Hello and welcome to Dan’s Top Ten women’s wrestling matches.
I started the Top Ten series to give my two cents on the history of women’s wrestling and the impacts that have been made.
Everyone’s top ten of anything is different, which is part of what makes the fandom so exciting -I’m hoping to use this as a platform for sharing and education.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at my top ten women’s wrestling matches.
#10 Combat Toyoda vs Megumi Kudo
May 5, 1996 -FMW 7th Anniversary Show
In what was advertised as Toyoda’s retirement match, these two women put on a clinic in a No-rope Electrified Barbwire Deathmatch, with both the FMW Independent Women’s and WWA Women’s championships on the line. The way Toyoda and Kudo showed not only respect, but also technique and motivation was enough to put this match over, the added stipulation of electrified barbwire preventing either woman from running the ropes highlighted both competitors’ creativity and ingenuity in altering their style and offense.
#9 Gail Kim vs Angelina Love
August 5, 2014 -TNA Hardcore Justice
This Knockouts Championship match from 2014 was a bit of a sleeper hit. While Gail Kim could work a broom and Angelina Love is a veteran, no-one quite expected the two Toronto natives to tear the house down as they did.
The ‘Last Knockout Standing’ stipulation was played to perfection, with both women hitting vicious-looking spots right on the mark; including a chair-assisted bicycle kick and an avalanche Air Raid Crash onto a steel chair.
#8 AJ Lee vs Kaitlyn
June 16, 2013 -WWE Payback
This match was the culmination of months of AJ’s manipulation and mind games over her former best friend, who AJ blamed for abandoning her in her hour of need.
The match had in-ring psychology like we’ve never seen in a women’s feud, helping to establish AJ as the top woman in the company until her departure.
AJ’s mind games shone through from the very beginning, and only saw to carry her to victory as the match went on. A creative counter into the Black Widow netted AJ her first of 3 Divas Championships.
#7 Gail Kim vs Awesome Kong
January 6, 2008 -TNA Final Resolution
What can be said that hasn’t already about this feud?
Kim and Kong set the world alight in late 2007 with their feud over the Knockouts Championship. The feud eventually surpassed the newly-introduced Knockouts title without detracting from the belt. This feud and this match are what the Knockouts division needed to establish itself as a viable division in the company.
The no DQ match saw Gail barely retain against Kong, following brutality the likes of which had not been seen in women’s wrestling in North America.
#6 Charlotte vs Natalya
May 29, 2014 -NXT TakeOver
This match makes the list for not only being as technically sound as can be, but for the fact that this match made Charlotte Flair. This encounter for the recently vacated NXT Women’s Championship made an instant star of the Flair of NXT. And of course all praise to Natalya for being the absolute professional that she is and being able to bring out that potential in Charlotte. Kudos to both women, able to add to both of their families’ legacies with an outstanding match.
#5 Paige vs Emma
February 27, 2014 -NXT Arrival
The first NXT special and the first show to stream live on the WWE Network.
This was the match.
Before Sasha and Charlotte, Sasha and Bayley, there was Emma and Paige.
The match the two women had built upon their memorable match to crown the inaugrual NXT Women’s Champion. Both women showed incredible resiliency and technical ability, as well as Trish & Lita vibes in terms of their potential for an ongoing feud that trancends their careers. I still hope for that feud with both ladies’ return to television, and this match is all the proof I need.
#4 Sasha Banks vs Bayley
August 22, 2015 -NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn
Sasha vs Bayley’s groundbreaking match at Brooklyn had me in tears.
I was watching it on the bus to work and by the end I was trying (in vain) to hold back the waterworks, and not just because I was almost at work.
The match was psychologically perfect, portraying Bayley as the underdog she so rightfully is as well as showcasing the best heel work of Banks’ career.
The two women had, and continue to have, such chemistry that it remains unrivalled by any other combination of the four horsewomen. This is shown in the match psychology, with Sasha displaying laser-focus on Bayley’s injured hand and the impeccable technical ability of both women.
#3 Manami Toyota vs Aja Kong
June 27, 1995 -All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling
The pair’s second five-star classic started off hard.
Defending WWWA World Champion Toyota had a more direct approach this time around, learning from her November match with Aja and perhaps desperate to keep a hold of her championship.
This match shows not only the skill of both women, but the consistency of their bodies of work, both individually and together. The fact that these women put on two five-star classics in the space of 8 months with no-one but themselves is a testament to what women can do when given time, investment and faith.
#2 Manami Toyota vs Aja Kong
November 20, 1994 -Big Egg Wrestling Universe
On an extensive 23-match card that featured the likes of Lioness Asuka, Kyoko Inoue, Megumi Kudo and even a WWF Women’s Championship match, Manami Toyota and Aja Kong stole the show in what may be the best women’s match in wrestling history.
Astonishingly, this was the first of two five-star matches between the pair and took place at the Tokyo Dome. The match itself was extremely hard-hitting, blowing everyone away on an already-stacked card.
#1 Trish Stratus vs Lita
December 6, 2004 -RAW
The first stand-alone women’s main event in RAW history laid the foundation for what is currently occurring with the women on the main roster.
While the ring-work was nothing short of incredible, what made this match is the story; Lita had recently returned to active competition after months of embarrassment and being verbally berated at the hands of Trish.
The pioneers of WWE’s women’s division told a captivating story and set the standard for women’s wrestling in the mainstream of the industry.
The peak of the match was Lita finally capturing her second WWE Women’s Championship from the villainous Stratus, in front of a sold-out, hometown crowd.