Month on the Mat: September

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!

Thumbly Squeezed recommends:
Swerve In Our Glory vs The Acclaimed, All Out 2022 (AEW, September 4)

Most conversations about wrestling crowds involve fans reacting to the story. Here, the crowd dictated what happened. Babyface champs Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland read the room and changed modes like only special performers can, carrying out the standard heel playbook and cutting off Max Caster for extended beatdowns. The Acclaimed leaned into their comeback just as well, Caster showing off more moves than many thought he had and Anthony Bowens proving just as athletic as before his injury with a twisting DDT near the end. The question remains: should the script have really flipped, with The Acclaimed going over to strike while the scissors hot? It’s an error that’s been ostensibly rectified, but still a legit question. What’s not in question is that these guys tore a very engaged house down, which shouldn’t be lost in the chaos of everything that WASN’T on the card that night.

Ryan Dilbert recommends: Mei Suruga vs Yuna Mizumori, Gatoh Move 10th Anniversary Phoenix Rises (Gatoh Move, September 15)
A main event that is simultaneously a sprint and an epic. You get Suruga’s speed and nimble feet contrasted with Mizumori wielding that sledgehammer of an elbow. The bigger, more powerful pineapple-loving Mizumori spends much of the fight bending and grinding on Suruga’s frame while the ever-charming underdog pushes back against the force of the beast. It’s all a speeding ride well worth jumping aboard, regardless of your familiarity with either wrestler.

Corey Michaels recommends:
Malakai Black vs Kidd Bandit, Perseverance (Prestige Wrestling, September 17)

A hero of light vs a force of darkness, Malakai Black a deadly force vs the perfect foil in underdog Kidd Bandit. Try as they might, they could not overcome the shadowy hell that is Malakai Black. There were several inklings that showed the potential of the protagonist standing up to Black, but at this point in their career there was no way of surpassing the insurmountable. Still, this is a testament to how much stronger Bandit is getting. As this was a small furthering of the story of Malakai Black vs Cody Rhodes in days of yore, these glimpses add more to the characters of Bandit and Black.

Trent Breward recommends:
Tomoka Inaba and Aoi vs MIRAI and Maika, TAKA Michinoku Debut 30th Anniversary ~ TAKATaichiDespeMania (JTO, September 12)
If there was ever any proof that TAKA can train, you just have to look at the four women in this match, all who have spent some time under his tutelage. On the surface this is just your standard exhibition match, but all the competitors came out with a mission to steal the show. The result was a hard hitting and highly entertaining affair that served to highlight all their strengths – though you’d be hard pressed not to walk away from this convinced Tomoka Inaba is a future top star in the scene if you didn’t already believe that. The main event of this show got everyone talking (and with good reason) but if you skip to just the main event then you’re doing yourself a disservice.

JJohnson recommends:
Eddie Kingston vs Tomohiro Ishii, All Out Zero Hour (AEW, September 4)
Admittedly this match feels like it happened many months ago, rather than in September, after everything that had happened since. However, this is a match that sticks with you despite the perceived time that has passed. Eddie Kingston and Tomohiro Ishii had exactly the match you would envisage when you saw them across the ring from one another. It was a stirring battle of brutal wrestling, a boat load of strikes that started as soon as the bell rang. The opening tussle of chops was a sight to behold. You’d be hard pressed to find a more physical, attritional, intense match from September than this rough and ready battle from Ishii and Kingston. It was a professional wrestling war in the truest sense.

Steve Howard recommends:
Leon Slater vs Blake Christian, Chapter 141 Handshakes and Cheeseburgers (Progress, September 18)
The GCW invasion of the UK led to a number of memorable matches over the four day tour, this match between two of the brightest young talents was the pick of them. A wicked exhibition of fast paced action and high flying ensured everyone in the crowd was thoroughly invested and offered a deserving standing ovation to the competitors after the bell. Blake may be better known at present, but big things are ahead for both him and Leon. 

Kay Quinn recommends:
SB KENTo vs La Estrella, ETU New History (ETU, September 9)
As the first overseas Dragongate exhibition match in over a decade, this had to deliver. And boy, did it ever. Instead of going for a long epic or a complicated spot fest that may have been beyond their experience level, two of the promotion’s big future prospects showed their absolute mastery of the basics in this short but impressive battle. SBK’s lightning-fast sharpshooter transition and Estrella’s death-defying balcony dive alone are absolutely worth watching this match for.

CiaranRH recommends:
El Desperado vs Jun Kasai, TAKA Michinoku Debut 30th Anniversary ~ TAKATaichiDespeMania (JTO, September 12)
Shock horror, ya’ boy is recommending a Despe match. This is a match El Desperado has been clamoring for, seemingly for years now. Out stepped an all white Desperado, a colour he saves for only the biggest of occasions, and less than 5 minutes into the match his suave mask was but a limp piece of leather hanging around his neck as he blessed us unworthy masses with essentially an entire match unmasked. He stepped into the death match legend Kasai’s world and rightfully got his ass handed to him for the large majority, making the most of his time in this savage death match world. This is not the goriest or most wince-inducing death match you will see, this was instead a wrestling match that was impeccably elevated by the death match horror, weapons of mass creativity used to tell a story as an author does a pen. Make sure to watch the post-match promos, only if you’re capable of holding back tears.