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The Natural

2018 Matches of the Year.

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New Year. New Topic required.

First RAW of the year started well with Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe and Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka.

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Here is my first.

Cedric Alexander vs Mustafa Ali

Starts off like typical face vs face with friendly exchanges and showmanship. They are just one upping one another until Cedric just gets a little to physical with Mustafa in the corner and when Mustafa gets annoyed by this, Cedric just responds that this is a competition. They used the dead crowd to their advantage as the two started talking shit to one another during the rest holds, and as the match continued, action grew more intense. Cedric and Mustafa sold like champs and literally yanked the crowd's attention forcefully getting a reaction out of them. It was a great match and the best on 205 since Neville left.

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Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano from NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia is my #1. Amazing match. Going to take something else to beat it.

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Almas vs Gargano was done next level shit. Like come on lads, at least give the WWE guys a chance...

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Men's Royal Rumble should be added to the list. Such a quality Rumble and it was even better watching it the 2nd time this morning. 

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Both Royal Rumble matches and Asuka vs. Sasha Banks from the post Royal Rumble RAW.

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Dream vs Ohno was really, really good until those botches near the end. But the opening five minutes keep it on a good level for me.

The crowd counting down from 30 , Dream knocking Kassius out, and Kass beating the crap out of Dream was a great sequence. 

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Almas vs Gargano

Said what I said about this match. It was awesome/

Sasha vs Asuka

This match blew me away. It tok awhile to pick up steam and intensity, but this is Sasha "I don't give a fuck" Banks. She will take a completely dangerous spot and keep on kicking. She sold Asuka's moves like a champ and delivered. Asuka was great as expected and it is nice that she finally has something to work with in Sasha.

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2018 WWE MOTY

1. Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano. NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, 27th January. *****

2. Men's Royal Rumble Match. WWE Royal Rumble, 28th January.

3. Women's Royal Rumble Match. WWE Royal Rumble, 28th January.

4. Asuka vs. Sasha Banks. WWE RAW, 29th January.

5. John Cena vs. Finn Balor. WWE RAW, 29th January,

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Tyler Bate vs Roderick Strong UK #1 Contender

Tyler Bate is fucking amazing, y'all. I have never been a fan of Strong, but I acknowledge as a solid worker, Strong is good. But Bate is so diverse and that I honestly am astonished with how varied his offense is. This dude can do it all. He has the power moves, the aerial moves, the technical moves, and the comeback moves. It;s incredible. And Strong is pure power and pain. These two locked up and it was a technical exhinition at first, and then when Bate got the upperhand, Roddy got annoyed and opted to break the little fucker's back. Then the story was set: Bate had to overcome Strong's brutal offense. Bate had a few hope spots, but eventually he would succumb to the damage. Strong hit his brutal finisher to perfection.

This was a great match.

I haven't mentioned the Royal Rumble matches because I do not like Royal Rumble Matches. It is not my thing.

1. Almas vs Gargano

2. Mustafa Ali vs Cedric Alexander

3. Sasha vs Asuka

4. Reigns vs Joe

5. Bate vs Strong

Not sure if you can discern my taste in matches, but this is just WWE. My favorite match this year overall has been Naito vs Okada.

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My current top 5

1. Cien Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano - 1/27

2. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe - 1/1

3. Women's Royal Rumble - 1/28

4. Sasha Banks vs. Asuka - 1/29

5. Authors of Pain vs. Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly - 1/27

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11 hours ago, Kyuubi said:

Tyler Bate vs Roderick Strong UK #1 Contender

Tyler Bate is fucking amazing, y'all. I have never been a fan of Strong, but I acknowledge as a solid worker, Strong is good. But Bate is so diverse and that I honestly am astonished with how varied his offense is. This dude can do it all. He has the power moves, the aerial moves, the technical moves, and the comeback moves. It;s incredible. And Strong is pure power and pain. These two locked up and it was a technical exhinition at first, and then when Bate got the upperhand, Roddy got annoyed and opted to break the little fucker's back. Then the story was set: Bate had to overcome Strong's brutal offense. Bate had a few hope spots, but eventually he would succumb to the damage. Strong hit his brutal finisher to perfection.

This was a great match.

I haven't mentioned the Royal Rumble matches because I do not like Royal Rumble Matches. It is not my thing.

