The end of the year is here so here is my, Charles/BushidoRX, end of the year choices for my selections of wrestlers and matches of the year.
Below I have broken down things into categories and have given some words on why I have made certain choices. You will also find video links to any matches that I have highlighted. I hope you enjoyed 2014 as much as me and let’s see what 2015 has to offer!
Also don’t forget to check out the Puroresu Spirit’s Japanese Pro-Wrestling in 2014, A Year in Review. A brief, but detailed, listing of the major moments of the year in Japan.
Favorite Heavyweight Based Tag Team – Kohei Sato & Shuji Ishikawa
Best Junior Based Tag Team – Kenou & Hajime Ohara
Favorite Tag Team Overall – Yankee Nichokenju (Yuko Miyamoto & Isami Kodaka)
[Miyamoto/Isami vs. Ito/Kobayashi (BJW, 11/21)]
~ There is no denying these two’s accomplishments in recent years, but Miyamoto & Kodaka have proven time and time again that they are solid competitors both in regular tag matches as well as death matches. Not many wrestlers, let alone teams, can manage to against anyone put before them, in which Yankee has stood tall over even the strongest teams. Also given their rise in popularity looks to give quite a few more junior class wrestlers hope that hard work can open more doors in this new generation. ————————————————————–
Favorite Heavyweight – Joe Doering [AJPW]
Favorite Junior – Daisuke Harada [NOAH]
Favorite Joshi – Io Shirai [Stardom]
Favorite Wrestler of the Year – Naomichi Marufuji
~ Marufuji is one of the guys that I have stood behind for over 10 years now and this year finally saw him getting another chance with the GHC Heavyweight belt. Maru has always been one of those guys who constantly changes his finishers and style depending on situation and it makes him one of the more versatile wrestlers out there today.
[Marufuji vs. Nakajima vs. 6/13, Marufuji vs. Nagata 7/5, Marufuji vs. Sekimoto 10/12]
Takashi Sugiura, HARASHIMA, Kengo Mashimo, Tomohiro Ishii, Atsushi Aoki, and Takao Omori
Favorite Matches of the Year –
Daisuke Harada vs. Taiji Ishimori, NOAH, 3/6/2014
~ From the first moment I watched this match back in March I knew this was going to be a hard match for anyone to beat. Going in I did not think this was going to be nowhere as good as it proved to be, but both men brought their best in what proved to be one of my favorite matches from the year.
Konosuke Takeshita & Tetsuya Endo vs. Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega, DDT, 9/28/2014
~ This match pitted the established stars versus the up-and-coming new generation. Konosuke has made strides is becoming the super-rookie since his debut and Endo has shown himself to be star in the making, much like a younger Kota Ibushi. I just really enjoyed how both teams looked against each other.
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hirooki Goto, NJPW, 11/8/2014
~ Ishii once more proved to have a solid year in getting oppurtunities to showcase himself in singles matches. There were a few choices to go in regards to what I thought was best from this year, but this match stood out, at least to me, in being a solid and heavy contest between both competitors.
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito, NJPW, 2/11/2014
Isami Kodaka vs. Yuko Miyamoto, BJW, 5/5
KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Takashi Sugiura & Katsuhiko Nakajima, NOAH, 5/17
Takao Omori vs. Jun Akiyama, AJPW, 6/15/2014
Suwama vs. Go Shiozaki, AJPW, 9/28/2014
AJ Styles vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, NJPW, 10/8
Takashi Sugiura vs. Daisuke Sekimoto, NOAH, 11/8/2014
Standout Moments of the Year –
Kenta Kobashi’s Fortune Dream shows.
Talk about something that seemed to have been thrown together, but actually turned out to be some of my favorite shows of the year. The first show that was held on June 8th was a very good show with each match showcasing each of the wrestlers in their own way.
Takao Omori finally achieving the Grand Slam in All Japan Pro-Wrestling.
This year saw the veteran win the AJPW World Tag belts, the Champion Carnival, and he also become the Triple Crown Heavyweight for this first time in his career this year. Omori has always been a strong worker and finally received some much needed support back to himself for his years of competing.
Kensuke Sasaki announcing his retirement from pro-wrestling.
Kensuke Sasaki’s retirement this year came to a shock to some and certainly was something that a few some coming with the repeated neck injuries over the the past couple years. It was indeed announced abruptly, as he passed off one final win to his top student Katsuhiko Nakajima on February 11th of this year. Kensuke will always be one of the guys I found myself liking in the 90’s, especially being a huge fan of the Road Warriors/Legion of Doom, it really helped me gravitate to being a Kensuke fan when I started learning about the Japanese side of things in the 1990’s. But all good things do eventually have to come to an end, but maybe now one day Katsuhiko Nakajima can carry his mentor’s banner proudly in the air in the future.
Daisuke Harada’s run with the GHC Junior Heavyweight belt.
How does one go about hitting a championship reign out of the park? By doing exactly what Harada did when he finally won the singles belt in NOAH. Harada made a statement by having strong match after strong match this year. First with Ishimori, which I still think is one of the better matches of this year, and then matches with K-DOJO’s Shiori Asahi and Europe’s Zack Sabre Jr. were standouts in their own right. Juniors don’t always get the recognition as many of the heavyweights, but if you have the time you definitely need to check out what Harada brought and delivered this year.
Daisuke Harada vs. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Hajime Ohara, 8/17
~ 3WAY matches can sometimes lose themselves in the action, but this one proved to be very balanced and did a great job letting each guy show off their strengths. Daiusuke Harada vs. Shiori Asahi, 9/21
~ Asahi is another one of the talented wrestlers out of K-DOJO that for someone reason or another never got outside the promotion. Asahi puts on one solid match against Harada and makes him work to defend the belt. Daisuke Harada vs. Zack Sabre Jr., 11/4
~ A very solid match all-around. Sabre brings out the catch-as-catch-can style while Harada showcases his ability to adapt in the ring. Daisuke Harada vs. Atsushi Kotoge, 12/6
~ Both friends and rivals in the ring. Harada shows a bit of his cocky side now that he has managed to rack-up a few defenses, while Kotoge continues to show he is growing in being able to perform in singles matches. ————————————————————–
Least favorite match of the Year – Seiya Sanada vs. Great Muta, W-1, 7/6/2014
If any match from this year that left a bad impression in my mind it was this one. It is not a case of bad chemistry as Sanada mirror’s Mutoh in many aspects, but the two tried to do something different in this match, but it just did not mesh well at all. At least I took it that way. Point being that Keiji Mutoh vs. Seiya Sanada on December 22nd was one of the better matches that Mutoh has had in quite sometime.
Least favorite wrestler of the Year – Chikara Momota
I know it is not worth much to say a rookie is bad, but there comes a point when one just looks plain awkward in the ring, almost too inadvertently comical in the ring. And at being in his early 30’s it does not bode well at all for his lasting appeal as a wrestler.