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Top 10 Chris Hero Matches of the Decade

January 6, 2020 | Posted by TJ Hawke
Chris Hero vs Timothy Thatcher

10. Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli vs. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin – 5/8/2010

In terms of pure, in-ring tag team wrestling, I’m not sure what more you could want from pro wrestling. When you watch this match, you feel like you are watching the two very best tag teams in the world go at it, and that they could do this match a million times before it got boring. If this match had more context or a decisive finishing stretch, it could have been perfect. All of that of course is what makes the finish so damn annoying.

I know that ROH had to deal with unforeseen political issues when deciding on a finish to this match, but they still managed to execute it poorly with that even in mind. Why they would possibly want to put the Briscoes in a situation like this is completely baffling to me. They had to know that this would backfire with the crowd. Also, why would you want any babyface tag team to end an awesome match like that before the heels even have a chance to cheat? It just doesn’t make sense on any level even if you accept the fact that the Kings could pin the Guns and that the Guns could not win the titles. (****1/4)


9. Chris Hero vs. Mat Fitchett – 10/8/2016


This was a Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament Quarter Final Match.

In case you have not noticed, Chris Hero beating up little people is fucking awesome. Hero is cocky, hard-hitting, ruthless, arrogant, and is the best in the world at beating people up. It’s so beautiful to watch every time. Fitchett takes a great beating. It’s a match made in wrestling heaven quite frankly.

When you combine that natural dynamic with an energetic crowd and really well-timed and believable comebacks, you end up with one of the most compelling matches of the year. This was one of the best matches in AIW history. Hero won obviously. (****1/4)


8. Chris Hero vs. Trevor Lee – 4/9/2016


Hero calling himself the greatest of all time until he accidentally became the greatest of all time is the most positive example of someone working themselves into a shoot.

What else needs to be said about Chris Hero’s work right now? He is a master of the ring at the moment. He makes everyone he faces look like they’re far greater than they actually are.  He has every crowd in the palm of his hand. He has managed to legitimately present himself as someone bigger (joke not intended) than independent wrestling. That kind of presentation allows him to come off like a special guest in companies that he regularly works for. His in-ring run is something special, and it needs to be appreciated.

The structure of the match should not be surprising. Hero was being a dick. Lee was the underdog. Hero dominated him. Lee kept fighting back and fighting back until it seemed like there was a legit chance he could win. The crowd was into it from the beginning and only got hotter as the match went on. The fact that they even went a bit overkill with the nearfalls kind of worked, and it led to a great overkill finishing sequence from Hero to make sure that Lee stayed down for the three finally. I loved this match. Seek it out. (****1/4)


7. Chris Hero vs. Fred Yehi – 4/2/2016


Chris Hero is just on a higher level right now as a performer compared to the rest of the world. This was yet another match where he turned in a world-class performance and made his (already very well-respected) opponent look like one of the very best wrestlers in the world.

The story was flawless and right up my alley. Hero came into the match full of his swagger. The fans treated him in a manner that only fed his ego. Yehi was completely out-matched due to the size differential. Hero dominated a large portion of the match, but Yehi would have a million small comebacks where he just pick away at Hero. He got in shots where he could to find the chinks in the armor. He eventually connected on some bigger offense as well.

He picked away at Hero slowly but surely and progressively made the match more competitive. Hero’s advantage never fully went away though, and he eventually finished off Yehi cleanly with the ripcord elbow.

I loved every moment of this match. Fantastic work by both men, and it was an excellent way to put a heel over cleanly while making both men look better after the match. (****1/4)


6. Chris Hero vs. Akira Tozawa – 9/5/2010

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This was a second round match in the 2010 BOLA.

Originally reviewed here.

This was a second round match in the 2010 BOLA. This is the kind of match that Hero needs to do much more of as far as I am concerned. It’s hard hitting and still predominantly focused on knocking the opponent out, but the high-energy/short-ish nature of the match makes it so much more entertaining to watch. Hero could not knock Tozawa out with elbows and kicks and eventually had to resort to the moonsault to finally finish him. The crowd was molten by the end of this one. This was a classic PWG match. (****1/4)


5. Chris Hero vs. TJ Perkins – 3/18/2011


I remembered liking this one, but it was even far better than I had been giving it credit over the years. The pace is blistering in the best way possible. You feel like any strike can end the match. The in-ring chemistry is off the charts with everything coming across as beautiful without feeling choreographed. The timing of the comebacks, and execution of every sequence is perfect. This is a great match without question that has not gotten the credit it deserves for being such. Hero survived a Detonation Kick/Busaiku Knee combo late in the match and then hit a rolling kick to the fact for the victory. (****1/4)


4. Chris Hero vs. Zach Sabre Jr. – 1/28/2017


This was Chris Hero’s final independent wrestling match (though we’ve said that before).

