The 45 Best Matches of July 2018

Welcome to the series where I go over every match that I gave ****+ to in each month of the wrestling calendar. July 2018 was jam-packed with G1 action. I’ve got 45 matches from three continents and eight different companies. I’ll also have my top ten wrestlers of the month down at the bottom of the article. Alright, time to see what the best matches of July 2018 were.

Check out my previous articles

Best Matches of January
Best Matches of February
Best Matches of March
Best Matches of April
Best Matches of May
Best Matches of June

Follow my twitter @rasslinratings where you can see my ratings for every match I’ve watched this year by clicking the link in the pinned tweet updated daily, as well as my top wrestlers of the year.

{SPOILER WARNING}

#45 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 5” on 7/20 –  Jay White vs Michael Elgin in a G1 Climax 28 Block A Match – ****

#44 – From Impact “Slammiversary 2018” on 7/22 –  Austin Aries vs Moose for the Impact World Championship – ****

#43 – From Impact “Slammiversary 2018” on 7/22 –  Johnny Impact vs Rey Fenix vs Taiji Ishimori vs Petey Williams – ****

#42 – From RevPro “Strong Style Evolve UK Day 2” on 7/1 – Jay White vs Kyle Fletcher – ****

#41 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 8” on 7/26 –  Kenny Omega vs Juice Robinson in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – ****

#40 – From DDT “Masahiro Takanashi 15th Anniversary Show” on 7/8 – Masahiro Takanashi vs Isami Kodaka – ****

#39 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 7” on 7/22 –  YOSHI-HASHI vs Michael Elgin in a G1 Climax 28 Block A Match – ****

#38 – From Impact “Impact 7/5” on 7/5 – Rey Fenix vs Rich Swann – ****

#37 – From WRESTLE-1 “Symbol Tour 2018 Day 3” on 7/18 –  Jun Tonsho, Kaz Hayashi, Masayuki Kono & Shuji Kondo vs Strong Hearts (CIMA, El Lindaman, Gao Jingjia & T-Hawk) in an Elimination Match – ****

#36 – From NJPW “G1 Special in San Francisco” on 7/7 –  The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) (c) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) for the IWGP Tag Team Championships – ****

#35 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 1” on 7/14 –  EVIL vs Michael Elgin in a G1 Climax 28 Block A Match – ****

#34 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 1” on 7/14 –  Jay White vs Kazuchika Okada in a G1 Climax 28 Block A Match – ****

#33 – From WRESTLE-1 “Symbol Tour 2018 Day 3” on 7/18 –  Jiro Kuroshio vs Shotaro Ashino in a WRESTLE-1 Grand Prix 2018 Semifinal – ****

#32 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 1” on 7/14 –  Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki in a G1 Climax 28 Block A Match – ****

#31 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 5” on 7/20 –  Kazuchika Okada vs Hangman Page in a G1 Climax 28 Block A Match – ****

#30 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 3” on 7/16 –  Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White in a G1 Climax 28 Block A Match – ****

#29 –  From Impact “Slammiversary 2018” on 7/22 –  LAX (Ortiz & Santana) (c) vs The OGz (Homicide & Hernandez) for the Impact World Tag Team Championships in a 5150 Street Fight – ****1/4

#28 – From DDT “Summer Vacation 2018” on 7/22 –  DAMNATION (Mad Paulie & Tetsuya Endo) (c) vs MAO & Mike Bailey for the KO-D Tag Team Championships – ****1/4

#27 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 8” on 7/26 –  Zack Sabre Jr. vs Tomohiro Ishii in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – ****1/4

#26 – From Dragon Gate “Kobe Pro-Wrestling Frestival 2018” on 7/22 –  Masato Yoshino (c) vs Shingo Takagi for the Open The Dream Gate Championship –****1/4

#25 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 6” on 7/21 –  Tetsuya Naito vs Juice Robinson in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – ****1/4

#24 – From DDT “Maji Manji 7/24” on 7/24 –  ALL OUT (Akito, Konosuke Takeshita & Shunma Katsumata) (c) vs Cassandra Miyagi, DASH Chisako & Meiko Satomura for the KO-D Six Man Tag Team Championships – ****1/4

#23 – From DDT “Maji Manji 7/3” on 7/3 –  Kazusada Higuchi vs Konosuke Takeshita vs MAO vs Masashi Takeda in a Falls Count Anywhere Match – ****1/4

#22 – From DDT “Summer Vacation 2018” on 7/22 –  Shigehiro Irie (c) vs HARASHIMA for the KO-D Openweight Championship – ****1/4

#21 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 11” on 7/30 –  Kazuchika Okada vs Michael Elgin in a G1 Climax 28 Block A Match – ****1/4

#20 – From Impact “Slammiversary 2018” on 7/22 –  Pentagon Jr. vs Sami Callihan in a Mask vs Hair Match – ****1/4