1. Almas vs Gargano

2. Mustafa Ali vs Cedric Alexander

3. Sasha vs Asuka

4. Reigns vs Joe

5. Bate vs Strong

Not sure if you can discern my taste in matches, but this is just WWE. My favorite match this year overall has been Naito vs Okada.

I watched Strong vs. Bate after I posted my top five. I'd slot in as my #5.

My Match of the Year overall is Almas vs. Gargano followed by Okada vs. Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 12.

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Lince Dorado vs Kalisto

Good fun Lucha action. When people say that the main roster can do the same moves as the Cruiserweights, I point to this match because you do not see this action in WWE or in the WWE style. This was a very atypical WWE match in which there was just one resthold. There was some subtle story telling in which Lince was desperate to get the win because he "needs this" but it was pure action nonetheless.

Hideo Itami vs Roderick Strong

Great match as expected from the two. Strong wanted to use his high impact moves and Hideo wanted to strike. It was a good showing from both and match of the night arguably. When Strong hit that apron backbreaker, I thought Itami was legit hurt. Surprised that Strong went over, but the match was hurt by the fact that Hideo seemingly can't use the GTS anymore so when he tried to do some move, the audience and myself apparently could not tell what move he was going for. Dammit Kendrick. Anyways, 205 was a good show all around.

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Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne is the early front runner for me.

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Lots of Roderick Strong love.

Roderick Strong vs Kalisto

Strong is the Malenko of this era while Kalisto is an okay Mysterio clone, so this match was always going to be good. There were some cool spots like that top rope scoop slam reversal into a DDT or that momentum hurricarana reversal into the barricade. This match got the crowd to wake up and get into this match which is an enviable task following Smackdown when the main event at the time was John Cena vs AJ Styles. Great match.

Cedric Alexander vs TJP

I liked the psychology of the match in terms of size expectation of reversal. Cedric, in spite of being the bigger guy, wants to pick up the pace and keep going forward while TJP wants to slow the match down and ground Cedric. The story of this match was essentially playing on TJP's growing insecurity that maybe he is not technical enough or good enough. He is the only guy in this tournament that had to cheat to win and get ahead, and you can see the frustration on his face when Cedric was out mat wrestling him in the tournament. TJP was annoyed. The crowd was mostly dead because it directly followed AJ Styles vs Cena and shit, and in spite of this being a better match, it is no enviable task for any performer to follow that match with characters with that build.

Mustafa Ali vs Gallagher

Classic high flier vs Ground guy with a twist of Gallagher finally realized idea of cruelty. Gallagher was brutal to Ali and basically focused on his arm. This was probbly Gallagher's best match I've seen from him. Ali took an insane bump from the top rope to the outside that helped further sell the arm work Gallagher was laying down. Ali has probably the best facial expressions in WWE, up there with Gargano and Cedric. Dude can sell his ass off. 

Strong vs Dunne

Strong has been putting in work this year and Dunne is someone I want to see more of. Strong makes everyone better because his offense is impactful while Dunne's offense is tortorous. Not surprised that Dunne went over, but these two have one more in them.

Ali vs Buddy Murphy

Alright, I was not sold on Murphy initially aside from his crazy build and freak athleticism. The dude looks huge as a Cruiserweight and his strength projects this Hulk like figure. I want Nese and him to get into a feud over the title of premier athlete. Anyways, this match was about the idea that Murphy was stronger, faster, and more agile than Ali which was displayed in several instances of the match. Ali could not out power him obviously, but what surprised me was when Ali was going for a dive, Murphy cut him off and met him in the middle of the ring. So the whole match was going to be that Ali was clearly the underdog except Ali executed this sick 450 on Murphy's arm that redefined the match. Technical high flying...who would have thought.

Cedric Alexander vs Strong

This is the match that is in my MOTYC. To me, this was up there with Gargano vs Almas. The story was the Lumbar Check vs the End of Heartache, two of the most devastating finishers in the WWE if not all of wrestling today. Cedric who has relied on the Lumbar Check to finish matches since his arrival in the WWE was accused by Strong of overrelying on the move and if he kicked out of it, Cedric would be lost. After a lengthy exchange, Cedric hit the check and Strong got his foot on the ropes because of he was too overconfident and lazily hooked the wrong leg. Then Strong hit a nasty Angle Slam off the ringpost and it seemed Cedric was going to lose up until Strong hit the End of Heartache and he too committed the same mistake as Cedric. Now both are completely caught off guard and have their allusions of the invincibility of their finishers shattered so Cedric and Strong begin trading shots. Strong was about to hit the finisher again, but Cedric opting not to take it, rolled him up in a cradle and got the win. Great match. Great expressions. Great post-match interview that finally gave Cedric an angle for the crowd to give a shit about him.

