LONG STORY SPORT

My Favorite Things in Wrestling (June 2022)

Updated: Oct 25

Man oh man, this past month was pretty special, wasn't it? Just when I thought that May was going to end up being the best month for pro wrestling in 2022, June came around and proved that I know absolutely nothing. Many wrestlers stepped up their game as the summer came rolling around, which definitely made my job here more difficult. But nonetheless, my job getting tougher is a really good problem to have, because doesn't want more exciting wrestling in their lives?


A ton of interesting things happened around the over the last 30 days. Jay White beat Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, and Tomohiro Ishii, among others, sustained injuries and were forced to miss the much ballyhooed Forbidden Door event. Cody Rhodes battled Seth Rollins in a Hell in a Cell match while nursing a legitimately disgusting looking torn Pectoral. NOAH, DDT, Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, and Ganbare joined forces for the second annual "Cyberfight Festival", during which Satoshi Kojima won the GHC Heavyweight Title in the main event. Jake Lee beat Kento Miyohara to start his second reign as All Japan's Triple Crown champion. Ice Ribbon completed a tournament to crown their new world champion, which was won by Saori Anou. WAVE continued their incredibly long "Catch the WAVE" tournament. Stardom had their first two cage matches in their history. Dragongate kept doing what they're doing, very well I might add. And the wonderful Mio Momono returned to action after spending nearly a whole year on the shelf.


So without further ado, let's get into my awards for June. Thanks as always for reading and don't forget to add yourself to the mailing list down below!

 

FAVORITE MALE WRESTLER

Will Ospreay (NJPW)
Photo Credit: NJPW

For the third month in 2022, the award for my favorite male wrestler is going to a member of the New Japan roster. And just like with Zack Sabre Jr., who won it back in March, picking Will Ospreay was an easy decision, simply because his match quality was way too strong to overlook. Ospreay has long been one of the best wrestlers on the planet, and this month proved that to be unquestionable.


If you were to scroll down at the bottom of this page, you'll notice that he was a part of four Match of the Year contenders in June, which doubles his MOTY total to eight in 2022. All of the following matches come with my highest recommendation:

  • vs. SANADA for the IWGP United States Championship on New Japan's Dominion from 6/12

  • vs. Dax Harwood on AEW Dynamite from 6/15

  • vs. Nick Wayne on GCW I Never Liked You from 6/19

  • vs. Orange Cassidy on AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door from 6/26

I chalk up Ospreay's incredible success this month, in this deceptively simple way; he's exceedingly giving in the ring. He can make a tag team specialist like Harwood or a teenager like Wayne look like the biggest singles stars on the planet just by the way he sells. This trait is something he's had since I first watched him as a junior heavyweight, and I've been impressed with how he hasn't changed since moving up to heavyweight. He's a true savant in the ring, and I think it's overdue for all of us to consider him one of, if not the best, wrestler in the world.


Additionally, he's easily got one of the best move sets in the game right now. He's found a perfect balance between his junior heavyweight style he utilized for much of the 2010s and his powerful heavyweight style he's quickly gained over the past three years. He's gone from flipping around like Ricochet and Dragon Lee to having a style more similar to the likes of Kenny Omega or Kota Ibushi.


Perhaps the one thing that could've prevented me from picking Ospreay this month was that he was booked all that well during his brief run in AEW. He lost both of his multi-man tag matches on television, including his debut. Luckily, those two matches were strong enough in my opinion to offset any perceived weakness other wrestlers may have earned in the same position. Nevertheless, I still wouldn't have booked him to lose.


The Summer of Ospreay is set to roll on as he's scheduled to take part in the greatest annual tournament this sport has to offer, New Japan's G1 Climax. I'll be writing a "brief" preview on this year's edition later this month, so get ready for that. Aside from that, I'd be surprised if he took any more bookings as the G1 is a grueling tour. Nevertheless, if he's able to pull out some more performances in that tournament, look for him to win this award yet again.


