Month on the Mat: April

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!

Ryan Dilbert recommends:
Yuka Sakazaki and Mizuki vs Arisu Endo and Suzume, Still Incomplete (TJPW, April 9)
After winning the Max Heart tourney, it felt like Endo and Suzume might be in line for a big heartwarming team team title win. Yuka and Mizuki made sure as hell that didn’t happen by whipping on the two less experienced challengers. Normally, a beatdown as one-sided as this isn’t this entertaining, but thank Sakazaki and her elbows combined with the youngsters’ guts for being the exception. Suzume and Endo ugly crying after getting stomped on only adds to it all.

Sam recommends:
Dustin Rhodes vs CM Punk, Dynamite (AEW, April 20)
Let it be known that in the year of our Lord 2022, CM Punk and the artist formerly known as Goldust, at a combined age of 96-years-old, had one of the best TV matches I’ve ever seen. An absolutely perfect example of storytelling in pro-wrestling, with not a single moment wasted and every move being set up and paid off. It’s so well structured that I’ve now rewatched it four times–yes, four times–just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. CM Punk, who just a few months ago was perhaps the most over babyface anyone has ever been in wrestling, gave a masterclass in how to subtly work heel as he relentlessly targeted the taller man’s leg, while Dustin fought back with all the fire and charisma of his late father, the inimitable Dusty Rhodes. While FTR (who themselves are on a bonafide WOTY run) have won plaudits for wearing their Bret Hart influences on their sleeve, no match felt more like travelling through a time portal to watch Bret in his prime than this one.

Corey Michaels recommends:
Minoru Suzuki vs Tomohiro Ishii, Windy City Riot (NJPW, April 16)
This was my first time watching a New Japan event live, and this was undoubtedly the match of the night for me. A true clash of titans. Suzuki reads as a demonic entity, like an embodiment of evil. Ishii is the unstoppable force that is a rampaging human stampede. These men strike each other with the viciousness many would expect of Japanese wrestling. I know this isn’t the first go-around and I know it won’t be the last, but this pit stop on their rivalry made a great first impression. For almost twenty minutes, I believed.

Credit: TJPW

Trent Breward reccommends:
Takashi Sasaki vs Risa Sera, Scarlet Flame of the Beginning (Prominence, April 24)
Deathmatch wrestling isn’t for everyone, nor is intergender wrestling. Mix the two into one match and you can expect that this war won’t appeal to everyone. However, if you can look past those barriers, what sits here is an absolutely incredible fight between two talented performers. It’s incredibly bloody and passionate, harkening back to their first fight back in 2017. Even before the match started you knew this was going to get crazy, with two sides of the ring covered in light tubes, and it lived up to that promise. Prominence needed to put on a memorable first show, and this match ensured they’d achieve that goal.

Thumbly Squeezed recommends:
FTR vs The Briscoes, Supercard Of Honor (Ring Of Honor, April 1)One of the very first matches of the month still stands tall as the very best of it. This wasn’t about spots, heights or TLC, it was about two teams making it clear how desperate they were to plant their flag as the best in the business. The two things that stick with me to this day are: 1) the sheer chemistry of each team, knowing each other’s mannerisms and moves to the core and working their double-teams, and 2) the impact. There were so many chops in the match and they echoed so loud, I thought someone’s finger was going to fly off into the third row. The four managed to escalate from there, as they maximised their team advantages to hit a huge powerbomb/splash combo and Redneck Boogie respectively for 2-counts. Nobody gave in – everyone bled, everyone kept coming. By the time FTR hit the Big Rig and got their hand raised, everyone knew we had just seen something special. Living Legends, indeed.

CiaranRH recommends:
Shoko Nakajima vs Alex Windsor, Global Women Strike 3 (Pro Wrestling EVE, April 23)

The Big Kaiju, standing at a terrifying 147cm, thankfully did not destroy our favourite London monuments on her UK debut, but she did tear the roof off the venue on this night alongside her opponent, Alex Windsor. At present this match is not available online, so you’ll simply have to trust my eye-witness account that this was one of the best (perhaps the best) women’s matches I have seen on UK soil. Windsor has quickly reasserted herself as one of British wrestling’s top talents, and on this night she proved herself not merely capable of hanging with one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world, but being able to push them to the limit. Remarkably this match clocked in at less than 15 minutes, the pair cramming in a marathon’s worth of explosive action and story-telling that had me cheering so much that I had a sore throat for the drive home.

Credit: Ring of Honor

JJohnson recommends:
Jon Moxley vs Wheeler Yuta, Rampage (AEW, April 8th)
In a month where I gave out two 5 star ratings (Briscoes vs FTR and Okada vs ZSJ), I opt to recommend another match which left its impression on me. Jon Moxley and Wheeler Yuta’s blood soaked battle, with Yuta being cast into a starring role by this very performance, shone brightest for me. You often hear about star-making moments in wrestling, but this match might be the truest example of such. The vibrant, red blood of Yuta sprayed all over his face, the ring and ringside made this match an memorable spectacle instantly. Alongside the stunning visuals, Moxley and Yuta wrestled a war of a match. It was one of those matches where everything hit that little bit more harshly, you could see the true venom behind the strikes of the pair. The entire Blackpool Combat Club story has been a highlight of AEW, but it was in this match where the grandest expression of what a star-making performance was shown. This is exactly what wrestling should be – perfect storytelling through great matches and a brutal style of pro wrestling combat.

Steve Howard recommends:
Josh Alexander vs Moose, Rebellion (Impact, April 23)
One of the strongest month of matches in recent years caused me much deliberation, but my choice had me more emotionally invested than any other. Six months of build since the cash in from Moose and I desperately wanted Alexander to get revenge for his wife and son. A perfectly crafted match, a Styles Clash from Josh and a kick out of Moose’s Spear, a new champion was crowned after a C-4 and I’m excited about the future of this title reign.