It’s time for Ringside Logic’s “Best of the Year” honors. 2022 will go down as the year to remember in professional wrestling. Between Cody Rhodes leaving AEW, Steve Austin’s return to the ring, and Vince McMahon’s retirement, there was enough earth-shattering news to last four lifetimes.
2022 also produced one of the best years in between the ropes. Action-packed matches, wild angles, and memorable moments encompassed all major promotions. We will list our picks for the best matches in Impact Wrestling, NJPW, AEW, and WWE, and the big one, the overall Match of the Year.
Ringside Logic’s pick for 2022 Wrestler of the Year – Seth “Freakin” Rollins. Monday Night Raw’s king of drip put out some outstanding matches throughout the year.
Rollins remained one of WWE’s hottest acts despite losing three straight PLE matches to Cody Rhodes. That is a hard thing to do. It helped that all three encounters with Rhodes were significant factors in being named wrestler of the year.
However, the excellent work of Josh Alexander in 2022 cannot be overstated. Dax Harwood took his game to the next level with great singles and tag team affairs.
Ringside Logic’s Top 10 Women’s Wrestlers of 2022. The top three made #1 a difficult choice. Bianca Belair’s consistency since she won the 2021 Rumble is awe-inspiring.
This year alone, Belair’s matches with Becky Lynch at WrestleMania and SummerSlam, Triple Threat against Becky Lynch and Asuka at Hell in a Cell, and Last Women Standing Match at Crown Jewel against Bayley are a resume of excellence inside the squared circle.
Belair’s matches on Raw with Asuka, Iyo Sky, Nikki Cross, Carmella, and others, along with her personality on the microphone, prove she is a great all-around performer that can step up in big match situations.
1.) Bianca Belair vs. Becky Lynch – On a night when Steve Austin & Cody Rhodes returned, Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch unleashed that special WrestleMania magic people will talk about for years to come. Belair might be Ms. WrestleMania.
2.) Gunther vs. Sheamus – Not a wrestling match but a fight that topped a great show, raised Gunther’s stock and made diehard fans care about Sheamus.
3.) Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins: Hell in a Cell – Outstanding storytelling, Rollins’ villainous actions, and courage of Rhodes turned this match into a legendary night for the industry.
4.) Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Theory vs. Seth Rollins – The best #WWE Triple Threat Match in 20 years. Oh, and the finish was 🔥🔥🔥
5.) Street Profits vs. The Usos – Dawkins and Ford’s improvement over the last 12 months helped them to deliver perhaps the best tag team match of the year with The Usos.
6.) Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins – A great example of why the former Shield members are at the top of the food chain throughout two promotions.
7.) Gunther vs. Ricochet – Gunther and Ricochet helped bring prestige back to the I.C. title. This match serves as a great example of getting over in a loss.
8.) Seth Rollins vs. Matt Riddle – Rollins was the perfect puppet master here, using Riddle’s anger to throw him off balance and get the win.
9.) ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin vs. Kevin Owens – Not all wrestling matches are about smooth technical in-ring work. We got the return of a freaking bonafide legend in a brilliant, well-planned match that exemplified less is more.
10.) Bron Breakker vs. JD McDonagh vs. Ilja Dragunov – The sole NXT entry on the list. Breakker showed the world how far he’s come by holding his own with two top talents. I ate this up from bell to bell.
1.) Josh Alexander vs. Mike Bailey – Impact Wrestling saved the best for last with an unadvertised Alexander/Bailey world title match that was shy of an hour.
It was a pro wrestling version of an old-school UFC striker vs. grappler fight. A chef’s kiss for the action, storytelling, and intense will to win.
2.) Jordynne Grace vs. Masha Slamovich – This match was super close to being my top pick. Grace/Slamovich was so engaging that I forgot I was covering the event live.
3.) Josh Alexander vs. Eddie Edwards – Alexander vs. Edwards was the definition of a world title pay-per-view main event for Impact Wrestling.
4.) Josh Alexander vs. Tomohiro Ishii – BATTLE… Nuff said.
5.) Mickie James vs. Deonna Purrazo – The hatred James and Purrazo showed towards each other in their Texas Death Match made everything they did in the match mean more. James was announced for the Royal Rumble, but the result never felt like a foregone conclusion.
6.) Chris Sabin vs. Jay White – Excellent back-and-forth match with a result I didn’t see coming. Many sleep on Sabin these days, but he’s still a top-level wrestler. Jay White is always money.
7.) Josh Alexander vs. Alex Shelley – This will not be the last time Josh Alexander appears on this list. Shelley played his role as the technically superior challenger perfectly. Making it even sweeter when Alexander won.
8.) Alex Shelley vs. Mike Bailey – A unique contrast in styles that complemented each other so well that it produced a gift that kept on giving.
