FanFyte’s Best of the Month: October 2021

Another month in the books, another set of bangers in the world of professional wrestling. We’ve covered Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston and Danielson vs. Minoru Suzuki. Wheeler YUTA and Alex Shelley wrestled a classic that elevated the IWTV Independent Championship and Suzuki vs. Dominic Garrini restored editor Colette Arrand’s love of indie wrestling. Finally, despite the tragedy of Kota Ibushi’s shoulder injury, the final days of the G1 Climax were filled with action, as well as the surprise return of Katsuyori Shibata.

There’s more, of course; far more than we can handle. Here’s a brief selection of matches that didn’t make regular coverage. Maybe they’re matches you missed? If so, go back and watch them. Be the most powerful person in your corner of Wrestling Twitter.

More Professional Wrestling

TJPW

Princess of Princess Championship: Miyu Yamashita (c) vs. Maki Itoh (TJPW Wrestle Princess II, 10/9/2021)

Miyu Yamashita is the reigning Princess of Princess champion, in her record 3rd reign. Maki Itoh won the Tokyo Princess Cup tournament on 8/15/2021. Their title main event clash happened at TJPW’s Wrestle Princess II. Boy, they sure do like the word “Princess” in this company yeah?

Maki’s brief, incindiary career in wrestling has been inextricably tied to Miyu Yamashita, having lost to Miyu in her full-time debut as a wrestler in DDT on 12/11/2016. Since then, they have been rivals, and partners, but in six prior singles attempts, including at DDT’s Coming to America on 4/4/2019 in Queens, Maki Itoh had never beaten Miyu Yamashita.

This was the storyline as we headed into the match, and what a match it was. Both women had the match of their lives, in the main event of one of the biggest shows on the TJPW calendar. Maki fought through it, screaming her lungs out. Surely this, this was the time Maki Itoh would come good, beat her greatest rival, and become champion.

Sadly for the idol, it was not to be. Miyu beat Maki, retaining her title and making Maki 0-7 in singles matches against her. But both wrestlers knew they’d been in a battle for the ages. Maki cried tears of disappointment, yet smiled as Miyu Yamashita showed respect to her rival. The lasting image of the match will be Miyu Yamashita’s fistbump meeting Maki Itoh’s middle finger—the greatest signs of respect both wrestlers could give the other.

– Geoffrey D. Wessel (Twitter)

SUP

Violence Is Forever vs. “Hoodfoot” Mo Atlas and Chase Holliday (SUP True Believers, 10/24/21)

It shouldn’t be a shock that the best US indie tag match of the year features Violence is Forever. The team of Kevin Ku and Dominic Garrini have been the best tag team on the independent scene for a couple of years now. Here, they make their return to SUP as the Tag Team Champions for the promotion’s first show back with live fans.

Their opponents: “Hoodfoot” Mo Atlas & Chase Holliday, representing The Lost Boys. This is a great showing from them as they combine a mix of old school heel tag work with a hard-hitting sensibility to produce something real special in this match. Nothing establishes this better than the opening moments of the match where Holliday antagonizes Garrini on the apron, drawing his attention on the floor, which allows Hoodfoot to cheap shot Ku in the ring.

Hoodfoot, in particular, really shines in this match. He’s got a great physical charisma which he combines with some stiff strikes and fun selling throughout the match. The workhorse of the bout is Kevin Ku though, who spends most of the match in-ring for his team as the face in peril to compensate for Garrini’s back injury. Ku is one of the finest practitioners of the Steamboat Rule—always fighting back even when at a disadvantage to show that he’s never out of the fight.

Well-structured, explosive, and violent—just what you want from a modern tag match.

– Joseph Anthony Montecillo (Twitter)

GLEAT

Yu Iizuka vs Daichi Hashimoto (GLEAT, 10/9/2021)

(View match here.)

As we’ve previously mentioned, the shadow of the UWF looms LARGE in wrestling right now, but for my money, the standard bearer is Japan’s GLEAT promotion. Run by LIDET, the former owners of NOAH, GLEAT boasts the involvement of UWF vet Kiyoshi Tamura, making their claim to UWFi rules slightly more legitimate than most. They have a pro-wrestling division, and a UWF rules division, and their shows generally focus on one or the other, but wrestlers show up in both iterations. So, if you like, you can watch Yu Iikuza (who goes by @volk_kid on Twitter, an obvious nod to RINGS luminary, Volk Han) in tag matches against STRONGHEARTS, but the real fun is watching him in UWF rules matches with Kiryu Kazama himself, PANCRASE legend, Masakatsu Funaki, or with BJW’s Takuya Nomura back in July (which was a complete fucking barnburner). It’s clear the young kid has a deep love for those who have come before him, but he’s still finding his own place in shoot-style history.

On the other hand, you have Daichi Hashimoto. Son of the legendary Shinya Hashimoto, he was born into the lineage of pro-wrestling. You can see that confidence in the way he controls the center of the ring in the early stages of this match. Iizuka has more of a fighter’s stance, light on his toes, but Hashimoto remains flat-footed, always in the center of the ring, daring Iizuka to strike first. Even an early flying knee attempt doesn’t ruffle Hashimoto. When Iizuka darts in, Hashimoto is able to use his weight and experience to control the grappling, culminating in a disgusting dead-lift suplex that levels Iizuka. Shortly after, there’s a moment where Iizuka barely misses on a heavy slap, and you can see Hashimoto recognize he misjudged this situation. He’s suddenly on his toes, he’s dodging instead of absorbing blows, and from there we’re off to the races. It’s a classic story, vet underestimates a younger wrestler, but even a familiar song can be surprising when played by such skillful performers. Iizuka’s been on a tear lately, with pitch-perfect selling for the style he clearly loves, and watch him mix it up with a more than game two-time BJW World Strong Heavyweight Champion is another joyful notch in his belt for 2021.

– Ed Blair (Twitter)