Updated: Sep 3, 2022
Welcome all to the first ever edition of the PWM matchguide. In this edition we take a look at some of the best matches that took place around the wrestling world in the month of August. Seeing as this is the first ever edition I am going to use this introductory piece to explain a bit about the aims of these articles and also how the matches are selected. If you want to skip straight to the match recommendations please feel free.
In these articles I plan to recommend a total of ten matches a month from around the world of wrestling. You may notice that this edition includes ten matches from ten different promotions, while that is not a strict rule it is something I’d like to aim for where possible. I hope to not only recommend high profile matches but also to help put a spotlight on matches that people may not be aware of and hopefully encourage people to check out a wrestler or a promotion for the first time. For each match I will try to explain why the match is happening, give some context and help people understand the story heading into the match in case that they are completely unfamiliar with the wrestlers or promotion in question. I will also give out some information on the genre of match and recount some of the action while making an effort not to spoil the result. These are match recommendations as opposed to reviews, so I want to write enough to get you interested in watching the match without spoiling the result as knowing too much will likely diminish your enjoyment of the match should you choose to watch it.
As I mentioned above ten matches will be selected each month. These are not necessarily what I think are the best ten matches that happened during the month but rather the ten I want to recommend the most while also making a conscious effort to include matches from a variety of promotions that fall into different genres. Each match will be accompanied by my own personal star rating. These ratings are not meant to be objective and are reflective only of my personal enjoyment of the match. Cagematch ratings will also be provided to help try and give a more objective rating. Each month I will also attach a file of my full list of 4 star plus rated matches. Every month the list will start off with some quick recommendations and then as we go further down the list I’ll take a deeper dive into the matches. That just about sums it up so without further ado let's get into the list!
10. Giulia vs Starlight Kid, Stardom 5STAR Grand Prix 2022 - Day 9, 27/08/2022
We start things off with the meeting between Giulia and Starlight Kid in the Stardom 5STAR Grand Prix. The 5STAR GP is an annual round robin tournament in Stardom where all matches have a fifteen minute time limit. These two women have a fierce rivalry with three previous singles meetings which were all won by Giulia.
The existing rivalry between the two stars became immediately evident as Giulia jumped Starlight Kid before she even entered the ring and a brawl on the floor ensued. Giulia goes straight for the mask of SLK again highlighting the hatred between the two athletes. As soon as both women enter the ring and the bell rings they spill back out to the floor and trade some nasty bumps. Both women employ the use of ferocious headbutts and strikes that contribute to one of the best sub fifteen minute matches of the year. An incredible brawl between two of Stardom’s top stars.
My star rating: 4.25
9. Jun Akiyama and Tetsuya Endo vs Kazusada Higuchi and Naomi Yoshimura, DDT Road to Peter Pan in Korakuen Hall - Let’s Shout!, 14/08/2022
The road to Peter Pan saw an excellent tag team match between four of DDT’s best. Peter Pan is the biggest DDT show of the year and this was the last stop. The main event of Peter Pan was reigning KO-D Openweight champion Kazusada Higuchi making his first defence against Tetsuya Endo. This show saw Endo team with his Burning stablemate Jun Akiyama against the team of Harimao, Kazusada Higuchi and Naomi Yoshimura in what would be a teaser for the Peter Pan main event. Endo beat Konosuke Takeshita to win the KO-D Openweight championship earlier this year but unfortunately had to vacate the championship due to injury. A tournament was created to crown a new champion which Higuchi won beating Yoshimura in the finals. In the process Higuchi and Yoshimura developed a respect for each other and formed a tag team winning the KO-D Tag Team Titles a few weeks later. Notably Higuchi also beat Akiyama in the semi final round of the tournament to crown a new KO-D Openweight champion.
The match definitely did it’s job and got you amped up for Peter Pan as there were some excellent exchanges between Endo and Higuchi which left you wanting more. It was a great tag team encounter wrestled at a great pace. The match was also not just about Endo and Higuchi but the other men as well. Yoshimura is an up and coming star in DDT but Akiyama is a living legend and there are some great interactions between the two. The Peter Pan main event between Higuchi and Endo also happened this month and is recommended but I decided to write about this one instead as I believe it is every bit as good but may have fallen a little under the radar for some people.
