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MOTYs by year

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Here is mine, though I’d need quite a lot of rewatching and it’s also, obviously,  subject to change with all the things I still haven’t covered yet. I allowed myself  bunch of draw where I couldn’t decide yet. And I thought it was cool to read comments from some of you so I added mine.

Spoiler

72-04-19 -WoS- Tibor Szakacs vs Jack Fallon

Old Snake Pitt guy vs some Old Hungarian genius, matwork for all the magic

 

73-10-04 -NJPW- Lou Thesz & Karl Gotch -vs- Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi

Thesz Gotch, I mean, too bad they don’t face each other, but just the two of them doing their thing in a long match against the two top Japanese before their home crowd, if you haven’t seen it, just picture it, there you go, that’s what you’ll have. 

 

74-11-20 -IWE- Verne Gagne vs Billy Robinson

The two AWA old tricksters hook up to see who’s the boss, the finest grappler/hooker in there, and indeed plenty of tricks you’ll get.             

 

75-12-11 -NJPW- Antonio Inoki vs Billy Robinson

Billy Robinson again, this time in a mat wrestling clinic, slow, from one move to the next, working the holds, exhaustion… brilliant match.

              

76-07-24 -AJPW- Giant Baba vs Billy Robinson

Billy Robinson again, this time in a much more dynamic formula, a bit more striking and blocking with great selling kind of groove.       

 

77-03-05 -AJPW- Jumbo Tsuruta vs Billy Robinson

Billy again, with AJPW rising star here to prove he can hang with the highest rank ring veteran. Trickster vs Hungry youngster dynamic     

 

78-12-15 Baba & Jumbo vs Funks

AJPW starts to build their long crescendo to an epic kind of tag match right here, the matrix of all the 6/9/95 wannabes.          

 

79-02-14 -AJPW- Jumbo Tsuruta vs Nick Bockwinkel

In Hawai, magnificent epic featuring the best Bockwinkel performance on film, I love the atmosphere and the image, the grain of this one.       

 

80-01-21 -WWF- Bob Backlund vs Ken Patera (MSG)

I love their first MSG fight slightly more than their infamous Death match later that year, it’s in the same vein, they want to go epic and they make the most out everything in that direction 

 

81-09-23 -NJPW- Stan Hansen -vs- Andre the Giant

The real irrestible force against the immovable object, just picture that collision! The character work and acting are great in there as well        

 

1982-03-29 CWA- Jerry Lawler vs Dutch Mantell (barbed wire )

Quite the ultimate epic brawl, amazing atmosphere on tape, organic feel for this one       

 

1983 draw

1983-12-03 -MACW- Slaughter/Kernodle vs Steamboat/Youngblood (Final conflict ; cage)

Amazing atmosphere, entrances and the best steel cage tag match by quite a margin, it’s actually like the best regular tag match they could possibly have with that icing on the cake made of steel.      

83-04-03 -NJPW- Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu 

Tremendous heat between the two, the prodigy vs the rebel. A LOT of pride, moment of truth, losing is not an option kind of groove, with two hungry fresh and skilled Japanese in quite the first big local boys feud.

 

1984-03-17 -MACW- Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat (Boogie Jam)

The best by a fair (Flair?) margin, both were faces at the time, Flair fresh of his Starrcade ’83 win, turning dirty as he is turning desperate, Steamboat not yielding to the dark side.

              

1985-10-14 -MSW- Butch Reed vs Dick Murdoch (New Orleans )

Just experience the black community rooting for a black World Championship win in ’85 in New Orleans when Butch Reed is trying to muscle his way out of that ol’ tricky son of a gun. Selling and storytelling to an epic at its finest.           

 

1986 draw

1986-01-28 -MSW- Buzz Sawyer vs Steve Williams

A match to be watched with the guts (if that’s possible), Buzz Sayer in his heyday as a psycho world beater meets a Rocky like raging bull of a wrestler.          

