Best Matches of May 2017

There are a hell of a lot of honourable mentions this month. The standard of wrestling has been very high. I also want to give the highest possible recommendation to PROGRESS Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16. Due to studying I didn't have the time to write a full review but the 3 day tournament as a whole is absolutely fantastic and I urge everyone to check it out. The PWG matches took place in March (I think) but weren't released until May.

Honourable Mentions

Marty Scurll vs Will Ospreay - NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors Night 1 ****

Dragon Lee vs Hiromu Takahashi - NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors Night 1 ****

Marty Scurll vs Ricochet - NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors Night 12 ****

Will Ospreay vs Hiromu Takahashi - NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors Night 12 ****

Pete Dunne vs Trent Seven - WWE UK Special ****

Zack Sabre Jr vs Ethan Page (Evolve Title) - Evolve 84 ****

Keith Lee vs Fred Yehi - Evolve 85 ****

Zack Sabre Jr vs Lio Rush (Evolve Title) - Evolve 85 ****

Matt Riddle vs Tyler Bate - PROGRESS Chapter 48: Bang The Drum ****

Pete Dunne vs Mark Andrews vs Mark Haskins (PROGRESS Title) - PROGRESS Chapter 48: Bang The Drum ****

Johnny Mundo vs The Mack (Lucha Underground Title, All Night Long) - Lucha Underground S03E20 ****

LDRS vs Best Friends - PWG Nice Boys (Don't Play Rock & Roll) ****

Travis Banks vs Jimmy Havoc (SSS16 Round 1) - PROGRESS Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16 Day 1 ****

Zack Sabre Jr vs David Starr (SSS16 Round 1) - PROGRESS Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16 Day 1 ****

Travis Banks vs Flamita (SSS16 1/4 Final) - PROGRESS Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16 Day 2 ****

Toni Storm vs Jinny vs Laura Di Matteo (PROGRESS Women's Title) - PROGRESS Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16 Day 2 ****

Zack Sabre Jr vs Travis Banks (SSS16 Semi-Final) - PROGRESS Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16 Day 3 ****

Tyler Bate vs Matt Riddle (SSS16 Semi-Final) - PROGRESS Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16 Day 3 ****

15. Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles (US Title) - WWE Backlash

This was the only good match on an otherwise terrible PPV. They gave it their all but this would have been an even better match if it wasn't for the cheap, albeit innovative, finish. ****

14. Keith Lee vs Donovan Dijak - Evolve 84

This was a rematch from their excellent match at Evolve 81 and while it isn't quite at the same level as that one it is still a great match between 2 of wrestling's most athletic big men. ****

13. KUSHIDA vs BUSHI - NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors Night 5

KUSHIDA is a consistently very good wrestler and BUSHI is probably better than he gets credit for as a lot of his time is spent in multi-man tag matches for LIJ. They put on an excellent match here with some good back and forth and some great looking moments. ****1/4

12. Kairi Hojo vs Mayu Iwatani (Wonder of Stardom Title) - Stardom Gold

Kairi Hojo is headed to WWE but before that she has some unfinished business to take care of in Stardom, chief among which is that she still had the title heading in to this match. Both of these women are among the most impressive in wrestling and they put on a fantastic match that had you guessing whether Hojo would actually lose the title. ****1/4

11. Akira Tozawa vs Brian Kendrick (Street Fight) - WWE 205 Live 23rd May

For my money this is the best match to have taken place on 205 Live and a great way to finish the feud. They have a really fun hardcore match and the senton off the ring post through a table is a thing of beauty. ****1/4

10. Tyler Bate vs Mark Andrews (WWE UK Title) - WWE UK Special

Tyler Bate has already had 2 honourable mentions this month and this won't be the last time we see him in this month's top 10. He is having a true breakout year and given the level of quality in British wrestling at the moment I would expect to see many more matches pop up in these lists before he heads to WWE full time. These 2 will have wrestled numerous times before but that doesn't mean that you can't add new wrinkles to it every time they face off. This was a great match to finish WWE's UK Special. ****1/4

