Click here if you missed Part 1 with matches #200 – #151.
150. Roman Reigns vs Logan Paul – WWE Crown Jewel (11/5), WWE Undisputed Universal Championship
I’ll admit, like many, I was pretty down on this match when it got announced. And I was juuuuuust a bit buzzed while watching it (we watched later in the evening), but this ruled! Logan Paul had already earned my respect before this match, but this solidified him as an actually really good wrestler who can absolutely hold his own in a huge main event! Obviously, the lasting memory is Paul doing the huge jump through the table outside while filming himself, but he went toe to toe with Reigns and had some incredible nearfalls down the stretch. And he ripped up his knee mid-match. And of course, kudos to Reigns as well, who yet again delivered big time in a high-profile match. I’m very intrigued to see what’s next for Logan Paul, and I can’t believe I just said that.
149. Giulia vs Saya Kamitani – Stardom 5Star Grand Prix Night 19 (9/24)
My two top women’s wrestlers of 2022 doing battle in a key match on the penultimate night of the Stardom 5Star Grand Prix, and it certainly did not disappoint. One thing I loved about this tournament was that all matches prior to the final had a 15-minute time limit, causing the wrestlers to have to change up their typical game plan. Giulia and Saya fought incredibly urgently and passionately with both on the doorstep of making the final. This was the first match I’d seen between the two, and they had outstanding chemistry and great counters. Not normally a submission artist, Giulia was able to wear Saya down and get the referee stoppage with merely 11 seconds left before the time limit. Great great stuff. Perhaps a future Wonder of Stardom shot for Saya after she drops the White Belt? I’d love to see it.
148. Cody Rhodes vs Seth Rollins – Wrestlemania Night 1 (4/2)
The worst-kept secret in wrestling since CM Punk’s return, but damn, this delivered in every way. It’s crazy that Cody’s defection to WWE is kind of buried amidst all of the insane things that happened in wrestling in 2022, but let’s not forget how big of a surprise this was. As someone who went to ALL IN, and been a huge AEW fan since Day 1, admittedly, Cody had grown incredibly stale in AEW. However, I still never fathomed he would go back to the place he literally laid the hammer down on. It didn’t make sense at the time, but in retrospect, it made perfect sense and was honestly for the best for all parties involved. The pop once Cody’s music hit was magnificent, and you knew he’d be wearing the emotion all over him during his entrance. Love it. And the match was obviously great, and just the beginning of what was to come between these two…
147. Trey Miguel vs Black Taurus – Impact Over Drive (11/18), Impact X-Division Championship
This is another match I was there for live, and this one is even more personal, as I started (I think) every cheer for Black Taurus, and they really caught on with the crowd! And even weirder, Trey Miguel turned heel by spraying Taurus in the eyes with spray paint to win the vacant X-Division Championship. This was so much fun, and you could tell Black Taurus was getting fired up by our cheers. It was also quite funny to be able to hear my voice on TV when re-watching the match. The action was fast, furious, back-and-forth, and featured some big moves, but unfortunately our guy Black Taurus got jobbed at the end.
146. Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara & Minoru Suzuki vs Eddie Kingston, Wheeler Yuta & Shota Umino – AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door (6/26)
Back-to-back matches I was in attendance for! I was very fortunate to attend a lot of great wrestling shows in 2022, and Forbidden Door was at the absolute zenith. Despite the card getting ravaged late by injuries, the two companies put on an outstanding show that I’ll never forget. It was also a treat to meet a bunch of podcasting friends, one of which I started a new show with! This was a great opening match to the main card, and really served as a star-making performance for Shota Umino. He had prior history with Jericho, after Jericho put him in the Walls of Jericho during his match with Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12, AND in front of his father, referee Red Shoes Unno. The interactions between Kingston and Suzuki were excellent, and Yuta and Sammy also played their parts admirably in this incredibly high-octane match.
145. Will Ospreay vs Shota Umino – NJPW/Stardom Historic X-Over (11/20), IWGP United States Championship
Speaking of the Shooter, this was his first match in Japan following his return from excursion, and what better opponent to match him up with than the best wrestler in the world. This was a rematch from New Japan’s Royal Quest II show in England the month prior, and this match exceeded that one. It also happened to be the semi-main event of New Japan’s first crossover show with Stardom, which was a smashing success in my eyes. Ospreay rocked some sick Hayabusa-inspired gear for this one. The story from their previous bout was that Shota’s father, and referee Red Shoes, called for the stoppage – and perhaps a bit too early in an effort to protect his son. But, Shota was determined to not let his father stop this one. He took a beating from Ospreay, but kept coming back for more. Shota eventually fell victim to the Storm Breaker, but you could certainly see Shooter’s future main event potential. Oh, not to mention, after the match, Kenny Omega appeared via satellite to challenge Ospreay for Wrestle Kingdom. That was pretty cool I must say.
