Top 10 Matches of the Week – 10/29 – 11/5

Top 10 Matches of the Week

RankMatchShowDateStipulation
1Orange Cassidy vs Katsuyori Shibata (4.5)AEW Rampage11/4AEW All-Atlantic Championship
2Will Ospreay vs Tetsuya Naito (4.75)NJPW Battle Autumn Night 1611/5IWGP United States Championship
3Kazusada Higuchi vs Yuji Hino (4.5)DDT D-Ou Grand Prix 2022 In Yokohama Night 211/5
4Roman Reigns vs Logan Paul (4.25)WWE Crown Jewel11/5WWE Undisputed World Championship
5Syuri vs Maika (4.25)Stardom Hiroshima Goddess Festival11/3World of Stardom Championship
6Bianca Belair vs Bayley (4.25)WWE Crown Jewel11/5WWE Raw Women’s Championship
7El Desperado & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori (4.25)NJPW Battle Autumn Night 1611/5
8Takashi Sugiura & Satoshi Kojima vs Kenoh & Katsuhiko Nakajima (4.25)NOAH Ariake Triumph – The Return10/30GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
9Tetsuya Endo vs Yuki Ueno (4.25)DDT D-Ou Grand Prix 2022 – The Beginning11/1
10Josh Alexander & Frankie Kazarian vs Aussie Open (4.25)Impact Wrestling11/3
HMSeth Rollins vs Austin Theory (4.25)WWE Monday Night Raw10/30
HMTJP & Francesco Akira vs BUSHI & Titan (4.25)NJPW Battle Autumn Night 1611/5IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

I’m skipping the pleasantries and getting right into it this week because HOLY SHIT KATSUYORI SHIBATA WRESTLED ORANGE CASSIDY…IN A REAL MATCH…FOR THE AEW ALL-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP…AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING.

That could be the article there. But wow, as a massive mark for both Shibata and Orange, this was a literal dream match — and I rarely use that incredibly overused term. Just over a year ago, Shibata shockingly appeared at the G1 Climax Final show and had a five-minute grappling exhibition with Zack Sabre Jr. It was incredible to see Shibata back in the ring grappling without any strikes or suplexes — given that he nearly died in the ring in April 2017. If that’s all we would be getting from Shibata for the rest of his career, I would have been more than happy. 

And then he was scheduled to have a mystery opponent in another exhibition match at Wrestle Kingdom 16 this past January. And who showed up, but none other than Shibata’s closest mentee, and now “The Son of Strong Style,” Ren Narita. Not only that, Shibata broke New Japan’s rule because he wanted a real match — he wanted to be hit. And I’ll admit, I got a little teared up seeing him and Narita blast each other in the Tokyo Dome. 

Shibata, aka “The Wrestler” became one of my favorites of all time AFTER his injury from going back and watching all of his old work. Nobody wrestles like him, strikes like him, and takes punishment like him (well, maybe Tomohiro Ishii) and he captivated me immediately. 

Fast-forward to June 26, Chicago, Illinois, the United Center, for AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door. I was in attendance, and despite all the injuries and late changes to the card, it was absolutely ELECTRIC. In a night full of incredible matches and moments, Shibata’s surprise appearance was without a doubt the moment of the night for me, and easily one of my favorite things I’ve ever seen in live entertainment. I sprinted to the bathroom after the conclusion of the wonderful Will Ospreay/Orange Cassidy match. I had just gotten to the urinal and pulled my hogg out, and I heard the riff. The only riff I could’ve heard at that moment that could get me to put my hogg away and sprint back out of the bathroom (fortunately the stream had not yet begun). And I went out in the arena and yelled, and screamed, and slapped hands with so many strangers, and cried. I couldn’t believe I got to see Shibata in the flesh, and I’m getting goosebumps as I write this now. The image of Orange putting his sunglasses on Shibata will forever be firmly implanted in my brain.

Shibata had not been since that wonderful summer evening in Chicago, until this past Wednesday. Orange Cassidy had just retained his All-Atlantic Championship in a fun match against Rey Fenix and Luchasaurus, and it had been billed that the winner would advance to Friday’s Rampage for the “Atlantic City Dream Match.” Never in a trilllllllllion years did I see it coming, but I was looking down at my phone, and THE RIFF! I let out an audible yell, my body was covered in goosebumps, and I think I kept yelling “YEAH” and “OH MY GOD” idk I think I blacked out. Orange gave Shibata the contract, and he signed it right there. It was legitimately shocking and wonderful.

The match itself wasn’t a 5 star classic, but it was a 10 star moment for me. There was definitely some rust from Shibata, but the joy of seeing him compete, let alone against one of my favorite wrestlers today, certainly outweighed the rust factor by a million. We got to see Shibata do the little kicks, hit the Orange Punch, hit a PK, and have the vintage sitdown strike exchange. It was all surreal. And yeah, I know people are upset Shibata lost, but did you really think Orange was gonna drop that belt yet? I get it, and Shibata’s rust can certainly be as good as any kayfabe reason for him to take the L. It was tough to rate, so I stuck with 4.5 stars, but it’s easily one of my personal favorite matches of the year.

Everything else this week seems secondary, but it was an awesome week of wrestling overall! Will Ospreay and Tetsuya Naito had a borderline 5 star banger for the IWGP U.S. Championship, and the entire NJPW Battle Autumn 16 show was strong. WWE Crown Jewel was mostly a strong and fun show, with the final two matches being by far the best. All props to Logan Paul, the man can go and is a freak athlete. Bianca and Bayley had one heck of an entertaining Last Woman Standing match as well.

Also, DDT’s D-Ou Grand Prix has begun, and my lover Kazusada Higuchi has kept his boiling hot streak going with two great performances to begin the tourney, including a 30-minute BRUTAL draw against Yuji Hino where each men voluntarily took chops and strikes from each other for pretty much the entirety of the match. If you like big hoss’s slapping meat, you don’t want to miss this one.

That’s more than enough for this week. Thanks for reading if you got here, and enjoy the list!

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