Month on the Mat: November

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!

Hey_Brian recommends:
Daniel Garcia vs Eddie Kingston, Rampage (AEW, November 26th)
Real wrestling sickos are going to love Daniel Garcia more and more as the months go by. He walks to the ring, around the ring, and in the ring like a feral animal, with his hands and eyes up and his neck and back hunched. The pairing with Eddie Kingston gave us two guys who look like they really want to fight, the same vibes you get when Minoru Suzuki walks into an arena. There is some good brawling and great selling, and 2.0 being on the outside provides an extra dynamic for Eddie to play off. Even on their late night Friday show AEW delivers the goods.

Steve Howard recommends:
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair, Survivor Series (WWE, November 21st)
I still don’t know how much of this feud was real life, but this really added to the match between these two frequent competitors. The exchanging of titles following the draft was awkward, thankfully this match had hard hitting moments. After a disappointing return at SummerSlam, Becky proved she is still ‘The Man’ with a sneaky victory in a fantastic match.

Corey Michaels recommends:
Tomohiro Ishii vs Jay White, Battle in the Valley (NJPW, November 13th)
While the belt was on the line for the Switchblade, there was another stake added for the Stone Pitbull, Ishii – that should he lose, he could never challenge for the NEVER Openweight Championship again. This was a typical Jay White and Tomohiro Ishii match that I’ve come to expect of them, and do not mistake that as a criticism. Both men brought their A-game and I as a fan want to see how their story continues should they clash heads again.

Credit: AEW

Ryan Dilbert recommends:
Kazusada Higuchi vs Yuji Okabayashi, D-Ou Grand Prix (DDT, November 14th)
The slobberknocker of slobberknockers. The apex of Okabayashi’s outstanding Grand Prix tournament run. The two bruisers are on equal footing throughout, a pair of grunting rhinos smashing into each other. Their fight becomes a display of unadulterated bravado, an inhuman toughness in the face of sledgehammer chops. Higuchi and Okabayashi waste not a single second as they pour 100-proof violence into every crack of this all-timer.

Caro recommends:
Kenny Omega vs Hangman Page, Full Gear (AEW, November 13th)
Okay, so you probably expected this match on the list for the month of November, given its history and buildup. But I truly think it deserves its spot on Month on the Mat for the long-term implications of it. It’s 3 years of storytelling wrapped up in a 30 minute climax with Easter eggs, intensity, and drama all foiled together. It’s about as much of a telenovela as you can get with wrestling, and the open-endedness of the last few minutes left us with more story content that will surely unravel in the next few months. This will certainly not be the last time we see Omega and Hangman together in a ring.

Trent Breward recommends:
AZM, Momo Watanabe and Utami Hayashishita vs Mayu Iwatani, Hazuki and Koguma, Osaka (Stardom, November 21st)
Watch Stardom for long enough and you’ll learn that while not every show might be a big one, there’s always a chance for a random gem, especially when it comes to 6 person tag matches. Such was the case when Queen’s Quest and STARS faced off. 6 fantastic workers going out with one goal: to put on a show. Highlights include Hazuki and AZM turning it up to 11 for a High Speed masterclass, and the return of Mayu’s iconic assisted corner dropkick. The big PPVs might get all the attention, but skip these random shows at your own risk.

Credit: DDT

JJohnson recommends:
Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Kenoh, NOAH The Best 2021 (NOAH, November 28th)
If the N1 Victory final was the short film, then their history-making GHC Heavyweight vs GHC National title match was the feature film. This was a battle of attrition between two of the best wrestlers anywhere in the world right now. It delivered to an immense degree, with more strikes, kicks, lariats (YES, Nakajima threw a lariat!) and chops than you could reasonably ask for. The result wasn’t what intrigued – almost all realised the direction this was going before the bell even rang in Tokyo – but instead it was the journey of emotion, physicality and psychology that this match showcased perfectly that intrigued. No metaphor is too excessive. No description is too hyperbolic. This match is not just Match of the Month, but Match of the Year.

CiaranRH recommends:
El Desperado vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Best of the Super Juniors (NJPW, November 29th)
Suzuki-Gun members facing off is always better than when members of any other faction clash. They’re the cool outlaws, once hated but now loved, heels in every sense of the word but you still root for them, you find their treachery charming rather than (House of) torturous. The opening 5 minutes of this match consists solely of headlocks and it is more engrossing than the peak of many matches. Despy and Nobu are so animated that you forget the crowd can only clap, their large characters making as much noise as a rowdy Korakuen audience would. Honor among thieves, the two brothers put on a memorable match in a Best of the Super Juniors tournament that isn’t getting a lot of love.