wrestling / Columns

Csonka’s Top 31 ROH Matches of 2018

December 26, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka
ROH Top Matches 2018

WELCOME back, back to the column that makes lists and hopes that you enjoy them. This week’s column will look back at the best of ROH matches from 2018. 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. Anyway, I hope that you enjoy today’s list, and feel free to share your thoughts. It’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are “have a take, be respectful of other’s opinions and don’t be a dick.”

* 31. From ROH TV 11.13.18: Jeff Cobb vs. Shane Taylor [****]
* 30. From ROH TV 11.22.18: SCU vs. Young Bucks vs. Briscoes [****]
* 29. ROH: State of The Art San Antonio: Bullet Club (The Young Bucks, Adam Page, & Marty Scurll) vs. Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia, & Killer Elite Squad [****]
* 28. From ROH Masters of The Craft: Jonathan Gresham vs. Jay Lethal [****]
* 27. From ROH Honor Reigns Supreme: Jay Lethal vs. Jonathan Gresham [****]
* 26. From ROH Honor Rising 2.23.18: Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, & Chase Owens vs. Cody, Marty Scurll, & Hangman Page [****]
* 25. From The ROH 16th Anniversary Show: Champions The Hung Bucks (The Young Bucks and Hangman Page) vs. SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky) [****]
* 24. From ROH Best in The World 2018: Punishment Martinez vs. Adam Page [****]
* 23. From ROH Re-United London 2018: Punishment Martinez vs. Jimmy Havoc [****]
* 22. From ROH Re-United Doncaster 2018: Mark Haskins vs. Adam Page [****]
* 21. From ROH Re-United London 2018: The Young Bucks vs. Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch [****]
* 20. From ROH Global Wars 2018: Toronto: Trent vs. Juice Robinson [****]
* 19. From ROH Global Wars 2018: Toronto: SCU vs. Super Smash Bros [****]
* 18. From ROH Re-United Doncaster 2018: The Young Bucks vs. Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham [****]
* 17. From ROH Global Wars 2018: Lowell: Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham vs. Chris Sabin & KUSHIDA vs. The Young Bucks vs. TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia [****]
* 16. From ROH Final Battle 2018: Zack Sabre Jr vs. Jonathan Gresham [****]
* 15. From ROH War of The Worlds 5.11.18: The Young Bucks vs. Super Smash Bros. [****]
* 14. From ROH Supercard of Honor: Kota Ibushi vs. Adam Page [****]

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13. 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.

12. From ROH Re-United London 2018: Jay Lethal vs. Mark Haskins [****¼]: This was an absolutely great match, and in my opinion, the match of the tour. It was structured differently than most Lethal matches, and thrived due to that. It felt fresh and different, and Haskins came off like a legit threat. The closing stretch was awesome, with great near falls, an invested crowd, and the feeling that Haskins actually had a real chance to win this, which is a great accomplishment. I said it before; Haskins would be a great get for ROH, even on a part-time basis, as he more than proved himself this weekend.

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11. From ROH Global Wars 2018: Toronto: Young Bucks vs. KUSHIDA & Chris Sabin [****¼] : This was great and delivered on the predicted banger status. Sabin & KUSHIDA really gelled during the juniors tour and have blended the MCMG style and Time Splitter style into an extremely effective and quality tag team that I tremendously enjoy. The Young Bucks continue to be highlights of these Honor Club shows, and continue to prove why they are the best tag team in the world. This was great from start to finish, with great and effortless tag team work, great drama down the stretch, and most importantly it didn’t overstay its welcome. They also did a great job of teasing that Sabin & KUSHIDA could win here. This was the best match of the tour.

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10. From ROH Death before Dishonor 2018: Jay Lethal vs. Will Ospreay [****¼]: This was an great main event and one that easily stole the show. While many questioned giving Lethal a second run, he’s delivered big time in his run so far with a great match against Haskins, a great one here with Ospreay, and an excellent match with Gresham. Both Lethal and Ospreay delivered big time here, with Ospreay working a different, and more serious style on top of some of his usual flashy stuff. Ospreay has also put on weight and many have speculated that he’s on his way to heavyweight soon in NJPW and this may have been a test run for that. This was a great match, deserving of the main event spot, and easily the best thing on the Death before Dishonor show.

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9. From ROH Manhattan Mayhem 2018 – Ultimate Mayhem Match: The Kingdom (Taven, O’Ryan, & Vinny), & Shane Taylor vs. Bullet Club (The Young Bucks, Adam Page, & Marty Scurll) [****¼]: This was an absolutely wild and crazy main event, and a great match that the show desperately needed. They made great use of the stipulation, kept a great pace and delivered some really wild and memorable spots. Also, considering the last minute change with SoCal Uncensored not being able to be here, they did a really great job of delivering a great main event, that was a ton of fun and had the crowd engaged the entire time. Every one got time to shine, and this was probably the Kingdom & Shane Taylor’s best ROH match ever, as they looked good even in defeat. The match delivered on the stipulation and was easily the best thing on the show by a long margin.

