Top 5 NXT/WWE Matches of 2014

Well, as a wise man once said, it is better to be late than to not do anything at all. Thereby, here are the top five matches of 2014 in WWE/NXT. Of course, this list is subjective. Even though objectiveness plays an enormous factor on whether a match is great, picking which one is better is like picking your favorite child. It boils down to personal taste and mood. Please do not skip over what I wrote, either It will help you understand more why I picked the match.

5. Shield vs. Wyatt Family – Elimination Chamber

Before the match even started, the fans chanted "This Was Awesome". This would have been better off being on WrestleMania, but logic does not apply to WWE. The methodical build to start was a shrewd decision. The decision allowed the wrestlers to dictate the match instead of the fans. The Wyatts were phenomenal amid the heat segment; they cut off the face-in-perils hot-tags at the proper times. Everyone also did a fabulous job of generating suspense Reigns’ hot-tag. Reigns running wild and crazy, demolishing anyone who got in his way, was definitely his strong suit. If WWE realized that, he could still could be very over. Overall, this was a well-done NWA southern tag match – just with state-of-the-art moves and modern-day characters, and it had an epic confrontational vibe to it as well.

4. Team Cena vs. Team Authority – Survivor Series

John Cena vs. The Authority’s feud was far from perfect. In fact, it was rather grievous. Its biggest problem was its lack of believability. The Authority’s motive was to eliminate wrestlers they believed were bad for business. However, everyone knows Cena is great for business. Therefore, the story was not able to emotionally invest with people. Although, much like the WWF vs. WCW/ECW debacle, WWE finally did something right at Survivor Series.

This was an archetypical illustration of "Sports Entertainment" booking at its apex. It was a heavily booked match; however, the extra activities did not slow down the match. Instead, it enhanced the match’s drama. There were so many twist and turns, amazing moments, a star-in-the making performance by Dolph Ziggler, and the debut of Sting.

Sadly, WWE never pulled the on Ziggler – who gave a performance of a lifetime, especially when it came down to him and Seth Rollins. However, his performance will never be forgotten. Everything was executed perfectly both from a booking and executed standpoint – as the Authority finally got the comeuppance they deserved.

3. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H – WrestleMania 30

Laughably, this match was not in WWE’s original plans. They were going to instead have CM Punk face Triple H. Thankfully, though, it happened. After all, the match had 6 months of build, and the fans impatiently waited for the day where Bryan could get his hands on Triple H and give him the comeuppance he warranted.

Triple H was so egocentric that he tried beating Bryan at his own game. Bryan’s forte has always been his technical prowess, so HHH tried out catch wrestling the virtuoso himself. For someone who has rarely ever chained or mat wrestled, he did an efficacious job doing so.

The layering of the match was brilliantly done, as it kept progressively intensifying and compositing the more it went on. And, albeit these being an overly stated clichés, it also never became mundane or had any downtime. Something interesting was always ensuing or developing. Even in its sedated moments, Stephanie McMahon contributed entertainment to it as HHH’s manager by being awesome in her persona.

Although the match had more gas in its tank, as it peaked a tad prematurely, it was nevertheless an awesome display of storytelling and scientific wrestling. And, more importantly, after 6 months of uncertainty, Bryan ultimately evinced to Triple H that he was the better wrestler and made him eat crow to boot. Bryan defeating Triple H and winning the title was one of the few genuine feel-good moments in wrestling these days.

2. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn – NXT Arrival

They had some incredible matches in NXT and Indies together, but this match is their magnum opus. It was an action-packed, completely insane match, with some of the most mind-blowing spots, counters and bumps ever. I mean, some of the things they did here defied gravity and human capabilities. They also told a realistic story, as Zayn tries overcoming Cesaro’s brute, uncanny strength with his pluckiness and wherewithal. They told it in such a realistic manner to the point where it seemed very plausible that Zayn could win the match – even if it was a shoot.

By virtue of Zayn’s audacity, temperament and incomparable selling aptitudes – he came out of this match looking better than before. It is a testament to his talent. He can put someone and come out looking better, which is something that cannot be taught. It is something that comes naturally, and, make no mistake about it, Zayn is one of the most naturalistic wrestlers ever.

1. NXT Championship: Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn – NXT Takeover

Contrary to Cena’s redemption journey, Zayn’s story came across much more efficaciously. His story did not have to leave key points out in order to narrate the story Triple H wanted to convey – because everything that happened to him fit the context of the story. Long-terms plans are one of the major reasons NXT is superior to WWE. Triple H fixated his eyes on a date where Zayn’s feel-good championship victory would eventuate and thus booked rearward, causing the story to be more consistent and avoiding it from being marred or depriving its luster due to plot-holes. No one can negate that a well-articulated story – especially one that hits hard with both tension and drama – is the greatest part of wrestling, and it would be hard to find better ones than the Zayn story.

Zayn was having an inner-conflict, struggling to figure out if he should either drive away his inner-demons or utilize them in a productive manner. Neville, his respected companion, was embarking on their friendship by taking shortcuts in their matches and saying Zayn cannot beat him because he lacks a certain killer instinct. Finally, on the go-home show, Zayn snapped, displaying his mean-streak, and stated that he does not belong in wrestling anymore if he cannot win the championship at Takeover.

Both of these wrestlers were tremendous prior to entering the doors of NXT. They honed their crafts on the independent scene where they complied an uncanny resume of unbelievable matches. Like workhorses of the past, many times they had to win the crowd over just by their work alone. There were no strings attached. Instead, it was just a cold match with no story attached, meaning they had to work from scratch to get it over.

NXT provided them interesting character developments, stories to work with, taught them more about conveying a story with their body language and about how less can be more. After all, when you can attach a story to all the athletically jaw-dropping spots, they have a much greater significance, and this match demonstrated just that.

As mentioned above, the match was as unadulterated as it gets. It had realistic psychology and dramatic storytelling. The timing and pacing were on cue. It was structured in a way where it kept building and amplifying until it reached its crescendo. They played off moments and finishes of previous matches but used them to spin the story into a different direction. Zayn’s selling and facial expressions are on a different level, as they garner sympathy and convey a story so deeply. The also match climaxed with a tremendous feel-good moment where Zayn did not have to use a shortcut, which proved nice people can finish first. Neville convincingly teased a heel turn but swerved us all by giving Zayn a hug.

And, NXT did something WWE is either too timid or ignorant to do: strike when the iron is its hottest. Chances are WWE would have waited years before they had Kevin Owens turn on Zayn. NXT did it at the perfect time, right after Zayn’s biggest moment of his life. Overall, the match possessed everything required to reach an impeccable rating, and it was an unadulterated culmination to a deep-rooted chapter.

Next: NJPW's top 5 matches.



The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.