1001 Matches: 2015 PART FOUR (Oct – Dec)

(by PHIL RIPPA)

This update is all about the year that just closed – 2015. If you are still complaining that wrestling doesn’t entertain you based on what you are seeing on Monday nights than wrestling really isn’t for you any more since there is plenty of wrestling out there that happened this year that is worth your eyeballs. (Including stuff from the E.)

My “rules” for these picks (to go along with the normal guidelines I use)

  • I selected 5 matches from each month (so 60 total for those of you bad at math). This doesn’t mean that when this is all said and done more matches from 2015 won’t make the 1001. (Partly because I haven’t seen everything yet.) I just needed a gimmick.
  • I really would have preferred to pick only things online but between New Japan, Sky TV and the US Indies desire to generate DVD sales that is virtually impossible (I mean I WOULD watch a list of just 60 lucha matches but I know you wouldn’t). Everything can be purchased (or found) somehow. Maybe make some friends to lend you log-ins/DVDs. I only linked to Youtube or Dailymotion.
  • Notice that I have not used the word “best” so far. This is not to be taken as a “Best Of” list for this year. Especially when you want to scream at me that 209 New Japan matches should be on it.
  • Everything SHOULD be in chronological order. I used (whenever possible) the taping date instead of the air date. Of course – that kinda dicked me over in a few months when matches happened two months earlier than they actually aired.
  • Please wait till all 4 parts are up to scream about what matches I didn’t pick. I was very intentional in trying to provide a variety of matches (if not in style than at least from the promotions presented.)

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OCTOBER

Ooof…. this wasn’t the best of months. The best match was ineligible (Sasha/Bayley II) Especially when I realized I had only four months and I had to pick something that I actually liked.

156) A.J. STYLES VS. WILL OSPREAY VS. MARTY SCURLL – REV PRO/NEW JAPAN “UPRISING” (Oct. 2, 2015 – RPW British Heavyweight Title)

I SHOULD have picked Big Damo vs. Nakamura because it’s Big Damo vs. fucking Nakamura. I CAN’T pick KUSHIDA/Kyle O’Reilly again. I WON’T pick the infuriating garbage brawl between Jimmy Havoc and Josh Bodom. I picked this match which managed to overcome some of its inherit flaws to be damn entertaining. We don’t need to cover why 3-ways generally stink and I am really slow to warm towards Marty Scurll (mainly because he is basically a UK Young Buck with his stupid hair and far too many superkicks). That all being said – Scurll was my favorite guy in this as the guy just trying to break limbs (well excluding that time Styles dropped Ospreay right on his head on either a piledriver or botched Styles Clash). Ospreay is in that new breed of wrestlers who are athletic as hell and because they are like 16 they have energy for days (think Ricochet). So while things can get a little too choreography you have moments of inspiration of like the over the corner tope con hilo straight into the through the ropes spinning DDT. Yeah – watch this and continue to appreciate New Japan’s “Fuck it – we will work with almost anyone” mentality.

“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… 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.  Not only was this my favourite match of October, this will also nearly certainly be in my top five for the whole year.-Garrett Kidney (@GarrettKidney)

Voices of Wrestling

“This is one of the best three way matches I’ve ever seen. Great interaction among all three men. I loved watching this. Perfect amount of time. Great chemistry, Scurll is an outstanding worker, and Ospreay has the potential to be as good as anyone once he gets some experience. There were some fantastic nearfalls and false finishes.” – Jerome Cusson

PW Ponderings

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157) JASON JORDAN/CHAD GABLE VS. BARON CORBIN/RHYNO – NXT RESPECT (Oct. 7, 2015 – Dusty Rhodes Classic Semifinals)

Somehow this is like the only match not on Dailymotion. Oh well. The coming out party for the team now known as American Alpha. Baron Corbin continued to evolve into a really great dick wrestler (err… that didn’t come out right.) Plus the finish was awesome as Corbin hits the End of Days like it is a God Damn magic trick.

