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April 2018: Our Top 5 Matches

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There were plenty of amazing matches during WrestleMania weekend. So much so that picking only five just doesn’t do it justice. Yet here we are.

Join @BeMcCooley, @DW_Reno and @brandonpsmc as they give you their top five matches piece as we close out the biggest month of the year.

If you’d like to see what matches we picked for previous months – visit our ongoing 2018 ‘Top 5 Matches’ archive.

Robert’s Top 5

1. Will Ospreay vs Marty Scurll for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship— Sakura Genesis — 4/1
Possibly the standout match of the year. Everyone watching live thought they might have seen Ospreay’s final match of his career. I was certain he was dead after his skull split open from direct contact to the apron. The fact that he’s still alive is amazing in of itself but the match went another fifteen minutes. Ospreay’s blood stained his hair red. While I’m not condoning the lengths at which they went in this match, I cannot discount the visceral emotions that swept throughout my body watching all of this unfold live. Such a gutsy performance from Ospreay. You can say he’s dumb but you cannot deny that he has heart. Most certainly in the running for match of the year and no question the best of April.

2. Adam Cole vs Killian Dain vs Ricochet vs Velveteen Dream vs EC3 vs Lars Sullivan for the inaugural NXT North American Championship — TakeOver New Orleans — 4/7
I believe it’s safe to say this is the best opening match of all time. They went all out and challenged everyone after to top them. All of the nuances to each character were executed perfectly and everyone came out with a strong performance. Everything was perfectly crafted to each guy, highlighted by the way of which Adam Cole won. You could not have asked for anything to have been better about this match.

3. WALTER vs Pierre Carl Ouellet — Joey Janela’s Spring Break 2 — 4/6
Without a doubt, the wackiest show of Mania Weekend was Spring Break 2. The show was seemingly created by mad scientists, as this match proves. Before this encounter, never in my life had I seen someone’s chest turn black throughout the course of a match. The abuse PCO took at the hands of WALTER was disgusting and yet no one could look away. Not a technical masterpiece by anyone’s standards but the visceral emotions were at an extreme high. The vast majority of wrestling fans had forgotten PCO and through Spring Break 2 he’s managed to breathe new life into his career. The best non-WWE produced match of Mania Weekend.

4. Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa — TakeOver New Orleans — 4/7
A rivalry so heated that it was the main event of the promotion’s biggest show of the year. This was personal, there weren’t any titles on the line. No, this was about revenge. Wrestling is at its best when you can sympathize with both parties. An absolute war and they warred absolutely. There were extreme amounts of punishment dealt and inflicted by each Gargano and Ciampa. The payoff was exactly what the fans wanted and made for a great atmosphere to close the biggest show of the year. A perfect example of when wrestling is great.

5. Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship — Sakura Genesis — 4/1
When your reign is at twenty-two months, your challengers better be interesting or else people will begin to tune out. Zack Sabre Jr. was the exact opponent Okada needed in order to keep his reign feeling as fresh as possible. There isn’t another wrestler on the planet who can replicate his style at this level. Coming off a month of defeating Tanahashi, Ibushi and Naito, no one in New Japan, not even Okada, looked stronger than Sabre. The fans bought into every hold he locked onto Okada because they had seen the caliber of opponents he had taken down with the same moves. This was perfectly crafted and just what Okada needed to reinvigorate his reign.

David’s Top 5

1. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa — Takeover New Orleans — 4/7
This one wasn’t just about the magic that took place in the ring. It was about the build up. The walkouts. The story. The feeling. It began with the heel walking out to a chorus of boos from an arena full of people holding up a sign that featured the symbol of their hero. It ended with the most fulfilling climax you could’ve possibly given to a match of this caliber. I’ve sat through this match almost a handful of times now and it still does the job. This is peak stuff right here from two guys that were made to do the dance.

2. Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon — WrestleMania 34 — 4/8
Talk about exceeding expectations. Like many, I thought this match would consist of the following: Triple H and Kurt go at it, Kurt makes the hot tag, Ronda comes in and submits Stephanie — the crowd erupts. And that would’ve been perfectly fine. Instead, these four put on the best damn match of the night. This one had me on the edge of my seat numerous times with multiple kickouts and false finishes. All four competitors in this match brought their A game but still made sure that it was Ronda coming off as the big star. Anyone who was on the fence about what she could do in the ring got pushed over in a major way.

