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  1. #41
    The Brain
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    Spinny! Scared, you say?? This was a fantastic match, and while I agree there’s even better yet to come, I wouldn’t fault anyone for putting this on their best of list! Glad you got in, and Burnard was quite a trip wasn’t he?

    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 827 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2018 (only 4 of which involved The Miz). This is my favorite from Stardom.

    Queen’s Quest (Viper, Io Shirai, AZM, HZK, & Momo Watanabe) vs. Oedo Tai (Kris Wolf, Kagetsu, Natsu Sumire, Hana Kimura, & Tam Nakano) – Gauntlet Match
    Stardom 7th Anniversary, January 21st

    About the Promotion: I’m a big fan of Stardom, which is probably why I cherry picked 30 matches from it this year. I love the level of talent they feature, I love how many top level matches they produce, and perhaps most of all I love their streaming service! It’s incredibly easy to navigate, which is a real struggle for most Japanese promotions, and it features 100% subtitled promos so you actually get to know what’s going on. Nobody beats Stardom when it comes to distribution, nobody!

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match on the best designed streaming service in the wrestling world, stardom-world.com.

    This feud dominated much of Stardom’s calendar this year and stretched back to last year as well, but I’m sure not tired of it, especially when they are producing matches like this one! Io Shirai’s Queen’s Quest and Kagetsu’s Oedo Tai have perpetually been at each other’s throats, and in this step of their feud both sides agreed to a gauntlet match where the last person to be pinned would be thrown out of their stable. High risk but also high reward, right? I’ve got to say, the makeup and structure of this match was great, with everyone delivering spectacularly. Io Shirai has a strong case for being one of the five best wrestlers in the world, and Kagetsu isn’t all that far behind her. Viper, better known perhaps as Piper Niven, is a particular favorite of mine, and I find it almost impossible to dislike the mischievous Kris Wolf. Natsu Sumire’s gimmick of being a self-obsessed millennial is wonderfully executed, and Hana Kimura has really convinced me that she may end up being a very big star one day. Everyone else did very well also, and it was a real pleasure watching the advantage swing back and forth as these two stables battled it out. If you ever want to check out Stardom, this match would be a great place to start.

    Also, Oedo Tai has one of the best entrances in wrestling!


    Also Watch From This Promotion: Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani vs. Kagetsu & Hazuki 6/17/18 Stardom Goddesses of Destiny

    One of Io Shirai’s final matches in the promotion, she teamed up with longtime friend and fantastic wrestler Mayu Iwatani to take on Kagetsu, one of her biggest foes, one last time, with the up and coming Hazuki at her side. The actual action of this match was great, if you’ve never seen Io’s balcony moonsault you’re missing out, but what warmed my heart the most in this match was pretty much the whole roster hitting the ring during a lengthy ref bump in order to all interact with Io Shirai one last time, either to fight her or help her. I hope Shirai takes over the whole damn WWE, she deserves it!


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 17th least favorite match of 2018:

    Ivelisse vs. Mil Muertes vs. The Mack vs. Dragon Azteca Jr vs. Son of Havoc vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. King Cuerno – Battle Royal
    Lucha Underground, July 18th

    The Verdict:

    One of the criticisms of the fourth season of Lucha Underground is that it sometimes felt rushed. At times I thought that criticism was a bit unfair, but there were some glaring moments that proved it was at least in part true. This battle royal is one of them, the match couldn’t have gone two full minutes, and there’s just no real excuse for that when you’ve got this level of talent involved. The ending was a bit clever, I’ll admit, but if you don’t have time to do a proper battle royal, then just find another way to advance your angle please.


    2018 Award For Best Non-Wrestler:
    Bryce Remsburg (CHIKARA)



    Ever since starting with CHIKARA on their first day of business in 2002, Bryce Remsburg has been a loveable and constant presence in the independent scene. But in 2018 he stepped up even further in his home promotion, not only serving as senior referee and frequent commentator, but also shouldering the general manager position “Director of Fun” and performing admirably in that role. And he’s stupendously nice to meet in person as well, I’ve rarely seen anyone so approachable and nice at lives events! Love me some Bryce!