144. The Young Bucks vs Lucha Bros – AEW Rampage (6/3)
It’s always a treat anytime these two teams tangle, and this was their first match since their epic steel cage match at All Out 2021. This was also in the Bucks hometown of Ontario, California, so of course the crowd was at an absolute fever pitch. The match was as fast-paced and high-spot heavy as you’d think, with their normal cavalcade of great team maneuvers. I feel like this was one of their only matches without a title on the line, but it certainly didn’t matter, as the Bucks came out on top to please the home crowd.
143. Hangman Adam Page vs Konosuke Takeshita – AEW Dynamite (5/18)
The Konosuke Takeshita American coming out party. I first became familiar with Takeshita in DDT and 2019 and was immediately drawn to him. I was super pumped when it was announced he’d be coming to AEW for a handful of months in 2022. He debuted in a very good match in the main event of Rampage, falling to Jay Lethal. A couple weeks later, Takeshita would make his Dynamite debut against none other than AEW World Champion, and one of my favorite wrestlers in the world, Hangman Adam Page. And boy, oh boy, did they hit a home run. It was a 12-minute sprint, and one hell of a slugfest. What a perfect opponent and showcase for Takeshita to the American television audience. The crowd got behind him pretty quickly, and have remained so since then. And now he’s moved to America and signed to AEW full-time, and I think a big push, and potential alliance with Don Callis may be in the works. I’m salivating…
142. Sammy Guevara vs Cody Rhodes – AEW Dynamite Beach Break (1/26), TNT Championship Ladder Match
This was around the time AEW started unfortunately introducing the concept of interim championships, even though Cody was only gone for a few weeks. I believe this was the championship unification match, and these two definitely went all out for a television ladder match. The breathtaking Sammy cutter spot high off the ladder is certainly what will be most remembered from this match, but they had a handful of other insane spots. I thought it was a little clunky in the beginning, but this was damn good fun, and credit to both guys for putting their bodies on the line. This was one of the few bright spots over the last six or so months of Cody’s AEW career.
141. Saya Kamitani vs Tam Nakano – Stardom World Climax: The Top (3/27), Wonder of Stardom Championship
This was a rematch from about three months prior where Saya took the white belt off Tam. The aggressiveness from both was on another level for this one, laying into one another pretty good throughout. Tam came in a bit overconfident as the former champ, feeling as if she was above Saya. But Saya proved she is legitimately one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world, and this was a huge match and result for her. And hell, she’s still holding the white belt to date, at 387 days and counting
140. Jonathan Gresham vs Bandido – ROH Supercard of Honor (4/1), ROH World Championship Unification match
This was supposed to be the main event of Final Battle 2021, but unfortunately, Bandido got covid just days before. So, it became the first Ring of Honor main event on Tony Khan’s watch, and it did not disappoint. Although this show will be remembered most for the first installment of the incredible FTR/Briscoes trilogy, Gresham and Bandido delivered a heck of a performance across 25 minutes. The crowd got pretty hot after Bandido turned down Chavo Guerrero’s offer to cheat to win, retaining his honor, and getting Chavo ejected in the process. Bandido holding Gresham in the air for a full minute before a vertical suplex was awesome, but in the end, the technical prowess of The Octopus was too much for the luchador.
139. Kazuchika Okada vs JONAH – NJPW Declaration of Power (10/10)
Not quite as good as their G1 contest which saw JONAH get the upset and the crowd GASP at JONAH’s big splash off the top, but this was still a great match that naturally saw Okada get his win back. Speculation was that the rubber match would occur at this year’s New Beginning event for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, but this unfortunately was JONAH’s final New Japan match as he returned to WWE as Bronson Reed. Let’s just do the rubber match at Wrestlemania. Why not?
138. Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) vs Aussie Open – NJPW World & Super Junior Tag League Night 17, World Tag League Final
It was awesome seeing Aussie Open more in 2022 – in Japan, AEW, Impact, etc. – because those guys RULE. You know who else rules? BISHAMON! Former laughing stock of New Japan, and my boy, YOSHI-HASHI, and wily veteran who could never win the big one, Hirooki Goto, have turned themselves into quite the tag team over the past couple years. I think most people thought Aussie Open would win this match to set up the rematch with FTR at Wrestle Kingdom, but alas, Bishamon was just too tough! It went an intense 28 minutes – although it didn’t feel like it – and was probably one of the best World Tag League finals ever.
137. Tomohiro Ishii vs Minoru Suzuki – NJPW Windy City Riot (4/16)
It’s always a treat to watch these two legends go to war, and this was no different. It was their first singles match since the 2020 G1 (which I loved), and they beat each other pillar to post here, much to the delight of the American fans. It was nothing flashy, but it was every bit as hard-hitting as you’d expect, and your classic strong style bout. Despite getting the victory, Ishii was stumbling his way from the ring after the match, while Suzuki beat up the young boys despite his loss. Eddie Kingston coming out to challenge Ishii after the match was a nice touch.
136. Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre – WWE Clash at the Castle (9/3), WWE Undisputed Universal Championship
Most thought this would be Drew’s true crowning moment in WWE, but unfortunately, it was not meant to be for the Scotsman. The match was every bit as epic as you’d want, and the UK fans were absolutely raucous throughout the 30+ minutes. There were a lot of extracurriculars, with Austin Theory attempting to cash in his Money in the Bank contract, only to be thwarted by Tyson Fury; and Solo Sikoa making his main roster debut to help Reigns retain. This was great stuff all around. At the time, I definitely thought Drew should have been the one to dethrone Reigns, but with everything that’s gone on with the Bloodline since, I’m glad this is the route they’ve gone. However, why on earth did they televise that BULLSHIT with Drew singing with Tyson Fury after the match? That was absolutely terrible and embarrassing after what should have been the most crushing defeat of his career. Aside from that, this was wonderful.
135. Zack Sabre Jr, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI vs Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, El Desperado & Taka Michinoku – NJPW Road to Tokyo Dome Night 2 (12/23), Suzuki-Gun Final Match
It was definitely a bit bittersweet to see the end of one of the best factions in New Japan, but this was incredibly well done and emotional. Towards the end, Suzuki attacked each of the seven other men (including his teammates) one-by-one, which led each of them to attack Suzuki, with the finish coming after Taichi hammered him with the Iron Claw, followed by a Zack Driver from ZSJ, yelling “THANK YOU SUZUKI!” mid-move. It was beautiful – as was the snow falling in the ring thereafter. We’ve already seen former Suzuki-Gun members go their separate ways, but it’s been nice to see the likes of Taichi, DOUKI and Kanemaru stick together, as well as Suzuki and El Desperado – with Ren Narita! It will be intriguing to see how 2023 unfolds for all of the ex Suzuk-Gun’ers.
134. Taichi vs DOUKI – JTO TakaTaichiMania 3 (1/10)
Speaking of Suzuki-Gun, and emotional, this was an awesome match between faction mates. DOUKI wrestled incredibly valiantly as the underdog, and Taichi had a great heel performance in front of a limited, but hot crowd at Korakuen Hall. Milano Collection AT – one of DOUKI’s mentors – getting emotional on commentary made this even better. It’s easily the best singles match of DOUKI’s career, and a great exhibition of Japanese fighting spirit.
133. Will Ospreay vs YOSHI-HASHI – NJPW G1 Climax Night 16 (8/12)
My boy YOSHI-HASHI had another awesome G1 this year, as he came incredibly close to taking down both Shingo Takagi, and Will Ospreay – falling just short on both occasions, but proving he absolutely belongs with the big boys. Ospreay viciously targeted YOSHI’s taped shoulder, and they chopped the hell out of each other throughout. There were great counters and sequences down the stretch from both men, as Ospreay barely squeaked by the very game and tough YOSHI-HASHI.