1986-05-01 -NJPW- 5-on-5 Gauntlet : NJPW vs. UWF

I just love the gauntlet rules, with the risk of having your best and last guy coming in early and end up too injured to beat the last opponent. We know Fujinami & Maeda will be last. They get that idea to epic with amazing action of the likes of baby Liger trying to prove he’s a worthy warrior, Seiji “the selling” Sakaguchi or Fujiwara rocking the kokugikan with his antics.

 

87-02-05 -AJPW- Jumbo Tsuruta & G.Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu &  Yoshiaki Yatsu

Second boot of the matrix of the AJPW tag epics, like the perfect blend between Choshu’s NJPW approach and AJPW taste for ambitious epic layout with an amazing hot crowd.  

 

1988-08-08 -NJPW- Tatsumi Fujinami v Antonio Inoki

The mat wrestling proto MUGA style clinic, the last title match for Inoki, rumours were that with a loss or a draw he might call it a career, at least as for title runs. Inoki delivering one of his finest performance ever.       

  

1989 draw

1989-12-06 -AJPW- Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs. G.Tenryu & Stan Hansen

Team wrestling olympics vs team grumpy lariatos and cheap shots, in another one of those epic layouts flowing by before a hot crowd in Budokan.          

1989-08-10 -NJPW- Jushin Liger vs. Naoki Sano  

The best selling of the arm ever ? Not because it’s realistc (though it’s quite realistic) but because it’s central piece to that unique and epic match, and Sano is a very underrated wrestler.

 

90-10-19 -AJPW- Jumbo, Taue & Fuchi -vs- Misawa, Kawada & Kobashi

Grumpy Jumbo and Fuchi + Taue vs the super generation, it’s not the 50min long ’91 version (that I do love equally), it’s the shorter one, with a red hot korakuen hall, just outside the 2nd Jumbo vs Misawa, just before the great Kawada vs Taue series.       

 

91-09-04 -AJPW- Misawa & Kawada vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue

Quite an underated AJPW tag classic with one of the most memorable and stunning finish ever and a unique layout before that with Misawa’s shoulder injury 

 

1992-12-28 -WCW- Sting vs Vader (Starrcade)

Quite the perfect David vs Goliath clash, every dodge, each simple move creates big reactions, either because of brute power or being the start of some momentum for a babyface win, you get the idea

              

1993-02-28 -AJPW- Stan Hansen vs. Toshiaki Kawada 

Amazing slugfest, it’s brutal extra tight and stiff, and sold accordingly with an excellent character work and       

 

 

1994-06-03 -AJPW- Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada

Kawada just out of his Carni victory faces Misawa, TC champion, who forfeit because of injuries, it should be Kawada’s time, it has to… special match, probably one of those years where a huge portion of fans would agree on one specific match.         

 

1995-06-09 -AJPW- Misawa & Kobashi vs Kawada & Taue

The epic of all epics, the ultimate jewel of what could have been the best tag team matchup worldwide, let alone in Puro history.       

 

1996-12-06 -AJPW- Kawada & Taue vs Misawa & Akiyama (RWTL; final)

This match makes the most out of the “one man down in one of the team” situation.       

 

1997 draw

97-10-26 -WCW- Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio (HH)

To me it’s the match where guys went the furthest into high fly without disturbing my suspension of disbelief, it’s an overhang in uncharted territory, it’s full of crazy spots but I can actually believe they are trying to put each other out with this stuff.   

97-10-05 -WWF- Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels (HIAC Badd Blood)

What a pleasure it is to see Shawn being finally destroyed by an all business Undertaker, nowhere to run nor hide… unless HBK finds way. I dig the end with Kane even though more violence before the pin would have been even better.

 

1998 draw

98-10-25 -WCW- DDP vs Goldberg (HH)

One of the best short high profile match in US wrestling history, it has so much late 90’s flavor as well.              

