With only a little more than a month remaining in 2010, now seems to be a fitting time for reflection on the past year of professional wrestling.
Over the course of the last 10 and a half months, we’ve all witnessed some incredible matches. 2010 produced some serious jaw-dropping, edge of your seat affairs loaded with “did he just do that?” moments that helped define the year that was in the wrestling world.
In that spirit, this will be part one of a five-part series spotlighting, in my opinion, the best matches from 2010. Each article will focus on a particular match and will attempt to explain just why it ranks as one of my favorites from the past year.
While contemplating the initial idea for this series of articles, I debated whether or not I should include WWE and TNA matches on this list or if I should go a bit of a different route and highlight some truly great matches from the independent scene that not many folks here in the Bleacher Report wrestling community may have seen.
In the end, the latter option won out. There will likely be plenty of year-end articles talking about how great The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels was at Wrestlemania 26, which it was, but you won‘t read about it here.
In this series, you will read about matches that were just as competitive and entertaining, though admittedly on a much less grand scale. Some of these matches have been raved about by critics and fans alike, some are just personal favorites of mine.
Remember folks, these are simply my opinions about some of the best matches of the year that you may not have seen. I hope after reading about them, you feel inclined to find a way to check them out. They’re worth watching, trust me.
Now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s take a look at the No. 5 match on the Best of 2010 countdown; a tag team classic from Ring of Honor’s fifth annual Supercard of Honor event.
The ROH World Tag Team Champions, the Kings of Wrestling, defended their titles against TNA fan favorites, the Motor City Machine Guns.
Circumstances alone made this an interesting match. The Guns were barely being used in TNA at the time, so the fact that TNA allowed them to book this match for one of the biggest ROH events of the year was exciting.
If TNA wasn’t going to let the Guns show their stuff, at least their fans would get to see them compete against the top-notch team of Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli.
Going into the contest, it seemed fairly obvious that the tag team titles weren’t going to be changing hands. Why would ROH allow their belts to be won by a TNA team?
The chances of a title change were incredibly slim, but that took nothing away from the anticipation of knowing two of the top teams in all of wrestling were going to square off in a tag team dream match.
Hero and Castagnoli brought a distinct size and power advantage to the match. Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley brought their dynamic double-team offense and high-flying excitement to an ROH ring for the first time in several years. The impending clash proved to live up to everyone’s expectations.
Most everyone reading this knows that Sabin and Shelley have delivered some outstanding matches in 2010, especially during the second half of the year.
Their best-of-five series on TNA Impact with Beer Money Inc. helped establish the Guns as one of the best teams in the world today.
While most, if not all, of those matches were spectacular, this battle with Hero and Castagnoli stands above them as the best performance that Sabin and Shelley had all year long, in my opinion.
The Kings of Wrestling reformed last year at Final Battle and it only took them four months before the ROH World Tag Team Championship was once again theirs.
They spent most of 2010 embroiled in a bitter feud with the team they won the belts from: the Briscoes.
Their series of matches, including outstanding bouts at The Big Bang and Death Before Dishonor VIII, could just have easily made this list. The same can be said about their dream match against Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas at Glory By Honor IX.
Hero and Castagnoli have become the mark of consistency when it comes to turning in stellar tag team performances. Every one of their high profile matches from 2010 met or exceeded expectations.
The Kings and the Guns went nearly twenty-five minutes in what can simply be described as a masterful tag team affair. Each team was able to connect with most of their signature double-team, moves but neither would accept defeat.
This is the kind of match that exemplifies what great tag team wrestling can be. While the WWE decides to flush their tag division down the toilet with few teams and generally lackluster matches, ROH has allowed some of the best teams in wrestling to go all out and deliver great matches like this one.
The only thing that prevents me from ranking this match higher on my list is the simple fact that it couldn’t be decided by pinfall or submission.
TNA wasn’t going to let one of their hottest young tag teams go into another promotion and lose. ROH wasn’t going to let the Guns take the titles back to TNA.
Instead of giving us a clear winner or letting the match go to a time-limit draw, this dream match ultimately served to further intensify the feud between the Kings and the Briscoes.
In the end, Jay and Mark Briscoe hit the ring once Chris Hero’s elbow pad came into play. Their interference resulted in a DQ win for the Kings and likely saved the Guns from falling victim to the supposedly loaded weapon.
It was the only let down to an otherwise incredible tag team match that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.
The weak finish, which in retrospect was likely the best way for ROH to book the ending, took nothing away from the 20-plus minutes of excellence that came before it.
This back-and-forth tag team dream match takes the No. 5 spot on my best matches of 2010 countdown.
Amazingly, this isn’t even my favorite tag team match of 2010. The remainder of this series will feature two more tag matches that must be seen.
Make sure to keep an eye out for the next article in my best of 2010 countdown, which will spotlight a six-man tag team highlight reel from CHIKARA’s biggest show of the summer.