Top Ten Wrestling Matches of 2010
Well, itís hard to believe that another year has come and gone. 2010 really seemed to fly by, especially when it comes to the world of professional wrestling. I must admit, I watched less wrestling this year than I did in any previous year since 1999. I quit TNA in January and boycotted Raw over the summer. 2010 was the year I finally got it through my head that if a product is bad, itís okay to just walk away. 2010 will also go down as the year of the iPPV. Ring of Honor and Dragon Gate USA both made fantastic use of GoFightLive.TV and produced some of the most memorable wrestling events of the year. I should mention now that the only two events I missed that might really have changed the results of my list are Ring of Honorís Big Bang iPPV (of which Iíve been told is a magnificent triple threat World title match and an exciting tag title change) and Dragon Gate USAís Enter the Dragon II (featuring Bryan Danielson against Shingo). Otherwise, expect to see a lot of iPPV goodness on my list and you can direct your hate mail to the DaWrestlingSite forums.
10. Team WWE vs. The Nexus (Summerslam) ****
9. Bryan Danielson vs. Menenori Sawa (EVOLVE 5) ****1/4
8. Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli vs. Jay and Mark Briscoe (ROH Death Before Dishonor VIII) ****1/4
7. Bryan Danielson vs. Bobby Fish (EVOLVE 4) ****1/4
6. Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas (ROH Glory by Honor IX) ****1/4
And now, the elite top five:
5. Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards (ROH Final Battle)
I was expecting a good match and perhaps a title change going into this contest. Instead, they delivered another classic. The rabid NYC fans in attendance were convinced that this time Davey Richards was definitely taking the ROH title. There was a perception that Strong was only holding the title because Tyler Black got signed by the WWE (which ROH denies, but who knows). Strong had to throw everything he had at Richards to keep him down. Ultimately, it looked as though Richards had suffered a concussion and Strong locked on a hard Strong Hold to get the victory (it appeared that Richards had passed out, rather than tapped). This was the perfect way to have Strong go over without sacrificing any of Daveyís credibility. The rematch should be something to see! ****Ĺ.
4. BxB Hulk vs. Shingo (DGUSA Bushido: The Code of the Warrior)
DGUSA entered the iPPV arena in October and this was their first main event. The conventional wisdom going into this match was that BxB Hulkís time as champion was up and that Shingo was due for his title reign. With perhaps their largest live audience ever watching at home, Shingo and Hulk pulled out all the stops and had an exciting back and forth contest. BxB Hulk shocked the live crowd when he retained. ****Ĺ.
3. El Generico vs. Kevin Steen (ROH Final Battle 2010)
This was the feud of the year. It started at Final Battle 2009 and it ended at Final Battle 2010. This match was the perfect culmination to a yearís worth of hatred and violence. It didnít have the fast paced urgency that their Death Before Dishonor bout had, instead it methodically built to the bloody conclusion. Also, it helped that the stakes were high for both men. If Kevin Steen lost, his ROH career would be over. If Generico lost, he would have to give up his mask, which would also be the end of his identity as the fans knew it. When it came down to it, Generico tamed the bully, and had Steen pleading for mercy and a truce at the very end. Generico responded with a chair shot and the long awaited victory. If this was Steenís swan song in ROH, he can be proud of the way he went out. With any luck, this feud and match should establish El Generico as a permanent main event force in the company in 2011. ****Ĺ.
2. Davey Richards vs. Tyler Black (ROH Death Before Dishonor VIII)
Iím going to keep talking about the joy of watching a live match when the outcome can really go either way. At the time this match aired on iPPV, it was common knowledge across the internet that Davey Richards was going to retire at the end of the year to become a firefighter. Therefore, this big iPPV in June was probably the only time Richards could win the ROH title and have a meaningful title reign before taking off. Tyler Black also had something to prove going into this, as he was turning out to be one of the most controversial ROH champions in company history due to the inconsistent crowd support he was receiving. The result was a magnificent match and the trade of near falls really meant something. Black ended up pulling out the victory and the fans had to give him his due respect that night. ****ĺ.
1. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (Wrestlemania 26).
It had been a long time since weíd seen a match like this and it will likely be a long time before we see another one. The stakes for both men going into this contest were much higher than just winning or losing a World title. HBKís career was on the line, as was Undertakerís Wrestlemania streak. Watching a live match when you canít imagine either man taking the loss doesnít happen very often and I was on the edge of my seat for every near fall. Undertaker forged through his injuries to keep up with Shawn Michaels, who was determined to call it a career on a high note. I would say mission accomplished. What really sticks out in my mind was late in the match, Undertaker seemed to show a rare moment of sympathy for HBK. Michaels responded by slapping The Dead Man and mocking his throat slash gesture. Undertaker rebounded with a jumping Tombstone Piledriver. Honestly, storytelling in wrestling does not get much better than this, ****ĺ.
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