Top 10 Matches of the Week
|1||Bron Breakker vs Ilja Dragunov & JD McDonagh (4.5)||NXT Halloween Havoc||10/22||NXT Championship Triple Threat|
|2||El Hijo Del Vikingo vs Rey Fenix (4.5)||AAA Triplemania XXX: Mexico City||10/15||AAA Mega Championship|
|3||Wes Lee vs Carmelo Hayes vs Von Wagner vs Oro Mensah vs Nathan Frazer (4.25)||NXT Halloween Havoc||10/22||NXT North American Championship Ladder|
|4||Mayu Iwatani vs Momo Watanabe (4.25)||Stardom First IWGP Women’s Champion Decision Battle 1st Round||10/22||IWGP Women’s Championship Tournament First Round|
|5||Death Triangle vs Orange Cassidy & Best Friends (4.25)||AEW Dynamite||10/18||AEW World Trios Championship|
|6||SANADA vs Taichi (4.25)||NJPW Battle Autumn Night 3||10/16||NJPW World Television Championship Tournament First Round|
|7||Pentagon Jr vs Villano IV (4.25)||AAA Triplemania XXX: Mexico City||10/15||Ruleta De La Muerte Final Mask vs Mask|
|8||Utami Hayashishita vs Himeka (4)||Stardom First IWGP Women’s Champion Decision Battle 1st Round||10/22||IWGP Women’s Championship Tournament First Round|
|9||Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Chris Ridgeway (3.75)||NOAH Demolition Stage||10/16|
|10||Chris Jericho vs Dalton Castle (3.75)||AEW Dynamite||10/18||ROH World Championship|
Happy Rusev Day! You know what that means? It’s time for another installment of Loaf’s Top 10 Matches of the Week! It was a bit of a special week as I had the pleasure of attending AEW Dynamite in my home of Cincinnati. I actually live in Newport, KY but 10 minutes from the arena so you get the picture.
It really had the makings of a special show, and there was a palpable energy in the building. The Trios Championship opener really set the tone, and the wild spotfest was a sheer delight to take in live. I love PAC’s continued heel behavior with Fenix preventing him from using that damn bell hammer yet again, as well as Orange Cassidy toting the All-Atlantic title in a backpack.
We were treated to a very nice face vs face match between Toni Storm and Hikaru Shida, as this is now turning into a bit of a Dynamite recap, but so be it. Riho’s return was outstanding as well, but easily the moment of the night was the MJF and William Regal promo. It’s hard to even describe what being in the building for that felt like, but that sure was a special one. MJF was treated as a legitimate babyface, as deserved, and as foreshadowed by MJF as he took to Twitter earlier in the day to say that Skyline Chili is indeed not mid. Regal was equally as great on the stick, and damnit I cannot wait to see where this goes. Does MJF beat Moxley clean or does he take the shortcut to get the job done?
It’s tough to follow a legendary promo like that, but Dalton Castle and The Boys easily got the crowd re-engaged. Chris Jericho continues his strong run of late, and this match was highly entertaining, including the Boys clowning with Jake Hager over the bucket hat. But shit, my two favorite wrestlers in AEW were tearing the house down in Moxley’s home arena before the incredibly scary and unfortunate injury to Hangman Adam Page. I’m very glad Hangman is okay, but it was a bit of a buzzkill to what could have been in the top tier of the 159 episodes of Dynamite. But boy oh boy I can’t wait for Mox/MJF at Full Gear.
Phew, in other news, NXT’s Halloween Havoc produced two very strong matches, with the triple threat NXT Championship match between Bron Breakker, Ilja Dragunov and JD McDonagh being my match of the week. The drama was high, and JD and Ilja were both tremendous in their face/heel roles, rekindling their great feud from NXT UK earlier this year. Breakker worked well in the powerhouse role, but Ilja and JD were on another level. Also, the North American Championship ladder match was a ton of fun with a bit of a surprise winner in Wes Lee.
Even though it took place last week, I’m including AAA’s Triplemania: Mexico City for this week because that’s when I watched it, and it’s my list! El Hijo Del Vikingo and Rey Fenix put on a hell of a display for the AAA Mega Championship, but I don’t agree with Dave Meltzer that it was 5 stars. Some of the spots and moves were utterly ridiculous, but it lacked the urgency and cohesion that I look for in a 5er. Also, Pentagon Jr had a nasty bloody war with Villano IV, defeating him in a Luchas de Apuestas and taking the 57-year-old’s mask — which is quite a big deal in Mexico. You could feel the gravity of the moment, and Penta is at his best when he’s just downright nasty. I wish we’d see that side of him more in AEW. And regarding Villano IV, hats off to ya for the performance, and I remember that guy as a jobbery part of the WCW Cruiserweight division in the late 90’s, so I’m glad I can now remember him for something better.
Over in Japan, the Stardom portion of the IWGP Women’s Championship bracket began with a couple firecrackers between old-friends-turned-bitter-enemies Mayu Iwatani and Momo Watanabe, and a big, battering hoss fight between Utami Hayashishita and Himeka. More to come on that next week as we now know the finals matchup of that tournament and Stardom’s Tag League begins. Additionally, SANADA and Taichi renew their bromance/rivalry with easily the best NJPW World Television Championship tournament match yet. And even more thrilling, Taichi challenged his old mentor Kawada to a match while he was at ringside for commentary. Yeah he’s old, but it would be a true joy seeing one of the true GOATs of professional wrestling lace up the boots one more time against Taichi. Wrestling in 2022 is just the absolute best.