This is the tenth and final category of the first annual HOWIE Awards – celebrating the very best in wrestling in 2020. Read our writers picks and you, dear reader, can vote on an overall winner in our poll at the end of this story.
For today’s award we have asked our team to create a shortlist for the match of the year.
Over December we have been presenting our staff writers choices for ten different awards. At the same time we offer you, our readers, the chance to vote on your pick from our shortlist. As well as that, why don’t you offer your alternatives via Twitter? Join the conversation by tagging us on @HO_Wrestling and using the hashtag #HOWIES20.
You can see the already announced categories to review and vote HERE. We will announce the overall reader voted winners on New Years Day.
Paul Benson, Hooked On Wrestling Tribal Chief
Shortlist Pick: Kenny Omega and Hangman Page vs. The Young Bucks at AEW Revolution
Loathe as I am to agree with the somewhat skewed opinions of Dave Meltzer when it comes to anything ‘Elite’, I am arm in (strangely buff) arm with FDM here. This AEW Tag Team Title match was simply glorious.
Fond as I am of tag team wrestling, I am so glad we have seen some wonderful doubles bouts in AEW this year and this one tops the lot. It was just sensational. Four men at the absolute peak of their powers kept me on the edge of my seat through nearfall to nearfall. Breathtaking. I am no fan of The Young Bucks generally speaking but this was beyond compare in 2020.
Cameron Bennett, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor
Shortlist: Men’s Royal Rumble Match
So. Much. Story. In. One. Match!!!!
Starting with Brock Lesnar entering at number 1 and laying waste to everyone, man enters ring, man sees Lesnar, man is forcibly ejected from the ring, rinse and repeat. Yes, it got old eventually but the payoff was worth it, when Drew McIntyre Claymored Lesnar’s head off and over the top rope, the noise in both the arena and the pub I watched it in (Thanks Hooked On Wrestling’s events, cheap plug) was palpable to say the least and then, then it happened…
You Think You Know Me. There’s many moments in life I wish I could relive for the first time and that moment is in the top 3 and I’ve got 3 kids!
Chris Napier, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor
Shortlist: Kenny Omega and Hangman Page vs. The Young Bucks at AEW Revolution
There are plenty of solid contenders – the Firefly Funhouse, WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov, Edge vs. Orton at Backlash, the Royal Rumble, a bundle of NJPW matches, including Takahashi vs. Ospreay at Wrestle Kingdom, but this is the one that sticks in the mind. Maybe it’s the red hot crowd that nudges it over, but it’s also a near-perfect tag team match and remembering it just makes me feel warm inside.
Chris Hatch, Hooked On Wrestling Editor
Shortlist Pick: Adam Cole vs. Pat McAfee @ NXT TakeOver XXX
As this was my pick for Angle Of The Year, it was always going to be a strong contender for best match as well. What sealed it was looking at the rest of the card – on a night when Karrion Kross won the belt, Finn Balor took on Timothy Thatcher and there was an epic ladder match, for this to be the match everyone was talking about the next morning said it all.
The holy schiezer factor of what McAfee could suddenly do coupled with the match making so much logical sense as it went along makes it a standout for 2020.
Liam Happe, Hooked On Wrestling Features Editor
Shortlist Pick: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada @ Wrestle Kingdom Night 2
Naito completed years of redemption in a fantastic bout full of callbacks, psychology and genuine moments that it seemed a near-fall was in fact all she wrote. It was everything wrestling should be, mere weeks before the pandemic basically robbed everyone of the chance to really replicate it to their fullest potential.
Ash Rose, Editor, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor
Shortlist Pick: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (Hell In A Cell Match) @ Hell In A Cell
Special shoutouts to Water/Ilja Dragunov and AJ/Bryan from SmackDown, but in a year without a true classic the best for me was this blow off from Sasha and Bayley.
Hell in a Cell is a tired format as a pay-per-view, but with a feud that warranted the stipulation and in a bout that was both innovative and emotional these two pulled off my favourite match of 2020.
