Top Matches Of 2012

If this article doesn’t get the desired amount of views, Thomas Hall will be to blame..

Who doesn’t love a good list? With Christmas rapidly approaching I contacted Scott to see if he’d be interested in doing a Top Matches style article with a couple fellow BoD’ers. At first he was opposed, but later that night the Ghosts of BoD showed up, and he quickly changed his mind. Especially when he saw that the Ghost of BoD Future offered up a vision of the wife leaving and Scott ending up sharing a studio apartment with The Fuj.

There was no set number for people to list, so we came up with whatever number we wanted.

Thomas Hall –

To
begin with, this is going to be a WWE heavy list. I only watch WWE
and TNA and there’s a lot more WWE out there than TNA, so there’s a
bigger selection of matches for WWE to pick from. Also I’ve always
been a WWF/E guy and it’s a natural bias for me. Also this is a
combination of my favorites and what I found to be the best matches
of the year, so your stances on them may widely vary. Let’s get to
it.


10.
Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode – Destination X
This
was a match where the build to the match worked better than the
overall match, even though the match itself was quite good. The
story behind the match was Aries cashing in the X Title to get a
guaranteed world title match here. This is where things got
interesting, as you had Aries as the unbeatable X Division Champion
facing the longest reigning world champion in company history. The
idea was simple: take two guys who are perceived as unbeatable and
put them in a match. The fact that the match was great helped a lot
too.
9.
Big Show vs. Sheamus – Hell in a Cell
This
makes the list for the simple reason of how shocking it was. By
shocking, I mean people were expecting a horrible match but we got a
great showdown instead. Sheamus playing the giant killer worked very
well for him as he’s strong enough to be able to move Show around,
but at the same time he’s small enough to make Show’s offense look
good. This turned into the heavyweight slugfest, as in a match where
both guys use their biggest power moves possible and the last man
standing wins. Those can get very fun in a hurry, and this got
excellent by the ending.
8.
John Cena vs. The Rock – Wrestlemania 28
This
isn’t on here for the match, but rather the buildup. Cena vs. Rock
was one of the only matches ever where I knew it would be good, but
no matter how good it was I absolutely had to see it. I don’t recall
a match ever before where that happened other than maybe Rock vs.
Austin II. The match itself is very good but I wouldn’t call it
great. Cena losing is still a questionable move, but it’s not the
worst decision of all time. On top of that, a match that draws a
million PPV buys has to be doing something right.


7.
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan – Over the Limit
The
idea here is simple: take two guys that can work almost any style and
give them 25 minutes. The match was good and the fans reacted to it.
I don’t have much else here because I actually don’t remember much
of the match, but the ratings I have for it seem to say I really
liked it, so here’s a spot for it.
6.
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus – Extreme Rules
This
was another war, with Sheamus’ arm being such a factor that you
couldn’t tell if he was going to survive or not. This wasn’t really
a rematch but rather the first match between them, as the first match
is the infamous 18 seconds match. It was 2/3 falls because that’s
EXTREME of course. These two beat the tar out of each other and it
turned into an incredibly entertaining match. This match was also a
part of the eventual Daniel Bryan anger management story, as he
snapped in the first fall and kicked Sheamus long enough for a DQ. I
like Sheamus a lot and this match was a good example of why.


