Month on the Mat: March

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!

JJohnson recommends:
Jay White vs Alex Shelley, Sacrifice (IMPACT, March 5)
Initially, I was going to write Jay White plus Alex Shelley equals a great match, and leave it there. However, I will be elongating my thoughts on this forgotten gem of a match. Nestled in the middle of an IMPACT PPV, you would be forgiven for missing the Switchblade’s face-off against his former mentor, but this is a match destined not to be forgotten. The chemistry of their mentor vs mentee dynamic was superb, with Jay looking to prove he has elapsed the star of his ex-teacher. Shelley expertly pointed most of his work at Jay’s left arm in order to build edge-of-your-seat submissions, but Jay was able to withstand using his power advantage. A classy, energetic finishing stretch capped off a very well worked match, with the narrative coming to a smart pay-off. So, yeah, Jay White plus Alex Shelley equals a great match.

Ryan Dilbert recommends:
Saki Akai vs Maya Yukihi, Judgment 2022, 20th Anniversary Show (DDT, March 20)
If you enjoy wrestlers cracking their knees against skulls like they are trying to get to the juice inside, then boy do I have a match for you. Former Ice Ribbon star Yukihi is a blackhearted bully here with the worst of intentions. Akai, meanwhile, shows off some impressive toughness to go along with all her runaway model charisma. She has herself a career performance in what is a concert of jaw-cracking and chutzpah until the emphatic end.

Credit: DDT

Corey Michaels recommends:
Baliyan Akki vs Ken Ohka, ChocoPro LIVE! #208 (ChocoPro, March 12)
ChocoPro is a unique little corner of wrestling, as this outsider found out. On March 11, the Super Asia Championship was contested between champ Baliyan Akki and challenger Ken Ohka. It gets so out of control that it even gets taken outside, where Ohka would roll downhill in the street with citizens walking by, as though alleyway beatdowns are normal. Not their problem. A great defense by Akki, and a great introduction for me.

Scott E recommends:
Arisa Nakajima & Hanako Nakamori vs Miyuki Takase & Rina Yamashita, Rainbow Tiger Series Vol. 3 (PURE-J, March 20)
I have only participated in one Month on the Mat thus far and its brilliance is I get to recommend a match that likely not nearly enough people have seen. This match came from PURE-J’s Rainbow Tiger Series Vol. 3 show as Arisa Nakajima and Hanako Nakamori defended their Daily Sports Tag Team Championship against Miyuki Takase and Rina Yamashita. Yes, this also makes me 2/2 in recommending Takase matches. If you enjoy tag team wrestling that brings fantastic pace and hard-hitting exchanges then this will be right up your alley. There have been a lot of great tag team matches so far this year, and this one is surely in the conversation as one of the best.

Steve Howard recommends:
Seth Rollins & Kevin Owens vs Alpha Academy vs RK-Bro, RAW (WWE, March 7) 
Monday Night RAW has been much improved in 2022 and these six men matches have been a big factor. This took place the night following an impressive triple threat tag team match at AEW Revolution, but managed to surpass it. The winners would be heading to defend the titles at WrestleMania, adding to the importance and leading to a fast paced, explosive match full of action, culminating in the most impressive RKO of all time (even better than WrestleMania 31!) as new champions were crowned!

Credit: IMPACT

CiaranRH recommends:
Trey Miguel vs Jake Something, Sacrifice (IMPACT, March 5)
Since first discovering Jake Something, I’ve quickly found myself seeking his matches out more and more. I watched this match for Something, but damn if Miguel isn’t impressive in his own right. An early powerbomb reversal by Something, unlike anything you’d have seen before, epitomises who he is; freakishly strong but deceivingly graceful, everything he does looks pristine and sure as hell looks like it hurts. The smaller but quicker Miguel valiantly fights from underneath in a match loaded with creativity and explosiveness. In a time when Canadian Destroyers are being used as often as bodyslams, Miguel provides a wicked spin on the move that really reminds you why it is called a “destroyer”!

Trent Breward recommends:
Emi Sakura vs Baliyan Akki, ChocoProLIVE! #214 (ChocoPro, March 28)
The Queen has returned to Ichigaya Square! After failing to bring AEW gold back to Japan, she intended to take the Super Asia Title to America. However, Akki had worked too hard to finally hold the title just to let it leave the country. The two went to war, embodying the kind of top tier emotional storytelling that has become a staple of the promotion. If all you’ve seen of Emi are her 5 minute matches in AEW, do yourself a favour and watch what she’s capable of when she’s allowed to flat out go. Baliyan Akki is also on the run of his life, putting together an impressive resume just three months into the year.

Libby Cadman recommends:
CM Punk v MJF, Revolution (AEW, March 3)
This may be an obvious pick but if you haven’t watched this yet, you’re in for a treat. Violent and dripping with drama, this match literally embodied blood, sweat, and tears. Where MJF was stripped to his most vulnerable state, CM Punk was reborn and informed by the scars of his past. Being there, ramp side, was gasp worthy and electric beyond words. Even more special, when I got the chance to watch it back, the feeling communicated on the screen was mutual. From CM Punk coming out to Miseria Cantare, to ‘eat shit Max’, all the way to Wardlow ‘forgetting’ the almighty diamond ring that packs a punch – this edge of your seat match stunned on its own, cleverly celebrated its stipulation, and shined even brighter with the knowledge of all its juicy context played out.