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158) MEIKO SATOMURA VS. AYAKO HAMADA – SENDAI GIRLS (Oct. 11, 2015)

Direct Link to video (courtesy of Kevin Wilson)

Every single time I see Ayako Hamada now – I STILL giggle at TNA blowing it when she worked for them and that was almost a decade ago. I have championed Meiko enough throughout this year that I will move on to the meat and potatoes. These two had a match in April that I thought “Well Hot Damn – I love these two I am so happy they are wrestling each other in 2015!”. They then proceeded to have a rematch that was even better.

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159) MASATO TANAKA VS. SATOSHI KOJIMA – NOAH (Oct. 16, 2015 – Global League)

I am a sucker for old guys who everyone used to love having a match that reminds everyone that they used to love them. Tanaka and Kojima beat the hell out of each other as old man are wont to do and it is great. A perfect match length for the two of them. A hidden gem this year (partly because it was a random league match and partly because no one cares about NOAH anymore.)

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160) BROCK LESNAR VS. UNDERTAKER – WWE HELL IN A CELL (October 25, 2015)

If one believes in the multiverse hypothesis – then we are living in the one where I am picking this Brock/Taker Hell In A Cell match over the other clusterfuck of a HIAC that the WWE would like you to forget about. This amazes me simply for the fact that watching Undertaker over say the last… oh… three years gave you no indication that he was capable of coaxing this effort out of his old ass body. Just an absolute war to in theory end this feud. But please keep on telling me how it was “meh” because you saw Brock blade.

“I was pretty shocked at how much I loved this match. Lesnar is pretty incredible, but I haven’t been a huge fan of Taker, not even his big epic matches, but this might be one of his career best matches, and it was after everyone figured he was completely shot. Real example of how much having rules to break matters, WWE has blood so rarely that the fact that both guys were gushing really added to the spectacle, as did the nasty chairshot to the head. I don’t know if this match is as great in an atmosphere where that kind of stuff is common.” – Phil Schneider

Segunda Caida

“The intensity was high from the opening bell – the only time you could say that last night – and the action inside the cage was appropriately electric, not to mention downright brutal. Both men got busted open, and not only appeared to do so the hard way, but seemed to relish the opportunity (Lesnar, in particular, let the blood flow with grisly aplomb). In the current PG era, you don’t see that much of the red stuff, and when coupled with repeated visits by the ringside medic, the violence last night seemed strangely real, and it made the match feel wild, as if it could all veer off the rails at any moment.” – James Montgomery

Rolling Stone

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NOVEMBER

November turned into a sleeper month as I had to make a couple of tough cuts to get down to 5. So much so that I finished everything and then realized that I forgot Dragon Lee/Kamaitachi (thankfully I got 800 more match to pick). Of course – maybe if Tenryu had decided to keep working we would have all been happy and it would have made my life easier.

161) AEROSTAR/AUSTRALIAN SUICIDE/FIREBALL VS. DAGA/EL HIJO DE PIRATA MORGAN/STEVE PAIN – AAA (Nov. 6, 2015 (Taped), Nov. 28, 2015 (Aired))

I think I have watched more AAA since starting this project than I have in the last decade. That being said – being able to cherry pick the good stuff makes it so much more sufferable. With that out of the way – this is hella fun. It won’t be for everyone. I mean beyond the “I don’t Lucha” crowd. But you want to see Aerostar do a tope so hard that he bounces six rows deep. And you want to see Daga punching Australian Suicide in the face… a lot. Pirata Morgan’s kid is way too dreamy to actually be Pirata Morgan’s kid but that is a minor side distraction. There are some moves in here that indy folks are going start stealing with in the next 12 months.

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162) GENICHIRO TENRYU VS. KAZUCHIKA OKADA – New Japan (Nov. 11, 2015)

It’s Tenryu’s last match. You should watch Tenryu’s last match.

