Month on the Mat: October

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!

Alex recommends:
Giulia vs Tam Nanako, 5STAR Grand Prix 2022 (Stardom, October 1) 
Giulia and Tam Nanako saved the best of the 5STAR GP for the last match – in a tournament with so much quality, that was no easy task. From the opening moment it was as physical as any match you’ll see. They beat the shit out of each other for 20 minutes, weaving character history and moments into the action and telling a compelling story throughout. Both desperately wanted to win, and they both did everything they could with high impact moves and a nice back and forth that went a brisk 20 minutes. This is easily my match of the year so far.

JJohnson recommends:
Pentagón Jr vs Villano IV, Triplemania XXX (AAA, October 15)
This might not have been the most technically proficient match to take place in Arena Mexico, but it might be one of the most intense, emotional ones. With both Pentagón’s and the legendary Villano IV’s masks on the line they fought a physical battle of blood, weapons, punches, brutality and determination. The post-match scene of Villano being unmasked, ending this chapter of his historic career will be everlasting. A match encased by passion and pride – one not to be missed, even if the wacky world of AAA isn’t somewhere you usually visit. 

Thumbly Squeezed recommends:
Orange Cassidy vs #10 vs RUSH, Rampage (AEW, October 21)
I’ve written about the build and triumph of Orange Cassidy winning his first title, but the question in such moments is: what’s next? What do you do with it? If his first defense is any indication, the All-Atlantic belt is just fine. A frenetic triple threat with two All-World athletes shone a spotlight on 10’s power and RUSH’s ferocity, feature time they hadn’t been getting lately. OC bumped around like crazy for them before sneaking in and using a straight up wrestling counter (with some Pockets Power, natch) to escape with his reign intact. Oh, and it was entertaining AF. Jobs done all around!

Credit: IMPACT

Ryan Dilbert recommends:
Kazusada Higuchi vs. Shinya Aoki, DDT Get Alive 2022 (DDT, October 12)
Just a few breaths after a hard-fought win in a tag title match, workhorse DDT KO-D Openweight champ Higuchi had to face one hell of an impromptu challenge. Namely MMA champion and submission specialist Aoki stepped up to him with eyes on his weakened arm. Essentially fighting with one arm, Higuchi shows off his heart against the wiry, dangerous Aoki in a match as taut as it is intense. And lord what a KO to end things. 

Steve Howard recommends:
Jordynne Grace vs Masha Slamovich, Bound for Glory (Impact, October 7)
Jordynne had been dominant since becoming the Knockouts champion at Slammiversary. Masha had been on a tear, undefeated in Impact, trampling opponents and becoming number one contender with a victory over Deonna Purrazzo. Something had to give. Numerous big moves that were assured to be the finish only need to bitingly close two counts. The match ended with an incredible Grace driver off the top rope which handed Masha her first defeat. Such a strong performance from Masha though, makes a rematch inevitable down the line.

Trent Breward recommends:
Mei Suruga vs Emi Sakura, Carolina Classic (DPW, October 15)

A classic student vs mentor battle. We’ve seen these two battle plenty of times before and it’s always great, but this time it’s in the one true home of joshi: Deadlock Pro Wrestling. They play their greatest hits and it’s fun to see their antics in front of a crowd who hasn’t seen it before. Mei and Emi have unbelievable chemistry and know how to put on a great match, whether it be in a ring or on a chocolate mat. Fun without diving into the ridiculous, skillful without taking itself too seriously. A great example of both women are capable of.

Kay Quinn recommends:
Ishin Iihashi and Mochizuki Junior vs Ryu Fuda and Kaito Nagano, The Gate of Victory Day 5 (Dragongate, October 6)
Dragongate’s rookies have been on fire recently and this surprisingly fantastic undercard match is yet another great example of that. Starting with a showcase of the basics and slowly ramping up into a fast, hard-hitting spotfest in the DG tradition, this match made crystal clear that there is not a single weak link in the classes of 2021 and 2022. Iihashi’s and Juniors parentally arranged tag team is devastating, cute and compelling, Fuda is quickly regaining his momentum after finally returning from injury and even the most recent debut in Nagano genuinely impresses with his skill and spirit. If you want to get an early look at several future stars of the Japanese wrestling scene, definitely check this one out.

Credit: NJPW

Corey Michaels recommends:
Tomohiro Ishii vs Ren Narita, Battle Autumn 2022 (NJPW, October 26)
In a battle during the first round of the NJPW World TV Championship Tournament, two men left it in the ring, to the tune of screaming violence and breaking wills. The power of veteran Ishii was on full display, as was the hunger of the young Narita showcasing a spectacle of brutality, all for the chance to become the first holder of the TV title. Narita won, and his future is looking damn bright.

Adam Ryan recommends:
Julius Creed vs Damon Kemp, Halloween Havoc (NXT, October 22)
Tensions finally came to a head after the implosion of Diamond Mine, the goal here to beat your opponent and throw them into the back of the ambulance – and Julius also had his brother’s career on the line. From the opening bell, these two young stars of NXT beat the tar out of each other. They fought back and forth to the ambulance positioned backstage and used every manner of medical plunder they could find and then some. I’m talking crutches, wheelchairs, stretchers and even a bunch of plastic pumpkins at ringside. Julius had his hands slammed in the ambulance doors multiple times, Kemp took a wild powerbomb through a stretcher and you could really feel the hatred these two had for each other. If you want to see two young stars and the future of NXT have a knock down, drag out brawl all around the arena, this is the match for you!

CiaranRH recommends:
Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Chris Ridgeway, Demolition Stage 2022 In Fukuoka (NOAH, October 16)
I’m a simple man, I saw that Ridgeway is stepping in the ring with Nakajima so I checked it out and loved everything about it. A slow methodical start, Ridgeway showing his technical prowess outweighs Nakajima’s, but the fun really beings once the men plant their feet on the mat and commence lighting each other the fuck up with a symphony of echoing kicks. Every thud of boot on flesh sounding like a cannon, neither man willing to give an inch as they kick each other raw. Ridgeway’s submission skills pay dividends as he smoothly hones in on Nakajima’s ankle, but ultimately the heavyweight Nakajima proves too much; should Ridgeway make the jump to heavyweight in the future there should be no disagreements in the wake of this rough and technical match.