We are now almost seven full months into the *Eddie Dennis voice* full calendar year.
With July nearing a close and summer rapidly approaching its end, what better time than now to look at an early top five matches of the year. For this list, I’ll put my top five WWE matches of the year in order from five to one. Note: this does not include NXT. If it did, likely only the number one match on my list would make the top five. The rest of the list would be full of Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole.
This list will have the five best matches that the WWE main card has put on this year. From technical masterpieces to emotional moments, this list will hopefully touch on some of the best WWE has offered this year.
These are not in any order.
1. Chad Gable vs Jack Gallagher – 205 Live, July 16th
Is there some recent bias with this match? Probably. When you combine a talented amateur wrestler like Gable with a mixed martial-artist like Gallagher and give them the freedom to have a technical masterpiece, they will not disappoint. 205 Live’s calling card since it began has been standout matches. This is the latest feather in that cap.
Gable has always been a talented performer who has just needed an opening to showcase his skills. His move to 205 Live offers another avenue for him to show what he can do. Gallagher was no slouch of a dancing partner either. One of the standouts of 2016’s Cruiserweight Classic, Gallagher has continued to infuse his legitimate fighting background into his work on the purple brand. This match was hard-hitting and even got a standing ovation from the announcers. A great match, but not the best cruiserweight match so far this year.
2. WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) vs Hideo Itami vs Kalisto vs Tozawa – Royal Rumble 2019 Kickoff Show
Buddy Murphy calls himself the “best-kept secret” of WWE. This match is one of the reasons why. The action between Murphy and his three challengers was non-stop and led to this being the best non-rumble match on the show.
It was close between this match and the WWE Championship match between A.J. Styles and Daniel Bryan, but that match was bogged down with the debut of Rowan as Bryan’s muscle.
This match, however, was pure action from bell-to-bell.
Tozawa, Itami, and Kalisto all looked like threats to take the title. Itami had the best shot, almost hitting a GTS on Murphy. In the end, it was Murphy’s Law that put away Itami and was one of the last matches Itami would have before leaving WWE and retaking the KENTA mantle.
3. WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan (c) – Wrestlemania 35
The culmination of Kofi-mania was one of the most emotional moments of the wrestling year so far. Kingston had been a great wrestler and consistent midcard and tag team champion for WWE for years. The momentum he gathered from a gauntlet match performance and an Elimination Chamber performance had fans hoping for Kingston to get a shot at the top title. Daniel Bryan, freshly heel, was a great foil for Kingston. He called him a flavour of the month, and it was a nice callback to Bryan’s meteoric rise to the main event of Wrestlemania five years prior.
Kingston was nearly out of it multiple times in the match. Bryan used all of his tools to try and put Kingston down for the count. Instead, Kingston pulled off the win to cap an amazing run. The image of Kingston, his New Day brothers, and Kingston’s kids celebrating together was something that will be remembered for years to come.
4. WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match, Daniel Bryan (c) vs A.J. Styles vs Kofi Kingston, vs Samoa Joe vs Jeff Hardy vs Randy Orton – Elimination Chamber 2019
This was the match that solidified Kofi-mania as a phenomenon. It also featured six of the best WWE performers in one of the most consistently fun match types the company has. Defending champion Bryan and Joe opened the match. Kingston entered third, followed by Styles, Hardy, and Orton. Styles and Orton both looked like they could end Bryan’s heel title reign, but in the end, it came down to Kingston and Bryan.
The preview of their eventual Wrestlemania match was full of drama. It looked as though WWE was actually going to put the biggest title on Kofi Kingston. The ending sequence had many near falls but ended with Bryan retaining. A huge highlight of the match: Orton hitting Styles with an RKO to counter a Phenomenal Forearm. To see that great moment and the rest of a great match, the WWE Network link is here.
5. WWE Universal Championship, Seth Rollins (c) vs A.J. Styles – Money in the Bank 2019
The best WWE match so far this year comes from two men familiar with best-of lists. Styles was challenging “The Beastslayer” Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship in a battle of babyfaces. By the time the match was over, one man did not feel like a babyface as he once was. Styles unsuccessfully challenging for the title was the beginning of his heel turn. This match was the beginning of the reuniting of The Club, reason enough for it to be on the list.
Overall this match was outstanding. The build for it wasn’t anything spectacular, but both men put in an amazing effort. At one point Styles caught Rollins going for a Stomp and hit a Styles Clash for a near fall. In the end, Rollins would put Styles away and survive another day.
So far we’ve been blessed with some excellent matches in 2019. These are just my top five, in WWE, let alone all the other fantastic companies putting on great matches!
I’m sure every fan has their own list. What were some of yours? Let us know in the comments which ones we’ve missed.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @EvanGomes_. Thanks for reading!