WWE has just released the top 10 best matches of the year 2020 so far and the list is rather interesting. For the better part of the year’s first six months, most matches have been conducted in closed sets.
The precautions taken to avoid spreading of the disease during the pandemic has left WWE massively out of an audience. Just one among these 10 matches could take place within a live crowd: the men and women’s Royal Rumble.
Here are the best matches of the year 2020.
#10. Matt Riddle Vs. Timothy Thatcher (NXT May, 27)
The first-ever NXT pit had the fans taking shots in the dark as to what it meant. However, the innovative team had been busy creating something unseen before, something very vicious as well as full of entertainment.
The crazy atmosphere needed a man of highest discipline to hold down the rules so the man with the ‘broken freakin’ neck’, was chosen the guest referee. The former tag team partners Riddle and Thatcher’s dynamics got insufferable resulting in a clash inside the pit.
The blows exchanged inside the brutal structure made of chain links with scaffolding that make us reminiscent of the Hell in a Cell was superb.
A violent match in the truest sense, high risk moves were exchanged, and dangerous maneuvers executed. The Showtime Kick by Original Bro remains a remarkable move that made Thatcher lose a tooth. Clearly, amongst the best matches of the year, NXT Pit was the much-needed chaos, lacking from PG Era.
Thatcher was declared the winner, in what can be only described as pf the most brutal and splendid matches to take place in 2020.
— Wrestling Observer (@WONF4W) May 28, 2020
#9. Adam Cole Vs. Keith Lee (NXT July, 8)
The Great American Bash of NXT had loads of explosive matches to offer. However, the most impressive bout came in the second week when two titleholders faced off each other.
The story behind the match went deeper than just a competition of who’s better than whom and claiming the other’s title. Adam Cole was the leader of the brand with the title retained for a whopping 403 days, bolstering in pride in his achievements. His opponent was a grieving Keith Lee, mourning the loss of his near ones as he stood ready.
The match came to end with Keith lee snatching the title away to be the North American champion and the new NXT champion. The strenuous and physical match drained everything from the two men, but in the end, it was the black man standing victorious with two titles.
Seldom it has happened that people of color were provided chances to hold more than one title at the time, but in the year 2020, many changes are yet to come. One of the proudest of those was when Lee stood tall, against all odds, deemed champion.
#8. Men’s and women’s Money in the Bank ladder matches (MITB May, 10)
One of the most novelty of MITB matches, this year witnessed a format unseen ever before. Most uniquely, the men’s and women’s ladder matches were conducted at the same time, at the World Headquarters of WWE.
Chaos reigned supreme as the men and women fought their respective opponents everywhere, from the canteen to the gym to the office of The Chairman. One of the best and entertaining matches of the year indeed.
The attempts were to get to the roof from where the briefcases hung, with the contract that guaranteed a championship match. The unlikely winner in the men’s event was Otis when the falling briefcase chose his hands to land.
The victor at the women’s match, the Empress of Tomorrow, Asuka was in for the wildest shock ever. On the following Monday night, she was told that she could not be having a guaranteed shot at the title to be the champion.
Instead, Asuka was declared the new RAW women’s champion, to hold the title left behind by Becky Lynch.
#7. Charlotte Flair Vs. Rhea Ripley (WrestleMania 36 April, 5)
This year has been one of several firsts, in the platform of WWE. The creative board pulled out all stops and inculcated every possible never done before plots.
The winner of this year’s Royal Rumble, The Queen made the historic decision to challenge the women’s champion from NXT, Rhea Ripley. This was the very first time when the underdog brand had one of their titles to be defended in the Showcase for the Immortals.
Additionally, this was the very first time for Ripley to walk into the WrestleMania stage. The Nightmare gave it her all, digging down deep.
However, Charlotte was too prepared for the challenge and despite having her limits reached, she made Nightmare relinquish the title.
Thus, Charlotte Flair had overtaken Ripley, and after five whole years was once more the women’s champion of NXT.
#6. Seth Rollins Vs. drew McIntyre (MITB May, 10)
The match between the Monday Night Messiah and the Scottish Psychopath was one set for fireworks and explosions. The much deserving WWE champion Drew McIntyre went to war with the former titleholder, Seth Rollins, the challenger.
Two phenoms of the industry at this time clashed head-on and both brought their A-Game to MITB finale. Rollins was relentless, emptying his arsenal to batter Drew with everything he had to offer. The scary combo of suplex and Falcon Arrow looked like the reign of the Scotsman was over.
However, The Claymore wielding champion burst through the odds and delivered a mammoth-like Claymore kick to the challenger. McIntyre retained his title but there were no doubts that Seth had brought the best out in the WWE champion.
