10 Best Wrestling Matches Of 2020

AEW promised to bring back tag team wrestling. The Young Bucks delivered - and how - in 2020...

Daniel Bryan AJ Styles
WWE.com

Honourable mentions are vast even in a year plagued by a literal f*cking plague.

The pandemic mutated the performance art for most of 2020 into this uncanny emulation performed in front of nobody, or in front of performers performing as crowd members. Never has the industry felt so inessential. Never has an industry that asks you to believe in the unreal ever asked so much.

And yet, a lot of the time, it was f*cking awesome. Bittersweet, but awesome.

Kenny Omega is such a genius that he worked around the sh*tty vibe in a masterful war opposite Trent in QT Marshall's gym. He shook Trent's hand. There was nothing else to do in a competitive exhibition between two faces on friendly terms when most storylines had to fall by the wayside. And then Trent stamped on his injured hand, the tone shifted into something nasty, and Omega made the most drab physical environment exciting by killing his opponent with it.

Tomohiro Ishii didn't adapt to the new context; his fire-up spots in the G1 Climax were so phenomenal that the otherwise conscientious crowd couldn't help but gasp to restore the old, impossible psychology. Sasha Banks and Bayley worked a super creative and exciting Hell In A Cell match, the innovation of which never undermined the animosity at the core of the story.

Cody Rhodes was awesome all year. Io Shirai was tremendous in the Ace role. Chris Jericho's in-ring was heavily underrated by too many.

As for the very best...

11. Honourable Mention #1 - Stadium Stampede AEW Double Or Nothing

Daniel Bryan AJ Styles
Twitter (AEWrestling)

Almost more impressive than any of the matches to make the list proper, it was too unique a beast to rank alongside what we knew of pro wrestling before 2020 briefly changed it.

But Jesus Christ was it needed. Fusing creativity and levity, this absurd and joyous situational masterpiece no-sold grim reality and provided elusive, impossible escape for 35 transcendent minutes.

The actual wrestling was great. This was the crucial bit.

The Young Bucks unleashed the PWG insanity of old by vaulting off a field goal; Kenny Omega absorbed brutal punishment in his plunder brawl with Santana and Ortiz; Hangman Page performed an incredible backflip from the most acute angle you'll ever see in his stiff barroom brawl with Jake Hager. This even folded in sound psychology, bizarre as that may read as a take on a match in which Matt Jackson executed a 100 yard-long suplex chain: the babyfaces, after an epic rivalry spanning months, effectively corralled the heels en route to the feel-good win.

But this was about the feeling, the absurdity, the sheer fun. Everybody will have their favourite moment.

But it's wrong if it ain't Chris Jericho smashing a mascot flush in the f*cking jaw with a Judas Effect.

Contributor
Contributor

Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!