Month on the Mat: March

Isn’t it a pain when you get to the end of the year and you see everybody posting their opinions on match of the year contenders? People are listing off matches from February meanwhile you can’t remember what you had for lunch just yesterday! By the time December comes around, and those lists take over social media, January seems more like it’s 11 years away rather than a mere 11 months!

In this monthly recurring series, the residents of Wrestle Inn will offer you their recommendation’s for a single match you should seek out from the last month. We might not always highlight the “best” match; perhaps we’ll pick a hidden gem instead, or a match that you may not have heard of from a promotion different to what you usually watch. But, we can guarantee that all of these picks will be more than worth your time!

Hey_Brian recommends:
Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor vs. Kip Sabian & Miro, AEW Dynamite (All Elite Wrestling, March 31st)
Between this and the street fight last December, the Best Friends are making a living on chaotic clashes on Dynamite. There is creativity in the different dynamics among the two pairs of friends, and it plays out over the course of this Arcade Anarchy match. The spots were fun and clever (watch out for the dangerous arcade prizes) and allowed each person in the match to shine in a different way. Miro looked dangerous, Chuck was ruthless, Kip was cunning, and Orange Cassidy was hitting top gear. The pace quickened at the end and there were a number of surprises that you just have to see. There may not be anyone more underrated right now than Chuck Taylor.

Libby Cadman recommends:
Gabriel Kidd vs. Zack Sabre Jr., New Japan Cup Night 3 (NJPW, March 7th)
This year’s New Japan Cup tournament came with extra stakes as the impending title unification weighed heavily on the motivations of all the competitors. With ZSJ as the previous 2018 winner and Kidd still being a Young Lion, the outcome seemed inevitable. However, in credit to both their skills, they worked together to display a spark filled chemistry that highlighted Kidd’s unwavering determination and ZSJ’s cerebral prowess. But the real magic of this match was in how it drew viewers in through the performance of it’s emotional stakes, heightened every time audiences bore witness to the ruthless pretzel-like submission moves applied by ZSJ. The sheer will to fight inside Kidd shone each time he reached out for the ropes while his limbs were unfathomably bent. Kidd has been wrestling since 2013, and has actually faced ZSJ before, however this match dawned the near fully-dojo-refined Kidd and a tantalizing rivalry for the future. ZSJ may have gotten the win, but this match made a mark on the history of Kidd’s journey as a Young Lion and has drawn audiences in for when he officially debuts.

Credit: Ring of Honor

Kyle Sparks recommends:
Jay Briscoe vs. EC3, 19th Anniversary Show (Ring of Honor, March 26th)
To get this right out of the way, just go watch the 19th Anniversary Show. It’s excellent top to bottom. But for my money, I loved the story told by ROH’s longest tenured roster member Jay Briscoe and the company’s newest (and arguably biggest) free agent signing, EC3. EC3 has been on a quest since his arrival in the company to determine if Honor, as ROH’s catchphrase says, truly is real, meanwhile Jay Briscoe wrestled in the first match in ROH history. In his quest, EC3 is demanding that Jay prove to him that honor is real by shaking his hand, while Briscoe contends the disrespectful EC3 doesn’t deserve the privilege of the handshake that he gave Misawa, Sasaki, Danielson, Tyler Black, and so many others. These two men went all out for 20 minutes in a hard-hitting physical bout that established EC3 as a major force in the promotion and has me excited to see what he does next. His signing went a little under the radar, but he’s a phenomenal talent, great in the ring, a tremendous promo, and delivers top-notch character work. I’m excited to see what the future holds.

Thumbly Squeezed recommends:
Thunder Rosa vs. Dr. Britt Baker, AEW Dynamite (All Elite Wrestling, March 17th)

Wrestle Inn wrote about this wonderful lights out blow-off match at length right after it happened, but it darn sure merits repeating in any talk of the best matches of March. Britt and Rosa built this feud, one of AEW’s first consistent women’s programs not involving a title, to a fever pitch with personal attacks and literal assaults week by week. Turned out they could still go up several levels. Both women displayed amazing ability in hitting spots onto and off of ladders and chairs, building up to the final moments of Rosa putting Britt through a table in truly gruesome fashion to earn the pin. They also showed amazing grit and resilience, bleeding profusely for most of the proceedings, and a knack for the moment – Baker’s red-faced smirk at the camera as she prepared to unleash thumbtacks was instantly iconic while Rosa’s post-match passion about what it all meant for women’s wrestling (and just plain wrestling) was all the more moving at seeing what she’d just done out there. A landmark for AEW women’s division, even if you watched part of it between the fingers covering your face. 

Trent Breward recommends:
Tam Nakano vs Giulia, All-Star Dream Cinderella (Stardom, March 3rd)
There’s nothing better than the payoff to a multi-year story arc, and not only was this the climax of Tam Nakano’s struggle towards the White Belt, it happened with the spotlight shining brighter than ever before as Joshi wrestling returned to the legendary Nippon Budokan for the first time since 1997. This was a straight up war, with no moment better highlighting this than when Tam’s face began to swell up as the two exchanged slaps that could be felt through the screen. These two bring the brutal best out of each other, and Giulia’s cockiness only helped to further the underdog fire from Tam as she refused to let her rival get another statement win over her. For as intense as the match was, the aftermath spoke even louder, creating powerful character moments for both the victor and the soon-to-be-shaven loser.

Credit: Stardom

JJohnson recommends:
Takashi Sugiura & Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya, Great Voyage in Yokohama (Pro Wrestling NOAH, March 7th)
Main event. GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Match of the Year contender. Sugiura, Sakuraba, Nakajima and Kitamiya put on an intense, exhilarating, outstanding title match to rival any and all of the greatest tag team bouts in history. Perhaps the match will be remembered most predominantly for its unique and ever-shocking flash finish, yet every moment leading up to, and including it, was wrestling of the highest order. It’s hard to pick much fault with this match at all, with it being almost perfection, as the four men squared off vigorously in their clash over the prestigious prize. As with most tag matches, the competitors split into pairs – Nakajima and Sakuraba dueling vicious, deliberate and compelling kicks whilst Sugiura and Kitamiya ensued in a battle of monsters comparable to the giant clash of Godzilla vs. King Kong. In the end, it turned out that one did indeed fall.

Corey Michaels recommends:
Christian Cage vs. Frankie Kazarian, AEW Dynamite (All Elite Wrestling, March 31st)
The mere fact that so much happened on the last Dynamite of March 2021 that Christian Cage’s first, legit, in-ring singles match since his retirement several years ago was almost an afterthought, speaks to how phenomenally paced the show was. However, it must not be understated how solid this match was. Christian Cage moved with a fluidity that made you forget all of his years away from the ring, that he was still that man who could put on classics in TNA or WWE. As for Kazarian, he still has something to prove, the need to prove he could be a top level talent. Though Kaz didn’t get the win he wanted, he still looked damn strong, as his old rival starts his journey up the ladder to one day face “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega for the AEW Championship. How amazing is it that we could see both former tag-team members in Edge and Christian Cage thrown into huge title storylines in 2021?