98- 07-24 -AJPW- Jun Akiyama vs Kenta Kobashi

Quite the opposite, a long 30min or so battle with great early exchanges, a excellent limb work, epic without using too many big bombs, brilliant selling.

 

1999 NONE       Nothing really good in the US and I haven’t watched Japan yet for that year.

 

2000-02-27 -AJPW- Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jun Akiyama

Quite the perfect balance between pace, escalation and focus on details, blocks… it may be a great entry into AJPW as well as a high point in its history.

              

2001-06-24 -WWF- Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon (Street Fight ; KOTR )

Angle as a frustrated arrogant sadist wrestling machine and Shane as this brave, smart, tough son of a gun with a brilliant narrative, no joke I love this one so much, unique.      

 

 2002-07-17 -AJPW- Tenryu vs Kojima

I have to say I don’t quite remember that much this match but I gave it MOTY honors back in 2012 by a fair margin, so I guess the whole grumpy veteran vs young bull must be on point.

              

2003-03-01 -NOAH- Misawa vs Kobashi

One of those year where we are a lot to end up in the majority and pick that same match, the last part of this one reaches that special spot, amazing feeling of epic       

 

2004 draw

2004-04-25 -NOAH- Misawa & Ogawa vs Marufuji & KENTA

Brilliant formula of two young punks trying to use speed and teamwork to get the old emperor out, Kenta even uses Kawada’s signatures to Misawa’s angry disbelief              

2004-08-18 -UStyle- Kiyoshi Tamura vs Hiroyuki Ito

One of the best shoot style match ever, with the perfect balance between slick action, continuity and narratives, quite short yet epic.

 

2005-08-19 -NOAH - Akiyama & Kanemaru vs Kobashi & Hashi

Among the best of these mirror tags, with top of the food chain guys paired with lower ranked warriors there to prove themselves. Hashi vs Akiyama is gold.      

 

2006-03-05 -NOAH- Akira Taue vs Naomichi Marufuji

Old smart big daddy cool no nonsense Taue vs esoteric flamboyance and punky attitude Marufuji

              

2007-12-29 -ROH- Austin Aries vs Nigel McGuiness (Rising Above)

Aries legit out after the big transition, even bigger in his come back as he actually had to really dig deep to get it    

 

2008-08-31 -BattlArts- Hidaka & Sawa vs Ishikawa & Yoshikawa

Grand escalation through brutality and fine technique     

 

2009-03-28 -WWE- Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels (WM)

I feel those years were not that good but this grand spectacle on the dramatic stage of WrestleMania did it for me big time back then.

 

2010-02-11 -OsakaPro- Dick Togo vs Billy Ken Kid

Awesome Jr match that relies way more on heat and narratives than high fly, even though when they do fly, it’s also fucking great.     

 

2011-03-21 -AJPW- Sekimoto & Okabayashi vs Manabu Soya & Seiya Sanada

One of the very best Sekimoto/Okabayashi tags, very focused with a really good crescendo toward what the two Strong BJW do best.           

 

2012-10-08 -NJPW- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki

Modern NJPW classic with one of MiSuzu’s finest performances ever.      

 

2013 draw

2013-08-18 -WWE- John Cena vs Daniel Bryan

I love these big face vs face WWE fights, with the opposition of styles and audiences behind them.

2013-08-04 -NJPW- Katsuyori Shibata vs Tomohiro Ishii

Quite the ultimate short, to the point, slugfest. Stiff, with a lot of pride and amazing selling with nuances blended with sheer brutality.

 

2014-08-01 -NJPW- AJ Styles vs Minoru Suzuki

Unique match with two veterans from very different paths trying to outsmart/outwrestle each other  

            

2015-07-05 -NJPW- Kazuchi Sakuraba vs Katsuyori Shibata

One of the most underrated match ever! A throwback to 80’s strongstyle, with brilliant technique, transitions and selling, without many big bombs and a lot of rewarding details, by far the best Sakuraba match.     

