April was a GREAT month for wrestling. We had action from absolutely everywhere, as All Japan Pro Wrestling held their annual round-robin Champion Carnival tournament, Impact Wrestling held Rebellion; and, of course, WWE held WrestleMania. Everyone was firing on all cylinders, which made April particularly difficult for the Nearfalls team to narrow down their picks. Let’s find out which matches made the cut for this month!
Hyper Misao & Shoko Nakajima vs. Magical Sugar Rabbits vs. BeeStar – TJPW Still Incomplete – April 17th 2021
Maybe this is an out there pick but it’s by far my favourite match this month. This is the first time TJPW had done one of these matches before. The match was non stop action from start till finish. We had the typical Misao start of match antics. We got some great sequences from people here as well. Like Shoko vs Mirai. And Shoko and Yuka reminded us how great they are when they face off (another singles match please and thank you). While it may have drifted at some points and teams forgetting the rules. It was creative and all action.
Plus, we got a surprise winner, with Mirai Maiumi pinning former Princess of Princess Champion Shoko Nakajima.
All of that makes it my match of the month
- Rika Tatsumi vs Maki Itoh – TJPW Still Incomplete – April 17th, 2021
- Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Takashi Sugiura – NOAH The Glory – April 29th 2021
- Hikari Noa vs Rina Yamashita – TJPW Inspiration #1 – 1st April 2021
- Miyu Yamashita vs Hikari Noa – TJPW Still Incomplete – April 17th, 2021
- Maika Ozaki & Tae Honma vs Hikari Shimizu & Mari – AWG Act In Korakuen Hall – April 4th 2021
- Bakuretsu Sisters vs NEO Biishiki-gun – TJPW Still Incomplete – April 17th, 2021
- Miyuki Takase vs SAKI – AWG Act In Korakuen Hall – April 4th 2021
- Yuma Aoyagi vs Shinjiro Otani – AJPW Champion Carnival 2021 – Night 1 – April 9th 2021
- Takashi Sugiura vs Hajime Ohara – NOAH Neo Breeze 2021 – Night 1 – April 3rd 2021
- Yuko Sakurai vs. Ami Miura – AWG Act In Korakuen Hall – April 4th 2021
Sasha Banks vs Bianca Belair – WWE WrestleMania 37 (Night 1) – April 10th, 2021
Having worked on these lists for four months now, I think there’s a key to deciding the best match of the month: have you felt the need to rewatch said match multiple times? I said that for our January decisions, I’ll repeat it again for why this match is my number one.
WWE isn’t something I watch weekly, but for all of the major PPV’s I dip my toe in. Every time since I got back into wrestling, Sasha Banks has impressed me, as someone that can perform grapple based offense, but never makes the match feel like it’s slowing down. She has moves that you’re excited to see, and pulls them off smoothly. This important, milestone match was no different.
Bianca Belair was someone I hadn’t been fully acquainted with, but I knew her reputation. Pure athleticism, and a workrate that’s built her career to the point that she is the best next person to take a seat at the big table of WWE’s main roster women’s division. Some of the spots in this match showed her varied offense perfectly, with power, agility and the ability to fly spread throughout the match. Also, the hair whip… by gawd, Sasha was cut in half.
Look, likely this is the only time I’ll have 5 out of 5 WWE matches, but there’s a reason. The common criticism levelled at the Fed is that they have terrible writers, meaning bad TV; but incredible wrestlers, meaning the big matches can easily deliver. It’s that latter statement that informs one through five here today. (Special nod to literally all the TJPW on this list. We just need some diversity, lads.)
