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Captain Jack’s Armbar Emporium Ep. 33: NJPW G1 Climax, Nights 13-19!

Here it is…the home stretch of the best tournament in pro wrestling!  After 28 hours(?!) of tournament matches, Captain Jack Heartless (@JackHeartless) wraps up his coverage of G1 Climax 27, with help from special guest Owen Reynoldson (@owenreynoldson).  They give you the Top 5 from Nights 13-19, the Top 10 G1 matches overall, the tournament MVP, and plenty of speculation about what it all means as we begin the Road to WrestleKingdom 12 on January 4th, 2018!

Sponsored by Heels & Faces (@heelsandfaces). 

Opening music by Lemi & The Captain. Closing music by Ayumi Nakamura (@ayumi_nakamura).

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Top 10 WWE Theme Song Ripoffs

Derek lays the smack down on WWE Music and their lack of originality with theme songs these days. But as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so does it really matter?

Whether you say these songs are inspired homages or cheap knock offs, you’ll probably be surprised by some of the songs on this list!

What did we miss? There are plenty more examples, both from current and past wrestlers. Stay tuned for a follow up video to this one, for sure…

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The Steel Cage Standings – January 2015

Hello and welcome to the Steel Cage Standings where I, Psyniac, go through the past month of WWE TV and rank the situations of the Top 10 and Bottom 3 superstars of the main roster and the Top 3 of NXT to boot. The first month of WWE programming in 2016 was definitely an interesting one that managed to be both pretty run-of-the-mill with very little in the way of surprising story-telling development but exciting in regards to the acquisition of several NJPW talents. The Royal Rumble has come and gone and I think overall everyone was pretty happy. But who looked the best coming out of it?

THE GOOD:

10. R-Truth

As I’ve mentioned previously, R-Truth’s Slammy for “LOL Moment of the Year” was pretty well deserved and what helped was the fact that WWE didn’t shove the joke down our throats all year, instead bringing it out now and then. The latest one may have topped the others as R-Truth entered the Royal Rumble PPV and, for some reason, assumed it was Money in the Bank; setting up a ladder, climbing it and then exclaiming “where’s the briefcase?!” in dismay. Who knows if there’s anything more to the “Golden Truth” pairing beyond “remember when Goldust used to freak-out Booker?” but the segments, at the very least, have been amusing.

09. Sasha Banks

sasha

To be fair to Charlotte and Becky, their storyline was good enough that I didn’t spend too much time wondering where exactly Sasha Banks had disappeared to but when she returned at Royal Rumble she grabbed every millimetre of the spotlight. That says it all about how fantastic she is at everything. She truly personifies wrestling; great on the mic, great in the ring and her character is so good that you watch wide-eyed to see where she takes the story next.

08. Kalisto

Last month, Kalisto surprised us all with an incredible spot in the tag team TLC match. What wasn’t a surprise is that this (and an injury for his partner Sin Cara) has lead to some kind of solo push which has gone pretty well all in all. He’s gotten a little bit of charisma out of Alberto Del Rio in their feud, especially by keeping it away from the subpar League of Nations group, and the two have put on a variety of matches to differing quality. Battling multiple times on Smackdown and Raw lead to some great battles (and two very quick, ultimately pointless title changes). Their match at Royal Rumble was pretty botcha-riffic but all in all the overall quality has made Kalisto look like a capable singles performer.

07. The Rock

rock

Quite often, The Rock’s returns to the WWE have been trite and not all that they were cracked up to be. We still don’t know for sure exactly what Rocky has signed up to do at this year’s Wrestlemania. Chances are, THAT will be disappointing. However, this month he promoted this mystery on Raw with a sizeable chunk on the final episode of the month and it managed to entertaining all throughout; with Rock entering the arena, having amusing chats with Big Show and Lana (with continuity in both!) and delivering a great promo from gorilla position all in one single shot. After coming down to the ring he then proceeded to quickly get a bored crowd on his side by acknowledging cosplaying fans before clashing on the microphone with today’s monument to charisma, The New Day. And it was good.

