Posts tagged RAW
First Black Champ - SummerSlam Prediction Show

We back on that Sunday schedule of the show and we could not start without processing the life and times of Harley Race. Bang provides history and Cam adds color to one of the most important wrestling champions ever! Is it Harley Race or Harley Racist? This answer is in the audio.

SummerSlam is a week away and we have predictions on that, even though we feel Takeover will be much better. In fact, if you are more entertained by our SummerSlam predictions than the actual PPV, we wouldn't be surprise. Beware of Chess moves and listen to the #FBCPod!

Play in the biggest NFL season long tournament EVER! Join the $3.5 Million Dollar Best Ball Championship on DRAFT! Download the DRAFT app on the app or play store or head over to and join today! Use the promo code BARBERSCHAIR for a FREE entry to a Best Ball draft when you make your first deposit!

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music:

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here:

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Apple Music:

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop

Ruthless Aggression - Vengeance 2003

Pierce Rob and Chris preview NXT Takeover: Toronto II and talk about AEW's announcement of a two-hour Wednesday night show on TNT. Plus, Cody Rhodes' comments on CM Punk's interview with ESPN, RAW reunion, and Vengeance 2003!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 530
Smackdown 205
Vengeance 2003

Play in the biggest NFL season long tournament EVER! Join the $3.5 Million Dollar Best Ball Championship on DRAFT! Download the DRAFT app on the app or play store or head over to and join today! Use the promo code BARBERSCHAIR for a FREE entry to a Best Ball draft when you make your first deposit!

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music:

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here:

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Apple Music:

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop

First Black Champ - Randy Orton Is the F-A-B-O-L-O-U-S of The WWE

It's a special weekday edition of the First Black Champ podcast! We recap Extreme Rules and talk what is possibly the best moment of WWE in 2019. We talk Randy Orton vs Kofi Kingston Implications. We also cover, Bray's return, Kevin Owens being Stone Cold, Vince's possible chess move with Shinsuke and Bayley's potential slow heel turn! All that while watching the Raw reunion live!

It's another cooler than expected #FBCPod! Make sure you hashtag that to let us know you fawking with the movement!

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music:

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here:

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Apple Music:

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop

This Week in WWE: SummerSlam starts to sort itself out

Chris Novak: We are officially on the road to SummerSlam. Packed show tonight. A Fatal 4-Way between Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Naomi and Natalya is scheduled to determine Becky Lynch’s next opponent at S’Slam for the Women’s Championship. Elsewhere, there will be a huge Battle Royal to determine Brock Lesnar’s opponent at the big event in Toronto for his newly won Universal Championship. 

Speaking of, Brock and Paul Heyman are here to start the show. 

Robert O’Neill: Brock is using the belt as a boombox now! Delightful. Heyman came out last week and said Brock would cash in. Then Heyman came out at Extreme Rules and said Brock would cash in. What do you know? Brock cashed in. Heyman runs down the ten guys in the battle royal tonight, and I gotta say there are a lot of intriguing options here!

Chris Novak: There’s really no bad options here. Only ones who are better than the others. That should be a really fun main event. Up next, Ricochet is gonna be scrapping. Against whom? We’ll likely find out after the break. Well, we got okie-doked. Ricochet is teaming with The Usos against Robert Roode and The Revival. Six-Man ⅔ Man for… whatever reason.

The match was fine. The babyfaces got the win after Ricochet pinned Roode. 

The Club came out and then Ricochet jumped out and attacked AJ Styles. ALl hell then broke loose. The Usos went after Anderson and Gallows. Then The Revival went after them. The Usos stood tall and then went to dive out of the ring. Roode intervened and took him out, and then Jey was hit with the Shatter Machine. Ricochet then dove in and got everyone, and then Styles hit him with the Phenomenal Forearm.

Robert O’Neill: That was awesome. I really liked the postmatch stuff, including Ricochet doing a whole ass flip to sell the Phenomenal Forearm. Also, I kept saying he needs to find some friends, and it seems like he has! That’s good. 

Chris Novak: I enjoyed that post-match segment more than the match. Such is life. 

The Viking Raiders are up next. They squashed some dudes. Easy enough.

They flashed back to last night’s opener with Drew Mac and Shane losing to Roman and The Undertaker. Then they cut to some footage earlier today of Drew confronting some superstars, Cedric Alexander chief among ‘em. It seemed that we’re going to get Drew vs. Ceddy either tonight or down the line. All for it. 

Evidently… it’s right now. 

Robert O’Neill: Hey this should be good! Cedric hasn’t really gotten a chance to shine on Raw. Hope they let him go off here. 

They did! And he won by rolling Drew up after a spinebuster attempt. That was awesome. Use Cedric more! 

Chris Novak: I actually liked that a lot. A whole lot. Cedric getting a big win over Drew will serve him pretty well going forward, if we are to believe that big things could be on the way for him. 

Robert O’Neill: Finn Balor is facing Samoa Joe here as both men are coming off losses last night. Let’s see where this goes.

Wow, Joe won in pretty quick fashion, then went to beat Balor down after but Finn was able to get the upper hand and dispose of Joe. As he was celebrating though, the lights went out and when they came back BRAY WYATT was in the ring with his scary mask. Finn got a Sister Abigail as Bray stood tall.

Chris Novak: I don’t have any desire to see Bray Wyatt. I’m not falling for this trap again. No way, no way, no way. 

Drake Maverick is on the way to consummate his marriage. However, as we would find out after he and Renee Michelle checked into their hotel, R-Truth is at the hotel as well. That should lead to some comedy later.

Street Profits talked about the segment we just saw and hyped up the F4W later and the battle royal. Good stuff from them, per usual.

AJ Styles and The Club are facing The Lucha House Party! This… is actually pretty fun. THe match goes a little bit haywire when Ricochet comes out through the crowd and goes after AJ Styles. So, after this break, we’ll have a quick restart of things. 

Robert O’Neill: It’s a good back and forth until AJ Styles locks the Calf Crusher in on Kalisto and gets him to tap but refuses to release the submission. Good heeling! 

Chris Novak: Seth Rollins cut a solid promo backstage after being asked about tonight’s main event. Worked for me. He’s assuredly my pick to win tonight. 

The Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match to determine the #1 contender for Becky Lynch’s Women’s Championship… it’s next.

Natalya is going to SummerSlam. Carmella went out first after Alexa swooped in and rolled her up. The match continued on for a… long time… and Natalya got Naomi with a rollup. Then Nattie made Alexa tap out. This match will get a lot of discussion because of how “bad” it was. Here’s my thing. No it wasn’t that great. But it also wasn’t awful. The pacing and agenting of it was just weird. Oh well. I don’t much care about Nattie-Becky, and none of the stuff along the way the next few weeks will probably get me to care.

Robert O’Neill: This match was a bit of a mess. Too long, and the wrong person won. Obviously I’m very pro-Alexa, but if not her, why not Naomi? I get Natalya is from Canada and Summerslam is in Canada but… I just don’t care about her.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, here’s Dolph Ziggler on MizTV. 

Alright that actually wasn’t bad. Ziggler called Miz out for being a sellout and corporate now an forgetting his roots just like his wife did, and then Miz beat him up. 

Chris Novak: A Miz-Ziggler feud in 2019 doesn’t sound all that interesting to me.

R-Truth snuck into Drake Maverick’s hotel room and won the 24/7 Championship back. The segment was pretty hilarious, I have to say. As they often are. 

Battle Royal is next. Seth Rollins won. Not too surprising of a result. They’re running it back, as they probably should be. This works for me, as long as they do the match right. We’ll see if they do!

Robert O’Neill: I don’t love the result but I also expected it. My problem was the postmatch stuff when they basically had Seth cut the same exact promo as he did leading up to WrestleMania. We’ll see how it goes, I guess.


Robert O’Neill: Whew, boy. This show… didn’t work for me. Coming off Extreme Rules, I was very optimistic to start the road to SummerSlam, but between running the exact same program from earlier with Seth “I’M GONNA BE A FIGHTING CHAMPION! I’M HERE AND YOU’RE NOT!!!!” Rollins and Brock Lesnar, and the utter mess that the women’s division has turned into… yikes. The 24-7 Title stuff was fun and The Club vs. LHP was fine but other than that… yikes. D+

Chris Novak: Wow, that is way, WAY too harsh a grade in my opinion… this show was fine. It wasn’t anything to really write home about and I do think they could’ve rebounded better from Extreme Rules better. The Fatal 4-Way was disappointing, although itw as not nearly as bad as anyone thought it would be, even though the booking decision was baffling in the end. I’m going to give this a C. This was not D+ worthy and I think Rob is crazy here. I’m not sure what you’d expect here with Seth’s “story.” That’s been the whole way so far. Why change it?


Chris Novak: Time for SmackDown Live. Bit of an intriguing show. The IIconics are defending their Women’s Tag Team Titles against The Kabuki Warriors. Also, Ember Moon and a mystery partner will face Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. For now, we begin with SmackDown’s Town Hall, which could (and I emphasize the word could here) be intriguing. Before that… we get a look at what happened “earlier” today. Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens bantered, and Shane gave KO the night off. I can only imagine where that’s headed.

Anyways, the entire roster is out on the stage right now. Yes, that includes such folks as Charlotte Flair, Buddy Murphy, Liv Morgan, among others who you may or may not have seen for the last few… weeks… or months. Shene asks who would like to fo first, as far as speaking, and to the front comes Roman Reigns. Roman says he’s not gonna be diplomatic and tells Shane to kiss his ass.

Robert O’Neill: Charlotte steps up and defends Shane “from one family to another” and lays on it on thick before Liv Morgan goes to the other microphone and tells Charlotte to shut up before Shane shuts it down. Then Buddy Murphy steps up and tells Kevin Owens to keep his name out of his mouth. 

Chris Novak: I’m enjoying this so far. Apollo says that everyone agrees with what KO said. Andrade and Zelina then step up, and it seems as though some seeds were planted to have another match between those two. Elias then steps up until The New Day cuts them off. Kofi gets the conversation going and… suddenly, his mic is cut. I’m sure that wasn’t intentional. Cesaro then comes up and says he wants to fight Aleister Black yet again tonight. So, that will rule.

Kevin Owens then showed up and Stunned Shane McMahon. Shane had a hilarious botch of the kick to the stomach. Thought that was a fun and effective enough segment. Everything else this evening will sort itself out, I reckon.

Robert O’Neill: And we’re jumping right into Cesaro/Black. Hell yeah. 

Chris Novak: Well, this match was good again. Not as good as the PPV match, but it was good nonetheless. But that’s to be expected, right? Aleister won after hitting another really awesome Black Mass. Let’s get Black’s push rolling.

Robert O’Neill: Frankly I’m just glad they didn’t have 50/50 booking here. Let Black keep racking up wins. Good on my end. 

Chris Novak: Backstage interaction between Dolph Ziggler and Shane McMahon give way to the thought that, uh, I guess, that there’ll be some interaction between them and KO later. Okay, sure.

Charlotte Flair is facing Liv Morgan. Hell to the yeah, Liv Morgan’s getting a match. Boom!

Robert O’Neill: It was kind of short and Charlotte won, but Liv looked good! It makes sense for Charlotte to win relatively quickly, as she’s “better” than Liv. After the match Liv goes on commentary and says “When I come back, I’m gonna be REAL!”

Well alright. Cool!

Chris Novak: Color me intrigued. Color me very intrigued. Ember Moon and ??? vs. Mandy and Sonya is next. Her partner? It’s BAYLEY! This is a nice little twist. And works well for me! 

Robert O’Neill: Ember and Bayley got a quick victory, then Bayley announced that Ember would be facing her at Summerslam for the title. Huh!

Chris Novak: No she did not, pal. She just said she wanted to face her for the title, unless I missed something. And I don’t think that I did! I reckon that match happens on TV and we get Bayley-Charlotte at SummerSlam. 

Robert O’Neill: Ah, I was confused. We’ll have to wait and see what happens! 

Chris Novak: Correction… the match IS happening at SummerSlam. Very intriguing.

Robert O’Neill: New Day is here, and they all have gold! 

Big E and Xavier Woods announce that they accept Bryan and Rowan’s offer for a rematch and away we go!

Well, maybe not. Bryan and Rowan come out in gear, but both turn around and leave. But now they’re back. And now they’re gone again, but Samoa Joe is coming out! 

Chris Novak: But interrupting Joe after he gets some words in is Elias! Elias says that Joe had his shot, failed, and so he’s deserving of a championship opportunity. Then… Randy Orton comes out! Orton says that he’s going to take Kofi down with the RKO. Elias says that they can’t have a championship match, and then suggests that they have a Six-Man Tag. 

Randy Orton pinned WWE Champion Kofi Kingston. Crazy sentence isn’t it? This was a really, really fun six-man tag team match. The heels getting the W here works for the purpose of elevating Orton into title contention. I’m going to hazard this is the direction for SummerSlam, and I am all for it.

Robert O’Neill: Absolutely. There’s so much you can do with a Kofi/Orton feud. They touched on it a little in the spring, but I would love it to be full speed ahead like this seems to be.

The IIconics are putting their titles on the line against the Kabuki Warriors. 

Well, it didn’t last very long. Billie Kay was knocked out of the ring and decided to not get back in before the 10 count. Champions’ advantage! That’s good heel work. Asuka and Kairi got their revenge afterwards. 

Chris Novak: Fine with that, as a means to extend this feud on a little longer.

Andrade and Apollo grappled in a pretty quick match. Apollo won. Looks like they’re doing some mid-card stuff with them here if the last few weeks are any indications. I’m cool with that. 

Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler faced off in the main event. The match was… fine. Owens hit a Stunner on Ziggler and then hightailed it out of there, as several SDLive superstars (all heels) were at ringside and went in pursuit. Shane said afterwards that Owens was going to pay. 

Robert O’Neill: The very end of that was kind of clunky but overall I liked the match and segment and show.


