Wednesday, February 28

TheSportster’s 10 Best WWE Matches Of 2023, Ranked

WWE as a whole has really been on a high throughout 2023. With a boost in ratings, attendance through the roof, and many records being set and broken, it has been booming from a business perspective. When it comes to the in-ring product, this year has seen a whole load of positives too.


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Across WWE’s three brands and various PPV events, some of the best wrestlers in the world today put on some thrilling matches. In 2023 especially, Triple H gave the biggest matches more time and attention, and this led to a wide variety of show-stealers across the last twelve months, and these are TheSportster’s best of the best. TheSportster’s ratings will be compared to the likes of cagematch.net and Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

To learn more about how we rank wrestling matches on TheSportster, please check out our match ranking criteria guide here.


10 Trish Stratus Vs. Becky Lynch (WWE Payback 2023)

Overall Rating From TheSportster: 8.25/10

Storytelling

2/2.5

Technical Ability

2/2.5

Character Work/Psychology

2.25/2.5

Crowd Reaction

2/2.5

  • Dave Meltzer Rating: 4 Stars
  • Cagematch.net Rating: 8.27

Even though the build left a lot to be desired, the hatred between Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus was well felt here, and they made use of the Steel Cage structure better than most wrestlers in recent memory.

This was a brutal match in which Lynch and Stratus put each other through tortute, being busted open and bruised up. There were great spots, there were unique moments in which the cage was utilized, and it proved to be a perfect feud-ender.

9 Carmelo Hayes Vs. Ilja Dragunov (WWE NXT Great American Bash 2023)

Overall Rating From TheSportster: 8.25/10

Storytelling

2/2.5

Technical Ability

2.25/2.5

Character Work/Psychology

2/2.5

Crowd Reaction

2/2.5

  • Dave Meltzer Rating: 4.75 Stars
  • Cagematch.net Rating: 9.00

It has taken the new version of NXT a little while to get on its feet, but 2023 has brought back some of the in-ring quality that fans adored during the black and gold era, and one of the best examples of that was the series between Carmelo Hayes and Ilja Dragunov.

This may have been their first match, but the chemistry these two showed was insane. The variety in each other’s move sets was great, the sequences were fluid, and perhaps the only reason it isn’t rated higher is due to the fact that there was a frustrating, dirty finish. It could also be argued that the number of kickouts and lack of selling effected it for some

8 Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn Vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa (WWE Night Of Champions 2023)

Overall Rating From TheSportster: 8.5/10

Storytelling

2/2.5

Technical Ability

2/2.5

Character Work/Psychology

2.25/2.5

Crowd Reaction

2.25/2.5

  • Dave Meltzer Rating: 4.5 Stars
  • Cagematch.net Rating: 8.42

This match had a big fight feel straight away due to the thrilling entrances. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens’ hatred for Roman Reigns was felt throughout, and seeing them finally score a big win over him meant a lot when it happened, even if it wasn’t clean.

The bout had a great structure, heating up steadily throughout and making for a high quality crescendo. It may have run a little slowly, but the ending portion was intense, dramatic, and rewarding for the fans.

7 The Usos Vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa (WWE Money In The Bank 2023)

Overall Rating From TheSportster: 8.5/10

Storytelling

2.25/2.5

Technical Ability

2/2.5

Character Work/Psychology

2/2.5

Crowd Reaction

2.25/2.5

  • Dave Meltzer Rating: 4.5 Stars
  • Cagematch.net Rating: 8.43

The crowd was on fire for this one. The whole “stand up if you hate Roman” will be remembered for a long time, and it helped this main event chug along to being even better than it was already.

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The storytelling in the rest of the match was great, with months worth of top class, nuanced performances culminating in this massive tag team bout. There were some incredible near-falls towards the end of the match, and seeing Jey Uso pin Roman Reigns was a goosebump-inducing moment.

6 Gunther Vs. Chad Gable (WWE RAW 09/04/23)

Overall Rating From TheSportster: 8.5/10

Storytelling

2/2.5

Technical Ability

2/2.5

Character Work/Psychology

2.5/2.5

Crowd Reaction

2/2.5

  • Dave Meltzer Rating: 4.5 Stars
  • Cagematch.net Rating: 8.63

The feud between Gunther and Chad Gable has been masterfully built up, and the fans were hugely behind Gable when they clashed on this episode of Monday Night RAW with Gunther’s record-breaking reign on the line. The stakes were high, Gable’s family were at ringside, and out of all Gunther’s matches this was one of the most unpredictable.