06. Brock Lesnar

It says a lot about a star that he can be gone as long as he sees fit, whilst still technically being regarded as part of the roster, and all eyes will be on him as soon as he returns. Brock Lesnar, despite his absences, is still a big part of WWE. On the lead-up to the Royal Rumble he was one of the most exciting entrants. We started with Heyman logically trying to sneak his client out of the match and automatically into the Wrestlemania main event. When it was clear that this wasn’t the way The Authority was going to swing, Lesnar had some great moments taking out fellow competitors on Raw before succumbing to the numbers of the Wyatt Family, who also threw him out of the Rumble early. Right now he’s an interesting component of the Fast Lane PPV and it remains to be seen if he and the Wyatts will face off for real but either way there’s plenty to be intrigued about.

05. The New Day

xavier

For the first time in a while, or perhaps ever, The New Day have had a pretty mixed month. Their verbal spats with Jericho weren’t exactly the sort of quality we’ve come to expect from either and it didn’t really find a proper end point. Y2J did break Xavier’s prized trombone Francesca which, along with the funeral that followed it, was a great moment but instantly reviving the instrument stank out of running in circles. It’s not The New Day’s fault they have next to no opponents either. They put on great matches with the Usos and have done for most of their tenure but it’s nothing new. Kofi, Xavier and Big E need something new to sink their teeth into.

04. #SocialOutcasts

Speaking of factions, the newly formed #SocialOutcasts’ momentum could be an easy comparison but I’m settling into being cautiously optimistic about the union of Adam Rose, Bo “Rider” Dallas, Curtis Axel and Heath Slater. Bizarrely, their clashing non-gimmicks actually work really well together as the group are totally out of sync. Raw overall needs to do a better job of presenting it’s characters because the group have had some great segments on WWE.com and on the Royal Rumble pre-show, talking over each other and generally causing chaos. It remains to be seen what exactly the plan is with these guys, if there even is one, and whether or not WWE will stick with any particular alignment or story but for the time being they’re a highlight of the slower shows.

03. Becky Lynch

becky

Becky Lynch might be the first totally over pure-face of the “Diva’s division” since AJ Lee about three years ago. Her story with Charlotte was so natural that it almost seems like the creative team didn’t bother to do anything with it and just let the wrestlers figure it out. In fact, I’m pretty convinced that’s what they did. Charlotte’s eventual heel turn, reliance on her Father and steadily dirtier cheap tricks caused her some real heat whilst Becky got more and more sympathy before she earned herself a title match by goading it out of Ric Flair in a very convincing promo. Let’s hope, even with Sasha’s return, she isn’t totally out of the picture because it was great to hear a crowd so behind a female competitor.

02. Kevin Owens & Dean Ambrose

Last month I talked about how Owens has been the most consistently good heel but January he upped that by basically being the most consistently good employee, although it would be hard not to give the same award to Ambrose so this month I’m going to give both the honour of second place. It helps that the past month the two have been so heavily involved with each other. Ambrose/Owens in a Last Man Standing was, unsurprisingly, match of the night at Royal Rumble but it’s what they did next that really showed they care about the show. Both men sold injuries from their previous fight as they made their way down to the ring once more for the One VS All Royal Rumble match and even still into the next night. As for Owens? Extra special mention for his facial expressions as he furiously clashed with Ambrose, Styles and Zayn in the Rumble.

01. AJ Styles

aj styles

Without a doubt the most exciting thing about January 2016 has been the turn-around of rumour to debut of former TNA and NJPW star AJ Styles. This is one of the guys that, for a while, it was a safe assumption to make that we would never see in a WWE ring. The idea of it would have been laughable even as late as December last year. But suddenly, that belief was blown out of the water as AJ Styles made his very first appearance for WWE as #3 in the Royal Rumble and the crowd and internet both collectively exploded. I, myself, remember vividly screaming “what?” and, even now, just looking at it… it doesn’t seem real..