Robert O’Neill: That was a fun show! The town hall set the tone for the rest of the night by getting Liv Morgan in action, Buddy Murphy in the fold, and various other things Twitter has been upset about. The 6-man tag match was fun and did a good job setting up Orton/Kofi for Summerslam. A

Christopher Novak: Fun show. Everyone got TV time which was really nice. Especially the women, as everybody in some way shape or form was able to get on screen and do meaningful things. More of that and SmackDown will be back to being the premier show that it is. This was a solid episode of television. I will give this a high B+.

First Black Champ - Two Fawking Years of First Black Champ Pod

It's officially two years of the First Black Champ Podcast and we are just beginning! Special thanks for Barber's Chair Digital, Jonathan Hood and YOU the listener for rocking with us through trash audio and light streaming numbers! We appreciate you!

In the midst of our celebration we talk WWE Extreme Rules and give probably our best prediction and potential GuranDAMNTees to date! With the improvements of Raw and Smackdown, we ask the question, Did Vince only beat Heyman and Bischoff because of his budget? We want to know your answer!

And as promised we give you Every Black WWE Champion since July of 2017 on this milestone episode of the First Black Champ Podcast! Use the hashtag #ImFawkingWithFBCPod

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music:

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here:

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Apple Music:

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop

This Week in WWE: One Last Stop Before Extreme Rules
RAW logo.png

Chris Novak: Raw is emanating from my home state of New Jersey. No, I’m not there, and neither are my parents. Not sure which one I feel more ashamed of. Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins vs. Andrade and Zelina Vega is happening right out of the gate. Hey, that’s my kind of jam. 

Robert O’Neill: Ya know, that was a fun match. Rollins and Becky won but Seth almost dropped the ball after he was distracted by Andrade making inadvertent contact with Becky. I actually really like that. While I have mixed feelings about the Becky/Seth pairing, I think it’s pretty good way to build this up. Corbin and Lacey attacked from behind after the match. And then Paul Heyman came out! Will Brock Lesnar cash in?

Chris Novak: He will not? But Sunday? I doubt it but Paul Heyman spun a yarn about how Extreme Rules in Philadelphia would be a fitting place. Because, yknow, ECW, Philly, yeah. You get it. 

Robert O’Neill: Heyman says Brock will cash in Sunday! Or maybe not. Maybe he’s lying. Who knows!

We move onto a ⅔ falls 6-man tag between the Miz/Usos and Elias/Revival. IT’s gonna be good but the forced stipulation is stupid. Just have the match during commercials. It was fine for years, it’s fine now.

Chris Novak: It was forced… but once again, like the mixed tag match at the start of the show, the match was really good. The babyfaces picked up the win. Seems to setup the fact The Revival will retain on Sunday, which is a good thing. Oh yeah, that’s happening! Extreme Rules is looking fun.

There will be a Beat The Clock Challenge later between Bayley and Nikki Cross, who’s subbing in tonight for an ill Alexa Bliss. The winner of the challenge picks the stipulation for Sunday. Uh oh.

Robert O’Neill: 24-7 Champion Drake Maverick is here, along with his wife! He’s going to retain his title tonight AND consummate his marriage. Good luck, pal.

Chris Novak: So Rey Mysterio’s out here for his open challenge. Bobby Lashley comes out and answers it, and makes quick work of him. Post-match, he beats him down more and threw him into some officials. Essentially, I guess, this was more a vehicle for Lashley than Mysterio. Which… makes sense, since Rey’s not doing anything at the PPV. 

AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were backstage. Charly Caruso tried to get a word, but he said that he didn’t owe anyone an explanation.

Robert O’Neill: We keep rolling right along as Cesaro faces off with No Way Jose, after their match was unable to get underway last week. CEsaro wins in pretty short order but NWJ got some solid work in. This might be a fine mini-feud? 

The Street Profits are back!

Chris Novak: They cut a fun promo hyping up the Taker-Roman/Shane-Drew match this week. It was very entertaining and very Street Profits in the best way.

Mike and Maria were backstage after the mess that happened last week. Maria said she wanted “ice cream and pickles” at the end of the segment, so off Mike went to get it. 

Now we have a back and forth between Bayley and Nikki Cross before the Beat The Clock Challenge they have later tonight. It was the typical banter. We learned that Bayley will face Sarah Logan and Nikki Cross will face Dana Brooke. Hey, that’s awesome! More people getting burn is NEVER a problem with me.

Robert O’Neill: R-Truth is looking for Drake Maverick and also sings Jeff Jarrett’s 1996 smash hit “With My Baby Tonight” 

What a segment.

The Viking Raiders are in action against Colin and Devin Justin 

Chris Novak: The Viking Raiders promptly squashed them. There was some interjection with the 24/7 gaggle, but nothing came to pass besides the Raiders dropping Hawkins and Ryder. Truth got in, was intimidated and then ran off. 

Ricochet vs. Luke Gallows is next. This was pretty fun! Ricochet got beaten down for much of the match. However, Ricochet wormed his way into victory. Styles then brought Karl Anderson into the fold, as he’ll be facing him after this commercial break! Ricochet won that match also, and then after the match, AJ Styles jumped in the ring and started beating him down. Gallows got in on it as well. Styles hit him with a Brainbuster, and then Anderson and Gallows hit RIcochet with a Magic Killer. Then Styles teased yet another Styles Clash from the second rope, but threw him down on the mat instead.

Ricochet wasn’t quite done though because he got up. Gallows and Anderson got in and held him up, and Styles hit him with the Phenomenal Forearm. 

Effective stuff here with Anderson and Gallows not looking too weak in defeat and still appearing menacing enough to look like a legit threat. 

Robert O’Neill: That was simple and effective. Ricochet will probably retain Sunday, bu he may want to find some friends at some point to counteract these three.

Drake Maverick has escaped the mob and made it back to his wife. They’re ready to go, but Truth pops out of a crate. Carmella pops out of another crate and instructs Truth to attack, and they chase after Drake!

Bayley vs. Sarah Logan is the first Beat The Clock match. Sarah looked pretty good in her first match in a while, but Bayley got the win with a Sunset Flip Powerbomb at 4:32. Nikki Cross vs. Dana Brooke is up immediately after. 

Chris Novak: Dana is dusted in short order by Nikki. She invites Bayley into the ring and informs her that Sunday will now be a Handicap Match for the SmackDown Live Women’s championship. But what was interesting was the dialogue after that announcement. Nikki told her that she doesn’t know what a loyal friend is and that she should go and find a friend. Um… well… y’know… there’s this one girl…

Robert O’Neill: Intrigue!

It’s time for the main events. Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon against Roman Reigns and Gary “The Janitor” Garbutt.

They take Roman out early on and Gary has to come in, and, what do you know, he can work! He hits some nice looking flips and other aerial maneuvers before getting hit with a Claymore and losing the match. As Mike Rome announces Drew and Shane as the winners, Gary unmasks and he’s Cedric Alexander! Hey that was fun. 

Chris Novak: I don’t understand why… you know, he lost, but whatever. 


Robert O’Neill: Well, that was a bit of a mess. It’s not that I hated Raw, it was just a downgrade from last week. The main event was weird, and the Mike and Maria stuff is kind of weird and not really for me? Other than that it did its job and got me ready for Extreme Rules, but I’m really just ready for Summerslam. C+

Chris Novak: I will actually be the high man on Raw this week? Surprising. I’m gonna go with a B-. Raw’s in need of some refreshing and the main event was definitely awkward. That being said, while this was a downgrade from last week, it was above middle of the road for me.

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Chris Novak: Last stop on the way to Extreme Rules. SmackDown Live’s in Manchester, New Hampshire. The show begins with Kayla Braxton interviewing Dolph Ziggler in the parking lot earlier today. I actually like them producing this segment this way. KO drives up behind him and honks his horn to effectively interrupt the segment. This eventually spills a bit out of control as the two fight in the parking lot! Dolph is sent inside but, apparently, KO is being sent home! So… that ends that match being a thing. 

Shane says it happened because things spilled out of control backstage. KO was the instigator, so that’s why he’s being sent home. Shane says he has a “few ideas” as to what the main event will be, and he tells Sarah Schreiber that he’ll circle back to her and us when he has to make that decision. 

Commentators run down the card for the night. That card includes Finn/Shinsuke… oh, okay. KO is still here actually. Owens runs Shane and the things he’s done down in what is a hell of a promo. 

Robert O’Neill: This was all in the first five minutes of the show! Wow. Lot going on. Also I’m 100% here for top babyface Kevin Owens. It’s gonna be a hell of a fun summer. 

Chris Novak: Owens basically says that everyone in the back, himself included, feels sick to their stomachs every time that Shane calls himself the “Best in the World.” He name drops quite the roster of people, including Bud Murph, Liv Morgan, Asuka, Kairi Sane and the whole lot. Shane came out to interrupt at one point here, and cut his mic off, but KO used another mic AND the headset. As security went to go after him, Owens hopped the barricade and stormed away. This was an awesome start to the show. 

Robert O’Neill: And now we move right along with Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. First match for either guy in quite some time. Excited for this one.

Chris Novak: First match for Finn since Money in the Bank, first SDLive match for him since 5/14 and first singles match since 4/23. Additionally, the first match for Shinsuke in general since 4/23, too. 

Robert O’Neill: Unsurprisingly, it was pretty good! Shinsuke got the win after hitting multiple Kinshasas and looking very good. Perhaps these two will meet again Sunday? 

Chris Novak: Nak looked like a total beast in that match. I won’t be surprised if Finn-Nak gets added to the Extreme Rules card by the end of the week. 

We are going to have a contract signing for the SDLive Women’s Championship Match this Sunday. Hey! That’s pretty fun, right?

A video package highlighting the Kofi Kingston-Samoa Joe feud plays. It’s predictably very good. Joe then comes on screen afterwards and talks some shit. So, pretty much, what you’d expect. 

Robert O’Neill: Nikki Cross is here for a contract signing with Bayley for their match on Sunday. Alexa isn’t around because she’s sick. 

Chris Novak: These two pretty much hit all the proper notes here. Bayley talked about her early years in NXT and how she was often manipulated but eventually grew into her own. Nikki says she’s tired of Bayley trying to drive a wedge between the two of them, and claims they’ll be co-champions if they win on Sunday. Somehow… I don’t see that in the cards. But alas, it’s time for Nikki Cross to face Carmella. 

Robert O’Neill: Nikki gets the victory with the swinging neckbreaker after a good back and forth match and then stares down Bayley. This is a really good story they’re telling. 

The Kabuki Warriors and Paige run into The IIconics backstage, and the Kabuki Warriors want the title shot they’re owed. Billie and Peyton say it can’t do tonight though because Billie has MadCowBirdFlu. Hilarious. 

Chris Novak: Hey, look at that. Advancement for the Women’s Tag Team Champions feud. I mean, hey, it’s better than nothing right? I liked this tease though and, obviously, Billie’s “disease” was hilarious.

Robert O’Neill: Time for the Tag Team Summit!

Chris Novak: This all eventually bellowed into a Triple Threat Match between Bryan, Otis and Xavier. And it absolutely ruled. Otis picked up the win after hitting a Pop-Up Slam on Woods. They teased the fact that if that happens on Sunday, then Bryan and Rowan will lose the title. Elementary stuff here, and it all really worked. The match was just outstanding. 

Robert O’Neill: Wow. This match was so good. Something about Smackdown multi-man matches, man. Really excited for the tag match on Sunday!

Chris Novak: Mandy and Sonya bullied Ember Moon in the back again. They seemed to challenge Ember to go find a tag team partner so that she could face them both. I KNOW SOMEONE WHO SHE COULD PICK! 

Another really great Ali vignette aired. I’m a big fan of these and this one was another real good one.

Aleister Black’s opponent has been revealed and it is… Cesaro! So this match should totally fucking rock on Sunday. It’s also #WWETop25 approved. Wink, wink. 

Robert O’Neill: The main event has arrived! Roman Reigns is taking on Dolph Ziggler. 

Chris Novak: This should be pretty decent, if both bring their working boots. And so they did. There was a real hot finish here. Everyone got involved at ringside. Reigns went way over the top rope for a dive on everyone. He was then superkicked by Ziggler. Shane got into the ring to talk some trash, but Kevin Owens reappeared and hit him with a Stunner. Reigns and Dolph got back into the ring, and Roman hit him with a Spear to win the matchup at the horn.

Robert O’Neill: *Clears throat* OWENS GOT MCMAHON! OWENS GOT MCMAHON!


Chris Novak: This show ruled. There was very good action, good storyline advancement and no low points. This was the best SmackDown in some time, which admittedly has been a low bar to clear. But everything flowed really well here. Maybe they realized how stupid the Elimination and ⅔ Falls Matches are, maybe I’ll regret saying that in a week. Whatever the case, this was a great show to tee up Extreme Rules. A-

Robert O’Neill: I didn’t love Smackdown last week, but they definitely bounced back this week. I loved this from wall to wall, and it has me really excited for Extreme Rules. It was nice seeing Roman Reigns back in action, and Aleister Black vs. Cesaro should be a ton of fun. A- here as well.

Ruthless Aggression - RAW Is Heyman

Before we dive into the Paul Heyman era on RAW, Pierce Rob and Chris do a quick review of Spider-Man: Far From Home! Then, another week in the Ruthless Aggression era as RAW deals with the fallout of Kane's unmasking, and Vince gets rid of Hogan for GOOD (two years).

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 527
Smackdown 202

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The 2019 WWE Top 25: Midyear Edition

2019 has been a fascinating year for wrestling. Such has been the case for WWE. Through all the highs and lows, in-ring action certainly hasn’t been a complaint at the midway point of the year. The best of the best in the company have (for the most part) gotten to shine, and shine brightly they all have.

Let’s not make any haste here. This post will obviously be different than the rest you’ve seen here. I’ve already deposited my Top 100 Matches of the Year, as well as my Women’s Top 25, too. So we’re just going to be primarily focusing in on the superstars, 25-1, in this post.

First though, since this is the midway point in the year, I’ll reveal the superstars who’re currently ranked 100-26. I’ll do this by 10s, and then 30-26 before starting the Top 25. And so, away we go.


