Top 100 Matches of 2016: 90-81

One time Nerf released an item called a “Liquidator Bat”, this has no significance besides me thining it is an homage to GZA and it is actually a Liquid Sword in the long line of Liquid Swords. Thank you, here is the commercial

90. Zack Sabre Jr vs Tommy End (PWG 9/02)

Of course Zack and Tommy were going to out there and do some great shit, it was obvious. However, one could never be prepared for the great shit they did here. Every time I see Tommy it seems like his strikes have become even faster and stiffer and Zack always busts out a wacky submission or two against the lads. This was easily one of the best PWG matches of the year and a great swan song (well, in singles anyway) for Tommy before he went to NXT.

89. Charlotte vs Sasha Banks (WWE Raw 10/03)

This was Banks challenging Charlotte for the title, in case you lost count somewhere on the way. I do not care how many times these two wrestle each other as long as they keep churning out great matches like this and a few others I will talk about later. This match has the notable spot of Charlotte hitting the batshit insane twisting moonsault to the outside. The great thing about their matches is that they have this sense of urgency of a truly dangerous feel to them that few wrestling matches can capture, not to mention that this is a main roster women’s match in WWE! Who would have ever thought that they would be given the chance to do this, much less kill it and put 99% of the main roster to shame?

88. Twin Towers vs Hideki Suzuki & Takuya Nomura (BJW 12/18)

Few things bring more join in life than Nomura being the son of Hideki and just kicking and slapping fools. Well, when you punch Shuji Ishikawa and Kohei Sato, you get hit back very hard. Suzuki’s interactions with Shuji/Kohei are always a good time, and this match just had the fire. There were points where you thought Takuya was legitimately get a submission win over Ishikawa (the lad has a very nice cross armbar). Everyone’s wrestling resolution in 2017 is to watch more Takuya Nomura, because this guy is going to be a star.

87. Katsuyori Shibata vs Kyle O’Reilly (NJPW 10/10)

Shibata beating fools up to defend the honor of New Japan is the best, but Kyle beefed up a bit and also layed in some shots. The story of Kyle trying to prove himself as a credible contender for the championship was a great little story and Shibata can literally do no wrong inside a wrestling ring. The focus on submissions as well makes it a bit different than most other Shibata matches and it’s fun to see Shibata get grapple-y.

86. KUSHIDA vs Taiji Ishimori (NJPW 7/20)

Probably the most forgotten about great match in New Japan all year? These two just went out in between G1 shows and killed it. The respective junior aces of New Japan and NOAH tearing it up for 20 minutes just to solidify their spot in the 2nd round of the Super J Cup is a fascinating story, and these two went all out just to prove why they deserve to be the best junior ace of all of Japan.

85. Chris Hero vs Fred Yehi (EVOLVE 4/02)

Chris Hero may be the best professional wrestler going today, but Fred Yehi is right on up there as well. Yehi has proven he can work any style of match you put him in and not only do it but do it well. Here, it is established early on that Hero is looking past Yehi but still telling him, “Look kid, TAKE YA LUMPS” and he takes them all right. The match was a very strike heavy match but never once felt excessive to me, due to Hero being one of the best looking strikers in the game and Yehi being able to adapt so well and so quickly. Hero looking like a giant compared to Yehi really puts into perspective how much of a beast Chris Hero is and why he is so phenomenal at what he does.

Yehi, after taking some lumps, proceeds to throw Hero around like a sack of potatoes, which again does not feel out of place in this match due to their size difference, because Yehi’s pure power is so unreal it is believable that he could throw around Hero like that. The ending barrage by Hero not only puts Hero over as a complete monster where no one can stop him, but also shows the heart of Yehi as a competitor. This match confirmed that Yehi is THE GUY while Chris Hero proves that he is one of the best in the world.

84. Jimmy Rave vs David Starr vs Adrian Armour vs Owen Knight (AWE7/17)

This match is the first out of a couple of live matches I have seen this year that unfortunately are not available to those not in attendance, so allow me to paint you a picture with poorly constructed sentences. Jimmy Rave was the defending champ who hadn’t been pinned in a hundred years, Knight and Starr were legit contenders and Armour was the newest member of the Rave led stable, The Hierarchy. What follows is a 40 minute match with all sorts of brawling, crowd interaction, double team spots and emotion. Honestly, as far as super long title defenses go, this was one of the best of the year and if it ever surfaces you must watch it.

83. Jeff Cobb vs Adam Thornstowe (SPW 4/17)

If any wrestler knows how to throw bomb after bomb, it is Jeff Cobb. Within the context of SPW, this match was a huge deal and really right before Cobb started getting bookings all around the country (Thornstowe should be getting the same bookings as well but ok) and it did not disappoint. The match breaking down into a suplex and finisher fest does not take away from it one bit and it may possibly be the best match that took place in California all year.

82. Donovan Dijak vs Sami Callihan (Beyond 2/28)

Ahh Donovan Dijak, perhaps THE most underutilized wrestler from the promotion that uses him the most, but Dijak being the ace of Beyond is some great shit. You had Callihan have his singular best performance all year against the crazy athletic Dijak and these two just created magic. Callihan is so good as the cocky prick veteran as opposed to the cat spitting on his hand and this match was just a perfect example of how capable Sami Callihan is when not doing the comedy schtick, like legit #1 in the world. However, let’s just appreciate what we do have and the majesty that is Donny D.

81. Zack Sabre Jr vs Will Ospreay (EVOLVE 4/01)

If it wasn’t the match Ospreay had with Marty Scurll at High Stakes in January or his BOLA appearance in 2015 that got American fans talking about Will Ospreay, it was this match right here. Ospreay brought the flips while ZSJ brought the absolute brutality and these two created their best match together. I love ZSJ getting bullied around by the likes of Chris Hero, WALTER and Tommy End, but him working as a cocky bastard bending scrawny guys up is his bread and butter in my opinion. ZSJ tied Ospreay up in the nearly infinite list of submissions he has on hand while Ospreay got all of his stuff in and looking awesome as usual. Absolutely one of my favorite Zack performances of the year!

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