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Kevin’s Top 500 Matches Of The 2010s: #220-211

November 26, 2021 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Daniel Bryan Brock Lesnar WWE Survivor Series

220. ROH World Championship: Jay Lethal (c) vs. Lio Rush – ROH Supercard of Honor 4/1/16

It’s okay if you don’t know who Lio Rush was at this point. A lot of people didn’t coming into this match. He won ROH’s Top Prospect Tournament and in ROH history, that is enough to earn a new star a shot at the ROH Television Championship. But, with Tomohiro Ishii holding that title in Japan, Rush was granted a shot at the ROH World Title in his first officially contracted match for the company. And a lot of the story of this match was Lio Rush but it is the single most impressive performance I saw from Jay Lethal during his title reign. He nailed every facial expression, reaction and bump to make sure Rush looked like a million bucks. Lethal didn’t take Rush seriously at all. He toyed with the youngster but Rush was confident. He stole Lethal’s signature taunt at one point and even slapped him at another. Rush showed no intimidation of Lethal, even though Jay had been champion for ten months to this point (not counting the 500+ day reign of the Television Title). The more confident the challenger got, the more vicious the champion was. Rush’s final few attempts at winning the title were perfectly done. He came close a ton and got to shine in the biggest match of his life. Of course, he fell just short after an awesome 19:36, but it was his performance that mattered. It reminded me of Tyler Black’s early attempts to win the ROH Title from Nigel McGuinness and we all know how great Black’s career turned out. I’m not saying Rush will ever reach Seth Rollins levels, but he has a bright future and this is proof.

219. CM Punk vs. The Undertaker – WWE WrestleMania 29

It was always weird when they set up a WrestleMania match for The Undertaker based on someone qualifying to earn the opportunity. That was the case in 2013 with CM Punk, though Punk did his best to make the match matter with the Paul Bearer angle, even if it wasn’t the most tasteful. When it came time for the big match on the big stage, the two delivered. I’d rank this below Undertaker’s bouts with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania and above the WrestleMania 27 one with Triple H. There was a lot of great action and Punk’s character work was top notch. It was only really hurt by the lack of drama as everybody knew Undertaker would come out victorious. For 23:07, they put on what ended up being The Undertaker’s last great traditional WrestleMania match.

218. TNA Tag Team Championship: Beer Money [c] vs. The Motor City Machine Guns – TNA Victory Road 2010

Honestly, it would be impossible to do this kind of list and not include one of the matches between these teams. There was almost nobody better than Beer Money and the Motor City Machine Guns. 2010 was a mess for TNA thanks to the Hulk Hogan/Eric Bischoff era but getting to see these teams together made up for some of it. It helped reiterate that TNA had a great tag team division at times. For 15:55, they proved why they were so special as duos. We were lucky to get to witness this because there’s a good chance that we never see anything like it again.

217. CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Goldust and The Usos vs. The Shield and The Wyatt Family – WWE Raw 11/18/13

Random Raw main events can often get overlooked for greatness. That’s especially true when the show happens during the fall, as WWE usually makes those shows unimportant given the start of the NFL season. So, not many might remember this. Just look at those teams. Daniel Bryan and CM Punk were a fun duo in 2013, The Brotherhood was on an outstanding run, and The Usos were on the rise. On the other side, you have the top two factions of the 2010s in WWE. These twelve men put on a spectacular match that went for 24:04 and is worth going back to watch right now. The post-match was also a blast as Rey Mysterio made a surprising return.

216. NXT Tag Team Championship: Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong [c] vs. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan – NXT TakeOver: Chicago II

During the entrances, I had concerns about this match. The Undisputed Era were insanely popular, but when the challengers walked out, you could almost hear a pin drop. That could have made for an awkward atmosphere. Early on, it kind of did. The champs controlled the majority of the match and the comeback sequence by the challengers led to some boos. Luckily, Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan brought their best stuff to win over the Chicago crowd. They succeeded. It all began with a huge Oney dive onto the champs. From there, the crowd was split and was just rooting for the fantastic stuff happening. Oney was a wild man, taking an insane back bump on the apron and hitting a huge double Blockbuster to the outside. This was a man willing to put his body on the line to win the titles. They had the match won until Adam Cole pulled Kyle O’Reilly to safety and got himself ejected. It set up a wild closing stretch with all sorts of twists and turns. Total Elimination, a favorite move of mine, ended a strike exchange and the match as Undisputed Era retained in 16:02. There’s a reason the Undisputed Era is the best tag team in wrestling. It’s matches like this.

215. WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Dean Ambrose vs. John Cena – WWE No Mercy 2016

It was a surprising call, but the WWE decided to have this match open their No Mercy Pay-Per-View. The build to this was awesome as all three men fired some pretty personal shot s at one another. Dean Ambrose and John Cena were especially insulting. You also had the intrigue of Cena going for World Title #16 and AJ being 2-0 against him. Unlike a lot of triple threat matches, this wasn’t just two guys competing while one rests outside. I mean, it happened a few times but for the most part, all three men were consistently involved. Due to that, there were plenty of great sequences, with the first being a double German suplex by Cena. They all knew each other so well that they were ready with counter after counter. There was a moment where Dean and Cena had a calf cutter and STF applied at the same time, causing AJ to tap out. Of course, that couldn’t end the match because there must be one winner in a triple threat match, so things continued. Cena would hit Ambrose with the AA but AJ laid him out with a steel chair and retained the title at 21:07. Cena doing the job on his way out to film a TV show was perfect and allowed for the Dean/AJ feud to continue. I also love that AJ isn’t they typical coward heel, but still resorts to low blows and chair shots when he gets desperate.

