#WorthYourTime: Perry’s Best Matches of February 2017
A few things are true with pro wrestling. One is that there is an incredible amount of content available, now more than ever, and seemingly not enough time in the day. Another is that people love top 10 lists and typically enjoy seeing other people’s recommendations to help them decide what is worth their time. The purpose of this column is to give you a list of matches that I feel are #WorthYourTime, I watch some bad matches so you don’t have to. Every match you see listed here monthly is a match that I have gone ****+ on. As always it is important to remember that ratings are subjective. I welcome discussion about why I gave a match a certain rating and certainly welcome recommendations of a match i have missed. If you are interested in what I rated a certain match I encourage you to check out my 2017 archive below (tabs for 2015 and 2016 can also be found at that link).
I also welcome you to check out my complete list of 2400+ ****+ matches HERE.
When the January column was posted last month I mentioned that I had yet to see a few things that I thought might be #WorthYourTime. Turns out there actually ended up being even more than I anticipated. Here are those matches:
01/07/2017: AAW Tradition Continues – Michael Elgin vs Ray Fenix [****]
01/07/2017: AAW Tradition Continues: AAW Heavyweight Title – Sami Callihan (c) vs John Morrison [****]
01/20/2017: AAW Don’t Stop Believing: AAW Heavyweight Title – Sami Callihan (c) vs Candice LeRae [****]
01/20/2017: AAW Don’t Stop Believing – Drew Galloway vs Silas Young [****1/4]
01/20/2017: AAW Don’t Stop Believing – ACH & Ray Fenix vs Unbreakable F’ing Machines [****]
01/21/2017: C*4 Fire Walk With Me – Josh Alexander vs Mike Bailey [****1/4]
01/21/2017: NEW Over The Top 2017 – Donovan Dijak vs Keith Lee
01/21/2017: NEW Over The Top 2017 – Ricochet vs Travis Gordon
01/28/2017: Smash Any Given Saturday 5: Smash Title – Tyson Dux (c) vs TARIK [****]
01/29/2017: PROGRESS Chapter 43: Tropic Thunderbastard – Ringkamph vs South Pacific Power Trip [****1/2]
01/29/2017: PROGRESS Chapter 43: Tropic Thunderbastard: Thunderbastard Match – Dave Mastiff vs Jack Sexsmith vs Mark Andrews vs Marty Scurll vs Nathan Cruz vs Sebastian vs Trent Seven vs Zack Gibson [****]
Of those matches the only one that may have made a dent in the top 10 last month would have been the tag team match from PROGRESS, likely would have slid into the #10 spot.
There will certainly be some matches from this month that I play some catch up with during the next month. PROGRESS, RevPro, AAW and Stardom all from the end of the month come to mind and have several matches that may show up on the section above next month. I just ran out of time.
02/02/2017: Dragon Gate Truth Gate 2017 Day 2 – Ben-K, Big R Shimizu, Naruki Doi & Takehiro Yamamura vs VerseK (Cyber Kong, El Lindaman, Shingo Takagi & T-Hawk)
02/03/2017: CMLL Viernes Espectacular: Lightning Match – Barbaro Cavernario vs Titan
02/03/2017: ROH Undisputed Legacy: ROH Six Man Tag Team Title – The Kingdom (c) vs War Machine & Jax Dane
02/04/2017: AAW End of Innocence – AR Fox vs Penta el 0M
02/04/2017: OTT Martina’s Gaff Party 2: Back In The Dr. Dre – Dublin – Mark Andrews vs Mark Haskins
02/04/2017: ROH Honor Reigns Supreme ROH Tag Team Title 2-out-of-3 Falls Match – Young Bucks (c) vs Briscoes
02/04/2017: Stardom Kyoto Stars – HZK & Io Shirai vs Kairi Hojo & Yoko Bito
02/04/2017: SWE Sucker For Pain: Fans Bring the Weapons Match – Kay Lee Ray vs Nixon Newell
02/04/2017: WWE @ Salt Lake City, UT: WWE Universal Title Street Fight – Kevin Owens (c) vs Sami Zayn
02/05/2017: RevPro Live At The Cockpit 13 – Mike Bailey vs Zack Sabre Jr.
02/07/2017: NJPW Road To The New Beginning 2017 Day 6: Ten Man Tag Team Elimination Match – Dragon Lee, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi, Michael Elgin & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Los Ingobernables de Japon
02/07/2017: WWE 205 Live: WWE Cruiserweight Title Fatal 5 Way Elimination Match – Cedric Alexander vs Jack Gallagher vs Mustafa Ali vs Noam Dar vs TJ Perkins
02/10/2017: Style Battle Season 1 Episode 2: Style Battle Quarterfinal Match – Anthony Henry vs Caleb Konley
02/10/2017: Style Battle Season 1 Episode 2: Style Battle 2 Final – Anthony Henry vs Tracer X
02/11/2017: FIP Ascension 2017 – Caleb Konley vs Jason Cade
02/11/2017: FIP Ascension 2017: FIP Title – Fred Yehi (c) vs Brian Cage
02/11/2017: NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka: RevPro British Heavyweight Title – Katsuyori Shibata (c) vs Will Ospreay
02/12/2017: ROH The Experience: ROH Tag Team Titles – Young Bucks (c) vs War Machine
02/12/2017: WCPW True Destiny – Ricochet vs Will Ospreay
02/12/2017: WCPW True Destiny – Travis Banks vs Zack Sabre Jr.
