5 Best wrestling matches of 2012
Beginning in 2012, the landscape really began to shift in the wrestling business. WWE’s monopoly was beginning to be challenged by a company that had almost failed completely in the early 2000s: New Japan Pro Wrestling. Since 2009, NJPW had been rebuilding itself slowly thanks to their new ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi.
With him as their top star, that company began an international expansion that hadn’t been seen since the junior heavyweight era of the 1990s. Tanahashi was having astounding wrestling matches with every single wrestler, just like Bret Hart did for WWE in the 1990s. Some of those great matches will even appear on this list because they were among the best matches of 2012.
The five matches listed here are simply the best matches of the entire year. They were the most entertaining, had the most drama, got the biggest reactions, and most importantly, all of them had long-term implications. These matches either made stars out of their participants or signified the end of something big from years past.
#5 Team Hell No & Ryback vs. The Shield - TLC 2012
The Shield was one of the most successful and dominant trios in WWE history. They came in as an indestructible force that wrought havoc wherever they went. And they proved how good they could be in their debut match at TLC 2012.
This demolition derby of a match began as a wild brawl and descended into chaos from there. All six wrestlers hit devastating moves on each other, which got very loud cheers from the fans in attendance. That’s because every single wrestler looked amazing in this match in some way.
Ryback still looked like a monster by hitting a double vertical suplex on Ambrose and Rollins onto a ladder. Kane chokeslammed Ambrose through an opened chair and did his flying clothesline, despite being in his mid-forties at the time. Two Shield members even hit a double superplex from the top rope while balancing on a table. It was just destruction all around and was fun to watch from the opening bell.
But most importantly, the crowd adored the Shield in this match, cheering them for everything they did. This was despite the fact that they were the heels in this match. By the time the match was over, all three Shield members had convinced everyone watching that they were future stars. And now, six years later, that has more than proven true.