A surprisingly jam-packed week of wrestling this week, with big shows all over the world, and I'm not talking about Paul Wight (At least until he gets his dream match vs Omega). We saw great graps from all different styles including technical, Lucha, and Japanese strong style, with some amazing tag team performances being a real highlight of the week!
- Steve Maclin (KUSHIDA vs Steve Maclin, Impact, 16/4)
- Violence is Forever (VIF vs Mathers & Tremont, DPW, 16/4)
- Deonna Purrazzo (Deonna Purrazzo vs Jordynne Grace, Impact, 16/4)
- Mizuki (Mizuki vs Nao Kakuta, TJPW, 15/4)
- Jack Morris (El Hijo Del Dr. Wagner Jr. vs Jack Morris, NOAH, 16/4)
#10 - Alex Coughlin
Alex Coughlin had two great showings this week, displaying both is insane strength as well as his impeccable technical wrestling skills in ROH and NJPW.
His match in ROH was a tag team match where he teamed with his trainer and ROH Pure champion, Katsuyori Shibata, against The Workhorsemen in what was a fun bout that led to Coughlin challenging The Wrestler for his championship after they picked up the win.
The match was full of vicious chops and strikes from Shibata and Drake, where as Henry and Coughlin took it to the mat and exchanged hold after hold. The most impressive spot from "The Android" was him standing up from a sitting position whilst holding Anthony in a vertical suplex which wowed the crowd. There was also an awesome Gut wrench Suplex by Alex onto JD on the outside.
His match with Tracy Williams at NJPW Collision in Philadelphia was better as the pace of the match and the focus on limb work really caught the attention of the crowd, who where on their feet by the end of the match. Coughlin did his seated to standing vertical suplex again in this match which, again, got a great reaction.
Overall a really strong performance by Coughlin, who effectively showcased his abilities and caught the attention of fans who might not have heard of him before.
#9 - Zack Sabre Jr.
Speaking of technical wrestling, the greatest technical wrestler of all time, Zack Sabre Jr. also put on two brilliant performances at both of New Japan's US shows this weekend.
His first match was an NJPW World TV Championship defence against Tom Lawlor at Capitol Collision in what was a fast paced technical masterclass that saw brutal submissions, out-of-nowhere roll-ups, and a bit of comedy thrown in there for good measure! I liked the clash of a more MMA style from Lawlor compared to a more British style of wrestling with Zack, who switched up holds on the fly to try and overwhelm the Filthy one. The finishing sequence with the two trading roll-ups and Zack finally getting the 3 count was a good ending to a fun sprint which the TV championship is becoming known for under ZSJ.
His second match was the next day in Philadelphia, where he teamed with TMDK to take on Team Filthy in an all out six-man tag team match that had the 2300 Arena rocking with its fast paced action and tags. Zack was even faster than the previous night and it was complimented by the striking of Haste and the power of Tito. All of that came together for one of the best six-man matches of the year so far (outside of AEW).
#8 - Tomohiro Ishii
Similar to Sabre, Ishii also had two matches on the New Japan shows this weekend. A one on one match with fan favourite El Desperado, and a last minute injury to Tanahashi resulted in Ishii and CHAOS stablemate Lio Rush facing Aussie Open for their newly won STRONG Openweight Tag Team championships!
His match verses Despy was exactly what one would expect, but it went just that bit further in terms of time and also passion that it was one of the matches of the weekend amongst many other amazing bouts. Ishii would catch the faster Desperado with lariats and chops, but the former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight champions would not stay down. Despy would target the knee of Ishii, who would brush it off at first, but by the end of the match was something that had the Stone Pitbull in serious trouble as he would be caught in the Numero Dos multiple times, but manage to power out each time.
The tag match with Aussie Open the next day was even better. The combination of Lio and Ishii was something that worked really well especially against a tag team with a faster guy and a more meaty man in Fletcher and Davis respectively. My favourite spot of the match was when Rush Hurricanrana'd Kyle into a headbutt from Ishii that looked brutal. The urgency and pace of this match was right up my alley especially for a thrown together match with little story going into it.
#6 & 7 - Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin
Another great tag team this week is the Motor City Machine Guns who, AGAIN, had two matches at the weekend. This time it was the three way STRONG Openweight Tag Team championship match and an Ultimate X Match for the Impact World Tag Team championship at Impact's Rebellion PPV in Toronto, Canada!
