Every month, our own Dan Niles compiles his personal 20 Best Matches list from around the world, from North America to Europe to Japan. Some are obvious best matches choices, some are dark horses, but they’re always fun to find some matches you may have missed the previous month! (DISCLAIMER: This list is subjective and is compiled exclusively by Dan Niles; there will obviously be matches he may have missed that you may feel deserve credit – we encourage you to list some of your best matches of the month in the comments section below to help add to the list! In regards to videos, we only show FULL MATCHES that are authorized by the promotions; video highlights are used where possible; we encourage you to seek out these matches through promotions VOD or streaming networks)
20 Best Matches of March #20. Cedric Alexander vs. Roderick Strong, WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament, 205 Live
Cedric Alexander and Roderick Strong had the makings of a great rivalry in Ring Of Honor Wrestling that culminated at ROH Best In The World 2014. Strong won that match and picked up the Lumbar Check finishing move to combat Strong’s vast array of Backbreakers. Strong became a a Cruiserweight competitor for the 205 Live tournament to crown a new Cruiserweight champion and we received a rematch four years later. Cedric had the speed advantage but Strong had the veteran instincts, trying to wear down Cedric and win the endurance test. Cedric may have lacked intensity before but he had amped it up since his injury. Alexander avoids End Of Heartache and hits the neutralizer and Lumbar Check to advance to WrestleMania.
20 Best Matches of March #19. Toni Storm (c) vs. Melanie Gray, wXw Women’s Championship Match, wXw 16 Carat Gold
Melanie Gray went to war with Toni Storm for the wXw women’s championship in Germany at the prestigious 16 Carat Gold tournament and the fight started right from the ring bell. Toni Storm tried for a Strong Zero Piledriver early on the apron but took a backdrop to the floor. Gray with a senton off the apron and a spear through the ropes! A Cloverleaf submission turns into a rollup for a two-count. Gray couldn’t win the title with a spinning side-slam but she kicked out of Strong Zero. Toni Storm took a Finlay roll but rebounded with a Saito Suplex and another Strong Zero to retain. To the point and not wasting a second in this exciting Championship match from a company that excelled in excellent wrestling all month.
20 Best Matches of March #18. Marty Scurll vs. Punishment Martinez, ROH 16th Anniversary
Punishment Martinez has taken down Junior Heavyweights one by one from Dragon Lee to Will Ospreay and looked to slay the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion live on pay per view. “The Villain” took a senton off the ropes and suffers a cut over his eye. Martinez showed wild agility for being six-foot-seven but Scurll played it smart going for powder. Martinez tried to take it but there was nothing actually in the bag and Scurll wins by inside cradle.
20 Best Matches of March #17. Brian Cage vs. Bobby Lashley, Impact Wrestling TV
Brian Cage debuted in Impact Wrestling with great fanfare and became destroying the competition easier than anyone maybe in the companies history. Bobby Lashley took exception to that and a match between the two heavy-hitters was under way. Great athleticism from the Heavyweights with leap frogs and hurricanranas to start the match. Lashley refused to be a push-over to the newcomer and hit a Spear. “The Machine” rolled out to the floor to avoid the pinfall loss and hit a Discus Lariat for the win. Lashley puts over the new popular heavyweight sensation on the way out of the company just like it should be.
20 Best Matches of March #16. Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak, WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament, 205 Live
The Cruiserweight tournament featured some great action but none better than this Semi-Final match where the winner went to WrestleMania to challenge for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. These two had a great two out of three falls match on 205 Live months ago but topped that with a twenty minute match that resembled more of a brawl. Gulak was as fierce as ever, trading in the suit and tie for the aggressive style he is known for. The match spilled to the announce table where Ali was backdropped off the table and thrown over the barricade, almost counted out. This was Gulak’s best performance since his match with Zack Sabre Jr in the Cruiserweight Classic but he was pinned by the spectacular O54 (inverted 450 Splash) off the top rope.
20 Best Matches of March #15. The Young Bucks vs. Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii, NJPW Fallout Down Under
The Young Bucks wanted to kick the match off with headscissors and assisted hurricanranas but CHAOS wouldn’t take that lying down. Kazuchika Okada was in no mood for that and finger snapped Matt Jackson. The Young Bucks locked in double sharpshooters but it wouldn’t get the job done so early in the match. Amazing sequence with a Rainmaker into a backslide counter to set up the Meltzer Driver on Okada but the IWGP heavyweight champion reversed it into a Tombstone Piledriver. Okada rolled out of another Sharpshooter and hit consecutive short-arm lariats before pinning Nick Jackson with the Rainmaker.
