Hello everyone and welcome to the October edition of my matchguide. This month I recommend matches from 6 different countries as I take you on a journey through the wrestling world. October was a very good month for wrestling involving NJPW Royal Quest, the Stardom 5star GP finals, AAA Triplemania, Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory and the first ever women's main event in the Middle East. As always the 10 matches listed here are not what I think the 10 best matches are but rather the 10 I wanted to recommend the most while making a conscious effort to include a good variety.
10. Nathan Frazer vs Oro Mensah vs Von Wagner vs Wes Lee vs Carmelo Hayes, NXT Halloween Havoc, 22/10/2022
At Halloween Havoc we saw 5 competitors battle it out in a great ladder match for the vacant NXT North American title. The title had been vacated by Solo Sikoa following his move to the Smackdown brand. Each competitor had to qualify for the match except former two time NXT North American champion Carmelo Hayes. Nathan Frazer beat rival Axiom (fka A-Kid) to earn his spot, Oro Mensah (fka Oliver Carter) defeated Grayson Waller, Wes Lee advanced by beating Tony D'Angelo and finally Von Wagner earned his spot by beating Andre Chase. The match featured four of NXT's best cruiserweights and also Von Wagner who played the role of the big man.
This was the best multi-man ladder match I've seen in a long time. There were a lot of creative and great looking spots by the cruiserweights and Wagner did his role reasonably well. If you like multi-man ladder matches then I don't see why you won't enjoy this.
My star rating: 4.25
9. Alex Windsor vs Charlie Morgan, Wrestlefest DXB Equal Measures, 15/10/2022
Alex Windsor and Charlie Morgan made history this month in Dubai by being the first women to main event a wrestling show in the Middle East. This is just one of the many great things Alex Windsor has achieved since her return to wrestling in 2021. She is the current reigning Revpro Undisputed British Women’s Champion and has held that belt since November 2021. She also held the International Princess Championship in TJPW this year and wrestled for NJPW at Royal Quest. Her opponent is one of her best friends and veteran of the British indie scene Charlie Morgan. Both women are renowned for their technical prowess and this match had all the makings of a good one.
The crowd were very excited to see these two in the main event as a chant of “women’s wrestling” broke out before the bell even rang. The first half of the match featured some great technical wrestling as expected, which the crowd loved. There were duelling chants supporting both women. As the match approached the halfway mark it began to get more physical with Morgan using her kicks and Windsor countering with a headbutt. A brawl to the outside ensued where Windsor was sent head first into the ring post. Charlie Morgan then did a spectacular dive off the balcony onto her opponent. Despite being friends it was clear that both women were determined to win the match and were willing to take the necessary risks. The closing exchange was dramatic as both women had to use a rope break to stay alive and there were some great near falls. Being the first women’s main event in the Middle East is a huge achievement for both women and they even had a great match to boot. This one is also available for free on the company's YouTube channel so it's easily accessible.
My star rating: 4
Cagematch average: 8
8. Lio Rush vs Robbie X, Revpro Live in London 66, 23/10/2022
Revpro held their annual British J Cup this month but it is actually a match from a live event the day after that we are concerned with here. For those unfamiliar Robbie X is called the “Speed Star” and at 27 years old has well established himself as one of the top cruiserweights in British wrestling. Known for his incredible speed Robbie X had arguably one of the biggest moments of his career by winning the British J Cup the night before. His opponent Lio Rush also competed in the tournament but was eliminated by Leon Slater in the first round. Rush has a reputation for being one of the most exhilarating performers to see in a wrestling ring thanks to his mind blowing speed and agility. After suffering injury at PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles these were his first singles matches since returning and he did not miss a beat.
Rush played the heel in this one and antagonised the crowd early on by refusing to shake Robbie’s hand. There were some fun indie style spots based around Rush refusing to shake the hand of Robbie X early on but in between there were some lightning fast sequences that the commentators couldn’t possibly keep up with. This featured all the fast paced action you would expect from two of the fastest in the game. There were also some great dives to the outside that went well beyond the first row. Rush hit the ropes so fast at one point that the bottom rope broke. It was great to see Lio make a good recovery from his injury and do what he does best against an opponent like Robbie X. If you like crazy high flying indie wrestling then you should definitely enjoy this.