James Dee, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor
Shortlist Pick: Men’s Royal Rumble Match @ Royal Rumble
Edge returns. That is all.
No more reason required. I’ll pour myself a beer and kick back. This article business is a piece of cake really isn’t it? (Editors Note: Erm, James, can we have a word?)…
Okay there was a lot more to it than that. The 2020 Men’s Rumble may have legit been one of the best booked Rumbles in history or at least of this new millennium. Brock being the layabout absent champion that he is decides he is going to win the Rumble so he can get Wrestlemania off but he’s also a prideful badass so he decides he’s going to enter at number 1 because no-one can beat him and by god he’s almost right. Brock enters at number one and proceeds to kick everyone’s ass. And I do mean everyone, to the point where it gets annoying (in a good way). Rey Mysterio comes in, *boom* he’s gone, Big E and Keith Lee come in, there’s a scuffle, they put up a fight but sure enough, gone, Brock’s old OVW buddy Shelton Benjamin comes in, they pal around a bit, hug, get ready for the next guy to come down but Shelton has apparently never seen a Brock Lesnar wrestling match and stupidly turns his back on Lesnar, gone. Hell even John Morrison and Kofi Kingston don’t get their customary hope spots, just dumped out of the ring with no fanfare. It’s actually starting to really piss everyone off, at least it was at the Hooked On Wrestling party I was at. The place is about to riot “It’s the same Brock formula but for some reason they’ve decided to screw over the Rumble in the process”, one guy even went to the bathroom because he was getting bored.
But then HE comes out. The Highlander himself, The Chosen One, Drew McIntyre and whilst Lesnar is swatting away a fly known as Ricochet, Drew Claymores Brock straight out of the ring, the crowd erupts, lightning peels from the sky, striking Drew as he erupts in a incandescent glow of blue fire, I think my girlfriend got pregnant somehow. It was magnificent, suddenly everything previous made sense, they were baiting us this entire time. From that moment the game is on and Drew McIntyre is a made man, but he still has to get through 15 other men, including a certain Rated R Superstar.
If the reaction to Brock’s elimination was loud then I think the resulting soundwave from the onset of “You think you know me!” may have shifted Earth out of orbit. The look on Edge’s face said so much, like he thought for a brief moment before his music hit that “maybe they forgot me, maybe this just won’t be that important to them”. Then he came out to a bigger pop than I’ve ever heard and he could see, he could see that we didn’t forget, we still care, WE STILL KNOW YOU! I honestly can’t remember that much else about the match (sue me, it’s been the longest year in history) but those moments alone put it in the upper echelons of Rumbles and the feelings I got from that match make it Match of the Year in my eyes.
Justin Czerwonka, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor
Shortlist Pick: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada @ Wrestle Kingdom Night 2
I miss crowds. The energy in the building for this match was great. It was not just me who wanted to see Natio get to the top. Wrestling fans all over the world waited for Naito to get his crowning moment and it finally happened here. There are videos out there of the reaction from the crowd and everyone goes crazy when Naito wins. All of that energy plus both men going out there and giving it their best makes this my match of the year.
Gary Tait, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor
Shortlist Pick: WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov @ NXT UK Taping
We have been blessed with several quality matches throughout the year. It would be easy to go with Moxley vs Omega, Reigns vs Jey Uso for storyline progression and character but for me, it is a match from the shores of the NXT UK with WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov. It was brutal and for 25 minutes, they both just knocked the hell out of each other. It was special and deserved the amount of praise it received.
Lewis Brown, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor
Shortlist Pick: Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega @ AEW Dynamite: Winter Is Coming
This match was phenomenal. Watching it live, I was heavily rooting for Omega to win. The whole storyline and build to this match made it seem like an obvious result but oh boy was that ending a shock.
Omega using the microphone to deck Moxley and hit the one-winged angel but it was the aftermath that had everyone talking after Omega ran off with accomplice Don Callis declaring that we would hear from them on Tuesday night IMPACT where Callis is an executive. Remarkable stuff.
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