5 Best Wrestling Matches Of 2018
When it comes to great matches in 2018, WWE’s main roster has been a distant fourth compared to other companies. That’s right, fourth. New Japan, Ring of Honor, and NXT (we’re counting it as a separate entity altogether at this point) have all delivered superior big matches this year so far than WWE.
The only wrestlers that seem to put on great matches consistently this year are Seth Rollins, A.J. Styles Becky Lynch, and Samoa Joe.
The sad thing is, the other ‘main roster’ wrestlers in WWE could put on better matches if given the chance. However, it seems that someone in WWE is preventing those top stars from going the extra mile and putting on actual wrestling classics.
With WWE clearly focusing on a quantity-vs-quality approach, how will anyone remember any big match they’ve put on this year, especially since most of these matches have an over-bearing uniformity to them?
While the year is almost done, and there could still be some big matches between now and December 31st, that is unlikely. The biggest shows of the year have already passed for WWE and NJPW, and a lot of hype is expected for the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom show.
So, looking back at 2018, it’s safe to say that there has been A LOT of amazing wrestling this year. In fact, this might’ve been the best year in pro wrestling from a critical standpoint.
But which matches were the best? That honor belongs to these give matches, that were executed by some of the finest grapplers active today.
5. Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa – Unsanctioned Match – NXT TakeOver: New Orleans
Gargano vs. Ciampa is a modern rendition of a classic wrestling tale that has been told countless times. Two tag team partners experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows as a duo. They achieve great success and then they lose a big match. Then one of them turns on the other, and the one that was betrayed seeks revenge.
That personal and realistic story was told so marvelously well between Gargano and Ciampa and led to one of the best matches of the entire year. Everything was done perfectly with these two. They executed their wrestling moves and big sequences like consummate pros, while also using facial expressions, subtleties and dramatic pauses to underscore the personal nature of their rivalry.
The crowd absolutely loved Gargano as the betrayed hero and loathed Ciampa as the Judas-like traitor. They roared for all the big spots, and elevated this match into something almost theatre-like. They even added extra layers of storytelling by introducing the crutch into the match. Small things like this matter by making the match feel special and personal.
In the end, this felt like the conclusion to a perfect story arc that had over a year’s worth of build to it. It was the perfect way to end one of the best Takeovers ever produced.