20 Best Matches of March #14. Chris Brookes vs. TK Cooper, No Disqualification Match, PROGRESS Chapter 65: Have Some Faith In The Sound
Complete reckless abandon in this match from the vertical suplex on an upwards steel chair to Brookes to the Spanish Fly through the table off the apron. What became a battle over the PROGRESS World championship got personal and TK Cooper even tried to handcuff Brookes. A Kiwi Crusher borrowed from Travis Banks and a Superplex into thumbtacks kept the advantage with Cooper and an elbow with tacks in Brookes mouth took things further. Somehow Cooper kicked out of a Tiger Driver into thumbtacks but the Octopus Stretch forced Cooper into submission.
20 Best Matches of March #13. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi, New Japan Cup
Taichi has had a breakout year already, moving from Junior Heavyweight to the Heavyweight division and almost defeating Tetsuya Naito earlier in the month. Taichi understands the aggression has to be turned up a notch and he did just that with a Powerbomb on the stage to “The Ace.” Tanahashi would fire back with a senton from the second and shows he isn’t slowing down at all at his age. Taichi threw Tanahashi on his neck with a high-angle German Suplex and a Gonzo Bomb! Taichi tried to follow up with high and low kicks but Tanahashi fought back and advanced in the New Japan Cup with High Fly Flow.
20 Best Matches of March #12. Zack Sabre Jr vs. Tetsuya Naito, New Japan Cup
Tetsuya Naito with the usual neckbreakers to set up Destino but Zack Sabre Jr and his submission skills would not allow that on this night. A rematch from the G1 Climax where Naito won, became a nightmare for the leader of Los Ingobernables De Japon when he was trapped in an Octopus Hold, STF and Kneebar. Naito kicked out of the Penalty Kick and hit Gloria. Destino was countered into an inverted Banana Split that Zack Sabre Jr calls Orienteering With Napalm Death and Naito taps out to the shock of many.
20 Best Matches of March #11. “Switchblade” Jay White (c) vs. “Hangman” Adam Page, IWGP United States Championship, NJPW Strong Style Evolved
The best match of “Hangman” Page’s career so far and it went past the thirty minute mark. Really nice to see Jay White fully progressing as “Switchblade,” a man that won’t stay down no matter what you throw at him. White was being set up for the Buckshot Lariat early but would not stay in position for the move until much later, a great touch that puts White on another level. A German Suplex off the apron to Page was a scary moment but Page rebounded to almost beat the champion but White countered The Right Of Passage into Blade Runner to retain the IWGP United States Championship.
20 Best Matches of March #10. Dalton Castle (c) vs. Jay Lethal, ROH world championship, ROH 16th Anniversary
Very smart game plan by both the challenger and the champion in this match with Castle going for trademark Suplexes and Lethal attacking the knee early. Things escalated when Lethal took a bridging German Suplex to the floor and Castle took a suicide dive with ring announcer Bobby Cruise. Lethal never fails to innovate and nails a torture rack with a backflip and The Lethal Injection but Castle kicks out! Bangarang gets countered into a Figure Four Leglock but Castle fought out and retained the ROH World Championship with Bangarang.
20 Best Matches of March #9. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr, New Japan Cup Finals
“The Ace” has an uncanny ability to get the fans involved and provide real emotion to each and every big match that he has and the submissions told a beautiful story with Tanahashi’s well-known injuries. Sabre was all over Tanahashi’s bicep with the Octopus Hold and guillotine choke. Tanahashi knew what was coming though and went to the leg with dragon screw leg whip. When it looked like Tanahashi finally had it won, Sabre struck with another submission. The High Fly Flow was caught into a heel hook but it still wouldn’t be enough. Tanahashi gets caught in the O’Connor roll right into Orienteering With Napalm Death. “The Ace” taps out and we have a first ever European New Japan Cup winner.
20 Best Matches of March #8. Champion vs. champion: Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay, NJPW 46th Anniversary
Okada and Ospreay took to the main event of the 46th Anniversary show for NJPW in a rematch from Rev Pro Global Wars two years ago. Champion vs champion went in the Heavyweight Champions favor and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion wasn’t able to gain a title shot in victory in this non-title match. The action was so smooth in this match that it seemed they had wrestled hundreds of times. Ospreay had the Os-Cutter scouted a couple times but Okada ate his own Rainmaker Lariat as well. Ospreay hit the Decapitator elbow but Okada caught the Os-Cutter into a corkscrew Tombstone Piledriver and The Rainmaker finished a great bout between these CHAOS faction members.
