Hello everyone, and welcome to my matchguide for November. In this article I will recommend 10 matches from around the world of wrestling. Unfortunately, I was not able to manage ten matches from ten different promotions this month. I hope to return to that format in the future but this month I still have ten excellent matches to recommend so without further ado lets get into the list!
10. Alex Gracia, Avispa Dorada, Hikari Shimizu, Ivelisse, Lady Frost, Mei Suruga, Stephanie Vaquer and Tae Honma vs Dalys, Faby, La Amapola, La Jarochita, Lluvia, Marcela, Princesa Sugehit and Reyna Isis, CMLL International Women’s Grand Prix 2022, 28/10/2022
CMLL treated us to the second-ever International Women’s Grand Prix. This is a match which sees eight of CMLL’s top Mexican luchadoras take on eight foreign stars in a survivor series style tag team match.
The match starts with a frantic pace and keeps that quick pace throughout as tags are made very frequently under Lucha Libre rules. Each of the performers got an opportunity to showcase what they can do. This was Mei Suruga’s first time wrestling in Mexico but she won over the crowd quickly and was the star of the match in my opinion. Lady Frost and Dalys were the other most impressive performers. There were a few sloppy moments but on the whole, it was a very fun match that kept my attention throughout, I didn’t want to look away from my screen for a moment which is very impressive considering the match length.
My star rating: 4
9. Gunther vs Rey Mysterio, WWE Smackdown, 04/11/2022
This month saw Gunther add another great title defence to his brilliant intercontinental championship reign, this time against Rey Mysterio. Rey Mysterio became the number one contender after winning a fatal four way match against Sheamus, Solo Sikoa and Ricochet.
This was a classic David vs Goliath style match, one where both men excel in their respective roles. Gunther uses his size and strength to dominate Rey in the beginning but Rey is able to counter with his innovative offence from time to time. Mysterio has been in the business for 30 years and has done everything but he is still an incredible underdog babyface at 47 years old. A really great title defence on tv for the champion Gunther.
My star rating: 4.25
Where to watch: Peacock/WWE Network
8. Kazusada Higuchi vs Yukio Naya, DDT D-oh Grand Prix 2022 In Korakuen Hall, 18/11/2022
Over in DDT Yukio Naya met current reigning KO-d Openweight champion Kazusada Higuchi in the D-oh Grand Prix. This is the annual round robin tournament in DDT. After losing his first match to Yuji Hino, Yukio Naya came into this match on a three-match winning streak. His opponents were Mao, Chris Brookes and KANON. The champion Higuchi is undefeated in the tournament so far although he did have a time limit draw with Yuji Hino. Yukio Naya stands at 6 foot seven inches tall but is still relatively young in his career. This was his chance to prove what he could do against the champion.
The former tag team partners are both very large men and so for lack of a better phrase this match was a great example of big meaty men slapping meat. A violent collision between two of the most powerful athletes in all of DDT. Both men showed incredible willpower as they withstood the offence from each other. If you like big men going at it then you should love this. It definitely exceeded my expectations.
My star rating: 4.5
Where to watch: Wrestle Universe
7. Kaito Kiyomiya vs Timothy Thatcher, NOAH Global Honoured Crown, 10/11/2022
After his successful GHC Heavyweight title defence against Kazuyuki Fujita, Kiyomiya now meets his second challenger, Timothy Thatcher. After joining the NOAH roster earlier this year Thatcher has quickly impressed and earned himself a shot at the champion. He held the heavyweight tag titles alongside Hideki Suzuki and also holds recent singles victories against former GHC Heavyweight champions Takashi Sugiura and Satoshi Kojima. In the build-up to this match, it is important to note that Thatcher KO'd Kiyomiya in a tag team encounter.
This is a very hard-fought scientific technical wrestling match. Thatcher is a master at this style and is able to control large portions of the match. Kiyomiya while having good technical skills is not on the level of Thatcher and he has to rely on his speed and athleticism to deliver flurries of offence when he can escape Thatcher’s grip. Thatcher is also able to brutally assault Kiyomiya with mounted forearm strikes and European uppercuts. There are few better than Kiyomiya at fighting from underneath and he gets to that very well here. In the closing stages, there are some great near falls as Thatcher is able to survive the late barrage of offence by Kiyomiya. Then he is able to expertly counter Kiyomiya’s shining wizard attempt into a Fujiwara armbar which Kiyomiya struggles to escape. This was definitely a Timothy Thatcher style match, quite reminiscent of Kiyomiya’s match with Yoshinari Ogawa earlier this year. If you like the style you should enjoy the match but this is one that divides opinion.
