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Patrick Eire Wrestling Matchguide: January 2023

Hello everyone and welcome to my matchguide for January 2023. In this article I recommend 10 matches from 10 different promotions from al around the world of wrestling. This was a stacked month of wrestling with massive shows in Japan and the USA such as Wrestle Kingdom 17, NOAH New Year and the Royal Rumble with plenty of great matches. I'll also provide a link to a doc with all of my 4 star+ rated matches.

10. Drew Parker vs Jun Kasai FREEDOMS/Jun Kasai Produce Blood X’Mas 2022, 25/12/2022

Christmas Day saw two of the most renowned deathmatch workers go at it in a crazy match. The “Crazy Monkey” Jun Kasai is a veteran of the deathmatch scene and is a legend of the art. Drew Parker is a young man from Wales who has emerged as one of the top deathmatch wrestlers in the world in recent years achieving great success in Japan and the USA. This match is exactly what you would expect from these two maniacs. Plenty of high spots, blood everywhere and sheer violence. A match you will certainly enjoy if you are a fan of the genre.

My star rating: 4.25

Cagematch: 8.59

9. Miyu Yamashita vs Yuka Sakazaki, TJPW Tokyo Joshi Pro ‘23, 04/01/2023

This was a meeting between two pillars of TJPW for Sakazaki’s princess of princess championship. The ace of the promotion vs the top title holder. Expectations were high for a match between two of TJPW’s best and what followed was one of the most brutal matches in the promotion's history. These two women just went all out in a storm of violence. The strikes were devastating and there were some brutal moves onto the outside including a rana from Sakazaki and a german suplex from Yamashita. This was just great hard-hitting joshi action and a great way to start the year for TJPW.

My star rating: 4.25

Cagematch: 8.48

Where to watch: Wrestle Universe

8. Kento Miyahara vs Takuya Nomura AJPW, New Year Giant Series - Day 2, 03/01/2023

In AJPW Kento Miyahara put his Triple Crown Title on the line against his tag team partner Takuya Nomura. Miyahara and Nomura are the current reigning AJPW tag team champions and have developed a strong bond as of late but now they fight with the title on the line. Kento is labelled the “Best of The Best”, and for good reasons as he is one of the best wrestlers in all of Japan. Nomura is also one of the top young wrestlers in the country so this promised to be a great title match. It starts off slow with Nomura in control. However, Kento is able to dig deep later on and fight back in what is unsurprisingly a very hard-hitting affair. These are two of my favourite wrestlers to watch in Japan in right now so I’d definitely recommend giving it a watch if you’re unfamiliar with them.

My star rating: 4.25

Cagematch: 8.28

Where to watch: AJPW TV

7. Rocky Romero vs Volador Jr, CMLL Super Viernes, 20/01/2023

Over in Mexico Volador Jr put his NWA World Historic Welterweight Title on the line against Rocky Romero. Volador Jr is very synonymous with this title. He has held the title 3 times for a combined total of over 3,000 days. His current reign started in 2018. Singles title matches are rare for Romero these days so you knew he was going to put his all into this one. This match was action-packed in front of a red hot crowd. There were loads of great near falls and a brutal looking suplex off the barricade. The match was exactly what you want in a CMLL main event. This is one of the best matches of Romero’s career and will probably be a contender for CMLL match of the year.

My star rating: 4.25

Cagematch: 8.52

Where to watch: CMLL YouTube Channel

6. Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens, WWE Royal Rumble, 28/01/2023

Over the last few months the Bloodline have had a KO problem and the Royal Rumble was their chance to put an end to it for good. A big question leading into this match however was where Sami Zayn’s loyalties lie. Sami has been an honorary Uce for months now but recently doubts have begun to grow in the tribal chief's mind as to whether he’s really on the Bloodline’s side. On Raw, during the trial of Sami Zayn, he was accused of conspiring with Kevin Owens from the beginning. In the end, he was found not guilty but the tribal chief was far from convinced. Zayn would accompany Reigns to the ring tonight and we would finally see once and for all whose side he is really on.

