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Match of the Decade: The 50 Best Professional Wrestling Matches of the 1st Decade of the Millennium

Saturday, November 7, 2009

This isn't in order (I mean it is, it's in chronological order, which is, contrary to popular opinion, an order) but not in qualitative order, which is implied by it being an end of decade list.

It is the end of the decade, incidentally.

Stephen Jay Gould wrote about this ten years ago, although not in the context of professional wrestling, curiously enough, that the cultural context in which we record time is more important than the actual math.  Meaning - the decade started in 2000 and ends this year; our ability to discuss time (for example, if I talk about the Sixties, that discussion includes 1960 and doesn't include 1970) supercedes the year zero never existing.  For whatever reason, a debate existed ten years ago regarding when it was we should celebrate the turn of the millennium.  I was foresquarely on the 2000 side and for that reason.  The talking about time is more important than the actual recording thereof.

Anyway, I haven't ranked these 19 matches (beyond separating them from the rest of the matches of the decade) I have no good reason for that, other than time doesn't permit the rewatch.  This is because, as I've often said, regardless of how we talk about time, try to control it, try to contextualize it (this reminds me, I'm meaning to write about a footnote from Chuck Klosterman's book about time travel) time has a mathematical existence that is beyond our ability to harness. How we think about a thing doesn't fundamentally alter what it is. It's silly to think otherwise.

See what I did there?  I go both ways!

Wait.

Anyway - in chronological order (which is very real, no matter what I say) are the 19 best wrestling matches of the decade (which ends in 2 months, no matter what you say). Following this are the 31 remaining to fill out the top 50 (subject to change, I have six months left of 2009 to watch)

2000
Kenta Kobashi v. Jun Akiyama (December - NOAH)

2001
Mitsuharu Misawa v. Jun Akiyama (July - NOAH)

2002
Bryan Danielson v. Low Ki (March - ROH Round Robin Challenge)

2003
Chris Benoit  v. Kurt Angle (Jan - WWF Royal Rumble)
Mitsuharu Misawa v. Kenta Kobashi (March - NOAH)
Kenta/Naomichi Marufuji v. Jushin Liger/Takehiro Murahama (July - NOAH)
Kenta Kobashi v. Yuji Nagata (Sept - NOAH)

2004
Kenta Kobashi v. Jun Akiyama (July - NOAH)
Kenta Kobashi v. Akira Taue (Sept - NOAH)
CIMA v. Susumu Yokosuka (Sept - Dragon's Gate)

2005
Kenta Kobashi v. Kensuke Sasaki (July - NOAH)

2006
Kenta v. Bryan Danielson (Sept - ROH Glory By Honor V)

2007
Kotaro Suzuki/Ricky Marvin v. Taiji Ishimori/Rocky Romero (Feb - NOAH)
Briscoes v. Roderick Strong/PAC (May - PWG)
Bryan Danielson v. Nigel McGuinness (Sept - ROH Driven)
Taka Michinoku/Dick Togo v. Kota Ibushi/Madoka (Dec - KDojo)

2008
Masato Tanaka/Shinjiro Otani v. Yuji Nagata/Manabu Nakanishi (May - Zero 1)

2009
Kenta v. Katsuhiko Nakajima (Feb - NOAH)
Kenta v. Jun Akiyama (May - NOAH)

That's the top 19; the 19 best matches of the decade. Here are the 31 remaining to round out the top 50(without months or full names, that time thing again)

2000
Kobashi v. Takayama (NOAH)

2001
Bryan Danielson v. Low Ki (ECWA)
Kobashi v. Akiyama (NOAH)

2002
Kobashi/Shiga v. Akiyama/Saito (NOAH)

2003

CM Punk v. Chris Hero (IWA-MS)
Kenta/Marufuji v. Kanemaru/Hashii (NOAH)
Kenta/Kotaro v. Ibushi/Mikami (NOAH)
Yuji v. Nakanishi (New Japan)

2004
Kenta/Marufuji v. Misawa/Ogawa (NOAH)
Kobashi v. Takayama (NOAH)

2005

AJ Styles v. Samoa Joe v. Chris Daniels (TNA)
Low Ki v. Kenta (ROH)
Taka v. Kaz Hayashi (All Japan)

2006
Briscoes v. Aries/Strong (ROH)
Kenta v. Marufuji (NOAH)
Kenta v. Marufuji (NOAH)

2007
Marufuji/Briscoes v. Marvin/Sydal/Aoki (ROH)
Briscoes v. Generico/Steen (ROH)
Yuji v. Tanahashi (NJ)
Marvin/Kotaro v. Iwasa/Arai (NOAH)
Kenta/Ishimori v. Marufuji/Ibushi (NOAH)
Yoshino/Doi v. Yokosuka/Saito (DGate)


2008
Aries v. Nigel (ROH)
CIMA/Dragon Kid/Saito v. Yoshino/Doi/Horiguchi (ROH)
Marufuji/Nakajima v. Kenta/Ibushi (ROH)
Kenta/Ishimori v. Kotaro/Kanemaru (NOAH)

2009
Kotaro v. Nakajima (NOAH)
Kenta/Go v. Nakajima/Kensuke (NOAH)
Davey Richards v. Shingo (DGUSA)
AJ v. Joe v. Daniels (TNA)
Yuko Miyamoto v. Masashi Takeda (Big Japan)

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