5.
James Storm vs. Bobby Roode – Lockdown


This
was a bloodbath and seemingly the perfect blowoff for this feud.
Naturally since this is TNA the feud continued over the summer and
finally ended at Bound For Glory, but that’s another story. The
majority of the match was an excellent brawl with both guys bleeding
like crazy. Storm kept beating on Roode until he couldn’t take
anymore, but the superkick knocked Roode out of the cage to keep the
title on him. The problem of the match at the end of the day was
there was no reason for Roode to keep the title here other than to
extend the feud. If this was the blowoff, it likely would have
cracked the top three.
4.
Shield vs. HELL NO/Ryback – Tables Ladders and Chairs (TLC Match)
That’s
likely high for this match but it blew my mind at TLC. This was the
Shield’s debut match and to say they delivered is the understatement
of the year. It was a 25 minute war between six guys that looked
like they wanted to maim each other. There were some huge spots,
with the biggest one being Rollins going off the huge ladder and into
a pile of tables, somehow without breaking his neck.
On
top of that, the psychology was excellent here. The idea behind the
match was Shield pounding down one guy at a time, giving them a 3-2
advantage at any given time. This was played up for the entirety of
the match and it worked very well throughout. The match was all
about a (non) blood feud and it came off feeling like a war rather
than a match. On top of that, the idea of it being pinfall or
submission made things even better. I’m surprised I rated this so
high actually.
3.
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk – Wrestlemania 28
If
this wasn’t on this card, it would have been the best match of the
night by far. This was built upon the Punk is Drunk story with
Jericho pushing the idea that Punk is an addict no matter how
straightedge he is. This set Punk off, setting up a war here. Much
like Wrestlemania 25 though, they decided that if the champion got
disqualified, he would lose the title. In other words, we need a 22
minute wrestling match from Chris Jericho and CM Punk.
What
followed was a classic, with both guys showing some insane psychology
and the finish coming from Punk hooking the Anaconda Vice for the
second time. Earlier in the match, Jericho had kneed Punk in the
head to escape the hold, so to end the match, Punk leaned his head
forward to prevent the knees. I’m a huge fan of people learning
during the match and adapting to it later to win. Excellent match
here.
T-1.
Undertaker vs. HHH – Wrestlemania 28 (Hell in a Cell)
T-1.
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena – Extreme Rules (Extreme Rules)
I
tried and tried but I can’t decide between the two of these. They’re
different kinds of matches but they both were home runs in what they
were going for. In wrestling, there is more than kind of great story
and great match to end it. These two matches were prime examples of
two very different kinds of stories and we’ll look at them a bit
here. We’ll start with the battle of the legends in the cage.
To
begin with, when I refer to the first HHH vs. Undertaker match, I
mean the one that happened in 2011, not the one from eleven years
ago.
This
match might have the longest buildup for a match in the modern era.
Think about it. This match was legitimately built up for over three
years. The Shawn matches were more or less forerunners to this
match, as was the match at last year’s Wrestlemania. It helped that
all three of the previous matches ranged anywhere from good to
excellent. Every part of the final match was great, starting with
the buildup.
The
stipulation for the match was set up on an episode of Raw after HHH
and Undertaker had spent a few weeks glaring at each other and
cutting overly dramatic promos. At the end of the day though, a
stipulation was promised. My guess was that it was going to Streak
vs. career again, but in something that hasn’t happened in years, HHH
offered a Hell in a Cell match at a point in the year other than the
HIAC PPV.
This
showed what is lacking from the HIAC PPV. As opposed to the PPV,
this match felt natural and a logical progression and ending to the
feud between Undertaker and HHH. On top of that, having the match
come out of nowhere rather than being the inevitable conclusion makes
the match feel bigger. The match fit the feud rather than the feud
being made to fit the match, which you can’t get at the PPV anymore.
Now
let’s get to the actual match. With Shawn as the referee, the
question became could the Streak actually end. The problem with
Undertaker matches at Wrestlemania is making people believe the
Streak is in jeopardy. The second Shawn match and the first HHH
match couldn’t get over this issue: at no point did I ever feel that
the Streak was in jeopardy. The matches were good, but they didn’t
hit that higher level. On the other hand, the first Shawn match and
the second HHH match had me freaking out over the near falls. That’s
not something that often happens, but when it does, things get
awesome.
The
match itself was an all out war with a ton of drama the whole way
through. Between HHH massacring Undertaker with a chair and Shawn
nearly stopping it to the DX finisher of a superkick into a Pedigree
only getting two to Undertaker not being able to finish HHH despite
using finisher after finisher. After finally finishing him with a
tombstone, we got perhaps the image of the year with the three
legends embracing. I’m not sure what era this ended, but it was a
great way to end that era.
Now
let’s move on to the next month and the other match of the year. The
night after Wrestlemania, Brock Lesnar returned and laid out John
Cena with an F5. They brawled a few times over the next few weeks
until we got to their Extreme Rules match, appropriately enough at
Extreme Rules. The bell rang and the war was on.
This
match was a war from the bell and was the most physical match I’ve
seen in years. John Cena took one of the worst beatings I can ever
remember but he stayed in the match somehow. This match was all
about violence and it worked amazingly well. It was more of a fight
than a match, which is something we haven’t seen in the company in
years. These two beat each other up and the place was losing their
minds over it.
On
top of that, and I know this isn’t the most popular opinion, but this
match was a testament to John Cena, as was the match the previous
month’s battle with Rock. Cena has reached the point where no one on
the regular roster can give him a legitimate challenge, so they had
to bring in one of the biggest stars of all time and the former UFC
World Heavyweight Champion. That says a lot about where Cena is on
the all time greatness scale.
Overall,
2012 had some great matches, but the problem was getting between
those matches. The TV shows are beyond watered down at this point as
there’s too much TV going on. The good thing is that the PPV matches
can be quite good, but the TV continues to get worse. Between the AJ
saga and Aces and 8’s and Del Rio vs. Sheamus, these stories just go
on too long. Still though, some matches were excellent and are well
worth checking out again.
Caliber Winfield –  
Much like Tom, I have a WWE heavy list, because I’m mainly a WWE guy. I’m a big pro-wrestling fan, but it doesn’t consume most of my day. I watched most of the big matches from TNA this year, and while there were a ton of great ones, they just couldn’t top the stuff in my top 5.
5. Bobby Roode vs James Storm
– Street Fight – Bound For Glory, 2012