Styles had a great showing for the Rumble; showing his experience and talent whilst working with guys he never has been and not going so far as to seem forced upon us. WWE have been adamant to really talk up his talents but his placement on the card right now isn’t assured so I’m not too worried. If he was thrown right into the main event I’m sure he’d endure it fine but I want a slow burn. I want to see him face with several long-staying WWE employees along the way as well as other indy darlings. And who better to face in his opening night on Raw than Jericho?

THE BAD:

03. Roman Reigns

Or, more specifically, the Royal Rumble booking. WWE should have literally spelt it out for us; “we’re trying our best to make Roman Reigns look like the most important man in the world”. The Rumble PPV was centred entirely on him; Roman defended his title in a match that was based on his “catchphrase”, he would enter at #1 and, to make matters worse and as good as it looked, the graphic design of marble characters was a clear nod to Reigns’ first name. His participation in the match though? Being taken out by the cheating League of Nations would’ve been fine but why not wait until Triple H was ready to come out if he wanted to eliminate him himself? And why did Roman walk to the back when receiving medical attention? If they’re pushing him to be the next Stone Cold, shouldn’t he have been fighting to get back in the match? How can I be sympathetic for any of that?

02. The Usos

The term “charisma vacuum” gets thrown about now and then but The Usos may as well be a “charisma blackhole”. I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again: in-ring they can really deliver. But who are they? And why should we care? And why do they keep getting tag team title shots? Probably because they’re the only other tag team on the roster. Us-oh no.

01. Vince McMahon

vince

I’m not proud to say I called it, mostly because it was incredibly obvious and because it was dull beyond words. Vince returning to Raw for the first time was at the very least a little intriguing but his repeated appearances got worse and worse as he tried to reproduce the lighting in a bottle of Austin VS Mr McMahon with his beloved Roman and proceeded to just make groan-worthy TV. The tip of this mountain was watching him trying to use a lottery machine to declare Reigns as the #1 Rumble entrant and not being able to open the damn balls holding the names. Depressing.

THE NXT:

03. The Mechanics

I’ve been wanting to talk about the Mechanics in a full for a while now. Just before they got a hold of the NXT Tag Team titles I was thinking they made a decent team but WWE managed to surprise again by putting the belts on these virtually unknown heels, just like they did with Blake & Murphy. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson have done just a good a job by talking trash backstage and working perfectly in-sync. They might not be flashy but, as bad guys, I actually quite like that. They’re cooking some decent heat that’s going to make for a fun pop when they’re finally put down. Sidenote: their music is so bad that it makes me laugh.

02. Sami Zayn

Zayn continued his return to the top of NXT this month by staking his claim to the NXT title. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t the only one and was thrown into a Triple Threat with two imposing heel characters, Baron Corbin and Samoa Joe, that ended in a pretty interesting state of affairs. Sami has been back a very short amount of time. He might not be as over as he was when he went out but he’s already demonstrated why he’s so well-loved: incredible athletic performances, powerful mic work and, most importantly, great story-telling.

01. Carmella

carmella

I’ve heard more negative opinions about the NXT/Performance Centre reality show Breaking Ground than I expected to but overall I think most people really loved the insight. It warmed some people, including myself, to characters we didn’t expect to like. One stand-out moment for gaining sympathy was the episode that focused on Carmella’s friendship with Women’s Champion Bayley (#Baymella for life) and the injury she suffered at the hands of Eva Marie. After this endeared her to fans it only seemed right that she get her revenge by eliminating the #AllTerribleEverything non-wrestler from a Battle Royal last to become the new #1 contender.


You can find Psyniac on Twitter at Raw is Psyniac where he tweets about Raw 18 hours after it’s aired, how much he loves Finn Bálor and, occasionally, candy.

