2023 has come to an end, and it definitely feels like it went by in a flash. This past year was a significant one for me, as far as my life goes, where I experienced some major changes. One thing that didn’t change is my love for Japanese professional wrestling. Safe to say it was absolutely nuts. Going from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows to back to the highs was an insane ride. We still had lots of stuff to enjoy. Now I’m certainly not the first one to come up with the idea of a “Best of the Year” list but rest assured, I will do my best to cover as much of the puro scene as possible to recommend you the very best stuff you need to watch. Let’s get to it then.



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The pandemic was a tough time for puro, and no promotion was hit by it worse than NJPW, financially and quality wise. So, coming into the flagship show, the company was looking for some much-needed momentum heading into the new year, and that’s exactly what Wrestle Kingdom provided. A show serving as a reboot with some fantastic wrestling on the card, including a dream match between Ospreay and Omega and just a lot of great vibes. 


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In many ways, a culmination of all the great work that the wrestlers and the management have done in the promotion’s existence. The biggest show in joshi wrestling in 3 decades, and they delivered in spades. Great in ring stuff, including 2 dream matches, an emotional farewell for one of the most beloved wrestlers on the roster, and such a fun celebrity showcase. A well-rounded card that served as a wonderful celebration of the history of STARDOM.


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Battlarts is one of my absolute favourite promotions ever. So, when I found out my favourite tag team in the world was holding a regen kind of show paying homage to the bati-bati phenomenon, you can only imagine my excitement. And the show delivered! An incredible main event with good to great matches up and down the card and Yuki Ishikawa and Daisuke Ikeda rekindling their rivalry, this could not have been any better. Phenomenal show.


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The vibe that New Japan is back ran throughout the first half of the year, and this show was the absolute peak of that feeling. Great matches galore, with things moving in a fresher direction, a rabid crowd that was there to witness SANADA finally overcoming his rival. Mercedes Moné had her first match in Japan and absolutely killed it. Aussie Open realized their dream in one of the best IWGP tag title matches ever. It all just felt so good to live in the moment. The best New Japan show since Wrestle Kingdom 14 at the start of the decade.


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The best pro wrestling show of the year, in my opinion, and one of the best all decade. Keiji Muto decided to hang his boots at the Tokyo Dome and left us with an incredible parting gift in the form of this show. The big time vibes with the phenomenal presentation, the beginning of one of the best interpromotional feuds of the year in AJPW vs NOAH, and the big showdown between Kaito and Okada all built perfectly towards the shows climax. In one of the most wonderful moments of the year, Masahiro Chono returned to the ring for one match only, capping off one of the greatest retirements I have ever seen in wrestling. This show had absolutely everything from top to bottom.



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In a year of extremely high highs and extremely low lows, Zen Nihon took the crown with the help of unbelievable consistency while still having those epic main events that drew me to the promotion. A year where stars like Kento and Suwama took a back seat for the new generation to lead the promotion, and they absolutely stepped up to the plate. Yuma Aoyagi’s first Triple Crown reign was a home run in every sense, the super rookie Yuma Anzai continued to impress, and Ryuki Honda became one of the highlights of the promotion. All the freshness combined with a boost in their business made it a phenomenal year for the promotion, and they were by far the best one out there in wrestling in 2023. 




For the first time since they started tagging, Okada and Tanahashi got a chance to team up for a significant part of the year while doing important stuff. Starting with their tag title challenge against Bishamon to their feuds with Narita and Shota to their phenomenal 6-man title reign, it was a sensational year for the Dream Team as they were one of the highlights of New Japan in 2023. 

Match Recommendations

Vs Bishamon, NJPW (6/3)

Vs Narita and Umino, NJPW (11/3)

W/Tomohiro Ishii vs STRONG STYLE, NJPW (3/5)

W/Tomohiro Ishii vs BCC, NJPW (4/6)

W/Tomohiro Ishii vs MCMG & Alexander, NJPW (9/10)

W/Tomohiro Ishii vs TMDK, NJPW (4/11)

W/Tomohiro Ishii vs United Empire, NJPW (21/12)

Vs TMDK, NJPW (22/12)


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The GOATs of tag team wrestling continued to do what they do best. Even after all these years, whenever they teamed up, it was an absolute joy to watch. We might have closed a chapter on their team for now, but they went out in their final active year together FOR NOW in absolute style with a fantastic first half of the year.

Match Recommendations

W/Nakanoue vs Nomura, So & Aoki, BJW (3/1)

W/Kazuki Hashimoto vs Hama, Nakanoue & Aoki, BJW (12/2)

Vs Astronauts, BJW (13/2)

W/So vs Daichi, Yoshida & Aoki, BJW (28/3)

Vs Nomura & Aoki, BJW (1/4)

Vs Astronauts, BJW (16/4)

Vs Nagao & Aoki, BJW (28/4)

Vs Astronauts, BJW (28/5)

Vs Violent Giants, BJW (17/6)


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The best tag team in the world have done it again in what turned out to be the career best year of both men so far. An outrageous number of great matches throughout the year, which included what I am confident in saying, is the greatest tag team title reign of all time, the culmination of their phenomenal feud with Strong BJ, and in the process, they even elevated a couple of youngsters. A well-rounded year for the space boys led to them running away with the Tag Team of the Year Award. 

Match Recommendations:

Vs Crazy Lovers, BJW (8/2)

Vs Strong BJ, BJW (13/2)

Vs Okabayashi & Nakanoue, BJW (17/3)

W/Yuya Aoki vs Okabayashi, Nakanoue & So, BJW (26/3)

Vs Yuji Okabayashi & Hiroyuki Suzuki, BJW (13/4)

Vs Strong BJ, BJW (16/4)

Vs Similarity, BJW (4/5)

Vs Strong BJ, BJW (28/5)

Vs Daisuke Sekimoto & Kazumasa Yoshida, BJW (18/9)

Vs Similarity, BJW (28/9)

Vs Hideki Suzuki & Hikaru Sato, BJW (22/10)

W/Yuya Aoki vs Sekimoto, Nakanoue & Yoshida, BJW (23/10)



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The most electric pairing in professional wrestling currently by far. Kaito kicking Okada in the face in Yokohama started the best feud of the decade. The stark shift in the character direction for Okada was enthralling and has been one of the most awesome things in wrestling all year. The sheer amount of hatred between the two is just incredible. Every time they stepped into the ring together was magic and led to three of the best matches of the year. Just a sensational feud. 


50. Kazuchika Okada vs Zack Sabre Jr, NJPW (10/8)

49. Kazusada Higuchi vs Chris Brookes, DDT (21/5)

48. Astronauts vs Crazy Lovers, BJW (30/12)

47. Kento Miyahara vs Yuji Nagata, AJPW (18/2)

46. Fuminori Abe vs Kota Sekifuda, BJW (12/2)

45. Kento Miyahara vs Katsuhiko Nakajima, AJPW (31/12)

44. Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomohiro Ishii vs Jeff Cobb, HENARE & Great-O-Khan, NJPW (21/2)

43. El Desperado vs Francesco Akira, NJPW (21/5)

42. Lio Rush vs Hiromu Takahashi, NJPW (21/3)

41. Eddie Kingston vs Tomohiro Ishii, NJPW (26/7)

40. Konosuke Takeshita vs Yuki Ueno, DDT (23/7)

39. Astronauts vs Similarity, BJW (28/9)

38. Kazusada Higuchi & Yuki Ishida vs Kota Umeda & Takeshi Masada, DDT (28/5)

37. Lio Rush vs Speedball Mike Bailey, NJPW (23/5)

36. Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bishamon, NJPW (6/3)

35. Chihiro Hashimoto vs Sareee, Sareee-ISM (16/5)

34. Kaito Kiyomiya vs Gabe Kidd, NJPW (27/7)

33. Chihiro Hashimoto vs Syuri, STARDOM (23/4)

32. Jun Kasai vs Masahi Takeda, FREEDOMS (28/8)

31. Strong BJ vs Astronauts, BJW (28/5)

30. Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomohiro Ishii vs Jon Moxley, Shota Umino & Claudio Castagnoli, NJPW (3/6)

29. Kento Miyahara vs Yuma Aoyagi, AJPW (4/2)

28. Kenoh vs Kaito Kiyomiya, NOAH (1/1)

27. Yuji Okabayashi vs Takuho Kato, BJW (30/6)

26. El Desperado & Jun Kasai vs Jon Moxley & Homicide, NJPW (4/7)

25. Hideki Suzuki & Hikaru Sato vs Astronauts, BJW (22/10)

24. Big Boss Shimizu vs Madoka Kikuta, DG (5/11)

23. Chihiro Hashimoto vs Natsupoi, Sendai Girls (16/7)

22. El Desperado vs Jon Moxley, NJPW (5/7)

21. Mio Momono vs Chikayo Nagashima, Marvelous (3/5)

20. El Desperado & Jun Kasai vs Masashi Takeda & Rina Yamashita, FREEDOMS (11/8)

19. Kazusada Higuchi vs HARASHIMA, DDT (9/12)

18. Will Ospreay vs Yota Tsuji, NJPW (24/9)

17. MiyaKen to Takuya vs Nomuyagi, AJPW (22/1)

16. Sareee & KAIRI vs Arisa Nakajima & Takumi Iroha, Sareee-ISM (4/8)

15. Shota Umino vs Will Ospreay, NJPW (4/11)

14. Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi, NJPW (11/2)

13. Master Wato vs Titan, NJPW (28/5)

12. Mio Momono & Mika Iwata vs Sareee & Aja Kong, Pinx! (23/5)

11. Violent Giants vs Strong BJ, AJPW (17/6)

10. Kazuchika Okada & Togi Makabe vs Kaito Kiyomioya & Yoshiki Inamura, NJPW (21/1)

9. Astronauts vs Crazy Lovers, BJW (8/2)

8. Tetsuya Naito vs Will Ospreay, NJPW (12/8)

8. Yuji Okabayashi vs Yuya Aoki, BJW (4/5)

7. Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito, NJPW (13/8)

6. Kazuchika Okada, Kenoh & Yuma Aoyagi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kaito Kiyomiya & Kento Miyahara, All Together Again (9/6)

 5. Fuminori Abe & Ikuto Hidaka vs Fujita Jr Hayato & Masaaki Mochizuki, MPro (30/6)

4. Sareee vs Arisa Nakajima, SEAdLINNNG (25/8)

3. Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay, NJPW (4/1)

2. Kazuchika Okada vs Kaito Kiyomiya, NOAH (21/2)

1. Takuya Nomura vs Fuminori Abe, Kakuto Tanteidan (12/10)



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The ever-reliable Violence Queen was once again on fire every time she stepped into the ring this year. Starting the year as the Beyond The Sea Singles Champion, she made sure to treat us to the fantastic levels of wrestling we expect from her and concluded her run in brilliant fashion. Not a year of volume for Arisa, but she makes it to the list with her consistency. 

Match Recommendations

Vs Riko Kawahata, SEAdLINNNG (16/2)

Vs Mio Momono, Marvelous (21/2)

Vs Ayame Sasamura, SEAdLINNNG (20/3)

W/Akari vs Miyuki Takase & Ibuki Hoshi, Sareee-ISM (16/5)

W/Itsuki Aoki vs Sareee & Riko Kawahata, SEAdLINNNG (26/7)

W/Takumi Iroha vs Sareee & KAIRI, Sareee-ISM (4/8)

Vs Sareee, SEAdLINNNG (25/8)


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Honestly, it turned out to be quite a drop off for the Gooch from his career year of 2022. It’s not his fault as he wasn’t really slotted in positions to match that case for him. Regardless, someone as good as him at making the best out of anything he gets was always going to find a way to still churn out that output. A deep run in the King of DDT tournament and him continuing to show his greatness on the house show circuit meant he was still one of the best wrestlers of the year.