100. Sarah Logan (20)
99. Lio Rush (20)
98. Zack Gibson (20)
97. Buddy Murphy (20)
96. Travis Banks (20.75)
95. R-Truth (20.75)
94. Noam Dar (20.75)
93. Ariya Daivari (21)
92. Billie Kay (21.5)
91. Sonya Deville (21.75)

Seeing Buddy Murphy here really upsets me, man. He’s only got six matches this year. Shane McMahon, meanwhile, has nine. Hopefully that sees an uptick as time progresses here. A lto of these folks here could probably benefit from some more work too, or in some cases, more time in the ring (hello, Sonya Deville).


90. Kassius Ohno (21.75)
89. Wesley Blake (21.75)
88. Steve Cutler (21.75)
87. Curt Hawkins (22)
86. Joe Coffey (22.25)
85. Marcel Barthel (22.25)
84. Tommaso Ciampa (22.5)
83. Bobby Roode (22.75)
82. Fabian Aichner (22.75)
81. Kairi Sane (23.25)

There’s a lot of solid workers here, obviously. The Forgotten Sons may get a bit of hate, but I thin k they’ve done a fine job tagging this year on NXT. Same with the great team of Aichner and Barthel, who I absolutely want to see more of on NXT UK. Let’s get more of Kairi Sane in the mix on SmackDown Live too, yeah? Also, I probably get the sense that Tommaso Ciampa wouldn’t be so low here if it were not for his unfortunate injury. If he comes back and starts working again, I suspect big things will be on the horizon for him.


80. Montez Ford (23.25)
79. Angelo Dawkins (23.25)
78. Chad Gable (23.75)
77. Natalya (24)
76. Lacey Evans (24)
75. Rowe (24.625)
74. Hanson (24.625)
73. Naomi (25)
72. Mark Andrews (25)
71. Jack Gallagher (25)

The War… er, Viking Exp… Raiders. Okay let me stop the joke here. TAFKA Hanson and Rowe would probably be higher on the list, if not for a couple of low-grade squash matches they’ve had. That’s obviously fine, but it has hindered some progress for them. Their peak is pretty damn good, though. Also, The Street Profits are pegged to be heavy risers once they really get going as tag champs, methinks.


70. Danny Burch (25)
69. Carmella (25.5)
68. Ronda Rousey (25.5)
67. Pete Dunne (26)
66. James Drake (26)
65. Peyton Royce (27.5)
64. Alexa Bliss (27.75)
63. Asuka (27.75)
62. Mike Kanellis (28)
61. Bobby Fish (28)

There’s a good abundance of women’s talent here. Danny Burch is ranked significantly lower than his oftentimes tag team partner Oney Lorcan, but that’s because Lorcan’s solo work on 205 Live has given him a big boost in the match # department. Pete Dunne is a phenomenal worker, of course. But he’s competed just seven times on TV this year. So that is what it is. Asuka would be higher if not for an absence from TV. Look out for Alexa Bliss here the rest of the way in 2019, as well, as she’s getting back into the fold.


60. Elias (28.5)
59. WALTER (29)
58. Kyle O’Reilly (29)
57. Nia Jax (29)
56. Jeff Hardy (29.75)
55. Mandy Rose (30.5)
54. Rusev (31.25)
53. Braun Strowman (31.75)
52. Shayna Baszler (31.75)
51. Io Shirai (32.75)

Shayna and Io just had a classic Steel Cage Match, and it boosted them all the way up to 51st and 52nd overall and into the Top 10 among the women. Pretty clutch eh? There’s some talent here for sure, and a couple compilers in the case of Braun and Mandy, who have a combined 33 matches on TV between them this year.


50. Jordan Devlin (33.25)
49. Charlotte Flair (33.75)
48. Sasha Banks (34.5)
47. Randy Orton (35.25)
46. Trent Seven (35.75)
45. Bianca Belair (36)
44. Big E (36.5)
43. Dean Ambrose (37.75)
42. Rowan (37.75)
41. Roderick Strong (38.5)

Sasha Banks is in the Top 50 despite not working the last two months. Checks out right? Dean Ambrose is here too, but I would suspect that his fall will continue to accelerate as the months pass. Charlotte seems a little out of place here, but she’s just not working as much as she has the past few years. Or at least it feels that way. Shout out to Bianca Belair at 45th, with only 11 matches under her built. She’s really a wonderful talent. As is Roderick Strong, one of just four wrestlers this year who’ve been given the Full Five by yours truly.


40. Shinsuke Nakamura (39)
39. Sami Zayn (40.25)
38. Cedric Alexander (40.75)
37. Xavier Woods (43.25)
36. Nikki Cross (43.75)
35. Roman Reigns (43.75)
34. Sheamus (45.5)
33. Drew Gulak (47.25)
32. The Miz (47.5)
31. Tony Nese (48.75)

Round of applause for Nikki Cross. Cross has made the most of her recent opportunities on the Raw brand and sits all the way up to 36th after the first six months of the year. A lot of these all check out. Drew Gulak, I’d imagine, will make a push for the Top 25 once he gets going on 205 Live as Cruiserweight Champion. Shinsuke could bounce closer as well if his feud with Finn Bálor pans out well.


30. AJ Styles (50)

AJ Styles has always been a elite worker, obviously. He’s tasked with a workload that’s not nearly the same level as it’s been the past few years, but he’s still shining when given the chance. His looming program with Ricochet should give him an opportunity to have Top 25 status after being on the shelf for the last month or so.

29. Becky Lynch (51.5)

The Man misses out on the Top 25 after the first six months of the year. Her in-ring work to me has been a little hit and miss, but she’s still obviously connecting well with the audience. Maybe her choice of opponents and rivals haven’t helped her, but she’s still in a pretty good spot here. A hot stretch later and she could get her way into the Top 25.

28. Tyler Bate (51.5)

Tyler Bate slipped out of the Top 25 for the first time all year after June. That’s pretty much because he didn’t work all that much, if at all. I wouldn’t expect him to be away from the scene for long if he gets back on TV and gets back to work. He’s a very skilled worker and is one of the best young talents under the umbrella right now.

27. Humberto Carrillo (52)

I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Humberto Carrillo, but I think he’s yet to really work a big-time singles match. He did an awesome job in the Fatal 4-Way a few weeks ago on 205 Live, a match that earned a ****1/2 from me. But he hasn’t had a really great singles match quite yet this year. Maybe that changes as the months go on here. I’d like to see it. He’s mostly here as well because of a high match count (22).

26. Kevin Owens (52.375)

Kevin Owens missed out on the first two months of the year, and fell just shy of the Top 25 at the midway point. KO has looked great in the spots that he’s been given this year. No real duds, and a lot of good-great TV matches. His series with Kofi Kingston was tremendous, and he was part of my Non-Big 4 MOTY with Ali and Daniel Bryan at Fastlane, as well.

And now…


25. Akira Tozawa
Matches in 2019: 15 | Points: 53

Akira Tozawa has arguably been 205 Live’s most consistent performer this year. Tozawa finds himself 25th at the midway point of the year 2019 after putting in some serious work. In fact, every match he partook in during June got ****+ from me, including ****1/4 in his match with Tony Nese last week and ****1/2 in the epic Fatal 4-Way from a few weeks ago. Akira has been one of the best around this year, and I hope he continues to get a platform to excel.

24. Dash Wilder
Matches in 2019: 20 | Points: 53.75

The Revival have been pretty good when given the opportunity this year, so Dash Wilder being in the mix here should come as no surprise. As always, the qualifier here and why he’s not matched up with his partner is that Scott Dawson has wrestled in one more match than he did back at the Royal Rumble. You know by now how good Dash can be, so this pretty much writes itself.

23. Rey Mysterio
Matches in 2019: 14 | Points: 53.875

Rey Mysterio would likely be higher than 23rd had he not been put on the shelf with an injury. Mysterio has been a high-level worker in 2019 despite not getting to 20 televised matches so far this year. Seven of his 20 matches were given ****+, one being the Royal Rumble, so the other six were all his doing or multi-man matches. Rey is a living legend and he will likely get right back to it once he returns from his stint on the pine.

22. Scott Dawson
Matches in 2019: 21 | Points: 54.25

Essentially, everything I said about Dash Wilder can be put right here with Scott Dawson. He gets a 0.5-point edge over Wilder since he wrestled in the Royal Rumble Kickoff Show Raw Tag Team Championships Match with Rezar of The Authors of Pain back in January. So basically, unless he doesn’t wrestle a match and Dash does, Dawson will maintain this edge over his partner the rest of the way.

21. Ali
Matches in 2019: 15 | Points: 54.625

Ali has been a victim of lack of TV time in June, so he finds himself at 21st at the halfway point. Make no mistake though, he’s got an abundance of talent and has had quite the display on the SmackDown Live brand this year. Six of his 15 matches picked up grades of ***1/2+, including three of ****+. It’s obvious the kind of worker that he is, so if he gets more TV time soon enough, he could very well make a push for the Top 15 and even the Top 10.

20. Matt Riddle
Matches in 2019: 10 | Points: 55.625

The superstar who’s accumulated the highest Points Per Match average this year in the WWE Top 25 is Matt Riddle. And with only 10 matches under his belt, Riddle sneaks into the Top 20 of these rankings, having accumulated 55.625 points so far. Just two of his 10 matches gained scores in the **-**3/4 range. His range otherwise is ***1/2-*****, which includes his incredible bout with Roderick Strong at TakeOver: XXV. I have a feeling that he will only continue to rise as the year progresses. He’s an exceptional talent and it’s been awesome to watch him flourish.

19. Oney Lorcan
Matches in 2019: 16 | Points: 55.75

Oney Lorcan has been a very nice surprise in 2019. Not because it wasn’t known that he’s a fantastic worker, but because he’s gotten the platform to show his stuff. He’d gotten some burn in 2018 on NXT, but the cyclical nature of that brand only allows for so much flourishing. But he’s made a huge mark on 205 Live since he got there. If that continues, I think Lorcan will continue to turn heads and only widen his mark on the brand as one of the best workers they have.

18. Adam Cole
Matches in 2019: 12 | Points: 55.75

The NXT Champion is 18th on the rankings so far. That’s partially because of his workload, as having 12 televised matches to this point has hurt him a little bit. But he’s shined in just about every match he’s had. He’s earned 4.65 points per match, which if it keeps up should only help him out if and when his workload sees an increase. As the champ, he’ll likely have the big marquee stages to show his stuff, and he’s yet to miss this year on that stage.

17. The Velveteen Dream
Matches in 2019: 13 | Points: 56.125

Much like Adam Cole, The Velveteen Dream is hurt by his workload. With 13 matches so far, Dream is at 17th at the halfway point. That’s still a really great spot to be in though and when you dive deeper, you’ll find that he’s been an excellent worker. I’ve given seven of his 13 matches ****+, and nine of the 13 ***1/2+. So, the only true thing holding him back from climbing the rungs here is just the nature of the NXT brand and how often they have their superstars compete. Nevertheless, make no mistake, Dream has been one of the best wrestlers in the company this year.

16. Jimmy Uso
Matches in 2019: 18 | Points: 58.75

You don’t need anyone to tell you that The Usos are one of the best tag teams in WWE. Jimmy Uso stands 16th in the WWE Top 25 at the halfway point in 2019, and that really isn’t surprising at all. Jimmy and his brother Jey have put in serious work yet again in 2019, and obviously it pleases me that they’re still around. Jimmy’s not connected with his partner however, as Jey wrestled in one additional match this year.

15. Jey Uso
Matches in 2019: 19 | Points: 59.25

Much like with The Revival, there’s a mere 0.5-point difference between Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso. The reason for that? A singles match with The Miz back on March 5. So just take that into consideration as you see this difference between the two Uso brothers.

14. Baron Corbin
Matches in 2019: 27 | Points: 63.5

I’m sure this won’t cause a stir. Okay, so, Baron Corbin is 14th in the WWE Top 25. There’ve been some grumblings about Corbin’s in-ring work, whether he’s good or bad, etc. Here’s my take on the matter. I think he’s fine. In-ring wise, he does what he does and really excels in multi-man matches. Here is the reason he really finds himself up here: Workload. He’s worked 27 matches this year. He’s always on TV and therefore will get an abundance of opportunities compared to his peers. So he’s what I would call a compiler. Keep this in mind too: His Points Per Match through the first six months of the year is just 2.35. That number is the lowest of anybody currently in the WWE Top 25.

13. Bobby Lashley
Matches in 2019: 21 | Points: 64

Bobby Lashley gets a few conflicting opinions around these parts as well. The truth of the matter though is that he’s had a pretty good year. While he’s probably been exposed a lot, Lashley’s matches have all hit pretty well for me. Thus, he’s 13th on these midyear rankings. He’ll likely remain a fixture of the Raw brand going forward, and since he’s over 20 matches, don’t expect that to change barring something drastic.

12. Johnny Gargano
Matches in 2019: 13 | Points: 67.625

Johnny Gargano’s had a heck of a 2019. For his efforts, he lands 12th on the Midyear Top 25. Gargano has worked 13 matches and has earned a paltry 5.2 points per match this year. That’s the third-best mark of anyone in WWE right now, only behind the aforementioned Matt Riddle and Brock Lesnar. Good company to be in, I’d say. You know by now how good he is. If he got even more chances at work, he’d probably be even higher on this list.

11. Andrade
Matches in 2019: 20 | Points: 69.125

Andrade’s 2019 started off really hot. He’s cooled down a little bit, but not enough to drop him too far out of the Top 10. In fact, he’s just on the outside looking in at 11th. He’s obviously an incredibly gifted worker and he’s been able to showcase that plenty of times this year. All it will probably take for him to get going again and be in the Top 10 is the ball to run with. We’ll see if that happens on SDLive going forward, but it would probably be foolish to not let him do it.

10. Cesaro
Matches in 2019: 23 | Points: 71.5

You don’t need to tell anybody within earshot that Cesaro’s a great worker. He’s having a really good 2019 all things considered so far, and his efforts bring him to #10 on the rankings. He’s had a great balance of tag and singles matches this year, and has shined in just about every one of them. 20 of his 23 matches this year were given scores of ***+ so he is without many less than stellar outings in 2019. Look for him to keep it going on Raw as 2019 progresses.

