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WWE Match of the Year - 2014

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I know we didn't do nominations this year but since we only have a couple months left of the year maybe we can discuss what the matches of the year are looking like.  I think my clear favorite is probably Wyatt Family vs. The Shield @ Elimination Chamber. The drama in that one was ridiculous. I'll never forget the fans chanting "this is awesome!" during the stare down.   I also absolutely loved Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan @ WrestleMania XXX.  Hunter busted out some awesome shit while working over Bryan's arm.

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I agree with your choices. Wyatts vs Shield at EC is so far and away my top pick that nothing else compares. Though I do want to add a couple more honourable mentions to the discussion: Lesnar vs Cena at SummerSlam, and the Wyatts vs Usos 2/3 falls match.

 

I'll definitely need to rewatch the Shield-Evolution matches, Bryan-Bray, and the Elimination Chamber match to remind myself how good those were, but I remember ranking them all quite high. 

 

I also have a soft spot for anything Rollins vs Ambrose (MITB ladder match, lumberjack match, post-SummerSlam street fight). 

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I'd probably go with the two Cena/Lesnar matches as my top choices with Shield/Wyatts just barely behind them.

 

Will be interesting to see how Dean/Seth turns out. There is good potential there to take the top spot.

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I think this will be another year in which the result overshadows the match.

One of my favorite matches this year was the MITB tile match qualifying match between Barrett and Sheamus. No one talked about what a brutal fucking match it was. It started off as normal Sheamus vs Barrett match..

So so many good things happened after the mid match break:

Wade counters pretty much all of Sheamus's moves sans the final Brogue Kick. And all the counters were just fucking kicks to the mush or headbutts. Love love Wade countering the shoulder block spot by head butting Sheamus to hell.

This was one of the few matches were the guys stopping and staring at the hanging thing meant something. Not that "I am gonna win that." Look everyone does, but more of a "what the fuck was I thinking? This asshole is going to kill me for that." Look and it was awesome.

Wade clearly lost because the ref had to pull him off of Sheamus. Sheamus may be a terrible character, but damnit to hell can he work a 10 count and hit a Brogue Kick like his life depends on it. He didn't pander to the crowd, he kicked the shit out of Wade out of desperation. More important, the way he fell on top of Wade as he kicked him was totally lucky and positioned him to pin Wade.

Best of all, Sheamus actually takes the time after the match to SELL that he barely won the damn match. Faces don't do that much anymore, and Sheamus rarely, rarely does it.

Barrett has gotten so fucking good at such a fast rate... And Sheamus is really good at being a fucking baby face when he is in there with a guy who matches up with him so well.

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I had to throw ebbie a like just for finding some enjoyment in something :P

 

Some quality mentions so far. Here's another. Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena [Last Man Standing Match] @ Payback. It's probably not the best match of the year but it was such an entertaining car wreck and would definitely crack my top 15-20 somewhere.

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The first Wyatts/Shield match was a perfect storm. Both acts were at their hottest point, it was far enough down the card that there wasn't any overbooking in the build up, just simple promos and each group looking badass. The Shield and at least Bray Wyatt were both protected enough that the result meant something. Just had a total dream match feel, then the in-ring action lived up to every expectation. Harper showed some crazy new stuff, it was the first face Ambrose performance, Rollins was pinballing in top form, Roman and Rowan never looked better. All the little touches were there, even the smallest moves were executed well, the finish was epic, post-match selling by the Wyatts... Pretty much everything you want in a match.

 

My underrated matches are Zayn/Cesaro from NXT Arrival and Bryan/Orton from the 2/3 Raw.

 

The former is about as good of a "feisty babyface vs dominant heel" style match I've seen in years. Lots of great character work between the spectacular moves.

 

The latter should've been a ppv blowoff in 2013, but was still great in a vacuum. Bryan was on offense for at least half the match and got a clean win, even fending off Kane for a thoroughly satisfying win. Orton flipped the switch to "really good" for this one, displaying all the great timing, stiffer strikes, and long-term selling that separate his elite performances from his routine ones.

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I had to throw ebbie a like just for finding some enjoyment in something :P

I am weird. I prefer good guys to want to kick some ass for truth, justice and the American way. Don't mind the divas. And like my hosses to be bigger than 6ft.

Which explains why y'all disagree with me a lot. :P

It won't mean much because the match didn't mean shit, but the Divas match at Mania was the best divas match this year. Mainly for the Bellas busting out double suicide dives and Brie starting her slide into "dumbest face since Sting" role. Haha

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We've really been blessed this year with a ridiculous amount of great matches.

Shield/Wyatts I is the MOTY and one of the greatest matches in WWE history. The Shield were amazing for a lot of reasons, but the best part was them bringing the WWE/Dragon Gate hybrid style into our lives. These matches really evolved WWE storytelling. The great Daniel Bryan push began not at SummerSlam when he beat Cena, but when he became the first person to get a pinfall victory over The Shield.

