Wrestling somehow got even stupider in 2019, and it was amazing.
I know it’s extremely cliche to talk about how ‘there’s never been a better time to be a fan!’ — and also somewhat gag-inducing with how overly cutesy and positive that is — but seriously; wrestling is anything but boring right now.
There’s a ratings war, and it’s getting competitive. There are bidding competitions for top talent, as companies try and compile as compelling a roster as possible. There’s been tonnes, and tonnes, and tonnes of controversies. There’s been returns, there’s been departures. New entities have sprung into existence, and established names have struggled to reinvigorate themselves. There’s been niche wrestling, and there’s been new faces in major league wrestling. Numerous companies have carved themselves out a unique sense of style, and pushed the boundaries of what the genre can be.
And then there’s the actual wrestling. It’s been amazing, and it’s been dreadful; both in quantities you would never have enough time to actually get through.
But ultimately, irony and cynicism aside; there has been an insane amount of great matches this year.
While not perfect promotions in their entirety, places like OTT, Riptide, and AEW presented styles of wrestling that truly made WWE near-unwatchable for me; as the industry leader’s deeply entrenched tropes and production ticks are as noticeable as ever, and other groups prove that theirs is not the only way to skin a cat. But even with that said; WWE themselves made a handful of moments this year that I would rank among my favourites they’ve produced in my 20 years as a fan.
I can also comfortably say this was the most wrestling I’ve ever watched in a calendar year. I watched every tournament match in the Best of the Super Juniors AND the G1 Climax — genuinely something I have never even come close to previously. While there are people out there whose watchlists dwarf mine; it felt good to seek out as much good wrestling as my free time would allow.
Hell, I even kept a SPREADSHEET (!) of my favourite matches this year! Over 150 matches in the four stars or over range! Across 16 promotions!
And that segues nicely to the actual list. The aforementioned ‘sheet was a wonderful tool to help me actually keep track of all the great matches I watched this year; although I won’t be copy-and-pasting my top ranked bouts from there to here, directly.
Some stuff withstood the test of time better than others. Some five star classics on a first viewing (or even a live viewing) didn’t quite hold up under scrutiny once the (figurative) ecstasy and (literal) cider wore off. Some matches that were ‘merely‘ granted a 4.5 rating upon initial viewing, actually ended up burning themselves into my subconscious to the degree that it would almost feel unjust to not include them on a list that should encapsulate all that was great in 2019 wrestling. Such as… Number 10!