January was a big month for wrestling—bookended by Wrestle Kingdom and the Royal Rumble, there was a ton of good stuff to see. You’ve probably seen a lot of it? Some of it? A little of it? But there’s even more that you didn’t, because even when your full-time job is covering wrestling, you don’t have time to get to it all. Fanfyte consulted with some of our writers to recommend a few things you may have missed.
Demus vs Neptuno at Lucha Memes Feliz Ano Chairo (1/1/20)
(Watch on YouTube, or embedded above)
Listen, I’m gonna be honest—I probably won’t remember this match in a few months. I will, however, remember one thing from it: literally one second into this video Demus takes a preposterous chair shot to the face. The video opens with a concussion. I mean, holy moly. It’s like when the first shot from a horror movie is the final girl, covered in blood, panting and holding a knife and your thought is, “Okay this girl has been through some shit, I’m in for a ride.” Other than that, this is like indie lucha bingo. Blood and dirt? Check. Someone smiling like a goof while a luchador pulls them into harm’s way? Check. A stray dog (Maybe not stray, I guess. We asked about the dog once and Cubsfan was told “the dog lives at the arena, he does what he likes.”)? Fuck yeah. It’s probably clear at this point that I’m not going to try and sell you on this being a Match of the Year candidate or whatever, but I feel like that is immaterial. It has a probable concussion and a dog. What else matters?— JR Goldberg
Miyako Matsumoto vs Chris Brookes at Gake No Fuchi Joshi Pro Wrestling Snow White 2020 (1/4/20)
January is always full of explosive shows that want to make a statement for the beginning of the year, and Brookes/Matsumoto makes a big statement about having a meltdown and making it everyone else’s problem. Ice Ribbon member and possible criminal Miyako Matsumoto is what happens when you age up Maki Itoh’s idol gimmick and throw in the existential dread of getting older in a business that loves to highlight up and coming talent. As a result, Matsumoto challenged DDT new blood Brookes to what can only be described as an hour-long unhinged deathmatch talent show focused around playing parlor games and humiliating one another.
If you’ve done your best to keep yourself together past the dregs of 2019 and want to see what it’s like to maybe fall apart at the seams not too long after, then I recommend vicariously melting down with Matsumoto in what I can already call one of my favorite matches of the new year.— Maverick
More Pro Wrestling:
- 2019 in Wrestling: Nick Gage is the Best Professional Wrestler in the World
- Gatoh Move’s Lulu Pencil is Important Freelance Writer Representation
- The Other Guy, or the Case of Two La Parkas
Raul Mendoza vs Isaiah “Swerve” Scott on 205 Live (1/17/20)
205 keeps putting out the bangers and people keep living in terrible ignorance. They slapped with Raul Mendoza and Isaiah Swerve Scott two weeks ago, when the two faced off in the main event. It seems likely I am one of about 12 people who watched this and got any kind of reaction from it, but fast dudes flipping around each other is my jam Mendoza has quietly been one of the most consistent performers NXT’s turned out, lighting up in the ring and minding his business on Instagram. Swerve has the charisma of every local band lead singer I wanted to date in college. Both these men deserve more credit then they’re really getting at the moment, especially if the lukewarm crowd reaction here is anything to go by. Just watch it on mute so you don’t get sad, and let yourself get carried away by the flips.— Mer
Satoshi Kojima vs. Último Guerrero at NJPW/CMLL Fantastica Mania, (1/19/20)
Kojima vs. Guerrero took place as part of Fantastica Mania, the annual NJPW-CMLL crossover tour. It was for Guerrero’s CMLL World Heavyweight Championship, but that’s not really important here. What’s important is that Kojima is 49, has the same basic body proportions as a Rob Liefeld character, and has not aged out of his powerful himbo energy, while Guerrero, 47, looks like a pig who asked to be transformed into a human so that he could grow a mullet. They have an old school, old man, ham-on-ham battle in the ring and around Korakuen Hall for about thirteen minutes. If that sounds appealing to you, you should definitely check out Guerrero vs. Kojima.— Emily Pratt
Psycho Clown & Lucha Bros vs LA Park, Rush Toro Blanco & Bestia Del Ring at AAA Nacemos Para Luchar Gira 2020 (1/25/20)
The first AAA Twitch show of the year shared the weekend with the Royal Rumble, so there’s a decent chance you haven’t gotten around to watching this one yet. And like… you really should. The whole show banged, but you know you’re in for a treat when a brawl from the second to last match of a show leads seamlessly into the main event. This match features a bunch of the best things AAA has to offer—high flying, clowns, blood, a rudo-aligned referee, middle aged men wailing on their opponents with chairs and baking sheets, and commentator Hugo Savinovich going absolutely NUTS for all of it. La Facción Ingobernable’s arrival in AAA is incredibly promising, and I can’t wait to see more of their absolute bastard behavior. (And I will, because there’s going to be more February 8!)— LB Hunktears
Orange Cassidy vs Dan Champion at Beyond Wrestling Please Come Back (1/25/20)
Hiragana Muscle 1 (1/27/20)
I am semi-seriously beginning to suspect that Muscle Sakai might be the most innovative and intriguing creative mind of our time. At the very least, the wrestler and visionary behind the Muscle shows seems uniquely capable of providing a specific type of narrative high I’ve been chasing for most of my life: fourth wall-breaking and self-aware without being too self-indulgent. Maybe a bit Charlie Kaufman-esque but weirder. But not so out there that the story collapses into complete nonsense like recent festival favorite Diamantino, either.
While not quite as epic as last year’s big Muscle Mania in Ryogoku, Hiragana Muscle 1, which launched a whole new generation of weirdo genius on the world, was still an ambitious mix of comedy, wrestling, and comedy wrestling that was so much more than the sum of its parts. Which is saying a lot when those parts include a match that takes place under a blue tarp, a match that has to end in four minutes and involve some sort of animal or food theme, Yuki Ueno further cementing his status as DDT’s most galaxy-brained young wrestler, and Tetsuya Endo showing up to execute a perfect Shooting Star Press with a phone jammed into his diminutive trunks.— Sarah Kurchak