In terms of pure in ring performances, wrestling is better now than it has ever been. WWE isn’t the only show in town, because there are 5 star matches being held all over the entire world. You’ll find that there is A LOT of Kenny Omega on this list, and that’s because he’s just that good, but there is good wrestling from every corner of the globe. We struggled to nail this list down to just 5, because there are just way too many to name. So go search out as much wrestling as you can, but these are the 5 matches we believe are the best in wrestling outside of the WWE realm.
5. Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada – Wrestle Kingdom 12
To many people, this was the best wrestling match of the year, and for months, it seemed Dave Meltzer agreed by giving this a 6-star rating (we’ll get to what tops it later), and it happened just 4 days into 2017. After becoming the first gaijin to ever win the G1, the pressure was on The Cleaner to prove he deserved the spot New Japan had given to him, and 45 minutes of incredibly paced action later proved that he did indeed belong. Okada would successfully defend his IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but it made Kenny Omega a worldwide name, and will genuinely go down as one of the greatest wrestling matches in history.
4. The Hardys vs. The Young Bucks – ROH Supercard of Honor XI
Due to the Broken Universe which became so popular in Impact, the Hardys were hotter than anyone in the world, and a collision with The Young Bucks seemed perfectly timed, especially when you throw in the Ladder Match stipulation. It was a dream match not only for fans, but for these teams, and they put it all on the line for the coveted ROH World Tag Team Championships in an all-out war. Obviously The Young Bucks came out on top, as we saw the return of The Hardys to WWE just a night later, but if the early TLC matches are your style, this is something you NEED to seek out.
3. Travis Banks vs. Tyler Bate – Progress Wrestling Super Strong Style Day 3
Tyler Bate is a future star in the WWE without a doubt, and he’s had some incredible matches this year under the WWE umbrella with Pete Dunne. But he’s also been starring in Progress Wrestling, and this is without a doubt his best match in the UK. During the prestigious tournament, Bate also had a classic with Matt Riddle, but it was the bout against Banks in the Final that garnered most headlines. Banks went on to win to earn a shot at Pete Dunne, and even though Bate was playing a despicable heel, both men got standing ovations following this phenomenal bout.
2. Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada 2 – NJPW Dominion
We’ve already talked about the first bout in this incredible series of matches, and even though this one went to a 60-minute time limit draw, it somehow managed to top the first one, with Dave Meltzer giving it a 6.25 star rating. This one was a much slower, methodical pace, but it still had all the exciting moves that these two have made famous. The best spot of the match was so simple, yet pure genius. Late in the match, Okada went for his patented Rainmaker, and Omega dodged it by simply passing out from exhaustion. It was absolutely brilliant, and although this didn’t go to a result, it was one of the most gripping wrestling matches you’ll ever see.
1. Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii – NJPW USA Special
This is third bout of Kenny Omega on this list, and quite frankly we could have picked from several. But the storytelling and culmination of an incredible year for him in this match makes it a must-see for all wrestling fans. It was the final of a tournament to crown the first ever IWGP United States Champion, and Omega and Ishii put it all on the line in a physical clash unlike any you’ll see this year. There were many creative spots, including Ishii holding onto the top rope to avoid a suplex with his teeth, and Omega finally giving him a Tiger Suplex through a table. But after all of it, it was The Cleaner who came out on top.
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