In the world of professional wrestling, 2018 has been a monumental year. We have seen so many great matches and incredible story arcs develop. From groundbreaking events like ALL IN and WWE Evolution, we have seen a change in the landscape. Now this list
is only matches that I have watched. And I will list them from best to the greatest. Because there isn’t a bad match on the list. So let’s not waste any more time. Here is Part 2 of The Laracuente Ledger’s Top 18 PPV Wrestling Matches of 2018.
I discuss the matches a bit more and speak about their significances on today’s corresponding episode of The Laracuente Ledger Podcast.
- Brock Lesnar vs. The “NEW” Daniel Bryan, Survivor Series. It seems to be the Brock Lesnar only has good matches at Survivor Series. I joke of course, but his matches against AJ Styles in 2017 and now DB in 2018 have been some of his best. And Bryan as always is phenomenal.
- Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler, 2 of 3 Falls, NXT Takeover War Games II. These two incredible NXT Superstars have some amazing chemistry and almost made their way onto the list. But they deserve a huge honorable mention.
- War Games II, NXT Takeover War Games II. The second annual War Games matchup showed why NXT is the brand to beat in WWE. Every man in the match put on a big time display. And they definitely delivered. But we only had 18 spots.
No. 9: Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Cien Almas, NXT Takeover Philadelphia
This match was an absolute classic in professional wrestling. Gargano vs. Almas played their roles to perfection. Almas as the heel made you despise what he was doing. And Gargano as the babyface made you feel every ounce of his pain. These two men headlined Takeover Philadelphia and for good reason.
No. 8: Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch, Evolution
The bedrock of any good pro wrestling story starts with competition and wanting to be the best. And any good bitter rivalry drama tells a beautiful story of friends turned enemies. This match was a classic story of who will outshine the other. These WWE Superstars delivered an epic contest and tried to outdo each other at every turn. To see the pain and torture Becky and Charlotte would inflict on one another to walk away the victor was incredible to watch. And deserve a place in the top half of this countdown.
No. 7: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega, G1-Climax
Warning SPOILER ALERT, this match is the first of four in this countdown to include Kenny Omega. And each one of the four matches could have aced this list. But for the first inclusion of “The Cleaner”, in his battle with Naito at the G1-Climax, these two men went to war. A hard hitting bout with many a near fall. Naito and Omega would show the world that they are at the top echelon of the sport of kings.
No. 6: Smackdown Live Women’s Championship Triple Threat TLC, TLC
When you place “The MAN” herself, Becky Lynch versus Charlotte Flair you get straight fire. And then when for good measure you add the “Emporess of Tomorrow” to the mix, well you get arguably the greatest women’s division match in the history of the business. You also get the main event of the final WWE Pay-Per-View of the year. For the WWE’s PPV calendar to close out with this match is a testament to the women involved. Because they with very little push have forced their way into the must watch segments of WWE TV programming. And the gap between the women and men in terms of their stronghold as the best thing on WWE TV is by a very wide margin.
This match was brutal and creative and showed a level of want and desire. A want and desire by all three Superstars in the match to not just walk away as champion. But a want and desire to be the best. And the best is how they ended the WWE PPV calendar year.
No. 5: Pentagon El Zero (Pentagon Jr.) vs. Kenny Omega, ALL IN
I love the performer that is Kenny Omega, hence why so many of his matches have made my top 9 picks in this list. And then his opponent in this matchup is one that many people may not have known before his encounter with Omega, but certainly knew him after. Pentagon Jr. is incredible in so many aspects of the world of pro wrestling. The aerial performance coupled with his hard-hitting strong style strikes make for many a beautiful moment to witness. Add in a hand gesture that pops the crowd and you have magic in a pro wrestler. And that’s just describing Penta. Add in Omega and all that he brings and you have all the necessary ingredients for a stew of wrestling success.
No. 4: Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12
Somehow an alternate dimension opened up, and a long-time WWE Superstar returned to the world of professional wrestling. Chris Jericho, arguably one of, if not the top wrestlers ever, returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling after 20 years. And his first encounter was an epic classic with The 5-Star Bout Machine Kenny Omega. This match billed as the “ALPHA” of Professional wrestling Chris Jericho vs. the “OMEGA” Kenny Omega. These two men are so adept at storytelling that the build for this match could have been the plot to a major motion picture. And what we witnessed when the bell rung was equally as moving.
No. 3: Cody (Rhodes) vs. Nick Aldis, ALL IN
Happening at the event made specifically for wrestling fans by fans of pro wrestling, that happen to be pro wrestlers known as ALL IN. Cody (insert his last name he can’t use here!) took on Nick Aldis for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship. A Championship his late great father “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes held.
And it would be on this night that “The American Nightmare” Cody would don the crimson mask as his father did many times before and captured the Championship. A Championship once on the brink of extinction was now revitalized and once again give it’s just due in terms of respect and adoration. These matches this far up the list are all absolute classics. And they deserve multiple rewatches to experience all they have to offer.
No. 2: Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black, NXT Takeover War Games II
The Johnny Gargano heel turn was handled beautifully by NXT. Then “Who attacked Aleister Black Saga” that captured the attention throughout the Summer of 2018 saw Johnny Wrestling, be seemingly clear of any suspicion. That was until he would Superkick Aleister Black, upon Black’s return to NXT TV. From that point on these men would tell a story of one man’s descent into madness and another man’s needs to provide absolution. The story of Johnny Gargano’s quest for vengeance and vindication. They would tell a story of Aleister Black’s search for revenge and retribution.
All of this build up was before the actual match would commence. Once the match began, the battle would turn in a bout of epic proportions. Black and Gargano put together a classic in the ring. Everything throughout this match from both men was so smooth. The strikes were delivered with such intensity and fecrciousity that they made you believe the animosity between the two men. And with every near fall, the both Gargano and Black seemed to elevate the other to another level as a performer. And thus made its way into the second spot on this list.
No. 1: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega, NJPW Dominion
Now for the number one entry on this list, we once again find the Cleaner and the 5 Star Bout Machine. But he is also accompanied by the Rain Maker, the Ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling, Kazuchika Okada. This match would also go beyond Dave Meltzer’s 5 Star rating system to garner 7 Stars. This match was a no time limit 2 out of 3 falls contest. Where a winner had to be determined. And a winner we had in Kenny Omega. But to simply say Omega won the match is not enough.
Honestly, I don’t know that I could pen (or even verbalize) the words to capture the true essence of this matchup. Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada are the two greatest professional wrestlers currently wrestling on this planet. And in this epic 65-minute encounter both men would put their brilliance on full display. If you do nothing else before this new year rings in, go and subscribe to NJPW World, it’s only 999 yen (about $10 US) and
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