FanFyte’s Best of the Month: November 2021

We’re a bit into December now—dogs are wearing sweaters, people are arguing about whether nor not egg nog is good (it’s good!), and sites like ours are gearing up for a barrage of end of the year retrospective articles. We have plenty of those forthcoming, covering a wide spread of wrestling, from the indies to Japan to AEW and WWE, but before we get there and turn the calendar to January, let’s look back at November’s best, jumping from the indies to Japan to, you guessed it, All Elite Wrestling.

charli evans gcw
GCW

Charli Evans vs. Alex Colon (GCW 11/13/2021)

Alex Colon is quite possibly the best deathmatch wrestler on the planet at the moment. He’d already won three GCW Tournaments of Survival in a row, and went into the Nick Gage Invitational 6 on a quest to regain the GCW Ultraviolent title, held at the beginning of the NGI by Big Japan Pro Wrestling’s Masashi Takeda. Charli Evans was a surprise entrant to the NGI6, replacing the very injured Mance Warner, earning her bona fides not only beating both Kit Osbourne & SHLAK in the first round, but also with a great effort the night previously in Detroit, in a losing effort v. Rina Yamashita.

The semi-final began with both wrestlers showing respect, before snapmares by Evans lead to lighttubes across the back of Colon. From there, Evans unleashed a furious offense against Colon, who tried to respond with a bucketful of thumbtacks over Evans. This backfired, however, as Evans threw the bucket at Colon, suplexed Colon into the tacks, and superkicked her opponent whom she’d forced tacks into the mouth of.

The crowd got super behind Evans during this match; you can visibly see fans leaping from their seats when Colon superplexed Evans into a pane of glass for a mere 1-count. Sadly for those fans, Colon would lock in a Camel Clutch on Evans, Colon’s hand raised in victory by referee stoppage. Colon would win the NGI6 and the Ultraviolent title back from Takeda, but Evans won over the GCW fans, which is maybe even better.

– Geoffrey D. Wessel (Twitter | Read more from Geoffrey)

Kenoh vs Katsuhiko Nakajima
Pro Wrestling NOAH

Kenoh vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (NOAH 11/28/21)

It’s not a secret I prefer shorter wrestling matches, for the same reasons people say that 90 minutes is the perfect movie length. For me, art is successful when there is a clarity of vision, and putting a time limit on it can help create that focus. However, when you find artists can maintain that focus over an extended period of time, there’s nothing more thrilling.

Kenoh and Katsuhiko Nakajima met back in the finals of the N1 of this year, and it’s a true classic—a twenty minute slugfest, just two top-tier wrestlers brutally clashing at the end of a grueling tournament, desperate for a win, throwing the entire kitchen sink at each other. Nakajima pulled out the victory by the narrowest of margins, after a battle that left both men drained.

Since that match, both Nakajima and Kenoh have picked up belts, and in this meeting both Nakajiama’s GHC Heavyweight title, and Kenoh’s GHC National title are on the line, making the already high stakes for the two stablemates astronomical. It opens with a flurry of traded offense, a nod to the brutality of their last meeting, but quickly settles into a more careful affair—Nakajima viciously targets a knee, even goading Kenoh into using his injured leg during a brutal strike exchange, forcing Kenoh to suffer twice as much. It’s not a surprise that Nakajima, a protege of Kensuke Sasaki, is able to effortlessly transform the dusty cliche of strike exchanges into genuinely captivating wrestling. Kenoh’s normally arrogant persona translates just beautifully into fiery underdog, as you can feel the fury radiating off him with every Nakajima smirk or shortcut. Twenty, thirty, forty minutes fly by, as Kenoh and Nakajima attempt to crack absolutely every single rib in their opponent’s body (I imagine post-show x-rays of the two showed bone fragments in pulped meat, just loose sketches of a skeleton floating around). It’s an absolute all-timer, a true stand-out in a year of fantastic wrestling.

As if that wasn’t enough, the post-match is absolutely delightful. NOAH’s on fire right now, and looking at the line-ups for their 1/1 show, and the NJPW crossover, the future looks just as exciting.

– Ed Blair (Twitter | Read more from Ed)

eddie kingston daniel garcia
AEW

Eddie Kingston vs. Daniel Garcia (AEW 11/26/21)

There’s ear work. Honestly, if that’s not enough to convince you about this match then we might have fundamentally different views about pro wrestling. Try to find the Fite TV stream to enjoy it unobscured by picture-in-picture.

Of course, this is a great match. It’s the latest in the Daniel Garcia super year where he again gets to test his mettle against a beloved veteran. It’s also the most time he’s received to flex his muscles on AEW television and there’s few better to do it against than Eddie Kingston. Garcia’s thoughtful attack and control demonstrates all his best qualities that we’ve seen on the indies. It’s focused and vicious despite his smaller stature. 2point0 even make themselves useful as heel stooges bailing Garcia out of trouble when necessary, and bumping for Eddie to keep Garcia strong.

There’s a lot of biting, punching, and eye pokes from Eddie that really elevate the violence of the proceedings. Eddie’s defense might be better than his offense though. He tweaks his knee early in the match, giving Garcia an opening to attack. The sell job is fantastic, it’s Eddie Kingston after all. It makes the eventual comeback and the suddenness of the finish all the more meaningful. One gets the impression that Eddie just got by Garcia on this night, a great boon for one of the best young wrestlers in the world today.

– Joseph Anthony Montecillo (Twitter | Read more from Joseph)