Your favorite match of the year?
Ernesto – Despite all the bangers this year, my match of the year is still the Men’s Royal Rumble. I thought it was structured and executed in a very entertaining way. The dark cloud of a possible Brock Lesnar victory loomed over the first half of the match, making each contestant that stepped to Lesnar more interesting. Lesnar, ever the spectacle, was dominant in the match. With every consecutive elimination, the dread felt from the crowd grew. But then, Drew Mcintyre arrived.
The crowd’s reaction to Drew’s elimination of Brock was euphoric but was topped by a returning Edge as the #21 entrant. Post-Brock, the match maintained its intrigue with awesome sequences of action and interactions that built on already existing storylines. The closing stretch between Roman Reigns and McIntyre was really cool too. This was a historically good Royal Rumble match.
Granger – Some of the matches that we received this year were really top of the line. Without fans for most of the year to fuel the matches, the actual wrestling mattered more than ever. While the “greatest match ever” between Edge and Randy Orton was tremendous Just earning the match of the year award, Kyle O’Reilly and Finn Balor had an absolute war at NXT TakeOver 31.
Samantha – New Day vs. Street Profits at Survivor Series and Sasha Banks vs Bayley at HIAC. The former was really special. It featured two of the best tag teams & also bridged the present and the future. It also featured four Black men in a PPV match, which we know doesn’t happen too often in general, let alone one of WWE’s main PPV. I wrote an article on why Sasha & Bayley should’ve main-event HIAC. After the match, I stand by what I said. These two told a fantastic story leading up to the match and an excellent story in the ring.
I also want to go on record to say that I really enjoyed the Firefly Funhouse match. I never thought I’d see Cena poke fun at himself like that, especially at WrestleMania.
Max – Roman Reigns vs Jey Uso Clash of Champions. Usually, I would go for the match with the better in-ring work rate and spots. That being said, as a movie nerd I am a sucker for stellar character development and this match had it all. Jey Uso emerged as a surprise contender for my favorite wrestler of the year in 2020 and this match exemplified why he is a singles star slept on for far too long.
Although I knew how unlikely it was I really wanted Jey to win but I wasn’t mad at the result as I knew the right person had won, Roman is THE best character in the world of wrestling right now, and that’s coming from a massive Kenny Omega stan. Reigns as a heel has been clamored forever since his break up from the SHIELD, and this is why, he told more story in this one match than his entire run as a babyface, and you have to give credit to Jey as he embarked on the most surprising meteoric rise and showed he can stand toe-to-toe with the world champion, and not look out of place.
This is the kind of match to show non-wrestling fans when they tell you it’s fake, like Drago vs Apollo Creed, wrestling is a storytelling device, and you invest in good stories.
Honorable mention: Firefly Funhouse Match
This hellish year has concluded. Although there was a lot to be upset about beyond wrestling, let’s take a moment to focus on the moments that made us happy to be watching WWE television during a global pandemic.