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!
Ryan Dilbert recommends:
Arisa Nakajima vs Hanako Nakamori, SEAdLINNNG (SEAdLINNNG, October 13th)
Nakajima, the ace of SEAdLINNNG, finds herself in an absolute fight against Nakamori of Pure-J. It’s a battle built on urgency, viciousness, and murderous strikes. Nakamori does her best to destroy Nakajima’s arm while the SEAdLINNNG star fires off every suplex in her arsenal. Regardless of your familiarity with either wrestler or joshi in general, you need to go watch these two women kick each other’s faces in, pronto.
Corey Michaels recommends:
Bryan Danielson vs Minoru Suzuki, Rampage Buy-In (AEW, October 15th)
There are moments that remind you why you love professional wrestling. Over a few months, I was starting to feel burnout over wrestling. This match felt like the cure for it. A match with no build that sold itself and told its own standalone story captured me in that magical way akin to childlike wonder. Two conventionally small monsters tearing each other apart, inviting pain like an old friend. This was what it needed to be and no match this month can top it for me. Thanks, Bryan and Suzuki for reeling me back in.
Io Shirai & Zoey Stark vs Toxic Attraction (Gigi Dolan & Jacy Jayne) vs Indi Hartwell & Persia Pierotta, NXT Halloween Havoc (WWE, October 26th)
With it being October, I figured that a match from Halloween Havoc would be appropriate. I could’ve picked several matches from that show, but ultimately I went with the one that I thought was the most fun, the three-way ladder match. Was it the best ladder match ever? No. However, it did have several wild spots like Jacy Jayne nearly breaking her back after landing hard on a very unforgiving ladder, and Io Shirai taking one of the most harrowing falls off a ladder I’ve ever seen (luckily she was fine afterwards). The object of this match was to get the NXT Women’s Tag Team titles on Toxic Attraction and catapult them to the next level. It definitely succeeded.
Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr. G1 Climax 31 Finals (NJPW, 21st October)
Is this how the disciples felt when Jesus was resurrected?
Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Kenoh, N-1 Victory Final (NOAH, 3rd October)
The coronation? The precursor to the coronation? Whichever it is, the N-1 Victory Final was an utterly incredible match. One of the most intense battles of the year, a gruesome fight between two stablemates who gleefully put their comradery to one side to fight each other. Perfect striking exchanges, beautiful kicks and immensely hard-hitting offence: a match so quintessentially puroresu it could be its dictionary definition. Superbly, Katsuhiko Nakajima took one critical step closer to the prized GHC Heavyweight Championship. It was truly the grandest way to end a N-1 Victory which impressed NOAH hardcores and new fans alike. Pro-wrestling doesn’t need to be complicated, just put two great wrestlers in a ring and let them batter each other for 20 minutes. It’s that simple.
Steve Howard recommends:
Mickie James vs Deonna Purrazzo, Bound for Glory (Impact, 23rd October)
A heated two month build led to this clash between the veteran and the most dominant champion in Impact for years. A vicious brawl prior to the bell set the tone for an exciting match. The drama built as both competitors kicked out of the others’ finishing moves, and The Virtuosa’s attempt to introduce a steel chair backfiring. It ended with an emotional title celebration for Mickie as she started her fourth reign as Knockouts champion, her first since 2013.
Hikaru Shida vs Serena Deeb, Dynamite (AEW, October 27th)
Do you like technical wrestling? Hard hitting? Long term storytelling? Expert selling? Crowd work? This match has everything. The pair put together a perfect ten minute TV match in the first round of the AEW TBS Title Tournament. When given the chance, Deeb has wrestled like a star in AEW (as well as NWA), and lately she has been settling into a more refined and even more cold blooded character that better matches her ring style. She’s a perfect foil for crowd favorite Shida, and this match was even better than their first one earlier this month.
The Dark Order vs The Super Elite,, Dynamite (AEW, October 27th)
You know what? Screw it. I’m adding this match to October’s Month on the Mat. It’s not a 5 star masterpiece, and it’s far from being a technical showcase of professional wrestling. But sometimes wrestling doesn’t have to be serious. Wrestling can be fun, wrestling can be a source of hilarity and giggles, and this is the match that did it for me. You don’t have to enjoy comedy wrestling, but for those who love some silliness in their palette, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this match. And for the observant BTE fans out there, the match is filled with plenty of foreshadowing and clues for future storyline progression. Extra points for Stay Puft man.
Trent Breward recommends:
Mayu Iwatani vs Tam Nakano, Osaka Dream Cinderella (Stardom, October 9th)
This match is built squarely around a singular narrative focus: Tam Nakano’s desire to surpass Mayu Iwatani. Not just defeat her, but surpass her. At multiple times in the match the two stand face to face, trading blows in order to see how much the other can endure. They seemingly forget that this is a wrestling match, pinfall attempts are a scarce commodity until the announcement of the match’s running time sparking their memories. As the time ticks down they desperately seek that one move that’ll put the other down for good. This isn’t a technical showcase of pure wrestling, but instead a slugfest filled with raw emotion