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Microstatistics' 2019-20 Top 100 matches of all time


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This is the ballot I submitted for the 2020 GME edition. In case anyone is interested, I wrote a brief review for each match (https://gweproject.freeforums.net/thread/1982/microstatistics-2019-chronological-top-100), focusing more on narrative points than anything so as to capture the essence of these matches.

1. Kenta Kobashi/Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Akira Taue/Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW, 6/9/1995)

2. Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind (WWF, 9/22/1996)

3. Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Volk Han (RINGS, 9/26/1997)

4. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Nobuhiko Takada (UWF, 10/25/1990) 

5. Jushin Liger vs. El Samurai (NJPW, 4/30/1992)

6. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (WWF, 3/20/1994)

7. Los Gringos Locos vs. El Hijo del Santo/Octagon (AAA, 11/6/1994)

8. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (WWE, 3/29/2015)

9. El Satanico vs. Sangre Chicana (EMLL, 5/26/1989)

10. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Akira Maeda (NJPW, 6/12/1986)

11. Mayumi Ozaki/Dynamite Kansai vs. Manami Toyota/Toshiyo Yamada (AJW, 11/26/1992)

12. Rey Hechicero vs. Charles Lucero (Monterrey, 8/4/2013)

13. Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Yoshihisa Yamamoto (RINGS, 6/24/1999)

14. Jun Akiyama vs. Masao Inoue (NOAH, 4/23/2006)

15. Eddy Guerrero vs. Rey Misterio Jr. (WCW, 10/26/1997)

16. Jushin Liger vs. Naoki Sano (NJPW, 1/31/1990)

17. Akira Hokuto/Aja Kong vs. Dynamite Kansai/Yumiko Hotta (AJW, 8/24/1994)

18. LCO vs. Tomoko Watanabe/Kaoru Ito (AJW, 9/21/1997)

19. Kenta Kobashi vs. Jun Akiyama (NOAH, 7/10/2004)

20. Greg Valentine vs. Roddy Piper (NWA, 11/24/1983)

21. Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Hiroyuki Ito (U-Style, 8/18/2004)

22. Mariko Yoshida vs. Hiromi Yagi (ARSION, 2/18/1999)

23. Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk (ROH, 12/4/2004)

24. Kenta Kobashi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa (NOAH, 3/1/2003)

25. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (WWE, 3/28/2010)

26. Akira Hokuto vs. Shinobu Kandori (AJW, 4/2/1993)

27. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (WWF, 3/23/1997) 

28. Ric Flair vs. Ricky Morton (NWA, 7/5/1986)

29. Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Rude (WCW, 6/20/1992)

30. El Hijo del Santo vs. El Dandy vs. Negro Casas (CMLL, 12/6/1996)

31. Yuki Ishikawa/Alexander Otsuka/Munenori Sawa vs. Daisuke Ikeda/Katsumi Usuda/Super Tiger II (BattlARTS, 7/26/2008)

32. Jim Breaks vs. Adrian Street (JP, 2/12/1972)

33. LCO vs. Ayako Hamada/AKINO (ARSION, 12/11/1999)

34. Bryan Danielson vs. Homicide (ROH, 12/23/2006)

35. Black Tiger II vs. Wild Pegasus (NJPW, 6/11/1996)

36. El Hijo del Santo vs. Felino (Monterrey, 10/18/1998)

37. El Satanico vs. Gran Cochise (EMLL, 9/14/1984)

38. Akira Taue vs. Stan Hansen (AJPW, 4/11/1994)

39. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Akira Maeda (UWF, 8/13/1989)

40. Shinjiro Ohtani vs. El Samurai (NJPW, 1/21/1996)

41. Aja Kong vs. Yumiko Hotta (AJW, 1/24/1994)

42. Jesse James vs. Al Costello (LA, 6/8/1960)

43. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Super Tiger (UWF, 9/7/1984)

44. Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (RINGS, 6/27/1998)

45. Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (EMLL, 1/27/1984)

46. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega (NJPW, 8/12/2017)

47. Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Volk Han (RINGS, 1/22/1997)

48. El Satanico vs. Lizmark (CMLL, 7/14/1998)

49. William Regal vs. Kassius Ohno (WWE, 3/21/2013)

50. Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker (WWE, 8/23/2015)

51. Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA (ROH, 9/16/2006)

