2020 has introduced the WWE Universe a slew of unforgettable matches, a lot of which have been contested in environments we would by no means seen earlier than. From Battle Pits to the roof of WWE Headquarters to Boneyards and naturally, the nice ole squared circle, WWE.com is counting down the 10 greatest matches of 2020 to this point.
Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher – First-ever NXT Battle Pit (NXT, Might 27)
When the first-ever NXT Battle Pit was introduced, the WWE Universe had no concept what to anticipate. However what we obtained was a one-of-a-kind, sports-entertainment spectacle that was simply as revolutionary because it was brutal.
In an surroundings the place WWE Corridor of Famer and Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle was the one particular person conceivably able to preserving order because the visitor referee, Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher’s implosion as a tag crew and subsequent falling out reached a heavy-hitting crescendo with the opponents surrounded by chain hyperlink and scaffolding, probably the most distinctive constructions in WWE historical past.
And The Unique Bro and Thatcher delivered highlights galore on this unforgettable encounter, from each Superstars buying and selling strikes excessive above the mat whereas teetering the towering scaffolding, to Riddle hovering by the air with the Floating Bro from excessive above. And let’s not overlook Riddle’s showtime kick — Thatcher actually gained’t after shedding his enamel.
However Thatcher emerged victorious, immediately establishing himself as probably the most savage opponents in NXT and treating followers to a reminiscence they wouldn’t quickly overlook. — JORDAN GARRETSON
Keith Lee vs. Adam Cole – Winer Take All (NXT Nice American Bash, July 8)
The primary occasion of the second week of NXT’s Nice American Bash was a lot greater than a title vs. title match.
In a single nook, you had Adam Cole. A braggadocios but tenacious champion who held NXT’s high prize for 403 days and competed in most of the greatest matches in NXT historical past. Within the different, you had a person who was carrying the load of his legacy on his shoulders. Mourning the loss of his coach, “Killer” Tim Brooks, and his grandmother, NXT North American Keith Lee was poised to place an Undisputed reign to relaxation.
The 20-minute match introduced out all of the feelings and physicality, and on the finish of it, Lee stood tall with the NXT North American Title and the NXT Championship. You must give credit score to Cole, who elevated the status of the championship and gave his all in these 403 days, however there’s something poetic and hopeful in seeing a proud and triumphant black man holding two championship titles as celebratory confetti flies by the air.
On this new period of NXT, we’re all basking within the glory of Keith Lee. — DEBORAH WECKSELL
Males’s and Ladies’s Cash within the Financial institution Ladder Matches (Cash within the Financial institution, Might 10)
This 12 months’s Cash within the Financial institution Ladder Matches have been actually essentially the most distinctive ever, not solely as a result of it was the primary time the Males and Ladies competed on the identical time, nevertheless it was contested at WWE World Headquarters.
The Superstars clashed within the health club, the cafeteria and even Mr. McMahon’s workplace to try to attain the roof the place their respective briefcases hung above the ring. Otis was as shocked as anybody when the lads’s briefcase actually fell into his palms, giving him the unlikely victory. However the largest shock was revealed the subsequent night time on Uncooked when Asuka discovered she didn’t win a assured championship match at a time of her selecting. Fairly, her victory secured her the Uncooked Ladies’s Championship, vacated by Becky Lynch. — MATT ZIMMER
Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Aptitude – NXT Ladies’s Championship (WrestleMania 36, April 5)
It was a historic battle for a lot of causes. It was the primary time a Royal Rumble winner opted to problem for an NXT championship on The Grandest Stage of Them All, the primary time one of many black-and-gold model’s titles was on the road at WrestleMania, and Rhea Ripley’s Present of Exhibits debut.
Underneath the brilliant lights of WrestleMania, Ripley shone just like the Celebrity she is, bringing the combat to probably the most embellished feminine Superstars in WWE historical past. However regardless of The Nightmare’s brute power, Charlotte Aptitude proved why she will lay declare to the title “Ms. WrestleMania.” Ripley took Aptitude to the restrict in a star-making efficiency, however The Queen stood tall, dethroning The Nightmare and recapturing the NXT Ladies’s Championship for the primary time in 5 years. — BOBBY MELOK
Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins – WWE Championship (Cash within the Financial institution, Might 10)
Let’s face it: 2020 has been a complete swerve on all ranges. Fortunately, although, just a few silver linings beamed down contained in the squared circle — most notably, this tour de power between Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins at WWE Cash within the Financial institution. At a time when an escape was very a lot in high-demand, these two titans supplied simply that in a jaw-dropping showdown.
McIntyre, in his first WWE Title protection since setting his Drew world order in movement at WrestleMania 36, was dealt the problem of authenticating his reign towards a battle-tested Rollins, who isn’t any stranger to that coveted burden and, in that second, appeared transfixed on bearing it once more.
The end result was a bullheaded battle of wills. Rollins operated in pure Tremendous Saiyan kind, relentlessly torpedoing McIntyre with each offense in his arsenal, together with a thunderous superplex/Falcon Arrow mixture that just about spelled doom for the champion. Ever the warrior, although, McIntyre absorbed all of it and stood tall with a defining Claymore that punctuated the lengthy street that led him to the mountaintop. Nonetheless, there was no denying the sheer will of those Superstars — a show that seemingly captured the essence of every thing surrounding that night. In that second, an escape was wanted, and these two delivered on all ranges. — RALPH BRISTOUT
Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Kinds – Intercontinental Championship (SmackDown, June 12)
The WWE Universe was thrilled all through this previous 12 months with matches in boneyard, swamps, and even goals. However on the finish of the day, nothing compares to the true spectacle of fine, old style wrestling. When AJ Kinds and Daniel Bryan engaged in a marathon battle for the Intercontinental Title, the very best ability the game presents was on show.