132. Alex Shelley vs Chris Sabin – Impact Wrestling (7/21), No. 1 Contender’s match for the Impact World Championship
The Motor City Machine guns had a wonderful 2022 – both in tag team and singles action – and this battle between Shelley and Sabin to determine the No. 1 contender for Josh Alexander’s Impact World Championship was at the heart of it all. Surprisingly, Shelley had never had even a shot at the Impact World Championship throughout his entire career, and Sabin held the title only once, and for only 28 days. This match was exactly as you’d expect from these two stalwarts, and a clinic in technical wrestling. The urgency was high throughout, and it was incredibly emotional down the stretch, as Shelley was able to get the best of his partner and earn his first shot at the Impact World Championship. More coming on that one later…
131. Speedball Mike Bailey vs Trey Miguel – Impact Against All Odds (7/1), Impact X-Divison Championship
This was Speedball’s first defense of 11 in his epic, only 110-day reign with the X-Divison Championship, and it was a certified banger. Both guys employed great legwork, and sold it impeccably. I feel like Speedball’s selling improved as the year went on – what a hell of a year that guy had. Bailey and Miguel always have excellent chemistry together, and this absolutely breezed by in 14 minutes. Just a great, heated, dramatic contest between two of the X-Division’s best.
130. The Acclaimed vs FTR – AEW Dynamite (12/7), AEW World Tag Team Championship
Two of the best and most popular tag teams in the world just slugging it out in a babyface match for the AEW World Tag Team Championship. It began with some excellent technical wrestling, and evolved into a dramatic battle that was truly unpredictable. The crowd was smoldering, and unsure who to pull for, and there were so many great nearfalls from both teams. But in the end, Bowens was able to catch Cash with a roll up after exchanging clotheslines. If FTR decides to stay with AEW (I think they will), then you better believe we may be seeing this match again. It will be interesting to see how long The Acclaimed’s reign lasts – not too many heel tag teams on that roster right now.
129. Jon Moxley vs Konosuke Takeshita – AEW Dynamite Fyter Fest Night 1 (7/13), AEW World Championship Eliminator
The first of two awesome matches between these warriors in 2022, although I slightly preferred their match in December to this one. It would have been tight to see Takeshita get his first big win to set up the rematch for the title, but alas, AEW is too predictable more often than not. And Takeshita is still searching for that big win six months later. But I digress, this was great, and both men put on a great performance hammering and suplexing one another.
128. David Finlay vs Juice Robinson – NJPW G1 Climax Night 6 (7/26)
The former IWGP and Impact World Tag Team Champions Finjuice squared off in their first-ever singles match, and it certainly did not disappoint. A few months prior, Juice randomly joined Bullet Club (and becoming ROCK HARD in the process) leaving Finlay completely hung out to dry without confrontation. It was a passionate and emotional fight that got 24 minutes in the main event slot of Korakuen Hall, proving to be more than deserving. Finlay kicking out of Juice’s Pulp Friction was a surprise and got a big pop, and in the end, Finlay got his revenge on ROCK HARD getting the W kickstarting his breakout performance in the G1.
127. Yukio Naya vs Kazusada Higuchi – DDT D-Ou Grand Prix in Korakuen Hall (11/18)
It’s no secret that Kazusada Higuchi was one of my favorite wrestlers in 2022 (and my father), and he ran roughshod throughout DDT this year, having not lost a singles match prior to this match on November 18. I was only vaguely familiar with Naya before this tournament, having seen him in a handful of tag matches. He’s a towering figure, standing at 6’7 and bearing a resemblance to Japanese wrestling legend Yoshihiro Takayama.I didn’t realize this at the time, but Higuhchi was Naya’s first tag team partner in DDT, and he had his first singles match against Higuchi. So, the stage was set for the main event on the final night of the Grand Prix. with Naya coming in at 3-1, and KO-D Champion Higuchi 3-0-1 – and a spot in the final on the line. It felt like Higuchi would relatively easily dispose of the large, young upstart. But the big man was having none of it, and took the fight directly to Higuchi with his powerful flurry of kicks. This was brutal, hard-hitting stuff, and proved to be by far the biggest win and best match of Naya’s career. I’d imagine we’ll see a title bout between these two soon, and 2023 will likely be a breakout year for Yukio Naya.
126. Will Ospreay vs Dax Harwood – AEW Dynamite Road Rager (6/15)
Another tremendous singles match from Mr. Harwood, which anyone with a brain knew that would be the case against the Commonwealth Kingpin. It was a masterclass in professional wrestling, and the crowd was on edge throughout the zippy 13+ minutes. They showcased great technical wrestling, amazing counters, and the cocky Ospreay knew when to bust out his high-flying offense. Dax proved yet again he can hang with the best in the world, although coming up short again in singles action. Orange Cassidy showed up after the match to challenge Ospreay for the IWGP United States Championship at Forbidden Door – a match that will rank very highly on this list…
125. Juice Robinson vs Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jon Moxley vs Will Ospreay – NJPW Capital Collision (5/14), IWGP United States Championship Four-Way
A star-studded group here, and yeah, Juice belongs considering he’s a three-time IWGP United States champion and the winner of the match! The main event of New Japan’s show in D.C. was incredibly action-packed in a crisp 15:45. There were some great exchanges between Tanahashi and Moxley – including a spectacular High Fly Flow through a table – in what would be a prelude to their excellent match at Forbidden Door. Ospreay obviously showed out as well, and Juice played the perfect heel foil to the three megastars, and managed to escape with the win and his third U.S. title.
124. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs KONGO (Kenoh, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Manabu Soya, Tadasuke & Aleja) – NJPW Wrestle Kingdom in Yokohama (1/8), Interpromotional 10-Man Tag
As someone who started getting into Pro Wrestling NOAH in 2020 during the lockdown time, I was quite excited about the prospect of a New Japan vs NOAH show. Although, it was a bit of a bummer to have only tag matches and no singles matches on the card. But it makes sense, given the politics surrounding who wins and loses. However, it still ended up a fun show, and this was easily my favorite match from it – a 10-man faction war between two of the best in LIJ and KONGO. They got plenty of time in 26:33 for everyone to get a nice showcase, and this was good fun from beginning to end, specifically the sequences between Naito/Kenoh and Shingo/Nakajima, ultimately building to singles matches to the joint show this year on January 21. LIJ got the dub here in a match that was just a good time.
123. Yuka Sakazaki vs Miu Watanabe – TJPW Tokyo Princess Cup Night 7 (8/14), Tokyo Princess Cup Final
Miu Watanabe was easily one of my favorite TJPW wrestlers after my introduction to the promotion in the middle of 2022. I’ve enjoyed the magical girl Yuka Sakazaki ever since her early appearances in AEW in 2019, and I figured this would be a captivating match to determine the Princess Cup winner, earning a shot at the Princess of Princess Championship – the top prize in TJPW. Watanabe was coming off one of the biggest wins in her career after taking down the ace of TJPW, Miyu Yamashita, in a very intense, strong-style match. And although Watanabe came up short here, her performance in the Tokyo Princess Cup proved she belongs in the upper echelon of joshi, and damn does the crowd love her! And Yuka Sakazaki most certainly held up her end of the bargain in victory, and ultimately went on to defeat Shoko Nakajima for the title.
122. Kazusada Higuchi vs Yukio Sakaguchi – God Bless DDT (10/23), DDT KO-D Championship
A battle of former tag team partners and stablemates, but you wouldn’t have known it (after some slight hesitation from Higooch) from the way they brutalized each other – as is the norm in a Higuchi match. Yukio used his familiarity with his foe in the early going to take control, but one can only “control” Higuchi for so long, as he eventually became unglued and unleashed the kraken. The finish was very emotional, as Higuchi had a tear in his eye as he hit Yukio with the Brain Claw slam for the victory.
121. El Desperado vs Hiromu Takahashi – NJPW Wrestle Kingdom Night 1 (1/4), IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship
The eternal rivalry between two of the top junior heavyweights in New Japan finally featured its first match at a Wrestle Kingdom. Coming off an awesome 30-minute draw in the Best of the Super Juniors in November 2021, El Desperado had yet to get that truly crowning win over Hiromu. They were deservedly in the penultimate match of the night, and rather than going a bit longer like expected, they charged out of the gate, and never stopped during this 16-minute sprint. This definitely had a different feel than all of their other matches, and Desperado finally got his first hallmark win against his generational rival.
120. Brawling Brutes vs Imperium – WWE Extreme Rules (10/8), Six Man Good ol’ Fashioned Donnybrook
This was such a great rivalry on Smackdown throughout the fall, and this Good ‘ol Fashioned Donnybrook was the perfect way to open Extreme Rules, and easily the match of the night. This was an absolute FIGHT throughout the entirety of the 18 minutes, and you could feel the intensity and how much these two units absolutely despised one another. This came just one day after Gunther/Sheamus II – where Sheamus took another L – so there was no way the Brutes were going to fall in this one.
119. Gunther vs Sheamus – WWE Smackdown (10/7), WWE Intercontinental Championship
Speaking of Gunther/Sheamus II, it was hard to separate these two matches as they flowed right into each other. Of course, this couldn’t hold a candle to their absolute classic at Clash at the Castle, but this was certainly a worthy sequel. Sheamus was absolutely up to the task this time, and Gunther had to resort to using a foreign object to help put Sheamus down. I’m still hoping this rivalry will be rekindled, and Sheamus goes over Gunther for the Intercontinental title at Wrestlemania.