3. WALTER vs. Pierre Carl Ouelett — Joey Janela’s Spring Break 2 — 4/6
As a youngster, watching Pierre wrestle alongside Jaques Rougeau in The Quebecers, I never once thought that I’d ever be writing about this man, 25 years later, having the match of a lifetime. I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen much of PCO’s work since, well, forever. After seeing this match against WALTER at Joey Janela’s 2nd annual Spring Break event, just like everyone else in the world, I’m looking up everything this guy has done since. You better believe that every booker in the world is asking for this guys number after Mania weekend.

4. Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Matt Riddle for the Evolve Championship — Evolve 102 — 4/5
Sabre’s 404 day run as Evolve Champion came to an end here against Riddle in a match that had everything you could ask for, including some serious high drama with the world title on the line. After having one of the best months in history during March as a singles competitor, Sabre leaves Evolve to head over to Japan where his star will continue to rise in the Land of the Rising Sun.

5. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair — WrestleMania 34 — 4/8
Who had Charlotte Flair breaking Asuka’s 914 day undefeated streak at WrestleMania? Anybody? I certainly didn’t. For my money, this was by far the best singles match on the show with two of the best workers in the business, regardless of gender, giving us a nail biter for the ages. In hindsight, it could’ve headlined. Now, there is no excuse not to have women headline next year at WrestleMania 35 with this match setting us up or that inevitable Charlotte Flair versus Ronda Rousey mega-match.

Brandon’s Top 5

1. WALTER vs. Pierre Carl Ouelett — Joey Janela’s Spring Break 2 — 4/6
This match is my number one for the month for a couple of different reasons. First reason, I had no idea what to expect from this match. I didn’t know much about PCO outside of his WWF stuff and had viewed this as a nostalgia act versus one of the top stars of today, and it ended up being a spectacle. Second reason, not knowing what to expect and being there live for it, it gave me a feeling that I haven’t gotten from wrestling in a long time. PCO more than proved he could still hang today and hanging against Walter and beating Walter is something not very many people can do. The standing ovation the live crowd gave to these two during that chop battle is something that will forever be instilled into my mind. There was a lot of great stuff that happened after this match, but nothing came close topping it. If you have yet to see this match, stop what you’re doing and go watch it right now.

2. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa — Takeover New Orleans — 4/7
This match was something special. The build to this match has been an absolute emotional roller coaster and the match itself didn’t disappoint at all. Everything was told so well, but the sequence that eventually led to the finish was just absolutely beautiful. Johnny Gargano finally got to conquer his biggest demon and in the process delivered one of the greatest matches in NXT history with his greatest rival.

3. WALTER vs. Zack Sabre Jr — Progress Chapter 67 — 4/7
Going into this match I knew it would steal the show and potentially the entire weekend. There was so much at stake here because both men want a shot at Travis Banks and his Progress Title. This was another match I had the privilege to witness live. This match was a clinic, much like every match these two have together. It was just a brutal war filled contest with some amazing technical and submission wrestling, and vicious chops, but it’s the norm for Walter to kill anyone he faces with some chops. Walter will now be facing Travis Banks at day 2 of SSS16 for the Title.

4. Austin Aries (c) vs. Fenix vs. Pentagon Jr for the Impact World Championship — Impact Wrestling: Redemption — 4/22
Impact has had it rough the past couple of years but have recently started to find their footing. This match made my list because this truly felt like a huge main event and that’s a feeling Impact hasn’t given off in a very long time. All the drama that happened prior to this match with El Patron being fired and having to change the match last-minute was the best thing to could’ve possibly happened. The three men in this match tore the house down. But the biggest take away for me was Impact taking a chance and putting the title on Pentagon Jr.

5. Andrade Cien Almas (c) vs. Aleister Black for the NXT Championship — NXT Takeover New Orleans — 4/7
It was a given as soon as this match got announced that it would be amazing. When you have two incredible wrestlers like Almas and Black you know it’s going to be a classic. Almas continued his streak of having incredible Takeover matches and Black continued his dominance. Black leaving Takeover as the new champion was an amazing thing to see. I hope soon we get to see him face a demon of his own and successfully defend his championship against the only man in NXT to have a pin fall over him, Johnny Gargano.

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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