Between WWE, All Elite Wrestling, Impact, Ring of Honor, and the wider independent scene, we get to see a lot of good professional wrestling matches every week. It’s an embarrassment of workrate riches.
Today, we are going to talk about three matches from this week that best exemplify this phenomenon. This doesn’t mean that these were the three best matches, but they are ones that warranted discussion.
You should give these three wrestling matches a rewatch.
Chad Gable vs. Ricochet (WWE Raw 20, 2022) (***1/2)
Over the last few months, Chad Gable has become one of WWE’s most reliable performers. In addition to getting the most out of whatever silliness the company asks him to take part in (like this storyline with Maximum Male Models), he has become the go-to guy for quality television matches.
On this week’s WWE Raw, Gable took on Ricochet in a quasi-preview of the men’s WrestleMania Showcase tag team match. As soon as the opening bell sounded, the former Raw Tag Team Champion dazzled everyone with his fluid mat work. This melded well with Ricochet’s graceful aerial offense. The combination led to several cool spots, like Gable hitting a Cliffhanger DDT or Gable picking a leaping Ricochet’s leg to apply the ankle lock.
Gable losing after getting distracted by Maxxine Dupri whisking Otis away dims a bit of this match’s shine, but he and Richochet’s work was too good to be fully marred by the finish.
Orange Cassidy, Darby Allin, and Sting vs. Kip Sabian, The Butcher, and The Blade (AEW: Dynamite March 22, 2022) (***1/2)
It’s pretty amazing seeing Sting do as much as he does in the ring at 64 years old. Yes, it helps that AEW limits him to tag team matches where his teammates and opponents do most of the heavy lifting, but here’s the thing: That’s how you should book an aging legend.
Relative to previous outings, this was a subdued Sting performance in this trios match with Darby Allin and Orange Cassidy opposite Kip Sabian, The Butcher, and The Blade, but the energetic Kansas City crowd ate up everything he did. “The Icon” left the fast-paced action to the other five guys and kept to timely no-sells, a vicious clothesline to Sabian, and the match-clinching Scorpion Death Drop to Sabian.
We’ll likely only see a few more of these Sting matches, so it’s important to cherish them when they happen.
Kenny Omega vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo (AEW: Dynamite March 22, 2022) (*****1/4)
Aside from the overarching Elite story, the March 22 episode of AEW: Dynamite centered around the dream match between IWGP US Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega and AAA Mega Champion El Hijo Del Vikingo.
While extolling the virtues of the most recent Dynamite, yours truly gushed about how amazing this match was. To avoid any redundancy, here’s a bit of that praise:
"Vikingo introduced himself to this national television audience with the following moves: pinpoint suicide dive (with his ring jacket on), tope con hilo, springboard dropkick, IMPLOSION HURRICANRANA, Meteora through the ropes, and a shooting star press to the floor.This drew a “This is awesome” chant two minutes into the match! Omega and Vikingo maintained this pace for the next 14 minutes or so, as Omega urgently went for big move after big move to counter his relentless opponent."
Omega and Vikingo produced a pristine effort; it was a masterful escalation of big spots that didn’t come at the expense of drama (despite everyone presuming that Omega would get the win). It showed why Vikingo is considered one of the best young wrestlers in the world while reaffirming Omega as an all-time great.