“Okada is working cocky young heel. Tenryu, who can’t do much by way of movement anymore, is methodical if you’re kind, slow and rickety if you’re a realist. But he is also mean. He will gladly hurt this young man just to hurt someone one more time. To get the final bit of violence out of his system. There is no way he can honestly think he’ll beat Okada, after all. There’s just no reason to expect that. But he wants to leave this fury in the ring, where it belongs. Okada, maybe, can learn something from the experience. And as he is technically The Best, Tenryu goes out fighting The Best.”

Tape Machines Are Rolling

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163) REY MYSTERIO VS. LOW-KI – JAPW (Nov. 14, 2015)

On September 24, 2015 – Frank Iadevaia, better known as “Fat Frank”, long time promoter of Jersey All Pro Wrestling passed away. I wrote on Twitter when learning of his passing “RIP Fat Frank. JAPW was a huge part of our little community (especially as we got our sea legs). More than I think anyone will ever realize.” Approximately two months later on the JAPW 19th Anniversary Show, coming four hours into a show (starting after midnight) – Rey Jr and Low Ki met for the first time ever and turned in what some called the match of the year. A very fitting tribute to Frank all around.

“This was the greatest Rey Misterio or Low Ki singles match in a decade, maybe more. Maybe ever. High praise? Certainly. Deserved? Definitely. Over the course of a 20+ minute match Phil and I found ourselves constantly repeating variations of “How good is Rey!? How good is Ki!? God but how good is Rey!?” Rey worked like a man who wanted to have a career match. He worked harder than any guy I’ve ever seen work Wrestlemania. Thousands of indy promoters across decades of time have brought in stars to their fed and seen them dog it. Imagine the reactions backstage when a star like Rey comes into New Jersey and works as if he has fresh knees and is trying to be noticed by a major.” – Eric Ritz

“Ki maybe the 2015 wrestler of the year and he had three matches on tape, he works as Rey’s base like he was 1996 Juventud and adds a bunch of his cool shit too. Ki is a JAPW original, and works simultaneously as a Rey Base and Fed Ace. I was worried that I was overrating this seeing it live, but it was even better as a HH video, can’t wait to rewatch the JAPW version so I can see stuff up close.” – Phil Schneider

Segunda Caida

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164) RAMPAGE BROWN VS. DAMIEN O’CONNOR – DISCOVERY WRESTLING (Nov. 20, 2015 – Last Man Standing)

Rampage Brown and Damien O’Connor go out and have a war in front like 25 people culminating a year long feud the two had. (There is a nifty video package that catches you up on all the action but you should seek out the other matches too.) For those of you who love Memphis, will appreciate a feud based around a piledriver and calling your opponent a coward. We were already all about Rampage but 2015 definitely turned into the year of Big Damo. Hoss battles are the best kind of battles.

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165) ADAM COLE VS. DAVE MASTIFF – PRESTON CITY WRESTLING (Nov. 28, 2015)

Listen Dave Mastiff is the best super heavyweight in wrestling today. This match is all about Adam Cole and how awesome he is at being the traveling heel going from territory to territory taking on each promotions top guy. Those of you still shitting on Cole need to get your head’s out your asses. Adam Cole… BABY~!

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DECEMBER

166) NEW DAY VS. USOS VS. LUCHA DRAGONS – WWE TLC (December 13, 2015 – Tag Team Championship Ladder Match)

It is a challenge nowadays to have a “safer” ladder match and live up to the expectations fans have thanks to previous ladder matches. So #1 and the best New Day, the vastly underrated Lucha Dragons and waste of space Usos come out and a smartly laid out corker of a match. Early Big E power spots (unique to this setting) help set the tone. The Lucha Dragons and Usos play uneasy allies and take turns battling New Day as they try and steal the belts. The match builds to one GIANT spot (which thanks to the low fi style established makes it seem all the more devastating. And you can still get New Day being chicken shit heels.

