Top half of the list, WE ARE ALMOST THERE!
50. Kento Miyahara vs Jun Akiyama (AJPW 7/23)
Your first question is probably how on earth I don’t have this any higher than #50, well let me tell you. This match in one word felt EPIC, it had all the greatly placed highspots and big bumps and was a perfect story told for Miyahara to finally conquer Uncle Jun. So what was my problem with it? It took place in Hakata StarLanes, and honestly the match just felt bigger than the crowd and place. It’s odd, I have rarely ever had this kind of criticism with a match, but you put this match in front of a hot crowd in Korakuen and it probably gives the match the needed boost to get into Top 25, maybe even Top 15 territory. Do not let anything I am saying detract from this match as it is a great one and has the argument to be the best in All Japan this year. This is what really established Miyahara in my eyes and I hope Akiyama wrestlers for another twenty years.
49. Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Michael Elgin (NJPW 8/13)
The forgotten great match of 2016, as this went on right before Omega/Naito and we all know how that goes, but this match was a BATTLE. The story here is that Elgin is strong as shit, but Nakajima does not care as he just wants to continually kick and forearm Elgin and force him to go down. Elgin being the IWGP Intercontinental Champion at this time while Nakajima was a NOAH outsider (who lost to Quiet Storm right after this match because why not?) so you go in thinking there is no chance that he pulls off the upset. WELL THINK AGAIN AND HE DOES IT WITH ~style~.
48. La Revolucion vs Mike Mendoza & El Cuervo (WWC 3/06)
Bloody is the word to describe this one. This was there first match in a series of bloody brawls, but this one stands out to me the most just because it came out of nowhere unless you followed the Puerto Rico scene fairly closely. If you enjoy a good brawl every once in a while, I can’t imagine you not getting a kick out of this one.
47. Kengo Mashimo vs Kento Miyahara (AJPW 4/09)
This was the business right here, just fantastic performances by both. This is how you do a time limit draw right. Mashimo is the veteran and Miyahara is the champ still trying to claw his way to the top to gain respect from his peers and fans. So Mashimo destroying Kento’s leg works to perfection while Kento refusing to give up is a story that you can easily get behind. This goes fairly under the radar due to Kento’s Triple Crown stuff but this may be his best singles match all year.
46. Daichi Hashimoto vs Daisuke Sekimoto (BJW 3/31)
Daichi’s greatest performance to date in my opinion, and Sekimoto was the right guy to do that against. The story here is Hashimoto proving that he belongs in Big Japan and he wants do that that against THE MAN, Sekimoto himself. As we all know, Sekimoto is a hard hitting monster, so obviously he did not take too kindly to that so naturally Hashimoto pays for that. However, Daichi does not go down easily and what ensues is one of the most heartwarming finish to a match in the last couple of years, which alone makes this match a must see.
45. Drew Gulak & Tracy Williams vs Fred Yehi & TJ Perkins (EVOLVE 5/06)
Catch Point at this point was probably the best collection of talent on the indies easily in a decade, so naturally this was a fantastic piece of wrestling. If you do not know, Catch Point is built on the nature of competition so this made this match quite gritty and compelling. Eventually both teams get increasingly frustrated with each other so we start seeing submissions transition to strikes and you have some of the most innovative offensive wrestlers in the game in this match. One of the best tags on the indies all year.
44. Marty Scurll vs Chris Hero (PROGRESS 6/19)
Hero vs Villain, going in this match just felt special and man did the in ring aspect to it makes it feel special. Hero is such a fantastic big match wrestler and tearing it up with Marty, who honestly is quite hit or miss with me, was great. Take nothing away from Scurll, he was fantastic in this match and really played up to his character’s billing, and him wrestling in pure white was a great touch to me. Progress had their best in ring year to date in 2016 and this match is definitely one of the reasons why.
43. Team IOU vs Viking War Party vs Roscoe Eat Lisa (New South 8/06)
Sure the list is short, but this is the best match I have ever had the pleasure of seeing live. All three of these teams are excellent brawlers, so of course they tore it up and just had an epic one. The crowd was hot for this one as well, and for a child friendly environment there was some scary shit in this one. All six guys killed it and I would wager to say this was the best match in the first year of New South.
42. Matt Riddle vs Tommy End (EVOLVE 8/20)
Something beautiful about two guys working in front of a super hot (literally, everyone was very sweaty and I am sure the smell in the building was atrocious as it was cramped as all hell) crowd in a church, but what a match. I think at one point they knew they had to start shooting, so these two did just that and started shooting. Excellent kicks and ground game from both here made for a very entertaining match I wish we could see again.
41. The Revival vs American Alpha (WWE:NXT 7/06)
Two out of three falls, and it was a great finale to the Revival/AA feud. So many callbacks where you need to watch the prior two to fully appreciate this and it is more than worth it. Jordan had a few issues selling the leg here but I can forgive stuff like that fairly easily. Great drama with a great finishing stretch, WATCH THIS!