August 29th-31st might just go down in history as one of the best weekends of wrestling in history.

    The three biggest companies in professional wrestling, WWE, NJPW, and AEW all put shows on in various places around the world, and they all ranged from good to downright amazing. All the best wrestlers in the world performed at one point or another, and there were several match of the year contenders. There has not been this level of competition for the fans attention since the Attitude Era. It is a great time to be a wrestling fan right now. We’re spoiled for choice in terms of great wrestling. Not only have we got the three companies mentioned earlier, but there are also companies like ROH, IMPACT (Stop laughing. Some of their stuff recently has been great) and MLW just to name a few that are consistently putting out great stuff.

    This article is going to focus on this weekend’s worth of wrestling, and 5 matches that, in my opinion, were the matches of the weekend. It will include matches from Takeover: Cardiff, All Out and Royal Quest. I’m going to try and be as impartial as possible, and not include too many matches from one promotion. Picking just 5 is tricky because there were a lot of matches which could have been included. They won’t be in any order either, because it would be impossible for me to decide what was my favourite match of the weekend. Got that? Then let’s get cracking. SPOILERS if you haven’t seen any of the matches yet.

    5. NXT UK Championship: WALTER (C) vs Tyler Bate (NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff)

    This was the match in which both WALTER and Tyler Bate confirmed that they are two of the best in the world. For 42 minutes, these two beat the crap out of each other to determine who would be the NXT UK Champion. On paper, it seemed like a mismatch. WALTER was taller, stronger and vastly more experienced than the ‘Big Strong Boi’. However, Bate put in the performance of his life as he came agonizingly close to becoming the first-ever 2-time NXT UK Champion.

    Despite only being 22 years old (A fact that depresses your 24-year-old writer on a daily basis), Bate was more than experienced enough to go one on one with ‘The Ring General’. He tried to use his speed and quickness advantage to try and tire WALTER out, but WALTER used his size and strength to his own advantage, repeatedly hitting Bate with Clotheslines and chops to wear Tyler down.

    This was a very old-fashioned style match. For once, it was clear to the casual viewer who was the face (Bate) and who was the heel (WALTER). The crowd did their part too. They cheered Bate until their throats were hoarse, and they rained boos down upon WALTER. It was simple but effective booking. Bate and WALTER had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands throughout the match, culminating in a fantastic last 10 minutes. An amazing match to finish a fantastic PPV.

    4. IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (C) vs Minoru Suzuki (NJPW Royal Quest)

    To the surprise of precisely no one, NJPW’s first PPV in the UK was a resounding success. The crowd were hot throughout and the matches ranged from good to amazing. It was everything you would expect from NJPW in 2019, and it was topped off with two of NJPW’s very best in an absolute clinic of a match.

    Okada and Suzuki are no strangers to one another, having faced each other in singles and tag action on many occasions. Okada, being the Ace of New Japan, has beaten Suzuki multiple times, although you can never count out Minoru Suzuki, the man with the best entrance music in wrestling (it is impossible not to scream KAZE NI NARE when Suzuki makes his entrance).

    Suzuki repeatedly targeted Okada’s arm throughout, so that he couldn’t hit his Rainmaker finisher. This is what NJPW does best. They do simplistic storytelling, but then they add layers to try and stack the deck against the babyface. Okada looked in peril at multiple points during the match and had the crowd behind him as he made his comeback.

    Although Suzuki put in a fantastic performance, the result was never really in doubt. NJPW were never going to switch the title to Suzuki, no matter how popular he was with the crowd in London. A Tombstone and a Rainmaker put Suzuki away, and Okada retained his belt in a fantastic bout.

    3. NXT UK Tag Team Championships: Grizzled Young Veterans (C) vs Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster vs Gallus (NXT UK TakeOver Cardiff)

    I’m gonna be honest with you here: I wasn’t looking forward to this match at first. As good as all three teams are, this didn’t feel PPV worthy. However, once the match really got going, it was an amazing match, and quite possibly the best tag match WWE has put on all year.

