Summer is hot, gross, and who wants to go outside? Stay in, or if you are going outside, take a phone, tablet, or laptop and watch some wrestling!
This has been a great summer for professional wrestling with “ALL IN”, one of the better G1 Climax Tournaments in recent memory, and a better than advertised NXT: TakeOver Brooklyn. In that spirit, and in no particular order, let’s take a look at the best matches from this past summer.
Joey Janela vs. “Hangman” Adam Page – Chicago Street Fight “ALL IN”
Adam Page is my personal MVP of this past G1 Climax and Joey Janela has had one of the best years, both in and out of the ring, that a performer can have. Paying off a long running storyline from the Bullet Club’s YouTube series “Being The Elite” Adam Page looked to take out Joey Janela and shed the guilt from his “murder” of Joey Ryan.
Janela (with Penelope Ford) and Adam Page had one of the better matches at “ALL IN” in a street fight match. Janela is one of the best at these sort of matches and Page has proven he can adapt to any style when called upon. Penelope Ford also got some shine in with a great stunner and some other action inflicted on Page. It was a well paced match with Page getting the win, and as most everyone has seen, Joey Ryan REALLY won that match.
Adam Cole vs. Ricochet – NXT North American Championship – NXT: TakeOver Brooklyn 4
Ricochet is one of the best performers of this era, Adam Cole is also one of the best performers of this era, and both men are extremely special. To most everyone paying attention to TakeOver this August, this match was the real main event of that night. Cole had won the North American Title in Ricochet’s debut in a hellacious ladder match, and really hadn’t defended it all that much. Ricochet hit the ground running in NXT and his path bought him to call out Adam Cole. I attended this match in person, and the Barclays was buzzing all afternoon for this match, and nobody was disappointed. This contest is easily a MOTY candidate with amazing action, great storytelling, and career performances from both men. Ricochet would emerge victorious but both came out looking great.
Juice Robinson vs. Jay White – IWGP US Championship – G1 Special In San Francisco
Juice Robinson is the epitome of “started from the bottom, now we here”. Requested his release from NXT, got accepted into the NJPW as a Young Lion, paid his dues all over again and now the “Flamboyant” Juice Robinson is getting his due. After a bit of an underwhelming, but respectable performance in the G1, Robinson set his sights on New Japans newest title, held by one of its hottest stars in Jay White. With a busted left hand, the crowd behind him, and a “can do” attitude, Juice Robinson went after Jay White in the Cow Palace and came away as the first American born IWGP United States Champion.
Killer Kelly vs. Meiko Satamura – Mae Young Classic: 1st Round
The Mae Young Classic is a showcase of great talent and great and upcoming performers. This 1st round matchup was easily one of the best women’s matches this year. Killer Kelly is a talent and part of the NXT UK Brand, and she also has the distinction of being the only Portuguese born WWE performer. Meiko Satomura is a legitimate living legend, making her debut in 1995 and working steadily since. She is also a Chikara King Of Trios champion, winning with her team in 2016. This is the kind of match that every performer on the women’s roster should watch, the kind of match that any wrestling fan should watch. Hard hitting, properly paced, great storytelling and both performers put 110 percent into this. Killer Kelly accounted for herself very well, but fell to the “Final Boss” with a Death Valley Driver that had a little extra on it. For a first round match, it was amazing, but as a wrestling match, it should be considered in the MOTY conversation.
The world of professional wrestling is bursting at the seams with talent and these matches are some of the best examples of that. Putting aside reports of contract negotiations, whose going where, and the next steps in the women’s evolution (both in and out of WWE), it’s a great time to be a fan and these matches are a great example of that. If we missed anything, please let us know.