Honorable Mentions:

  1. Claudio Castagnoli (AEW)

  2. Cody Rhodes (WWE)

  3. Dax Harwood (AEW)

  4. Jay White (NJPW)

  5. Jon Moxley (AEW)

  6. Strong Machine J (Dragongate)

  7. Tomohiro Ishii (NJPW)

 

FAVORITE FEMALE WRESTLER

Miyuki Takase (Freelance)
Photo Credit: @myuki3114 on Twitter

For the second consecutive month, the winner of this award is going to a freelancer who's been grinding out excellent performances around the scene. Of course we're talking about the "Phoenix of Osaka", the remarkable Miyuki Takase. The former ace of the Actwres girl'Z promotion has been taking the freelance scene by storm for several years, but especially in 2022. Halfway through the year, she's already taking part over 60 matches across 10 promotions, as well as in several freelance events not held by any given entity, including the Hana Kimura tribute show and inaugural "NOMADS" event, the latter of which she helped produce. She's wrestled for all the major "super indy" Joshi companies like SEAdLINNNG, Sendai Girls, and WAVE, and she's instilled herself to be one of the most "must-see" freelancers in the sport today.


As if that wasn't enough, Takase started June by taking part in a legitimate dream match against TJPW ace Miyu Yamashita at a Deadlock Pro Wrestling event in North Carolina on the 5th, which we'll get to this match a little later on in this blog. She then returned to Japan a few days later and spent the rest of the month producing exciting matches at a few of the promotions I've already mentioned. If you have the time and the inclination, I'd recommend you check out her Catch the WAVE clashes against Yuu on the 11th and Ayame Sasamura from the 26th.


That might not sound like enough to give her my female wrestler of the month honors, especially as ASUKA's resume last month was filled with accolades, but what Takase lacked in quantity, she made up for with quality. Her aforementioned match against Yuu was added to my Match of the Year list, and as I'll explain later, her American debut against Yamashita was not only added to that same list, but won my first ever "female match of the month."


Looking toward the future, Takase is looking to continue her excellence in the freelancer world. On July 10th, she'll be teaming up with Mika Iwata in a tag team match at Sendai Girls. She'll of course continue to do some work with her primarily partner Haruka Umesaki whether that's in Diana or WAVE. And on August 5th, she will feature heavily on the second NOMADS all-freelancer event. If you have the ability to watch any of those future shows, definitely watch that last one.


This blog exists so that I can introduce new wrestlers and wrestling matches to an audience that might only have enough time to watch whatever is on TV. So I feel really good to be giving this month's "favorite female wrestler of the month" to someone who as of right now is a true unknown in most circles. Look out for a future blog post on Takase's career so far coming later this summer.


Honorable Mentions:

  1. Bianca Belair (WWE)

  2. Kohaku (Pro Wrestling WAVE)

  3. Mio Momono (Marvelous)

  4. Natuspoi (Stardom)

  5. Saori Anou (Freelance)

  6. Tam Nakano (Stardom)

 

FAVORITE TAG TEAM

FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood - AEW)
Photo Credit: NJPW

For the second time this year, the boys from FTR have earned their spot as my favorite tag team on planet Earth. While they won back in April thanks to some truly spellbinding performances in the ring against the Briscoe Brothers and the Young Bucks, they've won this time based off something entirely different. You see, since we last spoke about Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood, they've gone through a metamorphosis from a rough heel/tweener duo to a truly lovable babyface pair who've gotten over as legitimate heroes, both in the ring and in promos.


This new facet to their characters has not only been astonishing to witness, as FTR have long been seen as the perfect heel tag team, but it also makes total sense. You can only be so good for so long before the fans get sick of booing you. They've convincingly and organically been turned to the light, and they've responded by changing their style enough so that they're still the best duo in the ring, just as babyfaces now.


They only had six matches as a pair in June, and while none of them were MOTY quality, they were all strong exhibitions of their pitch perfect technical acumen. They showcased strong fire while fighting underneath heel teams like the Gunn Club and The United Empire, and they also had yet another dream match, this time against Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards from The American Wolves.


Of course their greatest achievement came at the Forbidden Door pay per view when they somehow edged out two excellent teams to both retain their ROH Tag Team Titles as well as take. the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships from Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb of The United Empire. As of today, Harwood and Wheeler now hold tag team straps from Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and AAA. The IWGP tag titles are now the seventh different tag titles the duo has ever won, and they're the first tag team in history to win tag titles in WWE, AEW, ROH, NJPW, and AAA, which to me is simply astonishing.