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The Steel Cage Standings – December 2015

Hello and welcome to the Steel Cage Standings where I, Psyniac, go through the past month of WWE TV and rank the situations of the Top 10 and Bottom 3 superstars of the main roster and the Top 3 of NXT’s developmental program. Last month, WWE was in a bad way of things. I was at the end of my rope and, rather than attempt to write about it and tempt myself further into taking a break, I looked over at the last 12 months of WWE and ranked that. But December was a bit of shake-up. At times it was pretty enjoyable and at times it was total trash so let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the NXT.

THE GOOD:

10. John Cena

The last Raw of 2015 was not an easy one to watch for a number of reasons, not least of which was a crowd that rode the line between so quiet they may as well be stood in the parking lot and just generally being annoying as all hell. Gladly, the return of John Cena slapped them out of their slumber. It may not have been the greatest match of his career but Cena has had enough of a good year that it was far from dreadful seeing him back. With the state of the company right now, Cena may be something to look forward to and I never thought I’d be writing those words.

09. Vince McMahon

vince
In the closing moments of TLC 2015, Reigns lost his damn mind and unleashed his fury on Triple H. It only made sense that he would have to answer to the boss himself but I don’t think anyone expected Vince to arrive the next night on Raw. It made for a cool moment and an interesting story: either Reigns wins the big one in the main event or he leaves the WWE. Vince showed that the Mr McMahon character still lives that week, even if he did follow it up with what may have been the worst opening segment of the decade when he found himself arrested for being assaulted by Roman. Swings and roundabouts really but so far the good has outweighed the bad. Ask me at the end of January (after he plays special guest referee to Reigns VS Sheamus) and I may have changed my tune.

08. The League of Nations

It’s saccharine to say but, like most things this month, The League of Nations has been a bit of a rollercoaster. A new heel team meant there could be less of a focus on the tired, old Authority and might liven up the state of play. More importantly, it was also something for the likes of Del Rio to do that wasn’t a confusing Meximerica storyline and guys like Rusev were hardly going to suffer for something new to do either. But, in the same vein it hasn’t really done much as of yet. It may take time to establish the group properly but right now it still seems rather fractured and just like four dudes thrown together without a goal. Probably because it is.

07. Seth Rollins

rollins
You can call it scraping the bottom of the barrel if you like but I feel like Rollins deserves this placement after the Slammys episode of Raw. I, and thousands of others, weren’t expecting him to win “superstar of the year” despite how badly he deserved it so for him to get the nod was great. Then of course the man himself made an appearance to accept the award (unlike most of the winners that night, it seemed) and cut a brief promo that played up his heel character whilst at the same time hinted that he would be coming back as the company’s next big babyface when he was ready to go again. We miss you, Seth.

06. Dean Ambrose

Talk about surprises. Ambrose grabbing the Intercontinental belt off of Owens was so sudden that it took a minute to sink in. The moment seemed to signify a few things (one of which we’ll get to later) and confirm others; the big one being that he’s getting his dues for being one of the WWE’s biggest merchandise shifters. I’m still not entirely sure on how this title-run will go, as always it’s down to the booking, but Ambrose and that white belt look made for each other and it’ll be a great image to see him arriving at Wrestlemania 32 with it over his shoulder.

05. The Lucha Dragons

kalisto
Speaking of surprises, bet you didn’t see this coming a few weeks ago, huh? The Lucha Dragons are one of the few tag teams the WWE have that don’t amount to much. Occasionally, the company will try to get them over (or pretend they are) but not fully commit. So, in December’s TLC PPV, Kalisto took things into his own hands with one of the most insane spots of the year. Following the ladder-hopping Salida del Sol, Sin Cara showed that he’s not as uninterested in his profession as he seems by finishing a match on Raw despite dislocating his shoulder mid-bout. These are the kinds of things that raise the profile of the team. Whilst they may have some ways to go with other aspects, at least they don’t call each other “Uce”.

