2018 has been a bit of a weird year for the main roster. It’s never been harder to be a fan of the main roster as it is now. The fans have been driven out in hoards and the lack of emphasis on storylines that make sense hasn’t been appealing. The match quality also isn’t as high caliber as expected by many, as the wrestling quality of places like NJPW, PWG, Progress and Nxt are at an all time high, main roster fails to come up with meaningful feuds and stories to be told. The matches on this list prove that WWE can still have amazing matches because of the talent present to them! Keep in mind that only Main Roster Matches will be included as a list with Nxt would overflow in matches from the yellow brand. There have obviously been more than 10 great matches in WWE this year so here are a few notable emissions from the list, Cedric Alexander vs Buddy Murphy from Super Show Down, Mustafa Ali vs Buddy Murphy from Survivor Series, The Miz vs Seth Rollins from Backlash and The Money In The Bank Ladder Matches. So with that out of the way let’s begin.
10. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins vs Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler from Hell In A Cell 2018 (Raw Tag Team Title Match)
Tag team wrestling is great isn’t it! While the main roster fails to provide the audience with much meat in their substance in the form of tag team wrestling in most shows, this match is an exception to the rule, getting the most time out of any match on this given ppv going nearly 25 minutes and stealing the show.
When top stars are put in the forefront of tag team wrestling with a built and desired story, the matches are built and the action is crisp, that’s when a tag match is at its finest.
The Scottish Psychopath was in the forefront of the action being made to look like a beast incarnate. Simple psychology of a wrestler being beaten down and than by some act of god finding the strength within themselves to persevere and grit through the pain to make a tag to their partner who comes out with guns ablazing and manages to gain the upper hand for the team is a clique in wrestling therefore is baffling that it works so well when done right. The match kept building from there on out as Rollins and Ambrose make it look as if they’ve captured the title on many occasions until an abrupt finish with a Claymore kick does Rollins in for the pin. Unpredictable, intense and gripping are the appeal of tag wrestling and it’s a pleasure to see them being incorporated in what is the best Tag Match of the Main Roster.
9. Aj Styles vs Samoa Joe from Super Show-Down (WWE Title No Dq Match)
Samoa Joe is a cerebral assassin mastered in the art of dissecting a man verbally and with the ability to verbally persuade even the most hardened of non-believers. Without any reservations of all the full time performers currently on the main roster Joe is the most skilled promo they have. An unprecedented ability to make you take him seriously.
Words aren’t enough for a performer however, Joe shares a chemistry with Aj that he does with very few others. Their previous matches had set the stage for their third encounter in the land down under. What followed was a stiff match which built of their previous encounters while incorporating a vast entourage of weapons. This wasn’t the usual bloodbath of weapons and spamming of a particular or the over reliance of spots that most hardcore WWE matches fall under, no this was well placed telling of a story of a man who’s rage has exceeded his own boiling point and of a cunning strategist that tries to take what is most precious to him by provoking the others family.
In fairytale fashion despite Joe promising it wouldn’t come to that, Aj manages to capture the leg of Joe and damage it time after time until he is locked into the calf crusher and made to tap and pay for his sins. The feud which should have ended here was dragged through the mud as WWE realized that they don’t have any reliable contenders for the title as they scavenged for someone to face Aj at the disgraceful Crown Jewel ppv with Bryan pulling out due to his morals. Joe’s character was hurt in this feud as for all his praises he just couldn’t beat the man that built Sd live.
8. Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair from Survivor Series (Cross Brand Singles Match)
Ronda Rousey proves time and time that she’s a genuine star both in terms of star power and in terms of an in ring talent. Easily having the best singles bout of her career here against the queen in the penultimate match of the night.
When Becky was unjustly taken out by a doofus move on Nia Jax behalf (she looked her dead in the eye before breaking her nose) Flair was chosen as her replacement and few had imagined they’d see the genuine dream bout between the two at such short notice. Charlotte and Ronda brawled and not so much wrestled but fought. The fight was genuinely one of the best bouts of both women’s careers, (Both however had better matches in 2018 😉 )
Becky Lynch’s aura rubbing of onto Charlotte as the crowd completely being behind her and turning on Ronda proving the level of star Becky is.