This match was the best WWE Dragon Gate match and the peak of a style. I broke this match down for my friend's blog here.

One of the amazing things about this match is how these units weren't around for very long. The Shield were around for two years or so. The Wyatts were in the WWE for about six months at this point and didn't have too many six-man's in NXT. The feud also didn't have too much meat to it other than, "YOU COST US A MATCH, WYATTS!"

 

I've watched this match maybe 10 times at this point. They do so many little thing in this match to make it special. It starts right from the beginning, when all six guys are in the ring. Dean (who has been having issues with Reigns) shows some of his inferiority complex by needing to jaw-jack with Bray. And Bray starts screaming "LOOK AT HOW THEY TREAT YOU BOY!" at Dean. This naturally sets The Lunatic Fringe off more, while Reigns and Seth scream at him to hold him back (for whatever strategy they have). And then it ends with Dean being the first to jump, creating the first brawl.

There are so many awesome little things in this -- little fish-hooks and beard pulls and the like.

But the structure is great. It's a three-part story. The first is about the evenness between the two teams. All six guys have great segments (with Seth Rollins stealing the show with his insane dives). The final part of this sequence is amazing with all these great dives -- with Harper doing his awesome tope for I believe the first time, too. Right after the dive sequence, Reigns almost pins Rowan with a roll-up. It's a great near fall. If the match ended right there, I think it still might be the MOTY. That's how great the first sequence (and the bulk of the match) is.

They also wisely give the crowd and awesome break here with all six guys laid out. I love little segments like that. It's such an awesome breather.

The WWE has really toned down the table sports lately, which makes them, when they happen feel Sabu-in-ECW level special. In lesser matches, they get to the table right away. But in this, they WORK towards it. It's teased a few times, most notably when Dean comes running in off-screen to take Harper and Bray out before they powerbomb Rollins through the table. Dean and Bray then end up in the crowd (which is the great whodunnit that led to the next plot point in The Dissent Of The Shield stuff) before Bray returns.

Right when this happens, Rowan hits a fallaway slam on Reigns, who has to roll out onto the floor. People wanted to bag on Rowan when he first came in because he's a big dude without indie cred. He's been a good clobbering beast from the jump and was REALLY great here. His main purpose in all The Wyatt stuff is to be the workhorse who takes the punishment while Harper is the equalizer and Bray is the killer. But Rowan finally -- FINALLY -- wins a segment, and does so against Roman f'n Reigns. They then put Rollins through the table, which ends the second act.

Even the table bump is artistically impressive. In the history of table bumps, it's nothing. I'd imagine Rollins went through more insane stuff in the third match of the night in some dumpy indie show. It's like 1/1000000th the insanity of Foley's bump, and a fraction of early Sabu. I don't even know if it's as crazy as the table bump in Flair/Funk. It's a basic (and I'm not dismissing it -- it's still a huge bump) back pump. But Harper and Rowan really use their size to make it look bigger, and everything in this match has been so amazing and brutal looking that the crowd just eats it up like it's the most insane move of all-time.

I think after the second act, if they were to figure out a way to end it right here, it's definitely the MOTY.

The third arc, though is so amazing. They spent the past two years making Roman Reigns near unbeatable. They played up that the first time he was pinned was in an 11-on-3 match on Raw. He singlehandedly won a Survivor Series match. He set the record at The Royale Rumble for most eliminations. He won countless matches with last-second spears for The Shield. And now he's in a 3-on-1. Can he do this one more time? They put all of that narrative capital into Roman for a pay-off at some moment in time, and this is it.

(In a way, this reminds me of the Art Barr/Eddie vs. El Hijo/Octogon match from When World's Collide (which might be the greatest match of all-time in wrestling history). El Gringos won the first fall. In the second, they eliminated Santo early, so Octogon had to somehow miraculously keep the match alive in order to save the lineage of Mexico's most beloved icon.)

The best in this is when Bray has Roman set up for Sister Abigail. This might be the best facial expressions in WWE history. Bray's near arrogant when he's about to hit the move. Roman powers out and has an awesome Ultimate Warrior kinda face as the crowd rallies behind him. Bray has this perfect look that's shock/fear and amazement at the same time. He's downright in awe that Roman can do this and blinks for a second before he headbutts Roman. And THAT's awesome, and maybe the most brutal in the tiny executions of violence they pepper in this thing. In most matches, Roman powers out. But even in this, he has to fight. It's one of my all-time favorite wrestling segments.

This is legitimately just a fantastic performance from six amazing workers. A+. I really would love to have a "Behind The Music" type thing with whoever put this match together. I really think it might be my favorite wrestling match of all-time.

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Rhodes Bros vs Harper/Rowan for the tag titles on the first Smackdown of the year is a great match that some might not remember. It was the best match those two teams had against each other and was Harpers best performance until Shield/Wyatts.