    Honorable Mention To: Antonio Cueto (LU) Professor Nicodemus (CHIKARA), Stokley Hathaway (Beyond Wrestling & Various)

    Question: Who was your favorite wrestler either working in Mexico or of Hispanic descent in 2018?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and I’ll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  2. #42
    I love Stardom. Best women's wrestling today, and has been that way for many years.

    Favorite wrestler working in Mexico is going to have to be Bandido. Not sure what ROH is going to do with him now, but I hope they utilize him the way he should be.

  3. #43
    The Brain
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    Spinny! You and I definitely agree on Stardom, they really are a cut above. Interesting answer with Bandido… I like the guy a lot but I don’t know why people seem to prefer him over guys like Flamita and even Fenix. What can he do that they can’t do better? Not super impressed with ROH booking in the past few years (who is?) but I’ll be interested to see what they do with him and with their other new talent.

    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 827 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2018 (only 4 of which involved The Miz). This is my favorite from RevPro.

    Zack Sabre Jr vs. Martin Stone – RevPro British Championship
    RevPro Live at the Cockpit 25, January 7th



    About the Promotion: In past years I was a big fan of RevPro. I dug the talent they booked, I really liked their presentation, all around I thought they had a great vibe. I’ve fallen off on them a bit this year, I have to admit, as they seemed to lose some of what made them special and became more of a generic indy promotion. I think I’d still say they’re my favorite promotion in the UK, but I’m a lot less confident about that than I would have been a couple years ago. Still, I gave them plenty of chances, picking 25 matches to watch over the course of the year.

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match on rpwondemand.pivotshare.com.

    I’ve spoken already a couple times about how my love for Zack Sabre Jr has strengthened over the past couple years, and this match is no exception. The way the man is able to chain his submission together and weave it together with all his other offense is really quite jaw dropping. On the other side of the ring is Martin Stone, perhaps better known now as WWE’s Danny Burch. What I love about Stone is his ability to exude that tough as nails vibe and really back it up with his actions. So you have a master chiseler against a man of stone here, and that’s just as great as it sounds. Stone fighting out of Sabre’s attempts to twist him apart was a really compelling story, and I can’t stress enough how cool some of the counters were in this one, just masterful stuff. If you get a chance to watch this one, I recommend it very, very highly!

    Also Watch From This Promotion: Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada, RevPro British Tag Team Championships 6/30/18 RevPro Strong Style Evolved UK Day 1

    If you think this is a match that escaped from New Japan, you’re not wrong. If you think it sounds ridiculously awesome, you’re still not wrong. Love this tag match, Suzuki and Sabre is a tag team from my dreams!


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 16th least favorite match of 2018:

    Officer Warren Barksdale vs. Clothesline Curtis
    CHIKARA National Pro Wrestling Day, February 17th

    The Verdict:

    Barksdale is an infrequently seen low ranking member of the CHIKARA roster, and he doesn’t do much for me. Clothesline Curtis is one of the faceless jobbers floating around the Wrestle Factory. A squash match, and not a particularly compelling one.


    2018 Award For Best in Mexico:
    Fenix



    Recommended Matches:

    Fenix vs. Mil Muertes vs. Jeremiah Crane, Casket 6/27/18 Lucha Underground
    Pentagon Jr, Fenix, & Diamante Azul vs. LA Park, El Hijo del LA Park, & Caristico, 2 out of 3 Falls 9/14/18 CMLL Aniversario
    WALTER & Timothy Thatcher vs. Pentagon Jr & Fenix 10/6/18 wXw World Tag Team League Day 2

    I’ve long been a Pentagon man myself when it comes to the Lucha Brothers, but I think Fenix just narrowly edges him out this year when it comes to lucha libre. Between playing a major role in CMLL, AAA, Lucha Underground, and various south of the border indy promotions, not to mention making his presence felt in wXw, Impact Wrestling, the main event of All In, and many other places, Fenix is seemingly anywhere and everywhere, and he’s always killing it.

    Honorable Mention To: Pentagon Jr, Volador Jr, El Barbaro Cavernario, LA Park

    Question: Who was your favorite wrestler either working or born in Europe in 2018?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and I’ll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  4. #44
    Another one of my frequent promotions. Love the British style and, so far, the talent share with njpw hasn't hurt RevPro. So as long as it's beneficial I say keep it up.