118. Shingo Takagi vs Taichi – NJPW Golden Fight Series Night 7 (4/30), KOPW Championship 30-Count match
When the King of Pro Wrestling Championship was introduced in New Japan in 2020, it wasn’t presented as something too serious with Toru Yano as the inaugural champ and really carrying the banner for the title. However, Taichi and Shingo were able to take this championship to new heights, making it something to actually look forward to, and this match was the commencement. The stipulation here was you needed to get a total of a 30-count over your opponent, no matter how many pinfall attempts it takes. It was an incredibly unique stipulation that created an incredibly dramatic match, especially as things came down the stretch in the final few minutes. Shingo outlasted Taichi, and went on to have by far the most entertaining run with the KOPW trophy.
117. Jurassic Express vs ReDragon vs The Young Bucks – AEW Revolution (3/6), AEW World Tag Team Championship
Firstly, I miss Kyle O’Reilly. He was seemingly getting a nice push before his injury, and I hope he’s recovering well and we see him on our TV screens again soon. This was a very high-energy, chaotic three-way tag, with the story being the fracturing between the Young Bucks and ReDragon, which ultimately allowed Jurassic Express to retain the gold. It was the perfect combination of great action and storytelling, and this really solidified the tag team championship run for Jurassic Express.
116. Mayu Iwatani vs Utami Hayashishita – Stardom Goddesses of Stardom Tag League Night 1 (10/23), IWGP Women’s Championship Tournament Semifinal
Two of Stardom’s best fighting for the right to battle KAIRI to become the inaugural IWGP Women’s Champion, and Mayu and Utami put it all on the line. With the pace they worked, this felt like a match in the 5Star Grand Prix (all 15-minute time limit), as this unfolded into an awesome 15-minute sprint with incredibly urgency all around. Utami looked as beastly here as she did in all of 2022 perhaps, and Mayu employed her usual great selling and just could not be put down. Mayu got the win after not one, but two moonsaults and had a nice interaction with KAIRI after the match.
115. Eddie Kingston vs Tomohiro Ishii – AEW All Out Zero Hour (9/4)
It’s a shame this match was on the preshow, but I’m just happy we got to see it again. This felt like a natural progression from their first match in New Japan (but in America), and I enjoyed this one more – perhaps because AEW’s production is significantly better than New Japan in America. They got just shy of 14 minutes, but it didn’t matter – I could watch these two fight for hours. Again, nothing flashy or too different that their prior match, but the crowd was hot as hell and they beat the piss out of each other yet again – this time with Kingston coming out on top. I’d love to see a rubber match in Japan.
114. El Hijo del Vikingo vs Bandido – AAA Gira Aniversario XXX Noche De Campeones (12/28), AAA Mega Championship
Poor production from AAA aside, this match ripped. Vikingo did Vikingo things per usual, which means at least one or two wild high-flying things you’ve never seen before. In this one, he did an inverted 450 splash into a poison rana all in one fell swoop, and it was just absurd. This was obviously largely spotfesty, especially in the early going, but these two were throwing bombs at each other for the last several minutes. Bandido continually proves to me that he’s so much more than your high-flying luchador, although he came up just short to the dominant Vikingo.
113. Bryan Danielson vs Daniel Garcia – AEW Dynamite (8/17), Best Two-Out-of-Three Falls
Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia had an awesome mini-feud/partnership in the summer and fall of 2022. This match was made after Garcia had upset Danielson a few weeks prior, and although it was fairly obvious Danielson would get his win back, this was still, obviously, a very awesome match. I did like their first contest better (love the rare upset in AEW), but the two-out-of-three falls stipulation worked well as these two had an old-school, knock-down, drag-out PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING match. This was another star-making performance by Garcia, who had certainly earned Danielson’s respect, further distancing Garcia from Jericho at the moment.
112. Will Ospreay vs Tomohiro Ishii – RevPro Uprising (12/17)
Surprisingly, this was only the second-ever singles match between two of the best wrestlers in the world – with the first occurring during the 2020 G1 Climax. This time it occurred on British soil, and while RevPro’s production always leaves something to be desired, you could watch these two wrestle in VHS quality with babies doing the commentary and it would still be a joy to watch. Also, Ospreay wasn’t even scheduled on this show, but when RevPro champ Ricky Knight Jr. was forced to miss the show just days in advance, Ospreay answered the call and put on another banger. Ishii let Ospreay have it throughout the whole match, and he also used a code breaker on Ospreay, which ruled. But Ospreay hit Ishii with a flying Hidden Blade (one of the best HB’s we’ve seen) off the ropes into the storm breaker for the W.