- Tommasso Ciampa vs WALTER – WWE NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver (Night 1)
- Pete Dunne vs Kushida – WWE NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver (Night 1)
- The Miz & John Morrison vs Damien Priest & Bad Bunny – WWE WrestleMania 37 (Night 1)
- Seth Rollins vs Cesaro – WWE WrestleMania 37 (Night 1)
- Hikari Noa vs Rina Yamashita – Hardcore Match (TJPW Inspiration #1, 4-1-21)
- Magic Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki & Mizuki) vs Hyper Misao & Shoko Nakajima vs BeeStar (Suzume & Mirai Maumi) – Three-Way Tornado Tag (TJPW Still Incomplete, 4-17-21)
- Jon Moxley vs Josh Barnett (Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 6, 4-8-21)
- Hikari Noa vs Miyu Yamashita (TJPW Still Incomplete, 4-17-21)
- Tommaso Ciampa vs WALTER – NXT UK Championship Match (NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver Night 1, 4-7-21)
- Young Bucks vs Fenix & PAC – AEW Tag Team Championship Match (AEW Dynamite, 4-14-21)
Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Maya Yukihi – Ice Ribbon New Ice Ribbon #1106 ~ Ice Ribbon March 2021 (taped March 27th, aired early April)
Tsukasa Fujimoto has been on an absolutely superb run this year, cementing her status as the best women’s wrestler on the planet and a minimum top 5 talent overall. This was yet another impressive showing, this time against Maya Yukihi – who, admittedly, I haven’t seen all that much of despite getting into Ice Ribbon at the beginning of the year. That’s more on my tendency to almost exclusively watch the main events of any new promotions than it is a statement in my interest in Yukihi as a performer.
This was a great match. A few minor hiccups here and there, but nothing that disrupted the flow of things too much. These wrestlers are human; even the best in the world don’t connect from time to time. An opening 10-minutes of mat work and one-upmanship built brilliantly into a closing stretch littered with nearfalls and escapes from various attacks. We saw a few attempts at the big moves (Tsukasa hitting Infinity, for example) before an Ocean Cyclone Suplex brought things to a satisfying conclusion. Not the best of Tsukasa’s 2021, but an excellent showing that is more than worth a watch or two. (****)
Tommaso Ciampa vs WALTER – NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 1 – April 7th, 2021
Despite the WWE’s best efforts to turn its UK Champion into another generic pawn in the battle against creative, meaningful wrestling, WALTER maintains an aura that puts him at a level above almost everyone around him. The man knows his value. He could easily walk away tomorrow with his reputation and following largely intact, if not bigger. It’s very much a case of his current employers needing him to carry a brand, rather than him needing them for a source of income. So it’s no longer surprising when he puts on an absolute banger, wrestling HIS style of match, in the most uninspired, irrelevant places. We’ve seen it time and time again since his debut in NXTUK – Ilja Dragunov, A-Kid and, most recently, Rampage Brown. All are absolutely worth checking out, the guy simply does not miss.
Even in spite of me not following weekly TV products, I couldn’t help but find myself drawn into TakeOver by the announcement of The Ring General taking on Tommasso Ciampa. And my interest was rewarded in a big way, as the two men delivered one of the best NXT matches in recent memory. Everything was deliberate and calculated, with very little wasted movement. It was a refreshing change from the usual big NXT match formula, which typically gives us a 20 minute+ melodramatic mess that is clearly a thinly veiled attempt by Triple H and Shawn Michaels to relive their glory days through more able bodies. For the first time in a while, it felt that the dormant Psycho Killer within Ciampa was truly back, after showing some small glimpses throughout his feud with Timothy Thatcher.
All in all, a simple but highly effective battle between two of WWE’s best that is more than worth your time. (****¼)
Josh Barnett vs Jon Moxley – Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 6 – April 8th, 2021
I’ve said it many a time, but Jon Moxley comes across more like a drunk dad at Wetherspoons on a Friday night than he does a legitimate badass fighter. I was largely disinterested in the announcements of his appearances at past Bloodsport shows – he didn’t seem to fit the bill for this type of show, which is oriented around legitimate fighting pedigree, which Moxley does not have.
With all the other GCW shows, the Champion Carnival from All Japan and whatever it is that New Japan is doing these days, it was always a possibility that this show would become lost in the shuffle. But it created a major amount of buzz (on my Twitter timeline, at least), so I felt almost obligated to check it out.
I was, surprisingly, not disappointed. This was a really great match that felt legit pretty much all the way through. Wonderfully chaotic, creative spots sprinkled in and some gritty visuals (both men coated in blood was a highlight), with a creative finish that allowed the right man to win while keeping Mox largely protected. (****)
Daniel Bryan vs Roman Reigns vs Edge – WWE WrestleMania 37 Night 2 – April 11th, 2021
Sometimes, all you want is for wrestling to transport you back to your childhood. Many of us long to go back to simpler times, where we could innocently stare in wide eyed wonder at the larger-than-life figures battling on the grandest stages for the biggest accolades. The one wrestler who has consistently been able to take me back to that happy mental state is Daniel Bryan. Even when not following his journey every week, it’s near impossible for me not to invest in him as a character. Put someone like Bryan against someone like Roman Reigns in his current form, and we’re almost guaranteed a strong contest – even with the micromanaged, stifling creative environment that WWE insists on working under. Oh, and Edge was there too, which is always nice.