My star rating: 4.25
7. Jordynne Grace vs Masha Slamovich, Impact Bound For Glory, 07/10/2022
Up next we have the dominant champion Jordynne Grace defending her Knockouts Championship against the undefeated Masha Slamovich. Grace is a two time Knockouts champion and is well established as a dominant force in the knockouts division. Her opponent, Masha Slamovich is a more recent addition to the Knockouts roster. Looking to gain some vital experience early in her career Masha made the decision to travel to Japan in 2020. Soon after the pandemic hit and instead of travelling back home Slamovich decided to stay in Japan and train in the Marvelous dojo.She spent almost a full year in Japan honing her craft and it paid off big time. Throughout 2021 she emerged as one of the greatest women’s wrestlers on the US indie scene. She joined Impact wrestling and in 2022 has accumulated a 16-0 winning streak often winning in very quick fashion against the likes of Madison Rayne, Gisele Shaw and Tenille Dashwood. She became one of the most feared competitors in all of Impact wrestling and at Bound For Glory her undefeated streak has finally earned her a shot at the Knockouts championship.
Jordynne and Masha are two of the finest women’s wrestlers in the United States and they did not disappoint. It was the unrelenting power of Grace vs the sheer toughness of Slamovich. Slamovich’s Joshi training was evident here as this match felt like a Joshi match in a US setting. Both women delivered some brutal looking manoeuvres and employed the use of hard hitting strikes. This was a very hard fought contest in which both women’s finishing holds did not get the job done. It was clear that something special would be needed to end the match and that is what we got. An incredibly physical matchup between two of the best in the game.
My star rating: 4.25
6. Violence Is Forever vs Shigehiro Irie and Fuminori Abe, WXW World Tag Team Festival - Day 2, 02/10/2022
Over in Germany WXW treated us to a fantastic tag team festival during which this wonderful match took place. On the second day of the tournament the team of Shigehiro Irie and Fuminori Abe took on the team of Violence Is Forever. On the first show Abe and Irie tasted defeat while Violence Is Forever picked up a vital three points. This meant that Abe and Irie needed a win to survive in the tournament. Ku and Garrini have established themselves as one of the top independent tag teams in the US and are making their Germany and WXW debuts looking to expand their reputation. While not a regular tag team, Irie and Abe have teamed together before and are looking to represent Japan in the festival. Irie, a member of the Strong Hearts faction is one of the best independent stars in Japanese wrestling and Abe of Pro Wrestling Basara is one of the best junior heavyweights Japan have to offer.
The match starts with some exquisite technical wrestling between Garrini and Abe, it's simply a joy to watch. The fighting spills out to the outside and onto the crowd where both teams have some fun but also exchange some nasty strikes. When the competitors return to the ring the intensity is dialled up. There is great teamwork shown by both sides and some beautiful striking exchanges. There is one particularly gruesome headbutt from Abe to Ku that splits Ku right open. The sound that this headbutt makes, it's not nice. Ku is forced to wrestle the rest of the match with a crimson mask heightening the drama. This is just a really fun tag match between two international teams, featuring great technical wrestling and beautiful striking in front of a hot German crowd. What more could you ask for from a tag team festival?
My star rating: 4.25
5. La Jarochita vs Reyna Isis, CMLL 89. Aniversario 16/09/2022
At CMLL’s 89th anniversary show La Jarochita met Reyna Isis in the semi main event in a mask vs mask match and what a match it was. The mask vs mask stipulation is crucial. This is not like a title match where if you lose you can challenge again down the road, no if you lose, your mask is gone and you’re never getting it back. To lose your mask is a humiliation, the ultimate insult in Lucha Libre and it can seriously damage your career. When you lose your mask you lose your identity and your brand, it means you have to start over and some luchadores never recover. That means everything in a mask vs mask match means more, so much is riding on the result of the match. Nearfalls mean more, submissions are that much more suspenseful and the crowd is that much more invested. It is a stipulation that often brings out the best in Lucha Libre and that was the case here.