111. Chris Jericho vs Tomohiro Ishii – AEW Dynamite Thanksgiving Eve (11/23), ROH World Championship
I quite enjoyed Chris Jericho’s run with the ROH World Title, and really enjoyed the majority of his 2022 – easily his best year since his initial AEW Championship run in 2019-20. While he was initially fighting only former ROH World Champions, it eventually became just ROH champions of any kind, and up stepped former ROH TV champ Ishii, and little did I know that he and Jericho had history from the early 90’s in Genichiro Tenryu’s WAR promotion Japan. Jericho was wrestling as Lionheart at the time, and Ishii was “a young boy who carried my bags,” as Jericho trash-talked the week prior to the match. This was an absolute slugfest as expected, which saw Jericho get his chest busted open very early into the match. Jericho has proven he’s excellent in these strong style type matches, and Ishii is, of course, one of the best of all time at taking punishment and unleashing it all back onto his opponent. With Jericho being one of my favorites of all time, and Ishii one of my favorites in the last 5-6 years, this was a dream match for me, and they absolutely knocked it out of the park. Just legendary stuff all around here.
110. KAIRI vs Mayu Iwatani – NJPW/Stardom Historic X-Over (11/20), IWGP Women’s World Championship
An incredibly historic contest (as the name of the event says), featuring two of the most iconic Japanese women’s wrestlers of all time doing battle to become the first ever IWGP Women’s World Champion. They got just north of 25 minutes, and this was every bit as epic as it needed to be, and damnit I’m happy New Japan is finally having women’s matches (although the disrespectful six minutes KAIRI & Tam Nakano got at Wrestle Kingdom was ridiculous). KAIRI and Mayu were excellent choices for this historic match, although personally I would’ve liked to see Mayu win. But regardless, this had the “big fight feel” and great urgency throughout, with both performers absolutely killing it. The last 5-7 minutes were particularly awesome and emotional, as was the post-match exchange between the two.
109. Bryan Danielson vs Hangman Adam Page – AEW Dynamite (9/7), Grand Slam Tournament of Champions Quarterfinal
What a way to rekindle the awesome rivalry from late 2021/early 2022 between Hangman and Danielson. While this match didn’t quite reach the heights of their previous two (the bar was so incredibly high), they picked up right where they left off and produced another banger. This was a six-man tournament of former AEW champions to crown a new AEW World Champion following CM Punk getting stripped of the title. The winner of this match would face Jericho (who got a bye), and the other side of the bracket featured Darby Allin vs Sammy Guevara with the winner to face Jon Moxley who got a bye. The tournament seemed set up for Bryan to get wins back over Hangman and Jericho and that’s exactly what happened. Hangman and Danielson showcased their excellent chemistry, which is among the best of any pairing in AEW. The drama and brutality escalated as the match progressed, with Danielson working the arm throughout, and Hangman selling it expertly. In the end, Danielson caught Hangman with a surprise rollup victory to move on and get his revenge over Jericho.
108. Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii – NJPW G1 Climax Night 4 (7/23)
Dang, four of the last nine matches have been Ishii matches. Haha, he’s so awesome. And he’s largely had Jay White’s number throughout their contests, with a 3-1 record against him prior to this match, including playing spoiler for Jay to make the G1 final on the last night of the 2020 G1. However, Jay was not to be denied here coming in as IWGP World Champion. He employed his top notch trash talk and in-ring psychology here, and had that prick Gedo get involved as well. The latter part of the match showed off the great chemistry between these two with some great counters, striking and false finishes, but Jay got the expected win.
107. Jon Moxley vs Bryan Danielson – AEW Dynamite Grand Slam (9/21), Grand Slam Tournament of Champions Final for the AEW World Championship
This was a rematch from their brutal match at Revolution about six-and-a-half months prior, which had resulted in the AEW debut of William Regal and the formation of the Blackpool Combat Club. While this match obviously ruled, I think it was a small notch below that match with the freshness and story going in. It was cool to see these two destroy each other whilst being aligned for sure. The result here was truly in doubt, and while it would have been awesome and deserving to see Danielson as champ, it was even more deserving for Mox who carried the company throughout most of 2022. One issue with this was that MJF was up in a suite, and the camera cut to him FAR too much, taking away from the competitors in the ring.