Star rating: 4.25
Where to watch: Wrestle Universe
6. Miyu Yamashita vs Mille Mckenzie, TJPW All Rise, 27/11/2022
In TJPW Miyu Yamashita made her first defence of the EVE championship against Millie Mckenzie. Pro Wrestling EVE is the top women's wrestling promotion in the UK and Yamashita recently beat Alex Windsor to become the new EVE champion. Yamashita is the ace of TJPW and is an outsider holding the championship. Millie Mckenzie debuted in 2016 and quickly made a name for herself on the UK independent scene. She was one of the first wrestlers born in the 21st century to make a name for herself in the UK and was henced called the “21st Century Badass”. During the pandemic, her career, unfortunately, kind of stalled and involved a run in NXT UK. However, she got released when NXT UK closed and has already begun to make waves in women’s wrestling again. Yamashita and Mckenzie have two previous singles meetings this year in Barcelona and London with both women holding one victory apiece. Mckenzie is walking into Yamashita’s home to win the title that represents the best of women’s wrestling in the UK.
Having two previous singles matches both women are familiar with each other. Yamashita’s kicks are her speciality whereas Mckenzie is a suplex specialist. The early stages of the match involve both women desperately avoiding the signature offence of each other. Mckenzie, however, is able to hit the first big move of the match with a brutal german suplex on the outside. When the women return to the ring Yamashita is able to unload some of her kicks onto Mckenzie. The challenger shows great heart as she is able to withstand the kicks of Yamashita and nails the champion with a pair of nasty suplexes for a great near fall. This was an incredibly hard-hitting match with some brutal offence by both women. I can’t wait to see more of Mckenzie’s work in the future.
My star rating: 4.25
Where to watch: Wrestle Universe
5. El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. vs Yoshiki Inamura, NOAH The Best, 23/11/2022
We return to Pro Wrestling NOAH for the next match on the list where Wagner made his first defence of the GHC National Title against Yoshiki Inamura. Wagner made his return to NOAH in 2022 and quickly developed an impressive singles record. In the N-1 Victory tournament, he held victories over Kazuyuki Fujita, Masaaki Mochizuki, and Masato Tanaka. He then defeated the legendary Masakatsu Funaki to win his first singles title in NOAH, the GHC National Title. As part of the Sugiura Gun stable Wagner is seeing his popularity rapidly rise as he makes his first title defence against one of NOAH’s top young talents, Yoshiki Inamura. Inamura is 30 years old and is perhaps the most physically impressive member of the NOAH roster. He stands at 6 foot tall but weighs over 260 pounds. He is a true heavyweight and his size and power make him a difficult opponent to overcome. Debuting in 2018 Inamura is having his most impressive year in NOAH to date and this was his first-ever singles title match.
Both wrestlers have different styles but actually have great chemistry and delivered a really energetic and exciting match. Wagner is able to use his Lucha background to overcome the physical advantages of Inamura. However, when Inamura does connect he really does connect using all of his heavyweight power. The crowd really came alive for this match as it exceeded all expectations. The competitive spirit in this match was really something to behold. Neither man wanted to lose and both showed incredible resolve to return to their feet at various points. There were some great near falls as the match reached its dramatic conclusion. This was a match that defied all expectations and really showed why Inamura should be the future of NOAH. A great first defence for Wagner.
My star rating: 4.5
Where to watch: Wrestle Universe
4 Chris Jericho vs Tomohiro Ishii, AEW Dynamite #164, 23/11/2022
Chris Jericho’s reign of terror as the Ring of Jericho champion continued as he defended his title against maybe his toughest opponent yet in NJPW star Tomohiro Ishii. Jericho has made it his mission to desecrate the legacy of ROH and one way he is going about that is by defending his title against former ROH champions. It was at Full Gear where Orange Cassidy informed Jericho that former ROH television champion Ishii was going to challenge Jericho for the title next week at Dynamite. Chris Jericho and Tomohiro Ishii have a history dating back over 25 years. When Jericho wrestled for the WAR promotion in Japan in the mid-90s Tomohiro Ishii was also in the promotion at the beginning of his career as a young boy.