9. Bayley
Matches in 2019: 26 | Points: 74

The workhorse of the women’s division this year is the only woman in the Top 25. Bayley has pieced together a really great 2019 so far and her efforts get her up to #9 here. She’s been a good-to-great TV worker in the spots she’s had this year. Her Points/Match is a little low, standing at 2.85. But, 21 of her 26 matches this year have gotten scores of ***+ this year, with 17 of them being between ***-***3/4. That kind of consistency has made her one of the best around right now, and among the top women in WWE, if not the best.

8. Samoa Joe
Matches in 2019: 22 | Points: 74

Surprised? Maybe you can be. But Samoa Joe has had a pretty great 2019. He’s been stellar in multi-man matches this year, and got a lot of participation points from being in Gauntlets on SmackDown Live and the Elimination Chamber, too. His work in the US Title Fatal 4-Ways in March definitely boosted his cause, as did his match with Ricochet at Stomping Grounds just a couple of days ago. Joe likely won’t be hurt now that he’s working with Kofi Kingston, so expect him to hang around this territory for the foreseeable future.

7. Seth Rollins
Matches in 2019: 22 | Points: 81.5

The Universal Champion is at 7th in the Midway Edition of the WWE Top 25. Seth Rollins has had a pretty solid year. He’s had one really, really standout match, which was at Money in the Bank against AJ Styles. Other than that, he’s been a very good TV worker who’s hit on pretty much everything he’s been given. He’s one of just a few guys out there who haven’t gotten anything below *** this year.

6. Finn Bálor
Matches in 2019: 25 | Points: 82.75

The IC Champion’s slowed down a bit, but Finn Bálor is still among the Top 10 here in the WWE Top 25. He was #1 in January and February but eventually fell behind the torid pace of Ricochet and Aleister Black. He hasn’t gotten the chance to storm ahead, but honestly after how much he was working in the first part of the year, I’m not too mad that he got some rest. Expect him to get going again in July with a program against Shinsuke Nakamura on the way.

5. Drew McIntyre
Matches in 2019: 30 | Points: 85

Drew McIntyre edged out Finn Bálor and Seth Rollins for the #5 spot on the rankings. He was able to build a heavy cache of matches thanks to the fact that he’s worked 30 times on TV this year. Now, Drew’s in-ring work has been pretty good, and 18 of his 30 matches have gotten somewhere within the ***-***3/4 range. But it should be noted that his Points/Match this year is 2.83 so far. That’s the lowest of anyone in the Top 5 and the lowest of anyone in the Top 10. And he’s also the only one in the Top 5 without anything at ****1/2+. So, maybe he’s pretty good, and maybe he’s also a compiler.

4. Aleister Black
Matches in 2019: 24 | Points: 90.125

For a while it didn’t seem like anyone was going to catch Aleister Black’s #2 spot. But after not working for the last two months, he’s “fallen” down to 2nd. He’s still one of only four superstars to hit the 90-point threshold though and he’s had an excellent campaign so far. I’m sure that he will get boosted by whatever happens on SmackDown, whenever they decide to turn him loose away from the vignettes. His tag stuff with Ricochet earlier this year was incredible and I look forward to what comes next.

3. Daniel Bryan
Matches in 2019: 21 | Points: 91.375

Daniel Bryan needed only 21 matches to get to the #3 spot in the WWE Top 25’s halfway point. Sounds about right, yeah? Bryan’s an incredible worker and you already know that. He’s made the most of everything given to him. Whether it be a PPV match or a TV match, Bryan’s efforts this year have just been outstanding. I’m excited to see what’s to come, since he’ll be working tags and he’s done a great job thus far in that role.

2. Kofi Kingston
Matches in 2019: 28 | Points: 103

Kofi Kingston has taken WWE by storm and as a result, he’s ended all the way up to #2 in the WWE Top 25. I’m not sure anyone could’ve foreseen this, but all Kofi’s done is win and put on great matches since February. It’s really been a delight to watch and he’s really hitting his stride and then some. I’m not sure when this groove will stop, but I really don’t want it to. Kofi’s easily one of the best things going about WWE right now and he’s proven to be a very strong TV worker this year.

1. Ricochet
Matches in 2019: 37 | Points: 145

Not only does Ricochet have the most matches in WWE by more than a handful of furlongs, but he’s also #1 by quite a lot as well. Ricochet has earned 145 points after six months of action. That was accumulated by getting to work on Raw, SmackDown Live and NXT during the early portion of the year. But it wasn’t just working either, and that shouldn’t just be the only reason he’s up here. No, he’s also been ridiculously good too. I’ve given 35 of his 37 matches this year ***+. 22 of those 35 were given ***1/2+, and eight were at ****+. Those are some ridiculous numbers. I’m excited to see what’s to come, since he’s seemingly pegged to have a program with AJ Styles, and those two can produce absolute dynamite at their peaks. Nevertheless, right now nobody is touching Ricochet in the workload department or the point sone, either. He’s The One and Only, and #1 in the WWE Top 25 midway through 2019.

The 2019 WWE Women's Top 25: Midyear Edition

We’ve hit the halfway point in the year 2019. Lots has happened since January, especially so in the Federation. The women of WWE have been given quite the platform to perform this year. And while there is always room for change and improvements, it can’t be denied that there are still plenty who have shined brightly.

With six months having come and gone, it’s time to take a look at who the best of the best have been this year. So, I will be presenting a standalone edition of my Women’s Top 25. For those unfamiliar, here’s a crash course refresher on the process that’s used to compile this formula.

Anyhow, let’s take a look at some honorable mentions before we dive into who made the cut.


30. Candice LeRae (12.75 Pts)
29. Rhea Ripley (15.5 Pts)
28. Ember Moon (15.75 Pts)
27. Liv Morgan (16.5 Pts)
26. Ruby Riott (16.75 Pts)

This assembly of talent came close to making the cut, but ultimately fell short. There has ultimately been two factors working against these ladies this year: Workload and injuries.

Ember Moon, Rhea Ripley and Ruby Riott have spent time on the shelf this year. That plagued them quite a bit, as they weren’t able to get work as much they’d have liked. Especially so for Rhea, as NXT UK’s formula of cyclical tapings works against her as is. Ruby has been out since after WrestleMania, and we aren’t sure when she’ll come back.

Ember has been back since Mania, but continues to be shelved. Although, she did work just this past Tuesday.

Liv worked plenty in the first few months, but hasn’t seen the field since the Superstar Shakeup. A talent of her caliber would’ve benefited big from being on TV. But such luck was and has not been in the cards for her. If that luck can change, expect her to make some moves. Candice, meanwhile, was used sparsely. From the looks of it, that may change, and she’ll have to do a lot of work to pick up ground. Especially considering that she is nearly three points behind the 29th-ranked Ripley

Now, let’s get down to business, shall we?

25. Mia Yim
Matches in 2019: 7 | Points: 18

Mia Yim is blossoming into quite the contender. Her series of matches with Bianca Belair got her into the rankings and she was able to stay alive in the Top 25 at the midway buzzer. Yim’s trajectory seems to have her poised for bigger and better things in the summer. So, expect her to start making some moves in these rankings if her workload picks up as I expect it to.

24. Toni Storm
Matches in 2019: 6 | Points: 18.5

The NXT UK Champion checks in at 24th. Toni Storm and her ‘shiny shiny’ have only seen the field six times this year. She’s been working a lot in STARDOM in Japan and other places, and the cyclical nature of NXT UK’s taping schedule has likely worked against her in that regard. With that being said, I hope to see her compete more. She now seems destined to face off with Kay Lee Ray for her championship. That match could very well position her to vault up on this list if it goes well.

23. Tamina
Matches in 2019: 9 | Points: 19.5

It’s been a pretty solid year for one Tamina. She competed in a variety of tag matches earlier this year with one Nia Jax, which aided her in getting in these rankings. She’s rarely been used since Nia left to take care of her injured knees. So, she slid as a result and wound up here. It probably says a lot that she hasn’t worked on TV since WrestleMania, but still finds herself in the Top 25. Either she will get more opportunities and climb the rungs, or someone else will soon enough.

22. Sarah Logan
Matches in 2019: 11 | Points: 20

Sarah Logan is the highest-ranked member of the group formerly known as The Riott Squad. Were you expecting that? Perhaps not, but Logan was a very steady hand when she was utilized. She did a very good job in the Elimination Chamber Match in February with her partner in Liv Morgan. She had the luxury of working a few more matches that hit compared to her peers, so that’s why she stands at 22. Logan has not been on TV (Main Event not withstanding) since an April 21 WWE Network special. If that soon changes, she might find a way to get going again.

21. Billie Kay
Matches in 2019: 16 | Points: 21.5

One-half of the longest reigning (HEY KAYLA!) and defending Women’s Tag Team Champions (HEY KAYLA!) finds herself at 21st. Billie Kay(LA!) has had herself a very fine year in the wrestling department. Her singles matches have lacked what her partner Peyton Royce has brought to the table, which will explain the differential between the two. When she works with Royce, she’s done a pretty fine job. I’d like to see more from her and Peyton in that regard, but it appears we might be set for that.

20. Sonya Deville
Matches in 2019: 13 | Points: 21.75

Sonya Deville is No. 20 in the midyear Women’s Top 25. Deville has long been noted as a talented prospect and she’s certainly shown promise when given the ball. Her TV matches, however, have been far too short for myself and others to truly see that. If her positioning on her is to change, then I think they need to take the proverbial kid gloves off her and let her work. I want to see what others say she has and what I believe she has in her as well. 20th is a very fine spot for her right now though to say the least.

19. Kairi Sane
Matches in 2019: 11 | Points: 23.25

It’s been a bit of an up and down year for Kairi Sane. None of it is particularly her fault, either. She had one TakeOver match, a Fatal 4-Way in Brooklyn. That and a one-on-one NXT Women’s Championship Match against Shayna Baszler have been her two biggest matches to date. The problem with that of course is that it’s just two matches. She has built up enough rapport so far to fall 19th here, but for her sake, her workload starts to increase so she can make a leap up. I believe she’s one of the most talented members of the women’s roster, and Top 10 status isn’t unattainable.

18. Lacey Evans
Matches in 2019: 10 | Points: 24

Common consensus on WWE Twitter leads you to believe that Lacey Evans stinks. While I think they’re exposing her quite a bit, and perhaps more than they should, I’d disagree that she stinks out loud. She’s been a perfectly fine and inoffensive wrestler. There are a lot of nitpickers that point out her botches and what have you, but the truth really lies in the middle. She hasn’t really wowed me in the ring, and I think her character work far outweighs her in-ring skills to this point. But that’s been a proven formula before, right?

17. Natalya
Matches in 2019: 13 | Points: 24

Natalya finds herself tied up with Lacey Evans in the points department at the halfway point. Nattie has worked 13 matches this year, three more than Lacey. So you might be wondering how she’s tied up with her. Well, I gave five of Nattie’s 13 matches somewhere between the **-**3/4 range, while Lacey has just one. Some of that isn’t really her fault, as the length of some of her matches really prevented me from giving higher scores. Alas, that’s how the cookie crumbles. At this point, you know by now that she’s a safe and trusted worker with a medium-high ceiling.

16. Naomi
Matches in 2019: 15 | Points: 25

Naomi finds herself 16th here in the WWE Women’s Top 25. She’s a very talented worker, and that’s apparent any time that they actually let her wrestle longer than a couple of minutes. See: Her performance in the Women’s MITB match. The problem, well, is just that. A lot of her matches, for whatever reason, have been incredibly short this year. That’s hurt the scores, and thus has hurt her positioning. Still, 16th is not a bad spot, and with a little more work, she may be able to catapult herself up higher.

15. Ronda Rousey
Matches in 2019: 13 | Points: 25.5

Ronda Rousey’s high ceiling and heavy workload at the start of the year got her to stay in the mix here. Rousey had an indisputably great match against Sasha Banks at the Royal Rumble. That, along with solid TV matches and the WrestleMania Women’s Main Event have given her quite a healthy cushion. I don’t foresee her being in the Top 25 by year’s end. She’s just 0.5 points ahead of Naomi, after all. But right now, she’s standing at 15th.

14. Carmella
Matches in 2019: 14 | Points: 25.5

Carmella sits 14th at the halfway point in the Women’s Top 25. It hasn’t felt like she’s worked a lot this year, but she’s put in a high number of matches for the women this year with, coincidentally, 14. In the two Triple Threat Matches she’s been in this year on SmackDown, I think she’s had tremendous performances. More of that the rest of the way, and a Top 10 finish is not out of the question. She’s no doubt one of the most improved on the roster.

13. Peyton Royce
Matches in 2019: 17 | Points: 25.5

Remember that disparity I was talking about? Well, here you go. Peyton Royce is 13th in the WWE Top 25, while her partner is down at 21st. The differences between the two? It all comes down to the fact that Peyton has worked three singles matches this year. In those singles matches, she was able to pick up the four point difference between her and her partner. The best of the bunch? A match with The Man, Becky Lynch, back in January, in which she got three points.

12. Alexa Bliss
Matches in 2019: 11 | Points: 27.75

Do we have a little bit of a surprise here? No pun intended. Alexa Bliss sits 12th in the Women’s Top 25 in June, with just 11 matches under her belt. Listen, I know that there have been plenty of criticisms of her in-ring work. Perhaps those critiques have some weight. But ask yourself if she’s really had any duds this year. She really hasn’t. Among the 11 matches she’s had this year, I’ve given three of them **3/4 or less. All of those aforementioned matches were either short on time or very one-sided. Two of them were this past week. She’s been in the *** sweet spot four times for a lot of her singles matches. Slowly but surely, I think she’s piecing something together, and she’s been given the ball a lot lately while others haven’t. That would explain her upward trajectory to me.

11. Asuka
Matches in 2019: 11 | Points: 27.75

Alexa and Asuka? Tied with the same points? And the same amount of matches? I’ll be honest: This probably wouldn’t be happening if The Empress wasn’t benched. She was putting out bangers left and right in the early part of this year. She was in my Women’s Match of the Year against Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble, and the best main roster women’s TV match of the year against Charlotte Flair as well. If she gets the ball and runs again with it, she’s going to be in the Top 10 and perhaps the Top 5, as well.