The in-ring work was of course brilliant with a classic David vs. Goliath structure. Gable showed great feats of strength but in the end Gunther was still too powerful to overcome. A thrilling encounter that should have arguably been longer.

5 Bad Bunny Vs. Damian Priest (WWE Backlash 2023)

Overall Rating From TheSportster: 8.5 Stars

Storytelling

2/2.5

Technical Ability

1.75/2.5

Character Work/Psychology

2.25/2.5

Crowd Reaction

2.5/2.5

  • Dave Meltzer Rating: 4.5 Stars
  • Cagematch.net Rating: 8.56

Despite being a celebrity guest, Bad Bunny proved himself worthy of being considered a WWE superstar in this brilliant spectacle with Damian Priest. The action was exciting, chaotic, and full of great spots, the Puerto Rican crowd was on fire, and the mayhem in the closing stretch was memorable.

The celebration of Puerto Rican wrestling with cameos from Savio Vega and Carlito was great, adding to what was already a fantastic special attraction match. It was one of the most fun matches of the year.

4 Carmelo Hayes Vs. Ilja Dragonuv (WWE NXT No Mercy 2023)

Overall Rating From TheSportster: 9/10

Storytelling

2/2.5

Technical Ability

2.5/2.5

Character Work/Psychology

2.25/2.5

Crowd Reaction

2.25/2.5

  • Dave Meltzer Rating: 4.75 Stars
  • Cagematch.net Rating: 9.15

Carmelo Hayes and Ilja Dragunov clashed once more, this time at No Mercy 2023 where they tore the house down. The action was very hard-hitting and stiff, making Dragunov look deadly in his attacks.

This featured some fun callbacks to their previous matches, which added a lot of great storytelling factors into this one. The near-falls were electric, the moves were world class, and it felt like it was right out of the heyday of NXT.

3 The Usos Vs. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens (WWE WrestleMania 39)

Overall Rating From TheSportster: 9.25/10

Storytelling

2.5/2.5

Technical Ability

2.25/2.5

Character Work/Psychology

2/2.5

Crowd Reaction

2.5/2.5

  • Dave Meltzer Rating: 5 Stars
  • Cagematch.net Rating: 9.13

The main event of WrestleMania 39 Night One was tremendous. The only downside was perhaps a lack of selling at times due to the fast pace of the match, but even then fans didn’t care about that and still responded with a massive reaction to everything.

The storyline was perfect going in, the drama of the match was great to see, and all four men brought their best to ensure that the main event ended the show with an exciting, non-stop banger. Zayn and Owens getting an emotional win was a great moment too.

2 Charlotte Flair Vs. Rhea Ripley (WWE WrestleMania 39)

Overall Rating From TheSportster: 9.5/10

Storytelling

2/2.5

Technical Ability

2.5/2.5

Character Work/Psychology

2.5/2.5

Crowd Reaction

2.5/2.5

  • Dave Meltzer Rating: 4.75 Stars
  • Cagematch.net Rating: 9.03

The best women’s match of the year and one of the best bouts of the year full stop was this tremendous clash between Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 39. They had a point to prove after missing the main event spot, and showed themselves worthy.

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It was a world class match with perfect sequences, hard-hitting moves, drama, great selling, and pure emotion. It felt like these two women wanted to kill each other. Ripley finally overcame Flair in a fantastic moment, creating a certified star in the process.

1 Gunther Vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus (WWE WrestleMania 39)

Overall Rating From TheSportster: 9.5/10

Storytelling

2/2.5

Technical Ability

2.5/2.5

Character Work/Psychology

2.5/2.5

Crowd Reaction

2.5/2.5

  • Dave Meltzer Rating: 5 Stars
  • Cagematch.net Rating: 9.39

TheSportster’s best WWE match of the year was this absolute war at WrestleMania 39 over the Intercontinental Championship. Gunther, Sheamus, and Drew McIntyre didn’t hold back, making each other’s red raw with the stiffest of shots.

It was non-stop, but everything felt as though it mattered and hurt. It was a great match between three powerhouses, and not only did it steal WrestleMania weekend, but it stole the entire year in WWE too.

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