So I am enjoying 205 Live. I have yet to see the Cian Gargano rematch but will sonn whenever I get time.

 

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I have to second the strong love.

Itami vs Strong was outstanding. 

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A quick first quarter top 15 before Mania weekend:

1. Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Cien Almas, Takeover: Philadelphia, 1/27
2. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish vs.The Authors of Pain, Takeover: Philadelphia, 1/27
3. Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Cien Almas, NXT TV, 2/21
4. Mustafa Ali vs. Jack Gallagher, 205 Live, 2/20
5. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev, Fastlane, 3/11
6. Johnny Gargano vs. Velveteen Dream, NXT TV, 1/24
7. Seth Rollins vs. John Cena vs. Roma Reigns vs. Elias vs. The Miz vs. Finn Balor vs. Braun Strowman, Raw, 1/29 (Gauntlet Match)
8. Nia Jax vs. Asuka, Elimination Chamber, 2/25
9. Cedric Alexander vs. Roderick Strong, 205 Live, 3/13
10. Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak, 205 Live, 3/20
11. Bailey vs. Sasha Banks, Raw, 2/12
12. Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne, NXT TV, 2/14
13. Roderick Strong vs. Kalisto, 205 Live 2/27
14. Bailey vs. Asuka, Raw, 2/5
15. Sasha Banks vs. Asuka, Raw, 1/29

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Murphy vs Kalisto

One of the best things on 205 has been Buddy fucking Murphy. That is all.

Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins

Awesome match. Very athletic exhibition between the both of them. So yeah, if these guys want to come 205 Live, that would be great. 

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Seth is 217. I doubt he's cutting 12 lbs to drop down to 205.

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Seth's a big dude who just has like 5% or less body fat. 

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Something like this for me:

1. Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano. NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, 27th January. *****

2. Men's Royal Rumble Match. WWE Royal Rumble, 28th January.

3. Women's Royal Rumble Match. WWE Royal Rumble, 28th January.

4. Braun Strowman vs. Seth Rollins vs. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Elias. WWE RAW, 19th February.

5. Asuka vs. Sasha Banks. WWE RAW, 29th January.

6. AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin. WWE Fastlane, 11th March.

7. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev. WWE Fastlane, 11th March.

8. John Cena vs. Finn Balor. WWE RAW, 29th January.

9. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor. WWE RAW, 2nd April.

10. Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Bate. WWE NXT TV, 31st January.

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So this after NXT takeover so...

1. Gargano vs Ciampa Takeover New Orleans

2. Gargano vs Almas 

3. Cedric vs Strong

4. Murphy vs Kalisto

5. Asuka vs Sasha Banks

6. Ali vs Cedric Alexander

7. Strong vs Dunne 

That is all for today. 

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Moon/Baszler is on my list somewhere now. 

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Mine after NXT TakeOver: New Orleans (finished the show a few minutes ago) be...

WWE Overall:

1. Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano. WWE NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, 27th January. *****

2. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa.  WWE NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, 7th April.

3. Men's Royal Rumble Match. WWE Royal Rumble, 28th January.

4. Women's Royal Rumble Match. WWE Royal Rumble, 28th January.

5. Adam Cole vs. Ricochet vs. EC3 vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan. WWE NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, 7th April.

6. Braun Strowman vs. Seth Rollins vs. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Elias. WWE RAW, 19th February.

7. Asuka vs. Sasha Banks. WWE RAW, 29th January.

8. AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin. WWE Fastlane, 11th March.

9. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev. WWE Fastlane, 11th March.

10. Ember Moon vs. Shanya Baszler. WWE NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, 7th April.

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My current top 5

1-2. Cien Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano - 1/27, Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa - 4/7

3. Cien Andrade Almas vs. Aleister Black - 4/7

4. Women's Royal Rumble - 1/28

I'm stopping there because stuff gets a bit interchangeable for me as they are probably even but how much I like them over the other changes depending on my mood (like half of the CW Title tournament, Asuka vs. everyone). Even that Rumble match just barley eeks out right now.

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