The match started hot as neither woman wanted to give the other an inch. Arena Mexico was molten hot from the get go. Both women took high risks but not all paid off. There were some spectacular dives to the outside and off the stage but Reyna Isis was able to evade one attempt from La Jarochita causing her to collide heavily with the floor. The middle period of the match saw a lot of great nail biting near falls as Reyna Isis tried to capitalise on her advantage. Unfortunately there were a couple of sloppy moments which prevented me from rating it higher although perhaps I am being too harsh. Also an injury from one of the competitors caused a slightly abrupt finish. Nonetheless it was a fantastic match with a very hot crowd. One of the best women’s matches on North American soil this year in my opinion. It’s available to watch for free on the CMLL YouTube channel, why not check it out?
My star rating: 4.25
4. Jonathan Gresham vs Mike Bailey, GCW Moment Of Clarity, 23/10/2022
After taking a brief hiatus Jonathan Gresham returned to in-ring action with GCW in September. Fast forward one month later and he would have his best match of the year against Speedball Mike Bailey in a GCW ring. Mike Bailey has been on an absolutely incredible run in 2022. After being banned from the USA for five years he finally made his return in 2022 and has been having great matches all around the country against the likes of Bandido, Konosuke Takeshita, Jacob Fatu, Trey Miguel Alec Price and many many more. Both men are widely regarded as two of the most talented wrestlers currently working on the US indie scene and this would be their first singles meeting since 2016. The two men also represent different styles with Gresham being regarded as one of the best technical wrestlers in the world whereas Bailey is more renowned for his incredible striking and fast paced high flying ability.
This match was fought at a fast pace with Gresham focusing on the leg of Bailey for large portions of the match. This was not a slow technical match rather a super energetic match from start to finish that I feel brought out the best of both men. Both men are masters of their styles so execution was on point as they delivered their signature offence. Bailey sold his leg excellently and it would play a big role in the finish of the match. The intensity really ratcheted up towards the end with fierce striking exchanges. Gresham used his chops while Bailey mainly used his kicks. There was a really cool moment where Gresham delivered multiple bayonet forearms in an effort to get the win. When you put two elite level guys in the ring together you get magic and that’s what happened here.
My star rating: 4.5
3. Pentagon Jr vs Villano IV, AAA Triplemania XXX: Mexico City, 15/10/2022
Triplemania Mexico City was the final of three Triplemania events this year and the main event saw Pentagon Jr meet Villano IV in the Ruleta De La Muerte Final Mask vs Mask. To reach this point both men lost in two previous rounds of the tournament as a mask vs mask tournament is one where the losers progress on to the next round with the ultimate loser losing his mask. Penta suffered defeats to Ultimo Dragon and Blue Demon Jr to reach this point whereas Villano IV lost to LA Park and Psycho Clown. The stakes could not be higher as each man's mask is on the line in the biggest lucha event of the year. Pentagon is the beloved international superstar. He is considered by many to be the most successful luchadore on an international level since Rey Mysterio. His phrase “cero miedo” is iconic and tonight Penta puts that legacy and that reputation on the line with his mask at stake. Villano IV is an older wrestler and a legend in lucha libre. As the youngest son of Ray Mendoza he is a part of an iconic family in lucha libre. Two of his brothers Villano III and Villano V have already previously lost their masks so Villano IV knows more than anyone what is at stake. At 57 years old Villano IV wants to end his career with dignity by not losing his mask, if he were to lose his mask it would put a huge asterisk on his legacy.