02/12/2017: WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 – Luke Harper vs Randy Orton
02/13/2017: WWE Raw: WWE Raw Women’s Title – Charlotte Flair (c) vs Bayley
02/19/2017: PWX Rise of a Champion XII: Anytime, Anywhere Contract Ladder Match – Chip Day vs Colby Corino vs Darius Lockhart vs Jason Cade vs Mike Jordan vs Tracer X
02/19/2017: PWX Rise of a Champion XII: PWX Tag Team Title – Ugly Ducklings (c) vs Bruiserweights
02/19/2017: WC Taking Center Stage – ACH vs Jeff Cobb
02/22/2017: CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide – Brad Attitude & Lee Valliant vs Chet Sterling & Trevor Lee
02/22/2017: WWE NXT – Mark Andrews vs Pete Dunne
02/24/2017: EVOLVE 78 – Keith Lee vs Zack Sabre Jr.
02/24/2017: EVOLVE 78 – ACH vs Tracy Williams
02/25/2017: EVOLVE 79 – Anthony Henry vs Austin Theory vs Chris Dickinson vs Fred Yehi
02/25/2017: EVOLVE 79 – Jaka vs Jeff Cobb
02/25/2017: EVOLVE 79 – Keith Lee vs Tracy Williams
02/25/2017: EVOLVE 79 – Drew Galloway vs Matt Riddle
02/26/2017: ROH/NJPW Honor Rising 2017 Night 1 – War Machine vs Young Bucks
02/26/2017: ROH/NJPW Honor Rising 2017 Night 1 – Adam Cole & Kenny Omega vs Briscoes
02/27/2017: ROH/NJPW Honor Rising 2017 Night 2 – Cody, Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson vs Jay Briscoe, Kazuchika Okada, Mark Briscoe & Will Ospreay
02/02/2017: Dragon Gate Truth Gate 2017 Day 2 -Big R Shimizu vs Takehiro Yamamura
02/05/2017: OTT Martina’s Gaff Party 2: Back In The Dr. Dre – Belfast – Mark Haskins vs Matt Riddle
02/05/2017: OTT Martina’s Gaff Party 2: Back In The Dr. Dre – Belfast – Mark Andrews vs Pete Dunne
02/11/2017: FIP Ascension 2017: FIP Florida Heritage Title – Martin Stone (c) vs Jon Davis
02/19/2017: DDT Into The Fight – HARASHIMA & KUDO vs Dick Togo & Konosuke Takeshita
02/19/2017: WC Taking Center Stage – Dezmond Xavier vs Rey Fenix vs Shane Strickland
My Top 10 Matches of February 2017
10. 02/04/2017: OTT Martina’s Gaff Party 2: Back In The Dr. Dre – Dublin – Marty Scurll vs Matt Riddle [****1/4] A dream match here and the beast of the ****1/4 matches for the month. Riddle and Scurll are both of to incredible starts in 2017, right where they left off in 2016. I recommend enjoying as much Riddle indy stuff now as you can.
9. 02/05/2017: ICW 6th Annual Square Go!: ICW Heavyweight Title – Wolfgang (c) vs Trent Seven [****1/2] I am not a loyal IWC watcher, but am a big fan of Seven. I also became quite interested in Wolfgang during the UK tournament. This match made me feel like I had been watching both men for years with the way they, and the crowd was able to invest me was incredible.
8. 02/14/2017: WWE SmackDown!: WWE Title Triple Threat Match – Bray Wyatt (c) vs AJ Styles vs John Cena [****1/2] This is up there with TLC III and Benoit vs Austin from 2001 as my favorite SmackDown match of all time. This was a 14 minute spring to the finish. Bray and Cena felt like they were working an indy style main event, which is something neither has any experience with.
7. 02/12/2017: WCPW True Destiny: WCPW Tag Team Title Ladder Match – Johnny Moss & Liam Slater (c) vs Alex Gracie & Lucas Archer vs El Ligero & Gabriel Kidd vs Scott Wainwright & Will Ospreay [****1/2] What’s even crazier about how good this match was, is that Ospreay wrestled Ricochet in a match that saw the top rope break 2 minutes into the match to open the show. Everyone in this match really put on one heck of a spectacle and came up with some creative spots.
6. 02/11/2017: FIP Ascension 2017 – AR Fox, Darby Allin & Sami Callihan vs Austin Theory, Sammy Guevara & Tracer X [****1/2] Watching this match I had flashbacks to 2006 when Dragon Gate invaded ROH and started the tradition of crazy six man tags on WrestleMania weekend. This match was like those, but add in an insane element of the match taking place all over the building. Huge props to FIP/FloSlam too for making sure that we didn’t miss a bit of the action as many companies do when a match takes to the stands. Every single person here had a few crazy spots, and every one of those guys did a good job selling it after. This was a spectacle.
