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Best WWE Matches 2015


Go2Sleep
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I would argue strongly against the Cena/Rollins match because, yet again, a Cena match's drama came more from the fact that the two were hitting these ridiculous moves and they were getting kicked out of than a real, tangible story. They played up the nose a bit, but not nearly enough. By the end, it was just another 2015 John Cena indy-spoof spotfest.

 

Undertaker/Brock had all the psychology and the moves, though I'm tiring of the finisher overkill in those matches too. As Undertaker becomes more and more of a human than a deadman, he shouldn't be kicking out of those. Still, they did such a good job prior to that and the extremely lame finish that I'm okay with it making it on a best of WWE matches of the year list.

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I wouldn't fault anyone for listing Brock/Taker, but I can't do it. The finish is the most important part of the match because it's presumably what you've spent the entire match (and angle) building towards. Sometimes a match can build to a good screwjob finish (Austin/Angle Summer Slam 01 for example), but this was not a good screwjob finish.

 

Rollins/Cena would be more likely to get a nod from me just because Rollins tore shit up, but it's still not making the list. Another bad finish and Cena was off.

 

However, Bayley/Sasha will move into my #1 spot. When I look for high-end MOTYCs, I look for matches that can elicit some type of emotional response via character work and storytelling as well as move for move action. This match really had it all.

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Sasha/Bayley was the best WWE match Summerslam weekend, and probably top 3 for the year(giving Sasha 2 of the top 3). Owens/Cesaro would've been a motyc if it happened in front of the NXT crowd. Brock/Taker was awesome until WWE "epic" formula kicked in and the stupid finish. 4 way tag title match was a ton of fun maybe a low level contender. Cena/Rollins was a decent enough spotfest, but I've been tired of Cena's super indy/Kurt Angle tribute gimmick since the second Owens match where it became clear he's not interested in doing anything else.

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At this point there needs to be three WWE MOTY categories: MOTY: Cena Division and MOTY: NXT Women's Division and MOTY: everyfuckingbodyelse, so nothing gets left out of the top 10s

I do not remember a year in WWF/E where we were this spoiled for choice.

2013 was probably better than this year for in-ring performances but I'm not a big fan of a lot of Cena's stuff this year. I thought he killed Rusev and the only good match in the series was the WM non-gimmicked match.

 

WWE's 2013 might be the best in the history of the company. 1997 is up there. Both this year and last year deserve mentions.

 

Brock/Taker was so closing in on this thread and then...

 

I think it still certainly merits a spot. I'm not letting stupid fucking booking completely spoil two awesome performances.

 

Agreed.

 

All:

 

1. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins. WWE WrestleMania XXXI, 29th March.

2. Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins. WWE Royal Rumble, 25th January.

3. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks. NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, 22nd August.

4. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch. NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, 20th May.

5. The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar. WWE SummerSlam, 23rd August.

 

TV:

 

1. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks. NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, 22nd August.

2. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch. NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, 20th May.

3. Seth Rollins vs. Neville. WWE RAW, 3rd August.

4. Rusev vs. Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens. WWE RAW, 13th July.

5. John Cena vs. Cesaro. WWE RAW, 7th July.

 

Highest new entry is Bayley vs. Sasha Banks. Out of the matches I've previously included, Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch jumped up the most having watched it a second time and liking it a lot more.

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Zayn / Owens (Rival) and Bayley / Sasha are head and shoulders above any WWE match I have seen this year.

 

I will continue to love Cena / Cesaro and Cena / Owens I since Cena is king size and does not get enough love because of stupid real heat with dumb smarks and because KO and Cesaro are fucking awesome.

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As of right now, my number one and two are the Sasha classics.

They're awesome matches no matter how you look at them. But they also get a boost from me because of what they mean for American wrestling. Say what you want about the #DivasRevolution -- it's still way too early to call it either a success or a failure, even though a lot of the IWC has to have a kneejerk hot take about things immediately. But NXT without those matches is a fun indie rip-off league. But The Four Horsewomen made NXT socially relevant and important. They're making people take woman's wrestling seriously, and it's getting noticed in non-wrestling blogs like Jezebel. The Sasha Classics are more responsible for that than anything else. Wrestling fans who aren't monsters internally will always have these two years and these two matches in-particular to show the world what wrestling can and should be for any type of performer.

I really have to rewatch Sasha vs. Becky again for a fair write-up. But that was, going by memory, a great physical matchup featuring arm-work. It also cemented Becky Lynch, who was floundering as a character and trying to figure that out, which is way more important to me than being able to have a technically proficient match. (I would much rather watch everything Bo Dalls does than anything involving Finn Balor.) It wasn't just great by the standards of women. It was great and just happened to have been done by women. It escalates and becomes violent and clever and Sasha just has one more trick in the bag to win. She's The Boss.