    It is a real shame that Gibson and Drake lost the belts here because a lengthy reign could have done wonders for the GYV. They are the best heel tag team in WWE, and in Zack Gibson they have one of the best talkers in wrestling today. The ‘Shoes off if you hate Gibson’ chant is also the best chant in all of wrestling too. He’s so easy to hate and it’s refreshing to see a true heel in wrestling in 2019.

    This was a slow burner of a match. It didn’t start off hot, but it livened up as it got towards the end, as all three teams looked like they were going to win /retain the belts. The crowd were firmly in Andrews and Webster’s corner as the local lads took most of the punishment. Of course, it was all to lead to a big babyface comeback. The pace quickened as the finish loomed, but it was still unclear who would win. It looked as though GYV would retain, but Andrews hit Gibson with a Shooting Star Press and draped Webster across him to crown new NXT UK Tag Team Champions. The crowd went nuts when the ref counted 3, ecstatic that the hometown boys won the gold. A fine first half and an incredible second half meant that this match was possibly the match of the night for Takeover: Cardiff.

    2. Kenny Omega vs PAC (AEW All Out)

    As injury replacements go, replacing an injured Jon Moxley with Pac is pretty good business. Although put together only 10 days before All Out, the match was as smooth as Steve Austin’s head, and it was easily the match of the night at All Out.

    Beforehand, it was difficult to pick a winner for this. You could have argued the case for both men winning the bout. It was too close to call at times. Both men put each other through hell to try and prove who the better man was, and when the smoke cleared, it was PAC who stood triumphant over an unconscious Omega.

    In hindsight, it was the correct decision. It quickly establishes PAC as a dominant threat to Chris Jericho’s AEW World Title, and it furthers Omega’s storyline of losing big matches. He lost to Jericho at Double or Nothing and lost here to PAC. It does also tie into the Omega/Moxley storyline as well, as Omega can claim that he was prepared for Moxley and not PAC, and Moxley can claim that he now lives rent-free in Omegas head. It’s this multi-layered storyline that AEW must do more of if it wants to be considered a serious threat to WWE.

    Escalera De La Muerte match for the AAA World Tag Team Championships: Lucha Bros (C) vs The Young Bucks (AEW All Out)

    This was an insane match. All 4 men are no strangers to one another, having faced each other several times over the past 12 months. The big question was: how could they top any of their previous matches? Simple: they attempted to murder each other.

    This should have been expected. Both teams aren’t exactly known for being ring technicians (although Fenix is rather underrated in that department) and it being an Escalera De La Muerte match (roughly translated, it means a Ladder of Deathmatch), it meant that this was going to be a violent match. 

    Right from the off, both teams were determined to destroy the other. They used every move in their arsenals, including Canadian Destroyers off the top of a Ladder, Superkicks from Ladders and even a Fear Factor from the Lucha Bros onto poor Matt Jackson. The Lucha Bros retained, but that wasn’t the end of the story.

    As Lucha Bros celebrated, two masked men entered the ring and tipped the Lucha Bros off the top of a Ladder. They also attacked Nick Jackson. They then took off their masks to reveal Santana and Ortiz, otherwise known as LAX.

    This is a huge coup for AEW. It opens a whole host of great matches, including LAX vs Lucha Bros, LAX vs Young Bucks and LAX vs SCU. One of the top tag teams on the planet, LAX will no doubt be a huge asset to AEW’s tag division. 

    A big weekend for wrestling then. Thankfully, it delivered, with all three major companies putting on fantastic PPV’s. There were several matches that came so close to being included, including Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Will Ospreay vs David Starr and Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt vs SCU. The real winners this weekend, however, were the fans. They’ve been able to see so much great wrestling over the past 3 days. It truly is a new Golden Age of wrestling.

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