2021 was the year that things slowly got back to normal – with a few bits of turbulence… so, how did the year go for us in terms of wrestling?

16,033 Matches Seen: A LOT of dipping into back catalogues this year, as the hunt for hidden gems took up a lot of my time this year…

3 ***** matches: That number’s a little lower than last year – which perhaps reinforces the narrative that New Japan in particular ain’t quite what it used to be. The one unsurprising high-scorer came from camp WWE, albeit in the form of a tried and trusted match from Europe…

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shingo Takagi – January 30, 2021 – New Japan The New Beginning in Nagoya
Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay – May 04, 2021 – New Japan Wrestling Dontaku 2021 – Night Two
WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov – August 23, 2021 – WWE NXT TakeOver 36

7 ****¾ matches: Maybe it’s me “getting the fear”, so they say, but there was still a lot of really good wrestling in 2021 – even if there’s a knock that some of it felt like reruns…

Shingo Takagi vs. Jeff Cobb – January 05, 2021 – New Japan WrestleKingdom 15 – Night Two
Jay White vs. Kota Ibushi – January 05, 2021 – New Japan WrestleKingdom 15 – Night Two
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Will Ospreay – March 14, 2021 – New Japan New Japan Cup 2021 – Night Eight
Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay – March 21, 2021 – New Japan New Japan Cup 2021 – Night Thirteen
Wheeler Yuta vs. Lee Moriarty – May 06, 2021 – Beyond Wrestling Project Reality
Utami Hayashishita vs. Syuri – June 12, 2021 – STARDOM Tokyo Dream Cinderella Special Edition
Kenny Omega vs. Bryan Danielson – September 22, 2021 – AEW Dynamite #103 – Grand Slam

2 DUDs – Bullet Club (EVIL & Dick Togo) vs. Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano from the first night of the New Beginning in Hiroshima was just not my cup of tea… Angel Hayze vs. Isla Dawn from NXT UK back in November was a TV squash that ticked all the wrong boxes too – way too short, and a loss for kicking too much arse. Meanwhile, the Toru Yano vs. Chase Owens I Quit match from the MetLife Dome in September was almost a dud, with the ¼* mostly for it going on for what felt like an eternity…

10 Shows Seen. With live shows back on the menu, Rev Pro were the only promotion we’ve seen live – in the way of what could be the last show at the London Cockpit, the Nine Year Anniversary in Manchester, two York Hall shows, and six dates at the 229. Two planned trips to Germany went by the wayside as well, although with any luck, 2022 is the year we make it out there again…

54 Wrestlers Seen Live. Unsurprisingly, there’s two names who were an ever-present across the ten shows I’ve been to this year – Ricky Knight Jr. and Michael Oku. Robbie X (9), Doug Williams and Connor Mills (8) were also surprisingly high up on the list – and may well be up there too in 2022 if Rev Pro remains our go-to promotion for live shows – although depending on how this pandemic moves on, travelling to live shows away from London and the south of England may be a thing again…

However, 2022 is the year where we’re going to have to scale things back as far as coverage. You’ll have noticed that the end-of-year “Road to Tokyo Dome” shows weren’t covered here, and that was intentional. For the most part, New Japan coverage won’t be a thing here, especially in the way we used to do it. WrestleKingdom next week in particular won’t be covered as-live, nor in the depth that I’ve usually done in the past. Simply put, something’s got to give – and I simply don’t have the time on hand to juggle the real world with writing about a really preposterous amount of wrestling.

This site’s not going anywhere – even if a lot of our reviews have aged badly because of what the folks we’ve written about have done, having a back catalogue of reviews is a nice thing to have, especially if things change and my schedules free up. For the most part, NXT UK (for better or worse) will still be covered, along with wXw and Rev Pro, plus whatever else I make time for… and not all of those will be covered in written form. What that means… we’ll see when everything falls into place!