214. NXT UK Tag Team Championship: James Drake and Zack Gibson vs. Moustache Mountain – NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool

While I enjoyed the first TakeOver: Blackpool, I’d say the show only featured one match that I would consider great. And that’s the one it began with. Moustache Mountain was the most popular duo on the brand while Grizzled Young Vets were easily the most hated. It’s an easy recipe yet it works so well when done right. It made for such a great atmosphere. One thing I love about Moustache Mountain is how the bigger guy takes the heat. Trent Seven was the one who got isolated during this match, setting up the hot tag for Tyler Bate. Seven took a nasty elbow from James Drake that busted him open, adding to the drama and desperation. When we finally got Tyler’s hot tag, it was one of the best all year. His BIG STRONG BOI spot where he lifted both opponents was insane. How is Tyler Bate even a real human? The final 5-10 minutes are some of the best stuff you’ll see anywhere. I lost it on the Helter Skelter/450 splash combo that led to a near fall. I didn’t even know Drake could do a 450 splash. Eventually, after 23:46, the Grizzled Young Vets used Ticket to Mayhem to become the first NXT UK Tag Team Champions. I love tag team wrestling.

213. AJ Styles vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – NJPW G1 Climax 25 8/14/15

As noted earlier in the list, the later days of the G1 Climax this year saw the “A” Block match quality fall while the “B” Block rose. On this, the final “A” Block show, we were treated to a main event that more than delivered. AJ Styles and Hiroshi Tanahashi are possibly the two best wrestlers on the planet and are no strangers to each other. Heading into this, they were tied with 12 points and the winner would win the block, heading to the finals. With the stakes high, neither man took an early risk. They fought hard for every hold, with each and every single thing they did meaning something. There wasn’t just points where they did stuff for the sake of filling time. It all had a purpose. While that start was a bit slow, they worked the crowd into a frenzy when things started to pay off. During the tournament, Styles’ Calf Killer submission was established as a secondary finisher. When he applied it here, the fans totally bough it as a potential finish. AJ would hit a low blow, only for Tanahashi to do one back because that’s how much this win meant. Tanahashi used the Styles Clash, so AJ hit High Fly Flow (or a regular frog splash but still). The back and forth here was top notch. Tanahashi had to finally use multiple High Fly Flows to win the block after 27:56. Just a well done big time match.

212. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: KUSHIDA [c] vs. Hiromu Takahashi – NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11

Hiromu Takahashi did all he could to save NJPW’s junior heavyweight division. His arrival at the end of 2016 was the shot in the arm it needed. It set up this awesome, fresh rivalry for the title. He attacked KUSHIDA during his entrance, but the champion was no slouch, and turned it around to hit an insane dive. The stuff they did in the ring was crisp, until Hiromu tried a diving rana to the outside. They flubbed it, but Hiromu made up for it with a bonkers senton to the outside. He’s interesting because his wild style allows for things like that to actually be fitting. KUSHIDA learned and adapted, blocking a second sunset flip bomb and catching Hiromu in an armbar. He held it for as long as possible without getting DQed. It was clear that KUSHIDA had to get aggressive to beat this new challenger. The focus remained on Takahashi’s arm, with him having to escape the Hoverboard Lock on multiple occasions. One of those was off the top and countered into an inverted destroyer. Hiromu then used a corner DVD and the Time Bomb to capture his first Jr. Heavyweight Title at 16:14. This was the great Tokyo Dome Jr. Title match we’ve needed for years. It was the catalyst for Hiromu “Wrestler of the First Half” Takahashi. They’d go on to have an even better match in June.

211. Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan – WWE Survivor Series 2018

Daniel Bryan came out with a smug look like he was in complete control. His new character is amazing. When the match started, he hit and moved like he did against Takeshi Morishima back in 2007. Then, Brock went into Brock mode. He dominated for the next eight or so minutes. He hit an F5 and could have won, but pulled Bryan up. It felt like it was just going to be another lazy Brock squash. The crowd hated it. I hated it. Then, the ref bump came. It was a case of a good ref bump, too. It opened the door for Bryan to hit a low blow and the Busaiku Knee. Though Brock survived, Bryan spent the rest of the match using his wits and speed to find brilliant ways to get the upper hand. They swept everyone up in the drama. Brock’s three weaknesses came into play, including the low blow, steel steps, and ring posts. When Bryan put on the Yes Lock, the fans bought Brock possibly doing the unthinkable and tapping. Alas, he got free, powerbombed out of a triangle choke, and won with the F5 in 18:40. The first segment of Brock dominating went on way too long. I get what they were going for, but if you cut that back a bit, the whole match would be tighter. Either way, this was a banger and some of the best stuff Brock’s been a part of.