Dot Net Awards: 2018 Best Match

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Dot Net readers were allowed a single vote per day for each of the 2018 awards categories. The following are the results of our poll for Best Match along with our staff comments. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting.

1. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in an unsanctioned match at NXT Takeover: New Orleans (21 percent)
2. Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada best of three falls at NJPW Dominion (19 percent)
3. Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano at NXT Takeover: Philadelphia (17 percent)
4. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair last woman standing at WWE Evolution (13 percent)
5. Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream vs. EC3 vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Ricochet in a six-way ladder match at NXT Takeover: New Orleans (6 percent)
Others (24 percent)

John Moore’s Thoughts: I was really tempted to put Undisputed Era vs. Moustache Mountain from NXT television here due to the great sell job by Trent Seven and Tyler Bate being the seller in peril in the NXT Takeover rematch. Ultimately, I’m giving it to Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano in the unsanctioned match from NXT Takeover: New Orleans. The match lasted about 30 minutes, which would make it hard to seem compelling over the entire timespan. There was no filler, and a great story was told. Gargano and Ciampa had a lot of matches this year and all of them were different. This was the best and the pathos behind the babyface Gargano character added to making this match stand out amongst the rest.

Will Pruett’s Thoughts: This year it was hard for matches to capture my imagination and allow me to suspend my disbelief. I’m not sure why, but little in wrestling helped me do so. These two matches, tied for match of the year for me, stand out above the rest. First, Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Almas from NXT Takeover: Philadelphia was a masterpiece. From the “I know who I am” promo from Gargano to Candice LaRae running off Zelina Vega, this whole match was perfect. Second, the Last Man Standing match between Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair at WWE Evolution made me jump out of my seat multiple times. It was brutal, exciting, and a standout performance.

Jake Barnett’s Thoughts: This category is just unfair. There were so many fantastic matches in 2018 that singling one out as the best is damn near impossible. So, as I look back on 2018, the match that really stirred up the most emotional investment in me was Becky vs. Charlotte from WWE Evolution. Not only did they manage to create some genuine suspense with often dull Last Man Standing stipulation, but they managed to genuinely shock and awe me with the level of violence they were willing to go through in order to tell the story of the match. It was a career defining performance for both women, but Lynch especially, and it started legitimate conversation about the plausibility of a Women’s Match closing the show at WrestleMania.

Haydn Gleed’s Thoughts: I’m always incredibly impressed with Kenny Omega. 2017 was a great year for Kenny and 2018 was even better. My favorite match from his 2018 portfolio of work and my pick for best match was Omega vs. Okada from the Dominion event.

Anish V’s Thoughts: Andrade Almas vs Johnny Gargano at NXT Takeover Philadelphia gets the nod. These two made gold every time they stepped into the ring. Honestly, there were a lot of matches that I tossed around in my head, but I don’t think any match took me on the highs and lows like this one, especially with the background of their last Takeover match, which Gargano lost after getting distracted by a DIY shirt. I was expecting Tommaso Ciampa to show up only to be greeted with a fantastic match. I don’t think there was another match that was as silky smooth as this and so it’s my vote for the best match.

Jason Powell’s Thoughts: What an incredible year for match quality with so many worthy contenders including some that didn’t even crack our list of 20 nominees. The Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada series was epic to say the least. The best of three falls match between them was truly special and gets my vote in a very crowded year for in-ring greatness. For what it’s worth, that match was leading the pack before the Tommaso vs. Ciampa match came storming back with a late surge over the weekend.

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