In an attempt to continue my thoughts on ring psychology, I decided to tell you what I thought were some of the best matches of about 2 years ago. I had the fortune of watching matches that not only captured my impression of good ring psychology, but also captured a pure example of what makes up one amazing match. These matches are definitely must-watch matches for the wrestling fan in you. I do urge to keep a very open mind about each as not everything will be the same. It’s always good to have an alternative to what you see and know in wrestling to have a better appreciation of the art, I always say. But, I digress. Here are some of the top matches of 2011:
Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards –ROH: Best in the World 2011
Eddie Edwards started as a wrestler looking to catch a break in ROH as well as in wrestling when he was discovered by Larry Sweeney and added to Sweet & Sour, Inc. He was then teamed up with Davey Richards and they formed a team called The American Wolves. Together, they strung together victories, ultimately winning the ROH Tag Team Titles. As time passed, they remained a team, despite losing the belts. Later on, their singles careers flourished with the two of them doing battle on ROH television for the inaugural ROH T.V. Title. Edwards won, besting Richards, the more experienced of the two with a number of singles and tag victories under his belt. When Richards made it clear that he wanted to become the next ROH world champion as part of his new quest before possible retirement, Edwards was supportive of his decisions. However, as luck would have it, Edwards ended up winning the ROH World title before Richards by a surprise victory in March 2011 over Roderick Strong in New York City. Almost instantly, the match between Edwards and Richards would be made for ROH’s Best in the World event. What resulted was a 30+ minute battle between two men who know each other inside and out. With Edwards winning big before Richards, the question was if Richards could win that big one that has eluded him. This is definitely a technically sound match that shows the growth of two friends battling it out for their place in the sun.
John Cena vs. C.M. Punk – WWE Money in the Bank 2011
In 2011, C.M. Punk took to task to drop a “pipe bomb” of a rant on 6/27/2011, stating his frustrations within the WWE and his plans to leave. However, his contract would officially end with the WWE the night after MITB 2011, where he’d receive a WWE championship match against John Cena. Punk made his intentions very clear that he would leave with the WWE title at the expense of the WWE. It was up to John Cena, WWE’s franchise player to stop him at all costs. I’ll admit that I don’t have the highest of opinions on John Cena’s character as it seems very unrealistic and chafing on a lot of levels (which I won’t go into as I only have 800 max words ). However, in this context and with this match, he helped capture the importance of a match of this caliber. Throw in the fact that it was done in Punk’s hometown, in front of family and friends and the fact that Cena’s character has been polarizing for a number of years, and you have one magical moment to remember. It might not have been perfect, but the drama that went into the match before it, during it, and after it are prime examples of how you make one captivating match and one captivating story. Check this out if you haven’t done so already.
Fit Finlay vs. Sami Callihan – EVOLVE 9
The story goes like this: Callihan is slowly on the rise in EVOLVE, winning match after match and standing out with his impressive wrestling style. When word got out that long-time wrestler Fit Finlay of WCW and WWE fame was coming to EVOLVE, Callihan made no bones about battling him. It’s your classic Youth vs. Experience battle. What follows is one of the finest matches you could ever see, blending hard-hitting moves and strikes with two distinctive styles clashing to see which is better. You could feel the intensity with every move, strike, response, word, etc. In the end, you’ll have felt you’ve seen a war unfold in front of you. Do yourself a favor and check this out.
Mike Quackebush vs. Eddie Kingston – CHIKARA: High Noon
In April of 2011, right before King of Trios 2011, Larry Sweeney died an untimely death, sending waves of grief, shock, and sadness throughout the independent wrestling world, as he was infamous for his actions within each organization he had been in. In his memory and to progress historically, CHIKARA held a 12-person league challenge over a span of events called the “12-Large Summit”. The two wrestlers with the most points through victories would do battle at CHIKARA’s first PPV event, High Noon for CHIKARA’s inaugural Grand Championship. Quackenbush and Kingston were the finalists, and their match was set. These two have never done battle with each other in a singles match within CHIKARA, let alone in other organizations. Quackenbush was arguably one of the best wrestlers on the Indy scene, winning title after title with his impressive wrestling style. Kingston has always been known to be an outlaw, never really conforming to the rules and always getting into trouble with his rough wrestling style and very cutting promos. However, what few people knew was that Kingston was very close to Larry Sweeney. His death hit him very hard. So, he dedicated himself to winning this tournament, out of respect to Larry. Watching this match, you can literally see what both men are made of and what they will do to win CHIKARA’s first major title. Their styles clashed. Their wills clashed. You would see different sides of each man unfold during this match as well as before the match via the promos they made. The match was so grand that the entire locker room came out to watch this match unfold. If you’ve never seen CHIKARA , or have seen enough to know, make it a point to watch this match.
And, those are what I believe are some of the top matches of 2011. Make it a point to watch these matches as well as the buildup that went into them. It’s wrestling at its finest and you won’t be disappointed.
Written by: Ezenwa Anyanwu