Some may argue Ronda shouldn’t be contesting in competitive matches as it isn’t believable to which I say what’s the point of having a match than? Plus this isn’t Mma it’s pro wrestling, a sport in which Charlotte holds 7 world titles. The ending was also brilliant as Charlotte decimates Ronda with a kendo stick causing an abrupt finish to a barn burner by that point. However the ending didn’t take from the match as it only added to the heat of the match with one of the best beat downs in recent memory. The crowd would fully support Charlotte’s actions as they booed Ronda out of the ring to which she facially showed her displeasure.
7.Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs Stephanie Mcmahon and Triple H from Wrestlemania 34 (Mix Tag Match)
Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels, Austin vs The Rock, Rock vs Hogan, Ultimate Warrior vs Hulk Hogan what do all these matches have in common, well that they were the best match of their respected Wrestlemania and the talk of the town once the show of shows concluded. Now imagine Ronda’s debut being in the same class as these matches. Heads and shoulders above everything this match shined as the highlight of Wrestlemania 34. The match has been dubbed the best debut to wrestling, match of any wrestler ever. The layout the electricity and the crispness of the match and Ronda were incredible.
Anyone who was worried for Ronda was rightly proven wrong by the former Mma star. She brings a sense of realistics not seen by many to her matches, where McMahon’s carnival of tricks showcases an act far realer than most. Triple H and Kurt Angle helped guide the match to the stage where it needed to be to succeed and then some. Ronda’s grasp of facials and prowess were anything but underestimated would be an understatement.
Stephanie was key to success, her over reliance on making stars look like fools as she always gains the last laugh on them and never seems to get her comeuppance. It was truly a treat to witness the evil corporate lady get what she had coming for quite some time. While Stephanie may have blocked the armbar for too long for many fans taste, you gotta realise this is wrestling and if Stephanie was to train for anything it’d be to block the arm bar. When the dust cleared no one expected this match to be immortalized on the grandest stage of them all.
6. 2018 Men’s Royal Rumble Match
There were many, many possible winners in 2018, many more than the norm of two possible winners. We had Balor who had been speculated to gain his title rematch or challenge Aj Styles and therefore making a jump. We had Super Cena who was chasing to break the record. We had the obvious Reigns to end Lesnar’s title reign but in the end it was the king of strong style that finally secured victory by eliminating not just Roman Reigns but also John Cena. This was at the time the start of a huge push for Nakamura who had been floundering.
This was also a fanatically fun match with the inclusion of the likes of Nxt stars Adam Cole and Andrade, both of whom had a great showing the day prior at Takeover. The final showdown with Cena, Orton and Roman vs Balor, Nakamura and Mysterio was also fitting as the underdogs fought against the top guys in the eyes of Vinnie Mac.
The Rumble ended up being one of the best outings of the match since its conception.
5. Brock Lesnar vs Daniel Bryan from Survivor Series 2018 (Cross Brand Champion vs Champion Singles Match)
Brock Lesnar exercised his contractual 1 great match per year here against the newly evolved Daniel Bryan. The match was booked on a spur as Roman being taken out lead to a Lesnar title reign and Bryan defeated Aj 5 days prior to the event to set up the Main Event dream match. Lesnar is weird in the fact that he only seems to be motivated to really put in an effort against the purest of wrestlers. 1 year prior it was in a winning effort against Aj and now Bryan.
Bryan truly a genius in putting together a contest, he depicted himself as the cowardly heel who taunts and frustrates Lesnar into showing an opening. Not realising that the beast incarnate doesn’t care for strategy and when he gripes Bryan he showed Bryan exactly how much size matters. Leading fans into believing in the one sided contest and the possibility of Lesnar going the route of Summerslam 2014. A well timed ref bump later the complexion of the match changed as all of a sudden Bryan had the upper hand and completely destroyed Lesnar. A few running knees and yes locks later the fans really bought into a Bryan win. Moments later Lesnar would reverse a triangle choke into a F5 and the hard reality came crashing down.
This match was meant to happen in 2014 but unfortunately the circumstances wouldn’t allow it. In 2018 the two wrestlers were in a much different place than they were in 2014 and both used this to their full advantage in crafting a high caliber, high energy main event.
4. Becky Lynch vs Charlotte vs Asuka from Tlc 2018 (Triple Threat Tlc Sd Women’s Title Match)
High octane action through and through, the women for perhaps the first time in a male and female performed ppv felt like the definite main event. While not the best match of the night (more on that later) this was perhaps the one that felt the most important. Who would’ve thought right? An unpredictable main event, a respectable storyline build and a great match getting everyone involved over.
