WrestleMania weekend is officially over and after attending at least 10 shows last week, boy is my lower back sore. At 39 years old, I cannot party like I used to. This was the first year since the pandemic that the weekend felt as epic as how it did in the years prior. WrestleMania 35, the last pre-pandemic Mania, was in New York City and it was a marathon for me to keep up with the shows.
With multiple great shows happening at once, I couldn't see everything, but now that I've been back a few days, I have caught up on all the streaming shows. WrestleMania had it's share of memorable matches (Cody vs. Roman, the tag title match, Charlotte vs. Rhea and my favorite – the IC title three way) but I wanted to take a moment to speak about some of the crazy matches of the weekend that happened outside of the showcase of the immortals.
The weekend has become to wrestling what a festival like South by Southwest is to music. Promotions and wrestlers from all over the world all come to a central location
Vikingo vs. Black Taurus vs. Kommander
The annual WrestleCon Mark Hitchcock Memorial Supershow always feels like a non-WWE all-star game of sorts. The entire show is worth checking out on Highspots.TV, as it was a total pleasure to watch but the main event was the standout match for me. I saw Vikingo wrestle five times this weekend and each time was incredible. It was tough choosing between this match and the Vikingo vs. Kommander match at ROH Supercard of Honor, but this had one wild spot that really blew my mind. Plus, Taurus is very underrated.
Vikingo vs. Kommander
I was there for this one live and what action! This match opened the main card and it's insane that these two had just had the above match the day before, then delivered this excellent match, and then both had other matches later that night at Joey Janela's Spring Break. Watch the whole show on FITE.
"Reach for the Sky" Ladder Match
This was easily the best ladder match of the weekend, and there were quite a few. Penta & Fenix, Top Flight, The Kingdom and Rush and Dralistico had their working boots on for this one. There was a very unfortunate injury that happened at the end of the match but it shouldn't overshadow all the hard work all these wrestlers put into the match. Here are some highlights from Twitter. Watch the whole show on FITE.
Kota Ibushi vs. Mike Bailey
Kota Ibushi is in my top five pro wrestlers ever and when he was injured at the beginning of last year, it really ended up making my enjoyment of New Japan Pro Wrestling suffer. When Kota announced his first matches back would be WrestleMania weekend, I knew I had to be there. Kota wrestled two times, and the first night was at the no-ropes event Bloodsport against "Speedball" Mike Bailey. I marked out so hard during this match. I really enjoyed the match the next night against Joey Janela as well, but this one stood out more because it was the first.
KENTA vs. Minoru Suzuki
The highlight of the IMPACT/New Japan crossover show was the dream match between Minoru Suzuki vs. KENTA. The two strong style strikers absolutely beat the crap out of each other and it was my favorite match of the event.
Aja Kong vs. Masha Slamovich
Masha is one of the most hyped up-and-coming women in the indie scene and Aja Kong is an absolute legend of kicking ass, so this was a very fun match that absolutely lived up to expectations.
WrestleCon Lucha Showcase - Aramis, Rey Horus and Galeno Del Mal vs. Arez, Latigo and Laredo Kid
You'll notice I have quite a bias for lucha matches, I can't get enough, and living on the east coast, it's much harder to see. So it was so exciting to see this lucha match and especially seeing the super XL luchador Galeno Del Mal, over 300 pounds but as light as a feather. I mean, look at this tope:
Yoshihiko and Chris Brooks vs. Mao and Shunma Katsuma
Yoshihiko is the DDT Iron Man Heavy Metal Championship. Yoshihiko is also an inflatable sex doll, but don't let that stop our fun. This match was so exciting and really a showcase for how hard it is to execute certain moves and how a lot of the work for the moves is the person receiving the move executing it properly. It was a whole lot of ironic fun from one of the most fun promotions in the game.
The Clockwork Orange House of Doom - Matthew Justice vs. Bobby Beverly
When it came to deathmatch wrestling, Circle6 outdid themselves with three straight days of violence. The crescendo of violence happened with the insane Clockwork Orange House of Doom between hardcore icons Matt Justice and Bobby Beverly. This match is not for the faint of heart.
Axiom vs. Dragon Lee vs. Ilja Dragunov vs. JD McDonagh vs. Wes Lee
NXT Stand and Deliver was a pretty solid show in and of itself, and the highlight of the event for me was watching Dragon Lee perform against the likes of Dragunov and Wes Lee. This was easily the most exciting match of the night.
Minoru Suzuki Karakoke
Okay, this last one isn't exactly wrestling but it was the most fun I had all weekend. I was asked to judge a karaoke contest alongside Minoru Suzuki (the same guy who was chopping up a storm a few videos above). Wrestlers such as "Spyder" Nate Webb, Zachary Wentz, Vinnie Massaro, Cassanova Valentine and some fans came up to sign and were judged by me and "Murder Grandpa."
Check back later this week when I will post a new episode of Squared Circle Pit, featuring a vlog of all the insanity from the weekend.
Do you enjoy pro wrestling? Knotfest Wrestling has a bi-weekly column filled with wrestling news. Read previous editions of this column here. You can always follow me @robinjection on Instagram and Twitter and @Squaredcirclpit.