My star rating: 4.5
8. Kenoh vs Go Shiozaki, NOAH N-1 Victory 2022 - Day 4, 17/08/2022
This was your classic NOAH style main event and in my opinion the best match of the N-1 so far. For those that don’t know, the N-1 Victory is NOAH’s annual round robin tournament, basically their version of NJPW’s G1 Climax. Kenoh is the current GHC Heavyweight champion and his opponent is former five time GHC heavyweight champion, the ace of Pro Wrestling NOAH, Go Shiozaki.
The match was exactly what you’d expect from these two, plenty of brutal strikes particularly the kicks of Kenoh and the chops of Go Shiozaki. This match also saw some great limb work with Shiozaki targeting the leg of Kenoh while Kenoh attempted to soften up the arm of Shiozaki for his new armbar technique. The match was dominated by the hard hitting offence of both men as they tested each other's fighting spirit. If you’re unfamiliar with NOAH this is a great match to watch as it features two of their best stars going head to head in an intense match-up that delivered even though both men were holding back in the tournament setting.
My star rating: 4.5
7. Alex Colon vs Rina Yamashita, GCW Homecoming Weekend Day 1, 13/08/2022
This match won’t be for everyone but if you like death matches then this is highly recommended. I’m not a huge deathmatch guy myself but I thought this was brilliant, the best deathmatch I’ve seen this year. I believe that in order to be a great deathmatch wrestler you first have to be a great wrestler and that rings true for both competitors here, especially Yamashita. Some death matches to me feel like just guys hitting each other with weapons in a wrestling ring but this felt like a wrestling match aided by the use of weaponry. Alex Colon is a highly decorated deathmatch wrestler, a GCW regular and the reigning and defending GCW Ultraviolent champion. Rina Yamashita is a Japanese deathmatch star and prior to this match had only made a handful of GCW appearances but has already gotten very over with the GCW crowd.
The match is very violent which comes to no surprise considering it is for the Ultraviolent championship. Yamashita tries to get the better of her opponent by being creative and looking to outsmart him. Colon on the other hand used the weapons around to inflict heavy damage onto Yamashita making for some memorable spots that became hard to watch at times. If you are on the fence about deathmatch wrestling or have never watched it on the indie level then I think this is a great match to watch. Yamashita is really a master of her craft and is one of the very best deathmatch wrestlers around as far as I’m concerned.
My star rating: 4.5
6. Soberano Jr vs Templario, CMLL Super Viernes, 29/07/2022
Yes I know this match happened in July but it only aired on the CMLL Youtube channel in August so I’m going to cheat a little and include it. This match was the finals of the Leyenda de Plata tournament. The Leyenda de Plata tournament has been held regularly in CMLL since 1998 and was made to honour Lucha Libre icon El Santo. It is considered to be the most prestigious tournament in CMLL. The two finalists are no strangers to each other and have had ten previous singles matches including two previously this year, both of which were won by Templario.
Both men share a very similar style and it is clear from the first exchange that they are rivals. The match has an intense start displaying rapid fire headbutts and it keeps a fast pace throughout. Both men are very evenly matched and trade big moves and dives with neither man able to achieve a long period of offence against the other. This match is just a barrage of big moves delivered one after another at a frantic pace until the finishing sequence where there are some great near falls. This match is also helped greatly by a molten hot Arena Mexico. The crowd are deeply invested making plenty of noise and stamping their feet. If you’re a fan of lucha libre you should enjoy this match. If you’ve never watched CMLL before I think this is a great way to start and the show is free on the CMLL Youtube channel so it’s easy to watch.
My star rating: 4.5
5. Ricky Knight Jr vs Will Ospreay, Revpro Ten Year Anniversary - Day 2, 21/08/2022
Revpro’s ten year anniversary show saw Will Ospreay defend his Revpro Undisputed British Heavyweight Title against Ricky Knight Jr. Ospreay’s reign with the title reached a whopping nine hundred and nineteen days on the day of this match and during his reign he successfully defended twice against Ricky Knight Jr, once in 2020 and again in 2021. This was RKJ’s third and final chance to dethrone Ospreay which set the table for a very dramatic title match. RKJ is a 22 year old third generation wrestler who is regarded by many as the future of British wrestling. This match was RKJ’s chance to prove that he is not the future of British wrestling anymore and is instead the present.
