10 Must-See Matches That ALREADY Make 2018 Wrestling’s Greatest Ever Year

10. Andrade 'Cien' Almas Vs. Johnny Gargano (NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia)

WWE

The first WWE-branded match to earn a Wrestling Observer five-star rating since 2011's epic John Cena/CM Punk Chicago showdown, Johnny Gargano's desperate failed bit for the NXT Title pulled at heartstrings long thought already-snapped and established then-Champion Andrade Almas as the finished article the company had long thought him capable of becoming.

The two last met in a TakeOver opener, won by Almas after vital new sidekick Zelina Vega threw a #DIY t-shirt in Gargano's face to remind him of Tommaso Ciampa's wicked attack earlier that year. Their collected graduation from curtain jerkers to main eventers in-part relied again on their respective distraction pieces - 'Cien' had managed to keep it one hundred thanks to the persistent presence of Vega whilst 'Johnny Wrestling' was still emotionally entrenched in a rivalry with a man not even on television.

What followed was an utterly gripping battle, a babyface chase for the ages that made the best of Gargano's evocative selling in arguably the best closing stretch to a match in company history.

Everything pointed to a win for the underdog here, breaking hearts further as Almas sustained his challenger's fire, before Gargano's 'Pyscho Killer' returned at the very end of the show to resume conflicts with his former best friend.

Contributor
Contributor

Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.