Hey, did you know James
Storm is a redneck?! Just in case you didn’t know. It would have made
more sense for King Mo to be the enforcer in the Aces & Eights
match. I mean, what’s he gonna enforce here? The lighting and camera
guys? Kudos to Storm’s blade job, one of the goriest I’ve ever seen,
and something that’s absolute perfect in a match of this magnitude. Later, Roode sells the JS’ version of the Codebreaker like The Rock sold the Stunner. Near the end, Roode breaks out the guaranteed pop, the thumbtacks.. They were over used for a while there,
but now they’re rarely seen and a perfect addition to a match such as this. The way Roode collapsed after getting hit with the beer bottle
was fantastic, and made all the greater when Storm sat him up, only
to send him crashing back into the tacks with the Last Call. This was
a great brawl that was made all that more special by the fact we just
don’t see these types of matches that often anymore. It is a shame
that this wasn’t for the title, and in the main event, as it should
have been.
Storm grabs the pin after
Last Call at 17:35 | ****3/4
4. Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus –
2/3 Falls for the World Heavyweight Championship – Extreme Rules

Sheamus has finally shown the rest of us what Triple
H has seen in him. He went out there and hung with the best technical
wrestler today, in one hell of an exciting match. They started off
with the traditional style of wrestling, trading locks & holds
back and forth. Once they elevated past that, they beat the hell out
of each other to try and score the first & crucial win. It was
great to see Bryan get so viscous, drawing out the DQ for refusing to
quit kicking Sheamus’ shoulder, and then following it up by
slapping him in the Yes-Lock until the fella passed out. I was pissed
at the WM match up, but in hindsight, it wasn’t a bad move. As it
gave a real reason for having 2 out of 3 falls, Sheamus a chance to
prove he’s no fluke champion, and showed that Bryan deserves to be
a main event star. One hell of a match, with a nice, clean finish.
Best technical match of the year.

