Hello friends, April was a busy old month for the wrassling, wasn’t it? That little thing called WrestleMania grabbed everyone’s attention for a bit, but it was far from alone. Unfortunately, that means there is a lot of stuff I haven’t watched. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the Champion’s Carnival, and haven’t even got around to watching Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan. Still, there is a load I have seen, and that was packed with exciting matches.
Will Ospreay vs Bandido was the exact match you are picturing it to be in your head. Two of the world’s best high-flyers getting a chance to step in the ring and show what they can do. It was spectacular, but the most exciting part of it was that you know that on a bigger stage these two can ramp everything they did in this match up. Hey, Super Juniors!
NXT have made a habit of opening TakeOvers with incredible tag matches, and New York was no different. War Raiders, Ricochet and Black went out with the intent to steal the show, and came pretty damn close to pulling it off. It was balls to the wall mayhem with a particularly fantastic showing from the men now known as Ivar and Eric. Cling to it because you know they aren’t getting many more chances to do this now they’re in the purgatory of the main roster.
One advantage of New Japan running the longest tour of all time is that matches like this one escape the mid-card. Rather than getting eight minutes, Roppongi 3K and LIJ got to go out and strut their stuff, proving that they should be allowed to do so more often in the process. The focus was rightly on SHO vs Shingo, but YOH is no slouch, and even BUSHI had his moments. This feud went on so long the Dontaku tour seems short in compairson, but it was worth it for matches like this.
What happens when you put the best deathmatch wrestler in the world in a ring with no ropes against one of the best technical wrestlers in a worked shoot fight? (Did you get all of that?) The answer apparently is brilliance as these two ended up having an incredible brawl that proved Gresh can handle himself. It was beautiful chaos and while it’s unlikely to win any subtlety awards, watching them lay into each other was all kinds of fun.
Two Takeda matches in a row as the deathmatch genius broke out to a broader audience over WrestleMania weekend. Some credit for that has to go to Jimmy Lloyd who let Takeda damn near kill him at Spring Break. The poor bastard got the living shit beaten out of him as he ended up a bloody mess and at one point seemed to pull a pair of scissors out of his chest. It was violent, vicious and fucking brilliant. Both men made themselves stars with this performance.
From bloody chaos to wrestling brilliance, Ibushi and Zack Sabre Jr have that special kind of chemistry which makes it physically impossible for them not to have a great wrestling match. Their showing at Sengoku Lord was up with their best, though, as Zack brought the stiff maniac out of Kota Ibushi. Whether you like mind bending technical wrestling or men beating on each other, this match has something for you.
In among all the crap going on in New York over WrestleMania Weekend an eighteen-year-old and a lass with less than a year’s wrestling experience went out and nearly stole the whole damn show. It was a massive match for Stardom to put on in America, and neither Momo or Utami let them down as they showed exactly why they are in this spot. If you’re looking for a doorway into Stardom, Utami vs Momo is a pretty great one to wander through.
Honesty time, when this match came on, I was quite drunk. Since then, I have not gone back to rewatch it, and I have no intention of doing so. Standing up in my living room and jumping around while Murder Grandpa and Barnett laid into each other was all the fun in the world. It’s possible that removed from the drunkenness of the moment this wouldn’t hold up, but I was watching it in that moment, and I loved it.
There is a spot in this match where Sareee pisses off Meiko Satomura. At that point, this goes from two women having a good wrestling match to two women trying to commit a crime. The kicks aren’t so much trying to remove heads as atomise them while every suplex becomes a Brainbuster. There hasn’t been much hype about the assaults going on in that ring (cheers to Wrestling Omakase for making me aware of it), but fucking hell, there really should be.
Kota Ibushi and Tetsuya Naito get bumped up from fourth in last month’s rankings to first in May’s. Would you bet against them being in June’s too? I certainly wouldn’t. What more can we say about these two? Their insane quest to break each other’s necks is both terrifying and exhilarating. Imagine what those tuning into New Japan must have thought? Fucking hell, you’d never be the same again. Just incredible.