This match followed a typical Roman Reigns PPV main event structure. Roman dominated the match and Kevin had to dig down deep to try and beat the tribal chief. There was good drama created with near falls and a ref bump. Owens had Reigns beat with a pop-up powerbomb but there was no ref to count it which was heartbreaking. The ringside reactions of Sami Zayn were integral to this match. Was he pulling for his tribal chief or his old friend Kevin Owens? Reigns showed his brutality by ramming Owens backward into the steel steps which took the match to the next level for me. The post-match angle was extremely well done too and worth watching.

My star rating: 4.25

Cagematch: 7.93

Where to watch: Peacock/WWE Network

5. Anthony Henry vs Adam Priest, Action Lords of Chaos, 20/01/2023

The best indie match of the month comes from Action Wrestling when Anthony Henry put his Action title on the line against Adam Priest. This was not a first-time meeting between the two. They had four previous singles matches in 2022 including two Action Title matches. In their most recent title clash Henry took the title from Priest. All of their previous matches saw the ropes play a significant factor so for this final match a no disqualification no ropes stipulation was put in place.

A wrestling ring has ropes for a reason, without ropes it becomes a far more dangerous environment. It is so easy to take a nasty spill to the outside and it makes it easier to use the steel ring post as a weapon. The heightened danger was really felt in this one and it created a great atmosphere. Both guys are very talented on the mat so the match started with some great mat wrestling but got more violent as the match went on. They brawled all around the arena using chairs and tables to inflict damage to each other. There was even a great ladder spot. This was a great brawl that really felt dangerous. The best indie match of the year so far.

My star rating: 4.25

Cagematch: 7.33

Where to watch: IWTV

4. Josh Alexander vs Bully Ray, Impact Hard To Kill, 13/01/2023

This was a full metal mayhem match for Josh Alexander’s heavyweight title. This was a highly personal rivalry where Alexander had to face an opponent like none he had faced before. Bully Ray is a brawler and in a no-rules environment such as this, there was no telling how far he would go to win the Impact World Championship. Such was the level of violence anticipated that Alexander asked his wife and child who normally attend all his title matches to stay at home.

The match featured all sorts of plunder including chairs, ladders, tables, chains and even a cheese grater. Bully Ray was determined to drag Alexander into his world but Alexander was fired up and determined to prove he could wrestle this kind of match. There were some brutal-looking and creative spots with the weaponry but it was the character work that made this match great. Bully Ray played his role to perfection. As he had Alexander zip-tied to the ropes you feared that Bully Ray would go too far. He was a bad man who was more than willing to cross the line to win the world title. This made Alexander a very easy babyface to root for as the match had a very dramatic and intense closing stage. Another great title match for Josh Alexander.

My star rating: 4.25

Cagematch: 7.49

Where to watch: Fite

3. Bryan Danielson vs Bandido, AEW Dynamite, 18/01/2023

In AEW Bryan Danielson faced Bandido during his mission to win weekly matches in order to get a title shot against MJF at Revolution. This was a very highly anticipated match between two incredible performers. Danielson has always been outspoken about his love for the Lucha Libre style so it was great to see him have a rare match against a top luchadore like Bandido.

This match was simply incredible. It’s probably the best showcase for the llave Mexican submission style I’ve ever seen on American television. Danielson is a technical master and Bandido more than held his own in what was the best technical performance I’ve ever seen from him. Bandido usually amazes crowds with his insane athleticism, power and aerial offence but here he showed how good his mat game could be. This was only Bandido’s third match ever on Dynamite but he is already super over with the crowd. He’s a tremendous babyface, one of the best in wrestling. The result of this match is never truly in doubt thanks to the MJF storyline but there are still some great near falls from Bandido that make you think that there just may be a chance he pulls off the victory. It is simply a pleasure to watch Bryan Danielson work when he’s in the ring with opponents like this. An awesome tv match.