Daniel eats a Brogue Kick and a pin at 23:01 |
****3/4

3. CM Punk [C] vs John Cena –
WWE Championship – Night of Champions
It should come as no
surprise what a great match this is. The last two matches between
these two, Punk & Cena were evenly matched, however, this time
around, the last year’s experience has put Punk on a different level.
He dominates Cena for the first half of the match, and stops short
his come back at every corner,
countering the 5 Knuckle Shuffle twice. One of which is a sweet
counter into the Vice, as he looks right into Cena’s face and screams “I’M BEST
IN THE WORLD!”. It’s also fantastic to see Heyman on the
outside, at times beaming like a proud father, and at others worrying like a wife. In
this match, I truly see Punk as best in the World. Cena can’t put him
down, and Punk has an answer for him at every turn. An awesome spot where Punk
hits a Rock Bottom, trying just about everything to wipe Cena out.
Both men are dead, absolutely dead, and I’m a bit upset that I know who wins,
because this would have been incredible to see live. Honestly, this
match deserves the full monty, because it was nothing but absolute fire the entire bout.
Without a doubt their best match to date. I’d love to go full monty,
but I can’t with that ending. In any other year, this would have been
on everyone’s list, but 2012 had a large list of not only MOTYC, but
matches that could contend to be the best.

Both CM Punk & John
Cena’s shoulders are down for the count of 3 at 26:50 | ****3/4

2. John Cena vs Brock Lesnar
– Extreme Rules Match – Extreme Rules
Brock is such a fucking
bad-ass. That’s the only way I can even begin to describe him; a
fucking bad-ass. While re-watching matches for this list, the video before this match got me amped to see it,
despite the fact I’d already seen it twice. The elbows he unleashes
on Cena in the beginning are unbelievable, and easily the most vicious start to a match ever.  Later, Lil
Naitch earns credit for taking the sickest ref bump I’ve ever seen; a full force
elbow from Lesnar, and then Lesnar earns more than he already had for picking the ref up
with one hand, like so much luggage. This is one of those matches
that will be talked about for as long as pro-wrestling is around, and
beyond. They had a chance to tell a great story with Cena, and of
course they just went with the same ol’ come the end, but until then,
a masterpiece.
Cena pins Brock after an
FU on the steel steps at 17:52 | ****3/4

1. Chris Jericho vs CM Punk
[C] – Street Fight for the WWE Title – Extreme Rules

Yes. Hell yes. This is exactly why I was so excited
for Jericho to return, because I knew who ever he’d get put with,
I’d be guaranteed at least one classic. After Sheamus & Bryan
put on one of the best technical matches we’d seen in years, Punk &
Jericho come out to deliver a match that’s the exact opposite, and
even BETTER. It’s not often that matches have me sitting &
cheering, and getting completely absorbed into what’s on the
screen, but they did just that. I knew what the finish was, and I was
STILL marking out at the near falls. This was absolutely brutal, and
a war not seen since Jericho took on Shawn in the Unsanctioned Match.
They played this so well, with Jericho keeping up his taunts, and
Punk losing it on several occasions. I absolutely loved this, with the match reaching 5 stars before Punk even put Jericho through the announce table. Not
only is it my pick for MOTY, but it’s my 2nd favorite
match of all time.
Punk hits the GTS for the pin at 25:15 | *****