On the singles front, Cash Wheeler had a strong showing against Jeff Cobb on an episode of AEW Rampage, but Dax Harwood outdid even his tag partner when he had an honest-to-goodness MOTY candidate against Will Ospreay on Dynamite.


I know I'm preaching to the choir by giving FTR another nod for this award yet again, but there is simply no team that is close to these guys right now. Sure, I included a few honorable mentions down below, but just know that they were all eating Cash and Dax's dust by the end of the month. So don't be surprised if these boys win for the third time in July.


Honorable Mentions:

  1. United Empire (Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan - NJPW)

  2. F.W.C. (Hazuki and Koguma - Stardom)

  3. Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero and Trent Beretta - AEW)

  4. Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson - AEW)

  5. Z-Brats (Diamante and Shun Skywalker - Dragongate)

 

FAVORITE FACTION

Natural Vibes (Dragongate)
Photo Credit: Dragon Gate

It is by an incredibly close margin that Natural Vibes shakes off the Blackpool Combat Club to win my favorite faction of the month. While the BCC went and added one of my favorite wrestlers of all time in Claudio Castagnoli, better known as Cesaro in WWE, the eternally lovable boys from Dragongate did something a little more impressive in my opinion, that being adding someone no one would've thought would fit as well as he has. That's right, the chief reason as to why Natural Vibes are my pick for June's faction of the month is that they added Strong Machine J, who's turned around and become the best thing in Dragongate, except for maybe Yuki Yoshioka.


For those of you who don't know, Natural Vibes are the de facto top babyface faction in the criminally underrated Dragongate promotion. Led by former Open the Brave Gate champion Kzy, the group has been undergoing some major changes of late. Back in May, founding members Susumu Yokosuka was forced to leave the group after he failed to beat KAI for Dragongate's biggest prize, the Open the Dream Gate title. He has since rejoined Masaaki Mochizuki to create the newest rendition of the M2K stable, now called M3K. Joining Susumu in leaving was fellow Natural Vibes founder, Genki Horiguchi, who elected to leave because he felt that he had done everything he could to help Kzy become a top star in the promotion and that his work was done.


That left Natural Vibes with four members; the powerhouse BIG BOSS Shimizu, the wickedly charismatic Jacky Funky Kamei, the big match maestro Kzy, and the technician U-T. While this crew was strong, and all incredibly loved by the Dragongate fanbase, it did feel like the crew was in uncertain territory. However, given how they've won the award for my favorite faction this past month, we all underestimated Kzy's ability to bring amazing wrestlers into his crew.


The first man Kzy was able to bring in was Jason Lee, who might be the most sympathetic babyface on the entire roster. His inclusion into Natural Vibes was the culmination of a long and complicated storyline that I don't feel I could adequately explain at this time, but suffice to say he's worked out very well in the faction as of writing.


But not to disrespect Jason, his joining NV became a total afterthought when on June 1st, Strong Machine J, the son of the famous half-man half-machine Super Strong Machine, elected to join Natural Vibes in a moment that will live rent free in my mind for the rest of the year. Down below I've included a video of the moment in question. The character metamorphosis SSJ made from a stoic mechanical rookie wrestler to the goofy breakdancing robot man we see now in Natural Vibes is the greatest glow up in recent wrestling history, and it fully marked the moment when Natural Vibes made it back to full power.


Since Strong Machine J's debut with the green squad, the boys have been doing their thing both in Dragongate and in RDPW, a local promotion in Okinawa. None of the members have gained any more titles over the past month, and they even failed to secure the Open the Triangle Gate trios titles, but the crew has engrained itself once again as the best faction not only in Dragongate, but perhaps on Earth right now. What they lack in gold at this time, they make up for with stellar match quality, endless fun, and good... vibes. If there's any reason to watch Dragongate right now, and there are plenty if you as me, I think these boys might be my favorite thing going in the promotion.