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8. From ROH TV 6.27.18: The Young Bucks & Adam Page vs. The Briscoes & Punishment Martinez [****¼]: I really liked this match, as it served as hype for two title matches (tag & TV title) on the upcoming PPV. This was absolutely great, and the best match on ROH TV in some time. The Young Bucks & Adam Page are a great trios team, the Briscoes work well with the Bucks, and Page and Martinez have good chemistry. This was just a great balls to the wall tag match with a super hot crowd that reacted to everything as well as you could have hoped for. This served as a great go home match/angle for the PPV and capped off a strong edition of ROH TV.

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7. From ROH Best in The World 2018: Jay Lethal vs. KUSHIDA [****¼]: Lethal completes his quest, beating all of the men that had singles wins over him, and can now refocus on the ROH Title. They had an absolutely great match with KUSHIDA playing subtle heel, refusing to shake hands, and then not only stealing Lethal’s signature shit, but openly mocking him throughout the match. The work was really great, they had a hot crowd, and it was everything I expected it to be as Lethal continues to be the most consistent singles performer in the company and I am interested to see where he goes from here, as feuds with Cody, Marty, & Castle can all work again, but with a new dynamic.

6. From ROH Honor Rising 2.24.18 – Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi vs. Cody & Marty Scurll [****½]: This was a completely awesome match, a beautiful blend of great wrestling, a compelling angle, and great character work from all involved. Cody is finally hitting his stride and is an amazing asshole heel, and no longer feels as if he’s “playing bad guy wrestler.” Scurll has gone from unsure about fighting Kenny to drinking Cody’s Kool-Aid, buying in and following the leader. Ibushi is an amazing babyface, completely sympathetic, and of course amazingly athletic. Omega is the former villain, reunited with his best friend, atoning for his sins and trying to do the right thing as he gets the second chance he thought he’d never get. You take a great story, with great characters, and let them do their thing in the ring and it all falls in place as the crowd is fully invested into the story, the work, the match and everything they do. Make sure you take the time to watch this for sure, because all four guys were awesome.

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5. From ROH Best in the World 2018: The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks [****½]: This was an absolutely wild and excellent tag team match. The action was non-stop, they had an amazingly hot crowd and had some really spectacular near falls and callbacks to their previous matches. The layout was really great as they were constantly building layers, adding to them, and were always building the drama and never lost the crowd, and never once did the match feel as if it overstayed its welcome. The Bucks deliver once again and steal another ROH show. I understand why they didn’t main event with this, but with their history and Castle’s questionable health, they really should have.

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4. From the ROH 16th Anniversary Show – Champion Dalton Castle vs. Jay Lethal [****½]: This was an excellent main event match. I have been praising Lethal as ROH’s most consistent big match performer for the past two years, and he delivered once again. Castle has been doing well as champion, but as a top guy had been lacking that really great match to hang his hat on, and he finally had it here, stepping up big time. This was laid out extremely well, from the Castle “knee injury” spot, Lethal’s aggression, the overall fire of both guys, and Castle turning into a counter punching babyface struggling to survive. Lethal was great working on top, and did it all with smart work, aggression, and not resorting to going heel to do it. This was an example of everything clicking, and both guys delivering at a top level; this was the big time main event performance that Castle needed to move on as a top guy.

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3. From ROH TV 9.12.18: Jay Lethal vs. Jonathan Gresham [****½]: This was an excellent piece of professional wrestling, playing off of their previous matches, and not only paying off the things they did there, but they also improved on them here as this was simply at another level than the previous matches. The best part about the match was no just how great it was, but you didn’t NEED to see the previous matches to get this, it stood alone on its own merits as simply a great match. In terms of a technical wrestling match, it was the best US based one I have seen this year. Those who follow Gresham already know that he’s a great wrestler and overall worker who is extremely consistent and when given the chance, never disappoints. But this was a star making performance, his best ROH match to date, and he had the crowd behind him, willing him to win down the stretch. If they continue to do nothing with him after this, fuck the Lizard Man. This was the best ROH TV match of 2018 and an easy top 5 ROH match for the year.

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2. From ROH Supercard of Honor: ROH Six-Man Tag Team Titles Ladder Match: Champions SoCal Uncensored vs. Flip Gordon & The Young Bucks [****½]: This was an excellent ladder match, with great teases, great big bumps and just great work from the two teams. It really felt as if they were on thier way to another absolutely classic ladder match, but the stuff with the Kingdom hurt that. The only real good thing about their interaction is that they got put through table, and they could have done the belt-stealing angle without it. Still, this was beautiful insanity, with the Bucks, Daniels, and Kaz continuing their long history of working extremely well together. Those four guys know themselves so very well, and the interactions between the four come off as almost effortless. Sky and Flip also played their roles very well, and this was the chaotic spectacle that you likely expected from this match; it flat out delivered.

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1. 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.

– End Scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”


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