We are steadily approaching the end of the Wrestling Observer calendar year and with it the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards. Like most other people I have been compiling a list of the best matches of 2012, throughout the year as seen in the newsletter. It has been updated every month or so, with most of the big shows from WWE, TNA, ROH and New Japan featuring in the listings. However, as the end of the year draws closer I am noticing a terrible amount of oversights.
Many promotions have been overlooked, either due to the fact that they are not covered in the newsletter, or because their shows surface at obscure times. Many promotions that put on great matches this year like PWG, Shimmer, Chikara and Dragon Gate have been overlooked, and while I can’t possibly find all of the matches that have been missed out; I am going to try and get them onto the list – permitting that they are of substantial quality of course.
This is where ‘The Pro-Wres Road to 2013 Countdown’ comes in. Every few days on the front page I am going to look at some of the matches that have passed me by this year, and predict where they will fall on the final list published this December. This is the Pro-Wres Road to 2013 Countdown!
– All ratings in green make it onto the list and all ratings in red will not.
– The ratings range is simply a prediction on the week that this is published, as we look at more matches the positions could change.
Today we look at a very early eligible match in Mochizuki versus CIMA from last year, an absolutely insane ladder match from the PWG anniversary show and some Shimmer!
Masaaki Mochizuki vs. CIMA Open the Dream Gate Title Match Final Gate December 25th 2011
I am not an avid viewer of Dragon Gate. Sure, I have seen some of their big shows in the past, and I find nothing obscenely wrong with the product (in fact, I tend to enjoy the product on occasion). My reason for not keeping up with it probably has to do with time constraints more than anything else.
This match took place on Christmas Day of 2011, on Dragon Gate’s final big show of the year and was for the Open the Dream Gate Championship. It was a very good Dragon Gate mainevent, which I expected going in considering that it was Mochizuki and CIMA with a good amount of time.
Mochizuki went after the leg of CIMA at the start of the match, but soon CIMA took advantage of Mochizuki and started to pick his leg apart in response. CIMA for most of the match played a really good heel picking apart the leg of Mochizuki, with his facials really making everything all the more effective.
The crowd really wasn’t all that loud for the match, but it still felt like a big deal. I wasn’t that big a fan of the exchange at the start of the match, where both men exchanged counteres and Mochizuki kicked CIMA off of the apron. The problem with the style is that it sometimes feels really choreographed and that was the feeling that I got from that opening sequence.
The final stretch of the match was really good, with Mochizuki kicking out of everything that CIMA threw at him up until CIMA came off the top rope with double knees for a second time. Mochizuki kicked out just when the referee’s hand struck the mat for a third time. As a whole this was a great Dragon Gate match, with really good leg work from CIMA and a fun finishing stretch.
PWG Threemendous 3 July 21st 2012
Future Shock vs. Super Smash Brothers vs. The Young Bucks
This was probably the craziest match, spot for spot that I have seen all year. There simply hasn’t been anything that can rival it in that regard, if matches of the year were made on daredevil stunts and non-stop lunacy this match would be number one on my list; the problem is that simply isn’t what a classic match consists of.
I have seen many people call this one of the best matches of the year, and while it certainly was heaps of fun, it was not, when looking at matches that have won the award in the past, a match of the year – there is just no possible way that it could be.
I saw a man get pushed off of a ladder, land on the top rope and execute a senton onto a group of men on the outside, there was a referee that got hit in the head with a ladder and then come back to execute a topé con giro of all things, there were these spots and so many more, but do you want to know one of the main reasons for it not being a match of the year? It was for all intents and purposes a spot fest.
There is no mistaking it, the match was fun, I will probably show it to more people than almost any other match this year baring Suzuki/Tanahashi, but at the end of the day it was a match consisting of six great athletes engaging in complete lunacy for twenty five minutes with almost no rhyme or reason other than the fact that they wanted to go out and put on the craziest stunt show imaginable – they succeeded.
My main problem was that unlike other great matches from this year like Suzuki/Tanahashi, Richards/Elgin or Undertaker/Triple H, this match didn’t have a story and if it did it sure got lost amongst all of those crazy bumps.
It was the kind of match that made me really happy and really sad all at the same time. On one hand there were tons of wacky spots, which made a heck of a lot of fun, then on the other hand everyone in the match was taking terrible punishment, but it seemed like everything they did was lost in a collective mess of highspots and crazy bumps.
The really big spots of the match weren’t positioned in a way that they could truly play an integral part in the story. You can do a senton from the ladder, but what is the point in doing that move if 30 seconds later someone is killed with unprotected chair shots to the head? Sure, it all adds to the collective cacophony, but what meaning does each highspot retain? That is what separates some of the best ladder matches in history from simple spot fests.
Maybe I am the one that doesn’t get it, but this isn’t conducive to great pro wrestling for me. Maybe this is the very definition of pro wrestling to somebody else, and if it is good for them. However, in my case I see this as nothing more than a collection of unrelenting wild spots stringed together for 25 minutes, something that does not a match of the year make.
Ratings for other matches on the show:
– Roderick Strong vs. TJ Perkins *** ¾ Range: 80-100
– Sami Callihan vs. Michael Elgin **** Range: 60-70
Mercedes Martinez vs. Kana
I don’t get to see as much Shimmer as I would like, which is sad, because I am a big fan of a lot of the talent and they almost always put on fun shows. I think one of the main problems is the fact that there is such a long waiting period for DVD releases that they become hard to keep track of.
Still, matches like these always make me glad when I have a chance to watch the product. I have always been a really big fan of Kana and this match really wasn’t much of an exception. I have also enjoyed Martinez’ matches over the last couple of years.
They exchanged some kicks early on, with Martinez blocking kicks with forearms and getting caught in a Kimura. Martinez blocked a highkick, but was caught with a flurry of strikes. Martinez countered a highkick into a spinebuster, Kana locked in a Fujiwara armbar and transitioned to a cross armbreaker, Martinez failed to block the hold, but made it to the ropes. Martinez then landed a fisherman’s buster for the win.
Ratings for other matches on the show:
– Athena vs. Nicole Matthews