Welcome to the second edition of our review of October through the prism of Dave Meltzer's Star Ratings and Cagematch.
October was quiet on the main with AEW only producing one match with a Meltzer rating of ****1/2 and none over 8.00 and WWE building up to its November PLE's Crown Jewel and Survivor Series with promotions away from matches away from America grabbing the attention last month.
FTR vs Aussie Open- Oct 1st
On the first day of October FTR and Aussie Open fought over the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles in Dax and Cash's first defences of the belts and it would turn out to be the second 5-star match to take place in the UK as in many months.
Released on NJPW World a couple of weeks later because of reasons, Meltzer's review would come out a week after the broadcast.
FTR’s win over Aussie Open was one of the three best tag matches I’ve seen this year, and it could easily be argued the best, and easy *****. I’ve seen Aussie Open’s great matches with The Velocities and this was so completely different. Everything about this match was classic.
The Aussie Open match became FTR's third 5-star match of 2022 with only one other team with that number in a calendar year in 2 vs 2 action (Golden Lovers in 2018)
One interesting aspect is the reduction of the Cagematch number once it aired. The match was rated above the 9.50 mark before the premiere of the Royal Quest II show and then the Cagematch number dropped to the current number of 9.35 as of publishing time. Why is that?
First, those ranking the match who attended live would probably rank the match high due to the live experience enhancing the enjoyment of the match with those votes being exclusive to those in Crystal Palace that night. Once released those watching on New Japan World got their votes in and the number went down through any votes that were not 10/10 but any vote with a number less than 10 is undervaluing the match though.
It's another 10/10 or ***** FTR match in 2022. It's another FTR masterclass. If Moxley doesn't have the quantity of output he has had this year, Dax and Cash are the WOTY frontrunners in my opinion and to think that the Aussie Open match is probably not FTR's best match of 2022 (Briscoes at Supercard of Honor in my humble opinion)
El Hijo Del Vikingo vs Rey Fenix- Oct 15th
An eagerly awaited match in lucha circles, two of the best flyers in Mexico faced off in Night 3 of the TripleMania series and it didn't disappoint.
The title match was exactly what it should have been, making Vikingo by outshining the greatest flyer in the world at his own game- Dave Meltzer
While Meltzer's 5-stars was maybe not the biggest surprise considering the type of wrestling Dave likes, the average number of 8.71 also wasn't a surprise. Those who dislike Lucha would have hated this, like the following comment from wrestlingreviewer
"This was your usual AAA match with spots and no story telling.I personally didn't like this match even though I like spot fest but this was botchy at times especially by the champion Fenix got busted open from now where and great accrobats but the match wasn't well structured if they had a story or more stuff between huge spots It would have been better No way a 5 star and I usually agree with Dave's ratings"
Once you get used to all the yellow and the sensory attacking adverts on the big screen and the commentary being played over the PA speakers giving me WWA flashbacks, it's great. Solely based on the in-ring action it's ***** but those camera cuts make it less than perfect. The production and constant camera manipulation looked like it was something from Kevin Dunn's wet dream. All in all, ****¾
Giulia vs Tam Nakano
The final of Stardom’s annual singles tournament saw Giulia given the ball with her victory over Tam Nakano.
Weirdly, Dave Meltzer has not given the match a rating even with a write-up about the night in the Observer. You would think that Dave with his history of endorsing joshi from his days following All Japan Women in the 80s and 90s would have had a rating for Stardom’s version of the G1's final but apparently not. So, let's read what PuroresuLover on Cagematch says instead
"My God, this match brought a tear to my eye. Another magnificent match between Giulia and Tam Nakano, even better than their last one, which tells you A LOT about the quality of this fucking banger. This rivalry is so intense, and both of them knows how to incorporate this intensity in the ring so damn well, and seeing them using each other's moves was totally awesome. The spots on the outside and the bumps inside the ring were all fantastic, but Tam kicking out of the Glorious Driver was something else, man. Rossy Ogawa just painted another masterpiece. ****3/4"
God knows what a five star match would do to PuroresuLover.
Not unusually on a month that features an NXT PLE, a match on the NXT event wins the match of the month for the Orlando Satellite operation of the New York territory from both Dave Meltzer and the Cagematch voters.