9. Matt Riddle vs Kyle O'Reilly (WWN Live Title) - Evolve 84

With Riddle being an ex-MMA fighter and O'Reilly's style being very MMA based this was always going to be an interesting match. It's (I think) a first time matchup and it lived up to the expectations I had for it. I look forward to them going at it again. ****1/4

8. Will Ospreay vs Jay White - ROH War of the Worlds

Ever since White came through the New Japan dojo I've been waiting for him to have his breakout match. This is it. This is the first time where I truly felt that he could be a star for years to come. And Will Ospreay is Will Ospreay. Easily the best match on the show and one of the best ROH matches this year. ****1/2

7. Young Bucks vs Penta El 0 M & Rey Fenix vs Ricochet & Matt Sydal (PWG Tag Titles) - PWG Nice Boys (Don't Play Rock & Roll) 

I think it's pretty obvious from looking at those involved that this is going to be mental. It is and it's superb. PWG is a company where they just let the wrestlers go at it and it pays off wonderfully here as some of the most innovative wrestlers in the world put on a great show. ****1/2

6. Jeff Cobb vs Matt Riddle (SSS16 1/4 Final) - PROGRESS Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16 Day 2

These are two of my favourite wrestlers to watch currently and while they have had a couple of matches in Evolve they didn't really get above the level of decent. This most certainly did. They went all in here and it paid off. Riddle has become staple of PROGRESS shows and he doesn't feel like an import so he has the full backing of the PROGRESS Ultras. ****1/2

5. Authors of Pain vs DIY (NXT Tag Titles, Ladder Match) - NXT Takeover: Chicago

This was the perfect blowoff to the AoP vs DIY feud. Some great storytelling, some great looking spots and a post match heel turn that was one of the best in years. The tag title matches over the last year in NXT have been consistently excellent and it will be interesting to see where they go from here. ****1/2

4. Will Ospreay vs Ricochet - NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors Night 2

If you have seen the previous matches between these 2 then you have a basis for what to expect here. This one adds some extra stuff to the repertoire, there is some mat based stuff to go with the high flying, and it adds to the overall feel. These 2 could have spectacular matches without even trying and this is definitely no exception. ****3/4

3. Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii - NJPW Dontaku

These 2 had a blinder at the New Japan Cup and this one may have been better. The unwritten rule is that when Omega doesn't wear a shirt he puts in the fucking beast performances. This is everything you should expect from 2 of the best wrestlers in the world. Everyone is now aware of Omega but Ishii is a monster and his hard hitting style is just great fun to watch. This is superb stuff. ****3/4

2. Travis Banks vs Tyler Bate (SSS16 Final) - PROGRESS Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16 Day 3

This was a perfect way to end one of the best tournaments I've ever seen. The fact that there was a clear face/heel dynamic with the crowd fully behind Banks and vociferously booing Bate added so much to this match. There was a run in but even that added to the match. They teased the screwjob finish when the other members of British Strong Style turned up to attack Banks but he was saved by CCK, who got a hero's ovation. The rest of the match was a superb back and forth that had both men refusing to give in. It's some of the best storytelling in wrestling this year, tied to some superb in ring work. It's not quite enough to be the best match this month though and ...****3/4

1. Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne (WWE UK Title) - NXT Takeover: Chicago's not even the best Tyler Bate match. This match was absolutely incredible. It showed how hot the UK wrestling scene is right now and the fact that the combined age of these 2 men is 43 is mind blowing. That's only 3 years older than AJ Styles. These 2 have the potential to be the future of the wrestling industry and this match is all the proof you need. The crowd are behind it from the off and it pushes it into a level that isn't often seen. This match is a perfect example of why I love wrestling and for my money is only bettered this year (so far) by Okada vs Omega. It's spectacular. *****