Both of these men have had excellent years in the ring and this match was another great one to add to their catalogues. The match was what you would expect from an Ishii match and Jericho somewhat surprisingly excelled in this type of match. In the beginning, the two men exchanged a hellacious amount of chops. Ishii chopped Jericho so hard that he started bleeding from the chest. It made for an incredible visual as Ishii’s hand become soaked in his opponent's blood. The crowd came alive as they realised they were witnessing something special. The match also featured some brutal suplexes by both men. There was a really cool moment where Ishii hit Jericho with a codebreaker for a near fall. I think this was one of the most memorable Dynamite matches of the year. It’s a testament to both men that they are able to deliver a match of this quality at this stage of their careers. Ishii has been on AEW tv a couple of times before but this time he was finally able to have the standout performance he was capable of.
My star rating: 4.5
Where to watch: TBS/FITE
3. Death Triangle vs The Elite, AEW Full Gear, 19/11/2022
In my opinion, Full Gear was the best wrestling show of the year and this was the best match from that show. The Elite became the inaugural AEW trios champions at All Out 2022 but had to vacate the belts before the next show due to suspension. Death Triangle then beat Best Friends to become the new champions. As the weeks went by fans began to wonder when would the Elite return. There was no real timeline given so all you could do was hope that they would be back on screen soon. Finally, video packages began to play on tv showing how they had been erased from the company. Death Triangle took notice of these video packages and challenged the Elite to a title match at Full Gear. This was really a dream match for the Elite’s return. Not only does it feature 6 incredible wrestlers but they all have a lot of history with each other. The Young Bucks and The Lucha Bros are probably each other’s greatest rivals and Pac and Kenny Omega also have no shortage of great matches between them. Anticipation was high as the Elite was finally going to make a return and have an undoubtedly great match against Death Triangle.
For their return, the Elite had a brilliant entrance and the fans were buzzing in anticipation of the bell ringing. The match started with Kenny Omega and Pac, two of the finest athletes in all of wrestling. The atmosphere was electric as the fans finally saw Kenny Omega wrestle again for the first time since All Out. We then saw the youngest members of both teams Nick Jackson and Rey Fenix deliver some great high flying offence. At one point Death Triangle looked in danger of losing the match and Pac slid the hammer to Fenix. Fenix however refused to use the hammer. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen Pac try to convince the Lucha Bros to use the hammer and win by any means necessary. This would play a crucial role in the finish of the match. These 6 men just know how to wrestle each other. This was an incredible trios match. Exactly what you’d expect from both of these teams.
My star rating: 4.75
Where to watch: Bleacher Report/Fite
2. Will Ospreay vs Tetsuya Naito, NJPW Battle Autumn 2022 - Day 16, 05/11/2022
The NJPW Battle Autumn tour culminated with Tetsuya Naito challenging Will Ospreay for the IWGP US Heavyweight Title. These two men met in singles competition only once before, in this year's G1 semi-finals with Will Ospreay winning. Ospreay has wrestled a very heavy schedule this year and it has taken a toll on his body, particularly his neck. This wear and tear on his body is no secret and it would play a big part in the match. Ospreay is the current IWGP US champion and he aims to make the belt as prestigious as possible by beating all challengers. His previous defences were over Orange Cassidy and David Finlay. Naito represents his most formidable challenge to date at a time when he is not one hundred per cent. Tetsuya Naito is 40 years old and his physical condition won’t allow him to be a top guy in NJPW much longer. If he wants to achieve more at the highest level then his window to do so is getting shorter and shorter. 2022 has been a very frustrating year for Naito in his quest to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. He has put on spectacular performances but has been unable to get the victory when it matters most. This year he lost the New Japan Cup final to Zack Sabre Jr, lost his IWGP World title match against Okada and lost in the G1 semi-finals to Will Ospreay. Those defeats put him out of the World title picture for the foreseeable future. With Wrestle Kingdom 17 right around the corner Naito needs to win here to secure a big match on the card. Without the US title he has no claim to being on the card and with his prime years dwindling away he cannot afford to miss many more Wrestle Kingdoms. The stakes are high, the motivations are clear and two of the best in the business go one on one.
