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 May
#20. Dragon Lee vs TITAN- NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors 26
Near-flawless action at a high speed from two athletes at their peak from their matches in Mexico to one of Japan’s biggest tournaments. TITAN launches himself into the crowd with a Moonsault. TITAN jumps off off the top rope but meets Lee’s knee strike. Dragon Lee mixes his Katsuyori Shibata influences with Luchador tactics and it works after another knee strike and Desnucadora.
#19. Death Match, CGW World Championship: Nick Gage (c) vs Mance Warner- GCW The Lost Ones
It doesn’t get much more violent than this match surrounded by light tubes before the opening bell even rings. Gage gets a tube head-butted across his face and a Chokeslam onto tubes gets only two. A running knee makes Gage a genuinely scary human being as Mance takes a Spinebuster through a door. Gage grabs bundles of light tubes and breaks them all over Warner’s head! A bat filled with thumbtacks and a staple gun to Warner’s tongue just creates the aura of insanity. Warner manages to come back after a Piledriver from the second top but a Choke Breaker finally keeps the title with Gage after all the blood spilled.
#18. Kyle O’Reilly vs Chris Ridgeway- PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16
O’Reilly made his debut in PROGRESS Wrestling by almost making it to the finals of the Super Strong Style 16 tournament before falling to “The Irish Ace” but this right here is grappling at it’s finest. O’Reilly unleashed the Brainbuster, Armbar and Rebound Lariat but Ridgeway kept coming back for more. A Penalty Kick sends the WWE NXT superstar right out of the ring. Ridgeway is the future of hybrid pro wrestling but he is stopped by an ankle lock transitioned into a Kneebar.
#17. World Of STARDOM Championship: Kagetsu (c) vs Bea Priestly- STARDOM
Kagetsu’s impressive reign at the top of STARDOM came to a surprise end at the hands of the Queen’s Quest UK star in Kagetsu’s ninth title defense, that’s mostly due to Priestly’s intensity. Two Death Valley Drivers only earn a one-count to the challenger! A running knee and double-stomp make Kagetsu loopy but it’s not enough. A 450 Splash from Kagetsu still doesn’t put away Priestly. The mist goes to Bea’s eyes but she’s still able to hit the Queen’s Suplex to become the new holder of the red belt.
#16. IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs SANADA- NJPW Wrestling Dontaku
A thirty-five-minute main event where SANADA had everything to gain and Okada had everything to lose. “Cold Skull” has never been so smooth, landing on his feet to avoid a German Suplex and matching “The Rainmaker” for kip ups. A Tiger Suplex and the Skull End nearly crown a new champion. SANADA lands his own Rainmaker but Okada won’t have it end that way. SANADA hits a moonsault to the back but a second Moonsault attempt is a big mistake, Okada gets his knees up. A corkscrew Tombstone and The Rainmaker finish off SANADA in a terrific title match.
#15. Will Ospreay vs Robbie Eagles- NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors 26
A rivalry from Australia to Japan, Ospreay’s first loss in the tournament came to Bullet Club’s “Sniper Of The Sky.” Ospreay handed Eagles a Japanese flag off of his tights as a show of respect in their last match in 2018 after Eagles beat him, Eagles throws it in Ospreay’s face to start this match! The UK star is so explosive but he gets cut off by a crossbody over the top rope. Eagles gets his mouth guard kicked out! Ospreay goes down on the apron to a Shiranui and a Springboard Dragon Rana follows it up! Eagles collapses to avoid the Hidden Blade as Ospreay’s legs are attacked. El Phantasmo interferes and throws a chair at Ospreay’s head, Ospreay is forced to tap out to the Ron Miller special as the thirty-minute time-limit nearly expires.
#14. Death Match: Jimmy Havoc vs Paul Robinson- PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16
The end of a rivalry and the end of Jimmy Havoc in PROGRESS Wrestling all in one match. The action is taken up another notch from their previous encounters, Robinson takes a Piledriver off the apron through a table. Havoc sends Robinson onto chairs with a Burning Hammer and an ode to an old rival, Will Ospreay, with the Os-Cutter somehow doesn’t end the match. Havoc is speared through light tubes and then thrown off the top rope and through a table with more light tubes. Havoc takes repeated chair shots to the head and a Curb Stomp ends Jimmy Havoc’s career in PROGRESS as a speech is followed by Havoc, covered in blood.