An action packed affair where all women would go balls to the wall in just under 25 minutes. Bruised ribs, backs and everywhere else are to be expected. A great match not because it was the women doing these dives through ladders or crashing through tables, no it was a great match for being a great match. This match being this high isn’t because they were women but because it really was this damn good a match and better than so many affairs that featured men in 2018.
Not only a thrilling affair but also one of the better Tlc matches in the matches history. Some may say the ending with Ronda soured the Asuka title win but Asuka was booked as just another woman for the longest time and having her win would spoil the match in that we know she is the lesser of the three and her win would be due to nothing more than chance. Also isn’t the point of wrestling to have memorable moments that will be remembered instantly when recalling a fued, which is exactly what this was. A perfect moment following the survivor series beat down a month prior.
3. Daniel Bryan vs Aj Styles from Tlc 2018 (Wwe Title Singles Match)
On a ppv filled with gimmicks and stipulations we got the best pure wrestling match Wwe has produced all year. A match that came late in the year but ultimately showed that the capabilities of the men involved far outclass all others. Honestly a gripping match to a feud that’s felt like it was carried by Daniel Bryan and his impeccable capabilities to make you feel like a truly incapable person for not helping the environment. Bryan despised because his message is true and the viewer can do nothing because he is likely morally wrong.
A spectacular exchange of moves and call backs, showing the thought and effort put by these men to craft such a technical contest. This wasn’t an average wwe match, this was a match not by the standards of wwe, this was a match your expected to see on a independant show between American Dragon and The P1.
A small cradle ends the match to protect Aj but nonetheless a heel defeated a top face completely clean which in its nature is rare due to Wwe over abundance of booking chicken shit heels. This felt like something that came out of the minds of Aj and Bryan. The new Daniel Bryan had two of the best performances in wwe on back to back ppv’s!
2. Aj Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura from Money In The Bank 2018 (Wwe Title Last Man Standing Match)
Aj Styles completes the trifecta with having a third match on the same top 10 best matches list. Not a typical Last Man Standing match as most, this felt like a Njpw match but with the added stipulation. The match requires an acquired taste as it was rather slow paced for a Last Man Standing contest but was done so to tell the story and build tension between the two. The match was excellent as the two contestants told a rather believable story and kept the match realistic unlike other affairs of this sort.
Some would argue the near 4 months and 5 separate matches between the two weren’t worth finally having this stellar contest despite how good it may have been. That maybe true but to finally get one contest worthy of being called a classic between the two in Wwe is something. The match was well paced with the inclusion of low blows, which were the foundation of this feud. The entire match was a chess game in which during its closing stretch we got a brutal Styles Clash of the stairs onto the cold hard floor. Moments later Styles would hit the king of strong style with a low blow and a phenomenal forearm from the ring onto Nakamura through the announce table would put him into checkmate.
Aj cements himself as not only the most consistent Wwe performer but also possibly the best top match performer in Wwe as well in 2018 and it’s probably not close when looking at high end matches. Well maybe with the exception of…
- Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair from Evolution 2018 (Sd Live Women’s Title Last Woman Standing)
Never in the history of Wwe has a women’s match had such a strong claim to being the companies match of the year. This defined Charlotte as possibly the mvp worker in the women’s division and a strong candidate for overall. While Aj may hold the number 9, 3 and 2 spots on this list Charlotte ties him with the number 8, 4 and 1 spots. Becky not to be undermined is the hottest thing in the company by a long shot. Her rise to the top and claim of being the “man” are well deserved as she can perform as well if not better than her penised colleagues.
The match was brutal, intense and high octane. Charlotte for all her criticism can really deliver and boy she did, performing moonsault onto table and ladders. Performing creative moves as the figure 8 with a ladder. Becky managed to secure a win after a massive powerbomb to the outside through a table. The absolute right call as by this point instead of fighting it Wwe decided we have something molten right now so lets run with it. Charlotte and Becky have great chemistry and both from a psychological aspect were top notch here as the drive to be the best over took both women to the point this felt like a contest of skill as opposed to the usual women bickering.
Evolution was a historic night for Wwe as it seemed to have opened the door for more women’s shows like this for the future. An historic match to represent a historic night as this match solidifies a year in which a women’s contest tops as the best match of the company by no means but the fact that it was simply the best match of the given year.