Best Of Lists

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Jump to Yearly Lists
2019
2018

ABOUT OUR LISTS

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from internet journalism, it’s that everyone loves a list EVEN if they tell you otherwise. With that in mind, we’ve tried to make a respectable list of the best matches and wrestlers each wrestling calendar year, as voted on by the hosts of the podcast and the fans of the podcast.

While other “best of” wrestling lists tend to be promotion-based, or lean heavily on kayfabe strength (like the illustrious PWI 500), the aim of the Much Ado About Wrestling best of lists is to provide a clear picture of who and what was successful critically at the time in wrestling. Who were the big stars? What were the biggest moments? Who took the biggest creative swings? What were the technical classics? All are represented on our lists.

A note about the wrestling calendar:  with no off-season in pro wrestling and multiple global promotions, it’s hard to delineate when a year of wrestling truly begins and ends. In this spirit, we mark the beginning of each “wrestling year” at the Monday after WrestleMania, and ending at the conclusion of the following WrestleMania. Why do we do this? Simply because it is the largest show from the largest promotion, and one where various long storylines build to. It’s the cleanest version of a season finale, a championship game, a gold-medal event as we are going to get.

2019

A year of undeniable progress and shifts in wrestling towards truths that no one thought would ever be realities. The year that a female wrestler organically became the most popular wrestler in the world, and deservedly main-evented WrestleMania. A Supercard promoted by a non-promotion (All In) was the most anticipated event of the year, New Japan dipped its toes on American soil, and Madison Square Garden was sold out by a non-WWE promotion. Daniel Bryan became champion again, and more shockingly, got legit boos. Veteran tag team wrestler Kofi Kingston caught fire at the right time in the right place. NXT Stalwarts rejected the idea of call-ups. The wrestler landscape changed, and braced for even larger changes right around the corner.

TOP TEN MATCHES OF THE YEAR

“It went over an hour. It was Kenny Omega fulfilling his destiny. This match is the ‘Gone with the Wind’ of Wrestling.” -Andrew
“This is the greatest wrestling match I’ve ever seen.” – Tyler
Meltzer Rating: *******
Link

“The culmination of Kofi Kingston’s ten year WWE odyssey.”- Tyler
“The best match at WrestleMania 35, easily. It played best in a room of casual fans.”- Andrew
Meltzer Rating: **** 1/2
Link

“This is my favorite ever use of mats being pulled up to reveal the wood panneling.” – Tyler
“Hot crowd. Precision storytelling.”- Andrew
Meltzer Rating: **** 1/2
Link

“What makes it work is how fast the first two falls happen, so then it feels like it can end at any moment, which gave value to the false finishes as the match went on.” – Andrew
Meltzer Rating: ***** 1/2
Link

“This was the third in their trilogy… and it’s impressive what they did with Alesiter Black being pulled late from the show due to injury. The best combo of work rate and storytelling in their trilogy of matches.” – Andrew
Metlzer Rating: **** 1/2
Link

“What I remember most, and what will live on forever in video packages and highlight reels,
is that backflip superkick spot” – Tyler
Meltzer Rating: **** 1/2
Link

“It had the biggest spotlight of the year, the biggest stakes of the year, and the well-executed storyline will be remembered forever.” – Andrew
Meltzer Rating: ***
Link

“The WWE truly gave the women full opportunity to shine and tell a story, and Becky and Charlotte did just that with this match.” – Tyler
Meltzer Rating:**** 3/4
Link

“The pomp and circumstance for this match – with the NWA title, the use of blood, and the  coaching teams – it felt like an homage, like a remade movie that is actually good.” – Andrew Meltzer Rating: ****
Link

“This was my number 2 best match of the year. Though part of that might be bias from us being there to experience it…” – Tyler
Meltzer Rating: **** 3/4
Link 

TOP TEN WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR

“Had the single most important year for a wrestler since maybe Daniel Bryan and the Yes Movement. She made her WWE Mount Rushmore claim this year.” – Andrew
Most Memorable Moment: Broken Nose RAW Invasion
Link

“This year, he made himself the top guy in WWE, in my book.” – Tyler
Most Memorable Moment: Winning the Royal Rumble
Link

“This was a great and also lackluster year for Kenny Omega. He finally defeated Okada and got the iIWGP title, but in a weird sense, it was all downhill from there.” – Tyler
Memorable Moment: Finally winning the IWGP title
Link

“AJ is the most consistent in-ring performer in WWE, but where does he go from here?”- Andrew Most Memorable Moment: Beating down Samoa Joe at SummerSlam, and then trying to console his family ringside.
Link

“Johnny Gargano is Someone who is consistently captivating in a way that other wrestlers can only hope to be.” – Andrew
Most Memorable Moment: Embracing Candace and Tomasso after winning his first
NXT Championship at TakeOver: New York
Link

“This whole year, I was thoroughly convinced that Tommasso Ciampa was the best heel in the entire business right now.” – Tyler
Most Memorable Moment: Yelling at a Grandma ringside
Link

“This was my number 1 this year. I can’t think of a WWE wrestler this year who has excelled in and out of the ring as much as Daniel Bryan.” – Tyler
Most Memorable Moment: Worked-Shoot Promo Against Vince McMahon
Link

“If you watch Kazuchika Okada wrestle, you know it’s going to be a great match. He’s on his own level in terms on in-ring work.” – Tyler
Most Memorable Moment: Winning the IWGP title at Madison Square Garden
Link

