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Ashutosh Recommends: November


As we’re reaching the end of the year, wrestling still keeps delivering delicious stuff for us fans to enjoy. Lots of great matches to choose from in the month of November as well but these were the ones I enjoyed the most. Do check them out and please support the promotions if you can J. With that out of the way, here we go.

HARASHIMA vs Yuji Okabayashi (DDT 21/11)

The best thing that I did as a wrestling fan this year was discover Yuji Okabayashi. A truly sensational all round performer who deserves all the appreciation that he gets. HARASHIMA needs no introduction. One of the greatest Wrestlers of all time and still going strong to this day. This was a showdown between the smile Pissari teammates on the final night of block matches from DDT D-oh Grand Prix and man what a ride it was. Played out three acts with fantastic mat work in the opening stretch and HARASHIMA going for the leg while Okabayashi clobbered him with the chops until it just comes into one when they’ve used up all their ideas and now it’s just a game of one upsmanship with both friends clobbering each other with one of the best strike exchanges you will see anywhere. And in between all that, the constant theme was them not being willing to give even an inch to the one another. An intense and absolutely wonderful bout. The match of the year.

Rating: *****

CM Punk vs Eddie Kingston (AEW 13/11)

The best way to watch this match is to go back and watch the promos and segments leading up to it so that you can completely feel the tension in there. When you’re invested there’s nothing better than this. This is just a raw war. I regularly say that Eddie Kingston is the realest wrestler that I have ever seen and there’s a reason for it. In this day and age he manages to blur the lines between kayfabe and reality and man it’s a cathartic experience when you experience that ride in its entirety.

The spinning backfist to start the match as Eddie knocked Punk out was enough to convince me that it was going to be special. From that point it’s a fight. An unhinged brawl. I’ve been pretty vocal about matches going too long and in their attempt to be “epic” and just end up being very boring with a lot of work not paying off and wrestlers just filling time for the sake of it. This, on the other hand goes just 11 minutes there’s no unnecessary bloating whatsoever. A match that respects your time. The whole bout is a moment. Doing the five knuckle shuffle tease was amazing and it was a symbolic representation of how far we’ve come from 2011. It’s ugly. It’s messy. It’s purifying. Two weeks of great build up culminating in a match that only two of the best ever can deliver. Highly recommended.

Rating: *****

Kazusada Higuchi vs Yuji Okabayashi (DDT 14/11)

“Big meaty men slapping meat.” It’s not just a quote. It’s very real. And that’s what this match is. This is my favourite kind of wrestling match. Just two big dudes hitting each other with bombs and chops and lariats until one of them just can’t. An awesome slugfest. Perhaps there is no other sight in wrestling that pleases me more than when two big guys hit each other with lariats or chops and sweat flies along with it.

Higuchi’s charismatic and scary presence meets Okabayashi’s lovable big babyface presence here and it is the kind of match that I’d actually expect from these two on a regular basis but these guys are two of the smartest wrestlers in the world today. They add a lot of substance to it with every little thing they do in every other match so when this type of stuff comes rarely it just feels so fresh and enjoyable. Just two absolute monsters trying destroy one another. Check it out.

Rating: ****3/4

Kazusada Higuchi vs HARASHIMA (DDT 3/11)

Another match from the DDT D-oh Grand Prix so by now you must’ve realised that it has been a really fun tournament that I recommend checking out in its entirety. This one is from the opening night of the tournament. One of the greatest Wrestlers of all time against one of the best in the world today so of course it was phenomenal.

This match is a little trip through that genius brain of HARASHIMA with how effective he can make things in a really simple manner. The way he targets Higuchi’s leg relentlessly and Higuchi sells it so well throughout is really amazing to see. But HARASHIMA gets overzealous trying to play the power game with the much larger Higuchi and pays for it turning the tide leading up to Higuchi’s comeback. Simple yet effective. They play off the size difference between both wrestlers so well both to display Higuchi’s awesome presence and also use it to add a layer to the story of HARASHIMA using The Gooch’s size against him. A really well structured match which is also accompanied by thunderous strikes from both men that only add to the quality of the bout. Fantastic stuff overall.

Rating: ****1/2

Some Honorable mentions:

1. El Desperado vs Hiromu Takahashi(NJPW, 21/11)

2. Kenny Omega vs Hangman Adam Page(AEW, 13/11)

3. Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Tsukushi Haruka (Ice Ribbon, 13/11)

4. Jun Akiyama vs Yuki Ueno (DDT, 03/11)

5. Shingo Takagi vs Zack Sabre Jr (NJPW, 06/11)

So that’s it for this month. Watch the matches and most importantly have fun.


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