10. Nia Jax
Matches in 2019: 11 | Points: 29.25

Nia Jax is 10th in the WWE Women’s Top 25. Despite not working since WrestleMania, Jax holds firm to a spot in the Top 10 primarily for a few reasons. The first reason is that a good amount of the multi-woman matches she was part of got high scores. The second reason is that she partook in BOTH the Women’s AND the Men’s Royal Rumble matches this year. Such an advantage holds quite a lot of weight. It is unknown as to if we’re going to see Nia in WWE again this year due to her ACL injuries. But, if she is, she may find herself susceptible to a jump. I think she’s been missed on Raw, but that’s just me.

9. Mandy Rose
Matches in 2019: 16 | Points: 30.5

Mandy Rose has the fourth-most matches among the women in WWE this year with 16. And yet, she’s only accumulated 30.5 points. That is more than The IIconics each have, to be fair. While a Top 10 finish at the midyear point is obviously a solid point, I think that there’s a bit of an issue here. I’ve given three of Mandy’s matches four stars. Those matches, however, were the Elimination Chamber Match for the Women’s Tag Team Championships, the Women’s Royal Rumble and the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. What do all of those matches have in common? They’re multi-woman matches. Looking further down the line, the second-highest grade for any of her matches this year was ***1/4, which I gave twice. Once in a tag team match with Sonya against Asuka and Kairi Sane, and once against Asuka in a singles match in February. So, again, another multi-woman match. Unfortunately for Mandy, I think she’s more of a compiler at this point, and that’s why she’s got such a high standing. That being said, there’s always room to improve, and hopefully she’s able to find herself here.

8. Shayna Baszler
Matches in 2019: 7 | Points: 31.75

With just seven matches under her belt, Shayna Baszler finds herself 8th in the Women’s Top 25. That should tell you just how damn good she is. Baszler wasn’t in the Top 10 heading into June’s final day of evaluations. However, her incredible Steel Cage Match against Io Shirai was enough to bounce her all the way up to this spot. Baszler’s booking has certainly been a knock, but that has nothing to do with her. The absolute lowest score that I’ve given a match of hers is ***1/4. Honestly, she might be the best in the entire Federation right now, and I won’t fight you if you argue with that. Her track record speaks for itself.

7. Io Shirai
Matches in 2019: 11 | Points: 32.75

Io Shirai may not have won the NXT Women’s Championship from Shayna Baszler. She, however, is ahead of her in the Women’s Top 25. Shirai ranks 7th at the halfway point after accumulating 32.75 points. She has four more matches than Shayna, but unfortunately a lot of the tag matches she worked with Kairi Sane were pretty short. Thus, I couldn’t really give high grades to them. She worked against the Horsewomen, as well, but those matches were a little rough around the edges. The 13.25 points she gained in June, including the 9 she got from the incredible cage match against Baszler this past Wednesday, really helped her finesse her way up to 7th on the countdown. She’s no doubt one of the best in the world, and I’m very excited to see how she works as a villainess now.

6. Charlotte Flair
Matches in 2019: 14 | Points: 33.75

Charlotte Flair is sixth after a pretty solid run through the first six months of the year. I think she’d be even higher on this list, but they really kept her workload to a minimum at the start of the year. In fact, from January 14-March 10, she only worked twice: a Triple Threat against Becky and Carmella, and the Royal Rumble Match. If she’d worked more TV matches, I think she’d no doubt be in the Top 5. But, she falls just shy of it at sixth in these rankings. Worth noting: There are just two points separating Charlotte, Io and Shayna. Could make for some fun down the way, eh?

5. Sasha Banks
Matches in 2019: 14 | Points: 34.5

The Boss? Top 5? Despite not working since WrestleMania? Your fave could absolutely never. Well… unless your fave is ahead of Sasha, but you get the point here. Banks had a really awesome run at the start of the year. Her match against Ronda Rousey is one of the best of the entire year, and is No. 2 among my women’s matches that have happened in 2019. A very close No. 2, at that. Her talent is obviously immeasurable and I definitely think the product’s missing her a bit, at least from an in-ring standpoint. Should she come back? Watch out. She’ll go on a torrid run again, I’m sure.

4. Bianca Belair
Matches in 2019: 11 | Points: 36

Bianca Belair has the opportunity to become one of NXT’s greatest homegrown success stories. Belair has put in serious work this year, despite working just 11 matches. She’s catapulted herself up to 4th in the Women’s Top 25 after the first half of the year. Belair’s peak was the match against Shayna in Phoenix. However she’s also been an awesome TV worker. Her series with Mia Yim these past few months was a treat to watch. The two never really missed, and so she was able to develop this cache she has right now. They made a mistake, I think, in not giving her the belt in Brooklyn, or at least in having her lose again. But, they need to turn her loose once more. Because she’s a phenomenal talent.

3. Nikki Cross
Matches in 2019: 17 | Points: 43.75

Speaking of success stories, let’s give a round of applause to Nikki Cross. Not only is Cross’ character work a delight to watch on the weekly, but she’s been working a lot of matches and shining brightly too. Her peak scores were in the Royal Rumble and Women’s MITB matches. But, she also had a delightful TV match with the aforementioned Bianca Belair back in June, plus a great Triple Threat Match with herself, Blair and Toni Storm at Worlds Collide in April. Cross has been so fun to watch, and being 3rd on this list says a lot about the talent that she possesses.

2. Becky Lynch
Matches in 2019: 18 | Points: 51.5

The Man has come around to No. 2 in the Women’s Top 25. No surprises here really, as Becky Lynch is the star of the show and has been given copious amounts of work. She’s second in matches this year among the women with 18. Her sweet spot has been in the ***-***3/4 range. I’ve given 10 of her 18 matches a score between 3-3.75 so far. Her peak scores have also been terrific, as she has three matches of ****+. That includes my Women’s Match of the Year, when she faced Asuka at the Royal Rumble, and got ****1/2, giving her nine points as a result. Lynch should be able to carry herself in this spot for a while, as she has a huge 8+ point lead on 3rd-ranked Nikki Cross, and a 15.5 point lead on 4th-ranked Bianca Belair.

1. Bayley
Matches in 2019: 26 | Points: 74

What can you really say about Bayley this year? Other than that she’s been the workhorse of the division and has been outstanding in the ring. She hasn’t had the peaks that Becky, Asuka, Shayna, Io, Sasha or Ronda have had, or even to the extent that Charlotte had against Asuka in March. But she’s been so consistently good week in and week out that she’s built up a huge lead on the competition. It certainly helps that she’s worked just about every single week of TV this year. But she’s made the most of her opportunities. I’m biased for sure, but she’s absolutely been a blast to watch and is certainly worthy of the No. 1 spot in these rankings at the halfway point.

First Black Champ - Let EC3 Glow

We're coming up on the 2 year anniversary of the podcast and we already have an idea of what we want to do! In the meantime we talk about the big news of Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff taking over WWE programming and what it means for RAW, Smackdown and the superstars that could benefit from this decision.

Then we talk the "Main Event Muscle Men" and if it truly can work. If Bang knows this, Vince really need to stop playing games!

We end the show with an AEW FYTER Fest recap and backlash dissection and offer some advice to some of the "marks" who can't stop complaining on this week’s #FirstBlackChampPod.

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music:

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here:

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Apple Music:

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop

Ruthless Aggression - Controversy Creates Cash

Pierce Rob and Chris start off the show with the bombshell announcement that Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman will be the creative directors of Smackdown and RAW, respectively. Then we'll see them in action with TWO weeks of shows from 2003, highlighted by the infamous moment in MSG when Kane lost his mask.

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 525 & 526
Smackdown 200 & 201

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music:

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here:

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Apple Music:

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop

The Top 100 WWE Matches of the Year (So Far), Ranked

We are halfway through the year 2019. The Federation has had quite a six months so far. While some aspects are hit and miss, there’s little denying that the in-ring work this year has been great yet again. There’s an abundance of talent just about everywhere, and nearly everyone has been able to get their shine.

You may have been keeping a quiet track of the match of the month lists that I’ve been providing in the WWE Top 25 posts. For the sake of hitting the halfway point, I’ve decided to change things up. This post will feature my Top 100 Matches of the Year, so far, ranked from 100-1. You’ll see some memorable encounters on this list, some very good ones, and maybe some that you don’t remember that might be worth checking out yet again.

With that said, let’s get started shall we?

100. Noam Dar vs. Tony Nese
205 Live | 2/12/19 | ***¾

First up on the list is a fantastic No DQ Match between Noam Dar and Tony Nese. Prior to becoming Crusierweight Champion, Nese was involved in a heated feud with Dar on 205 Live. Things came to a bitter end in this No DQ Match in Toledo. Nese won the match and, of course, would later go on to even bigger things. This is a really, really fun brawl if you’re into that sort of thing.

99. Ronda Rousey vs. Bayley
Raw | 1/28/19 | ***¾

We should’ve known that Bayley was in for a big year after this match. I mean, she literally came out to control a crowd with a promo - and it worked! Then she challenged Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship. Bayley arguably outperformed Ronda in this match and assumed the role of ‘ring general’ very well here. This is a great match with a great crowd to boot that’s fully behind The Hugger.

98. Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch
NXT | 1/23/19 | ***¾

This tag is a really fun one between two of the best teams under the WWE umbrella. There’s a lot of fast-paced, furious energy to this one. The babyfaces get the victory in this one, but Aichner and Barthel showed their stuff in a big way here. This is a very enjoyable tag team sprint.

97. The Forgotten Sons vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch
NXT | 3/6/19 | ***¾

This match was part of one of the funnest episodes of NXT all year. There was nothing but tag team wrestling on this particular edition of the brand’s TV series, and all four matches would go on to make the cut here. This was the “weakest” of the bunch, but is still a very fun treat. The Forgotten Sons win this one. No idea if that’ll turn you off, but I promise it’s worth a view and the spot here.

96. The New Day vs. Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura
Fastlane | 3/10/19 | ***¾

Fastlane was one of my favorite shows of the year. This tag match was part of that effort and it was on the Kickoff Show! There’s hardly anything better than New Day tag matches, and Rusev and Nak put in great performances themselves here. New Day were victorious, as we were barreling towards quite the coronation for the other member of the group at this time.

95. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
WrestleMania 35 | 4/7/19 | ***¾

You might remember this match for reasons that… well, didn’t actually involve the match. There were lighting issues during this match that kind of distracted the crowd at MetLife (not me though) in a big way. If you can ignore the crowd’s reactions, I’d suggest trying to sit through and watch this match. It’s a real good one with two of the biggest names in the company.

94. Moustache Mountain vs. The Street Profits
NXT | 3/6/19 | ***¾

This was the second of four tag team matches that took place on March 6. The Street Profits put on a pretty good showing here against NXT UK’s Moustache Mountain. Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford had bigger things on the horizon for them, and laid down for the count against Trent Seven and Tyler Bate in this contest. The Full Sail crowd was pretty fun for this one.

93. Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins
Raw | 1/21/19 | ***¾

The prelude to Seth Rollins’ Royal Rumble win was this match against Drew McIntyre. This was one of the better Raw matches of the year. There was a good feeling in the air for Rollins, as he’d delivered a money promo prior this match. As a result, the atmosphere for this match is a good one.

92. Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan
Raw | 5/6/19 | ***¾

The start of the ‘Wild Card Era’ certainly got off to a good start at least… Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan’s second encounter may not have been as great as their first, but it was still fantastic. Kingston retained his WWE Championship in this banger of a matchup, and showed he could hang with the best of the best yet again. Bryan’s performance, unsurprisingly, is sterling here as well.

91. Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles
Royal Rumble | 1/27/19 | ***¾

The Royal Rumble was an all-timer of an event in my opinion. AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan may have been the “weakest” match on the card, which is still saying a lot because this match was really good. It was a bit slow, although it was in a total cooldown spot so it’s hard to hammer it too much. Stay for the arrival of Bryan’s new henchman, Rowan.

90. Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa
NXT | 3/13/19 | ***¾

This was a semifinal match in the 2019 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The shortlived second run for DIY came to an end after this match, but this is certainly a doozy. DIY lose to Black and Ricochet, who would of course go on to win the Dusty Classic a few weeks later. For sentimental reasons, you might want to watch this one again, knowing how things break down in the end for everyone.

89. Candice LeRae vs. Kay Lee Ray
Worlds Collide | 4/24/19 | ***¾

Candice LeRae and Kay Lee Ray had tangled in one-on-one matchups in SHIMMER, Southside Wrestling Entertainment and Fight Club: PRO prior to this matchup. This was part of WWE’s WrestleMania Worlds Collide event and taped at Pier 12 in Brooklyn during Axxess. It is a brilliant match, in my opinion, and among the best of the entire Worlds Collide series dating back to their run at the Rumble. Run this back if you didn’t watch the Worlds Collide event. Trust me, you’ll like it.

88. Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong
NXT | 4/24/19 | ***¾

Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong’s only NXT match to date took place on April 24. To the surprise of nobody, the match was a total hit. Gargano and Strong locked up in a match that, naturally, the NXT Champion at the time got the victory in. Undisputed Era appeared to be fraying at the seams, although we know how that all turned out. Still though, this was a quality match in a long line of quality matches for both guys.

87. Finn Bálor, John Cena and Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley, Dean Ambrose and Drew McIntyre
Raw | 1/7/19 | ***¾

Good times… goooood times. Look at that assembly of talent huh? This six-man tag opened up shop on this episode of Raw and absolutely brought it home. This is a really fun trios tag match that gave way towards Finn and Seth prospering in their own ways down the line. Watch for some sentimental value here, because Cena’s in it, and you don’t know how much more you’re going to see him around these parts.

86. Ali vs. Andrade vs. Finn Bálor vs. Randy Orton
SmackDown Live | 5/14/19 | ***¾

This was a Fatal 4-Way between the four SDLive competitors in the Money in the Bank match. This really ruled. All four guys got their kicks in here, and not one guy looked bad. Amazingly, we haven’t seen much of… well, any of these guys in the last month or so. Hopefully that changes right? The post-match angle is also pretty fun.

85. Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks
NXT UK | 3/6/19 | ***¾

Jordan Devlin and Travis Banks had their blowoff match in a Falls Count Anywhere battle on March 6. This was a really, really fun brawl that spilled just about everywhere that the two would allow it to go. Devlin comes out on top here, but Banks shines in his own right. This was one of NXT UK’s best matches of the year and I highly recommend watching this one if you haven’t already.

84. Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre
Raw | 3/11/19 | ***¾

This was Dean Ambrose’s final Raw match. He went out with a bang in a Falls Count Anywhere match against Drew McIntyre. Mac beat him from pillar to post and the ending was absolutely brutal. If you’re into plunder brawls and if they’re you’re thing, watch this one.

83. The Usos vs. The Bar
SmackDown Live | 1/8/19 | ***¾

Two of the best tag teams in the company at the time, duking it out on TV. It explains itself right? I thought so too. This match was non-title and seemed to setup a match between the two down the line for The Bar’s Tag Team Titles. We, however, know how that all turned out, since The Miz and Shane McMahon got the title shot at the Rumble.

82. Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush vs. Finn Bálor and Ricochet
Raw | 2/18/19 | ***¾

Otherwise known as Ricochet’s Raw debut. This match set the tone for what we’re currently seeing now from the high-flying superstar. He performed really well in a great TV tag match at the Cajundome in Lafayette. There’s some very good storytelling here and some good spots towards the dramatic conclusion.

81. The Revival vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet
Fastlane | 3/10/19 | ***¾

This was for The Revival’s Raw Tag Team Championships. This wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be, but it’s still a really, really fun Triple Threat Tag. All three teams looked brilliant in this one. The Revival won to head into WrestleMania as Tag Team Champs. It’s worth a rewatch, because Fastlane was so good.

80. Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami vs. Kalisto
Royal Rumble | 1/27/19 | ***¾

This match was for Buddy Murphy’s Cruiserweight Championship. Typically, the cruiserweights show out no matter where they are on the card. This one was no different. I personally think this was missing an extra gear, but these four totally went all out. This was also Hideo Itami’s penultimate performance in WWE before he was granted his release. So, some sentimental value here in this one.

79. Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm
TakeOver: Blackpool | 1/12/19 | ****

This was for Rhea Ripley’s NXT UK Women’s Championship, which eventually fell into the hands of Toni Storm. The match’s result was pretty predictable going into this one. It felt that way throughout the match. While it was still great, I definitely think they could’ve 50/50’d this one a bit more. But it’s still a very cool moment for Toni and a really good match.

78. Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair
TakeOver: Phoenix | 1/26/19 | ****

This one was for Shayna Baszler’s NXT Women’s Championship. Shayna retained her title, but Bianca Belair’s performance in this match was awesome nonetheless. Belair used a lot of power moves and counters that really showcased her ever-growing skillset.

77. Pete Dunne vs. Joe Coffey
TakeOver: Blackpool | 1/12/19 | ****

This match was for Dunne’s NXT UK Championship. The Bruiserweight retained in this one, which picked up as time went on. It was pretty slow at the start of it, but both Dunne and Coffey started beating the pants off each other by match’s end. Rewatch it, and stay for the post-match angle with WALTER.

76. Tyler Bate vs. The Velveteen Dream
Worlds Collide | 2/2/19 | ****

The conclusion of the first Worlds Collide event winds up being, in my opinion, one of the best matches from the entire event. In fact, it was the best of the first go-around during Royal Rumble weekend. Dream and Bate, two of the best under the WWE umbrella at the moment, went at it and a really damn good match. Dream won and earned himself a title match of his choosing. He’d go on to use that later on in the month, of course.

75. Baron Corbin vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Bálor vs. John Cena
Raw | 1/14/19 | ****

This was a #1 Contender’s Match to determine Brock Lesnar’s opponent at the Royal Rumble. Finn Bálor proved victorious by match’s end. This is as fun as any TV main event can get, honestly. All four of these dudes looked awesome in this match. Finn capped off a two-match night and looked GREAT by match’s end. High recommendation here.

74. Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Dean Ambrose
Raw | 1/14/19 | ****

As you can well tell, this was a great episode of Raw, because two matches from the show were on it. This was for Seth Rollins’ IC Championship, which he dropped to Bobby Lashley. Seth of course was bound for bigger and better things, so it made sense for him to drop the title here. The three here put on pretty great performances in this one. This just edges out the previous match, but it’s pretty close.

73. Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami
205 Live | 1/9/19 | ****

This match was an entryway to either Cedric or Itami getting into the aforementioned Fatal 4-Way Match at the Royal Rumble. Hideo would win this match, and it was one of his last great efforts in WWE. This was one of my favorites at the time in January.

72. Mustafa Ali and Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade and Samoa Joe
SmackDown Live | 1/8/19 | ****

A really fun, no-stakes tag team match here. This showcases some of SmackDown’s brightest talents at the time. All four looked pretty great here, and the dynamic between Rey and Andrade sets the table for some epic bouts later on in the month. Definitely a really fun one that you may have forgotten about.

71. Cesaro vs. Ricochet
Raw | 5/27/19 | ****

This was Cesaro and Ricochet’s Memorial Day matchup. These two were putting on some really good matches of late, and this one was no different. There’s some really fun sequences here. These two are two of the best in the damn game right now, and they proved exactly why in this bout.

70. AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe
Raw | 4/22/19 | ****

This Triple Threat Match helped set the table to determine who would be Seth Rollins’ MITB opponent. This is a very fun match that opened the show and went a rather long time. That’s not a complaint either, especially who’s in this match. This was a real treat at the time and it still is two months later.

69. Akira Tozawa vs. Cedric Alexander
205 Live | 3/5/19 | ****

This was a first round match in the Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament. Tozawa and Alexander are and were the two of the best in 205 Live. So it was no surprise that these two put on a total banger. Alexander won to move on in the tournament. This is a terrific match in a long line of great 205 Live matches this year.

68. Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel
NXT | 3/6/19 | ****

This was one of the four Dusty Classic First Round matches that took place on this unique episode of NXT. It’s the second best match of that night. Black and Ricochet’s rapport as a team only grew further in this tag team bout, and Aichner and Barthel absolutely shined, too. Black and Ricochet won to advance in the tournament.

67. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan vs. The Undisputed Era
NXT | 6/12/19 | ****

This match took place in Bel Air, Maryland at a house show, but was streamed on the Network earlier this month. This UE combo was the great duo of Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong. While this didn’t compare to the TakeOver match they had a year prior, it’s still a really, really good match that you should watch if you have yet to. Especially if you’re into tag wrestling.

66. The Usos vs. Daniel Bryan and Rowan
SmackDown Live | 5/7/19 | ****

This match was for the SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships, which were vacant at the time. Putting The Usos against Daniel Bryan and Rowan was a swift move and a great one, too. These two teams rocked the house that night, as Bryan and Rowan emerged victorious with a big win over the best tag team in the world.

65. The Shield vs. Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre
Fastlane | 3/10/19 | ****

This, at the time, was The Shield’s last hurrah. For that reason, you might find it wise to check this out. They play all the hits and get a big win over the bad guys. This was very fun.

64. Drew Gulak vs. KUSHIDA
NXT | 6/12/19 | ****

This was a submission match between Gulak and KUSHIDA. This was the best match of their short series of matches that the two had. There was a lot of technical prowess on display here. It was unique in that regard, as it’s not necessarily what you see all the time these days. For its uniqueness, it really stood out to me, and was one of the reasons I ranked this where it is.

63. The Usos vs. The Revival
Raw | 5/20/19 | ****

What a surprise that these two teams put on a quality match, right? We need more of The Usos vs. The Revival in our lives, and hopefully that happens soon enough. I really liked this match, and you probably did too when it happened.

62. Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair
SmackDown Live | 4/23/19 | ****

I foresee a bigger stage for this match very soon. But Bayley and Charlotte kicked serious tail in this one. The Hugger came up short but of course ultimately got the last laugh later on. This is a fantastic TV match between these two, who have been no stranger to each other in the past. It’s pretty easily one of the best women’s matches of the year.

61. Women’s Tag Team Championships Elimination Chamber Match
Elimination Chamber | 2/17/19 | ****

An historic match in every regard. The Boss and Hug Connection emerged victorious and became the first ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. This match had a whole lot of physicality to it and some very good storytelling as well. This one will have a lot of emotional attachment to lots of fans all over for a very long time.

60. Tag Team Gauntlet Match
SmackDown Live | 3/26/19 | ****

This match helped catapult Kofi Kingston into the WrestleMania WWE Championship Match with Daniel Bryan. There are so many great elements in this matchup. The final two are what stand out to me. The Usos giving their respect to their rivals, The New Day, and Big E and Xavier beating Bryan and Rowan last really help to make this a memorable bout.

59. Kofi Kingston vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn
SmackDown Live | 5/7/19 | ****

Kofi Kingston successfully defends his WWE Championship in this Triple Threat. This was the second night of the ‘Wild Card Era’ in WWE. Looking past the weirdness of that rule and all that, this match was fantastic. It’s also AJ’s last appearance on SmackDown, to date at least.

58. Cedric Alexander vs. Oney Lorcan
205 Live | 4/16/19 | ****

This was Cedric Alexander’s swan song on 205 Live. Oney Lorcan beats him here in a really damn good match. There are lots of good elements to this, especially knowing that Alexander wraps his stint on 205 Live up in this match. It’s definitely worth the watch if you haven’t seen it.

57. Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy
205 Live | 4/9/19 | ****
This was Buddy Murphy’s swan song on 205 Live. I liked this match better than their WrestleMania encounter, to be honest. They really went all out in this one in a very enjoyable encounter. I’d like to see Buddy Murphy wrestle more. Anyone else?

56. Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa
Elimination Chamber | 2/17/19 | ****

Speaking of, here’s another match of Buddy’s. He faces Akira Tozawa and successfully defends his Cruiserweight Championship. Really like this one a lot. The two bring a lot of energy on the Kickoff Show, as the cruiserweights are to do when they’re given the stage and spotlight. Another in a long line of great Murphy title defenses here.

55. Hawkins and Ryder vs. The Revival vs. The Usos
Raw | 6/10/19 | ****

The Revival became two-time Raw Tag Team Champions with their victory here. This was a highly enjoyable Triple Threat Tag Team match quite honestly. One of the better matches on Raw the entire year if we’re really being honest. Most of them have included The Revival. What does that say? We’ll leave that up to you.

54. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Harper
Worlds Collide | 4/14/19 | ****

This was Harper’s most recent match to date and it was totally awesome. It’s a shame that things have gone by the wayside for him, because he’s a phenomenal worker and this match showed exactly why. Watch this one if you haven’t already. It’s a total doozy.

53. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. The New Day
Stomping Grounds | 6/23/19 | ****

I’ll never tire of watching these two teams tangle with each other. Their match at Stomping Grounds was no different. I really liked this one a lot. There’s so much good back-and-forth action here. Owens and Zayn pick up the victory here. In case you missed Stomping Grounds, watch this match.

52. Tony Nese vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak
Stomping Grounds | 6/23/19 | ****

Drew Gulak unseated Tony Nese to become the Cruiserweight Champion here. This was another really damn good Cruiserweight Title match on a Kickoff Show. All three look totally great in this one. Gulak gets a much-deserved moment here after putting in some great work the past few years.

51. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak
205 Live | 6/4/19 | ****

Speaking of, this 205 Live match between Gulak and Akira Tozawa also really owns. Gulak made his return to the brand after his brief stint in NXT and stood up to the task of facing Tozawa. He wound up defeating him on that night, which helped set up the aforementioned title victory.

50. Chad Gable vs. Gentleman Jack Gallagher
205 Live | 6/11/19 | ****

Halfway home! Did you forget how good a worker Chad Gable is? Well, this match will do the trick to remind you. This was a fantastic match that took many by surprise as it happened. Lots of people fawned over it afterwards, and for good reason. Check this one out, for sure.

49. Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Money in the Bank | 5/19/19 | ****

Bayley won the Money in the Bank contract here. This was a brutal and pretty violent match, all things considered. There were some really cool moments here. Naomi really shined herself, and Bayley did of course too. Ember’s Eclipse on Natalya was an awesome moment as well. This is a personal fave of mine. I’m sure you’re so surprised to read that.

48. R-Truth vs. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe
SmackDown Live | 3/5/19 | ****

This match gave Samoa Joe his first career singles title in WWE proper. This was a really good Fatal 4-Way that they’d run back at Fastlane a few days later. The pacing in this match is great and so is the energy. Lot of really good stuff in this match.

47. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. The Revival
Raw | 2/11/19 | ****

This match gave The Revival their first run as Raw Tag Team Champions. The match started off slow and got an otherwise quiet crowd really enthused by match’s end. This is a great tag team display and one that obviously has plenty of value to you Top Guys fans out there. This is my Raw Match of the Year so far.

46. Shayna Baszler vs. Bianca Belair vs. Io Shirai vs. Kairi Sane
TakeOver: New York | 4/5/19 | ****

This was for Shayna Baszler’s NXT Women’s Championship. Baszler retained in a pretty great match. I watched this a second time after seeing it live and I definitely thought it was better a second time. However I’m certain I probably would’ve boosted this match even more if there was a title change. They did Bianca really wrong here. Looking past that, this is a great F4W with some great character work by The Sky Pirates.

45. Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens
Money in the Bank | 5/19/19 | ****

This was for Kofi’s WWE Championship, and Kingston would retain over Kevin Owens. This match was paced well and booked well. It played out really well as the match went on. Kofi’s on a total heater right now and this was another shining example of that.

44. Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch
WrestleMania 35 | 4/7/19 | ****

This was the historic Winner-Take-All main event, the first of its kind for the women at WrestleMania. There are a lot of people who hate on this match. I think it definitely didn’t sync as well as people thought it would going in. But, the expectations were always insurmountable. It’s still really, really great. Becky gets her memorable coronation that her fans will never ever forget.