This was an outstanding triple threat, on-par with the outstanding Night 1 main event between Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair. The in-ring work was solid (as you’d expect), Reigns played his role as the brute monster champion flawlessly, just as he has done since his comeback last summer. Bryan and Edge were both sympathetic babyfaces, each with their own motivations. Bryan was looking for one last run on top after being conned out of the victory on two previous occasions. Edge was the grizzled veteran, looking to reclaim the title he never lost, after a decade of setbacks.
Everything worked together brilliantly, creating one of the best matches of the year – even with the interference in the build up to the finish. I lived and died with Bryan, just like I did with Go Shiozaki at NOAH’s Budokan show. There was a feeling deep within me – a want, no, a need – to see him climb to the top of the mountain ONE MORE TIME. And it broke me when Roman knocked him down and snatched the win away.
Top tier stuff. WWE, do this more often. (****½)
- Nanae Takahashi & ASUKA vs Rina Yamashita & Honori Hana – SEAdLINNNG Arisa Nakajima 15th SPRiNNNG – April 2nd, 2021
- Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn – WWE WrestleMania Night 2 – April 11th, 2021
- Masashi Takeda vs Suzu Suzuki – Ice Ribbon New Ice Ribbon #1112 ~ Spring Is Short, Fight Girl – April 24th, 2021
1. Rina Yamashita vs Hikari Noa – TJPW Inspiration – 01.04
2. Arisa Nakajima, Nagisa Nozaki & Hanako Nakamori vs DASH Chisako, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Makoto – SEAdLINNNG Arisa Nakajima Produce : 15th SPRiNNNG – 02.04
3. Miyuki Takase (c) vs SAKI – AWG Championship – AWG Act in Korakuen Hall – 04.04
4. Yuma Aoyagi vs Shinjiro Otani – AJPW Champion Carnival 2021 – Day 1 – 09.04
5. Jake Lee vs Suwama – AJPW Champion Carnival 2021 – Day 2 – 10.04
6. DASH Chisako & Yurika Oka vs Mio Momono & Mei Hoshizuki – Sendai Girls Spring Easter – Day 1 – 10.04
7. Ryuki Honda vs Koji Iwamoto – AJPW Champion Carnival 2021 – Day 3 – 11.04
8. Miyu Yamashita vs Hikari Noa – TJPW Still Incomplete – 17.04
9. Jake Lee vs Yuma Aoyagi – AJPW Champion Carnival 2021 – Day 5 – 18.04
10. Arisa Nakajima & Nanae Takahashi (c) vs Honori Hana & Riko Kawahata – SEAdLINNNG Beyond The Sea Tag Team Championship – SEAdLINNNG ~ SPECIAL NIGHT ~ – 26.04
Henry (Guest Contributor)
1. Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks – WWE WrestleMania Day 1 – 4/10
2. The Mane Event (Jay Lyon and Midas Black) vs. The Mane Event (Duke Davis and Ganon Jones Jr.) – Pizza Party Wrestling CakeOver – 4/4
3. Lulu Pencil vs. TAMURA – Gatoh Move ChocoPro #101 ~ HEAT UP Collaboration – 4/3
Other Notably Neat Matches
Jay Lyon vs. Nolo Kitano vs. Midas Black – 4/5 – Camp Leapfrog Bell2Bell (IWTV Facebook/CL Twitter exclusive)
I really like sprints. This was under two minutes, it’s a fun time.
Daniel Garcia vs. Kevin Ku – IWTV Family Reunion Part 2 – 4/8
Enjoyable physical, wrestling things.
Danny Limelight vs. Konosuke Takeshita – AEW Dark: Elevation – 4/12
The start of Takeshita superfan Paul White. Danny also did a great DDT to one of the wrestlers in DDT.
David Lawless vs. Ziggy Haim – MV Young’s Polyam Cult Party 3 – 4/24
A nice match with a feel good ending and post match that was built throughout the show.
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