DVDVR ‏@D_V_D_V_R 15h15 hours ago
Just a reminder – I was all about Big E before any of you fuckers

DVDVR ‏@D_V_D_V_R 15h15 hours ago
God Big E is going to do something fucking insane, isn’t he?

DVDVR ‏@D_V_D_V_R 15h15 hours ago
I love all the strength spots they are doing with E

DVDVR ‏@D_V_D_V_R 15h15 hours ago
So apparently the new thing is to shit on ladder matches for being spotfests. Fuck all of you god damn hipsters.

(Editor’s Note: This was in response to specifically Wade Keller bitching (though there were others))

DVDVR ‏@D_V_D_V_R 15h15 hours ago
Y’all can bitch about Xavier’s commentary but he at least can tell the difference between the Lucha Dragons

DVDVR ‏@D_V_D_V_R 15h15 hours ago
“THAT LADDER MATCH HAD TOO MANY BUMPS!!! IT NEEDED MORE CHINLOCKS!!!” – the Internet
(Editor’s Note: Yeah – I was irritated by the joyless fucks)

DVDVR ‏@D_V_D_V_R 15h15 hours ago
Have fun toping that rest of the card

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167) BAYLEY VS. NIA JAX – NXT TAKEOVER: LONDON (December 16, 2015 – NXT Women’s Championship)

Oh No! All the women have been called up to the Main roster. We will never have a good match again! Clutch the pearls! Clutch the pearls! Or ya know – Bayley could just take the rest of the division on her back and drag good to great matches out of everyone. The biggest example of that being the match against Nia Jax from London. Bayley channels her inner Sting and makes Jax look like the biggest baddest monster on the planet.

Bayley vs. Nia ruled. Bayley didn’t really know how to deal with Nia’s size and just kept throwing everything out there. Nia didn’t have a problem early on but her finishers are weak…enough to finish off the young girls sure, but Bayley is a cut above anyone she’s faced so far and doesn’t go down like that. Her best chances to win she does loose covers and you just can’t beat Bayley that way. Then down the stretch it hits a point where Nia has tried everything she’s got and gets lost and nervous…allowing Bayley to persevere and choke her out. Awesome, awesome stuff that still leaves them miles to go in rematches…” – The Unholy Dragon

DVDVR Message Board

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168) CHEESEBURGER VS. “BRUTAL” BOB EVANS – ROH FINAL BATTLE (December 18, 2015)

Shocker – the best match on this Ring of Honor show was the one the put on the preshow. If y’all gotten to embrace the wonder that is Cheeseburger, you need to fix that.

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169) KID KASH VS. CHASE OWENS – NWA SMOKEY MOUNTAIN (December 19, 2015 – Career vs. Career)

For the record – it’s Ricky Morton’s career vs. Kid Kash’s career. So happy this popped up before finalizing this piece. Kash needs to be the next guy they bring in to NXT to teach people how to work. Right now they have no one to teach guys how to work as a Southern Heel who will steal your fucking walker because he can.

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170) MEIKO SATOMURA VS. IO SHIRAI – STARDOM (Dec. 23, 2015 – World of Stardom Championsip)

The two best women in Japan this year have the last great match of the year. Meiko has reached the Goldust/Negro Casas territory of somehow continually getting better with age. If you had told me that Meiko was going to become this generation’s Aja Kong I wouldn’t have believed you but here we are.

“This was an unreal match from start to finish. Satomura may have lost the match but she made sure that Shirai would never forget it as she was just drilling her with kicks the entire match. Shirai, as Ace, has a bit more Fighting Spirit than the average wrestler so is given a bit of leeway, she bounced back quickly but Satomura frequently cut her off anyway. It was just non-stop excitement, even the submissions that are sometimes rest holds here were cranked on so you never got the feeling they were just getting a breather. I wish it actually had gone a few more minutes, which is an odd complaint for a 25 minute match, but I was really enjoying it and didn’t want it to end. A masterful performance by both and one of the top Joshi matches of the year. A must see. Highly Recommended” – Kevin Wilson

Joshi City

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