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Cena/Cesaro from 2/17 RAW is one that still stands out to me as one of my top favorites of the year. That and the Usos/Wyatts, so good.

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Cena vs Cesaro from 2/17 RAW as well. Had everything in a great match that I want. So many unique counters that wouldn't be possible for most other performers. Due to both guys having so much strength. If I did my top 5 matches of all time I am confident it would be one of them. Not number one though. That is Freebirds vs Von Erichs 7/4/83. It is going to take a really special match in front of a molten hot crowd to top that match. Which in the WWE that basically just means the RAW after Mania.

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The Shield were amazing for a lot of reasons, but the best part was them bringing the WWE/Dragon Gate hybrid style into our lives

 

Gregg, I didn't think anything could possibly make me hate any part of The Shield, but now you've gone and done it.

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If Cena/Lesnar at NOC had a better finish, it would be my easy choice.

 

As is, I'm still leaning towards it over Bryan/HHH, Cena/Cesaro, Shield/Wyatts, other Cena/Lesnar, the Elimination Chamber, and Cena/Wyatt LMS.

 

Typing it out, good god damn did John Cena have another great year.

 

(My absolute favorite bit of wrestling all year, though, was the stretch Cena and Cesaro went one on one in the EC, leading to Cesaro's elimination.  It was just a perfect sprint of great wrestling for two or three minutes that left my jaw on the floor.  I really want those two to go 25ish on ppv.)

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For all the praise that Cena/Cesaro got, I'm afraid it's overshadowing the Cesaro/Orton match the Friday prior, and I felt that was the superior match.

 

I need to rewatch Shield/Wyatts.  While I enjoyed it and thought it was fun, I never came away from it thinking it was an all-time classic.

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Shield/Wyatts 1 is my #1

after that there's the rematches the one from the Main Event where Ambrose gives an incredible face in peril performance would be higher with a better crowd.

 

Bryan/Haitch was HHH's best post quad match easy top 5 of the year.

Cesaro had some great ones with Zayn, Orton, and Cena.

Cena/Lesnar 2 would be top 3 with a better finish.

Bryan/Bray feels like a top 5 contender.

Rollins/Ambrose street fight is probably top 10, and their hitc match may be the only thing left to challenge the EC six man.

 

MITB match was awesome, and Ambrose had some swank matches with Bray, Barrett, Cesaro, and Del Rio.

 

 

I agree RandomAct that finishing sequence where Cesaro murders Orton with a sunset flip powerbomb, discus uppercut, and the Neutralizer was glorious.

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Gregg dropped a #blessed on us. Amazing.

 

My favorite matches from the year are probably Rollins/Ambrose street fight, Cesaro/Orton and Shield/Evolution.

 

Other stuff that deserves a mention:

Big E vs Rusev from Money In The Bank deserves some love so I have to second it. 8 minutes of violence.

 

There was a three match series between Ambrose and Orton where Ambrose was selling the shoulder injury that I really dug. I remember the fans being pissed when that dastardly Orton would target the shoulder.  How dare he?!  Dean's hurt!  No single match was MOTY quality but it was really good telling a story in the ring type stuff.

 

Dolph Ziggler vs Heath Slater. Really fun match and the fans were chanting for Slater.

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Shield vs. Evolution does deserve more discussion. Both of them.

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Cena vs Harper on RAW that time was great, also loved the Shield/Wyatt's rematch from just after Elimination Chamber with Rollins going crazy!

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It won't mean much because the match didn't mean shit, but the Divas match at Mania was the best divas match this year. Mainly for the Bellas busting out double suicide dives and Brie starting her slide into "dumbest face since Sting" role. Haha

Really? Charlotte/Nattie and Charlotte/Bailey rank much higher for me.

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Do NXT matches count here?

 

I'd have to think about it, but something like this might be my top five in order:

 

Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan (Royal Rumble 2014)

Usos vs. Harper/Rowan (2/3 falls, Battleground 2014)

Wyatts vs. Shield (Elimination Chamber)

Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn (NXT Arrival)

Paige vs. Emma (NXT Arrival)

 

Big E vs. Rusev (Payback 2014), Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (WrestleMania 30), John Cena vs. Cesaro (RAW, 2/27), Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze (NXT Takeover) are my immediate honorable mentions, though I could come up with five or six more of those if I thought about it for awhile.

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Shield vs. Evolution does deserve more discussion. Both of them.

 

Idk. That anything goes, what da "official" title for that kinda match was weird for me. I expected mayhem and shit, but it starts off as a polite six man with tags and no ref arguing.

 

It won't mean much because the match didn't mean shit, but the Divas match at Mania was the best divas match this year. Mainly for the Bellas busting out double suicide dives and Brie starting her slide into "dumbest face since Sting" role. Haha

Really? Charlotte/Nattie and Charlotte/Bailey rank pretty much higher for me.

Don't watch NXT. But Nattie is fucking awful. Awful.

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