Isn’t it a pain when you get to the end of the year and you see everybody posting their opinions on match of the year contenders? People are listing off matches from February meanwhile you can’t remember what you had for lunch just yesterday! By the time December comes around, and those lists take over social media, January seems more like it’s 11 years away rather than a mere 11 months!
In this monthly recurring series, the residents of Wrestle Inn will offer you their recommendation for a single match you should seek out from the last month. We might not always highlight the “best” match; perhaps we’ll pick a hidden gem instead, or a match that you may not have heard of from a promotion different to what you usually watch. But, we can guarantee that all of these picks will be more than worth your time!
Konosuke Takeshita vs Chris Brookes, Who’s Gonna Top? 2021 (DDT, September 26th)
This is what a Korakuen Hall main event should look like. An enthralling title match that never ceased to keep your attention. A clever escalation from start to finish, and a spectacular closing stretch. Takeshita proved his worth as not only one of the best wresters in DDT, but as one of the best wrestlers in the world. He packaged a beautiful array of offence, from submissions and power moves to high-flying offence and ground work – Takeshita showcased it all! For his part, Chris Brookes proved exceptional in probably the best performance that I’ve seen of his career. The Korakuen faithful bit on many a near-fall, as Brookes worked very effectively as the unlikely winner who captivated the fans with a valiant challenge. This one is absolutely must-see: a great example of a title match that builds throughout.
MX Sharpe recommends:
SuperKliq vs Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, and Christian Cage, Dynamite (AEW, 24th September)
When I contribute to these Match of the Months I tend to recommend something a little off the beaten path, but in this case I don’t care – this is all I wanted for AGES and it is everything to me. It’s the first time Adam Cole and the Young Bucks have teamed together in five years and they haven’t missed a beat. This incredibly fun match brings back some old SuperKliq favorites, like that cheek kiss spot, as well as giving time for all the current goodies like an always fantastic Luchasaurus hot tag and a great set up for an Adam vs. Jungle Boy match that was awesome. Well worth your time to go out of your way to watch this one.
Trent Breward recommends:
Syuri vs Takumi Iroha, 5 Star Grand Prix Final Day (Stardom, September 25th)
When the 5 Star Grand Prix blocks were announced, this first time matchup was one that everyone circled as a must watch. And boy did it deliver! With a spot in the finals hanging in the balance, two of the best wrestlers in the world went to war and put on an absolute clinic. Syuri controlled the match early, leaning on her pancrase and MMA experience to control the pace, but it didn’t take long until Takumi started to bring the fight into her world. With only twenty minutes to earn a result, both performers resorted to throwing absolute bombs in order to line themselves up for a spot in the final.
Steve Howard recommends:
Tony Deppen vs Ron Funches, Highest in the Room (Game Changer Wrestling, September 17th)
In a month that has seen Danielson vs Omega and great matches in the G1, this may seem an unusual choice. This match, however, was a lot of fun and had mainstream media promotion due to famous comedian Funches promoting the match on the Late Late Show with James Corden. Funches produced some great moves in his first match, including a wild Canadian Destroyer. The highlight though, was the dance routine to Tequila – Funches and Danhausen took turns kicking Deppen in the head between dance steps. It was silly, but also the most enjoyable minute I’ve watched in wrestling this year.
Corey Michaels recommends:
Jungle Boy vs Adam Cole, Dynamite (AEW, September 29th)
What a start to the show – “Brodie” chants, pops for CM Punk, Jungle Boy, and Adam Cole (BayBay), the match that followed carried that energy. The youngster in Jungle Boy and the prime Adam Cole pushed each other to the limit, both men juking each other and slipping through each other’s fingers. I jumped out of my seat when Jungle Boy kicked out of the Panama Sunrise and stayed standing as the crowd audibly counted to three during a near-as-hell two-count. Ladies and gentlemen, the future of wrestling looks effing spectacular (baybay).
Thumbly Squeezed recommends:
Big E vs Bobby Lashley, RAW (WWE, September 13th)
Even if the match only lasted the span of a YouTube clip, this gave me perhaps my biggest reaction of the month. Big E announcing his cash-in helped make him still come off as babyface, allowing him to be his playful self, taunting Randy Orton and Bobby Lashley as they tried to mean mug each other. WWE using Orton, who they’ve pushed for the title over hotter and more deserving acts many times, as a red herring was genius and got the crowd hot. Big E then sucked them in both on the mic and, crucially, in the ring. Lashley looked set to tell his own story of being indomitable, working through a knee injury to fight off a strong challenger, instead that plot point protected the All Mighty somewhat in defeat, with Big E becoming a deserved WWE Champion. I wrote about Big E’s evolution as a singles star and character coming back up the mountain months ago, and he’s already paid it off with this moment and then his intensity in accepting Lashley’s rematch, winning inside a steel cage. Long may he wiggle, longer may he reign. PS: Thank you to Big E for finally bringing back the wearing of the belt AS A BELT, AROUND HIS WAIST. Finally!
Lucha Bros vs The Young Bucks, All Out (AEW, September 5th)
When AEW was born, The Young Bucks promised a real focus on the tag division and they have more than delivered. The pairing of Matt and Nick Jackson with the Lucha Bros had already produced one of the most exciting matches in AEW history with a ladder match at the inaugural All Out pay per view in 2019. Housed in the same gigantic steel cage where Cody battled Wardlow, this year’s bloody brawl topped episode one and has legitimate claim to being one of the best tag team matches of all time. Not only is Lucha Bros vs The Young Bucks my recommendation for this month, it is my match of the year so far.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Everyone, G1 Climax 31 (NJPW, 18th-30th September)
Tetsuya Naito ✔ Shingo Takagi ✔ Kota Ibushi ✔ Great-O-Khan ✔. Zacky Bloody Big Tekkers is in the middle of potentially the best G1 run of all time (well, best G1 run to my knowledge, because I have not seen all 31 iterations, and neither have you). Rather than pick a single match, I’m cheating and recommending any and all of Zack’s G1 matches so far. The Human Udon Noodle is a joy to watch, wielding the rare but believable ability to win a match in an instant. He put Naito in the hospital, he submitted the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion in an instant, he dominated the back-to-back G1 winner and sent his last opponent back to the anime chat rooms. If ZSJ keeps wrestling and winning in this same way for the rest of the tournament, he’ll be a deserving part of any Wrestler of the Year discussions.
Bryan Danielson vs Kenny Omega, Grand Slam (AEW, September 23rd)
The best match in Dynamite history and possibly will end up being my MOTY. If you haven’t watched it for some reason then I implore you to watch it now. Like, log off your computer, put your phone down, and watch this match. Many great callbacks, intense action, a love letter to 2010s wrestling and how far we’ve come since then. There’s nothing else that I can say about this match other than……WATCH THIS MATCH.