAC wrestles a more methodical pace these days but that just makes his flying all the more special like the Fosberry Flop the floor. Bailey landed on the top of his head on the floor after receiving an exploder Suplex. PAC tasted Bailey’s stiff kicks but “Speedball” was quickly trapped in the Rings Of Saturn. Bailey was finished with a German Suplex and the newly christened: Black Arrow.
#12. Shane Strickland vs Kassius Ohno, EVOLVE 116
Every Ohno match is a brawl and it’s just how the opponent is able to contend with it. Strickland is more than up to the task, eating Ohno’s big boots until waiting for his moment and attacking the leg with a dropkick. “Swerve” made the mistake of going for too many strikes, Ohno asked for elbows only to drop Strickland with a couple shots to the jaw. Ohno kicks out of the Swerve Stomp so he gets his leg stomped on and takes a penalty kick! Ohno missed a Moonsault, both traded strikes and Ohno won that final war with a leaping elbow to the back of the head.
#11. PROGRESS World Championship: WALTER (C) vs Mark Haskins, PROGRESS Chapter 78: 24 Hour Progress
Mark Haskins waited two years for his shot at the top prize in PROGRESS Wrestling, Haskins didn’t waste a second of the opportunity. WALTER’s shotgun dropkick was thwarted by a double-stomp in mid-air! Haskins fought for the Star Armbar and The Sharpshooter but he only went down hard to a Powerbomb for his efforts. Haskins was driven onto the apron with a Suplex on his neck and the Fire Thunder Driver put Haskins away.
#10. Kenny Omega vs Rey Fenix, Northeast Wrestling (NEW): Redemption
A dream singles match and it only happened in Northeast Wrestling. Omega defeated Fenix’ brother, Pentagon Jr, at All In and this was just as wild of a singles match. Fenix walked the barricade but landed into a Powerbomb on the steel ramp. Omega took a dangerous springboard double-stomp onto the apron that had the fans gasping. Both traded Superkicks on the apron until Fenix went though a table from a DDT. Rey Fenix attempted a springboard back in the ring but he faced a V-Trigger on the way down and One Winged Angel ended this dream encounter.
#9. NXT Championship: Tomasso Ciampa (C) vs Velveteen Dream, NXT Takeover: War Games ll
The match of Velveteen Dream’s career, the performance of a lifetime as the old adage goes. Both had callbacks in mind from their excellent past 2018 Takeover matches, Ciampa with the draping DDT that almost won him the match on the steel surface between the two rings meant for the War Games structure. Dream Sid everything but win the NXT Championship including a Dream Valley Driver onto the floor. Ciampa moved just before Dream hit a Purple Rainmaker onto the apron and that was the last mistake Dream would make in this match.
#8. RevPro British Heavyweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs Minoru Suzuki, NJPW Power Struggle
The biggest brawlers in NJPW started this British Heavyweight Championship match just like one would expect, a pissing contest with forearm exchanges right away. Suzuki has some of the best facial expressions in the business, taking the match up a notch at the realization he is being kicked around in the corner. Ishii goes down to a fifty-year-old dropkick with precision. Ishii may be known as “The Stone Pitbull” but even the forearms late in the match seemed to rock Ishii’s world. Headbutt’s busted open Suzuki’s mouth and the Lariat’s didn’t help matters. Suzuki was pinned by a Vertical Brainbuster.
#7. Jeff Cobb & Michael Elgin vs SANADA & EVIL, NJPW World Tag League
The powerhouses against the brawler and the technician made for an excellent pairing and this was the best from all of the 2018 NJPW World Tag League. SANADA took a double Backbreaker and Cobb handed SANADA to Elgin for Suplex to Suplex! A chair wrapped around Elgin’s neck changed the pace of the match in the favor of EVIL and SANADA, Elgin went down to a Magic Killer. Cobb and Elgin arguably had the better double team moves though, including a Powerbomb/Backstabber combo to SANADA. Cobb almost earned a couple points for his team with the Tour Of The Islands but Everything Was Evil instead.
