I just found this thread, believe it or not. Very, very informative. I like it a lot and have watched 2 matches from it. Morishima vs Shiozaki, and the above mentioned Tajiri/Finlay match. I'm not sure of the protocol here, and it was a tv match, but I have to think that Jay Lethal/Davey Richards was at least a decent candidate off of a tv show. I have been trying to grasp how the ratings work, and for that match, i'd have to give it at least a *** 3/4. The brawl at the end took away from the match a bit, but with Tomasso Ciampa just sitting there concentrating on the match while a huge brawl went on all around him was a good touch. He just concentrated on Lethal due to the upcoming title match. As I say, I'm new to this thread, but I have to say that match is an early candidate.
I'm relatively knew to this thread concept, too - having only come in towards the end of 2011, I believe.
Just from what I've learnt is that you're going to have moments where you're going to look at something and wonder why you rated it in a certain way when a newer match was heaps better and you're going to have to give it a similar rating. Reflection is always key, and continually evaluating your previously rated matches as you go along will help keep a Match of the Year list as close to your ever changing standards as possible. Like myself, for instance, I had to readjust my entire list the other week when I realised I was being too lenient with my ratings (and knocked about .25 to .5 stars off all my ratings).
I'm not sure how many matches you've watched or how great your background is in different promotions (both American Indy and International), so forgive me if I seem to make you out to be new to this, but I'm very, very new to this, as well. Accurate reflection only comes from a greater depth in match-viewing where you've watched "the classics" and can then compare and contrast newer matches with what the benchmark actually is and it's there that quite a few posters in this thread work from. It's also why my ratings are probably a lot more liberal than them, as well. That's not to say, though, that you should change your ratings to reflect theirs (where is the fun in that?
) but just to also see where you differ to them and to, perhaps, spark debate on why you found it good/bad and they didn't.
Other than that, welcome. Don't be too overwhelmed with the amount of matches that will pop-up over the course of the year, but do try and use the nominations as a basis of what to actively look for in the hopes of watching - especially the Japanese matches. 2011 was an amazing year for me, quality-wise, and it's because of threads like these that help sift through the dirt and reveal the golden nuggets that would have slipped under your radar otherwise.
edit: This final part..well I just liked how it looked. During the introductions of each man streamers were thrown, Tariji the man fighting for the championship in the last match the title would be defended was COVERED in streamers. The champion Finlay had streamers thrown at him too, but not a single one touched him! I loved how that looked, the streamers just fell down around him. He just walked through them! Also did anyone mention how even the ref was going for Tariji and made it completely obvious(not a flaw) that he wanted Tajiri to take home the belt!? Great touch.
I'm not sure if it's a standard concept from SMASH but what was probably the greatest of the little touches was the playing of the anthems before the commencement of the match and Tajiri praying for the strength to pull out the victory.
It's always the little things that play the biggest role in creating a great atmosphere and, in turn, a great match, if you ask me.
shillelagh (if thats how you spell it)
I had to look the spelling up just to double check, too. It looks weird, but it's right.