Saying goodbye to Chris Hero on the independent scene is not something you can do all that easily over the course of a year let alone during a single weekend. Evolve gave the ol’ College Try though and made a pretty decent go of it.

The first match against Keith Lee was marred by the ring breaking of course. However, that’s scarily appropriate for Chris Hero, seemed somewhat poetic for the end of anyone’s independent wrestling career, and actually improved the quality of their work together based on the available evidence.

The actual final match of Hero’s final indie weekend though here against Zack was spared from the mixed bag nature of the night before. Instead, it was just universally swell and captured everything that made Hero reach his artistic peak in 2016.

This match contained so many elements of great professional wrestling. Both guys were working as if they were trying to win all the time. (Yes, Zack finally working with some urgency again.)

There was a clear desire to actually BEAT each other. They did not mind hurting the opponent in order to win.

They also did not waste any time. They went 20+, but you would have no idea with out time flew.

Beyond that, they told the classic story that made so many of Hero’s 2016 singles matches instant classics: Hero is a big hoss bully who is going to dominate almost everyone across from him in the ring. They timed all of Zack’s comebacks perfectly to properly maximize the drama and excitement. (If you’re claiming you knew who was going to win this one based simply on how they worked the match, you’re absolutely lying.)

When you combine ALL of that with the nostalgia and pathos that came from knowing this might actually be Hero’s final independent wrestling matches, you have yourself one of the most satisfying wrestling matches in recent memory. Goodbye, Chris Hero. The independent wrestling scene will desperately miss you. Zack won via death submission. (****1/2)


3. Chris Hero vs. “Hot Sauce” – 10/11/2016


This match was fantastic. It started with a bang, as Hot Sauce jumped Hero from behind with a German. That set an urgent pace for the match and forced Hero to not really relax at any point in the match.

The match progressively and organically settled into the story of the bigger Hero battling the fiery Hot Sauce. This was performed as well as you would expect, and the crowd was absolutely rabid for it.

They also managed to allow Hot Sauce to win cleanly and decisively by submission in a way that felt earned. While Hero has been dominant for large portions of 2016, they told a story about he is still susceptible to smaller guys who can stay a step ahead of him and who are not afraid to punch him in the nose. This was brilliant. (****1/2)


2. Chris Hero vs. Timothy Thatcher – 6/10/2016


This was for Thatcher’s Evolve Championship.

As someone who is fairly in the middle when it comes to Thatcher (he’s had some great matches and some real bores in the last couple of years), it has been entertaining to see factions form in regards to him. Some people seem to think he is one of (if not) the best in the world. Others find him to be horrible almost all the time. Both sides are wrong of course, and I am right (as always).

This seems like one of those matches that both sides could get into though (similar to how I felt about the Thatcher/Gargano match from last year). Thatcher did a lot of the stuff that he tends to do but organically blended it into a more crowd-pleasing kind of match.

Hero tried to get control early. Thatcher went after the leg. Hero avoided him doing too much damage though and then went to town on Thatcher. Thatcher then did something surprising: he changed up his strategy. Instead of going after the arm to set up the Fujiwara, he started throwing BOMBS at Hero. This weakened Hero enough to give my fellow Brit a chance to win.

They did some spots that played off their trademark offense before Thatcher managed to apply the Fujiwara to win the match. This was a beautifully worked, compelling from beginning to end, and continued one of the best in-ring rivalries going today. Check it out. (****1/2)


1. Chris Hero vs. Tomohiro Ishii – 11/10/2016


This was bloody fantastic. They worked the exact match that they needed to work in order for them to reach their full potential together.

Hero went into this match knowing he had the throw the kitchen sink at Ishii. He did just that. Ishii was clearly not really prepared for the onslaught and took more continuous damage without fighting back than he normally does. He did eventually start to fight back and then things got serious.

They timed every mini-comeback from Ishii perfectly after that and created an incredibly dramatic match where it seemed like either guy could win. They even managed to work in some no-sell spots in ways that were not obnoxious. (Always impressive.) This was one of the best matches of the year. (****1/2)


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This was the closest “Kassius Ohno” came to making the list.

My list of 5-Star Matches

article topics :

Chris Hero, TJ Hawke