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) May 10, 2020
#5. AJ Styles Vs. Daniel Bryan (Smackdown June, 12)
Two future Hall of Famers with their respective wrestling techniques went head to head in a marathon battle for the shot at the prestigious Intercontinental Title. Despite all the big matches in big PPVs, classic title match Aat SmackDow is always an extra treat.
To quote Jerry Lawler, “With great beard, comes great responsibility” and Daniel Bryan did just that, with a volley of submissions. The GOAT who knows about a thousand submission maneuvers launched them at the Phenomenal One.
Styles countered all of them with his unique fashion of offense where the audience watching from home stayed glued to the TV. The match spanned almost half of the Smackdown that night, but it was worth every bit. Styles and Bryan gave us one of the best matches of the year right on Smackdown.
#4. Men’s Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble January, 26)
The only match in this list to have enjoyed a bop in front of a live crowd was the primary match at Royal Rumble. his match created moments, opportunities, and dreams which would fuel the superstars’ momentum for the rest of the year.
Brock Lesnar, as it is known, enjoys “hurting people”, so the sadistic beast entered at the first position in the match to put his demolition on display. The WWE champion at that time overthrew a record 13 men, including his best friend Shelton Benjamin.
It was only when The Scottish Psychopath showed up that the Beast barrage was put on hold. McIntyre delivered a humongous Claymore that sent Lesnar flying out of the ring, to much of the celebration of the crowd.
What is easily one of the best matches of the year, saw the return of Edge. The Rated R-Superstar delivered a gut crushing spear to Ziggler and was one among the 3 final men left in the ring.
Edge’s return from what was probably the end of his career due to spinal stenosis, to go on for 20-plus minutes battling like in his prime, was what WWE universe lived for. The brief working together of RKO and Rated-R was just an additional treat.
However, the former member of 3MB prevailed till the end, eliminating both his opponents and staying on top. It has been an upwards throttling journey for Drew, from winning Royal Rumble to slaying the beast to take over as the face of the company.
#3. Io Shirai Vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley (NXT TakeOver June, 7)
These three women proved why Women’s department is no longer just a glamor show to be used as breaks in-between ‘real matches’. These three women endured hellish punishments at each other’s hands but were not ready to let go.
Shirai went through a window in a nod to Shane McMahon’s crashing through a glass window by an Angle suplex, years ago. Ripley demonstrated her high-flying abilities through a riptide jump off the top-rope.
The finishing was a perfect ending to the adrenaline-rushed match as Shirai crashed on to Charlotte’s Figure-8 leg lock on Ripley. Shirai picked up the ultimate victory and the women’s title, making the match a highlight for many years to come.
#2. Randy Orton Vs. Edge (Backlash, June, 14)
Booked as the “greatest ever” match between two former team members and icons in their worlds, Edge and Orton collided as Howard Finkel’s voice boomed. An empty arena was lit up by the battle cries and screams of pain of the two proud men who brought their best to the match.
The sentinels of the bygone era, Randy and Edge did a volley of finishers, with Pedigree and Rocbottoms being used back and forth. The addition of Finkel’s legendary voice made the match, a piece of history, with everything going old-school.
Referee Charles Robinson donned the traditional gear while the finishers of the superstars of the past were used as a gesture of respect to their grandeur. What went on for 40-plus minutes, easily lived up to the tag of the match, and was an instant classic.
The finisher of the bout came when The Viper delivered a weighted punt at the temple of the Master of the Spear. Given the sheer brilliance of the match and the stunning heights it reached, despite an utter lack of crowd to cheer on, these two superstars went to hell and back to deliver something great.
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) May 19, 2020
#1. AJ Styles Vs. Undertaker (WrestleMania April, 5)
The Undertaker is mostly remembered by the young fans as the Undead Minstrel of the Night, who arrives amidst thunder and lightning. However, the boneyard match between The Phenomenal One and The Phenom was unlike any of that.
Taking it back to old-school, The Dead Man rode into the warzone in his motorcycle as metal music played in the background, in his American Badass style. The fight was to determine who was best, a legend of the days past, or a legend of today.
The WWE Universe had never expected a match this visceral, where Undertaker had to fight off the friends of AJ, Gallows and Anderson. Verbal battle punctuated the battle of fists and legs and bodies.
Undertaker barked at an escaping AJ, “Where you going, son”, in hot pursuit.
The Phenom took on an onslaught from druids, almost got buried, and then threw AJ off the roof of a battered building, in a backbreaking chokeslam. Topping the charts among the best matches of the year, the war between the two men was scooped up by every fan.
This match was made more special as The Minstrel of the Night retired following this match to an emotional response from the world. AJ Styles, humbled at the honor of sharing the battleground with the legend, had glistening eyes when talking about it.
With this match, came an end to a stellar career of a man who has patrolled the WWE for nearly 30 years, and has been a locker room hero. Although he did not get a standing ovation from the crowd as he much deserved, given the conditions, there could not have been a better sendoff to the greatest of all time.