My number one match is Sasha/Bayley. The work in this match was so ridiculously great. There are so many little elevations from Bayley's Run To The Title and Sasha/Becky and all sorts of other things. It's perfect WWE Main Event Style wrestling in a vacuum but with all these great little add-ons that are reminiscent of all the All-Japan matches or any WWE/WCW "series" where one match led to counters for another.

 

On top of it, there are two bigger picture stories -- one in-character fully and one more meta.

The in-character story is "How should girls handle self-doubt? Do you remain true to who you are or do you become a bully?" That's the story of the Sasha/Bayley feud. Confidence issues are such a huge thing in the development of girls as they become women. It's something that I've really come to appreciate lately. Wrestling works best when the performers are archetypes -- Austin captured blue collar libertarian rage against the boss; Daniel Bryan captured what it's like to be a normal person struggling to get ahead in a corporate structure tilted towards favorite sons who protect their own; Sami Zayn is a good person trying to maintain his integrity while reaching for the brass ring, etc. Bayley and Sasha are such great archetypes.

 

Bayley is clear to see. She's a sweet-person who trusts everyone. She's had her heart broken so many times by people who realize they can use her to get ahead. The other Horsewomen did it. Evil Emma attacked her. She connects to an otherworldly degree, most seen through her superfan Izzy. Izzy gets to live vicariously through her hero and she might not know yet (or maybe does) what awaits her in middle school. Izzy's going to have her heart broken and people act cruel to her and think the world really, really sucks. But hopefully she'll find a way to cope and stand up for herself and realize she has every reason in the world to feel good about herself. Just like Bayley has over the years, and best made clear when Sasha tried to gas-face her in the contract signing and Bayley flipped out.

Sasha was like Bayley at one point in time -- someone awestruck to just be there until Summer Rae got in her head and she became The Boss. Sasha's just like the girl who was nice when she was a little kid but becomes this terrible and awful mean girl in middle school once she gets bequeathed with popularity. She writes notes and gossips and whispers and shoves into lockers. This goes on ALL the time. And it's always done by people who are completely insecure (as every American tween is) putting on a mask to avoid confronting those issues.

But Sasha does all these great and wonderful facial expressions. There are so many matches when she almost loses in the early part of the match that cause her to backpedal. This is a heel champ trademark (Flair did this all the time) but Sasha conveys such a sense of that whole lack of confidence in who she is and her ability. She may ride in an Escalade (which was awesome) and wear her bling but deep down inside she's so much like Bayley. She might slap Bayley and call her a loser as an intimidation method... but she's also getting that internal dialogue she has about herself out, too, in a way. Sasha knows she's good in the ring and taunts and is wonderful. But anytime she comes up just short or almost loses, she just has this wonderful look of desperation.

 

So this isn't just a textbook match. It's a story for girls like Izzy. It's easy to put on that mask and act cruel to others and get them before they get you. Doing that gets you on Raw and win titles and have bodyguards. But staying true to yourself and not betraying others and being a good person is hard. It's hard and it can suck and people will betray you to sit with the cool kids. (Charlotte even wore a shirt saying that for a spell.) But in the end, it's worth it -- you get to hold the title and get hugged by your mom and family and the people who mean the most to you as opposed to the empty accolades of fake popularity and stardom.

That is just insanely awesome. It's two-years of an amazing story with a great lesson for the Izzy's of the world. When wrestling is at it's best, it's THE best. And this was the best.

The meta-story, of course, is how the Four Horsewomen got to have their curtain call. They wanted more than what they were told they can get. They reached out and got that. And it wasn't just for them -- it was for us, too. They can have 12-minutes of arm-work. And they can also make us feel like the world is a little bit better, too.

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My top three is easy. Banks/Bayley, Banks/Lynch, and Cena/Lesnar/Rollins.

After that... Damn it gets tough. This hasn't been as good a year as 2013_top to bottom, but I think the high end stuff might be even deeper.

 

You got me looking at my top ten for 2013 and top ten for 2015 to compare. I think you might be right.

 

2013:

 

1. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena. WWE SummerSlam, 18th August. *****

2. Daniel Bryan vs. Antonio Cesaro. WWE RAW, 22nd July.

3. Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk. WWE SummerSlam, 18th August.

4. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton. WWE RAW, 24th June.

5. The Undertaker vs. CM Punk. WWE WrestleMania XXIX, 7th April.

6. Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio. WWE Payback, 16th June.

7. The Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio. WWE Smackdown, 11th January.

8. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho. WWE Payback, 16th June.

9. Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian. WWE SummerSlam, 18th August.

10. Goldust/Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns. WWE Battleground, 6th October.

 

2015:

 

1. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins. WWE WrestleMania XXXI, 29th March. *****

2. Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins. WWE Royal Rumble, 25th January. *****

3. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks. NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, 22nd August.

4. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch. NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, 20th May.

5. The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar. WWE SummerSlam, 23rd August.

6. Seth Rollins vs. Neville. WWE RAW, 3rd August.

7. Rusev vs. Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens. WWE RAW, 13th July.

8. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens. WWE Money in the Bank, 15th June.