106. Bron Breakker vs Ilja Dragunov vs JD McDonagh – NXT Halloween Havoc (10/22), NXT Championship Triple Threat
This was such an excellent combination for a triple threat match, calling back to a rivalry between Dragunov and McDonagh from earlier in the year, while throwing in the powerhouse Breakker and the NXT Championship. I thought McDonagh and Dragunov were the stars of the match, but Breakker certainly held his own and was not outshined. McDonagh played the perfect cowardly heel, picking his spots, and avoiding confrontation as much as possible, and Dragunov brought his own brand of fighting spirit and physicality. Breaker certainly filled in the gaps with his strength and held his own as champion, retaining his title in the end.
105. Syuri vs Mayu Iwatani – Stardom World Climax: The Top (3/27), World of Stardom Championship
This came just one day after Syuri successfully defended her title against Giulia, due to Giulia and Mayu fighting to a 30-minute draw in their No.1 Contender’s match. Syuri went 27 minutes in a barn-burner with Giulia, and 29 minutes here in another incredibly hard-fought title defense over Mayu. This had a slower pace at the start, with Mayu primarily in control with Syuri dragging a bit due to her match the night before. But Syuri eventually started working over Mayu’s leg – with Mayu selling expertly per usual – and got her to tap out with a stretch muffler after an incredibly valiant fight by Mayu to get back to the top of Stardom.
104. Jordynne Grace vs Masha Slamovich – Impact Bound for Glory (10/7), Impact Knockouts World Championship
This was the co-main event of Impact’s biggest show of the year, and Jordynne Grace and Masha Slamovich went out there and produced one of the best women’s matches on American soil in all of 2022. They just battered each other throughout the 16 minutes in an awesome and brutal back-and-forth match with some big nearfalls down the stretch. Slamovich had yet to lose in Impact, and frankly, looked pretty unbeatable until she ran into the Juggernaut. Grace was more than up to the task, trading stiff bombs with Masha throughout, and getting the win after a huge Grace Driver off the top rope.
103. Kazusada Higuchi vs Tetsuya Endo – DDT Wrestle Peter Pan (8/20), DDT KO-D Openweight Championship
Higuchi’s first title defense of the KO-D comes against the man who never lost the belt, but had to vacate it after he was shoot knocked out by Katsuhiko Nakajima at the CyberFight Festival just over two months prior. Yeesh, that was brutal. Endo was more than game as the challenger, but Higuchi proved that he had leveled up and had become the standard bearer of DDT (he even brings out the flag!). Endo taking a massive Brain Claw on the apron was definitely a highlight, and this was an awesome clash of styles with the new champ out to show that he’s deserving of the spot.
102. Swerve In Our Glory vs The Young Bucks vs Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs – AEW Dynamite Fyter Fest 1, AEW World Tag Team Championship Triple or Nothing
At the time, I thought this was a pretty surprising tag title win for Swerve In Our Glory, but they were awesome champions and had a wonderfully intriguing run. If anything, I thought Starks and Hobbs would maybe steal a win here. The Triple or Nothing stipulation calling for all six men to be in the ring at once, made this an incredibly chaotic and fast-paced affair, slightly different than the Bucks/Jurassic Express/ReDragon three-way earlier on the list. All three teams crushed it here with the Bucks steering the ship as by far the most experienced unit in the match. We had a fun moment with Starks posing with the Bucks, and already some doubt between Swerve and Lee, which would remain throughout the duration of their title reign. Excellent stuff all around here.
101. Tomoka Inaba vs Suzu Suzuki – JTO 50th Anniversary For TakaTaichi Together ~ Last TakaTaichi (12/19)
This show snuck in at the end of the year, and was low-key one of the best shows of the year. And this match between the two 20-year old women was an absolute firecracker. As mentioned in Part 1, Suzu Suzuki was my favorite women’s wrestler of 2022 that I had never seen before the year. I hadn’t seen Inaba until she teamed with Syuri for their tag tournament, but she’s awesome and also has a very bright future ahead of her. These two youngsters let it rip for 15+ minutes in front of a piping hot crowd, per usual for JTO shows. This was so awesome and far exceeded my expectations. They worked fast and stiff, pummeling each other with strikes and featuring a ton of great nearfalls down the stretch. Inaba punished Suzu with brutal kicks and she earned the biggest victory of her career. And this surely is just the start between these two future joshi torch bearers.