 

2016 Draw

2016-08-13 -NJPW- Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito (G1 day 18)

I haven’t seen this one since those days, I don’t remember exactly why but it seems I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would, which oftens translates into loving it even more on second viewing.               

2016-10-31 -BJPW- Sekimoto & Okabayashi vs Kodaka & Miyamoto (Saikyou tag league final)

Final of the indy tag league where Strong BJW had to beat Hama/Akebono and then Ishikawa/Sato, now they face a much smaller team with deathmatch mentality, amazing tag.

 

 

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As I read this thread, I thought it would be nice to have an overall view, so here are the overall combined tendencies of MOTY for each year. I added the amount of votes with +xx and some honorable mentions when another match ended up with a fair amount of votes which may makes you think of a MOTY change someday for those years. I didn't want to count for years with few amounts of votes. The list is quite killer, and with a nice range of styles.

 

1969-05-03 -JWA- Giant Baba vs The Destroyer  +7

(...)

1973-05-05 -WoS- Jim Breaks vs Johnny Saint   +3

    1973-09-10 -AJPW- The Destroyer vs Mil Mascaras  +2

    1973-10-14 -NJPW- Inoki & Sakaguchi vs Lou Thesz & Karl Gotch  +2

1974-07-25 -AJPW- The Destroyer vs Mil Mascaras  +3

    1974-01-30 -AJPW- Jumbo Tsuruta vs Jack Brisco  +2

    1974-11-20 -IWE- Verne Gagne vs Billy Robinson  +2

1975-12-11 -NJPW- Antonio Inoki vs Billy Robinson  +7

1976-07-24 -AJPW- Giant Baba vs Billy Robinson  +7

    1976-06-11 -AJPW- Jumbo Tsuruta vs Terry Funk  +6

1977-03-05 -AJPW- Jumbo Tsuruta vs Billy Robinson  +8

1978-12-15 -AJPW- Jumbo & Baba vs The Funks  +4

1979-02-19 -WWWF- Bob Backlund vs Greg Valentine  +3

    1979-02-04 -AJPW- Jumbo Tsuruta vs Nick Bockwinkel  +2

    1979-04-21 -Houston- Wahoo McDaniel vs The Spoiler  +2

    1979-07-15 -AJPW- The Funks vs Adbullah The Butcher & The Sheik  +2

    1979-02-10 -NJPW- Tatsumi Fujinami vs Go Ryuma  +2

 

 

1980-05-19 -WWWF- Bob Backlund vs Ken Patera  +7

1981-09-23 -NJPW- Stan Hansen vs André the Giant  +12

    1981-04-06 -CWA- Jerry Lawler vs Terry Funk  +7

1982-03-29 -CWA- Jerry Lawler vs Dutch Mantell  +10

1983-09-23 -EMLL- Sangre Chicana vs MS-1  +8

    1983-06-06 -CWA- Jerry Lawler vs Bill Dundee  +6

    1983-11-24 -MACW- Roddy Piper vs Greg Valentine  +6

TIE 1984-12-05 -UWF- Yoshiaki Fuijiwara vs Super Tiger  +5

TIE 1984-06-16 -WWF- Sgt. Slaughter vs Ion Sheik  +5

1985-12-30 -CWA- Jerry Lawler vs Bill Dundee  +8

    1985-11-28 -MACW- Magnum T.A vs Tully Blanchard  +6

1986-11-21 -AWA- Nick Bockwinkel vs Curt Hennig  +7

    Note: 1986 is one of the most spread out years with 17 different matches nominated, with 6  of them with +2 votes, the rest with only one.