The match started quickly with both men charging at each other in front of a white hot York Hall crowd. Both men displayed great athleticism as expected and delivered some breathtaking sequences which showed both athletes familiarity with one another. It was really hyped up on commentary that this was RKJ’s last chance at Ospreay and so the desperation really began to show in RKJ as he fought to win the title that he had been chasing for so long. The desperation of RKJ made for a very dramatic contest as he tried everything in his power to end the near one thousand day reign of the Commonwealth Kingpin. Revpro currently have a great crop of young talent and in my opinion RKJ is the pick of the bunch. This is a fantastic match to watch if you want to see just how good he is. One of the best matches of European wrestling this year and a great way to cap off Revpro’s excellent two day ten year anniversary celebration.
My star rating: 4.5
4. Josh Alexander vs Alex Shelley, Impact Emergence 2022, 12/08/2022
Alex Shelley is widely regarded to be a legend of Impact wrestling and is very highly respected by fans and people from within the business around the world. His influence will be felt long after he retires but one thing he has never done is win the big one on a major stage. He is a multi-time Impact tag champion, a former x division champion, a three time IWGP junior heavyweight tag team champion and has held countless independent championships. The one thing that has eluded him throughout his legendary career is a major world championship.
In the build up to this match it is noted that this is Shelley’s first ever Impact World Championship match. Eighteen years after his Impact debut his chance has finally come to win the big one. It is clear from his mannerisms, facial expressions and approach to the match that Shelley feels the gravity of the match and understands that this is a huge moment in his career. This could be his one and only chance to win the championship and that makes for a dramatic encounter. The man standing across the ring from him is the reigning world champion Josh Alexander. Alexander is on the run of his life and is perhaps the only man on the Impact roster that can match Shelley technically. In his title reign thus far he has successfully defended against Moose, Tomohiro Ishii, Eric Young and Joe Doering. Each of these men presented a unique challenge to the champion and Shelley is no different. Shelley will test Alexander’s technical skill like no one else is capable of. It is no secret that Shelley is an inspiration to Alexander and therefore Alexander has studied his moveset and has counters ready.
The match itself follows a structure that we’ve come to expect from Alex Shelley in recent years. Starting with a slow pace and full of technical exchanges before ending with a much faster pace with quick submission transitions and counters. Shelley’s selling is masterful as he desperately tries to evade falling victim to the ankle lock or C4 spike. Shelley cleverly attacks the limbs of Alexander in order to make it difficult for Alexander to lift Shelley up for the C4 spike. This match was centred around Shelley doing everything in his power to avoid the finishing moves of the champion and Alexander knowing the playbook of Alex Shelley and using that to his advantage by executing counters and even using his own offence against him. This was a very dramatic and highly technical affair that resulted in an Impact MOTYC that I think is well worth going out of your way to see.
My star rating: 4.5
3. Miyu Yamashita vs Miu Watanabe, TJPW Tokyo Princess Cup 2022 Day 6, 13/08/2022
If you’ve only seen Yamashita perform on AEW or the US indies and you don’t quite get the hype yet I’d definitely recommend this match. Miyu is often labelled by many as one of the best “final bosses” in wrestling and this match displayed that perfectly. While not currently holding the Princess of Princess championship Miyu is the well established ace of TJPW and because of that is the woman to beat in TJPW. Her opponent Miu Watanbe is 22 years old and has never held a singles title in TJPW. She is considered to be a future pillar of the promotion and this tournament was seen as an opportunity for her to establish herself as the present of the promotion as opposed to the future. In order to reach this semi final match Miu beat the current Princess of Princess champion Shoko Nakajima in the quarter final round. This victory over the champion obviously gave Miu a massive wave of momentum and it began to look like this tournament could be her chance to establish herself within the upper echelon of TJPW.
The Korakuen Hall crowd came alive for this match creating a great atmosphere within the current covid restrictions. The crowd were steadily behind Miu as she showed great heart and fighting spirit against the ace. Miu looked to gain control of the match by using power moves and her strength advantage but struggled to cope with the tremendous striking prowess of Yamashita. Yamashita is a notoriously skilled kicker and she used her kicks to great effect here to knock Watanabe off her feet on numerous occasions. Miu tugged on the heartstrings of the crowd as she displayed a never say die attitude and kept coming back for more. Both women played their roles to perfection and the wondrous selling from Watanabe made for a very emotional match that really draws the viewer in. Overall this was a great match with rich storytelling that I think is definitely one to watch if you wish to achieve a greater understanding of the appeal of TJPW.