    I'm so bad at knowing where people are from. For Europe I'm going to say WALTER. He's from Europe right? Haha

  5. #45
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2018
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    DAY 4

    Pentagon Jr vs. Darby Allin

    Not able to watch this match.


    Tenille Dashwood vs. Karen Q

    Emma looks way different with her hair color. It must be weird from her to go from big stadiums to gyms. I remember Emma being better than this though. I can't say that I enjoyed the match as it felt slow and there were a couple of botches. Karen Q did not impress me in this match. Overall this match was average.


    DAY 5

    Kota Ibushi vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – G1 Climax Final

    I struggled to find this match but I'm glad that I did. This was a really good match, which I expected. Kota Ibushi is freaking awesome and he had alot of great offense in this match (Spinning top rope moonsault, moonsault into double knees, deadlift from the second rope to Tanahashi who was on the apron) so I was really impressed with him. I loved the slap-off in the middle of the match but this types of things are staples of NJPW matches. However, I have to admit that Tanahashi does absolutely nothing for me, I would go as far as saying Ibushi almost carried him in this match. Look, this is just based off of one match that I've seen him in but I'm not impressed in the slightest. That was the guy they chose to dethrone Omega?


    Zack Sabre Jr vs. Kota Ibushi 7/15 NJPW G1 Climax Day 2

    Could not find this match but I was able to find some highlights. This looked like a damn good match, and unlike Hiroshi, Zack actually brought something to the match. From what I could see, Sabre can reverse almost anything into a submission and there were a few I haven't seen before. He looks very skinny for a pro wrestler that everyone takes seriously though. I'm actually thinking of signing up for NJPW this year because everything I've watched up to this point has been good to freaking awesome.


    DAY 6

    Black Danger, Último Maldito, & Mirage vs. Arkángel Divino, Black Destiny, & Genio del Aire
    AAA Lucha Libre Worldwide, April 20th

    Holy shit! You were right, this match was ridiculous in the best possible way. The rules were very confusing but I got over it very quickly. There were more flips in this match than a burger joint. I lived the pat toward the end when everyone got a turn to do a flipping piledriver, that was insane. You need to tell me the name of the guy who applied the spinning spinning spinning and more spinning armbar to win the match at the end. He was my favourite wrestler in this match. This is what I think of when I think about Lucha Libre!


    Averno, Chessman & Super Fly vs. Carta Brava Jr, Mocho Cota Jr & Tito Santana, TLC, AAA Trios Championships 3/4/18 AAA Rey de Reyes

    I can't say I fully enjoyed this match but it was decent. I just wasn't feeling it. There were some nice spots like the army guys holding down the ring with chairs and the the spot where everyone got kicked in the nuts at the end of the match, but further more it was just watchable. That referee was full of shit though, wtf.


    DAY 7

    The Heritage Rumble
    AAW Path of Redemption, March 31st

    Could not find this match.


    Su Yung vs. Hudson Envy, No DQ 6/23/18 AAW WRSTLING Rulz

    Fuck dude I couldn't find this match either.


    My favourite promo was Roman Reigns final one. You could hear the sincerity in his voice and we were able to finally see the real man behind the wrestler.


    DAY 8

    Pentagon Jr vs. Austin Aries vs. Fenix
    Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground, April 6th

    Wow, I actually watched this match; which is something I didn't think I'd be saying in this column. This was a great match and my first taste of Pentagon Jr. And Fenix. The mach had some nice spots and it was since watching this match that I wanted to see more of Fenix but I never got around to doing so.


    Taya vs. Allie, Impact KO Championship 4/6/18 Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground

    I watched this match previously as well and while I thought it was above average I wasn't that into it. Also, I feel like Allie is overrated by some. Maybe it's because I didn't follow her full story arc from when she was Maria's bitch, but I'm just not that into her as a wrestler or character.


    I didn't watch any tournaments this year but if guess most would say the G1 Climax.


    DAY 9

    Zack Sabre Jr vs. A-Kid – Triple W Absolute Championship
    White Wolf Wrestling, April 14th

    I finally got to see Zack Sabre in all his hype. What a match! I was fully invested from the start. The mat wrestling was extremely good and almost felt like an amateur wrestling match at times. There was some sloppiness involved but that just made the match better in my opinion. This felt real. As real as a fake wrestling can feel. The slaps that these two delivered to each other will make NJPW look twice. I thoroughly enjoyed this match!

    Pierre Carl Ouellet vs. Arik Royal 6/9/18

    Could not find this match. There is a bunch of stuff from PCO but nothing at all about Arik Royal so I'm assuming his a complete no name. I saw a match between PCO and this WALTER guy I've heard alot about so I'll check that out sometime.


    Because I've only watched WWE I can't say I have a favourite stable because they don't have awesome stables. The closest to answering this question I would say is the slow reunion of Dean/Seth which transitioned into The Shield reuniting.


    DAY 10

    Ricky Marvin vs. Keyra

    I was very impressed with Keyra, as I was with this entire match to be honest. This was a good match and it looked neat. I like how Marvin didn't hold back because his opponent was a woman which Keyra should take as a sign of respect. Even though Ricky dominated the match, Keyra played her part as the underdog very well here. That Spanish Fly from the apron onto the chairs was dope as hell as was Marvin crashing through the board from the top. Good match this.


    Negro Casas vs. Aramis 3/11/18

    Casas looks old as fuck but the way he wrestled you would never say that he's 58! I'm was pleasantly surprised how well he did here for someone of his age and if I didn't know his age I wouldn't be able to tell he was pushing 60. The guys is still very quick. But Aramis was really good too. I quite enjoyed this match.


    My favourite angle of 2018 was undoubtedly the slow burn reunion of Dean and Seth. That was a really engaging story.


    This has been awesome so far Mizzie. Thanks for putting this out I've been having a blast watching these matches so far! I'll be back with more soon. I'm trying to catch up to where you currently are.

  6. #46
    The Brain
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    Spinny! Indeed, WALTER is from Austria, which last I checked was in Europe! Though I feel your pain, I thought Timothy Thatcher was British for the longest time. It can be hard to tell sometimes! Thanks for the read!

    Don! Absolutely love that you’re watching through the matches that you can find. I somewhat agree on Tanahashi, in that I don’t always find him appealing, but I think you’re underselling what he brought to the Ibushi match. Different tastes I suppose! Love that you loved the Sabre/Kid match, I totally agree that there’s an authentic feeling to this one that really made it work. I definitely wouldn’t say Arik Royal is a no name but he is mainly seen in southern indies, which are for whatever reason a lot less known. Glad you’ve enjoyed most of the matches and I always love to hear your opinions, you don’t hold anything back and that’s great! Looking forward to more of your feedback to come!

    I am the mizfan, and I have watched 827 wrestling matches that took place in the year 2018 (only 4 of which involved The Miz). This is my favorite from Bar Wrestling.

    Brian Cage vs. DoomFly (Eli Everfly & Delilah Doom)
    Bar Wrestling Aunt May, May 17th

    About the Promotion: Bar Wrestling is a small, Joey Ryan owned independent promotion in southern California, and even though I’m not really a fan of Joey Ryan, I absolutely love his promotion. How much do I love it? I watched 49 matches from the promotion in 2018, which is probably well over half their total output. Why do I love it so much? First of all, it’s just fun. It doesn’t take itself overly seriously and makes the #1 mission to entertain. They often book weird combinations that you’re not likely to see anywhere else. They also do a great job giving exposure to local talent, and SoCal is a hotbed of talented wrestlers who deserve a closer look. Perhaps most importantly to me, this promotion most of the time features the commentary team of Kevin Condron and Louden Noxious, two guys who I used to love in CHIKARA who are now very hard to find anywhere else in the wrestling world, so keeping my connection to this absolutely delightful duo is a big reason I continue to follow the promotion so closely. But let’s get to the matches, shall we?

    The Match: If you want to watch along, you can find this match on barwrestling.pivotshare.com.

    I’m actually a bit surprised this is my first time talking about Brian Cage. Ever since I first saw the incredibly muscular, incredibly strong, incredibly agile Machine I’ve been a big fan, simply because Cage does things that very few others can do. He is a guy who is just so physically impressive that I can’t help but gravitate towards him. But just as fun and maybe even more so is the team of DoomFly, whom I really have just discovered this year. This real life (I think) couple is made up of two extremely small wrestlers with absolutely incredible heart. Delilah Doom is one of the most instantly likable wrestlers I can think of in 2018, and Eli Everfly is perhaps the greatest daredevil flyer on the independent scene today (and he pinned the Miz on Smackdown a while back!).