04. Neville and The Miz

This is another one of those things where I’m already questioning whether or not it’s done with but had me hooked from their first interaction. Slimy, Hollywood-wannabe The Miz promising to do great things for someone’s career whilst obviously riding their coat-tails is the absolute 100% best gimmick the guy could have and, surprisingly, it works really well with Neville who can play the straight-faced counter to his antics, only here to wrestle. With Neville winning a Slammy for his great performances they should be milking this for all it’s worth.

03. The Wyatt Family

wyatt
The swing of the pendulum. For the rest of the year, The Wyatt Family have gone from being an under-booked mess to a total joke as they stalk about behind the scenes planning retribution just for all four of them to be beaten by two old men repeatedly. I’ve never bet money on any sport (or theatrical sport) but I was dangerously close to putting money on Bray and Co falling victim to another team of old men. Let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t. Finally, The Wyatt Family are getting some wins and the hard-fought extreme matches are helping exponentially. It might finally be time to start getting invested again.

02. The New Day

They’ve been the top spot of The Steel Cage Standings for the last five months. It’s okay not to be #1 once. Regardless, The New Day have been one of if not the only reason to keep watching through the horror that has been the end of 2015 for WWE. What I liked about them this month is that Xavier seems to have taken a bit more of a back-seat. Sure, throwing his trombone into the middle of the triple-threat ladder-match made all the difference but it was Kofi who got the win. Kofi also went off on a hysterical, surrealist rant about beating up kids a couple of weeks later. And how could we forget about the hypnotic, gyrating goodness that is Big E? Constantly reinventing and constantly entertaining.

01. Kevin Owens

owens
And whilst The New Day are a truly fun trio, Kevin Owens this month has defined “heel”. Owens has positively snapped after parting ways with his Intercontinental title then following that up with losing the “Best Breakout Star” Slammy to, and a 21-second match against, Neville. We’ve been reminded of the threat that Owens can possess after he totally dismantled Ambrose and put him through a table and it seems like he’s being put in a good spot.

If we’re lucky, KO’s aggression will continue to grow and will cost him his rematch. I doubt very much we’ll see him as the top heel of the WWE in time for this year’s Wrestlemania but if they do it correctly he could be doing great things by the time WM33 rolls around. He has consistently shown that he can go with anyone in the ring and demonstrated his uniqueness when speaking on the mic as well as just shouting to the crowd/the commentators/his opponent mid-match. Owens is one of a kind and it’s time to start taking true advantage of that.

THE BAD:

03. Lana

Sorry Derek but I’m nothing but glad that the “ravishing Russian” has vanished from TV following Rusev’s introduction into the League of Nations. Lana made a not-so triumphant return to Raw to explain her and her fiancé’s “secret” relationship and engagement. In the following two weeks she’s caught in the middle of things twice and is written off TV as injured. So basically it was a total waste of time.

02. The Big Show

Show knows that the #1 spot in the Royal Rumble is the worst one to have right? He’s been there long enough to understand how the Royal Rumble works, yes? And he knows that, despite his size, someone or a group of someones will find a way to get him over the rope? Yeah? Okay. Just checking.

01. Roman Reigns

roman
See: Vince McMahon. Exciting for one whole week then immediately questionable. The problem is that Reigns has been questionable or worse for weeks and weeks up until the one good Raw (and end of a PPV) he had where he beat down some über-heels like a badass. Then he immediately went back to smirking and trying to be funny and… well, it’s been hit and miss to say the least. And let’s not forget that December 2015 give birth to the “tater tots” moment. I could’ve just written “tater tots” over and over in this description and you guys wouldn’t have questioned it, surely? Because, seriously… tater tots?

THE NXT:

03. Sami Zayn

Should I start this with “let’s go!” or simply “he’s back”? Sami Zayn, a man who embodies NXT, has finally made his way back to the developmental show and he did so in incredible fashion. Takeover London was far and away the best place to host Zayn’s return as the crowd fittingly exploded for him from the moment he arrived to the moment he put away Tye Dillinger. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess but it’s such a relief to see Sami back in the ring where he belongs.

