Last week, Dave Meltzer released the 2019 Wrestling Observer Awards issue unofficially putting a bow on last year’s awards season. 

With awards season wrapping up I wanted to look at how Voices of Wrestling’s Match of the Year Top 10 compared with other prominent crowd-sourced Match of the Year lists and more importantly, what trends we could observer comparing these lists as well as what matches and promotions were most prominent or fared better than others.

Included in this study was the Wrestling Observer Match of the Year Top 10, Voices of Wrestling’s 2019 Match of the Year Top 10, the Top 10 matches of 2019 per Cagematch.net’s rating system, the Top 10 matches from popular wrestling rating app GRAPPL’s GRAPPL100 project, Wreddit’s The Smarkies awards and finally, the 2019 RSPW Awards

Note: Wreddit’s Smarkies only named their Top 9 matches. All others named a Top 10. 

Results & Dataset

Website Finish Match Appearances Average Finish
CageMatch 1 Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay - NJPW 6/5 6 2.3
GRAPPL 1 Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay - NJPW 6/5 6 2.3
Observer 1 Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay - NJPW 6/5 6 2.3
RSPW Awards 5 Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay - NJPW 6/5 6 2.3
Smarkies 5 Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay - NJPW 6/5 6 2.3
VOW 1 Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay - NJPW 6/5 6 2.3
CageMatch 9 Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenny Omega - NJPW 1/4 5 4.8
GRAPPL 3 Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenny Omega - NJPW 1/4 5 4.8
GRAPPL 10 Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole - WWE (NXT) 4/5 5 4.6
Observer 2 Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenny Omega - NJPW 1/4 5 4.8
Observer 5 Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole - WWE (NXT) 4/5 5 4.6
RSPW Awards 2 Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole - WWE (NXT) 4/5 5 4.6
RSPW Awards 6 Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenny Omega - NJPW 1/4 5 4.8
Smarkies 1 Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole - WWE (NXT) 4/5 5 4.6
VOW 4 Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenny Omega - NJPW 1/4 5 4.8
VOW 5 Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole - WWE (NXT) 4/5 5 4.6
CageMatch 5 Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii - NJPW 8/8 4 6.0
CageMatch 10 Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White - NJPW 8/12 4 8.8
GRAPPL 4 Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii - NJPW 8/8 4 6.0
Observer 3 Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes - AEW 5/25 4 2.3
Observer 6 Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii - NJPW 8/8 4 6.0
Observer 9 Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White - NJPW 8/12 4 8.8
RSPW Awards 1 Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes - AEW 5/25 4 2.3
Smarkies 2 Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes - AEW 5/25 4 2.3
Smarkies 9 Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White - NJPW 8/12 4 8.8
VOW 3 Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes - AEW 5/25 4 2.3
VOW 7 Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White - NJPW 8/12 4 8.8
VOW 9 Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii - NJPW 8/8 4 6.0
CageMatch 4 David Starr vs. Jordan Devlin - OTT 10/26 3 2.7
CageMatch 7 Tyler Bate vs. WALTER - WWE (NXT UK) 8/31 3 5.0
GRAPPL 2 David Starr vs. Jordan Devlin - OTT 10/26 3 2.7
GRAPPL 5 Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay - NJPW 7/20 3 5.0
Observer 4 Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay - NJPW 7/20 3 5.0
RSPW Awards 3 Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston - WWE 4/7 3 4.7
RSPW Awards 4 Tyler Bate vs. WALTER - WWE (NXT UK) 8/31 3 5.0
Smarkies 3 Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston - WWE 4/7 3 4.7
Smarkies 4 Tyler Bate vs. WALTER - WWE (NXT UK) 8/31 3 5.0
VOW 2 David Starr vs. Jordan Devlin - OTT 10/26 3 2.7
VOW 6 Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay - NJPW 7/20 3 5.0
VOW 8 Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston - WWE 4/7 3 4.7
CageMatch 3 Tetsuya Naito vs. Shingo Takagi - NJPW 8/4 2 6.0
CageMatch 8 Kento Miyahara vs. Naoya Nomura - AJPW 9/3 2 8.0
GRAPPL 7 WALTER vs. Tyler Bate - WWE (NXT UK) 8/31 2 7.5
GRAPPL 8 Kento Miyahara vs. Naoya Nomura - AJPW 9/3 2 8.0
GRAPPL 9 Tetsuya Naito vs. Shingo Takagi - NJPW 8/4 2 6.0
Observer 8 WALTER vs. Tyler Bate - WWE (NXT UK) 8/31 2 7.5
Observer 10 Jon Moxley vs. Tomohiro Ishii - NJPW 7/19 2 9.0
Smarkies 8 Jon Moxley vs. Tomohiro Ishii - NJPW 7/19 2 9.0
CageMatch 2 Konosuke Takeshita vs. Tetsuya Endo - DDT 7/15 1 2.0
CageMatch 6 Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi - NJPW 8/10 1 6.0
GRAPPL 6 WALTER vs. Jordan Devlin - OTT 3/16 1 6.0
Observer 7 Young Bucks vs. Pentagon Jr. & Fenix - AEW 8/31 1 7.0
RSPW Awards 7 WALTER vs. Pete Dunne - WWE (NXT UK) 4/5 1 7.0
RSPW Awards 8 Women's War Games - WWE (NXT) 11/23 1 8.0
RSPW Awards 9 Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano - WWE (NXT) 6/1 1 9.0
RSPW Awards 10 Rhea Ripley vs. Shanya Baszler - WWE (NXT) 12/18 1 10.0
Smarkies 6 Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley - AEW 11/9 1 6.0
Smarkies 7 WALTER vs. Pete Dunne - WWE (NXT UK) 8/31 1 7.0
VOW 10 Blue Demon Jr. vs. Dr. Wagner Jr. - AAA 8/3 1 10.0

Shingo vs. Will

Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay from New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Junior Finals was listed on all six of our MOTY lists coming in first place on Voices of Wrestling, Cagematch, GRAPPL and Wrestling Observer. The Smarkies and RSPW Awards both ranked the match fifth. Due to its low placement in those two and despite finishing 1st in 3/5 polls, Shingo vs. Will actually tied another match on our list for highest average ranking (2.3). 

