wrestling / Columns

Csonka’s Top 20 Matches of December 2018: NJPW, WWE, NXT, EVOLVE, ROH, More

January 2, 2019 | Posted by Larry Csonka
ROH Final Battle Ladder War

WELCOME back, back to the column that makes lists and hopes that you enjoy them. This week’s column will look back and the month of DECEMBER 2018 and the top 20 matches I have watched for the month. I always hear a lot of people saying that they can’t decide what to watch because they do not have enough time to follow everything, so maybe this will help those of you short on time find some stuff to check out. Have fun, and always, thanks for reading. Also, if you saw matches from companies I do not regularly catch; feel free to share them with the others. The more wrestling we share, the more fun we can have. Thanks for reading! As always, consider this my play list of great matches, recommendations for the month. It’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are “have a take, be respectful, and don’t be a dick.” FYI: I have started omitting results after requests from readers.

* 20. From WWE Smackdown 12.25.18: Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura [****]
* 19. From AAA Guerra de Titanes 2018 (12.02.18): Nuevo Poder del Norte vs. Laredo Kid, El Hijo del Vikingo & Myzteziz Jr [****]
* 18. From EVOLVE 118: AR Fox vs. Leon Ruff [****]
* 17. From EVOLVE 118: Darby Allin vs. Roderick Strong [****]
* 16. From EVOLVE 118: Anthony Henry vs. Kassius Ohno [****]
* 15. From NXT 12.19.18: Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano[****]
* 14. From WWE 205 Live 12.12.18: Tony Nese vs. Cedric Alexander [****]
* 13. From WWE 205 Live 12.12.18: Buddy Murphy vs. Gran Metalik [****]
* 12. From WWE TLC 2018: Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander [****]
* 11.From Dragon Gate Fantastic Gate: Dragon Kid, Bandido, & Flamita vs. DAGA, EITA, & BEN-K [****]
* 10. From Dragon Gate Fantastic Gate: PAC vs. Masato Yoshino [****]
* 9. From Dragon Gate Fantastic Gate: Shun Skywalker vs. U-T [****]
* 8. From NJPW WTL 2018:: Kota Ibushi vs. Hirooki Goto [****]
* 7.From ROH Final Battle 2018: Zack Sabre Jr vs. Jonathan Gresham [****]

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6. From ROH Final Battle 2018: Jeff Cobb vs. Adam Page [****¼]: This was an absolutely great match, with a hot crowd that was into everything, and a great mix of hossy goodness and a sprint. Page has gotten so good this year, while Cobb has taken his opportunity and really ran with it, coming across like a true big time star for ROH. This was a match where everything just clicked and worked effortlessly, and they delivered big time.

5. From EVOLVE 117: Darby Allin vs. Kassius Ohno [****¼]: There are few things better in wrestling tan Darby Allin’s never say die babyface arc in EVOLVE; he’s defeated big names, but hasn’t won that title just yet while becoming an absolutely loved figure in EVOLVE that the fans get behind each and every time. The only think more beautiful is when a wild Chris hero appears to play the role of a completely savage bully. One of the main reasons I love the EVOLVE/WWE deal is that it has allowed Kassius Ohno to work there, channel the work that event one loved him for, and has given him a purpose. Allin fell once again here, but it wasn’t without a fight. He took more than most could, but it was death by elbows as Ohno survived the big comeback, took everything Allin had, and then just destroyed him with elbows until he finally put him away. Allin still hasn’t figured it all out, he’s still loved, but while he may have failed, he earned the respect of Ohno on this night.

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4. From WWE TLC 2018: Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles [****½]: This was an absolutely fantastic match, that played extremely well off of their Smackdown matches, had some tremendous call backs, and was just a case of two excellent wrestlers delivering. Styles is an amazing fiery babyface, while Bryan is channeling the best of his ROH/FIP heel personas, with the ground work, ruthlessness, and of course bringing back Mr. Small Package. This was excellent pro wrestling, slowly and smartly built from the start, with everything having a point and purpose. This was one of the best WWE main roster matches of 2018.

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3. From WWE TLC 2018: Becky Lynch vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte [****½]: I’m not always a fan of the run in, but it made perfect sense considering Ronda’s issues with Becky & Charlotte. The match itself was awesome, crazy and brutal in all the right ways, with everyone playing their roles extremely well and a really tremendous performance from Charlotte. The match and story progressed everyone along, the Ronda/Charlotte/Becky dynamic is more interesting, and Asuka is now the champion, opening things up on the Smackdown side. They kept a good pace, laid out the big spots well, had good teases of who could win, and they kept the crowd the entire time. I felt going in that the ladies main eventing was the right call and they most certainly delivered here.

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2. From ROH Final Battle 2018: SCU vs. The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks [****½]: While I don’t think that it was the best ladder war of all time, this was an absolutely excellent match and ROH made the right call in closing the show with it. This match was everything you want out of ladder war, an invested crowd, crazy spots fun callbacks, blood, and everyone working their asses off to make the vision of the team come to life. If this is how the Bucks go out they should be proud of themselves as they put in max effort as always, and never dogged it. If Sky & Kaz happen to be done, they should also be extremely proud of their efforts and Kaz should get a fucking bonus for the bumps and the buckets he bled. This was excellent stuff and a hell of a way to close the show.

1. From NJPW Road to Tokyo Dome 12.15.18: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay vs. Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi [****¾]: THIS MATCH FUCKING RULED AND YOU NEED TO DROP EVERYTHING AND GO WATCH IT NOW. On December 15th, the last NJPW show of 2018, they put on what was the ultimate preview for WrestleKingdom 13 in Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay vs. Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi. This match had almost everything you could want, amazing work, and an amazingly hot crowd, near perfect built for both matches as they all worked together to create something special. I didn’t need sold on either singles match, I was already in big time on both, but this tag match ruled the fucking school and now, now I can’t wait for the 4th. If this match is any indication of what’s to come, we’re in for some really special stuff come January 4th.

– End Scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”