“Would’ve finished number 1 if the eligibility window was just the last 3 months” – Andrew
M
ost Memorable Moment: Lots to pick from here; Elimination Chamber reaction, winning the Gauntlet Match, getting the win at WrestleMania, but we’re picking his silent acting chops in his in-ring segment with Vince McMahon.
Link

“This year specifically, we’ve seen the best in-ring character work of Charlotte’s career in her storyline with Becky and Ronda” – Tyler
Most Memorable Moment: She came into WrestleMania in a helicopter, but we’re going with the crazy backstage brawl with Becky and Ronda
Link

“Roman had the two most watched and most important moments on weekly television this year; his departure and his return.” -Andrew
Most Memorable Moment: The night he walked away
Link

“Everyone he worked with, he made look better than they are.” – Tyler
Most Memorable Moment: Even if it wasn’t his doing, the whodunnit angle over his injury Link

2018

A wrestling year that will be remembered for it’s focus on Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar at the top of the card in WWE, while NXT and NJPW moved towards progressing new talents. The Bullet Club T-shirt was the most over thing in wrestling made even more popular by their addition of Cody and “invasion” of Raw, and major titles were held by the likes of Okada and AJ Styles. Asuka was undefeated, until she wasn’t. Jinder Mahal was WWE Champion out of no where, until he wasn’t. The mumps spoiled TLC, until it didn’t. Ronda Rousey arrived, Chris Jericho went overseas, and Daniel Bryan returned.

TOP TEN MATCHES OF THE YEAR

“The overwhelming wanting in the air for a title change, made every near fall,
every reversal into something huge” -Andrew
“This match proved that Almas deserved to be a world champion.” – Tyler
Meltzer Rating: *****
Link

“Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne have wrestled three times on WWE television this year, but they do the best job of making small changes to subvert your expectations.” – Andrew
Meltzer Rating: **** 3/4
Link

“This is a three act play, full of storytelling and drama,
unfolding over the course of an hour” – Tyler
Meltzer Rating: ****** 1/4
Link

“Wow, talk about a shocker. There was so much pressure on Ronda to perform well…
and she exceeded all expectations.” – Tyler
“You could’ve run this match 10 times and not got a better result.” – Andrew
Meltzer Rating:**** 1/4
Link

“Former best friends, finally settling their score in the middle of the ring.” – Andrew
“An amazing story, told and executed over two years.” – Tyler
Meltzer Rating: *****
Link

“While the match itself was good, it was helped very much by the
amazing build of Alpha vs. Omega.” – Andrew
Meltzer Rating: *****
Link


“This had more bumps than any other WWE produced ladder match,
and Velveteen Dream was involved in most of them.” – Andrew
Meltzer Rating: *****
Link

“This was the first time that we’ve got to see the brutality
that these two teams are capable of.” – Tyler
Meltzer Rating: ****
Link

“Personally, I have not seen a better tag team match than this one.” – Tyler
“This was almost like a wrestling Rom-Com in a way,
two teams that didn’t want to be facing each other.” – Andrew
Meltzer Rating: *****
Link

“This was a WWE version of a spotfest. We’re gonna get 4 big burly men to wreak havoc.” – Tyler
“This was like a good Fast and The Furious movie” – Andrew
Meltzer Rating: **** 3/4
Link

TOP TEN WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR

“AJ Styles is in a league of his own in terms of being the best at what he does.” – Tyler
Most Memorable Moment: Defeating Jinder Mahal to win the WWE Championship
Link

“He’s the most valuable asset that New Japan has, as a foreign wrestler who feels ingratiated by the Japanese fanbase.” – Andrew
“He’s being talked about across the world right now, there is a buzz about him
that you just can’t fabricate.” -Tyler
Most Memorable Moment: Draw against Okada at Dominion
Link

“If WWE so chooses, they can make Johnny Gargano their next big transcendent star.” – Andrew
Most Memorable Moment: Ciampa turning heel on Johnny after the main event ladder match as TakeOver: Chicago
Link

“He’s not as good in the ring as anyone else on this list, but, he’s the most improved wrestler of the year. He had the biggest number of must-see television moments in wrestling. He’s the only person who could make winning tag titles with an 8-year boy work.” – Andrew
Most Memorable Moment: Any of the multiple times Braun tipped over vehicles or tried to straight up murder people backstage
Link

“If you spend ten minutes on the internet googling wrestling today,
it’s impossible to avoid the greatness of Okada.” – Tyler
Most Memorable Moment: Draw against Kenny Omega at Dominion
Link

“I think if we’re going purely by impact and domination in ring, Asuka is the best.” – Tyler
Most Memorable Moment: Asuka dropping NXT title without losing it
Link

“For my money, the best villainous wrestler in the world right now, all while operating within the coolest group in the world” – Andrew
Most Memorable Moment: Bullet Club is FINE
Link

“He worked with a lot of people who were floundering,
and turned their trajectory around.” -Andrew
Most Memorable Moment: Post-match embrace where he says Velveteen Dream’s name
Link

“Their success wasn’t just putting on great matches and telling stories – in the past year they’ve legitimately changed the wrestling business through their
approach to merchandising and marketing.” – Tyler
Most Memorable Moment: Bullet Club Invades Raw on Being The Elite
Link

“He did a lot of heavy lifting this year for WWE, and his consistent in-ring work alone
gets him on the list.” – Andrew
Most Memorable Moment: Tempted to go with that time he let Kurt Angle understudy for the Shield, or his white-walker entrance to WrestleMania, but we’re settling on his performance in the Raw Gauntlet Match
Link