Month on the Mat: April

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 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!

Trent Breward recommends:
Mei Hoshizuki & Mio Momono vs. Dash Chisako & Yurika Oka, Road to GAEISM (Sendai Girls, April 10th)
A showdown between the Marvelous and Sendai Girls promotions as the two companies build towards the (now postponed) GAEISM event, this might have simply been an exhibition match but the four women weren’t going to go easy on each other. From bell to bell the pace of the match is consistently high, and there’s a real ferocity behind every strike and submissions that instantly suck you into the war. It’s a classic case of going above and beyond to really put a stamp on the match quality. Mei’s dropkicks are getting both higher and better, and Dash got to show off with some real nice spotlight moments, best highlighted when she caught Mio’s attempt at a double foot stomp on Yurika mid-air and proceeded to deliver a hard hitting German Suplex. It’s easy to settle on Stardom as a western fan, but if you’re willing to dive deeper into Joshi there’s a lot of quality to be found.

Caro recommends: 
The Young Bucks vs. Rey Fenix & PAC, AEW Dynamite (All Elite Wrestling, 14th April)
It was one thing for the Bucks to turn heel in drastic fashion, after months of teases on Dynamite, but it was a whole other level for Matt and Nick Jackson to automatically kick into their newfound momentum in a thrilling tag team match against PAC and Rey Fenix. Their opponents also gave an amazing performance, exhibiting their best showmanship and athleticism. If you’re looking for a great title match on free TV, definitely watch this one— absolutely!

MX Sharpe recommends: 
Fire and Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) vs. Jordynne Grace & Rachael Ellering, Rebellion (Impact, April 25th) 
My match of the night on Impact’s Rebellion pay-per-view aside from the main event. I really liked Rachael Ellering when she was kicking around AEW Dark for a hot minute and I couldn’t have been happier to see her here. Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz are such a joy whenever they’re on screen and Jordynne Grace is simply wonderful. Together they had an excellent, fun, and dynamic match pitting Fire and Flava’s speed and tag team chemistry against the powerful force of Jordynne and Rachael. These ladies seriously tore it up and it’s really worth going out of your way to see it!

Credit: AEW

Kyle recommends: 
SANADA vs. Aaron Henare, Road to Wrestling Dontaku (NJPW 26th April)
The former Toa Henare has been trying to find his place since joining the United Empire at Sakura Genesis. During ring introductions, Kevin Kelly points out that this is Henare’s first singles match since joining the group, and a first time match at that, as Henare has been targeting SANADA during multi-man tags. Right out of the gate, the story is clear. It’s going to be SANADA’s technical prowess against Henare’s power and aggression. Henare has proven up to the task of the push he’s received thus far, and his previous character and alignment had very much run its course. With United Empire kingpin and IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay watching at ringside (who is 2-0 lifetime against SANADA himself), can Henare pick up his biggest win since his turn, or will SANADA’s technical skill and calm, clear head win the day?

JJohnson recommends:
WALTER vs. Rampage Brown, NXT UK: Prelude (WWE, 8th April)
My match of the month is from WrestleMania weekend, but surprisingly it didn’t actually happen in the focal city of Tampa. Instead, it took place in the not as glamorous setting of BT Sport Studios, in North East London. In one of the most hard hitting, ferocious and enthralling matches in recent memory, WALTER and Rampage duelled hammering shots from bell to bell. They went back and forth with superb chops, strikes, boots, powerbombs, and every high-impact move in the book. It was truly a sensational match. Of course, few can match WALTER in terms of power, but Rampage Brown is certainly one of them. WALTER may be the unsurpassable leader at the spearhead of NXT UK, with challenger after challenger falling at his feet, but Rampage took the Ring General to hell and back in this classic showdown. Clocking in at just over ten minutes, these two packed a lot into a small amount of time, the match wrestled at a furious pace – making it evermore exciting as a result.

Credit: WWE

Corey Michaels recommends:
Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks, WrestleMania 37 (WWE, April 10th)
This was a momentous occasion in wrestling – two black women headlining night one of the biggest night in professional wrestling, the Showcase of the Immortals: WrestleMania! Though it had a rocky build, the match more than made up for it, much like Rock/Austin at WrestleMania 17, so much so that you almost forget said build. The match was rife with storytelling – Bianca almost falling into the trap that cost her against Shayna Baszler at a past NXT Takeover, almost having a meltdown at not being able to pin Sasha, and Sasha herself having to dig deep into her more wicked Boss side, to stop Bianca by any means necessary, but it wasn’t enough to best the EST. The match will forever be remembered for the hefty emotion in the arena that night, as well as that gnarly mark Bianca left on Sasha’s side following that hair whip. Though it may rank lower for other wrestling fans, this main event has become one of my top favorites in WrestleMania history.

Libby Cadman recommends: 
Hikaru Shida vs. Tay Conti, AEW Dynamite (All Elite Wrestling, April 21st) 
The AEW women’s division often finds itself cast under harsh judgements, from unknown talent to varying style, nearly everyone has an opinion on its evolution. However, the raw ability and star power of Shida and Conti in this match exceeded any notions of growing pains. Despite the concept of a face vs. face situation, Tay and Shida seemingly flourished in the grey area of a wrestlers motivations. Exemplified through their complimentary martial arts based strikes and innovative offence based high spots, this match threw away the flow of a regular spot-for-spot title grab and instead sizzled with the feeling of a real fight. Audiences may have tuned in for the buzz that surrounds these two athletes, however, more powerfully it deepened the importance of the women’s title to the roster and reminded everyone that the future is brighter than ever for top tier of women’s wrestling.

Adam recommends:
Santos Escobar vs. Jordan Devlin, NXT Takeover Stand and Deliver Night 2 (WWE, April 8th)
When this match was announced for Takeover, I wasn’t excited in the least. The story here is that both men lay claim to be the Cruiserweight champion. Devlin was an absolute bumping machine, taking nasty fall after nasty fall off turnbuckles and ladders. Neither guy here was exactly the face here, so Escobar ended up being the defacto face. The most insane spots that stood out to me were Devlin moonsaulting off a ladder like an Olympic high diver, Escobar doing a suicide dive which smashed both of them into a ladder leaning against the plexiglass barricade, and the giant fall at the end where Devlin fell off a ladder and crashed through another ladder. The only thing I really could’ve done without in this match was the interference by Legado del Fantasma. This match consisted of so many different crash and burn moments that I couldn’t honestly keep track of everything. By the end of the match, each guy was worn out, beat down, and just physically exhausted. I definitely enjoyed this match more than I thought I would and it is definitely one of the better ladder matches I’ve seen in a long, long time.