5. 02/05/2017: NJPW The New Beginning in Sapora: IWGP Heavyweight Title – Kazuchika Okada (c) v Minoru Suzuki [****1/2] If there is currently a better heel in pro wrestling than Minoru Suzuki, I would like someone to show me (Zack Gibson in PROGRESS is probably the next closest). I was thrilled to have Suzuki-Gun back in NJPW last month, even if not all of the parts under neath Suzuki are not nearly as great, simply for the pleasure of getting to enjoy Suzuki back in NJPW. I think these two could have put on a ***** classic but the leg work felt a little long at times, even though I loved how effective it was for the story. By the looks of things this story is not done, and I think we will see these two in the same ring again this year. Suzuki continued to work over the leg at the last few shows and seems to just be slowing eliminating Okada. The heavyweight scene in NJPW is very interesting right now.
4. 02/25/2017: EVOLVE 79: EVOLVE Title – Timothy Thatcher (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr. [****1/2] In reality, I think the match listed before this was a better wrestling contest, but this had more emotion for me. Like many EVOLVE fans I grew very tired of Thatcher’s reign sometime last summer, we have been forced to sit threw some truly brutal EVOLVE title matches in that time that felt out of the 1960s. Sabre has been a favorite of mine since I started following the European scene about 2 years ago, so this was a huge moment for me as a fan. The crowd at La Boom in Queens was hot for this match throughout, and unlike previous Thatcher defenses in which the crowd sat on their hands, this crowd generated some serious heat at Timothy. The pop I let out when Sabre won is one that has not been matched since Bryan won the title at WrestleMania 30. A great match, with a fantastic ending.
3. 02/12/2017: WWE Elimination Chamber 2017: WWE Title Elimination Chamber Match – John Cena (c) vs AJ Styles vs Baron Corbin vs Bray Wyatt vs Dean Ambrose vs Miz [****3/4] For the second month in a row the blue brand gave us not only an incredible WWE Title match, but the best WWE match of the month. I loved everything about this one. Cena & Styles being the first two and showing us five more minutes of magic was the perfect choice. The booking of Miz in which he entered his chamber feeling cocky, but was visibly frightened when it was time to leave was a highlight. I was initially a little turned off by the mats on the chamber floor, but my opinion quickly changed as it really let the guys let loose into some fabulous spots and you could see it was fairly thin. The final five minutes were expertly booked and even though I was so confident that Wyatt was going to win, they actually had me believing we could get AJ vs Orton at Mania. My new favorite Chamber match and one I look forward to enjoying more over the years.
2. 02/11/2017: NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title – Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs Dragon Lee [****3/4] These guys just keep getting better every time I see them. I had the honor of seeing their first US encounter last year live and this has to be what it felt like for people watching Psychosis and Mysterio in the mid-90s (I missed that by a few years). These guys give zero cares essentially and trust the other with their body to keep them safe in an incredible way. Most of their singles matches are on YouTube, my plan is to watch them all at some point, but this is the bar that has been set for the junior division this year. The Super Junior tournament should be outstanding with the crop NJPW has to work with.
1. 02/11/2017: NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka: IWGP Intercontinental Title – Tetsuya Naito (c) vs Michael Elgin [*****] NJPW starts the year out with my personal MOTM for both January and February in a match that exceeded my expectations. This was the fourth time I had watched these two in singles competition with each match improving; starting from a *** in ROH to a **** in last year’s G1. This one topped all of that and was a career defining moment for Elgin in NJPW. Going into the match I was fearful that Elgin would leave with the belt so I was cheering on Naito, however the work was so good by the end I actually found myself rooting on Elgin. This was also an area for the English commentary team to shine as they pointed out pre-match and early on how Naito would go after the face of Elgin, only to spend the match brutalizing Big Mike’s legs. I haven’t begun to think about if this was better than last month’s Okada vs Omega match, but I can’t wait to watch them back-to-back later in the year to decide.
Here are some helpful links on where to purchase these shows:
CHIKARAtopia (FREE 7 DAY TRIAL)
DDT Universe (FREE 1 MONTH TRIAL)
FloSlam (EVOLVE, FIP, Style Battle, SHINE + More)
Highspots Wrestling Network (CZW, PWX, wXw, NEW + More)
ICW on Demand
OTT Vimeo Service
Ring of Honor
RPW on Demand
Smart Mark Video (AAW, C*4 + MORE)
Smash on Demand
SWE on Vimeo
Wrestle Circus on Demand
You can follow me on Twitter where I live tweet during plenty of these shows and give my #WorthYourTime stamp to matches throughout the month.
Expect a slight delay on the March edition as the month closes literally in the middle of WrestleMania weekend so I will likely be playing catch up on some VOD titles early in the week. I’d look for it by the weekend of 4/8.