1987-06-09 -NJPW- Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Riki Choshu  +6

    1987-01-06 -WWC- Stan Hansen vs Carlos Colon  +4

    1987-01-20 -JCP- Ric Flair vs Barry Windham  +4

1988-12-16 -AJPW- Tenryu & Kawada vs Hansen & Gordy  +12

1989-04-02 -JCP- Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat  +8

 

 

1990-01-06 -EMLL- Angel Azteca vs El Dandy  +7

    1990-12-17 -EMLL- El Satanico vs El Dandy  +5

1991-03-24 -WWF- Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior  +4 (tie)

1991-01-13 -EMLL- El Hijo del Santo vs Brazo de Oro  +4 (tie)

   1991-08-11 -NJPW- Keiji Muto vs Masahiro Chono  +3

   1991-04-20 -AJPW- Jumbo, Taue & Fuchi vs Misawa, Kawada & Kobashi  +3

1992-11-26 -AJW- M.Toyota & Y.Yamadavs Dynamite Kansai & M.Ozaki  +6  (tie)

1992-07-03 -EMLL- Negro Casas vs El Dandy  +6  (tie)

    1992-05-25 -AJPW- Kobashi & Kikuchi vs Furnas & Kroffat  +4

1993-07-29 -AJPW- Kenta Kobashi vs Stan Hansen +7

1994-06-03 -AJPW- Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada +19

1995-06-09 -AJPW- Misawa & Kobashi vs Kawada & Taue  +19

    Note: these two years (’94 & ’95) are the biggest plebiscites

1996-12-06 -AJPW- Misawa & Akiyama & Kawada & Taue  +13

1997-01-20 -AJPW- Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi +11

    1997-03-23 -WWF- Bret Hart vs Steve Austin  +9

1998-10-31 -AJPW- Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi  +5

    1998-07-24 -AJPW- Kenta Kobashi vs Jun Akiyama  +4

    Note: ’98 is another one of those very spread out years with a large amount of nominees and several with +2 votes

1999-11-06 -AJPW- Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi  +6

    1999-06-24 -RINGS- Kiyoshi Tamura vs Yoshihisa Yamamoto  +4

 

 

2000-03-17 -CMLL- Atlantis vs Vilano III  +11

    2000-02-27 -AJPW- Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jun Akiyama  +7

2001-04-01 -WWF- The Rock vs Steve Austin  +4  (tie)

2001-12-23 -Monterrey- El Hijo del Santo vs L.A Park  +4 (tie)

2002-10-20 -WWE- Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker  +5

2003-03-01 -NOAH- Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi  +12

2004-07-10 -NOAH- Kenta Kobashi vs Jun Akiyama +6

2005-06-11 –IWA-MS- Necro Butcher vs Samoa Joe  +4

    2005-04-24 -Futen- Daisuke Ikeda vs Yuki Ishikawa  +3

2006-08-12 -ROH- Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuiness  +3

    Note: another year with a lot of different nominees, several at +2, nowhere near secured by this ROH match.

2007-01-28 -WWE- John Cena vs Umaga  +10

2008-02-23 -ROH- Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuiness +3  (tie)

2008-07-26 -BattlArts- Ishikawa, Otsuka, Sawa vs Ikeda, Usuda, Super Tiger  +3  (tie)

    Note, then again too many other fights at +2, MOTY 2008 likely to change someday.

2009-04-05 -WWE- Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker +6

 

 

2010-03-28 -WWE- Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker +5  (tie)

2010-10-24 -Futen- Ishikawa & Oba vs Mashimo & Hashi  +5  (tie)

    2010-12-05 -AAA- L.A Park vs El Messias  +4

2011-07-17 -WWE- John Cena vs CM Punk  +15

2012-04-29 -WWE- John Cena vs Brock Lesnar  +11

2013-08-04 -NJPW- Tomohiro Ishii vs Katsuyori Shibata  +6

2014-08-01 -NJPW- AJ Styles vs Minoru Suzuki  +6  (tie)

2014-04-06 -WWE- Daniel Bryan vs Triple H  +6  (tie)

2015-03-29 -WWE- Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns  +5

    2015-01-04 -NJPW- Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kota Ibushi  +4

2016-11-19 -WWE- The Revival vs DIY  +4

 

 

 

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