This year, we have had a chance to witness great professional wrestling matches that were highly praised by pro wrestling journalists Dave Meltzer and Wade Keller and fans alike. The match quality of these ten matches were very rare ten years ago or even further and in today’s age of pro wrestling, it is common to get a great match at least once or twice per month. There are many that I have seen that were from various promotions such as WWE, Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and New Japan Pro Wrestling and I will rank them all in my personal top 10 matches of 2018.
10. Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler (Summerslam)
I was in the crowd for this match at Summerslam and It was a great opener for this long Pay Per View. Rollins and Ziggler has had many matches throughout the year, but this match is their best match of every match they have had this year. There was a mix of everything in this match from the drama, to the athleticism between these two, and the energy of the crowd. There was a few points during this match where I was convinced that the match was over and that Ziggler would retain the Intercontenential Championship but Seth regained the championship in this awesome match.
9. Undisputed Era vs. Ricochet, Pete Dunn, and War Raiders “WarGames” Match (NXT Takeover: WarGames)
Last year, the WarGames match has finally made its way to WWE after many years where the fans would wonder when it would happen and it has finally arrived on WWE’s developmental brand NXT. Last year, it was three teams in this match but that changed this year when the rules reverted to the classic two teams of four. The feud between these two teams has been building up since the summer and the payoff was this excellent match as it was nonstop action from the start of the match to the finish. The War Raiders also showed off how fast these two can move despite being larger than all of the other men in the ring. There was also a camera shot during the match where the two teams are on opposite sides facing each other in the style of Captain America: Civil War. There were also weapons used during this match such as tables, trash cans, chairs, and kendo sticks and the most memorable spot of the match was when Ricochet did a reverse 450° senton from the top of the cage to everyone in the ring. Ricochet’s team got the victory after he pinned Adam Cole of the Undisputed Era to end this fantastic War Games match which is far better than last year’s version of the match.
8. Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy “Hell in a Cell” Match (Hell in a Cell)
It has been a long while since I can say that I liked a Randy Orton match and this is one of them. I have been a fan of both Orton and Hardy for a long time, but they both did not have a good match at all this year before this match. This is Jeff Hardy’s first match inside the Cell and it did not disappoint at all. There were a few moments during the match where it turned into a psychological horror movie such as when Orton proceeded to place a screwdriver right through his open earlobe and twisted it. That was very gruesome to watch as it took me a few minutes to resonate what I have just witnessed. The match ended as Jeff climbed to the top of the inner part of the cell with a ladder, used his hands to go to the middle of the cell like it is a monkey bar, and proceeded to do a body splash to Orton while he is laid on the table but as Jeff fell, Orton moved out of the way and Jeff’s head came crashing through the table as Orton then got the pin fall for the victory.
7. Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (NXT Takeover: Philadelphia)
This match is the first WWE five star rated match by The Wrestling Observer Newsletter since John Cena vs CM Punk back in Money in the Bank 2011 and this match delivered in every aspect. Not only that it convinced me that Gargano can headline a WWE event one day, but it also proved the critics wrong about Almas at the time since his run as NXT Champion has gotten mixed opinions. Johnny did everything that he could to win this match and the crowd was behind him as well. In fact, there were many times during this match that there was a standing ovation to both of them due to their performances and they were very deserved. Almas got the win, but before the show ended, Tommaso Ciampa returned from his knee injury to attack Johnny thus resuming their feud which was delayed due to Tommaso needing knee surgery.
6. Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada (NJPW Dominion)
This match has been building up ever since their WrestleKingdom match from last year and the slow build has been worth it. These two has had matches on that show along with the G1 Climax as well and every match they have had, outperformed their previous one. It is the modern day Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat with these two as they tore the house down at Dominion this year. This match was a two out of three falls with no time limit and these two went all out during the one hour and four minutes of this classic. During this match, Omega has attempted to use his signature move “one winged angel” many times as Okada has found a way to counter it each time. The only time the move went through is during the final fall of the match as Kenny Omega not only won the match, but also became the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion as well. This match is as brutal as it comes and you will not find a hard hitting match like this anywhere else other than New Japan Pro Wrestling.
