Tomohiro Ishii from Japan, down, and Yujiro Kushida compete in a NJPW (New Japan Pro-Wrestling) match in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, April 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Top 5 pro wrestling matches of September 2016

(AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
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September somehow managed to follow up an incredible August of professional wrestling without feeling like a lull. WWE held two solid PPVs, kicking off the first real month of split-brand product with the red brand and blue brand getting their exclusive PPV cards. The Cruiserweight Classic came to an end, and it lived up to every expectation wrestling fans could have possibly had, and more.

New Japan Pro Wrestling held its Destruction shows, following up the massive G1 Climax tournament of July and August. PROGRESS held its Chapter 36 event. Though unfortunately, unless you were lucky enough to attend live in London, the show has yet to be seen by the public. Pro Wrestling Guerrilla held its biggest event of the year with the annual Battle of Los Angeles tournament to start the month off in grand style. And Ring of Honor ended the month with All Star Extravaganza VIII, doing so with a bang.

With so much wrestling available nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to catch all of it. So if you don’t see a match that deserves to be on the list, please let everyone know about it in the comments section.

5. TJ Perkins vs Kota Ibushi

Where: CWC Finals

When: Sept. 14, 2016

TPB Rating: 4.5 Stars

If you thought the CWC Finals event could not live up to the incredible tournament which had preceded it to that point, you were proven dead wrong. The final show as a whole was a fantastic show from start to finish, but Perkins and Ibushi certainly stole the show in their semi-finals match.

Ibushi was arguably the MVP of the entire tournament, and if it weren’t for his declining to sign a WWE contract, he likely would have won the whole thing. Perkins came in this match and showed that while Ibushi may have been the biggest star of the tournament and who everyone was paying particular attention to, he could go tit-for-tat with him.

This one edged out Tetsuya Naito vs. Michael Elgin from NJPW Destruction in Kobe. Naito and Elgin put on a 32-minute match where a lot of the first 20 minutes felt like unnecessary build-up to the final stretch. The final stretch was indeed fantastic, but it felt like it took too long to get there. So Perkins and Ibushi get the nod for doing what Naito and Elgin would have been better off doing.

They put in the same amount of action, and built just as much drama, but in half the time, eliminating the filler. The match was back-and-forth throughout, and reached an incredible crescendo that started with one of the best near-falls in recent memory. And while it made sense in hindsight, the finish and the winner was quite a shock watching live.

(Photo courtesy of WWE.com)

(Photo courtesy of WWE.com)

4. The Young Bucks vs Pentagon Jr. & Fenix

Where: PWG Battle of Los Angeles Night 3

When: Sept. 4, 2016

TPB Rating: 4.5 Stars

The public has yet to witness this year’s Battle of Los Angeles, with the DVD/Blu Rays expected to be released in early October, but your author was fortunate enough to attend the entire weekend and watch it unfold live. (Order your copies here)

First and foremost, this is the kind of matchup you can only see in PWG. This tag team dream match had a buzz around it all weekend as attendees speculated at the possibility of seeing this match on Night 3.

You see, Night 3 is a complete mystery to fans, with all matchups depending on the outcomes of Nights 1 and 2. Alas, we all got our wish to see four of today’s most popular and talented wrestlers enter the ring for, I believe, the very first time together.

If you’re familiar with both teams, this is exactly what you can imagine as far as the styles-mesh. You have the modern Lucha Libre style of Pentagon and Fenix meeting the unique, high-flying, super-kicking style of the Bucks. As you can imagine, the over-the-top-rope dives were plentiful. In typical PWG style, these guys went all-out on the last night of the weekend and tore the house down in a weekend where the house should have been well reduced to rubble by that point in time.

3. The Young Bucks vs The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) – Ladder War Match

Where: ROH All Star Extravaganza VIII

When: Sept. 30, 2016

TPB Rating: 4.5 Stars

Talk about a memorable closing to September. They say it is a general rule in pro wrestling that your world title match should always close the show, but ROH without a doubt made the right decision in putting the tag team title match on last. Nothing else on the show could possibly follow it.

Unlike another prominent wrestling promotion, ROH does a good job of not overusing and abusing its stipulation matches. As a result, when they do come around they feel special and the wrestlers go all-out to make the most of it.

This was only the sixth ladder match in ROH history — the last one took place in April 2014. It was also the first time a trio of tag teams were competing, and in the build-up to the match these guys were drawing the parallel with the infamous ladder and TLC matches between the Hardys, Dudleys and Edge and Christian. They said their goal was to go out and put on just as good a match as we saw back at SummerSlam 2000, and these guys delivered.

It is a painful match to watch — so many ladder bumps, so many broken tables, so many high spots, and a lot of blood. Nowadays pro wrestling has slowed down with regard to over-the-top matches and such. For good reason too, but the allure remains undeniable. Daredevil stunts are exhilarating to watch, so when a wrestling match is compiled with so many of them, the result is rarely less than great. And this was absolutely fantastic.

2. Pentagon Jr. & Fenix vs Chris Hero & Tommy End

Where: PWG Battle of Los Angeles Night 2

When: Sept. 3, 2016

TPB Rating: 4.75 Stars

It’s funny, because the general feeling going into BOLA weekend was Night 1 was the night to see. Many people specifically made it out to Night 1 over the others if they couldn’t attend all the shows. But it was Night 2 which stole the weekend.

This was the first tag team match of the evening, taking place before intermission, but it has largely been overshadowed because of what happened later that night. Mark my words, this match was not far behind the match of the weekend. It was a good thing this one came before intermission, because everyone needed a break following this war. These four men beat the hell out of each other.

Hero and End are a team made in striking heaven, and with End heading to WWE, this could very well be the last time they team up together. It was a proper send-off to the team sometimes known as Heroes Eventually Die.

The match was elbows, kicks, and knees galore, not to mention a more-than-fair share of high flying with some insane spots in both regards. These four men blurred the line between what was real and what wasn’t. A large majority of the strikes and hard-hitting moves landed in this match looked so good and brutal that you questioned just how stiff these men were being with each other. When this match finished, it seemed like the surefire Match of the Weekend, because it would take some next-level stuff to top this. Little did we know what was coming.

1. Will Ospreay, Ricochet, & Matt Sydal vs Adam Cole & The Young Bucks

Where: PWG Battle of Los Angeles Night 2

When: Sept. 3, 2016

TPB Rating: 5 Stars

This match — the hype is real.

As noted, Night 2 stole the weekend and holds a serious case for being the Show of the Year, being incredible from beginning to end. And no better way to cap off a Show of the Year contender than with a Match of the Year contender. When you look at the lineup for this match, you know exactly what is coming. The only question is just how far these guys were going to take it. No one could have predicted they would go as far as they did.

This match has drawn much controversy in getting Dave Meltzer’s 5-star rating. The naysayers can say what they like — even though no one outside of the ~400 people in attendance have actually seen it — but this is about as wild and crazy a six-man tag match as you’re ever going to see. They put gravity to the test, and made everyone question gravity’s legitimacy as a result.

It was such a spectacle that I could only describe it as graceful carnage. There was so much chaos in the match, yet these six men were holding it all together so tightly with their ring and air mastery. I have never felt, and only a few times witnessed on tape, the kind of atmosphere which was created as this match went on.

The last five minutes of the match is some of the most insane, over-the-top wrestling ever. The crowd was collectively losing its mind over the course of that stretch until the final spot of the match caused the crowd to reach its apex of elation.

If you’re not a fan of high-flying or “spot-fest” matches, this will ruin your day. However, if you do enjoy that style of wrestling, it does not get better than this.

Top 5 pro wrestling matches of September 2016

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