The match spanned almost half of SmackDown that night time, however there was by no means a second you would take your eyes off the motion. Like several nice inventive show, there was no wasted movement. Every man strategically attacked his opponent, as Bryan used an array of submissions whereas Kinds discovered counters on the most opportune moments. The Intercontinental Championship is also known as “The Working Man’s Title,” and on this night time, the work paid off. It was superb, it was Phenomenal, it was wrestling — within the truest sense of the phrase. — BRAD ZAK
Males’s Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble, Jan. 26, 2020)
The Royal Rumble is all concerning the moments, these photographs which can be completely engrained into your reminiscence, and this 12 months’s over-the-top extravaganza was chockful of them.
Brock Lesnar was a one-man demolition crew, even by his personal lofty requirements. Although he was already the WWE Champion, The Beast voluntarily entered on the No. 1 place and eradicated a record-tying 13 Superstars.
His dominance lasted till he was met with the ice-cold stare and imposing determine of Drew McIntyre, who lastly took The Beast out of competition with a cathartic Claymore Kick that despatched Lesnar flailing excessive rope to the ground, a lot to the delight of the WWE Universe.
Additionally… EDGE!!!!!! Sure, The Rated-R Celebrity made his jaw-dropping return from what was regarded as a career-ending neck harm 9 years in the past. After virtually Spearing Dolph Ziggler out of his boots, Edge competed for greater than 23 grueling minutes and almost pulled off a miraculous win, as he was one of many ultimate three Superstars within the ring.
Although Edge and Randy Orton have been at one another’s throats within the weeks and months to observe, a quick Rated-RKO reunion was nonetheless an unimaginable sight.
The King of Claymore Nation claimed the victory, nevertheless, and it put the Scotsman on the trail to finish his journey from air guitaring in 3MB to slaying The Beast and profitable the WWE Championship in WrestleMania’s foremost occasion. — JON CHIK
Charlotte Aptitude vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai – NXT Ladies’s Championship (NXT TakeOver: In Your Home, June 7)
Io Shirai survived a battle. Three of WWE’s greatest Superstars got here collectively to battle over the NXT Ladies’s Title, they usually put one another by hell — from Rhea Ripley’s top-rope Riptide to Charlotte Aptitude throwing Shirai by a window.
The Genius of the Sky dazzled with a leap off the roof of the In Your Home entrance to topple each of her opponents in a second that may play on each NXT spotlight reel for the subsequent decade.
The ending match the back-and-forth power of all the bout, with Shirai breaking apart the Determine-Eight Leglock with an awe-inspiring moonsault to steal the win and the NXT Ladies’s Title in beautiful trend. — JEFF LABOON
Edge vs. Randy Orton (Backlash, June 14)
Howard Finkel’s legendary voice is rather a lot to dwell as much as whether or not a match is pre-labeled because the “best ever” or not. However Edge and Randy Orton’s match at Backlash was referred to as The Biggest Wrestling Match Ever forward of time and did characteristic Howard’s Corridor of Fame voice, in addition to literal sights and sounds that celebrated the historical past of sports-entertainment.
So, ya know, no stress within the slightest.
In “The Day Of: Backlash” on the WWE Community, Edge says, “How do you even ponder calling this The Biggest Wrestling Match Ever except you will have Howard Finkel introducing it?” Howard’s voice set the tone for a match that The Rated-R Celebrity calls a “love letter to wrestling,” with the WWE Universe being handled to every thing from Charles Robinson rocking an old-fashioned referee outfit, Edge and Randy each busting out with maneuvers that paid tribute to icons of the business and the 2 going at it at an unbelievable tempo for over 40 minutes earlier than Orton put a cease to all of it with a Punt sq. to Edge’s dome.
Does all that equal The Biggest Wrestling Match Ever? That actually comes down to non-public desire. Unbelievably nice wrestling match, although? Sure, 100 instances over. One which elicited cheers from followers, respect from legends and, someplace, the warmest of smiles from The Fink. — RYAN PAPPOLLA
Undertaker vs. AJ Kinds – Boneyard Match (WrestleMania 36, April 4)
In an period the place the cinematic match has unexpectedly turn into a brand new regular, the Boneyard Match between Undertaker and AJ Kinds that closed out the primary night time of WrestleMania 36 turned the gold customary.
From the primary bang of the drums in Metallica’s “Now That We’re Lifeless,” the sight of Undertaker using towards the battlefield on a motorbike instantly had the WWE Universe leaping for pleasure of their dwelling rooms and on Twitter. The moment nostalgia coupled with the extraordinarily private nature of this rivalry made for WrestleMania magic in a means that no person initially anticipated.
This match had every thing, from Undertaker having to tackle a military of druids, to the unforgettable visible of The Deadman all of a sudden showing behind The Phenomenal One atop a tractor, and the thunderous Chokeslam to Kinds off a rooftop that spelled the tip.
The Boneyard Match was the proper mix of every thing that has made Undertaker so charming for almost three a long time — a legacy that was made even richer by WWE Community’s “Undertaker: The Last Ride” documentary collection. And if this battle was certainly Undertaker’s final journey on The Grandest Stage of Them All, it is solely becoming it could be in one more Match of the Yr candidate. — STEVE BARILE