Video Credit: @_InYourCase on Twitter


Honorable Mentions:

  1. Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, Jon Moxley, Wheeler Yuta, William Regal)

  2. BULLET CLUB (Ace Austin, Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Chris Bey, Dick Togo, Doc Gallows, El Phantasmo, Evil, Gedo, Hikuleo, Jay White, Juice Robinson, Karl Anderson, KENTA, SHO, Taiji Ishimori, Yujiro Takahashi - NJPW)

  3. Cosmic Angels (Hikari Shimizu, Mina Shirakawa, Rina Amikura, SAKI, Tam Nakano, Unagi Sayaka, Waka Tsukiyama, Yuko Sakurai - Stardom)

  4. STARS (Hanan, Hazuki, Koguma, Mayu Iwatani, Momo Kohgo, Saya Iida - Stardom)

 

FAVORITE MATCH (MALE)

Will Ospreay vs. Orange Cassidy (AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door, 6/26)
Photo Credit: Twitter.com

When AEW and New Japan ran down the card for the Forbidden Door event, I'll admit that I was a bit underwhelmed for this match. While I do appreciate both the wrestlers involved, I was hoping that Ospreay would be pitted against someone different, although I'm currently struggling to type any specific names right now. This is no slight to Orange Cassidy, I think he's brilliant when given a big spot, but maybe sometimes I need to reminder. Well, this match did just that.


Ospreay and Cassidy threw everything into their clash here. I think the thing that has stood out in my mind since I first watched the match was that there were few if any times were a wrestler slowed the match down. This might come off as a negative for some, but there's something about these two where it felt like the correct decision. Cassidy is tremendous at many things, but I think the two greatest qualities he brought to this match were his excellent selling and silky smooth lucha transitions. To put it simply, he can do things with his body that shouldn't be possible, and I think it's high time people start to realize that.


I already rained praise on Will Ospreay earlier, but it bears repeating that this guy is a true savant in the ring. His offense looked violent at times, especially when he hit Cassidy with his "Hidden Blade" strike, and he never let the pressure dissipate for a moment. What makes this all the more impressive is that not long ago, he was undergoing treatment for a kidney disease. His ability to recuperate is superhuman.


And if all that wasn't impressive enough, this match was also really funny at times. I know that comedy is entirely subjective, but it just worked. If you're a massive Orange Cassidy fan, then I'm sure you will love the moments where he is enraging Ospreay with his shenanigans from wrestling with his hands in his pockets or doing his lazy kicks. But I'm also positive that if you're a Will Ospreay fan, then you'll really like it whenever Will beat the tar out of Orange, and of course when he flipped off the crowd. That was lovely.


After Ospreay successfully put away Cassidy with his super finisher, "The Storm Breaker", he and his United Empire buddies continued the assault on the down and out Cassidy. After a failed save from some of Orange's buddies, familiar music rang in the arena and the immortal Katsuyori Shibata came out to make the save. I may not a have outright cried when it happened, but it was a perfect moment made better when he gave Ospreay his trademark running dropkick in the corner.


All in all, you guys have probably seen this match already, but if you haven't, check it out, and if you have, watch it again. I wouldn't be surprised if this made my shortlist for Match of the Year when it's all said and done.

Video Credit: "Ravishing King" on YouTube


Honorable Mentions:

  1. Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Hell in a Cell, 6/5)

  2. Will Ospreay vs. SANADA (NJPW Dominion, 6/12)

  3. Will Ospreay vs. Dax Harwood (AEW Dynamite, 6/15)

  4. Taiji Ishimori vs. Hiromu Takahashi (NJPW New Japan Road Night 5, 6/21)

  5. Jericho Appreciation Society (Angelo Parker, Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia, Jake Hager, Matt Menard and Sammy Guevara) vs. The Blackpool Combat Club (Claudio Castagnoli, Jon Moxley, and Wheeler Yuta), Eddie Kingston, Ortiz, and Santana (AEW Dynamite - Blood and Guts, 6/29)

 

FAVORITE MATCH (FEMALE)

Miyuki Takase vs. Miyu Yamashita (DPW No Pressure, 6/5)
Photo Credit: Twitter.com

After a few months of thinking about it, I've decided that starting this month I'll be splitting my "favorite match of the month" segment into two sections; one for men and one for women. I feel like by doing this, I'll be able to write more about some women's matches I've loved, as they've only won this category once before (AZM vs. Starlight Kid, February). One of the reasons I was forced to make this decision was because of this match right here that pitted Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling's ace Miyu Yamashita with the former Actwres girl'Z ace Miyuki Takase from a Deadlock Pro Wrestling show on June 5th.