43. Adam Cole and DIY vs. Aleister Black, Ricochet and The Velveteen Dream
Halftime Heat | 2/3/19 | ****

This six-man tag at the Performance Center took place during halftime of the Super Bowl. Bringing back Halftime Heat and using it to showcase these six was an awesome decision. This kicked serious amounts of ass and was better than even I thought it would be. This is worth a rewatch for a lot of the really fun spots that happen in this match.

42. Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle
NXT | 2/6/19 | ****

Any Catch Point fans here? You’ll like this one a lot then if you haven’t seen it yet. Gulak and Riddle went blow for blow in a matchup that I think really helped Riddle get some more shine. His match against The Velveteen Dream in New York was his coming out party, but this was a great table setter for things to come. I could watch these two wrestle each other all day.

41. Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Royal Rumble | 1/27/19 | ****

Seth Rollins won the Royal Rumble in this one. This was a pretty well-booked Royal Rumble all things considered. I think the 2018 one was better, but this definitely didn’t lag too far behind. The spots were unique and I loved the fact that they didn’t heavily rely on surprise appearances. This is a very fun Rumble match on an all-time great Rumble PPV.

40. Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Royal Rumble | 1/27/19 | ****

Becky Lynch got her big moment and won the Royal Rumble in this one. This started off really slow and felt out of sync. However, it got better as the match progressed. Becky’s arrival to the match, combined with the crescendo of the crowd noise to her eliminating Charlotte Flair make for a really sweet moment. This one will hold up plenty of emotional and sentimental value for a very long time.

39. Elimination Chamber Gauntlet Match
SmackDown Live | 2/12/19 | ****¼

This match was used to see who would come out last in the Elimination Chamber Match. Kofi Kingston’s road to WrestleMania officially started on this night, although no one quite knew that as time went on. The benefit of hindsight probably makes this match, and his performance, all the better. Randy Orton won this match at the horn with an RKO on AJ Styles. This is one of the better TV matches of the entire year.

38. Pete Dunne vs. WALTER
TakeOver: New York | 4/5/19 | ****¼

This might be a bit controversial. This match is really good, don’t get me wrong. I also understand the fact that Dunne was champion for nearly two years heading into this bout. So, a quick title change probably wouldn’t have been too effective. However, even after a second watch, I felt 25 minutes for this one was WAY too long. It’s no real slight against the wrestlers. But, production wise, this one lands here instead of near the top.

37. Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery
Stomping Grounds | 6/23/19 | ****¼

This was for the SmackDown Live Tag Team Titles, and it was a hoot. Heavy Machinery, Otis especially, came out looking like a million bucks after working with Bryan and Rowan. They retained their championships, but the challengers in Heavy Machinery looked a lot better after this one. This is a star-making performance.

36. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio
SmackDown Live | 1/22/19 | ****¼

This was the 2/3 Falls edition of this matchup. It was not quite as great as their first encounter, but these two still went crazy. The match didn’t really suffer from the ending of it, and there was probably no real way of them hitting the highs that they did just a week prior. But Mysterio and Andrade could wrestle for days and I’d never tire of it. Really great TV match here.

35. The Usos vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon
Fastlane | 3/10/19 | ****¼

I, non-ironically, enjoyed the hell out of this. Shane McMahon may have tired and soured on everyone by now, but he does great in this match. As does Miz, who works as a totally effective babyface. Working with The Usos never really hurts either. This was a super fun PPV opener at the time and one of The Usos’ finest pieces of work.

34. Shayna Baszler vs. Io Shirai
TakeOver: XXV | 6/1/19 | ****¼

This was for Shayna’s NXT Women’s Championship. Baszler won, defeating Shirai and continuing her reign as champ. I enjoyed this one, and while I don’t know if I really expected Io to win, it suffers only slightly from the fact that Baszler is a literal cheat code. Their second match was better, at the very least. Shirai does a great job here though.

33. Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet
Stomping Grounds | 6/23/19 | ****¼

This was for Samoa Joe’s United States Championship, and Ricochet won it from him in this bout. This started off slowly but both of these dudes turned the heat up. They beat the pants off each other. Both of them sold their asses off and the conclusion was really fun too. This was a great moment for Ricochet, as he won his first singles title in WWE proper.

32. The Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy
NXT | 4/17/19 | ****¼

This was for Dream’s NXT North American Championship. It’s also Buddy’s last match to date so far (and hopefully that changes). This was a super fun match that Dream won to retain his championship. I think Murphy did a bit too much kick spamming here, but this was very, very good regardless.

31. Gauntlet Match
SmackDown Live | 3/19/19 | ****¼

This was Kofi Kingston’s first attempt at trying to get to the WrestleMania main event. They played everyone hook, line and sinker here on the way towards his eventual coronation. Vince plays a perfect shit heel and Bryan’s about face to corporate chum was a delight to see. Hindsight makes the journey all the more worth it here. This was a fun-ass TV match.

30. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair
SmackDown Live | 3/26/19 | ****¼

This was for Asuka’s SmackDown Live Women’s Championship. While this match definitely could’ve just happened at WrestleMania, eliminating a lot of the problems that swelled up, this was an absolute dandy. Charlotte wins the SDL Women’s Championship on a whim to take it into WrestleMania. It is among the best women’s matches of the year and the best women’s match that’s happened on TV so far.

29. Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns
Stomping Grounds | 6/23/19 | ****¼

Drew Mac and Roman Reigns fought at WrestleMania and on a Raw later on. But this match was the best of their series. It was just the two of them beating the crap out of each other, with a little bit of drama inflicted by Shane McMahon in the midst of it. Roman defeated Drew to perhaps rid him of his problems with him. Nevertheless, while this feud has been dragging, this match was an absolute hit.

28. Akira Tozawa vs. Tony Nese
205 Live | 6/25/19 | ****¼

Tozawa and Nese put on an absolute show just a couple of days ago on 205 Live. So much so that this match leapt up all the way to 28th on the rankings with only a short time to go. Near falls aplenty and great action overtook this one in a big way. Nese proved victorious to win himself a shot at Gulak’s Cruiserweight Championship.

27. Samoa Joe vs. Andrade vs. R-Truth vs. Rey Mysterio
Fastlane | 3/10/19 | ****¼

This was for Joe’s US Championship, and he retained his title. This was also a rematch of the Fatal 4-Way that took place just five days prior to the show. They outdid themselves, honestly, with this match as the four went all out. This was one of the best multi-man matches of the year at the time and still remains that way, too.

26. The Velveteen Dream vs. Tyler Breeze
TakeOver: XXV | 6/1/19 | ****¼

This was for Dream’s North American Championship. Have you forgotten how good Breeze was? If so, watch this match! Dream and Breeze use their character work to the best of their abilities to make it all work. Dream retained his championship. It doesn’t seem like they’re running it back to this yet, but one day, hopefully they will.

25. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era
NXT | 3/6/19 | ****¼

This was the final of the four First Round Dusty Classic matches. And they certainly ended on a high note. DIY and O’Reilly and Fish put on a great tag team display in this one. The talent is overflowing here and they really just turn this into a great display of tag team wrestling. DIY won here and moved on to the semifinals.

24. Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens
SmackDown Live | 5/28/19 | ****¼

This was a rematch of Money in the Bank, and I thought it was even better than their first encounter. They tapped into a lot more and Kingston picked up the victory yet again. This was yet another great SmackDown Live TV match, which continues to be a theme here if you can’t tell.

23. The Undisputed Era vs. The War Raiders
TakeOver: Phoenix | 1/26/19 | ****¼

This was for The Undisputed Era’s NXT Tag Team Championships. The War Raiders claimed the titles after a ridiculously good match. The size difference between the two teams meant no difference at all. They found a way to get into their wheelhouses and make the match an absolute treat. It’s yet another great TakeOver opener.

22. Johnny Gargano vs. The Velveteen Dream
NXT | 2/20/19 | ****¼

This was for Gargano’s North American Championship, which Dream won after a damn good match. It shouldn’t surprise you that a Gargano match was great, as he has quite the rapport of course. Dream, naturally, shined brightly here too. Everything Dream’s touched since this match has turned to gold, so watch this if you want to see his great 2019 run start.

21. WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match
Elimination Chamber | 2/17/19 | ****¼

This was for Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship. This is also best remembered for Kofi Kingston’s memorable run through the Chamber. Just a few days after replacing an injured Ali, Kingston was able to get every damn person in the building to chant his name and get right behind him. This match has plenty of thrills and sentimental value too, as it’s the origins of his road to WrestleMania.

20. Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Money in the Bank | 5/19/19 | ****¼

Just an absolutely violent Ladder Match here. So many great spots, so much ridiculousness and carnage. And you have to love it right? Many soured on the end, but Brock Lesnar showing up and winning MITB was a crazy swerve that took just about everybody by surprise. This is among the best gimmick matches of the entire year so far.

19. Moustache Mountain vs. The Grizzled Young Veterans
TakeOver: Blackpool | 1/12/19 | ****½

The first match at an NXT UK TakeOver was a certified banger. Moustache Mountain and The Grizzled Young Veterans battled it out to see who would become the first-ever NXT UK Tag Team Champions. This was a worthwhile match that has since set up James Drake and Zack Gibson has a legit tag team that still rules over the division as its champs now. Trent Seven and Tyler Bate went all out in this one too, and they obviously remain two of the best around right now. This still stands out to me as NXT UK’s best match of the year so far.

18. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese
205 Live | 3/19/19 | ****½

Cedric and Tony battled it out on March 19 to determine who would face the great Buddy Murphy for the Cruiserweight Championship at WrestleMania. Alexander and Nese emptied the tank and then some in a classic bout that Nese won to punch his ticket for Mania. This was the best 205 Live match of the year for a long while and still, to some, might rank as their personal fave from this brand. It’s obviously worthy of recognition, and its current stature on this list.

17. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak vs. Humberto Carrillo vs. Oney Lorcan
205 Live | 6/11/19 | ****½ | 205 LIVE MATCH OF THE YEAR

My current 205 Live Match of the Year took place only two weeks ago. While many were dazzled by the match that took place earlier that night between Chad Gable and Jack Gallagher, I myself was much more dazzled by this frenetic Fatal 4-Way. Tozawa, Gulak, Carrillo and Lorcan went balls to the wall in this high-energy contest. The finish saw a double pin between Gulak and Tozawa, which paved the way towards the Triple Threat Match that took place at Stomping Grounds. I myself wasn’t bothered by that finish, because the action beforehand was too good to not be immersed in. This is a dandy.

16. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. The Velveteen Dream
NXT | 3/20/19 | ****½

NXT needed an opponent for Johnny Gargano at TakeOver: New York. So, why not just pit the five best in-ring talents on the brand against each other? Whoever made that easy decision gets a hearty hug from me. This match delivered and then some. EVERYBODY got their licks in at some point or another. Adam Cole rose above the rest to become Gargano’s opponent at TakeOver, and we all know what happened there.

15. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Bálor
Royal Rumble | 1/27/19 | ****½

At the time, I suspected that this would be one of my favorite matches of the year. Six months later, it still remains that way. Brock Lesnar faced off with Finn Bálor for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble. Many were probably disappointed that Finn didn’t pick up the win (or use his Demon getup) but this match was still really awesome. Finn went full-sprint and made many believe that he could slay the Beast. He came up short, but certainly did his job. As did Lesnar, who sold his ass off for Finn. This was so fun and I hope they run it back one day in the future.

14. Shayna Baszler vs. Io Shirai
NXT | 6/26/19 | ****½

Clutch isn’t something often talked about in wrestling. However, in this case, Shayna Baszler and Io Shirai were ‘clutch’ on the final episode of NXT in the month of June. How so? Well, they both made serious moves in the Women’s Top 25 after this incredible Steel Cage Match for Shayna’s NXT Women’s Championship. And they also wrestled their way up to 14th on the list and got a coveted honor too. This was the first-ever women’s steel cage match in NXT history, and these two absolutely brought it. I loved the intertwining of Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, as well as Candice LeRae in this match. Io had an incredible Moonsault off the top of the cage that was certainly memorable. The finish of this match was also awesome, as Shayna tried choking Io out, but Io sent her head repeatedly into the turnbuckles. But, that strategy bit her, as Baszler toppled through the ropes and outside the cage onto the floor to win the match. This had physicality, drama and great spots, and is must-watch. This is my NXT TV Match of the Year so far.

13. Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles
Money in the Bank | 5/19/19 | ****½

Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles never happened in WWE before May 19, 2019. These two made the absolute most of this opportunity. This match was outstanding. Styles brought it and then some in what I believe was his best match in a very long time. Rollins had all of his energy going for him in this one and wound up retaining his championship in the process. This match is a favorite of mine and is probably among the MOTY contenders for many.

12. Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan vs. The Street Profits vs. The Forgotten Sons vs. The Undisputed Era
TakeOver: XXV | 6/1/19 | ****½

What an awesome Ladder Match this was. I had hardly ever seen as much violence in a ladder match these days as there was in this clash. All four teams deserve credit for busting their asses (among other things) in the fashions that they did in this one. Kyle O’Reilly especially, who’s still feeling the effects of that match today unfortunately. The Street Profits stood tall and won the NXT Tag Team Championships, which was the absolute right call. In their first big TakeOver match (and Dawkins’ first EVER TakeOver match) they seized the moment and then some.

11. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano
TakeOver: New York | 4/5/19 | ****½

Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano’s 2/3 Falls Match just misses out on the Top 10. Perhaps a little controversial? The match was great, no doubt. Yours truly was in the building that night to witness Gargano’s long-awaited coronation. Cole, obviously, put on quite the performance in this one too. Now while I think the match was great and the conclusion was epic, the first two falls of this match really prevent it from making the cut to the Top 10. They were just a little too dry for me to really think it was MOTY worthy. That being said, it’s still in a high percentile and still one of the top matches of 2019.

10. Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole
TakeOver: XXV | 6/1/19 | ****½

Their rematch at TakeOver: XXV however is one that I think was certifiably better. Probably because much of the beginning of the match wasn’t dry as a bone like their first encounter. That’s not to say it didn’t have the typical slow start as most Gargano matches do. But it picked up and then some. I also thought the storytelling in this match was leagues better than their match in Brooklyn. The teases of interference, as well as a few other nuggets sprinkled around, popped me more this time around. Cole won the NXT Championship to set up what should be a barnburner of a third encounter in Toronto.

9. Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks
Royal Rumble | 1/27/19 | ****½

Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks were expected to tear the roof down at Chase Field in January. Tear the roof they did. In what I believe to be Ronda’s best match ever in WWE, her and Banks put on a clinic. There were so many fun aspects that were tapped into in this one that make it so very great. It is, at worst, the second-best women’s match of the year so far and that’s an honor that will be tough to break. Go watch this match again if you forgot how damn good it is.

8. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch
Royal Rumble | 1/27/19 | ****½

Becky Lynch’s big moment came later on in the show, but her match with Asuka at the Royal Rumble really set the pace for the night. The Man and The Empress went blow for blow in an extremely hard-hitting affair. It was a match that reminded you just how good these two can be when they’re at their peaks. Asuka retained her championship to help set the stage for later, but these two absolutely shined bright on this night. This is my Women’s Match of the Year.

7. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio
SmackDown Live | 1/15/19 | ****¾

Many of us probably figured we’d never get Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio in any sort of arena. Well, these two finally made it happen on January 15. What followed was an unforgettable contest. Mysterio and Andrade wowed fans all over with a high-flying, high-impact display. Andrade won with the Hammerlock DDT after Zelina Vega got involved, but the loss obviously didn’t impact Rey too much. These two can dazzle any time they face each other and hopefully they’ll get to one day again. This is my SmackDown Live Match of the Year AND my TV Match of the Year.

6. The War Raiders vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet
TakeOver: New York | 4/5/19 | ****¾

Aleister Black and Ricochet’s run as a tag team in the early quarter of 2019 was incredible. They saved their best effort for last against the likes of The War Raiders at TakeOver: New York. This was the opening contest and continued a string of excellent TakeOver openers that’s still ongoing. All four put on an incredible display in this matchup and it was nothing more than a certified banger. The War Raiders retained their NXT Tag Team Championships in this one, but the lack of a title change didn’t impact my enjoyment at all. This is my Tag Team Match of the Year.

5. The Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle
TakeOver: New York | 4/5/19 | ****¾

The legend of Matt Riddle had been making plenty of waves for a while before he signed with NXT. Fans got a small taste of what Riddle had to bring to the table in the months prior to TakeOver: New York, but nothing quite amazing had happened yet. Well that all changed on April 5. His match with The Velveteen Dream, incredible in his own right, was Riddle’s coming out party. This match was damn near flawless to me. Riddle put on an amazing performance, and Dream did as Dream does and was amazing too. Velveteen retained his championship in this bout. Like the match before, the lack of a title change doesn’t necessarily impact my thoughts on it. This match is amazing and is worth all of the rewatches.

4. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano
TakeOver: Phoenix | 1/26/19 | ****¾

Mouths watered when it was announced that Ricochet and Johnny Gargano would collide in Phoenix in January. And for good reason. Both are incredible performers in their own right and were set to deliver a classic match on January 26. That’s exactly what the two of them did. While this certainly a forgettable portion of Gargano’s NXT run, he still put on a ridiculous performance in this match, as did The One and Only. I came close to giving this one the FULL FIVE at the time, but I wouldn’t blame anyone if they did anyway.

3. Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali
Fastlane | 3/10/19 | ****¾

I will admit that this might be a little bit ‘controversial.’ You might not remember this match being so damn good, but trust me: This match was so damn good. For 18:45, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens and Mustafa Ali went full throat. They battled in one of the most action-packed Triple Threats that I could remember. The only ones that I could think of at the time that brought THIS much heat was the WrestleMania 32 Triple Threat between Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Sasha Banks, and the Royal Rumble 2015 bout between Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Seth Rollins. Bryan retained his championship, but had his moments where he nearly lost it. The drama, action and energy in this one make it my Non-Big 4 Match of the Year.

2. Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong
TakeOver: XXV | 6/1/19 | *****

Remember that bit I just told you about how Riddle-Dream was The Original Bro’s coming out party? Well, this match was the one that made many realize he really is that damn good. Heading into this show, I knew that Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong was going to be fire. Sure enough, it was. It was one of the best TakeOver openers of all time, and in fact might be the greatest opener in TakeOver history, with its only competition being the match that happened in Brooklyn two months prior, and the North American Championship Ladder Match in NOLA. Riddle won this bout and will likely have plenty of classics in the coming months. Roddy himself has had plenty, and the potential for more is there, too. This is my TakeOver Match of the Year, NXT Match of the Year, and one of two matches I’ve given the FULL FIVE to.

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston
WrestleMania 35 | 4/7/19 | *****

There really is no other choice for #1 than this one. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 35 is the Match of the Year. This match had everything that you could possibly want from a wrestling match. It had all the drama, all the action and all the excitement. It had a capacity crowd at MetLife Stadium on the edges of their seats. It had real life implications and attachments to it as well. In the end, Kingston won and became the first African-born WWE Champion of all time. So not only is this the Match of the Year so far, but it became an indelible piece of WWE and pro wrestling history in the process.

Ruthless Aggression - Super Shut Down

Super Showdown sucks, and even the company knows it. Pierce Rob and Chris talk about why it's time for Taker and Goldberg to shut it down. Plus, the greatness that was NXT Takeover XXV. Then, the week in 2003 gives way to a great segment with The Rock and Booker T, and Matt Hardy defending the Cruiserweight Championship against Rey Mysterio in Smackdown's main event.

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 523
Smackdown 198

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The WWE Top 25 - May

Five months have come and gone in 2019. WWE has been a lot of things this year, but they’ve not been short on match quality. That didn’t change this month, as May brought about a wealth of good matches. That created a bit of an impact as it pertains to this month’s WWE Top 25. Let’s take a dive into how the month of May played out, shall we?

Before that, if you’re new, here’s a crash course on everything as it pertains to the Top 25.


1. Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens (SmackDown Live, 5/28) - ****¼
2. Kofi Kingston vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn (SmackDown Live, 5/7) - ****
3. The Usos vs. The Revival (Raw, 5/20) - ****
4. The Usos vs. Daniel Bryan & Rowan (SmackDown Live, 5/7) - ****
5. Cesaro vs. Ricochet (Raw, 5/27) - ****
6. Ali vs. Andrade vs. Finn Balor vs. Randy Orton (SmackDown Live, 5/14) - ***¾
7. Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan (Raw, 5/6) - ***¾
8. WALTER vs. Pete Dunne (NXT UK, 5/22) - ***¾
9. Ali vs. Andrade (SmackDown Live, 5/21) - ***¾
10. Drew Gulak vs. KUSHIDA (NXT, 5/29) - ***¾

TOP 10 TV MATCHES (2019)

1. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15) - ****¾
2. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Matt Riddle vs. Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream (NXT, 3/20) - ****½
3. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese (205 Live, 3/19) - ****½
4. Johnny Gargano vs. Velveteen Dream (NXT, 2/20) - ****¼
5. Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens (SmackDown Live, 5/28) - ****¼
6. DIY vs. The Undisputed Era (NXT, 3/6) - ****¼
7. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live, 3/26) - ****¼
8. Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rowan vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown Live, 3/19) - ****¼
9. Velveteen Dream vs. Buddy Murphy (NXT, 4/17) - ****¼
10. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/22) - ****¼


1. Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles (Money in the Bank, 5/19) - ****½
2. Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Money in the Bank, 5/19) - ****¼
3. Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens (SmackDown Live, 5/28) - ****¼
4. Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens (Money in the Bank, 5/19) - ****
5. Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Money in the Bank, 5/19) - ****
6. Kofi Kingston vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn (SmackDown Live, 5/7) - ****
7. The Usos vs. The Revival (Raw, 5/20) - ****
8. The Usos vs. Daniel Bryan & Rowan (SmackDown Live, 5/7) - ****
9. Cesaro vs. Ricochet (Raw, 5/27) - ****
10. Ali vs. Andrade vs. Finn Balor vs. Randy Orton (SmackDown Live, 5/14) - ***¾

TOP 10 MATCHES (2019)

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WrestleMania, 4/7) - *****
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Ali vs. Kevin Owens (Fastlane, 3/10) - ****¾
3. Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: Phoenix, 1/26) - ****¾
4. Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle (TakeOver: New York, 4/6) - ****¾
5. The War Raiders vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet (TakeOver: New York, 4/6) - ****¾
6. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio (SmackDown Live, 1/15) - ****¾
7. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Royal Rumble, 1/27) - ****½
8. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano (TakeOver: New York, 4/6) - ****½
9. Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles (Money in the Bank, 5/19) - ****½
10. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (Royal Rumble, 1/27) - ****½

WWE TOP 25 (May)

1. Kofi Kingston (22.5)
2. Seth Rollins (19)
3. Ricochet (18.25)
4. Roman Reigns (18)
5. Baron Corbin (17.5)
6. AJ Styles (16)
T7. The Usos, Sami Zayn (15.25)
10. Daniel Bryan (15)
T11. Drew McIntyre, Elias (14.5)
13. Nikki Cross (13.5)
14. Jack Gallagher (13.25)
T15. Becky Lynch, Bobby Lashley (12.75)
17. Lacey Evans (12.5)
T18. Ali, Andrade (12.25)
20. Rowan (11.25)
T21. Cesaro, Humberto Carrillo (11)
T23. Bayley, KUSHIDA, The Miz (10.25)


1. Bayley (60.5)
2. Becky Lynch (44.75)
3. Sasha Banks (34.5)
4. Nikki Cross (33.25)
5. Bianca Belair (32.25)
6. Mandy Rose (30.5)
7. Charlotte Flair (30)
8. Nia Jax (29.25)
9. Asuka (27.75)
10. Ronda Rousey (25.5)
11. Naomi (24.25)
12. Peyton Royce (23.75)
13. Natalya (23.5)
14. Kairi Sane (23.25)
15. Carmella (21.5)
T16. Billie Kay, Sonya Deville (20.75)
18. Sarah Logan (20)
19. Tamina (19.5)
20. Io Shirai (19)
T21. Shayna Baszler, Toni Storm (18.5)
23. Lacey Evans (17)
24. Ruby Riott (16.75)
25. Liv Morgan (16.5)


25. Adam Cole
Points: 43 | Last Month: 20

This slide for Adam Cole isn’t going to last much longer. After becoming NXT Champion at TakeOver XXV, expect to see Cole have more of a cushion now that he’s the top dog in the third brand of WWE. Especially so after his great match with Johnny Gargano for the championship at TakeOver. Frankly, it’s about time for him, and we’ll see how he can do going forward with that championship. I predict some big things for him.

24. Scott Dawson
Points: 43.25 | Last Month: 21

Scott Dawson and The Revival fell off just a little bit after last month, but not by too much. Dawson dropped down to #24 but still managed to stay in the Top 25 by the thinnest of margins. He holds a slight advantage over his tag team partner, only because he worked that one match at the Royal Rumble that Wilder did not. So it goes.

23. Becky Lynch
Points 44.75 | Last Month: N/A

Hey, look at that. Another woman has finally joined Bayley in the Top 25. Her name is Becky Lynch, and the former Raw AND SmackDown Live Women’s Champion finally worked enough matches to get herself in this spot. Lynch likely shouldn’t see a nominal decrease in workload, with a looming title defense coming up against whomever at Stomping Grounds. Plus, she’ll likely be working more on Raw going forward now. At least somebody else has joined the party.

22. Sheamus
Points 45.5 | Last Month: 15

Well, when you continue to not work, you slide down. With nothing in the foreseeable future for Sheamus, this dive will unfortunately continue on for another month.

21. AJ Styles
Points: 46.75 | Last Month: N/A

Feels weird to say, but AJ Styles hasn’t been around the Top 25 at all this year. And this might be his only appearance for quite some time. After a very good May, Styles apparently has injured himself and is out for at least the next month. So AJ’s time in this Top 25 might be very shortlived. At least he had that great match with Seth Rollins at MITB. We can at least say that.

20. Jimmy Uso
Points: 47.25 | Last Month: N/A

As it’s been said before, the only reason that Jimmy Uso is not tied up with his partner is because of one singles match that happened earlier this year. Nevertheless, you know by now how good The Usos are. And after a strong month of May, they finally find themselves in the Top 25. With a heavy workload on Raw looking likely, expect that to remain a consistent piece of truth going forward.

T18. Jey Uso, Tyler Bate
Points: 47.75 | Last Month: N/A (Jey), 16 (Bate)

One half of The Usos and Tyler Bate find themselves tied up for the 18th spot in the Top 25. Bate didn’t work too much at all in the NXT UK brand in May and as a result took a slight dip down to 16th. Jey Uso, meanwhile, soared into the Top 25 after a very, very strong month with his brother Jimmy. That ascent could continue for he and his brother if things go right for them. And I mean, hey, they’re the best tag team in the world. So that’s looking pretty likely.

17. Velveteen Dream
Points: 48.125 | Last Month: 14

Much like some others, Velveteen Dream saw a drop this month just entirely based on workload. He didn’t work at all in the month of May. And as a result, he took a dip down to 17th. After TakeOver XXV and perhaps a TV match or too, Dream may very well see himself take a bit of a stronger leap going forward in June.

16. Samoa Joe
Points: 49 | Last Month: 13

Samoa Joe didn’t work too much in May, and that’s why he saw himself drop down from #13 to #16. He’s still in a good spot, but obviously working as little as he did, and not having any standout matches saw reason for a drop. We’ll see what the next venture for him is, given that the US Championship scene is up in the air right now. But given his track record this year, expect Joe to make the most of it, as he’s having a quiet renaissance right now.

15. Rey Mysterio
Points: 53.875 | Last Month: 10

Rey Mysterio finally falls out of the Top 10 after staying in there for quite some time this year. And that descent, unfortunately, might continue on. Mysterio has a shoulder injury that’s going to keep him on the shelf for a little while now, and as a result, might get passed over by quite a lot of people. Especially the person who he was just in front of, who of course he’s very much tied to in Samoa Joe. Get well, Mysterio, and come back guns blazing whenever that may be.