#6. ICW Women’s Championship: Viper (c) vs Kay Lee Ray, Street Fight, ICW Fear And Loathing Xl
Perhaps the most violent women’s match of 2018, Viper was attacked immediately with a kendo stick. Viper brought weapons of her own, Kay Lee Ray had a bucket of thumbtacks poured on her back in the ring. Both females are a couple of the best in wrestling period, female or not and this match setting proved it. Neither would stay down even after landing in thumbtacks. Ray was forced to wrap the barbed wire around Viper’s face and Viper taps out, the former champion’s arm cut by the barbed wire in the process.
#5. Aleister Black vs Johnny Gargano, NXT Takeover: War Games ll
The mind games from Gargano along with his sudden heel turn made this match have many twist and turns, Gargano smacked Black in the face at the ring of the bell. Gargano planted Black with a Suicide DDT to the floor then followed it up with a slingshot DDT in the ring! Black took it to Gargano with knee strikes and dazzling strike combinations. Gargano’s plan almost worked with a rollup but he suffered Black Mass and Black held Gargano on his feet for another.
#4. Special Non-Title Challenge: Trevor Lee vs ACH, AAW Unstoppable
Independent wrestling doesn’t get any better than this, two of the hungriest and bright stars of the future going for one-hour. ACH has battled the WRSTLING faction all year against members Jeff Cobb, Eddie Kingston and David Starr but this battle was about ACH earning respect after his time put in AAW against the reigning AAW Heritage champion. Lee got on the microphone during the match in his typical fashion but ACH Superkicked Lee’s big mouth. The Midnight Star 450 Splash almost connected but Lee avoided it and the sixty-minute expired to make it a draw. Fans wanted five more minutes but Eddie Kingston would make sure that wouldn’t happen, even after ACH claimed he still had a lot more AAW left in him.
#3. Champion vs Champion: Tomohiro Ishii vs David Starr, Rev Pro: Uprising
“The Product” David Starr is the most versatile pro wrestler today and this match showed everyone why in a special Rev Pro Cruiserweight vs British Heavyweight champion match that was requested by Starr himself. Ishii gets called “Ishii’s Daddy” by the ring announcer, also at Starr’s behest. “The Stone Pitbull” absorbs many early shots but they start catching up with Ishii when Starr nails a top rope Elbow Drop. Ishii landed a perfect Vertical Suplex from the top rope and Starr willed his way to a two-count after a Powerbomb and two Lariat’s! A headbutt finally makes Starr loopy enough for the Brainbuster and the three-count.
#2. WALTER vs Timothy Thatcher, wXw Broken Rules XVlll
More of a straight-up fight than the classic grappling contest one would expect from two friends and faction members of Ringkampf. This was a fantastic story for Timothy Thatcher after losing to WALTER twice in 2018, in PROGRESS Wrestling and during Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG) Battle Of Los Angeles. Thatcher kept coming back for more after boots and Lariat’s as the live Germany crowd realized what was happening, Thatcher was finally going to come into his own and defy the odds. WALTER took it to the ground and Thatcher trapped WALTER’s arms behind his back for a pinfall.
#1. Kenoh vs Naomichi Marufuji, Pro Wrestling NOAH Global League
A major Block A match from this Pro Wrestling NOAH tournament, both former GHC Heavyweight champions. Kenoh tasted Kawada kicks and returned the favor with some seriously stiff kicks of his own. Kenoh is able to transition between moves so well, going from a Shining Wizard to an Ankle Lock seamlessly. Both men flattened each other with hard kicks and Marufuji hits a trademark dangerous maneuver on the apron, this time a Brainbuster. Marufuji is thrown off the top rope by a Dragon Suplex and Marufuji kicks out of a top rope double-stomp! Kenoh is forced to attempt something new from the playbook, a Swanton into a Double-Stomp puts Marufuji away.