9.) Steve Maclin vs. Tomohiro Ishii – Maclin proved he could hang and then some with the upper-echelon talent. Ishii brought it, as usual, making for an excellent showcase for both wrestlers.
10.) Trey Miguel vs. Ace Austin – Under Siege is one of the year’s best shows. Austin and Miguel we’re a big part of making it a reality. Exception wrestling from the X-Division stars.
1.) CM Punk vs. MJF: Dog Collar Match – What’s the payoff?” An important booking question. CM Punk vs. MJF gave fans a tremendous return on their investment. Giving the audience everything they wanted and so much more.
2.) FTR vs. The Briscoes II – Three great matches that told three different stories creating a trilogy for the ages. Their 2 out of 3 falls match spoke to me the most.
3.) Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara – It’s easy to forget this epic ladder match since it occurred at the beginning of 2022, and Cody is no longer in AEW. Cody and Sammy displayed a great mix of spectacle and sport.
4.) Hangman Page vs. Lance Archer – Hangman’s world title reign left much to be desired, but this was one of its bright spots. The finish was never in doubt, which is why many didn’t care going in, but everyone came out raving about the match.
5.) Jamie Hayter vs. Hikaru Shida – AEW’s women’s division gets a lot of static, but this right here is excellent under any circumstance. Hayter/Shida resembled a fight instead of a dance.
6.) Swerve in Our Glory vs. The Acclaimed – Fans went in thinking one thing and wanted the reverse to occur midway into the match. The Acclaimed truly arrived on this night as all four men put on an edge-of-your-seat classic.
7.) Will Ospreay vs. Orange Cassidy – A show-stealing match on a fantastic card shows an excellent contrast in styles. Ospreay showed his sports entertainment chops, while Cassidy exhibited high-level pro wrestling.
8.) Bryan Danielson vs. Daniel Garcia – Playing off real-life injuries can be in poor taste, but it was done here engagingly. I wanted Danison to win so badly and was fuming when he lost, thus elevating Garcia.
9.) FTR vs. The Young Bucks II – Another excellent example of the sequel surpassing the original. Both teams complement each other so well. The BTE Trigger/Big Rigg finish was profoundly poetic.
10.) Claudio Castagnoli vs. Konosuke Takeshita – I was ready to call it quits on AEW’s Battle of the Belts shows, but this match changed my mind. Claudio can work with anyone, and Takeshita is the real deal.
1.) Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay – Okada beat Ospreay to win his 4th G1. Okada won 6 of their last 6 matches going into the finals. Ospreay was desperate not to drop another match to his former mentor, implementing finishers from wrestlers who beat Okada in the past, such as the High Fly Flow and Styles Clash.
2.) FTR vs. Aussie Open – This match exemplifies the term “tag team specialists. This match exceeds the hype in ways that can’t be articulated. PLEASE WATCH THIS MATCH!
3.) Shingo Takagi vs. Kazuchika Okada – I knew Takagi was going to lose the title, which made me a little less excited for the bout because I felt Takagi deserved more time on top. The legend of Okada works in mysterious ways, making me forget about my hang-up of the pending result. Okada beat Takagi in a classic.
The legend of Okada works in mysterious ways, making me forget about my hang-up of the pending result. Okada beat Takagi in a classic.
4.) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii – The IWGP U.S. Title has gone up and down over the years in terms of value. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tomohiro Ishii battling over the vacant title made it feel more prestigious.
5.) Will Ospreay vs. Tetsuya Naito – A big part of me thought Naito’s days as a top-level performer were over. This match proved me wrong. Naito and Ospreay put on an absolute battle that made me forget I was watching a predetermined exhibition.
6.) El Phantasmo vs. Robbie Eagles – This is the best match of 2022 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, which covers a lot of ground!
7.) Tomohiro Ishii vs. Shingo Takagi – These two are made for each other in many ways. I expected a great match and got even more in return.
8.) El Desperado vs. DOUKI – Have you ever gone to a movie with no idea what to expect, and you got so much more than you could have imagined? Great storytelling with contrasting styles, and the hatred they exuded for one another was palpable.
9.) Tomohiro Ishii vs. Eddie Kingston – I was excited about this match from the moment it was announced. Two double-tough brawlers from different worlds. Kingston didn’t make it easy, as Ishii gave it his all to secure the win.
10.) Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr. – The two best British wrestlers in NJPW who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried battling it out for a spot in the New Japan Cup finals. It was an exhilarating clash of styles where Sabre came out on top.
In the end, there is one match to rule them all in 2022. The long-term storytelling began at SummerSlam 2021, where Becky Lynch made her surprising return and beat Bianca Belair in 26 seconds to regain the Raw Women’s Title. Fans were mad at WWE for booking Lynch to beat Belair so quickly. While their feud ended at SummerSlam 2022, the ladies reached their crescendo at WrestleMania 38. Fans yearned for Belair to get her win back, creating a fever pitch atmosphere in AT&T Stadium.