2020 has been a weird year for wrestling, with the lack of crowds for the majority of the year, the atmosphere that makes a match 5x better ceased to exist, making this short list much harder to form. Without further ado, here are my favourite matches of 2020.
3. The Young Bucks vs FTR – AEW Full Gear
Tag team excellence if you ask me. This was a match we had been waiting to see for years and when we got it, it didn’t disappoint. There are so many intricate details that symbolise the rivalry even before the match began. Things like the Bucks wearing Lakers colours and FTR wearing Celtics colours made me excited before the match even kicked off. I love the pacing of this match as well. The gradual increase in pace as we see FTR move from their ‘no flips just fists’ wrestling to the more modern high-flying fast paced wrestling that the Bucks use is genius and is their ultimate demise in the match. I think it sets up perfectly for a rematch, as FTR can claim the Bucks didn’t beat them, they beat themselves. I also loved FTR paying homage to old wrestling teams such as the Steiner Brothers and Hart Foundation, this really solidified how their style of wrestling reflects off all these teams from decades ago and when they leave that style, it backfires against them. We also saw the Bucks hit a 3D and Twist of Fate, paying homage to the Dudley Boyz and the Hardy Brothers, which correlates to the era of wrestling that they were inspired by. I also loved the DIY reference done by FTR, which reminded me of the old NXT days they had. The contrast in styles really drew me to this match and I liked the finish as well. It might not be the most exciting, high paced match of the year, but I liked the story-telling a lot.
2. Ilja Dragunov vs WALTER – NXT UK TV
This was brutal. Simply brutal. The fast-paced start of the match with WALTER’S chops and kicks in the corner set the tone for this war. I’m a huge fan of hard hitting wrestling and this was exactly what I got for 25 minutes. Spots like Ilja’s neck snapping back off the rope into the apron and WALTER pushing Ilja’s head back before chopping him made me cringe and I’ve never seen this level of brutality and physicality in a no stipulation match before. For the majority of this year, I’ve hated matches having no crowd due to the lack of atmosphere like I mentioned earlier, but for this match, I loved the fact there wasn’t a crowd. You could hear every single knee, slap and kick in full force, which made this seem like a real fight. I loved the spot where the Austrian lays his Russian opponent across the side of the ring and wrenches his back and neck over the turnbuckle like a Stretch Armstrong. I need to see a rematch between these two with weapons legal. Imagine these two with kendo sticks, chairs and tables. That would be a match for the ages. Dragunov constantly kicking out of powerbombs and escaping choke holds is a testament to his heart that is portrayed brilliantly by himself and WALTER due to his constant frustration when trying to put Dragunov away. I loved the finish as well. WALTER putting his opponent away by a sleeper hold, with Dragunov passing out instead of tapping out was the perfect way to end this brutal match.
1. Young Bucks vs Hangman Page & Kenny Omega – AEW Revolution
Just more tag team excellence, but even better. Half an hour of excellent storytelling, brilliant spots and extraordinary wrestling. The second Hangman spat in the face of Matt Jackson, I knew this was going to be elite. The sportsmanship had been thrown out of the window and I knew it was about to go down. Omega’s respect for The Bucks seemed like it would be his teams downfall and we saw hints of a dissention between Page and Omega throughout the match that made all the fans think a heel turn was coming in this match. The constant blows to the back from Hangman to Matt also seemed like it would foreshadow Page doing the same to his teammate. When four of the best wrestlers in the world are sharing the ring with all the experience they have, you know you’re going to get greatness and that is exactly what we got. The constant back and forth of control leaves no dead moments. The tag team offence in this match is like nothing I’d ever seen before and from the beginning of the year AEW proved that they have the best tag division in wrestling. There are so many brilliant spots in this match that I can’t even go through because there are so many. If you somehow haven’t seen this match, please watch it. It’s one of the greatest matches of all time and definitely in my top 3 tag matches of all time. Omega kicking out of the double V-trigger at one was definitely one of my favourite moments of this year and that wasn’t even one of the best moments in this match. Page hitting the One Winged Angel then two Buckshot’s to win the match was a brilliant way to end my favourite match of this year, as the man that was seen to be the one that would spoil the match for his teammate was the one who won the match in conclusion.