My star rating: 4.5

Cagematch: 8.89

Where to watch: TBS/Fite

2. Kenoh vs Kaito Kiyomiya, NOAH The New Year 2023, 01/01/2023

The new year started off with a bang giving us the best GHC Heavyweight Title match in recent memory. Kenoh took on his rival Kaito Kiyomiya seeking to regain his championship. This match was about more than just the GHC Heavyweight Championship. This match was about deciding who would be the one to lead NOAH into the future, who would take it upon themselves to carry the promotion on their back and take it to new heights. Both men believed that they were the right man for the job but there could only be one and they were willing to go to hell and back to make sure that they were the one. There is no shortage of history between these men with many existing high-profile singles matches. Last year Kaito Kiyomiya finally defeated the legendary Keiji Mutoh and inherited his signature offence. Following this victory, Kaito won the N-1 Victory tournament earning him a shot at Kenoh’s GHC Heavyweight Championship. Kiyomiya was victorious in that match winning the championship and he later accepted Kenoh’s challenge for a rematch here at the Nippon Budokan.

These two men absolutely destroyed each other in this match. I mean, they left nothing in the reserve. They really gave everything they had to put on the best title match possible in the co-main event slot. This was a brutal match. The kicks of Kenoh were vicious. There was also a horrifying super falcon arrow by Kenoh onto the apron that had everyone in attendance fearing for Kaito’s livelihood for a few moments. Both men wanted to prove that they were the best and they did everything in their power to try and prove that. Since beating Mutoh and adopting his signature moves it is clear that Kiyomiya has been set up to be the next ace of the company but it wasn’t until this match that it really started to click. Here Kiyomiya combined the best of himself with Mutoh’s moves to give an incredible performance befitting of an ace of the company. This was exactly what I look for in a GHC Heavyweight Title match, 20 minutes of pure brutality. An excellent start to the new year for NOAH.

My star rating: 4.75

Cagematch: 9.07

Where to watch: Wrestle Universe

1. Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17, 04/01/2023

Here it is, at number one lies the match that had everyone talking this month. Will Ospreay vs Kenny Omega was an all time classic. When Kenny Omega left NJPW in early 2019 he left his shoes to fill. One of the men tasked with filling those shoes was Will Ospreay. While Ospreay has grown a lot as a performer since then he didn’t quite replicate the success of Omega. Meanwhile NJPW entered a bit of a dark period seeing western interest fall due to a couple reasons and definitely not helped by the pandemic and the clap crowds that it brought. Now Kenny is finally returning to NJPW to prove that Ospreay is not the man capable of replacing him. Ospreay has sacrificed so much and has worked tirelessly to help NJPW over the last couple of years and now he has his chance to prove he is every bit as good as Kenny Omega. Ospreay decided to bring back his Assassin persona for this match leaving behind the Commonwealth Kingpin.

This match was as brutal as it was epic. I’m struggling to find the word to do it justice. There are far too many incredible moments to recount them all here. This match left me breathless at numerous points, had me wincing at others and had me fearing for the wellbeing of the men involved. The match took a dark turn following a ddt by Omega onto an exposed turnbuckle. Ospreay got cut open badly from this move and wrestled the rest of the match a bloody mess. This is rare for a NJPW match, especially for Ospreay so it really had a great effect. Omega proceeded to destroy the body of Ospreay with hellacious moves such as a V-trigger on the exposed turnbuckle and an avalanche Croyt’s Wrath. Ospreay was able to resist and hit Omega with some of his best moves including a Styles Clash, a Super Os Cutter and more than a few Hidden Blades. This was beyond a war. A true Tokyo Dome classic, dare I say peak professional wrestling. A match with high expectations that somehow exceeded them. I personally loved how violent this match was as I wasn’t necessarily expecting it to go in that direction. If you haven’t seen this match yet then get on NJPW World and do so as fast as you can. I promise it’s worth it.

My star rating: 5

Cagematch: 9.78

Where to watch: NJPW World


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