SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Let the analysis, discussion, screaming, and whining commence! It’s that time of year after all. Just what was the match of the year in 2022? Let’s find out. Here’s the deal, though. My list is the right list. Period. End of story. I kid. Well, not really, but it’s nice to be polite.
You know me. I’m all about transparency. So, what factored into the construction of this match of the year 2022 breakdown? Take a look …
- Story – Was there a good story within the match?
- Pageantry – What was the spectacle of the bout like?
- Stakes – Anything on the line? If so, what was it?
- Scale – Where did the match take place and what did it do for the card?
- In-Ring – How good was the in-ring product?
- Entertainment – Did the match entertain and was it fun to watch?
Here goes nothing …
10. Jon Moxley vs. Wheeler Yuta – AEW Rampage, April 8, 2022
From an in-ring perspective, this is my kind of match. Physical, but not flashy. A fight in every sense and therefore supremely entertaining. The match itself buoyed a slow Rampage product for AEW, but also put the final touches on one of 2022’s best factions in BCC.
9. David Finlay vs. Will Ospreay – NJPW G1 Climax 32 Tournament
More of a surprise than anything else. In my eyes, anyway. Finlay had a really strong G1 tournament this year and his match with Juice Robinson was close to making this list. Ospreay brought the best out of him in terms of action and the bout contained high stakes, the pageantry of G1, on a big scale that is that tournament, a strong underdog story. Thumbs way up.
8. Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville – Street Fight – WWE WrestleMania 38
In judging this choice, don’t lose sight of what pro wrestling is, ok? This was a helluva match. A great time, a major scale, and with the WWE as a company, on the back of Sami Zayn’s shoulders to execute successfully, so more doors like it open up. Zayn was a wizard throughout this entire bout. It’s fun. Watch it again if you’ve forgotten just how much fun.
7. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar – WWE Undisputed Universal Championship Last Man Standing Match – Summerslam 2022
The ring got lifted into the damn air by Brock Lesnar on a forklift type piece of machinery causing Roman Reigns to tumble down it to the outside floor. It was a spot that was genuinely new for every single person watching. This thing was wild madness, but perfect at the same time.
6. Bianca Belair vs. Becky Lynch – WWE Raw Women’s Championship – WrestleMania 38
These women brought it in a big way, on a big stage, and with big stakes on the line. They had a big responsibility for carrying night one of WrestleMania as it was the hottest world title match on the card. The moment where Belair lifts Becky onto her shoulders for the finish KOD and the audience collectively stands behind her is telling. Fans were into this and the work rate in the match drove some of that investment.
5. Sheamus vs. Gunther – WWE Clash at the Castle
Ouch. This was hurts to even remember. What a match, though. The thing with this one is it was saddled with very high expectations of brutality and somehow blew those expectations out of the water. Such a gem of a pro wrestling match.
4. Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay – NJPW G1 Climax Tournament Final
Crazy athleticism, yes, but equally strong storytelling with Ospreay trying to “win the big one” over Okada. Both men are so strong and have incredible chemistry together that this story oozed out of everything they did. Awesome.
3. The Briscoes vs. FTR – Dog Collar ROH World Tag Team Championship Match – ROH Final Battle 2022
What a war. This capped off a wonderful trilogy of tag team matches in 2022 and was a blood affair, but one that perfectly put a bow on the FTR/Briscoes story. This had action, drama, and most importantly — emotion.
2. CM Punk vs. MJF – Dog Collar Match – AEW Revolution 2022
The deliberately slow pace that CM Punk and MJF took with this match will always stick out in my head. Because it was slow, the brutality and cold nature of the action glowed brightly. Big time drama and a win that catapulted Punk directly into the title contender ranks. It’s a shame that this was the high point in Punk’s tenure. Things went off the rails soon after.
1. Cody Rodes vs. Seth Rollins – Hell In A Cell Match – WWE Hell In A Cell 2022
More transparency. I was in the building for this bout, but it’s place at number one stands even if I hadn’t been. The gasps that the audience had when Rhodes revealed his torn pec was the story. Rhodes and Rollins perfectly manipulated the emotions of those gasps to tell the story of this match. This was real and the selling Rhodes did felt real because it was real. Tremendous.
CATCH-UP: RADICAN’S 2022 Show & Match of the Year Contenders list: Ongoing rankings of show and match of the year updated throughout 2022