20 Best Matches of March #7. Kota Ibushi vs. YOSHI-HASHI, New Japan Cup
The defining match in the career of YOSHI-HASHI and one of Ibushi’s best all year. In what was just another match in the New Japan Cup became an epic clash between the future stars of NJPW. Ibushi has more of an upside and a bigger arsenal like his amazing moonsault from the rafters into the crowd. YOSHI-HASHI brought lots of fire and even busted out a Canadian Destroyer! “The Golden Star” connected with a straightjacket Suplex and high kicks. Kota almost got surprised with Karma but the pull-back knee put this underrated match away.
20 Best Matches of March #6. Joe Doering vs. Kento Miyahara, AJPW Dream Power Finale
Joe is a brain cancer survivor and a throwback to Stan Hansen with the same heavy blow: The Lariat. After a run as All-Japan Triple Crown Champion, Doering has another grueling match with perennial modern day All-Japan legend Kento Miyahara. Doering deals out a Lariat to start the match and a powerbomb on the floor to further the damage. Miyahara takes a huge Spinebuster but fights back with a running knee strike and deadlift German Suplex. Doering hits the best crossbody block in pro wrestling and headbutts with a Piledriver but it still can’t finish Miyahara. Doering with an awesome fireman’s carry and Lariat combo is again only a two-count! Miyahara comes back and earns the victory with a running knee to the back of the head in the corner and a second deadlift German Suplex. If this isn’t a reminder that there’s still stiff, no frills action in today’s pro wrestling like the days of yesterday, I don’t know what is.
20 Best Matches of March #5. Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr, New Japan Cup
The quarter finals of the New Japan Cup featured another surprise with Kota Ibushi submitting to “The Technical Wizard” but what a fight it was to get there. Strike exchanges lead to big near falls, a wind-up Lariat by Kota and The European Clutch by Zack Sabre Jr. Two Penalty Kicks only made Kota Ibushi more physical in the end. Ibushi would not tap out to the Octopus Stretch. Kota grabbed the wrists to set up the Knee strike but Sabre tied up Ibushi and strikes to the head forced Ibushi out of the New Japan Cup.
20 Best Matches of March #4. wXw Unified championship: Ilja Dragunov (c) vs. WALTER vs. David Starr vs. Travis Banks
Dragunov finally earned the recognition of being wXw Unified champion at 16 Carat Gold and on the We Love Wrestling tour he had to prove it in a Four-Way match. The strikes came quick and heavy from all four with WALTER winning out with vicious chops. The crowd was hot for the champion but Walter got in the most offense and Starr almost won the title with a Brainbuster over the knee. Ilja traded Lariat’s with Starr until the Torpedo Moscow uppercut put “The Product” away.
20 Best Matches of March #3. GHC Heavyweight Championship: Kenoh (C) vs. Takashi Sugiura, NOAH The Great Voyage
Kenoh has become the standard bearer for intense matches in Pro Wrestling NOAH but the veteran tried to take the GHC Heavyweight championship away with a top rope Superplex and a Boston Crab, attempting to destroy the back of the champion. Kenoh would hit the Penalty Kick and high kicks that have won him matches by knockout but Sugiura got back up every time. Sugiura survives the top rope double-stomp and wins back the title with a second Olympic Slam and Guillotine choke.
20 Best Matches of March #2. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Michael Elgin, New Japan Cup
Michael Elgin and Tomohiro Ishii had a match that felt even longer than the thirty minute duration and that’s a good thing in this case. These guys could have fought all night, Ishii kicked out of a top rope Powerbomb and Elgin got right up from two Brain Busters. The never say die attitude of both men would have any fan on their feet with this nonstop physicality. Ishii was sent to the corner with a buckle bomb but he came right back with an enzuigiri! “The Stone Pitbull” was finally finished with a half-and-half suplex, spinning back fist and Burning Hammer in succession.
20 Best Matches of March #1. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) vs. The Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi), NJPW Strong Style Evolved
The story has played out on Being The Elite for months leading up to this match and it made investing in the drama that much easier. Matt Jackson’s bad back was out to the test for this forty minute long match and he still managed to pull off classic Young Bucks offense. The Golden Lovers made sure they were hitting on all cylinders, almost winning the match with The Golden Shower (double 450 Splashes) and The Last Ride from “The Golden Star.” There were German Suplexes on the apron, a broken table, and a huge near fall from the One Winged Angel. Matt Jackson told Omega to finish it and that still wasn’t enough to finish the match so The Golden Trigger (double knee strikes) put this first time tag team bout in the books. If there is ever a rematch, good luck topping this tag team classic.