Deadlock Pro Wrestling is an up-and-coming independent promotion based in North Carolina which was created less than a year ago by three YouTube personalities; Pulse (formerly CMPulse), TonyPizzaGuy, and John Blud from newLegacyInc. I've been a big fan of these three for a very long time, in fact, I can thank Pulse for introducing me to Joshi back in the day. I mean it when I say that these guys have done a tremendous job with Deadlock so far. They've given great young wrestlers like Kidd Bandit an opportunity to shine, they've brought in some talented outsiders from the US indy scene, and most importantly for this section, they've also introduced Japanese talent to their ever-growing audience. The fact that these guys were able to successfully fly over two top level Joshi talents to North Carolina for a match is incredible in itself.


Speaking on the match itself, what can I say? While this was the first time Takase and Yamashita had ever mixed it up in the ring, they had a natural chemistry that can't be taught. Yamashita definitely came into the match the favorite, as TJPW is probably the second biggest Joshi promotion in the West, but leave it to Takase to get herself over, with a little help from Yamashita of course. She was a woman on a mission during this match, and the crowd responded exactly as you'd want.


As someone who loves striking in his wrestling, this match was a spectacle. Aside from maybe Malakai Black and Katsuhiko Nakajima, Miyu Yamashita might have the best kicks in the business today. The sound emanating from her sonic boom strikes were incredible, especially with the added reactions from the crowd. Not to be out done, Takase displayed her supremely powerful forearm strikes and lariats, the latter of which I can't get enough of thanks to guys like Satoshi Kojima. This simple formula (sonic boom kicks and savage lariats), whipped the NC crowd into a frenzy until Yamashita finally landed her deadly spinning head kick to finally put Takase away.


I would highly recommend all of you check out this match however you're able. The show is available to order on DPW's on demand service, which I'll link to here. Go and check it out, especially if you enjoy hot and fiery crowds, tremendous striking, and excellent crowd control. I really hope these two run it back in the near future.


Honorable Mentions:

  1. Bianca Belair vs. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (WWE Hell in a Cell, 6/5)

  2. Syuri vs. Mayu Iwatani vs. Starlight Kid (Stardom, 6/11)

  3. Miyuki Takase vs. Yuu (WAVE Detras De Lazona Vol. 5, 6/11)

  4. Tam Nakano vs. Natsupoi (Stardom Fight In The Top, 6/26)

  5. AZM, Saya Kamitani, & Utami Hayashishita vs. Hazuki, Koguma, & Mayu Iwatani (Stardom Fight In The Top, 6/26)

 

FAVORITE SHOW

AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door, 6/26
Photo Credit: NJPW

During a month filled with excellent shows up and down the calendar, no show could approach the incredible AEW and NJPW joint event, "Forbidden Door" from June 26th. As someone who's a fan of both promotions, I was eagerly awaiting this show, just as I know that so many others were. While the build for the event wasn't all that strong, which was made worse after many top stars like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, and Tomohiro Ishii were all forced to miss the show after sustaining injuries, the staggering amount of talent remaining on the final card was astonishing. The pre-show alone featured the likes of Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Lance Archer, Keith Lee, Swerve Strickland, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and my favorite wrestler from last month, El Desperado.


The main card continued that trend with simply an embarrassingly high number of legends, some of whom fall on my favorite wrestlers of all time list; guys like Minoru Suzuki, Chris Jericho, PAC, Shingo Takagi, Will Ospreay, Zack Sabre Jr., Kazuchika Okada, Jon Moxley, and the immaculate Hiroshi Tanahashi. Then you add in Claudio Castagnoli, one of the greatest wrestlers of the past 15 years AND the goat Katsuyori Shibata, who made a cameo to a chorus of cheers and tears, and I started to wonder if this show was made specifically for me.


Most of the matches on this card were truly excellent. Aside from the Ospreay/Cassidy clash I gave my male match of the month, the opening six-man tag between Jericho, Suzuki, and Sammy Guevara vs. Eddie Kingston, Shota Umino, and my favorite wrestler from April, Wheeler Yuta, was frenetic and fun. The three-way tag team match which ended with FTR winning the IWGP Tag Team titles was thrilling. The All-Atlantic Title, while totally unnecessary, was awarded to the unsung PAC after a great fatal-four-way. Sting proved that he's still the coolest guy in wrestling. Thunder Rosa had a technical battle with Toni Storm. Claudio "freaking" Castagnoli came out to the greatest theme song in history and then had a banner of a match with Zack Sabre Jr. The world finally learned just how special Kazuchika Okada is in every way as a wrestler. And my favorite wrestler of all time not named Bryan Danielson, Hiroshi Tanahashi, somehow had the AEW fanbase booing Jon Moxley thanks solely to his peerless charisma.


As someone who points to both New Japan and AEW as the two reasons as to why I still love to watch wrestling today, this show was a genuine dream come true. Everything simply worked from the work inside the ring, the incredible Chicago crowd, the phenomenal commentary work, particularly from Kevin Kelly and Excalibur, and literally everything in between. If this show never happens again, I'm simply glad that the time it did happen, it was wonderful.


Honorable Mentions:

  1. AEW Dynamite #139 (6/1)

  2. WAVE NAMI 1 (6/1)

  3. WWE Hell in a Cell (6/5)

  4. AEW Dynamite #141 - Road Rager 2022 (6/15)

  5. AJPW Champions Night 4 ~ 50th Anniversary Tour (6/19)

  6. Stardom Fight In The Top -Nagoya Summit Battle- (6/26)

 

FAVORITE PROMOTION

Pro Wrestling WAVE

While not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, Pro Wrestling WAVE's overall handling of the "Catch the Wave" tournament in June helped them to surpass both AEW and NJPW as my pick for my favorite promotion to watch this past month. Over four events, this small independent Joshi company based in Tokyo showcased the best of women's wrestling, and I felt like I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't use my platform here to attempt to shine on light on them.


For the uninitiated, the Catch the Wave is an annual tournament that pits the best Joshi talent who make up the independent scene, as well as some of Pro Wrestling WAVE's own wrestlers. This year, WAVE brought in 21 wrestlers, including some of the best in the world like Miyuki Takase, Suzu Suzuki, and Risa Sera, and put them into five blocks:

  1. The Comic Block

  2. The Future Block

  3. The Hardcore Block

  4. The Kick Block

  5. The Strong Arm Block

These categories were filled with wrestlers who make up that trait. So wrestlers who are more entertainer than classic wrestler, like Sakura Hirota or Miyako Matsumoto, would be placed in the Comic Block while someone like Risa Sera would be placed in the Hardcore Block. The Future Block was the only group that featured five wrestlers, including Suzu Suzuki, Haruka Umesaki, and my MVP of the whole tournament so far, Kohaku.


If you love tournaments and watching a wide variety of wrestling on any given card, than I'd highly recommend you all check out what WAVE has been releasing so far this summer, but especially their four shows from June. Their June 1st show in particular featured a few matches that I enjoyed, most notably the 15-minute battle between Haruka Umesaki and Riko Kawahata, but also showcases WAVE's courage to run a show that cycles through as many styles as it does in a short period of time.


Honorable Mentions:

  1. AEW

  2. AJPW

  3. Pro Wrestling WAVE

  4. WWE

 

What to look out for in July and August:

  • Stardom 101 posts on STARS, Oedo Tai, and KAIRI.

  • The beginning of "Freelancer Focus", where I'll talk about some freelancers both here in the states and in Japan who should be on your radar. Some wrestlers I plan on writing about include ASUKA/Veny, Miyuki Takase, and Alex Zayne.

  • A Top 10 list on my favorite themes in AEW. Try and guess where Claudio Castagnoli's theme will land!

  • The beginning of a new series called "The Reign of the Rainmaker", which will go over Kazuchika Okada's legendary 720 day reign as the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, starting with his win over Tetsuya Naito at Dominion 2016. I've been dying to get this series done, and I think I'm ready to get this going as soon as the Stardom 101 posts slow down a bit.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS


Wrestler(s)

  • January - Dragon Dia (Dragongate)

  • February - MJF (AEW)

  • March - Zack Sabre Jr. (NJPW) and KAIRI (Stardom)

  • April - Wheeler Yuta (AEW) and AZM (Stardom)

  • May - El Desperado (NJPW) and ASUKA/VENY (Freelance)

  • June - Will Ospreay (NJPW) and Miyuki Takase (Freelance)

Tag Team(s)

  • January - D'Courage (Dragon Dia and Yuki Yoshioka - Dragongate)

  • February - 37KAMIINA (Konosuke Takeshita and Yuki Ueno - DDT)

  • March - Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley - AEW)

  • April - FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood - AEW)

  • May - F.W.C. (Hazuki and Koguma - Stardom)

  • June - FTR (Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood - AEW)

Faction

  • January - Prominence (Freelance)

  • February - House of Black (AEW)

  • March - Donna Del Mondo (Stardom)

  • April - Blackpool Combat Club (AEW)

  • May - God's Eye (Stardom)

  • June - Natural Vibes (Dragongate)

Match

  • January - Go Shiozaki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (NOAH The New Year, 1/1)

  • February - AZM vs. Starlight Kid (Stardom Cinderella Journey In Nagaoka, 2/23)

  • March - Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Will Ospreay (NJPW New Japan Cup Night 13, 3/26)

  • April - FTR vs. Briscoe Brothers (ROH Supercard of Honor, 4/1)

  • May - El Phantasmo vs. Robbie Eagles (NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Night 9, 5/26)

  • June - Will Ospreay vs. Orange Cassidy (AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door, 6/26) & Miyuki Takase vs. Miyu Yamashita (DPW No Pressure, 6/5)

Show

  • January - Stardom Nagoya Supreme Fight (1/29)

  • February - Stardom Cinderella Journey In Nagaoka (2/23)

  • March - AEW Revolution (3/6)

  • April - ROH Supercard of Honor (4/1)

  • May - Hana Kimura Produce "Bagus" (5/23)

  • June - AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door (6/26)

Promotion

  • January - Stardom

  • February - All Elite Wrestling

  • March - New Japan Pro Wrestling

  • April - Stardom

  • May - New Japan Pro Wrestling

  • June - Pro Wrestling WAVE

 

Every Match of the Year Candidate in 2022 from June (9/10s or higher)

(Note: Italics means it was my match of the month)


6/5 - Bianca Belair vs. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (WWE Hell in a Cell 2022)

6/5 - Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Hell in a Cell 2022)

6/5 - Miyuki Takase vs. Miyu Yamashita (DPW No Pressure)

6/11 - Mayu Iwatani vs. Starlight Kid vs. Syuri (Stardom 6/11 Show)

6/11 - Miyuki Takase vs. Yuu (WAVE Detras De Lazona Vol. 5)

6/12 - Kenoh vs. Daisuke Sasaki (Cyberfight Festival 2022)

6/12 - Will Ospreay vs. SANADA (NJPW Dominion)

6/12 - Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada (NJPW Dominion)

6/15 - Daichi Hashimoto, Kazusada Higuchi, & Yuma Aoyagi vs. Daisuke Sekimoto, Shuji Ishikawa, & Yuji Hino (Fortune Dream 7)

6/15 - Will Ospreay vs. Dax Harwood (AEW Dynamite - Road Rager)

6/18 - Laredo Kid vs. Taurus vs. Fenix vs. Bandido vs. El Hijo del Vikingo (AAA TripleMania XXX: Tijuana)

6/19 - Kohei Sato & Shuji Ishikawa vs. Ryuki Honda & Shotaro Ashino (AJPW Champions Night 4)

6/19 - Will Ospreay vs. Nick Wayne (GCW I Never Liked You)

6/20 - Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (NJPW New Japan Road Night 4)

6/21 - Tomohiro Ishii vs. Clark Connors (NJPW New Japan Road Night 5)

6/21 - Taiji Ishimori vs. Hiromu Takahashi (NJPW New Japan Road Night 5)

6/26 - Tam Nakano vs. Natsupoi (Stardom Fight In The Top)

6/26 - AZM, Saya Kamitani, & Utami Hayashishita vs. Hazuki, Koguma, & Mayu Iwatani (Stardom Fight In The Top)

6/26 - Will Ospreay vs. Orange Cassidy (AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door)

6/26 - Claudio Castagnoli vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door)

6/26 - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jon Moxley (AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door)

6/29 - Angelo Parker, Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia, Jake Hager, Matt Menard and Sammy Guevara vs. Claudio Castagnoli, Eddie Kingston, Jon Moxley, Ortiz, Santana, and Wheeler Yuta (AEW Dynamite - Blood and Guts)

 

Special thanks to WhoScored, Transfermarkt, Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, Fangraphs, Cagematch, and 1.02.JP for helping make me a more well-informed fan. Featured Image Credit - NJPW


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