Another great month of action. From New Japan putting on a great show at the beginning of the month to some great matches over WrestleMania weekend, what were the best matches to take place outside of the WWE in April of 2018?
Tomohiro Ishii vs Zack Sabre Jr. – Rev Pro Supershow – 6th April
This was the 3rd match between the two in the last year and with the RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship on the line this was arguably the most important and certainly the best of the three. Ishii is incredibly beloved by the British fans and Zacks new cocky and overconfident attitude really had the crowd on the side of the Stone Pitbull.
The match was aggressive from the get go. With Zack as always trying to outmanoeuvre and dissect his opponent. Not content with being just the best technical wrestler, Zack tried to go strike for strike with Ishii, something that is not to be recommended. Zacks ego eventually got the better of him and Ishii managed to hit a big brainbuster for the win, much to the appreciation of the crowd. This was a great match that told a perfect story and finally gave the often overlooked Ishii a big title win.
Matt Riddle vs Will Ospreay – WWN Supershow – 6th April
Ospreay's story going in New Orleans was that of a battered warrior. Taped up to the gills after his brutal Spanish Fly on the apron in his New Japan match with Marty Scurll just a week earlier, a match with a former UFC fighter probably wasn’t the smartest choice. Ospreay is never one to take it easy, and he even teased a another Spanish fly on the apron. Riddle certainly didn’t take it easy on his high-flying opponent, laying in the suplexes and strikes throughout. They teased a stoppage, with the referees rushing to the ring to check on Ospreay after he landed on his neck from a top rope suplex.
He soon recovered, kicking out of everything Riddle gave him until the King of Bros eventually picked up the win. Ultimately, it was the crowd who made this match, on the edge of their seats for every moment, they ate up every piece of action they were given. The match itself was only about 12minutes but there were no wasted moments, just a non-stop medley of exciting action that made the day of every fan in attendance. This was incredible.
WALTER vs Zack Sabre Jr. – Progress 67: Bourbon is also a Biscuit – 7th April
WALTER has been on quite the roll in Progress this year, carrying the Atlas Championship with honour, he has chopped his way through opponent after opponent. Declaring that he wanted a show at Progress World Championship, he was given a number one contendership match against someone else on a bit of a winning streak in Progress, Zack Sabre Jr.
Two names on almost every bodies wrestler of the year list. Zack has been on fire in his performances for New Japan and WALTER has set the Independent scene alight with his great performance in Progress, PWG, wXw and anywhere else he has appeared. With their match in PWG last year garnering a 5 star rating from Uncle Dave, this match was as anticipated as any over WrestleMania weekend.
Much like his match against Ishii, Zack was at his cocky best. Wanting to prove he could out strike the big Austrian, something which just annoyed WALTER and he proceeded to swot his opponent around the ring with ease. Each chop getting a mighty roar from the crowd. Zack Targeted the hand of his bigger opponent, trying to stem the flow of chops that were destroying his chest. This match was utterly brutal and brilliant from the start to the end. If you are a fan of these guys, then this is certainly a match you need to watch.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – NJPW Dontaku
Will Ospreay vs Marty Scurll – NJPW Dontaku
Tomohiro Ishii vs Jeff Cobb – WrestleCon Supershow
WALTER vs PCO – Joey Janela's Spring Break
Io Shirai vs Meiko Satomura – Sendai Girls
Show of the Month
NJPW Sakura Genesis
The best show of the month was one of its first. New Japans Sukura Genesis being as good a show they’ve put on all year. With New Japan Cup winner Zack Sabre Jr getting his IWGP Heavyweight Title Match in the main event, the show also saw Will Ospreay almost kill himself as he successfully defended his Jr. Heavyweight Championship against long term rival Marty Scurll and the continuation of the Bullet Club implosion, as Cody and Hangman Page defeating The Golden Lovers.
With great matches throughout and two MOTY contenders, you will be hard pressed to find many shows better than this one.
Wrestler of the Month
While there were several candidates for this months wrestler of the month, it’s hard to look past the Ring General, WALTER. One of the busiest wrestlers over WrestleMania weekend, he had great matches with Zack Sabre Jr in Progress, Ilja Dragunov in wXw and he also defeated Keith Lee and Jonah Rock to become the PWG World Champion this month. A title that has been held by some of the biggest names in wrestling.
Perhaps his most spectacular achievement was his phenomenal match with the former Quebecer Pierre Carl Oullet at Joey Janela's Spring Break, a match which was many had as their match of the weekend. Independent wrestling is thriving right now, and it’s hard to argue that anybody is having a better year than WALTER.
What did you think were the best matches outside of the WWE this month? Let us know in the comments below!