This seems like a good segue to talk about that match! 

Cody vs. Dustin

Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes from AEW Double or Nothing has the highest average rank (2.3) of the matches in our dataset. Only Konosuke Takeshita vs. Tetsuya Endo (DDT – 7/15) has a higher overall rank (2) but that match has the rare distinction of only being included in one Top 10 list (Cagematch.net). Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes appeared in four Top 10s (Wrestling Observer, RSPW, Smarkies and Voices of Wrestling) ranking 3rd, 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. Interestingly this match appeared nowhere in the Top 10 for Cagematch.

One & Done

11 matches appeared on only one MOTY Top 10. Blue Demon Jr vs. Dr. Wagner Jr (AAA – 8/3) was the lone one & done on Voices of Wrestling’s list. The RSPW Awards actually featured four one & dones — all in the WWE family of brands: 

  • Women’s War Games – WWE (NXT) 11/23
  • Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano – WWE (NXT) 6/1
  • Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler – WWE (NXT) 12/18
  • WALTER vs. Pete Dunne – WWE (NXT UK) 4/5

The Observer’s lone one & done was The Young Bucks vs. Lucha Brothers from AEW’s All Out show while the Smarkies entered Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley from AEW’s Full Gear into the fray. 

GRAPPL’s single one & done match (WALTER vs. Jordan Devlin OTT – 3/16) makes sense given the app’s userbase and development home while Cagematch had two exclusive puro matches in their Top 10: Konosuke Takeshita vs. Tetsuya Endo (DDT – 7/15) and Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi (NJPW – 8/10). 

Highest Averages

We already mentioned Cody vs. Dustin and Shingo vs. Will as far as matches that averaged the most but who else fared well? Keep in mind we filtered all one & dones to give us a more accurate average. 

David Starr vs. Jordan Devlin (OTT – 10/26)

This match was featured on only three lists (Cagematch, GRAPPL & Voices of Wrestling) but ranked very highly on each (4th, 2nd & 2nd respectively) for an average placement of 2.7. 

Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole (WWE NXT – 4/5)

This match appeared in five MOTY Top 10s—tied for second-most—with placements across the board including 10th in GRAPPL and 1st in Wreddit’s Smarkies. The match also had two 5th place finishes (Wrestling Observer and Voices of Wrestling) as well as a second place finish in the RSPW Awards. 

Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WWE – 4/7)

With an average placement of 4.7, Bryan vs. Kofi ranked 3rd in both the RSPW Awards and Smarkies while the WrestleMania match landed 8th in Voices of Wrestling’s poll. 

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenny Omega (NJPW – 1/4)

The WrestleKingdom main event finished just behind Bryan vs. Kofi with an average rank of 4.8 including a 2nd place finish in the Wrestling Observer Awards, a 3rd place finish in GRAPPL’s Top 10 and a 4th place finish in Voices of Wrestling’s list. Unlike Bryan vs. Kofi, though, Tanahashi vs. Omega appeared in five of our six polls. 

Lowest Averages

Among matches with more than one Top 10 finish, three matches stand out as the “worst” ranking. Keep in mind, we’re talking about Top 10 matches so even finishing 10th in the best match of 2019 poll is nothing to scoff at. 

Jon Moxley vs. Tomohiro Ishii (NJPW – 7/19)

This match appeared in two Top 10s (Wrestling Observer & Smarkies) but finished 10th and 8th respectively. This put the average at 9, the worst among our dataset. 

Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White (NJPW – 8/12)

This one is fun. While the match was featured in four of our six polls, it failed to reach above 7th (Voices of Wrestling) while finishing 9th in both the Observer and Smarkies and fell all the way to 10th in Cagematch’s Top 10. 

Kento Miyahara vs. Naoya Nomura (AJPW – 9/3)

The lone AJPW match in our dataset finished #8 in both Cagematch and GRAPPL’s Top 10 but did not appear in any of the other lists. 



Brand Diversity

Let’s see how much diversity in pro wrestling brands each Top 10 had. For the purposes of this we’ll consider everything under the WWE umbrella “WWE” so NXT UK and NXT would be counted as “WWE”

Cagematch

Cagematch’s Top 10 featured matches from DDT, NJPW, AJPW, WWE and OTT tied for the most promotions represented in a Top 10. 

Voices of Wrestling

Tied with Cagematch is, our poll, yay! We featured matches from NJPW, WWE, OTT, AEW and AAA (the lone lucha match to make a Top 10) 

GRAPPL

GRAPPL’s Top 10 MOTY had matches from AJPW, WWE, NJPW and OTT. 

Wrestling Observer & RSPW & Smarkies

All three of these Top 10 featured matches from only three promotions: WWE, NJPW and AEW.