Starting with the three way match at Capitol Collision. MCMG really stood out with their constant use of tag team maneuvers that were a real backbone to the match and helped bridge a gap between Okada and Tanahashi's individual skills and Aussie Open's speed and power. It's hard to really pinpoint the exact things that make MCMG matches so great. I think its a combination of their experience as a team and their flawless knowledge of the basics of pro wrestling that just permeate every part of their matches. From the entrance to the final move.
The Ultimate X match was the same in this regard, which is particularly impressive when it comes to their understanding of how to make specific gimmick matches work. But Shelley having wrestled in 8 Ultimate Xs and Sabin in a whopping 18 it's not too surprising that they know how to make the match work. The match itself wasn't the best Ultimate X I've seen but served as a great opener for the PPV and had all four men fighting in the middle of the X in what was a pretty cool spot.
Ultimately a great week for these two and they more than deserve the 7 combined points.
#5 - Kaito Ishida
GLEAT's Kaito Ishida is up next after losing his G-REX championship against STRONGHEARTS member T-Hawk on Wednesday.
Even though Kaito lost, I loved the story he told in the ring in this bout. He would take the bulk of the offence early in the match, but persevered through it with a pained, but stoic expression on his face ready to take it back to T-Hawk when he got the opportunity. When the time came he got T-Hawk on the backfoot, taking his time to strike the shit out of him and gloat in between. Unlike Kaito, however, T-Hawk took each shot with little to no reaction.
Ishida would fail to notice the difference due to his experience, and the STRONGHEARTS member would fire up and take the match to another level, blasting Kaito with kick after kick, destroying him with ease as the defending champion tried all he could to fight back. Even though Kaito lost I still think it was a great performance from him in term of character work and its something that he can use in upcoming matches to give them more depth than just kicking, chopping, and striking.
#4 - Jake Lee
After defeating Kaito Kiyomiya for the GHC Heavyweight championship at Great Voyage Jake Lee defended his newly one title at NOAH Green Journey in Sendai on the 16th against one of the most dangerous wrestlers in the world today, Katsuhiko Nakajima!
Compared to his Kiyomiya match this one was much more hard hitting, and I think this brought out the best in Jake. Interestingly Jake played the underdog in this match with Nakajima's kicks becoming unbearable to Lee late in the match. His brief moments of offence were much more impactful than normal and his selling made Nakajima look amazing. This is in stark contrast to the match he won the belt in, where he was just as dominant in that one as Nakajima was in this one.
The finish was great with Jake kicking out of the Vertical Spike Brainbuster, and then caving Nakajima's face in with the Yakuza kick, but instead of him doing it in the corner he just took Katsuhiko off his feet in the middle of the ring out of nowhere! A surprising finish to a match that could have really gone either way.
#3 - El Hijo Del Vikingo
Vikingo defended his AAA Mega championship in a four way match at AAA Triplemania XXXI: Monterrey against Swerve, Swann, and Komander in an amazing highflying match that exceeded my expectations!
This was a typical Vikingo match, and by that I mean it was an innovative spot fest that saw unique highflying moves and incredible multi-man moments. There's honestly not a lot to say with matches like these, as you really need to see it to get a feeling for how insane some of the moves are. All I will say is that there were multiple moments where I thought the match was definitely going to end, only for a pin to be broken up and another, even more spectacular move to be performed! A great match that you should definitely go out of your way to watch.
#1 & 2 - Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis
The boys are back in town, and they're running the world like no-one else can! Back to back weeks in the top two, Aussie Open had another amazing week, coming off winning the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team championship in Sumo Hall. They won and defended the STRONG Openweight Tag Team championship less than 24 hours apart from each other!
The three way match where they won the championships was a fasted paced bout where the speed of Kyle and the power of Davis were a cornerstone of the match with both the Dream Team and MCMG playing off them, changing the dynamic of the match depending on which of the two were in the ring. Kyle also had another mishap with the Moonsault to the outside, this time clonking his nuts on the barricade instead of the back of his head, but persevering and winning the titles by pinning Sabin with the Coriolis!
They defended the titles the next night against Ishii and Lio, which I talked about before, but it was a feat and a half to pull of another amazing match in such a short period of time, especially after the bump Fletcher took on the barricade. The match up was good too, with the speed of Fletcher and Lio, and the "size" of Ishii and Davis allowing for the match to have multiple levels too it. Whether it was a little singles stretch with Mark and Tom slapping the shit out of each other, or Kyle and Rush having a blisteringly fast highspot.
Overall it was one of the best week of Aussie Open's career, and I didn't even mention their match against the Best Friends on AEW Rampage on Friday, which was a great display of their tag team chemistry to a different audience than the New Japan fans, as well as 1.4 million NBA fans!
Here's the leaderboard standings after week 15: