With so many events and matches taking place last week and weekend, we asked our writers and podcasters what their favorite was. As you can see, at least one stood out to a lot of them.
NXT Tag Champions The Authors of Pain vs. The Revival vs. DIY | NXT TakeOver
Paul Fontaine: My favorite match from Mania weekend would not have been my pick going in. I was considering skipping TakeOver since there was so much other stuff on over the weekend, but I decided to watch it and definitely made the right call.
This three-way tag match was the best tag team match I’ve seen in a very long time. It couldn’t have been any more perfect and The Authors of Pain in particular showed me way more than I thought they had. It’s nice to see that The Revival earned a call up to the main roster and I’m excited to see what’s in store for them over the next lfew months.
Mike DellaCamera: My unabashed love for The Revival is no secret, and I can’t wait to see what they get to do on Monday (or maybe Tuesday) nights, but this match completely sold me on the current NXT champs. Sure, it helps they were in the ring with four great hands who could drag an average to good match out of almost anyone, but man do these guys have the monster heel thing down.
Their moves are fast and sudden, and most importantly, they look like they hurt. I swear you could hear the ring almost give when they handed out their tandem powerbombs to The Revival. All this doesn’t even mention DIY who are right there with the #TopGuys in terms of tag team quality wrestling. The best of the best might have moved on, but this match proved that there is still plenty left in the NXT tag team scene.
Ryan Frederick: I’m still catching up on everything from the week/weekend, but the NXT tag title match was the favorite of everything that I saw. It had great storytelling with the long-time rivals DIY and The Revival teaming up to try and take out the dominant team, but all six men shined. Johnny Gargano is great at playing the underdog babyface, The Revival are a great duo who are getting that main roster run now, and the Authors are coming into their own and had their best performance. It was a great match and the most fun I had watching this weekend.
Joey Janela vs. Marty Jannetty | Joey Janela’s Spring Break | Jeremy Peeples
WrestleMania weekend was packed with action of all possible types, and while NXT TakeOver and Mania got all the attention, the real highlight of the weekend for me was Joey Janela’s Spring Break on FloSlam. This crazy event saw the Invisible Man wrestle, the return of Dink, Glacier engaging in Mortal Kombat in a battle royal, and a main event that defied description and logic. But, this was a blast to see.
In a match against Janela, it was obvious Marty Jannetty can’t do much anymore, but I was amazed to see him get up on the ropes and at least try to work like he could 25 years ago, even with his ankles as mangled as they are. His Canadian Destroyer was impressive in theory, but Janela’s piledriver of one referee on another during a series of ref bumps was tremendous and the funniest spot of the entire weekend.
It wasn’t a technically great match by any means, but much like Hulk Hogan vs. Sting over five years ago, sometimes smoke and mirrors can combine to create a great overall experience.
The South Pacific Power Trip vs. Jaka & Chris Dickinson | WWN Supershow | Alan4L
My “favourite” match of the week might not be what I’d consider the best match of the week but as someone who likes seeing young wrestlers step up and seize an opportunity, my pick was from the WWN Supershow.
SPPT had already had a huge performance the day before on the PROGRESS show, but that was aided by a lot of fans in attendance who knew them. The crowd here was smaller and less aware of what they brought to the table. Well, they showed them! The best thing about this was that Jaka & Dickinson were determined not to allow it be a one-team showcase. They were incredible and produced arguably their best performance ever. This was sensational tag team wrestling.
WWE Universal Champion Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar | WrestleMania | Joseph Currier
During a week where Keith Lee became a legitimate independent wrestling star, I thought the best match was Lee vs. Donovan Dijak at EVOLVE 81. The matchup was perfect. Both are impossibly athletic for their size, and they were out to prove themselves during a transitional period in their careers after leaving Ring of Honor. They were almost too ambitious with the stuff they tried, but everything ended up working.
Dijak attempted a senton to the outside at one point with Lee mostly catching him as they fell backwards into the barricade before transitioning it into an apron powerbomb. It was a showcase for both Lee and Dijak as they put in star-making performances.
But that probably wasn’t my favorite match of the week. That came at WrestleMania 33 with Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. I’ve seemingly always been aware of the existence of professional wrestling, but the first time I remember ever seeing a weekly TV show was when Goldberg beat “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan for the WCW title on Nitro.
I’ve been irrationally invested in Goldberg ever since, and watching him put in such a great showing at WrestleMania reminded me why I became a fan. It was shocking to see him take so many bumps at his age. And even if the match fell short of five minutes, it was legitimately one of the best of Goldberg’s career.
NXT Champion Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura | NXT TakeOver | Zach Dominello
My favourite Mania Week match was Roode vs. Nakamura because it signaled the end of Nakamura’s ungodly long run in NXT. It also didn’t hurt that it was a very well worked, meat-and-potatoes affair, devoid of endless finisher kickouts. The match was well-paced and the finish was built up perfectly. The selling of Nakamura’s knee was logical, as opposed to Seth Rollins’, and well done.
I can’t say I truly enjoyed Nakamura’s run in NXT. The feuds with Samoa Joe and Roode were solid, but every moment he was there after his initial match with Sami Zayn felt like time and talent wasted. It also brought out a somewhat lackadaisical side to Nakamura’s in-ring work. It was never bad, just uninspired at times. Hopefully being brought up to the main roster will be the spark that brings the life back into his work.
SAnitY vs. Roderick Strong, Kassius Ohno, Tye Dillinger & Ruby Riot | NXT TakeOver | Josh Nason
With nods to Goldberg vs. Lesnar and the Raw tag team ladder match from WrestleMania, and the NXT TakeOver tag title match, this eight-person tag that opened up the TakeOver show found a place in my heart and never let go. It could have been because of the clear face vs. heel delineation or the teams actually working together or the crowd or the fresh faces or a combination of all of the above. On all levels, this match worked for me and was the perfect TakeOver opener.
It’s fun when really experienced talent gets to do their thing and Eric Young, Dillinger, Ohno, and Strong were on full display, clearly having fun throughout. Nikki Cross and Riot added another dynamic as they make their way in the division while Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe had thier moments as well. I’m a sucker for factions and to see SAnitY get their hands raised at the end ensured they’re here to stay for a while.