Scott Keith –
Ho ho ho, Merry Everyone! 
I generally hate top 5 lists, but there
was a lot of good wrestling in 2012, so here’s the definitive guide
to what I thought was awesome for the year. This is not a
comprehensive numerically accurate summation of the BEST matches
technically, it’s the ones where I LIKED them the most and felt the
most excited about wrestling in the larger sense after watching them.
You’re welcome.
5) James Storm v. Robert Roode,
Bound for Glory.
This match was so fun that I actually
posted in the live thread about it. The flaw with the match was the
booking, unfortunately, as it was set up to be the giant blowoff in a
feud for the World title, but it wasn’t for the World title. And
then Roode got his win back a few weeks later anyway and cost poor
James Storm yet another shot at the title. However, as a
demonstration of the “less is more” philosophy when it comes to
blood use, this was aces. We rarely see blood on the national stage
these days, so when Storm goes out there and bleeds like Ric Flair on
an aspirin bender it has MEANING. The very definition of a Memphis
brawl, with perhaps the perfect pro wrestling finish (Storm knocks
him out with a beer bottle as retribution for losing the World title
a year previous, then finishes with the superkick), this one made me
giddy again, just for one night. (****1/2) 
4) The Shield v. Kane/Daniel
Bryan/Ryback, TLC
Another goofy brawl, although this one
had more in common with the cartoonish 90s WWF and ECW brawls that
were so much fun in small doses. This one was great because it
introduced new players into the main event scene and featured the
smartest booking of heels I’ve seen since the Four Horsemen. The
story of the match was that the Shield would constantly manipulate
the numbers game to keep it 2-on-1 at all times, by incapacitating
one member of the babyface team and then double-teaming one member
while the third Shield member tied up another babyface. It was like
a constant face-in-peril scenario, leading to an epic Ryback comeback
that was the perfect use for him. Fast-paced and never boring, which
is my favorite kind of brawl. (****3/4)
3) Minoru Suzuki v. Hiroshi
Tanahashi, NJPW King of Pro Wrestling
I had heard endless praise for this
one, and even with the impossible buildup, it was still tremendous.
Suzuki is the grizzled grumpy bastard and Tanahashi is the ROCK STAR
IWGP champion and it was an amazing chemistry there, with some
sportsmanlike conduct to start before Tanahashi played air guitar on
him and suddenly it’s ON. Some amazingly creative working of the
arm from Suzuki that never feels dull, and Tanahashi just gets his
ass kicked and makes a series of short comebacks by constantly taking
out the leg, before the one big comeback to finish. 30 minutes flies
by and I was oohing and aahing along with the Japanese crowd because
the facials are so good you don’t even need to understand the
language. (*****) 
2) Undertaker v. HHH, Wrestlemania
28
If this was the last match for
Undertaker (which it’s likely not, but you never know) it was a
hell of a way to go. Even with the Hell in a Cell concept diluted by
the yearly PPV, two aging stars showed that they still knew how to
tell a story and beat the hell out of each other. Although
Undertaker’s new haircut and the logistics of hanging a cell in an
open air stadium threatened to overshadow the match in the days
leading up to it, all was forgotten once HHH tried and failed yet
again to end the streak, even with conflicted special ref Shawn
Michaels at least temporarily on his side. Even in a match where
everyone knew what the result would be going in, the drama that
unfolded still kept me on the edge of my seat, especially when D-X
reunited for the superkick-pedigree spot that ALMOST convinced the
audience that maybe this time, the streak would end. Once again, it
shows that the old tricks and blood, used in moderation, can bring a
good match into a legendary match. (*****)
1) John Cena v. Brock Lesnar,
Extreme Rules
But nothing all year was going to touch
this one. When Brock Lesnar returned, people knew he was
“representing” UFC fighting, but no one suspected how much of it
he would bring into the match with Cena. Whereas almost all of the
WWE main events of the past decade or so were largely interchangeable
with a few exceptions, this was DIFFERENT. It didn’t feel like any
other pro wrestling match I had ever seen, it felt like some sort of
shoot fight gone horribly wrong, with Lesnar repeatedly potatoing
Cena and busting him up like he was a punching bag. And even Cena’s
typical smarmy babyface comeback suddenly became a fresh and new
thing, as for once he was the sympathetic underdog fighting back
against all odds with legitimate crowd support behind him. And then
he won, and we all realized that it was just the same old stuff over
again. But up until that moment, this was the most hellacious fight
that I had ever seen and by far the most fun I had watching a pro
wrestling match in 2012. This, my friends, was the Match of the
Year. (****3/4)