The Best of 2023: January | Cagematch 9+ Matches with In-ring Statistics/Analysis.
In this article you will find the best matches of January 2023, as voted on by Cagematch users. These matches are ranked via their Cagematch rating and have our customary In-ring metrics to add insight.
Due to his influence on the audience's watching habits and the attention he receives after every rating, you will find the 9+ rated matches from this list cross-referenced with their WON rating as rated by Dave Meltzer below:
1. Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay - Wrestle Kingdom 17
Cagematch - 9.78
WON - 6.25*
GRAPPL - 4.91 (Highest rated match on the app)
The greatest match of all time? Probably not, but it does sit at number one on GRAPPL; although only 395 people have voted on it compared to the 1652 that have voted on Omega/Okada 1 on GRAPPL. Additionally, it sits at number 7 in Cagematch with 879 votes. So it may drop over time, if GRAPPL can get it's users voting as much as they once did.
I've written about Omega vs Ospreay in a separate article here, where I discuss my confusion around why I didn't experience this as one of the greatest matches on all time in the manner which the vast vast majority of viewers did.
2. Kento Miyahara/Takuya Nomura vs Naoya Nomura/Yuma Aoyagi - AJPW Giant Series
Cagematch - 9.48
WON - 4.75*
GRAPPL - 4.47
This match rocks, and I say that as somebody whose most recent All Japan match that they have watched is from the late 90s. I'm not up to date with the wrestlers or the storylines but I found this match to be a very welcome breath of fresh air in my wrestling viewing.
It's an incredibly action packed; strike and strikedown heavy, match built around a furious exchange of reversals and tide changes. Neither team spends extended time selling for their opponents. Instead, both teams sell in short bursts before exploding back onto offence, creating an intense struggle for dominance that sees a dramatic face-off between Aoyagi and Miyahara.
3. Kaito Kiyomiya vs Kenoh - NOAH The New Year 2023.
Cagematch - 9.06
WON - 4.5*
GRAPPL - 4.35
The return of NOAH to critically acclaimed in-ring brilliance? I certainly how so but reports of a giant contract being offered to Hiroshi Hase, could be seen as a sign that the 61 year old may be the next nostalgia cash cow for NOAH. Hopefully the company realises that doing so so soon after the Mutoh retirement tour may be a bit much.
This was a match that built big moments such as big dives and that Top-rope Falcon Arrow onto the apron built around strong strike exchanges. This was a strongly contested match where both men had periods of advantage, Kenoh got more in overall but Kiyomiya took control at the end and very much put Kenoh away strongly.
In January 2023, there were 4 matches that received a rating of 9 or higher on Cagematch. The fourth, ranked in third, was of course the very well executed and hugely emotional match between Mark Briscoe and Jay Lethal. I have chosen not to give this match the in-ring statistics treatment or place it alongside the matches above. This is because that match was a tribute to Jay Briscoe, it wasn't a piece of entertainment in the same way as the three matches above, but instead it was a tribute and a piece of catharsis for the Mark Briscoe and the audience.
I will return in around a month with February's offering of 9+ rated matches, as I write Darby Allin and Samoa Joe's No Holds Barred, TNT Championship match is currently sitting at 9.09 on Cagematch. For a preview of the numbers behind that match check it out on Twitter here.
For our most updated and comprehensive content, make sure you follow us @PWMusings on Twitter. We also have a weekly newsletter that arrives in your inbox on Sundays that provides a rundown of our Unique Wrestling Content from the last seven days.