#19 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 11” on 7/30 –  Hirooki Goto vs SANADA in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – ****1/4

#18 – From Dragon Gate “Kobe Pro-Wrestling Festival 2018” on 7/22 –  Big Ben (Ben-K & Big R Shimizu) (c) vs Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk & YAMATO) for the Open The Twin Gate Championships – ****1/4

#17 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 10” on 7/28 –  SANADA vs Kenny Omega in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – ****1/4

#16 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 4” on 7/19 –  Hirooki Goto vs Kenny Omega in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – ****1/4

#15 – From WWE NXT “NXT 7/25” on 7/25 –  Aleister Black (c) vs Tomasso Ciampa for the WWE NXT Championship – ****1/2

#14 – From RevPro “Strong Style Evolved UK Day 2” on 7/1 –  Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs Minoru Suzuki for the RevPro British Undisputed Heavyweight Championship – ****1/2

#13 – From WWE “205 Live 7/3” on 7/3 – Buddy Murphy vs Mustafa Ali – ****1/2

#12 – From NJPW “G1 Special in San Francisco” on 7/7 –  Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs Dragon Lee for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship – ****1/2

#11 – From AJPW “Summer Action Series 2018 Day 11” on 7/29 –  Kento Miyahara (c) vs Zeus for the Triple Crown Championship – ****1/2

#10 – From Produce “Riki Chosu Power Hall 2018” on 7/10 –  Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya vs Hideyoshi Kamitani & Takuya Nomura – ****1/2

#9 – From NJPW “G1 Special in San Francisco” on 7/7 –  Jay White (c) vs Juice Robinson for the IWGP United States Championship – ****1/2

#8 – From WWE NXT “NXT 7/11” on 7/11 –  Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) (c) vs The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong) for the WWE NXT Tag Team Championship – ****1/2

#7 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 6” on 7/21 –  Tomohiro Ishii vs Hirooki Goto in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – ****1/2

#6 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 2” on 7/15 –  Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kota Ibushi in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – ****1/2

#5 – From RevPro “Strong Style Evolved UK Day 2” on 7/1 – Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kazuchika Okada – ****3/4

Yes, I am certainly the high man on this match, but these are two of the five best wrestlers in the world, and while not quite on the level of their match at Sakura Genesis back on April 1st, I still absolutely adored this match. I loved Zack’s transitions throughout this match and the story that Okada’s loss tells. Some spots that stuck out to me would be Zack catching the rainmaker’s elbow drop into an armbar, reversing the rainmaker into the young boy killer, and of course, the shock result really brings the match up for me. This was great.

#4 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 8” on 7/26 –  SANADA vs Kota Ibushi in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – ****3/4

Another match I am a lot higher on than most. SANADA pulling the upset certainly made me like this a little more, but the pace these two went out throughout this match and the mix of strikes, high flying, grappling and more made this more than worthy of the main event spot over Omega.

#3 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 2” on 7/15 –  Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – ****3/4

Now we get into a match that would probably be at the top of my list in any normal month, Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega. This wasn’t quite five stars to me, but it was really close. The callbacks to their previous two G1 encounters were fantastic, and I was absolutely shocked when Omega kicked out of multiple Destinos and pulled off what many (including me) thought to be an upset.

#2 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 4” on 7/19 –  Tetsuya Naito vs Tomohiro Ishii in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – ****3/4

I think a lot of people aren’t giving this match enough credit because both men had more high profile matches that also made my top three, but this was incredibly hard hitting and it made me invested in Tomohiro Ishii getting the win. Naito’s desperation, knowing that another loss may do him in really helped add to the drama, and the gradual build up to an epic closing stretch had me thinking about five, but one match this month actually earned that five-star mark from me…

#1 – From NJPW “G1 Climax 28 Day 10” on 7/28 –  Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii in a G1 Climax 28 Block B Match – *****

My lord what a war, there is no other way to describe it. This is without a doubt a high-level match of the year contender for me, and was maybe the most dangerous match I’ve seen this year with the brutal chops to the throat that just made me cringe. Ishii’s selling is world class and Ibushi may have the best offense in the game. This was just two world-class wrestlers putting everything on the line and making magic. Five stars.

WRESTLER OF THE MONTH

This is simple, five points for a ***** match, four for a ****3/4, three for a ****1/2, two for a ****1/4, and one for a ****, with your highest rated match as a tiebreaker.

1) Tomohiro Ishii – 17 points
2) Kota Ibushi – 12 points
3) Tetsuya Naito – 10 points
4) Kenny Omega – 9 points
5) Zack Sabre Jr. – 9 points
6) SANADA – 9 points
7) Kazuchika Okada – 8 points
8) Hirooki Goto – 7 points
9) Jay White – 7 points
10) Juice Robinson – 6 points

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