Every month, Ring Post Radio's Scott Edwards writes his favorite five matches that he watched and believes everyone should go out of their way to see. Here's a look at the "Must-Sees" of March 2022.
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Shingo Takagi (NJPW New Japan Cup, 3/7/22)
When these two enter the ring to face one another, you’re almost guaranteed something great. But what if I said this was probably the best battle these two have had yet? The overall physicality between Tomohiro Ishii and Shingo Takagi to close out the first round of the New Japan Cup was why I watch professional wrestling. You could feel every single hard-hitting exchange these two had while also being on the edge of your seat in anticipation of what these two would do next to one another. As someone who can be critical of the current Ishii, this was him channeling his best to bring it to Takagi.
And what’s there to say about “The Dragon” that hasn’t been said over the last 365 days? The man is on a mission to be recognized worldwide as the best in the world. Every single match he encounters, Takagi meets it head-on with a great performance that likely results in him having to ice up until his next match. Anyone who questions the greatness of Takagi should be questioning if they like wrestling at all.
It’s a match like this one here that gives hope that NJPW is returning to its status as one of the best pro wrestling promotions in the world. If you haven’t watched these two go to war, make sure to do so. And if you already have, watch it again. It’s that good.
Kento Miyahara (c) vs. Shuji Ishikawa for the Triple Crown Championship (AJPW Champions Night 3, 3/21/22)
Kento Miyahara as the Triple Crown Champion has been everything Jake Lee’s reign wasn’t – entertaining. The AJPW ace is nicknamed the “The Best of the Best” for a reason and showed that in his title defense against former Triple Crown Champion Shuji Ishikawa. It was almost a perfect combination of sorts for All Japan. Ishikawa walks into the match not living up to the expectations many fans had created during the earlier part of his career while Miyahara was coming off a title defense that surely did not live up to his usual title matches. It was a chance for them both to prove they were ready for the big match – and they delivered.
The spot of the match was the Giant Driver by Ishikawa to Miyahara on the apron. The execution of the move felt like one of those moments where you don’t know how to react. The champion is getting dropped on his head and has to somehow battle back. If there is someone who could though, it was Miyahara.
Syuri (c) vs. Giulia for the World of Stardom Championship (Stardom World Climax ~ The Best ~, 3/26/22)
This list is filled with tremendous professional wrestling matches. Some were for titles. Some were to advance in a tournament. But none of the matches reached the levels of Syuri and Giulia in terms of violence, brutality, and intensity. Nothing about it was perfect except for, well, those three things. Every move thrown by Giulia and Syuri were thrown with meaning. Giulia somehow had the most spine-rattling kick of the match when she buckled the back of Syuri out on the floor with one. These two said heading into the match they wouldn't be able to co-exist any longer and there was a reason why. The World of Stardom Championship was all that mattered to both of them.
Headbutts, kicks, forearms, finishers, signatures, and desperation. Desperation to walk away as the champion. Syuri and Giulia made this match the most important match of the month. Nothing lived up to what they did in terms of telling a story and delivering on it. You could feel the importance and that alone put this match in the top five of the month. Not everything is supposed to be pretty and this match was far from it. I cannot recommend this one enough. It's what all rivalries should be about.
Shingo Takagi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (NJPW New Japan Cup, 3/26/22)
Shingo Takagi makes the list once again and this time for a very different style. That, of course, can be credited to the technical mastery of Zack Sabre Jr., who often brings a more physical side to him when facing Takagi. There is something magical about these two when they face each other head-to-head. It’s almost as if opposites attract, as the bone-crunching power game of Takagi mixed with Sabre Jr.’s craftiness never fails to get the fans on their feet. The closing stretch is perfection as it goes from Takagi making his second-straight New Japan Cup to the reality of that disappearing as Sabre Jr. forced “The Dragon” to fall asleep and the referee to call the match. The clash of styles between these two never fails to live up to the hype.
Saya Kamitani (c) vs. Tam Nakano for the Wonder of Stardom Championship (Stardom World Climax ~ The Top ~, 3/27/22)
The bout I believe takes home "match of the month" is the battle between Saya Kamitani and Tam Nakano for the Wonder of Stardom Championship. Heading into the match, the excitement was low seeing these two had faced off multiple times in singles matches in 2021, including Stardom Dream Queendom where Kamitani won the championship. With that being said, these two managed to not only turn around this mindset but made it clear they were ready to be the best of the best from the entire Stardom World Climax weekend. When it didn't feel like they could top what they did, these two did something more insane.
There were two spots in the match that left everyone talking. The first was the jaw-dropping Frankensteiner by Kamitani to Nakano from the top rope all the way down to the floor. And the second saw the "Twilight Dreaming" Nakano dive from the balcony to clear out "The Golden Phoenix." In the end, Kamitani managed to pick up the win and keep her title but if you didn't watch this, get on it. It was that good.