52. Jushin Liger vs. Shinjiro Ohtani (NJPW, 2/9/1997)

53. Cactus Jack vs. Triple H (WWF, 1/23/2000)

54. AJ Styles vs. Abyss (TNA, 4/24/2005)

55. Vader vs. Sting (WCW, 7/12/1992)

56. Daniel Bryan/Kane/Ryback vs. The Shield (WWE, 12/16/2012)

57. Kenta Kobashi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW, 1/20/1997)

58. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Antonio Inoki (NJPW, 8/8/1988)

59. Axel Dieter vs. Moose Morowski (Hannover, 10/5/1980)

60. Lou Thesz vs. Buddy Rogers (Chicago, 6/21/1950) 

61. Toshiaki Kawada vs. Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW, 6/3/1994)

62. Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW, 4/15/1995)

63. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Genichiro Tenryu (AJPW, 6/5/1989)

64. Io Shirai vs. Mayu Iwatani (Stardom, 12/22/2016) 

65. Hiroshi Hase vs. The Great Muta (NJPW, 12/14/1992) 

66. Akira Hokuto vs. KAORU (GAEA, 4/12/1997) 

67. Yuji Nagata vs. Togi Makabe (NJPW, 7/6/2007) 

68. Tetsuya Naito vs. Taichi (NJPW, 2/3/2019)

69. Kenta Kobashi/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Doug Furnas/Dan Kroffat (AJPW, 5/25/1992)

70. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa (NOAH, 12/9/2001) 

71. Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL (WWE, 5/16/2004) 

72. El Hijo del Santo vs. Espanto Jr. (EMLL, 8/31/1986)

73. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Kerry Von Erich (AJPW, 5/22/1984)

74. Jim Londos vs. Bronco Nagurski (Philadelphia, 11/18/1938)

75. Volk Han vs. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (RINGS, 11/22/1996) 

76. Akira Hokuto/Shinobu Kandori vs. Aja Kong/Bull Nakano (AJW, 3/27/1994)

77. Atlantis vs. Villano III (CMLL, 3/17/2000) 

78. Bryan Danielson vs. Takeshi Morishima (ROH, 8/25/2007) 

79. Volk Han vs. Mitsuya Nagai (RINGS, 12/24/1994)

80. Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee (CWA, 12/30/1985)

81. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe (TNA, 12/11/2005)

82. Steve Grey vs. Johnny Saint (JP, 1/28/1980)

83. Daisuke Ikeda/Takahiro Oba vs. Makoto Hashi/Kengo Mashimo (Futen, 10/24/2010)

84. Terry Funk vs. Stan Hansen (AJPW, 4/14/1983) 

85. Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Osamu Nishimura (MUGA, 9/25/2006)

86. Terry Funk vs. Jerry Lawler (CWA, 4/6/1981)

87. Midnight Rockers vs. Buddy Rose/Doug Somers (AWA, 8/30/1986)

88. Jushin Liger vs. The Great Sasuke (NJPW, 4/16/1994)

89. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Jack Brisco (AJPW, 8/28/1976)

90. Kenta Kobashi vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH, 4/23/2006)

91. Io Shirai vs. Shayna Baszler (Stardom, 2/23/2017)

92. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (WWF, 8/27/1995)

93. Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena (WWE, 8/17/2014)

94. The Destroyer vs. The Spirit (AJPW, 7/25/1975)

95. Kenta Kobashi vs. Tamon Honda (NOAH, 4/13/2003)

96. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Kazuo Yamazaki (UWF, 4/15/1990)

97. Jun Akiyama vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH, 9/9/2006)

98. AMW vs. Triple X (TNA, 12/5/2004)

99. El Satanico/Averno/Mephisto vs. Tarzan Boy/Rey Bucanero/Ultimo Guerrero/Mascara Magica (CMLL, 9/28/2001)

100. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (WWF, 11/17/1996)

 

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I'm gonna start working through the matches I haven't seen. I hope you don't take my comments personally.

14. Jun Akiyama vs. Masao Inoue (NOAH, 4/23/2006)

I'm going into this match cold. I don't know who Masao Inoue is, and I've only seen one NOAH match that I liked. Perhaps if I had seen more NOAH, I'd have more context for this. I kept wondering why a limited guy with post-injury Chono level offense was in a big match with Jun Akiyama. I always have a problem with Akiyama matches. I just can't get into the guy. Lots of people like him. I don't know why I have this stubborn resistance towards him. One thing I did like about this were the knees to the head. He probably did one too many as it was verging on cruel, but I liked how he used them to put Inoue in his place. 

