If you are a wrestling fan, 2016 was everything you wanted when it came to quality matches. With the WWE's influx of indie talent, the biggest wrestling promotion in the world saw the quality of their matches rise drastically. Suffice to say, if you're a wrestling fan, 2016 was good to you.
We at Champions took the time to sift through matches from all over the world -- from New Japan, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Ring of Honor and a host of others -- and compiled a list of the ten best pro wrestling matches of 2016. And if you happened to miss any of them, don't fret, we have video for you.
10. Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT Takeover: Dallas)
This match was America’s introduction to #ShinsukeNakamura, and the hype delivered in the best way. 100% pure adrenaline from the moment it started, #SamiZayn himself said as he was yelling expletives as he was walking up the ramp because of how hyped he was. The crowd was chanting “HOLY SH-T” before the match even started, and I was already emotionally invested. The match itself was hard-hitting, emotional, and gave us the best introduction to Shinsuke Nakamura that we could ask for. It was the night Strong Style was born in the WWE.
9) D.I.Y. vs. The Revival (NXT Takeover: Toronto)
Hands down the best tag team match of the year. A 2/3 falls match filled with high spots, high tension, and the perfect amount of drama. DIY and The Arrival have contrasting styles that result in some fantastic chemistry, and it was all on display in this match. If you want to introduce someone to modern tag team wrestling, then introduce them to this match.
8) Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax 2016: Day 13)
The hard-hitting #TomohiroIshii and living legend in #KazuchikaOkada have styles that just mesh extraordinarily well. At the G1 Climax, the stakes were high and this match played out as two professionals who were desperate to ensure they would still have an opportunity to come out on top of what is arguably the best tournament in all of professional wrestling. The near falls were plentiful but not egregious and the finishing sequence was a sight to behold.
7) AJ Styles vs. John Cena (SummerSlam)
#JohnCena & #AJStyles. Perfectly executed from start to finish, every spot in the match mattered. The climax of the match came when John Cena gave a Super AA to AJ Styles off the turnbuckle. And in a moment nobody predicted, we all jumped in excitement when AJ Styles miraculously kicked out at 2. It was the match that finally solidified AJ Styles as an A+ player in WWE, and in my opinion was an A+ match.
6) Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax: Day 18)
This match mastered both the psychological and physical greatness of wrestling. The two had a wrestling match to for the first half, but when #KennyOmega power-bombed #TetsuyaNaito onto two rows of unprotected chairs on the outside of the ring, all hell broke loose. That wasn't a gimmicked table. those were chairs that bend in awkward ways. Omega then did a springboard dive from the top rope to the outside onto Naito. Later there was the Naito's reverse Frankensteiner off the top rope and his spinning DDT onto Omega will leave you breathless.
5) The Young Bucks & Adam Cole vs. Ricochet, Matt Sydal & Will Ospreay (PWG BOLA 2016 Day 2)
Good lord. This match was bananas from the start. #ProWrestlingGuerrilla may not be as well known as a vast majority of the other indie companies, but the wrestling almost always excels. The Battle of Los Angeles tournament is where wrestling aficionados can get their fill of every style of wrestling known to man. But outside of the tourney lay a few gems. The six-man tag match between #WillOspreay, #Ricochet and #MattSydal vs. #TheYoungBucks and #AdamCole was destined to be good. However, this match powerbombed good and immediately became great. There were so many moves that left our jaws dropped that you have to see it to believe it. No, it wasn't here to tell you a story. But it was here to make you jump out of your seat.
4) Kenny Omega vs. Hirooki Goto (G1 Climax: Day 19)
The Japanese style is stiff and this match was full of stiff blows, which fuels a sense of realism. Omega might look like Diamond Dallas Page, but he wrestles like AJ Styles. What makes this match? Moonsaults, dives, flips, suplexes, an incredible elbow exchange and #HirookiGoto's incredible Samoan drop from the top rope onto the back of his knee. And Omega's Styles Clash on Goto gave us all chills.
3) AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (Wrestle Kingdom 10)
Nakamura worked the back here and Styles, who has had legitimate back problems, sold the work like the pro that he is. Styles is about as close to technically perfect in this match as you can get. Nakamura hit Styles with some of the stiffest, hardest kicks and knees you will ever see in a pro wrestling ring. Nakamura's Michinoku Driver off the top rope was something to behold, as was Styles 450 splash. This match was also fueled by some great submission efforts, with both guys making their escapes as real as they can get.
2) Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay (NJPW Best Of Super Juniors XXIII)
When they say that wrestling is an art, this match epitomizes that statement. Ricochet and Will Ospreay put on a scintillating display of acrobatics in a remarkable match that had the entire wrestling community talking. There were some who did not care for all of the gymnastics, but you could not help but be in awe of the athletic ability of the two combatants. The opening sequence alone is worth the price of admission.
1) Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (Wrestle Kingdom 10)
These two could wrestle a million times and still manage to give us something new. Okada and #HiroshiTanahashi headlined WK10 and just when you thought they had done it all, they gave us more. Using callbacks to their previous matches, this was one hell of an encounter that was full of drama. It was as if they scouted each other and planned counters to everything. It was beautifully done and masterfully executed. Whoever was in the production truck and called for the zoom in on their hands being clasped when Okada went for the Rainmaker should win a prize. An undeniable five-star match that was just as effective as a story as it was a display in athleticism.