9. John Cena vs. Cesaro. WWE RAW, 7th July.

10. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn. NXT TakeOver: Rival, 11th Feburary.

 

I'd certainly take Bryan vs. Cena from 2013 over all in 2005. I'd also take Bryan vs. Cesaro which I recently watched for the first time since it happened. From 2015, my top five.

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Rollins/Neville might be my number three. That match had such a fantastic story. Sleazebag Rollins tries to manipulate the rules to his advantage, only to have it nearly backfire on him with the hotshot new rookie shows up with his A-game. The rookie has Rollins beat but his excitement and becoming champion causes him to make an error as he rolled Rollins up into the ropes, resulting in one of the all-time best nearfalls. Neville then has to recalculate and takes too long in setting up for another Red Arrow, allowing Rollins to weasel his way out with the title.

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I don't feel like 2015 has been terribly deep compared to last couple of years. NXT going nuts (particularly the women giving them a new avenue for MOTYCs) is the only thing helping this year out, because the list containing only main roster matches would be really uninspiring almost 2/3 of the way through the year. It's even more worrying because MOTYCs are generally pretty sparse after Summer Slam in WWE. NXT doesn't really have a set schedule yet, so they could still produce more. Last year, their December show was the best ever, so I'm guessing most high-end stuff from here out will be from NXT.

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Bryan and Zayn( arguably the two best workers in the company) being out isn't helping the high end match quantity. Too many main roster matches have devolved into mindless spotfests. To me Brock is the one guy that works outside the box and stands out on the main roster from bell to bell.

 

I agree with Go2Sleep without the 4 Horsewomen this is a pretty light year. There's still some highly praised stuff from them like the Mania show that didn't make tape. It's sad these girls don't have half the talent to work against on the main roster as the male wrestlers moving up. If you can't have good matches with Cesaro, Rusev, Owens, Sheamus, Reigns, Harper, Nellive, etc etc on a weekly basis then you suck pretty hard.

 

Current top 5

 

Sasha/Becky, Brock/Reigns(Rollins), Sasha/Bayley, Rollins/Neville, Cena/Brock/Rollins

 

I need to see what the best New Day/Cesaro Kidd match was those ruled.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lost this post twice now. Fuckity fuck. Here be matches slipped under the radar/need talking up by date:

 

1. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn. NXT TakeOver: Rival, 11th Feburary.

2. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch. NXT TakeOver: Rival, 11th Feburary.

3. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn. NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, 20th May.

4. John Cena vs. Cesaro. WWE RAW, 7th July.

5. Rusev vs. Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens. WWE RAW, 13th July. 2015 has produced two of the best Triple Threat matches ever in Lesnar vs. Cena vs. Rollins at the Royal Rumble and Lesnar vs. Reigns vs. Rollins at WrestleMania XXXI. This too is one of the best Triple Threat matches I’ve seen. I’m taking this as a whole package from the match itself, what it turned into and the winner facing John Cena for the United States Championship as soon as the match ended.

6. Seth Rollins vs. Neville. WWE RAW, 3rd August. Two of the most memorable near falls in this match. I’d marginally take this as the WWE TV Match of the Year barely over the Triple Threat match.

7. Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro. WWE SummerSlam, 23rd August.

8. Seth Rollins vs. John Cena. WWE SummerSlam, 23rd August.

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Bryan and Zayn( arguably the two best workers in the company) being out isn't helping the high end match quantity. Too many main roster matches have devolved into mindless spotfests. To me Brock is the one guy that works outside the box and stands out on the main roster from bell to bell.

It's funny actually because the guy on the main roster who's spent the most time figuring out how to mash up good storytelling with huge spot stuff?

Cena. Which is why he's having a ridiculously good in-ring year above guys who come from the style.

Then again, I've felt for a while Cena is the closest to a King's Road style wrestler in the US. Good storytelling around bombs. And like King's Road going into NOAH era, he's hit a point where he can't have a match without nerfing finishers. Still fun to watch though.

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I'm not really sure it's been that great of a year for Cena overall. Yeah, he's had some high-end matches, but the overall quality of his work seems way down. The Rusev program didn't do anything for me, and a lot of his open challenge matches were the same "try too hard" style that Kurt Angle got ripped for in his late-WWE and TNA runs.

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Fastlane before Mania.

The two gimmick matches didn't work, especially the chain one, but both the Fastlane and WrestleMania matches are very high on my list.

But I also have Cena in I think five or six of my the top ten WWE matches so far this year. I'd have to really go back through and rank them to be sure.

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The Fast Lane match was alright. Not the best Cena/Monster match by a long shot, but at least it was in the same vein. Cena's matches went way down hill once he started using that damn springboard stunner. Although, I did like the first Owens match even if it seems retroactively worse now that they failed to build on it in any meaningful way.

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