5. Buddy Murphy vs. Mustafa Ali (205 Live 7/03/2018)
205 Live from the beginning until the summer of 2018 has been a long afterthought as well as it’s division. Enzo Amore was the best superstar of the division for a while as well until his release and since then, 205 Live has been rebuilding itself and the first match to do that was this one. Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy had a no-disqualification match and it was awesome. From the high flying spots, to the innovative ways to preform high flying moves off of the table and even steel steps, and much more spots that has kept my attention to the screen as I was watching it and the fans in that arena as well loved it too and this was the beginning of the relaunch of the Crusierweight division from this point on.
4. Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon (WrestleMania 34)
This match is my favorite WrestleMania match this year and many peope whether if it is inside the wrestling bubble or outside of it (You know, the casual fans and the MMA fans) was curious to see how Ronda Rousey would do in her first ever match in WWE and she delivered in this awesome tag team match in which she teamed with Kurt Angle to go against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a mixed tag team match. Kurt and Triple H had control for most of the match as this was also Kurt’s first WrestleMania match in 12 years and once Ronda got tagged in, she did not hesitate to charge right at Stephanie and also Triple H with a fury of strikes and judo throws. The match finished once Ronda made Stephanie tap out to the arm lock as both Ronda and Kurt celebrated after the match finished.
3. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch “Last Woman Standing” Match (Evolution)
What WWE had done with the women for the last few years has been incredible. Starting way back in NXT when the women’s matches started to be taken more seriously, to WrestleMania 32 when the Divas Championship has been retired for a new Women’s Championship. Now we are at the stage that women are now on the main event of Raw, Smackdown, and even select Pay Per Views and this all lead to the first WWE all women’s Pay Per View, Evolution. Charlotte and Becky Lynch has been feuding since the summer when Becky turned heel at Summerslam. They both had a last woman standing match on this show and it was spectacular to see these two go to war in this match and not hold anything back. My favorite spot during the match is when Charlotte applied the Figure-8 leg lock on Becky as the ladder was also in between both of them. These two gave it their all and I believe this is the best women’s match I have seen this year.
2. Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega (NJPW WrestleKingdom 12)
The idea of this match came from Jericho as he wanted to make pro wrestling’s version of Mayweather vs. McGreggor and once it was announced that Kenny Omega accepted the challenge, the anticipation has blew up very high. Jericho and Omega is a dream match that we did not know that we wanted and it delivered. It was also great to see Jericho wrestle a completely different style since he is used to the WWE style for the last 19 years and this was also his return to New Japan Pro Wrestling. Everything with this match from the brutal table spots, to Jericho picking up a camera and started flipping the crowd and the referee with the finger, to Omega’s brutal V-Trigger knee strikes, and with Omega’s high flying arsenal. These two had the match of the night that night as the drama and the story of the match has not slowed down at all from the start to the finish. It also gave Jericho his first ever five star rated match by Dave Meltzer.
1. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa “Unsanctioned” Match (NXT Takeover: NOLA)
The match in the year in my opinion and one of the best matches in WWE in the last five years. This match felt like an old school NWA “Lights Out” match from 1980 as the vibe of those matches from that time were transferred to this match. Just like those matches in the past, The referee is only there to make the three count and the other rules are out the window as the referee is not allowed to stop it. Johnny and Ciampa’s feud started way back in Chicago in 2017 and their first match was very crazy. The ring mat was also exposed during this match for the wood to be shown and other than that, there were more dangerous visuals that happened during the match inside and outside the ring and these two put their bodies through war during the match. Johnny did not want to give up at all or hurt Ciampa at all and even his wife did a run in and tried to convince Johnny to end the match. This is also the longest match in NXT history clocking in at 37 minutes. Johnny won this match by submission, but that was only the beginning of their great rivalry.
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It is the near end of the year and the comic book series of The Walking Dead has reached new levels of storytelling. From the introduction to The Commonwealth which holds about 50,000 survivors, to the different philosophies between Rick and Pamela, to Michonne finding her daughter, and to Rick and Dwight’s conflicts. This year there were moments that divided the opinions of readers and fans that have been talked about all year and I put together a list of the top 15 moments of the comic series of The Walking Dead of 2018. This list also has some spoilers so if you are not caught up, Read the issues before reading the list.
Before I do, take a look at what made the list last year right here.