This match had all the pageantry of a major lucha libre event as both men made their elaborate entrances. Pentagon’s entrance in particular is among the most spectacular in all of wrestling this year. The action starts when Villano IV intercepts Pentagon on the ramp during his entrance, setting the tone for what would be a bloody brawl. The crowd were deeply invested as one man’s career would change forever. Both men had their own sections of the crowd that were giving them their support. Villano IV immediately ripped at the mask of Penta and busted his head open. However, it wasn’t long before Penta would return the favour. The match featured a lot of brawling on the outside and men were sent through wooden boards and tables. At one point both men engage in a good old fashioned fist fight which Villano IV gets the better of. In an effort to gain the victory Pentagon turns to the arm breaker that gained him notoriety in the US and hits it twice but Villano IV kicks out, such is the pain threshold he’s willing to endure in order to save his mask. If someone asked me to show them lucha libre I would show them this. This is a match which to me embodies what lucha libre is all about. The earlier match between Vikingo and Fenix was also fantastic and had all the high flying offence associated with lucha libre but the main event to me represented the true spectacle of lucha and what it means. A perfect way to celebrate 30 years of AAA. This match is also available for free on the AAA YouTube channel.
My star rating: 4.25
2. Giulia vs Tam Nakano, Stardom 5STAR Grand Prix 2022 - Day 20: Championship Battle, 01/10/2022
After twenty shows spanning 10 weeks the Stardom 5STAR Grand Prix finally reached its conclusion. The grand final saw the winner of the blue block Giulia face off with the winner of the red block Tam Nakano. The pair are no strangers to each other with four previous singles matches. They both share two wins apiece, however Nakano won their last encounter. A hair vs hair match that occurred in March of 2021.
The match started with a nice friendly handshake and then all hell broke loose. If I had to describe this match with one word it would be intense. The match had everything from brutal striking exchanges to big moves on the outside and everything in between. There was one particularly brutal moment where Nakano nailed Giulia with an avalanche tiger German suplex. Another memorable moment is when both women were seated and Giulia dared Nakano to give her her best kicks. This was a match where neither woman wanted to quit. They showed great fighting spirit as they kicked out early of various moves. Both women even employed the use of the other’s finisher in the closing exchanges before finally enough was enough and a three count was delivered. A great match to cap off a very successful tournament for Stardom.
My star rating: 4.5
1. FTR vs Aussie Open, NJPW Royal Quest II - Day 1, 1/10/2022
2022 has been the year of FTR and they added another tag team motyc to their catalogue here. FTR are on the run of their lives currently holding ROH, AAA and IWGP tag team gold. After winning the IWGP heavyweight tag team championships at Forbidden Door in June they come to London in October to make their first defence against the current NJPW Strong Openweight champions Aussie Open. Aussie Open grabbed the attention of FTR during the build to Forbidden Door in AEW and their work in AEW and elsewhere has really helped them make a name for themselves in 2022. In the words of Mark Davis while he and Kyle were born in Australia Aussie Open is British Born through and through. It was in 2017 when Kyle Fletcher moved to the UK that Aussie Open was formed and it was in the UK where they predominantly established themselves as one of the best tag teams around holding tag team gold around the country. As a result London, where this match took place, was really home turf for Aussie Open. It was the perfect venue for them to face FTR and challenge for the IWGP heavyweight tag team titles.
The match took place in front of over two thousand fans at Crystal Palace and these fans lived up to the reputation of UK crowds. Both teams got great reactions for their entrances, particularly FTR but as the match went on the crowd reaction became more even. The match followed the typical FTR big match structure but still allowed Aussie Open to show off what they could do at various points. The pacing was great. Within the opening five minutes Harwood and Davis chopped each other so hard that they both started bleeding from the chest. Then Aussie Open began to control the match and the build to the Dax Harwood hot tag was great. Harwood and Davis both got busted during the match too. At around the 20 minute mark one of Aussie Open kicks out of the spike piledriver and the crowd all get on their feet in appreciation and never sit down again for the rest of the match. There are some great near falls and a fantastic spot where Kyle Fletcher fires Davis up so he doesn’t tap out to the sharpshooter. This is just great tag team wrestling between two top tag teams of this generation. I don’t know what else to say other than if you’re a fan of tag team wrestling and somehow haven’t already, watch this match.
My star rating: 4.75
Full star ratings for October: