Columnist Rob Pasbani recaps his 10 favorite matches of the year.
There have been way too many great wrestling matches this year. As fans, we are more spoiled than we’ve ever been when it comes to match quality. I recently spoke to Knotfest Wrestling colleague Jordan Olds discussing our favorite matches of the year and our favorite wrestlers of the year.
Watch our full discussion here:
I also wanted to type out my list of favorite matches, with some notes on why they were notable to me. So, let’s get to it.
A late entry into the list, but this match had some of the most innovative acrobatics I have seen in wrestling in 2022. Komander is going to be a huge star next year, and he completely won me over with his rope work in this match. Here are some highlights:
I attended this match live in Vegas and it was one of the most chaotic matches I’ve ever witnessed in person. I didn’t know where to look. There was so much action going on at all times all over the place. They absolutely kept the crowd’s attention and created a memorable piece of entertainment.
Cody Rhodes made sure to go out with a bang in his final match in AEW. Despite what you may think of Sammy Guevara, he always puts on a show in big matches, and he was in rare form in this ladder match, easily the best ladder match of the year. The spot with Sammy hitting a cutter on Cody off the ladders will be remembered for years to come.
This was top-notch, next-level lucha libre. I audibly gasped multiple times during this match, with some of the best high flyers in wrestling all going nuts in one match. We already know Fenix is absolutely the best in the world, and Vikingo is coming for that crown with some of his innovative action. Laredo Kid, Bandido and Black Taurus are definitely no slouches in this match either. Full match here.
Storyline-wise, only the ongoing Bloodline saga in WWE can top the MJF vs. CM Punk feud from the first half of the year, which climaxed at a brutal dog collar match, where MJF’s heavy, Wardlow, turned on MJF for a huge reaction allowing Punk to win the feud. It’s a shame that we never got to see the second half of this feud, as Punk vs. MJF was the scheduled main event for AEW Full Gear before Punk left.
The best strong style match of the year. Sheamus has really leveled up this year, finally clicking with the crowd, after putting in some killer matches this year. This was the obvious standout, with a hot crowd and WWE letting these two have the type of match you do not normally see in WWE. It was great!
Kenny Omega is very much my guy, so it was great to see him back in action here at the top of his game in a stellar match. Death Triangle were the trios MVP this year, having had great matches with everybody they were in the ring with. Top tier pro wrestling!
One of the most memorable Hell in the Cell matches of all time, and nobody had to fall off a cage. Cody Rhodes puts forth a Herculean performance in a match that is seared into my head.
The best AEW match of the year happened all the way at the top of the year, in Long Island when “Hangman” Adam Page defeated Bryan Danielson to continue his stellar run of World Title defenses. These two in the ring are always magic.
I know it might seem silly to make this match the best match of the year, but no other match entertained me more. This is the type of match you can show somebody who has never watched wrestling and they will enjoy it (unless they’re some sort of sociopath.)
The final week of the year has a ton of wrestling on TV, with a huge Smackdown happening this Friday, and a big AEW Dynamite tomorrow. Here’s what you can expect.
WWE NXT is on USA Network tonight at 8pm. Here’s the card:
AAA has a big final event of the year happening on Wednesday night. The lineup and ordering info can be found here.
AEW Dynamite is live tomorrow at 8pm on TBS for the last show of the year. Here’s the card:
WWE Smackdown is this Friday at 8pm on Fox and has a huge main event:
WWE continued the angle of Dominick Mysterio and Rhea Ripley trying to invade the Mysterio home for the holidays, except this time, Dominick got arrested:
AEW has begun teasing their new look for Dynamite that will premiere in the new year.
Cody Rhodes strongly hinted last night that when he returns, the chase is on to win the WWE Universal championship:
Here’s a fun video of Santa Claus visiting the old ECW Arena.
Bray Wyatt had his first match since returning at a Madison Square Garden house show last night.
WWE is teasing a “Mountain Dew Pitch Black” match for Royal Rumble. There were rumors that Edge would take on Finn Balor (dressed as the Demon) at Royal Rumble, and this seems like a fitting gimmick, but that’s total speculation on my part.
Paul Heyman instigated a war of words with ESPN anchor Stephen A. Smith on Twitter this weekend:
Do you enjoy pro wrestling? Knotfest Wrestling has a bi-weekly column filled with wrestling news. Read previous editions of this column here. You can always follow me @robinjection on Instagram and Twitter and @Squaredcirclpit.