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Masao Inoue is a mid/undercard-for-life wrestler. A guy who never really could have succeeded in 90s or 00s All Japan or NOAH. He lacked size, charisma and athletic ability. However, he was usually pretty servicable in 6 man tags throwing in comedy and heel spots (usually worked in a comedy fashion). Inoue was the unlikely challenger here, somehow winning a single elimination tournament using heel tactics (beating rookie Taniguchi, Sano via a cradle and Saito via count out). They also worked this match unlike a usual NOAH title match (at least unlike any title match without Yoshinari Ogawa), much more like a US territory era match. This and the tag team title challenge with Saito vs. Misawa & Ogawa in September 04 were by far the career highlights of Inoue. There is also a lengthy treatise on this match by the segunda caida guys:

http://segundacaida.blogspot.com/2017/03/2006-match-of-year.html

Another thing, that matters a bit to this match: two years ago, Akiyama defended the GHC hardcore title within two weeks against Inoue, Saito and Kawabata. As he considered them not serious challengers, he counted each of the three matches only as 1/3 defense.

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Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk (ROH, 12/4/2004)

This was a good match. I would have liked it even more if the commentators hadn't screamed about the psychology every five seconds. Every time I watch Joe, I come away thinking he's the perfect wrestler. He had size, strength, skill, a great look, and he could cut a promo. I haven't watched the other matches in this trilogy, but I got the gist since they wouldn't stop talking about them. I actually thought Punk was gonna win this, so I was surprised when Joe put him away (I know nothing about ROH.) And didn't he put him away? That was a definitive finish. 

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Bryan Danielson vs. Homicide (ROH, 12/23/2006)

This got better off the false finish (since when did a ref have the power to overturn a DQ?) I love Homicide, but injured babyface challenger isn't a role I wanna see him play. This heated up once he got some offense in. Was Danielson a good heel? The only heelish thing he did in this match was refuse to break the count, and even that was really on the nose. He jawed with the crowd a bit, but it almost feels like a post-modern heel champ act. I feel like Danielson never draws criticism. Every other worker gets scrutinized but Danielson seems untouchable. He did some cool shit in this match with his elbows and arm work, but other than that I wasn't hugely impressed. I suppose he sold the shoulder well, so he can have a couple of Bret Hart brownie points. The finish kind of sucked with the ring bell shit, but the post match was awesome. Homicide rules. I can only imagine how exciting this must have been for people following Homice and ROH since day one. 

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72. El Hijo del Santo vs. Espanto Jr. (EMLL, 8/31/1986)

This wasn't an EMLL match. It was on an independent Monterrey card. 

El Satanico vs. Lizmark (CMLL, 7/14/1998)

I didn't even know this match existed. If I've seen this before then that brain cell definitely doesn't exist anymore. Wait, there's a whole thread about this match where people are debating whether it's any good and who's performance is worse, Lizmark or Satanico. I love that sort of shit. The match is okay, but kind of average. I don't think either guy gives a particularly good performance. The most telling thing about the match is that the third fall doesn't have the big nearfalls you'd expect from a lucha classic, and no dives. They don't really even try. And early on, the matwork isn't great. If you're pinning your hopes on anything for this match it's that the matwork is great, or failing that the exchange are good. I can't think of one highlight from this match. I love both guys, but they had better matches against other people in the 90s. Not sure how this made it so high up your list.  

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Ric Flair vs. Ricky Morton (NWA, 7/5/1986)

I didn't have strong memories of this. This is the feud where Ricky says the NWA wanted to put the belt on him, but he didn't want to break up the Express. Sure, Ricky. This was good shit. It took off once Ric removed the nose guard and started working Morton over. Morton's comeback was good as well. I love how you can hear them swearing at each other. I can respect this pick. I dunno if it's an all-time great match, but I can respect it. The finish kind of sucks, but what are you gonna do? The announcer seems depressed. Stay seated for the fireworks, though. 

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El Hijo del Santo vs. Espanto Jr. (EMLL, 8/31/1986)

This wasn't an EMLL match. It was on an independent Monterrey card.

Thanks for the correction.

I'm definitely the anomaly on Satanico vs. Lizmark 98. Your position is much closer to those of others (except maybe Elliott). The continuity with the past (Lizmark is superior but Satanico escapes with the title), the rudo work, transitions, and offense just work for me.