15. The Princess has had enough (#178: New World Order 4/6)
After Sebastian tried to make a move on Yumiko, Magna jumped in and tried to stop it. But that did not work since Sebastian pushed her down. Then The Princess points her spear to him as Sebastian orders the Commonwealth soldiers to arrest her. That was not working either as she fought every single one of them. This was a cool scene and by this point, I warmed up to her character much more than her debut last year. The scene stopped when Mercer threw his hatchet towards her hand for her to drop her spear.
14. First look at The Oceanside (#181: Together Strong)
The Oceanside has been first mentioned way back in issue #139 which was about almost four years ago. It has never been seen before until Rick took Pamela over there in this issue. The full two page spread shows a beautiful sight of the ocean with a sunset along with a few houses. While there is a dark setting of the world of The Walking Dead, there are a few high points of scenery and this is one of them.
13. The planning of a trial (#183: And Michonne Without Her Sword)
Politics is something I would have not ever encountered in this series, but it is a reminder that the old ways can still happen even in a post-apocalypse world. Michonne used to be a lawyer before this all happened and Lance thought that it was a good idea to give her a job as a lawyer. When Michonne arrived to another section of The Commonwealth, she and her daughter sees that the soldiers are beating down Anthony who also had an argument with the soldiers before the beat down. It was also here where Michonne realizes that one of the soldiers was Jerome who she has meet earlier in the issue. It is also here that Lance tells her that she has to defend the soldier’s actions in the trial and we have seen the early stages of the trial as of now.
12. Introduction of Sebastian and Mercer (#177: New World Order 3/6)
Sebastian is the son of the leader of The Commonwealth Pamela. He seems to get away with anything and tries to abuse his status to people who are under him and we got a pure example of that when he lashes out at Mercer for not keeping a closer eye on him while he was with Kayla. But little did he know, Mercer already killed the lurking walkers before he even opened his mouth. I so far, am mixed about the character, but there is room to see where his story goes.
11. Maggie and Dante (#177: New World Order 3/6)
After sparing Negan’s life way back in issue #174, Maggie and Dante gets closer and while they were kissing in the barn at the Hilltop, Sophia walks in to see it happen. I will talk more about that in a moment, but to see Maggie finally moving on and wanting to be happy is a good feeling even though she said it herself that she is ashamed about it.
10. The Princess and Mercer are together (#181: Together Strong)
As soon as the cover of this issue was shown three months before it’s release, I had a feeling that these two would get together. Mercer and The Princess were clearing walkers until they realize that they are boxed in and surrounded by more of them. After the rest were killed, Princess suddenly kisses Mercer as the thought that they were having a moment. A few issues after this, they become a couple. Sure it’s odd for a visual standpoint, but love is love.
9. Rick Introduces Pamela to the communities (#182: The Commonwealth Grows)
The comment Pamela made upon arriving Alexandria about how much of a “dump” the outside gates were to what she is used to is eye catching. She has it so good at The Commonwealth that she wants to look down on Rick. But not only that Rick’s vision of a “New World Order” is different than hers, but she sees how the communities survive without too much of a law and order. Rick introduced her to The Hilltop, The Sanctuary, The Oceanside, and The Kingdom with stories about past characters that used to be there. This was very nice to see.
8. Dwight gets arrested (#185: On Guard)
Dwight who has been on Rick’s radar since Issue #169 has gotten arrested by the Commonwealth soldiers. He intentionally did this so he can send a message to Rick that the entire community needs help and that they are just smoke and mirrors. Dwight who has been second in command for Negan for years, sees the same in him as he does to The Commonwealth as he thinks that it is a lust for power and that their leader Pamela is doing this all for show. Dwight and Rick had a few moments talking about their different views of the place, but what is coming for Dwight will prove otherwise.
7. Maggie and Sophia (#178: New World Order 4/6)
Right after Sophia caught Dante and Maggie together, they had a talk and she was upset that Maggie did not tell her about their relationship. Maggie also insisted that she wanted to feel happy and loved again and although she will never forget Glenn, he would have wanted her to move on as well. Timeline wise, it has been almost fou years since Negan killed him and she has not healed from that day until they first spoken a few issues prior. This felt like a mom to daughter talk after the husband dies and it was an emotional one.
