5 Best Wrestling Matches Of 2016
Just like in previous years, I had to go through a ton of awesome matches from around the world to narrow it down to the five best wrestling matches. This was because WWE, NJPW, and a few other companies all put on many fantastic matches that, in a vacuum, could’ve been the best of the year.
I had to leave out some true dream matches, including that singles match between A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestle Kingdom 10 that was a thousand times better than their WrestleMania 34 match. I had to exclude the ridiculous 6-man tag match at PWG Battle of Los Angeles that looked like a flying demolition derby. I even had to cut some of the great matches produced by WWE, NXT and the Cruiserweight Classic.
Don’t get me wrong, these matches and the many other awesome ones produced throughout 2016 were fun to watch. If anything, you should still go watch any match in 2016 that features such wrestlers as: A.J. Styles, Kenny Omega. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Cesaro, The Young Bucks, Hirooki Goto, Will Ospreay, just to name a few.
Hell, even wrestlers that normally get lambasted for being subpar wrestlers (such as The Miz, Roman Reigns and in some cases John Cena) had awesome matches in 2016.
However, despite all that praise, the five matches listed here are simply…better. These five matches were not only spectacular from a quality standpoint but also had major consequences for the wrestlers involved.
All five of these matches meant something bigger or symbolized something historic. These five contests will not only go down as the best of the 2016 calendar year, but in some cases will also be remembered as some of the best wrestling matches ever.
#5 Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura - NXT TakeOver: Dallas
Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura put on such a good match that it beat everything showcased throughout all of WrestleMania weekend. Fans chanted for both of them even though only one of them actually participated in the WrestleMania show, mainly because they put on one of the best matches in NXT history.
While the crowd was completely mesmerized for Nakamura’s entrance, the passionate NXT fans were equally split between the world-famous Nakamura and ‘heart & soul of NXT’ Sami Zayn. But this wasn’t a WWE-style match; no, Zayn and Nakamura put on a match worthy of Wrestle Kingdom instead.
The action was fast and crisp, there was brutality and believability in each strike, and Zayn, despite being a happy-go-lucky sort of guy, showed true guts and refused to give up no matter how much punishment he took.
Nakamura and Zayn simply had spectacular chemistry on this night and put together a barn-burner of a match. It was the perfect way for Zayn’s NXT career to end and was also the perfect way for Nakamura to make his NXT debut.
Perhaps the only true knock against this match is that it exposed just how different (read: better) things are for wrestlers in NXT than on the main roster. Zayn and Nakamura both looked like world-champion-level stars in this match, while on the main roster, one of them has been horribly underutilized and the other has been completely neutered by people who don’t understand him or his gimmick whatsoever.