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TOP TEN LISTS: Top American Independent Matches of 2009 - Young Bucks vs. Human Tornado & El Generico, Davey Richards vs. KENTA...

Dec 26, 2009 - 8:53:26 PM
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TOP TEN AMERICAN INDEPENDENT MATCHES OF 2009
(By PWTorch reader Geoff Hanson)

(10) Nick Jackson vs. Jigsaw vs. Kota Ibushi vs. El Generico - CHIKARA "King of Trios 2009 Night 2". This match featured some of the greatest spots of the year. Generico's dive through the turnbuckles into a swinging DDT on the floor is my favorite, though Ibushi's reverse huracanrana off the top is a close second. This match was as fast-paced as any you'll see this year, and the action was crisp and never slowed. There was very little psychology, in fact it was more of a can-you-top-this-spot contest, but the spots themselves were simply fantastic, and on their own warrant inclusion on this list. ****

(9) Brian Kendrick and the Young Bucks vs. CIMA and the Motor City Machine Guns - Pro Wrestling Guerrilla "Guerres Sans Frontières". This was another spotfest of sorts, but a very well-done one. The Young Bucks were arguably the top indy tag team of the year, the MCMG continued to show how badly they were underutilized in TNA in their occasional indy bookings, CIMA was the ace of DragonGate in Japan, and Kendrick continued to be awesome. This match was a whole lot of fun to watch, particularly with the Bucks embracing their new heel role, and Kendrick continuing to play his cocky heel character that he had in WWE. ****

(8) Davey Richards vs. SHINGO - DragonGate USA "Untouchable". I did not love this match as much as some (most?). However, it was a fantastic match, and while I would have preferred they slow down the pace and tell a better story, it was incredible as it was. Richards has been, hands down, the best wrestler in the world in 2009, and this match was just another example of why. ****1/4

(7) Team Uppercut (Claudio Castagnoli, Bryan Danielson, and Dave Taylor) vs. The Masters of 1,000 Holds (Mike Quackenbush, Johnny Saint, and Jorge "Skayde" Rivera) - CHIKARA "King of Trios 2009 Night 2". This match had the epic feel that comes when six of the best mat wrestlers in the world meet up in one match. The match started off as a somewhat friendly mat wrestling clinic, but then progressed into something more bitter when Team Uppercut worked on Quackenbush's injured back. All in all, it was a mat wrestling clinic, and told a good story in the mean time. ****1/4

(6) Team F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor and Icarus) vs. the Colony (Fire Ant and Soldier Ant) - CHIKARA "Aniversario Yang". This was a Hair vs. Mask match, and the blowoff to a big feud between CHIKARA's two top factions which saw F.I.S.T.'s Taylor end the career of the Colony's Worker Ant with an Omega Driver on the floor. This match certainly lived up to its blowoff billing, with all the drama befitting a hair vs. mask match. F.I.S.T. played their heel role to near-perfection, and the ants, with the crowd behind them, delivered a great performance of their own. This match was as dramatic as a match can get, and did a great job of building the heel-face dynamic, and then capitalizing on it. ****1/2

(5) The Young Bucks vs. 2 Skinny Black Guys (Human Tornado and El Generico) - PWG "Threemendous II". A good deal of what made this match so great was the commentary from Excalibur and Chuck Taylor. Their comedy made the slow points of the match entertaining (at least to me; they used some salty language and made a couple of racial jokes that might offend some people), and throughout the match, they managed to get a great blend of the serious and comedic, much like the match itself. The Bucks had just become heels, and they played it perfectly. Tornado and Generico were their usual entertaining selves, and the actual wrestling was fantastic, with some incredible nearfalls and a great finishing sequence. The crowd being incredibly into it helped immensely as well. ****1/2

(4) Davey Richards vs. KENTA - Ring of Honor "Supercard of Honor IV". Up until this point, the rankings were fairly solid.. But these top five matches could really be in any order, with no complaint from me. The show took place in Houston, two days before WrestleMania XXV, and benefited from that fact by drawing a massive crowd.. This match was the reason many people wanted to see the show, and it delivered in a big way. Simply incredible. Stiff kicking, great counters, tons of emotion, and maybe the best moment in indy wrestling this year. At one point, both men were on the apron. Richards tried a German suplex, but it was blocked. Then, KENTA connected with a Falcon Arrow to the floor. As both men lay on the floor recovering, a chant of "F**k WrestleMania" went up throughout the crowd. That really says it all about this match. ****3/4

(3) Chris Hero vs. Bryan Danielson - PWG "Guerres Sans Frontières." This was Danielson's final match in PWG before leaving for WWE, and it nearly didn't happen. Hero was booked for IWA: Mid-South's Ted Petty Invitational the same day, but IWA went out of business and had to cancel the show, freeing up Hero to defend his PWG World Championship against Danielson in the latter's last match for the company. And how great it was. Every elbow strike from Hero looked painful, and Danielson did his thing that made people call him the Best in the World. This was a really, really long match, but was never boring, in the way that Danielson can make them. Simply magnificent, and the finishing sequence was as good as it gets. ****3/4

(2) Davey Richards vs. Bryan Danielson - ROH "The Final Countdown Tour: Boston." In a year in which Richards seemed to be stepping up to take the mantle of "Best in the World" from Danielson, the two did not meet in a one-on-one encounter until Danielson's second-to-last match as an independent wrestler. This was hyped as the two best wrestlers in the world squaring off against one another, and you'd be hard-pressed to deny that it was just that. Davey was clearly the heel in the encounter, and played it up perfectly, jawing with the crowd at every opportunity. He wanted to prove that he was the best in the world, and to do so, he needed to beat Danielson. But Danielson refused to be pinned. Really, my only complaint with this match was that it seemed like it was too short, when in reality it was about 40 minutes. The reason for that was that it was completely enthralling from bell to bell. An absolutely classic match that lived up to its billing. ****3/4

(1) The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. Bryan Danielson & Tyler Black - ROH "Tag Title Classic". Indy wrestling in 2009 was defined by two men: Davey Richards and Bryan Danielson. However, their best match was not their singles encounter. It was this tag team match, which took place in Markham, ON on April 18th. It came out of nowhere, a tag team main event of a B-show, to be a major player on match of the year lists. All the little things that make a match great were done perfectly, as only Danielson and Richards can do. Danielson's selling of a knee injury was a true masterpiece, and I legitimately winced every time the Wolves went after it, particularly with a particularly nasty dragon screw legwhip over the steel barricades. Richards' increasing frustration at not being able to put away the challengers was fantastic, and the big brother-little brother dynamic in the Wolves was played up perfectly, with Richards taking the lead and calling the shots for the Wolves. And then the babyface team, a makeshift teaming of two singles wrestlers, played things perfectly as well. They didn't seem to gel as a team, which was explained as being due to their never having teamed together before, and indeed they wrestled the match as two singles wrestlers teaming together rather than a true tag team such as the Wolves. To summarize all the nuances in this match would take much longer than I have room for, so let me just finish this list with four words. This match was perfect. *****

===

Send your top ten lists on either the year 2009 or the decade of the 2000s based on any criteria to pwtorch@gmail.com. Thanks!

[Bryan Danielson photo credit Wade Keller (c) PWTorch]


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