When you consider all the matches that take place in promotions all over the world and try to whittle that list down to just twenty-five matches that is a daunting task. However, I have put together the twenty-five must see matches of 2023.
This is my third annual best of the year list; my personal best matches of the month lists has led up to these 25 best matches of the year list. It was a lot of fun for me to put together the best matches of the month lists. Sometimes matches didn’t happen that exact month when I finally got around to seeing them. The one requirement that I stuck to was, it will not be considered for match of the month, because that would be unfair but could be on the list and make the end of the year top 25 matches list.
There are only so many hours in a day and only so much wrestling I can watch. Please keep in mind these are just my opinion of the best matches I saw this year and is not a definitive list and is not the official Wrestling Republic ratings and rankings.
I had to make a lot of tough choices with the list to narrow it down to a final 25 and I tried to be well rounded and impartial with the listings. Although, you may not agree with the order or the matches on this list or you think I should have included other matches; that is ok because again this is subjective. For me, I factor in not only the match itself but the storyline, the presentation (promo packages), storytelling in the ring as well as the finish (did it make sense, was it clean, was it believable, did it further the story along or conclude it), when determining whether to include it on my monthly or yearly list.
The rankings were determined as follows:
Winners of the Best of the Month lists – Guaranteed 12 Slots
The remaining slots will be made up of matches on the Best of the Month lists
The top 25-matches list is in order unlike the monthly that are in no particular order.
25) MJF (c) vs Kenny Omega – AEW World Championship – AEW Collison – October 28, 2023
This was a match that MJF was teasing for weeks leading to him passing Omega’s record as the longest reigning AEW World Champion in AEW’s history. This match is definitely one of the highlights of MJF’s reign as his defeat of Omega secured his place as the longest reigning AEW World Champion. Easily one of the best matches of the year and a highlight of Collison’s short existence so far as well.
24) Will Ospreay vs Josh Alexander – Impact – November 16, 2023
This is the definition of an absolute dream match and for it to take place on weekly TV and not a PPV is truly shocking. Ospreay is arguably the best wrestler in the world, and he is facing the best of Impact in Josh Alexander. These men delivered a tremendous performance, and both men are the better for it. This is the first time Impact and Ospreay appear on this list, but it won’t be the last.
23) The Elite vs Death Triangle – Match 7 of the Best of Seven Series – Ladder Match – AEW Trios Championship – AEW Dynamite – January 11, 2023
These teams went to war, and anyone could see when they announced a best of 7 that it was going to go all 7 matches. Any best of series in wrestling always goes the distance. These teams bring the best of each other and delivered in an absolute ladder war. It was to the shock of literally no one that the Elite would reclaim the titles that they were stripped of following Brawl Out.
22) Austin Theory (c) vs Damien Priest vs Montez Ford vs Johnny Gargano vs Seth Rollins vs Bronson Reed – Elimination Chamber – WWE U.S. Championship – WWE Elimination Chamber
This match delivered everything that it needed to, as it elevated everyone in this match. For a match, that was a write off in many fans mind as a predictable Theory win, everyone in there put on an amazing performance. Especially, Montez and Gargano, who both made the most of their time in this match to deliver something special. This is arguably the only real highlight of Theory’s reign and the only match this year that really elevated the U.S. Championship.
21) Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa vs Usos – WWE Money In The Bank
The Bloodline has been the most compelling story in wrestling in years and the Bloodline Civil War was the latest chapter. The storytelling of this family war where blood chose sides absolutely delivered. Jey becoming the first person in 1,294 days to actually defeat Roman was an absolutely amazing moment. For a storyline that has been pure cinema this was more of that.