6. First look inside The Commonwealth (#176: New World Order 2/6)
This very large area which is made up of communities together in one is a sight to see on The Walking Dead. It feels like a normal day over there to see a football game, people eating out at restaurants, people eating ice cream etc. The survivors that went there were stunned to see all of this and they wanted to know if it was too good to be true. Seeing Lance say to them that there was over 50,000 residents over there made my jaw drop.
5. Michonne giving up her sword (#179: New World Order 5/6)
This is the second time that Michonne gave up her sword and it looks like it is for good this time as she decided to stay at The Commonwealth since her daughter is now there and that she has a job there as a lawyer. Eugene was puzzled by this but he understood her. Michonne gives Eugene her sword right before Pamela and a few others along with Eugene, Magna, siddiq, Yumiko, and The Princess go back to take Pamela to Alexandria.
4. The riot (#183: And Michonne Without Her Sword/#184: Eugene Tinkers)
A riot is something I wanted to see on The Walking Dead for years and we finally got it. Once the news about Michonne having to defend Jerome and the Commonwealth soldiers for killing Anthony come out, the residents did not like that at all. A full fledged riot escalated as the soldiers had to use riot shields and nightsticks to stop the residents from rioting. But that only worked for a while until Pamela arrived to see the riot along with Rick and his group that is seeing this for the first time. Part of the riot mob beat up Michonne and Jerome until it was broken up by Dwight, Mercer, and the soldiers. At the court hearing, Michonne defended the soldiers but asked the judge to drop all charges and the judge will consider it. Talking about this as I am reading it is mindbending for The Walking Dead as never in a million years would I think that a riot and a court trial would take place in this series.
3. Michonne and her daughter reunite (#176: New World Order 2/6)
After Michonne found a missing poster of herself that was written by her daughter Elodie, she did not waste any time to go look for her. Lance thought that she could be dead, but Michonne knew in her heart that she is alive. After the meeting between Pamela and the survivors, Michonne asked her if she can see her daughter. We find out that she works at the bakery and once they seen each other, Elodie dropped her cake and hugged Michonne. This reunion is one of the best moments of the comic series and I loved it.
2. Dwight’s death (#186: The Powder Keg)
I did not see this coming as it was a shocking moment for the last issue of 2018. Dwight who was about to kill Pamela so he can show Rick the way the community should be run was shot in the head by Rick. This whole thing happened because Michonne asked Pamela to come talk to Rick and Dwight without letting the two of them know that she was coming. Pamela overheard the conversation before she and two soldiers entered the room and she asks Dwight to leave the place. Dwight refuses and after some talking, BAM. Dwight was one of my favorite characters since his debut back in issue #98 and to see him go was very unexpected. Rick also blames Michonne for this because Rick could have handled it and he will now never forgive her for this at all.
1. Michonne finds out that her daughter is still alive (#175: New World Order 1/6)
I told myself that this is one of the biggest non death cliffhangers I have ever seen on The Walking Dead and I also said that no moment for the rest of this year will top this. As the group are introduced to Lance, he leads them to The Commonwealth. But on their way there, they stop by “the wall of the lost” as many residents place missing people posters of their friends and families. Of those posters, one of them was written by Elodie This made Michonne cry as she thought that she was dead the entire time and that she wants to look for her right now. The poster also featured a pre-apoclapyse Michonne when she used to be a lawyer and that symbolizes that no matter how long you have moved forward, your past will come right back to hit you. This is an amazing moment and I would love to know how they will pull this off on the television series.
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The fifth season of Fear The Walking Dead started production this week and a key character from season three is now returning to the show as Daniel Sharman will appear on this season as Troy Otto. The news broke out today and it has puzzled fans since his character was killed off by Madison two seasons ago when she hit him at his head with a hammer and he was left behind to get washed up by the strong currents of the water after the bridge exploded. He was not seen since that episode since there was a time jump at the beginning of the fourth season.
Whether if his return is a flashback or not is yet to be determined, but if it is not, how would the group react to seeing him alive and how would he react to not seeing Madison since she was also killed off in season four (although we have not seen her body yet). There are many scenarios that can be made with his character and it has to be explained how he survived and made it all the way to Mississippi since that is the current location of where the group is.
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