The Good Old-fashioned Donnybrook could never miss with talents like Gunther, Sheamus and Pete Du…. sorry, Butch with the no-holds barred stipulation meaning chaos, weapons and brawling would be the main focal points for the match. It was your stereotypical crowd-pleasing PLE opening match attraction that is the WWE formula as of late. It was WWE trying the “party match” format that AEW has perfected in the past year and Gunther, Sheamus and co do a good job of it. Pete’s rating ****½
The storytelling and match layout here was fantastic. All the outside interference usually muddles a match, but given the back story, it worked. Edge has a rep for being a genius at match layout dating back nearly two decades and boy did it show here - Meltzer
If you play the clip of Will Ospreay reading Meltzer’s review of Edge vs Balor, you can see his heart breaking in half.
The I Quit match was a match of two halves. The first half was a mixture of ingredients of the “do you want to quit, no” trope and the walk and brawl which didn’t taste great. The second half hit the right emotive notes with Beth Phoenix used to make Edge say the words I Quit. The final part of the match got heat on Judgment Day and will get fans wanting Edge to get his revenge on the faction but man that first half dragged. ****1/4
Breakker retained the NXT title of Ilja Dragunov and JD McDonagh was near the top of the list of WWE matches this year. Dragunov and McDonagh are super workers and Breakker is amazing considering he’s had barely one year of wrestling.- Meltzer.
The Triple Threat main event of Halloween Havoc was what you would think a modern-day NXT main event would look like in the 2.0 era. Some cool stuff but the bad habits of certain wrestlers were very plain to see. In fact, there is a case to make that Bron was the one with the least bad habits of the three involved.
One thing that needs to be said after watching the Triple Threat is all is forgiven Corey Graves. Booker T on that match and night made Corey sound like the second coming of Jesse Ventura. Booker’s commentary was worse than his podcast, which is saying something. For all of Corey’s faults he never speaks over the play-by-play commentator’s 2-count calls and makes random plugs for features on his podcast. I never thought I'd type these words but Mike Tyson commentary>Booker’s commentary. It was so bad it almost got me to downgrade my star rating for this match but with some cool spots, Breakker being great and a very smart finish playing off a previous near fall it gets ****½ from me.
Josh Alexander vs Eddie Edwards
The main event of Impact’s “Wrestlemania” would see World Champ Josh Alexander face Eddie Edwards from the ROH invading faction (hang on, a good ROH storyline in 2022, this is definitely not AEW). Reviews have been high from both Meltzer and Cagematch with Meltzer calling it a classic and this from a Cagematch voter.
This was incredible, a fantastic championship match all around……..Now Josh's toughest challenge awaits: carrying Bully Ray to a good match in 2022. ****3/4+"
Bryan Danielson vs Sammy Guevara
Dave Meltzer’s match of the month in AEW was Bryan Danielson vs Sammy Guevara. I mean, I liked the match. Any chance to see Sammy Guevara hit very hard by another human being will always be taken by me but the best match of October? Not for me.
The Cagematch voters agree with me to a point with the match getting a rating of 7.39 which is paramount to a ***¾. The truth in my eyes is somewhere in the middle. I gave the match ****. It’s a fun TV match. Nothing more or less. My AEW match of the month is among the gaggle that received ****¼ from Uncle Dave.
I give the Orange Cassidy vs PAC match in Toronto ****½. The story told fitted the occasion from call-backs to previous contests to PAC getting his just desserts for his devious behaviour with the hammer, it was a really good wrestling match.
Cagematch would give MJF vs Wheeler Yuta the highest rating for a AEW match in October. It was a very good match which helped bolster the characters of both wrestlers involved especially MJF with his big World Title match on the horizon. The Youtube video on AEW's channel showing the final 2 and a half minutes had the headline of "Is MJF the Best Professional Wrestler in the World?" Kazuchika Okada says hello. As a showcase for both wrestlers though, it did its job and then some ****1/4
We now move onto November with the potential for it to be one to remember. With WWE doing two War Games matches on the main roster for the first time in its history and a PPV from AEW which always sees matches of quality coming out PPV night and Ospreay and Naito already banging out a great match already this month, I'm quietly confident my subscriptions from the Big 3 will be VFM this month.