My star rating: 4.5
2. Bryan Danielson vs Daniel Garcia, AEW Dynamite #150, 17/08/2022
Bryan Danielson vs Daniel Garcia is in my opinion the best AEW Dynamite match of the year so far. Both men hold one singles victory over the other with Danielson beating Garcia last year and Garcia pulling off the upset thanks to JAS interference only three weeks earlier. This time they met for two out of three falls to find out who is the better fighter. Danielson has made his admiration of Garcia no secret, even naming him when listing guys that the Blackpool Combat Club could help. Garcia has also made it known that Danielson is a hero of his even going as far as to wear Danielson inspired maroon trunks in his recent ROH Pure Title match. Despite a bitter hatred existing between both men’s respective factions it is clear that both men hold great respect for the other.
As everyone expected this match consisted of excellent technical wrestling. The match took place at a ‘House of the Dragon’ special episode of Dynamite which was very apt. On one side you had the American Dragon Bryan Danielson and on the other the self proclaimed ‘Dragon Slayer’ Daniel Garcia. However during the match you could see the inner dragon awaken inside Daniel Garcia. Garcia began to show his true nature using Blackpool Combat Club patented offence such as the hammer and anvil elbows and the head stomps. Everyone knows that Garcia is far more naturally suited to the BCC compared to the JAS and this performance demonstrated that perfectly. The Danielson influence in Garcia’s style was easy for everyone to see as both men fought a violent, technically brutal match. The post match angle that followed also greatly enhanced the match and the story being told. This was a classic display of excellent technical wrestling that was also incredibly rich in storytelling.
My star rating: 4.75
1. Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay, NJPW G1 Climax - Day 20, 18/08/2022
In my opinion this is the best wrestling match of 2022 so far. If you take anything from this article it is that you need to watch this match if you haven’t done so already. This match was the finals of the annual NJPW G1 Climax tournament. Kazuchika Okada is a three time winner of the tournament and is out to prove that yet again he is the best wrestler that NJPW has to offer. Okada won last year's G1 via referee stoppage due to an injury suffered by his opponent, Kota Ibushi. Okada was not satisfied winning that way and wants to prove one year later that he is still the best by beating his opponent clean.
It was 2015 when Okada and Ospreay met for the first time in a Revpro ring. Okada saw the immense potential that Will Ospreay had and brought him into NJPW and recruited him into his faction, Chaos. Okada was like a big brother to Ospreay until Ospreay struck out on his own to cement his own legacy as one of the best and created the United Empire faction. There were 7 previous singles meetings between the pair with Okada winning six and Ospreay one. Crucially, however Ospreay’s single victory over Okada was not a clean one. In this year’s G1 final Ospreay wanted to beat Okada clean to prove definitively that he has surpassed him. Legacy is what motivates Ospreay and this was his chance to add to his. A win would make him the first ever Brit to win the G1 and the second ever foreigner after Kenny Omega.
The level that these two worked at in this match was out of this world. The opening minutes flew past as both men executed counters and looked to set up each other's big moves. Ospreay had previously stated in an interview that he had studied how some of Okada’s fiercest rivals had beaten him in order to prepare for this match. Deep into the match Ospreay began to execute the finishing manoeuvres that these rivals had used to beat Okada. First he hit Tanahashai’s High Fly Flow and then followed up with a Styles Clash. Okada kicks out and stumbles over to the ropes. Suddenly the crowd gasps as they realise what Ospreay has in mind. Ospreay runs the ropes and nails Okada with the V-trigger, the Nippon Budokan erupts as they know what’s coming next. Ospreay attempts to hit the One Winged Angel but Okada reverses. The finishing sequence is utterly breathtaking with incredible counters. This match is widely considered as the best in NJPW since the pandemic began and there were moments during the match where the crowd simply couldn’t stay silent which added so much. Watch this match.
My star rating: 5
My full 4 star+ list for August 2022