#13. Wonder Of STARDOM Championship: Momo Watanabe (c) vs Arisa Hashiki – STARDOM Gold May
Arisa has some big shoes to fill but she is more than capable after the STARDOM fans witnessed Watanabe finally suffer a singles pinfall loss in what feels like a lifetime. Momo Watanabe loves to go for stiff kicks but so does Arisa so Watanabe attacks the legs. Arisa turns the tide with a Death Valley Driver variation on the floor. A Buzzsaw kick and a couple Meteora’s can’t stop the challenger. The Crossface Chickenwing is transitioned to a bridging Suplex by Momo in an impressive act of ingenuity. A Twisting Splash is only a near fall to Watanabe and so is Peach Sunrise after Arisa makes the bottom rope. Double knee strikes and a head kick finish off the new “Ace” of STARDOM.
#12. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Dragon Lee (c) vs Taiji Ishimori- NJPW Wrestling Dontaku
Scary to watch at times how dangerous and innovative these two Juniors take it every time they face each other, this match was their longest to date. Lee takes a Shotgun Dropkick but Ishimori takes a running Hurricanrana off the apron. Lee is armdragged right into the gaurdrail to further the damage. Amazing conditioning from both as Lee takes a Canadian Destroyer but fires back with a Falcon Arrow. A Poison Hurricanrana and Knee Strike drop Ishimori and it sets up Desnucadora.
#11. Cody Rhodes vs Dustin Rhodes- AEW Double Or Nothing
A magical match because of the history and the storytelling is all there, Cody’s older brother wearing a crimson mask and allowing only one moment for Brandi Rhodes’ interference. Cody covers himself in his brother’s blood and takes the low road with a low blow but the fifty-year-old kicks out of Crossrhodes. Goldust turns back the clock with Code Red. Commentator Jim Ross is emotional as Cody wins the match with a VertaBreaker and a second Crossrhodes.
#10. Will Ospreay vs Rocky Romero- NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors 26
Rocky Romero wrestled this match like was his final match in the Best Of The Super Juniors tournament ever, it is that great of a performance. Both CHAOS members pulled no punches, Romero kicked Ospreay’s arm on a handspring attempt. The Os-Cutter is caught into an Armbar. Ospreay’s sensational offense eventually catches up with the veteran, Kawada kicks and a Shooting Star press send Rocky into comeback mode. The Hidden Blade is stopped by a jumping knee strike and the Stormbreaker is turned into a hurricanrana! Romero is pinned by the Stormbreaker but not before bringing his best like he was the same age as Ospreay.
#9. WWE Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs AJ Styles- WWE Money In The Bank
Perhaps the WWE match of the year so far, both wrestlers brought the big counters and big moments to this WWE championship match and then some. Rollins goes for something new when he connects with a super reverse Suplex right into a Sit-out reverse DDT. The curb stomp is caught by the Styles Clash in mid-air! A buckle bomb and Frogsplash almost end Styles’ night. A knee strike and super kick followed up by a curb stomp ends this dream match with Rollins’ having his hand raised.
#8. Bandido vs Will Ospreay- NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors 26
A rematch from WrestleMania weekend with the same result but also all new eye-popping moments to remember. Bandido presses Ospreay with one arm and lands a flawless dropkick. Ospreay catches Bandido’s hurricanrana only to take a Poison Hurricanrana instead! Bandido refuses to be one-upped by the athletic showcase of Ospreay so the masked sensation goes to the floor with a Springboard Shooting Star Press. Ospreay stops the pin by using the bottom rope after a top rope Blockbuster. The Stormbreaker is dealt out to advance Ospreay in the tournament.
#7. AAA Tag Team Championships: The Young Bucks (c) (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) vs The Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr and Rey Fenix)- AEW Double Or Nothing
Jim Ross was mentally exhausted after calling this one and that days a lot after over thirty years of calling wrestling matches. Matching cutters get the action started extra hot. A Sharpshooter and 450 Splash target Rey Fenix. The Young Bucks kicks out of double Canadian Destroyers and borrow some offense from The Motor City Machine Guns. Rey Fenix goes down hard to a Brainbuster on the top rope by Matt Jackson! The Young Bucks steal the Fear Factor/Double-stomp combo and The Metzer Driver ends the madness.
#6. Shingo Takagi vs SHO- NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors 26
“Shock Arrow” vs “The Dragon” was a must-see match when the brackets of this tournament were announced but this ended up being one of the finest a wrestling fan could watch all year, completely surpassing expectations. SHO came in with new dark hair and a new theme song but it was the heart that everyone will remember from SHO. Shingo thought a backdrop driver would stop SHO but Shingo is immediately thrown down by a German Suplex in response. SHO kicks out of the Pumping Bomber Lariat three times as the crowd gasps! SHO almost wins the match with a Lungblower but The Last Of The Dragon makes Shingo near unstoppable.
#5. Open The Dream Gate Championship: PAC vs Dragon Kid- Dragon Gate Dead Or Alive
Dragon Kid still has a lot left in the tank but PAC made sure to empty that tank early and often with a tiltawhirl Backbreaker and a Lumbar Check. Dragon Kid pulls off a Springboard Hurricanrana and Moonsault like it’s still 2006. PAC takes Kid off the top with one of the riskiest moves of the year: a Falcon Arrow turned into a Brainbuster. The Dragon Rana is stopped by Powerbombs. Kid falls to a crazy Tombstone from the middle rope! The Black Arrow keeps the title with PAC.
#4. David Starr vs Jordan Devlin- PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 Final
Always an unforgettable match when it’s “The Irish Ace” vs “The Product”, these two friends already have a match of the year contender from OTT. Devlin unleashes a Brainbuster and top rope Spanish Fly to become the winner of Super Strong Style in 2019. Starr takes a Canadian Destroyer from the second rope but a headbutt wakes up Starr for the Han Stanson Lariat! Devlin’s Saito Suplex and Starr’s Product Placement are only near falls. Devlin taps out to an inverted Sharpshooter as the confetti comes down for David Starr.
#3. Shingo Takagi vs Taiji Ishimori- NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors 26
Shingo was the absolute king of the 26th annual Best Of The Super Juniors tournament for hitting the hardest and going undefeated, even against the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion. Shingo takes a sliding German Suplex from the second rope as the gloves literally come off of Ishimori. Ishimori is planted on the apron with a Death Valley Driver. Shingo takes a DDT but then deadlift Suplexes Ishimori after the impact! A Canadian Destroyer to Shingo is answered right back by a Pumping Bomber! Ishimori comes off the ropes with a wild pop-up crucifix Bomb. Shingo fights out of the Crossface, puts a stop to the Bloody Cross and The Last Of The Dragon gets Shingo past his block.
#2. Tomohiro Ishii vs EVIL- NJPW Wrestling Dontaku
Forearm after forearm start the match with neither caring about their own well being, just straight ahead strikes. It doesn’t get much more priceless than when Ishii is woken up by chops, EVIL goes down to a Superplex by a very motivated “Stone Pitbull.” EVIL thought he had the key to victory by stealing the trademark Sharpshooter but it would only make Ishii all the more angry. EVIL is turned inside out by a Lariat. Ishii is taken down by a Half Nelson Suplex. With the playing field about even, Ishii tries to steal the STO but the Brainbuster instead seals the deal in a war.
#1. Will Ospreay vs El Phantasmo- NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors 26
The bell rings and ELP is shotgun dropkicked out of the ring and stomped in the crowd! The energy and fire from both is outstanding and it makes this the best of the Best Of The Super Juniors tournament besides the Final. ELP came down from the rafters with a Moonsault into the stands! Ospreay drills his opponent with the Essex Destroyer! ElP tried the Rainmaker but scored with a lowblow. Ospreay attempts a Spanish Fly off the apron, a move that has previously severely injured his neck, but it gets reversed to a Piledriver on the apron! The fast pace of Ospreay is put to bed by the CR2.
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