02. Chad Gable & Jason Jordan

Two months ago I hinted at the idea that Gable and Jordan may be next in line to take the NXT Tag Titles. Surprisingly, my runner-up addition of Dawson and Dash pulled a victory out over the Vaudevillians to grab the gold and did so very well. In the mean-time, Gable and Jordan have been getting bigger and bigger and more and more over. Breaking Ground has helped a lot of NXT stars obtained more fan interest but for me seeing JJ struggle until he clicked with Gable was very important. Those belts might not be around their waists now but they’re not totally out of the field of view.

01. Asuka

asuka
I had this moment watching Asuka VS Emma at TakeOver London and it was one of “wow, we’re already at this point?”. Sure, the London crowd were hot basically all night but they went nuts for Asuka. She has been in NXT three months and she already not only fits in with the product as a whole but has carved out her own niche. I’ve never thought of Emma as a great in-ring worker but the two had an excellent bout and Asuka followed this up by teasing a clashing of her and fellow newly-debuted titan Nia Jax. There’s lots to love about Asuka already but lots to look forward to too.


You can find Psyniac on Twitter at Raw is Psyniac where he tweets about Raw 18 hours after it’s aired, how much he loves Finn Bálor and, occasionally, candy.

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Top 12 Pro Wrestling Matches of 2015

By no means is this meant to be a fully exhaustive list of pro wrestling in 2015. I don’t watch a ton of Ring of Honor. I haven’t seen any of Chikara’s shows from this year. There’s a lot of wrestling in the UK that goes unnoticed by me. This list entails what I’ve seen: the best of WWE, NXT, New Japan, and Lucha Underground… with a PWG match thrown in for good measure.

If there are matches that I failed to include by virtue of not having seen them – by all means, let me know! Let’s spread the love for quality wrestling as we get ready to take on 2016.

Honorable mention:
Brian Cage vs Uhaa Nation vs Chris Hero vs Drew Galloway

IWF World Heavyweight Championship
IWF The Chosen One – WATCH

I had to include this match, though I’d honestly put a handful of other matches that didn’t make the cut, above it. But watching this match is the most fun I’ve ever had watching any wrestling in person. Four of the most talented wrestlers in the world came together to fight for a meaningless championship belt in a random Mesa, AZ, strip mall venue. They could’ve half assed it, but they sure didn’t. The match spilled into the crowd, through the concession stands, and even the women’s restroom. To catch it all, you had to leave your seat and run around with them. It was nuts. It’s why I love wrestling. Cage, Uhaa (now Apollo Crews), Hero, and Drew… THANK YOU for that.

12. ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey vs Roderick Strong

PWG World Heavyweight Championship
PWG Mystery Vortex III – WATCH

All right, now on to the matches that you may have actually seen. I made an impulse decision to buy tickets to a wrestling show with no announced card, and it was one of the best things I did in all of 2015. I got to take a fun road trip with Derek to see our PWG friends, saw the formation of Mt Rushmore 2.0 (fuck those guys), and took in a LOT of quality wrestling action. Not the least of which was Speedball Bailey vs Roddy Strong. I’d heard the name ‘Speedball’ but I never saw him in action until this night. The sight of this scrawny white guy with a farmer’s tan wasn’t exactly intimidating. But then came the kicks. And the near falls. And holy crap, I was hooked.

11. Fenix vs Mil Muertes

Grave Consequences Match
Lucha Underground – WATCH

Lucha Underground quickly became a welcome addition to the world of pro wrestling, with a fresh take on storytelling and action that’s just a little different than we’re used to.

With Grave Consequences, Fenix and Mil Muertes held a different kind of casket match. They told a story through brutality and mind games, and it’s one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of how cool LU is to watch.

