10 Best Wrestling Matches Of 2023

Enjoy Bryan Danielson while he's still doing this full time.

Sheamus Gunther Drew McIntyre
WWE

Some honourable mentions:

FTR Vs. Jay White and Juice Robinson was fantastic, as was the Two out of Three Falls sequel. All involved were incredible, but Jay White's positional skill and dramatic timing is so expert that he's almost wasted as a not-at-all-unlikely AEW World champion. He looked born to cut off the hot tag, and in the second match, he created an hours' worth of redwood-thick dramatic tension.

To be very critical and pedantic - and to determine the very best of the best, one has to be - they missed the peak by two minutes in the first match and almost begged for critical acclaim 55 minutes into the second, when they stood nose-to-nose and encouraged a standing ovation. Every great match wants to be great; the trick is to obscure that. The element of tell-don't-show dragged the return match down ever so slightly.

Orange Cassidy had a sensational year. Christian Cage had a fantastic year. Kris Statlander did a magnificent job of elevating less experienced opponents. Mercedes Moné was on course for her best run ever before succumbing to injury. Ilja Dragunov and Carmelo Hayes hit each other as hard as two wrestlers ever have at NXT No Mercy in a superb war that was more of a harrowing, compelling experience than a seminal match.

But the absolute best of the best...?

10. Kenny Omega Vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo - AEW Dynamite, March 22

Sheamus Gunther Drew McIntyre
AEW

What a scintillating, white-knuckle experience of IRL special effects magic Kenny Omega Vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo was.

Displaying a level of futuristic exhilaration in the same brain-melting lineage of the Dynamite Kid and early mid-'90s Rey Mysterio, Vikingo had evolved into a Twitter MP4 sensation.

Omega had expressed a desire to wrestle him for years, and when he finally received his wish, it was easy to see why. Omega, himself a breathtaking athlete, was the ideal base. He disguised his incredible, millimetre-perfect positioning by flailing, helpless and frozen, at the threat of Vikingo's demented and unique attack patterns. He made it seem as though he was unprepared, when in fact he knew exactly where to be and exactly how to bump. Nothing looked remotely contrived.

It was as if Vikingo had flown into and glued himself to Omega at warp speed. If you go back and watch the WCW cruiser scene, the wrestlers are so far ahead of their time that they are sometimes ahead of themselves. The botches are almost as relentless as the dives. This match suffered no such issues; something as ambitious as Omega Vs. Vikingo had no right to be so precise.

Omega also knew how to thread Vikingo's offence together so that the electricity coursed through the match with a constant surge. They sold, and at the right, delayed moments, but they also crafted the match to remove any immersion-breaking spotty quality. As an example, Omega took a swan dive reverse hurricanrana as if he'd been caught in the backdraft of an explosion. It helped that Vikingo is so propulsive that he cleared two thirds of the ring. Omega, blown away, found himself on a table erected at ringside. With seamless plotting, he was then blasted through it with an insane step-up 630 senton from the inside of the ring.

Incomprehensible, heart-pounding athleticism of the absolute highest standard.

 
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Contributor

Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and surefire Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!