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Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker  (WWE, 8/23/2015)

Wait, these two had a rematch? See, I don't know anything. I know Brock ended the streak, that's about it. This match had all the subtlety of a jackhammer but it worked in terms of the storyline. There were some embarrassingly stupid moments like the part where they laugh at each other, the timekeeper controversy, the low blow, and Brock pulling the finger, but for the most part this delivered on the hype. The three man commentary crew were terrible -- stepping on each other's toes, contracting each other, bringing up talking points they never complete. JBL said the same thing over and over again, Cole was Cole, and Lawler didn't seem to know when to speak up. You've gotta have a two man team. I guess the best thing about this was that they were able to make up for their Wrestlemania shit show. 

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Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA (ROH, 9/16/2006)

Why is KENTA wearing yellow and brown? He looks like an ice-cream. I've never seen a KENTA match before. I've read the name a lot, but this is my first time watching him. I don't know what he's usually like and how this match compares, but I thought this was a great match. The work was significantly better than the Joe/Punk match and Danielson vs. Homicide. Those matches had a better story and more emotion, but this match ran laps around them in terms of work. It did occur to me when I was watching it that it felt like more of a Japanese match than a US indy match, and maybe I was showing some kind of Japan bias, but Danielson looked like a fantastic worker in this, his heel act was much stronger than the Homicide bout, and the finishing stretch one was one of the best I've seen in a long, long time. This match felt like perfection in terms of a young worker getting tapes, imagining what they'd do if they were working Japanese style matches. But Danielson probably deserves more credit than that. This is just a high level match from a thinking man's wrestler. I can see where the groundswell came from after watching this sort of bout. Great match. 

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AJ Styles vs. Abyss (TNA, 4/24/2005)

AJ Styles uses dumb innovative moves against a 6'8" version of Mankind. There were some decent moments inside the cage, but overall, this was not for me. The first time I saw AJ Styles he was working in New Japan. It's difficult for me to even recognize this AJ Styles as the same worker. A lot of the stuff he did in this match was Rob Van Dam level dumb. Just do the move! Why do you need to put some twist on it?

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Daniel Bryan/Kane/Ryback vs. The Shield (WWE, 12/16/2012)

What was up with the camerawork and editing in this match? I saw someone post a meme of a WWE-shot Street Fighter II match the other day, but the actual camerawork is something else. What is this? Dogma on crack? Who is Ryback and what happens if I feed him more? This was back when the Shield was a thing. I get why people were excited about them, but it's another one of those things that didn't turn out to be as big as people hoped or anticipated. It's not a bad match, and it kind of keeps the TLC gimmick to a minimum despite there being props laid out everywhere. It's mainly about the Shield being predators and hunting in a pack. I know this because JBL told me a gazillion times. Not a bad match, but felt like Best of 2012 WWE to me than top 100 of all time. 

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Io Shirai vs. Mayu Iwatani (Stardom, 12/22/2016)

So this is modern Joshi, huh? This was some amateur hour shit and weirdly shot. I can understand people being into it if they're invested in the workers, but there's no way this is better than any number of derided Joshi pro matches from the past. Iwatani was a weird ass underdog baby face and Shirai wasn't much of a champ, but you never know, I might change my tune after a few more bouts. 

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Tetsuya Naito vs. Taichi (NJPW, 2/3/2019)

This was a chore to watch. Unbelievably boring pre-match that wasn't a pimple on the ass of Fujiwara's attack on Choshu, and then the match itself was painfully average. Awful Michael Cole level English commentary. What is with Kevin Kelly trying to sound like Fukuzawa on the finishers? Dunno who the British guy is. He sounds like John Oliver. I've got nothing against modern New Japan, and I've enjoyed a number of the big recommended matches, but this match was an absolute bore. 

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On 8/22/2020 at 1:23 PM, ohtani's jacket said:

 

 

So this is modern Joshi, huh? This was some amateur hour shit and weirdly shot. I can understand people being into it if they're invested in the workers, but there's no way this is better than any number of derided Joshi pro matches from the past. Iwatani was a weird ass underdog baby face and Shirai wasn't much of a champ, but you never know, I might change my tune after a few more bouts. 

You must have watched the Stardom world version which is handheld camera shots with no commentary opposed to the Samurai TV version which is filmed in the traditional way. 

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Naomichi Marufuji vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa  (NOAH, 12/9/2001)

I liked this. Takaiwa has always been a guy I find watchable and I haven't seen enough of Marufuji to be sick of him. Sometimes all a guy needs is a beer in one hand and a 2.99 kick out. Now maybe that should be a beer in one hand and some territory wrestling or some shit, but 2.99 kick outs started for a reason. And that reason is because they're exciting. Japanese men's wrestling was so bad in 2001 that the bar is pretty low, but this is a top 5 match from the year for the simple fact that it registered a pulse. 

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