10. The Usos vs The Lucha Dragons vs The New Day

WWE Tag Team Championship
WWE TLC – WATCH

Going into this show, WWE had gotten pretty bad to be quite honest. RAW was really hard to watch, and so we didn’t expect much. These six men set the bar for the night VERY high. Unfortunately, no one else on the card could come close, but this memorable match – from Kalisto’s Salida del Sol to the antics of The New Day – made that night worthwhile.

9. Togi Makabe vs Tomohiro Ishii

NEVER Openweight Championship
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9 – WATCH

Ah, Wrestle Kingdom 9. This isn’t the last you’ll hear of this event on my Top 12 list. Only four days into the year, and we had multiple MOTY candidates. This one wouldn’t ever win the top spot, but deserves recognition as one of the stiffest things I’ve ever seen (insert penis joke here). Chest chops, and forearm shots, and headbutts… Oh my!

8. Kyle O’Reilly vs KUSHIDA

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors – WATCH

Originally, it was rumored that KUSHIDA’s partner, Alex Shelley, was a favorite to win this year’s BOSJ. But with an unfortunate injury, it was time for KUSHIDA to step up. At the same time, O’Reilly was arguably one of the hottest wrestlers in the world going into the BOSJ finale. These two did not disappoint, in a match focusing on a mix of high flying and submissions.

7. Brock Lesnar vs Seth Rollins vs John Cena

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWE Royal Rumble – WATCH

Big fight feel. That’s what you want out of a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. That’s what we got out of these three guys. Not just a spot fest, this match showed the best from each of them. By the time Seth channels HBK with that elbow drop, the crowd couldn’t sit down anymore. I don’t blame ’em! Bonus: did you notice that John Cena did a pop up powerbomb? Foreshadowing his big feud later in the year…

6. Pentagon Jr vs Vampiro

Cero Miedo Match
Lucha Underground Ultima Lucha – WATCH

Brutal. Brutal brutal brutal brutal brutal. This match was painful to watch at times, in a good way. And the story that was told? AMAZING. Can’t wait to see more from these two in 2016.

5. Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker

WWE Hell in a Cell – WATCH

Throw in the towel, Undertaker is DONE. That’s what I thought as we headed into this match, at least. But then came the rubber match with Brock Lesnar, and he convinced me otherwise. These two pushed each other and put on a heck of a show.

4. John Cena vs Kevin Owens

Champion vs Champion
WWE Elimination Chamber – WATCH

If Kevin Owens has been anything since joining the main roster, it’s that he’s been consistent. He’s a dick. He’s a brawler. He is driven, and doesn’t care what others think. And he backs it up. We thought he stood no chance in this match. He proved otherwise. I’d be remiss for not crediting Cena with the US Open Challenge series of matches – which this one was right smack dab in the middle of.

3. Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kota Ibushi

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9 – WATCH

Many people have this as their MOTY pick. I can’t fault them for that. Nakamura is a wrestling god, and this match made me a believer in Ibushi.

2. Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9 – WATCH

Not going to lie. I had a hard time not putting this match as #1. In a bubble – wins, as a phenomenal showing of in (and out of) ring ability. But to be 100% honest, I’m not emotionally invested in either of these guys. I mean, maybe Okada.. He’s got an amazing dropkick, that guy.

1. Bayley vs Sasha Banks

NXT Women’s Championship
NXT Takeover Brooklyn – WATCH

This match had it all. The build up. The psychology. The spots. Expectations were high, but even they were exceeded. These ladies went all out and delivered not only the match of the year, but arguably the best women’s wrestling match ever. We’ll save THAT discussion for another day…

I’ve been excited about Bayley for some time, but she proved to me she is among the best in the world RIGHT NOW. After this match, she’d go on to perform in an Ironman Match with Sasha, she’d have a watchable match with Eva Marie, and she’d carry Nia Jax to a match worthy of 4+ stars. 2015 was a hell of a year for her, and one could say that I’m cautiously optimistic about her future on the main roster in 2016.

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