The match starts off with a lightning-fast sequence but the pace soon takes a much slower turn as Naito attempts to frustrate Ospreay and throw him off his game. Naito focuses on the worn-down neck of Ospreay which also conveniently sets him up for his Destino finisher. The men take the action to the outside where Naito is able to hit a gnarly neck breaker with a sickening thud, Ospreay is later able to get his own back with an Os Cutter off the barricade. Once both men return to the ring Naito really focuses on the neck of Ospreay. Naito hits him repeatedly with elbow strikes to the neck. Ospreay’s selling is wonderful here. You begin to think, has Ospreay wrestled too heavily a schedule? Has all the wear and tear caught up to him? Will his neck survive the onslaught of Tetsuya Naito? The action makes its way to the rope and Ospreay finds himself in a perilous position. Naito is looking to hit an avalanche poison rana and given the damage already received by Ospreay’s neck if Naito hits the move it is very unlikely Ospreay will be able to recover. Thankfully Ospreay is able to flip and land on his feet after the poison rana attempt and nail Naito with an Os Cutter keeping the match alive. In the last 10 minutes, the match really hits into gear with both men finding ways to revere each other’s finishing moves. Ospreay reverses the Destino with a Liger bomb and Naito reverses the Stormbreaker into a Destino leading to a near fall. There are some great near falls towards the end with Ospreay barely kicking out of a second Destino and Naito kicking out of the Hidden Blade before the match finally reaches its conclusion. This match left me breathless, a top ten match of the year so far and a match that I feel is a great representation of the wrestler Ospreay has become in 2022.
My star rating: 4.75
Where to watch: NJPW World
1. Kairi vs Mayu Iwatani, NJPW/Stardom Historic X-over, 20/11/2022
It was finally happening, the historic crossover had finally arrived. The first ever NJPW x Stardom show was upon us. This was a historic event that saw Kairi and Mayu Iwatani fight in the main event to crown the inaugural IWGP Women’s Champion. To reach this point Iwatani beat Momo Watanabe and Utami Hayashishita whereas Kairi advanced by beating Alpha Female. This was a hugely historic moment in Stardom and NJPW history and you could argue there was no possible better combination of opponents to fight to become the inaugural IWGP Women’s champion. Alongside Io Shirai, Kairi and Mayu Iwatani form the three daughters of Stardom. These are the three women that really built Stardom into the promotion it is today. A promotion which is renowned for facilitating the best women’s wrestling on the planet. Without these three women, there’s a very good chance that Stardom wouldn’t exist today. That’s why it’s very apt that these two were the ones competing in this match. Mayu Iwatani is the soul of Stardom. She’s the star that never left. She has stayed loyal to Stardom throughout her career and carried the promotion on her back for years becoming the true poster girl for the promotion. Kairi however is different. In 2017 Mayu Iwatani beat Kairi for the Wonder of Stardom title and shortly after Kairi left for WWE becoming an international superstar. Kairi took a different path and upon her return to Stardom, this year has wrestled a part-time schedule. This does not sit right with Mayu. These women have never gotten on well together and now here they are, battling for the IWGP Women’s championship.
When the bell rings Mayu immediately sets out to attack the right arm of Kairi. This is pivotal as Kairi needs to use that arm for much of her signature offence including the Cutlass spinning back elbow, the Anchor submission hold and of course, her famous elbow drop. The selling from Kairi is tremendous as she feels the ill effects of the attack on her arm. At one point it forces her to relinquish the Anchor. There is plenty of brutal offence in this match, including on the ramp. Kairi is able to hit consecutive Cutlass’ on Mayu but Mayu refuses to go down displaying her incredible resiliency. Iwatani nails Kairi with some dragon suplexes but Kairi is able to show her resolve and kick out. Both women display exceptional fighting spirit as they refuse to quit. This an incredibly passion-filled and emotional match with Waka Tsukiyama even tearing up on commentary. Both of these women deserve to be in this spot so much for different reasons and they are showing out and then some, putting on an absolutely sensational wrestling match. This was the most emotional I’ve been after a wrestling match since Hangman vs Omega. I can’t use words to do this match justice. You just have to watch it. The best women’s match of the year in my opinion.
My star rating: 5
Where to watch: PPV via NJPW World