    This is one of those unique combination matches I talked about loving so much, and it really lives up to its full potential here. It’s basically a Terminator movie now that I think about it: a super-muscular, possible robot of a man tries to murder a couple humans who have to rely on their wits and every bit of luck they can find to survive. Everfly and Doom endure some intense offense (and bump astoundingly) at Cage’s ridiculously powerful hands, but at the same time they remain ready to throw any kind of mental attack they can conceive of to rock the seemingly invincible Cage. It’s worth mentioning that Everfly and Doom actually WIN this match in a real feel good moment, and after the match share this really genuine and passionate kiss that really touched me. It’s a moment that seemed to positively scream that these two were glad to be alive right there and then, both in the context of surviving the match and being able to do what they love in front of a crowd that was losing their minds. This is one that will stick with me, for sure.



    Also Watch From This Promotion: Billy Gunn vs. Hot Young Briley 1/18/18 Bar Wrestling Happily Ever After

    Briley is actually Dolph Ziggler’s brother, Ryan Nemeth. Billy Gunn is Billy Gunn, and yes he deserves to be on this list (twice, counting All In!). If there were 5 whole wrestling moves in this I’d be shocked, but at the same time this is one of the most fun matches I’ve seen all year. These two hyped up the crowd so much that they were losing their minds from start to finish despite hardly even locking up for the whole duration of the match. It was an incredible sight to see and it’s hard to even explain just how they captured the fans and whipped them into a frenzy. Unique experiences!


    On the other end of the spectrum, this is my 15th least favorite match of 2018:

    Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hirooki Goto
    NJPW G1 Climax Day 6, July 21st

    The Verdict:

    Uh oh, now I’m in for it. I’ve just got one word to explain myself here: headbutts. I am really sensitive about dangerous looking headbutts ever since Shibata crippled himself last year, and this match was full of them. People have told me that these headbutts were safe and not the kind of brain killing headbutts Shibata was throwing, but that doesn’t change the fact that I was intensely uncomfortable watching this match. Both Ishii and Goto are great performers, and the thing is they don’t really even need to do these headbutts anyway, but for some reason the history of terrible brain and neck damage stemming from those kinds of moves hasn’t seen them disappear yet from wrestling.


    2018 Award For Best in Europe:
    WALTER



    Recommended Matches:

    WALTER vs. Zack Sabre Jr 4/7/18 PROGRESS Bourbon is Also a Biscuit
    WALTER vs. Pete Dunne 8/1/18 wXw Shotgun
    WALTER vs. Timothy Thatcher 11/17/18 wXw Broken Rules

    This probably shouldn’t be a shock to anybody, I’ve been pretty clear about my love for the big Austrian they call WALTER. His work in his home promotion of wXw is phenomenal, and in 2018 alone he was top champion of PROGRESS, PWG, and OTT, as well as making high profile appearances for the likes of GCW and EVOLVE. What I love most about WALTER is that everything he does, every bit of offense, looks like a kill move. He conveys this incredible power and toughness that comes across in everything he days. He’s the closest thing we have today to a true Vader time, not just an agile big man but one that believably could lose an eye during a match and keep fighting. The grit and steel in this guy is unbelievable, which is probably why he’s completely blown up across the wrestling world and reportedly was signed to a unique WWE contract that lets him continue to live in him home of Germany. The more the world sees of this guy, the more impressed they’re going to be.

    Honorable Mention To: Zack Sabre Jr, Timothy Thatcher, Absolute Andy, David Starr

    Question: Who was your favorite female wrestler of 2018?

    Thanks very much for joining me, mizfan fans, and I’ll see you again tomorrow for the next match in our series. Until then, stay awesome!

  7. #47
    I may not be the biggest WWE fan anymore but I refuse to not give love to Becky Lynch and what she did for herself this year. I give no credit to the writing staff or the McMahons. The rise of The Man is on her shoulders alone. Best part of WWE for months.

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