Is NXT the superior WWE brand? From a pure wrestling standpoint, it is hard to refute it. Every “TakeOver” event produces another classic match and always challenges the following main roster PPV to “Follow That.” The NXT Championship match between Johnny Gargano and champion Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas was the latest NXT match that broke the mold to become an instant classic. All the fans felt it at the time, but now we have proof that this match is in rarified air.
Gargano and Almas is the first NXT match in history to earn 5 Stars from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
What is the Meltzer Rating?
The unofficial metric of match quality is the rating system by Dave Meltzer, the wrestling newsman behind “The Wrestling Observer” which is the preeminent paper of record when it comes to professional wrestling here and around the world. His star-rating system (1-5, though occasionally Meltzer goes more and even less (MINUS FIVE STARS)) is the barometer for every major wrestling match. When you hear someone talk about a “5-Star” classic, the Meltzer rating is what they are referencing.
Here’s what Meltzer had to say about the match and competitors:
“But [the match] it delivered all of that and more in a classic that ended when Almas drove the back of Gargano’s head into the ring post with double knees on the apron, and followed with his second hammerlock DDT for the pin.
Gargano’s selling and ability to engage the crowd was really the story of the match. While Almas was outstanding, and has completely turned around his WWE fortunes since being put with Zelina Vega, it was Gargano’s crowd connection that made it special.”
Other Five-Star WWE Matches
Gargano-Almas is the first 5-Star from any WWE brand since John Cena vs. CM Punk for the WWE Title at Money in the Bank from 2011. Other 5-star matches from WWE includes the first Hell in a Cell match between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. Michaels also earned five stars against Razor Ramon in a ladder match at Wrestlemania X. Bret Hart has earned two. Once against his brother at Summerslam ’94 and again vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13.
Congrats to Johnny and Andrade. They deserved it. Can’t remember the last time a match held my suspense for the entire time. Loved it.
What did you think of the match? Share your thoughts in the comments below.