Match Recommendations

Vs Yuki Ishida, DDT (5/1)

Vs Yuji Hino, DDT (29/1)

Vs Yusuke Okada, DDT (6/5)

Vs Hideki Okatani, DDT (7/5)

Vs Yuki Ueno, DDT (21/5)

Vs Chris Brookes, DDT (21/5)

W/Yuki Ishida vs Kota Umeda & Takeshi Masada, DDT (28/5)



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For the first time in what feels like decades really, Chihiro Hashimoto didn’t hold the Sendai World Title for even a single day of the year, and as it turns out, that was a blessing in disguise. It allowed her to do more interpromotional work where she could just bully a couple of young wrestlers and make them suffer and work some of her greatest rivals in the process as well. Consistent as ever, Big Hash had a great year as one of the best wrestlers in her scene. 

Match Recommendations


Vs Mio Momono, Marvelous (15/3)

W/Yuu vs Mio Momono & Yurika Oka, Sendai Girls (16/4)

Vs Syuri, STARDOM (23/4)

Vs Sareee, Sareee-ISM (16/5)

Vs Natsupoi, Sendai Girls (16/7)

W/Yuu vs Reiwa Ultima Powers, Sendai Girls (2/9)

W/Yuu vs Minoru Suzuki & Jun Akiyama, Fortune Dream (14/6)


Mio is someone who fans have always known to be associated with absolute greatness. The best babyface in the world without a shadow of a doubt. The only thing that fails her at every turn is her booking, as it did again this year even though she won the AAAW title for the first time. But as usual, anything significant she got, she grabbed onto that opportunity and absolutely killed match after match. Everybody knows that at her best she’s capable of topping this list, and let’s hope that someday she does.

Match Recommendations

Vs Arisa Nakajima, Marvelous (21/2)

Vs Mika Iwata, Sendai Girls (24/2)

Vs Chihiro Hashimoto, Marvelous (15/3)

W/Yurika Oka vs Team 200 Kg, Sendai Girls (22/4)

Vs VENY, Marvelous (22/4)

Vs Chikayo Nagashima, Marvelous (3/5)

W/Mika Iwata vs Sareee & Aja Kong, Pinx! (23/5)

W/Takumi Iroha vs YuuRi & Tomoka Inaba, Ganpro (9/7)

Vs Miyuki Takase, SEAdLINNNG (4/8)


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At this point I’ve accepted that Despe will never receive the kind of push and backing from NJPW that I want him to get, but that will never stop him from being one of the best wrestlers in the world and the best jr heavyweight on the roster. Another year of greatness for the man where he went on to do a lot cool interpromotional stuff, brought deathmatches to NJPW (and nailed them), and was a part of one of the most fun stories of the year in Despewato. 

Match Recommendations

W/Soberano Jr & Mistico vs DOUKI, Hechicero & Templario, NJPW (26/2)

W/Narita & Suzuki vs Okada, Tanahashi & Ishii, NJPW (3/5)

Vs Kanemaru, NJPW (12/5)

Vs YOH, NJPW (17/5)

Vs Francesco Akira, NJPW (21/5)

Vs Robbie Eagles, NJPW (24/5)

Vs Titan, NJPW (26/5)

W/Jun Kasai vs Jon Moxley & Homicide, NJPW (4/7)

Vs Jon Moxley. NJPW (5/7)

W/Jun Kasai vs Masashi Takeda & Rina Yamashita, FREEDOMS (11/8)



The best women’s wrestler in the world. 2023 was the year of return for Sareee, and boy, you couldn’t have asked for a better return run for her. She missed the first quarter of the year and more than made up for it during the rest of 2023 by going on an absolute tear. Not a year of big volume for her naturally, but her hit rate and peaks were both out of this world.

Match Recommendations

Vs Chihiro Hashimoto, Sareee-ISM (16/5)

W/Aja Kong vs Mio Momono & Mika Iwata, Pinx! (23/5)

W/Saori Anou vs Red Energy, Sendai Girls (16/7)

W/Riko Kawahata vs Arisa Nakajima & Itsuki Aoki, SEAdLINNNG (26/7)

W/KAIRI vs Arisa Nakajima & Takumi iroha, Sareee-ISM (4/8)

Vs Arisa Nakajima, SEAdLINNNG (25/8)

Vs Rico Kaiju, SEAdLINNNG (15/9)

W/Saori Anou vs Team 200 Kg, Sendai Girls (18/9)

Vs Mika Iwata, Sendai Girls (5/11)

W/Arisa Nakajima vs Rico Kaiju & Hiroyo Matsumoto, SEAdLINNNG (17/11)


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A year of renaissance for the Muscle Monster. Sekimoto at this age felt like he was slowing down for a while, with his output not being at the level we once associate with the man. However, 2023 was finally the year when the big man figured out the perfect balance between his bombs and the new stuff he’d been trying, which led to his best year all decade.

Match Recommendations

W/Okabayashi vs Astronauts, BJW (13/2)

Vs Takuya Nomura, BJW (28/5)

W/Okabayashi vs Astronauts, BJW (28/5)

W/Yoshida vs Astronauts, BJW (18/9)

W/Okabayashi vs Astronauts, BJW (16/4)

W/Yuki Ishikawa vs Daisuke Sekimoto & Minoru Fujita, BJW (12/10)

W/Okabayashi vs Violent Giants, AJPW (17/6)

Vs Fuminori Abe, ZERO1 (15/7)

Vs Yuya Aoki, BJW (22/10)

W/Yoshida & Nakanoue vs Astronauts & Aoki, BJW (23/10)



2023 was the year when Zack finally won his first singles title in New Japan. The company gave him the responsibility to establish the World TV Title, and it’s safe to say that he’s knocked it out of the park. A staggering 16 title defences through the year. One of the best parts of New Japan in 2023, even through the road to shows as his team with Kosei Fujita was a highlight. Consistency personified.

Match Recommendations

W/Mikey, Shane & Fujita vs CHAOS & Oskar Leube, NJPW (24/1)

Vs Tomohiro Ishii, NJPW (5/2)

Vs Shota Umino, NJPW (8/4)

Vs Tom Lawlor, NJPW (15/4)

Vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, NJPW (16/7)

Vs Jeff Cobb, NJPW (26/7)

Vs Tetsuya Naito, NJPW (2/8)

Vs Hirooki Goto, NJPW (9/8)

Vs Kazuchika Okada, NJPW (10/8)

Vs Will Ospreay, NJPW (14/10)

W/Mikey & Shane vs The Dream Team & Ishii, NJPW (4/11)

Vs Mike Bailey, NJPW (10/11)


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Yuma Aoyagi finally fulfilled the prophecy as he won the Triple Crown this year and led All Japan for the better part of the year, and as expected, he didn’t disappoint at all. It wasn’t a great year for world champions around the world, but Yuma had a great run in addition to his fantastic runs in a couple of tag teams which landed him a place high on this list. 

Match Recommendations

W/Naoya Nomura vs MiyaKen to Takuya, AJPW (22/1)

Vs Kento Miyahara, AJPW (4/2)

W/Kento Miyahara & Suwama vs Kongoh, AJPW (21/2)

W/Naoya Nomura vs Kongoh, AJPW (21/3)

W/Okada & Kenoh vs Kento, Kaito & Tanahashi, All Together (9/6)

Vs Yuji Nagata, AJPW (2/7)

W/Kento Miyahara vs Ryuki Honda & Yuji Nagata, AJPW (19/8)

Vs Ryuki Honda, AJPW (23/9)

W/Kento Miyahara vs The Saitos, AJPW (9/10)

Vs Kento Miyahara, AJPW (21/10)

Vs Katsuhiko Nakajima, AJPW (5/11)

W/Kento Miyahara vs Hokuto Omori & Katsuhiko Nakajima, AJPW (6/12)



A banner year for Billy. No wrestler in the world made more headlines than him all year. From the classic against Kenny at the beginning of the year to his programs with the young guys on the roster, he didn’t miss a step. Even though he was out with injury for a while, he still made up for the lost time with phenomenal performances any time he stepped into the ring.

Match Recommendations

Vs Kenny Omega, NJPW (4/1)

Vs Taichi, NJPW (4/2)

Vs Mark Davis, NJPW (13/3)

Vs Kenny Omega, NJPW (25/6)

Vs Kazuchika Okada, NJPW (27/7)

Vs ELP, NJPW (6/8)

Vs David Finlay, NJPW (10/8)

Vs Tetsuya Naito, NJPW (12/8)

Vs Naomichi Marufuji, NJPW (17/9)

Vs Yota Tsuji, NJPW (24/9)

Vs Zack Sabre Jr, NJPW (14/10)

Vs Shota Umino, NJPW (4/11)


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The wrestler of the decade strikes again. What more do I even say about this guy at this point? He doesn’t get tired of being incredible. I don’t get tired of watching him. From house shows to big matches, be it singles, trios, or his amazing team with Abe, he’s just unbelievable. The only reason he doesn’t land at the absolute top of this list is just because he didn’t wrestle more singles. All timer in the making. 

Match Recommendations

W/Kento Miyahara vs Nomuyagi, AJPW (22/1)

W/Abe vs Crazy Lovers, BJW (8/2)

W/Abe vs Strong BJ, BJW (13/2)

W/Abe vs Okabayashi & Nakanoue (17/3)

W/Abe vs Okabayashi & Suzuki (13/4)

W/Abe & Aoki vs Okabayashi, Nakanoue & So, BJW (26/3)

W/Abe vs Similarity, BJW (4/5)

Vs Daisuke Sekimoto, BJW (28/5)

W/Abe vs Strong BJ, BJW (28/5)

W/Abe vs Sekimoto & Yoshida, BJW (18/9)

W/Abe vs Similarity, AJPW (28/9)

W/Yuma vs Anzai & Ayato Yoshida, AJPW (5/10)

Vs Fuminori Abe, Kakuto Tanteidan (12/10)

W/Abe vs Hideki & Sato, BJW (22/10)

W/Abe vs Masashi Takeda & Takumi Tsukamoto, BJW (30/12)


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A permanent fixture of any of the “Best of the Year” lists in wrestling. He’s just that incredible. He spent most of the year away from the Triple Crown, but that never stopped him from doing what he does best. Kento being a foil for the young generation of AJPW all year was exhilarating along with his tag team with Yuma and his feud with NOAH. An awesome 2023 for the best of the best.

Match Recommendations

W/Takuya Nomura vs Yuma Aoyagi & Naoya Nomura, AJPW (22/1)

Vs Yuma Aoyagi, AJPW (4/2)

Vs Yuji Nagata, AJPW (19/2)

W/Suwama & Yuma vs Kongoh, NOAH (21/2)

W/Anzai & Anou vs Kitamiya, Inamura & Kinya, AJPW (21/3)

Vs T-Hawk, AJPW (4/5)

W/Tanahashi & Kaito vs Okada, Yuma & Kenoh, All Together (9/6)

W/Yuma vs Kongoh, AJPW (15/6)

W/Yuma vs Suzuki & Omori, AJPW (23/7)

Vs Yuma Anzai, AJPW (8/9)

W/Yuma vs The Saitos, AJPW (9/10)

Vs Yuma Aoyagi, AJPW (21/10)

W/Yuma vs Nakajima & Omori, AJPW (6/12)

Vs Katsuhiko Nakajima, AJPW (31/12)


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Just based on sheer consistency, this man is easily the best wrestler of the year. Yuji Okabayashi wrestled only for the first 6 months of the year, but what he did in that time was so special that it is hard to do justice to it merely through words. The catalogue of great performances he put on in just 6 months is something that is unparalleled. The culmination of his epic title reign with the classic against Aoki and the sensational feud with Astronauts are just two of the many amazing things he did. Saying I miss him would be an understatement.

Match Recommendations

W/Sekimoto & Nakanoue vs Nomura, Aoki & So, BJW (3/1)

W/Sekimoto & Kazuki vs Aoki, Hama & Nakanoue, BJW (12/2)

W/Sekimoto vs Astronauts, BJW (13/2)

W/Nakanoue vs Nomura & Kato, BJW (19/2)

Vs Daimonji So, BJW (11/3)

W/Nakanoue vs Astronauts, BJW (17/3)

W/Nakanoue & So vs Astronauts & Aoki, BJW (26/3)

W/Hiroyuki Suzuki vs Astronauts, BJW (13/4)

W/Sekimoto vs Astronauts, BJW (16/4)

Vs Yuya Aoki, BJW (4/5)

W/Sekimoto vs Astronauts, BJW (28/5)

Vs Fuminori Abe, BJW (28/5)

W/So vs Hino & Storm, Fortune Dream (14/6)

W/Sekimoto vs Violent Giants, AJPW (17/6)

Vs Yasufumi Nakanoue, BJW (29/6)

Vs Takuho Kato, BJW (30/6)



A career year so far for this absolute madman. In many ways a sort of vindication for me too as I hailed him (and Nomura) as the world’s best for so long, but 2023 finally felt like the year where there were significant amount of new people watching Abe for the first time. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t disappoint once. One of the most dynamic personalities in wrestling and, at the same time, one of the hardest hitters as well. He had himself an incredible 2023.

Match Recommendations

W/Nomura vs Crazy Lovers, BJW (8/2)

Vs Kota Sekifuda, BJW (12/2)

W/Nomura vs Strong BJ, BJW (13/2)

W/Nomura vs Okabayashi & Nakanoue, BJW (17/3)

W/Nomura & Aoki vs Okabayashi, So & Nakanoue, BJW (26/3)

W/Nomura vs Okabayashi & Hiroyuki, BJW (13/4)

W/Nomura vs Strong BJ, BJW (16/4)

W/Nomura vs Similarity, BJW (4/5)

W/Nomura vs Strong BJ, BJW (28/5)

Vs Yuji Okabayashi, BJW (28/5)

W/Hidaki vs Fujita Jr Hayato & Masaaki Mochizuki, BJW (30/6)

Vs Daisuke Sekimoto, ZERO1 (15/7)

W/Nomura vs Sekimoto & Yoshida, BJW (18/9)

W/Nomura vs Similarity, BJW (28/9)

Vs Takuya Nomura, BJW (12/10)

W/Nomura vs Hideki & Sato, BJW (22/10)

W/Nomura vs Crazy Lovers, BJW (30/12)



I mean, who else really? The greatest number of great matches and performances, the most diverse WOTY case of anyone all year, the story of the year, the best character work of the year and hence, the wrestler of the year. It was one of the absolute greatest years of The Rainmaker’s career as he was one of wrestling’s highlights in 2023. From having the greatest main event epics to bullying the young generation of puroresu to the amazing trios title run, he did it all. In many ways, being away from the world championship benefitted Okada a lot in terms of providing him fresh stuff to do. 

Match Recommendations

W/Makabe vs Kaito & Inamura, NJPW (21/1)

Vs Shingo Takagi, NJPW (11/2)

Vs Kaito Kiyomiya, NOAH (21/2)

W/Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bishamon, NJPW (6/3)

W/Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Narita & Umino, NJPW (11/3)


W/Tanahashi & Ishii vs STRONG STYLE, NJPW (3/5)

W/Ishii & Rocky vs Moxley, Umino & Yuta, NJPW (21/5)

W/Tanahashi & Ishii vs BCC, NJPW (4/6)

W/Kenoh & Yuma vs Kaito, Tanahashi & Kento, All Together (9/6)

Vs Taichi, NJPW (21/7)


Vs Will Ospreay, NJPW (27/7)

Vs Zack Sabre Jr, NJPW (10/8)

Vs Tetsuya Naito, NJPW (13/8)

W/Ishii & Tanahashi vs MCMG & Alexander, NJPW (9/10)

W/Ishii & Tanahashi vs TMDK, NJPW (4/11)

W/Ishii & Tanahashi vs United Empire, NJPW (21/12)

W/Tanahashi vs TMDK, NJPW (22/12)

And with that it’s a wrap from my side in 2023. It was a wild year. I sincerely appreciate it if you made it this far in this article, and if I was able to help you discover even one new thing about puro this year, I’d be very happy!                  

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