We might be over halfway through November, but it’s time to head back to October and read about my ten favourite matches of the month. Did you see something better? Well, tell me! I’m always happy to watch good wrestling.
Let’s not overcomplicate this one. It was just a damn good tag match. With Momo and Mayu in there, you can anticipate excellence, but AZM and Saki were the perfect dance partners, bringing a bit of that High Speed flavour to proceedings. Four brilliant wrestlers are brilliant, what more needs to be said?
My favourite Kota Ibushi is the one that goes out and stiffs it out with big fuckers. Yes, he’s brilliant when he’s doing his high-flying magical elf-man shtick, but Kota hits a whole new level when he’s trading blows with the likes of Ishii and EVIL. Even with the final result never being in doubt, Kota and EVIL managed to get me hooked on this match, desperate to see who could hit harder, and that’s the kind of wrestling that I can get behind.
People that think SANADA is a lousy wrestler are fucking weird. I don’t care if you don’t like him, that’s fine, but believing that he’s not any good? You’re out of your mind. For the fourth time this year, these two got the chance to dance, and while it wasn’t their best, it also wasn’t their worst. SANADA vs Okada is a feud that New Japan will be able to return to for years to come (perhaps not quite this regularly) and I have faith that they’ll deliver every time.
You probably don’t need me to describe this one. It’s a Jun Kasai deathmatch. You know what that looks like and you’ll know whether it is for you. What makes Kasai’s matches stand out is that it’s not a series of violent spots stringed together by long set-up periods (cough Omega vs Moxley cough), but a brutal wrestling match with weapons thrown in. When it comes to this style, there aren’t many better.
The teachers vs the students. New Japan’s 2019 Junior Tag League was a delightful surprise, and this match was the jewel in its crown. Taguchi and Rocky went out there and put (most of) the comedy to one side, to have a thrilling encounter with SHO and YOH, where Rocky refused to lose to his proteges. It was fast-paced, hard-hitting action that summed up everything this tournament should be, lovely stuff.
Miyahara’s ability to craft an epic is up there with Okada, so it’s no surprise that he yet again features on this list. The All Japan champion was in the ring with Jake Lee, who (despite being a good wrestler) has all the charisma of a pair of dirty underwear, and he still managed to put together an enthralling spectacle, building to that devastating Shutdown German. He’s one of the best in the world right now, and that’s not up for debate.
The grizzled old vet with his array of kicks and submissions going up against the heart and power of the young champion, this was fucking awesome. Mochizuki might be 49, but that fucker can go, and Ben-K is growing into his role as the new Ace. The final minutes were spectacular, and the finish still makes me smile. What a match!
Yes, I know not everyone loved this. People went in expecting a blood bath and got something very different. However, when you move past that expectation, Liger and Suzuki pulled off something special. It was a battle between two legends who stripped away all the gimmicks to push each other as far as they could. We got our sight of Kishin Liger, so KOPW was our chance to enjoy Keiichi Yamada on a big stage for one of the final times.
For the puro nerds of the world, Sareee has had an outstanding year, making the fact she appears to be off to WWE just a little bit heartbreaking. However, at least we’ll have matches like this to remember her by, a hard-hitting back and forth that has a final sequence involving some of the most brutally beautiful suplexes you will ever see. Don’t sleep on this one.
If you’re in the wrestling bubble, then you’ve probably heard about this match, and it lives up to the hype. OTT has done a fantastic job of intermingling the stories of Starr, Devlin and WALTER over the last couple of years, and it culminated in this battle between the two former best friends. I thought it lost its way a little bit towards the end, but that’s a minor complaint about one hell of a pro-wrestling match.