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FloSlam Fifteen: Matches to watch from WrestleMania weekend


WrestleMania weekend has grown to mammoth proportions, and there are so many shows to choose from! Since Thursday night, I've watched more than fifty hours of wrestling that happened in that time period, live or on VOD.

That's a lot of stuff to sift through, so I figured I'd use my platform here to make some recommendations. So I took a look at the eight shows that aired live on FloSlam and I picked two matches from nearly all of them that I think should make your cut.

As a result, I don't intend for this to be an exhaustive listing of The Good Matches from the weekend, because honestly, it was a really good weekend, and on FloSlam, I can count on one hand the number of matches I found didn't deliver to the standard I had hoped for them.

And on the other WWN shows, on the shows presented at WrestleCon (which you can consult this week's Sermon if you'd like some recommendations from!), and even on the smaller shows that weren't on my radar, great matches were had! But I had to cut things down somehow, and "broadcast on FloSlam" seemed like a reasonable line to set.

Some I’ll have more to say and some less, but without further ado, and in no particular order, let's get at it, folks.

Drew Galloway vs. Matt Riddle (Evolve 80)

Short and sweet, Galloway/Riddle II kicked our weekend off in style, opening up Evolve 80. Hard-hitting from the jump as Drew Galloway made his best effort to undo his loss from Evolve 79, and it lead to a very satisfying sprint of a match and set the stage nicely for their "I Quit" match later this month.

Dominic Garrini, Jon Cruz, & Snoop Strikes vs. Dr. Daniel C. Rockingham & Four Star Heroes (Chris Castro & Matt Knicks) vs. "Colossal" Mike Law, Travis "Flip" Gordon, & Wheeler Yuta vs. the Hierarchy (Adrian Armour, Chip Day, & Murder One) (ACW Open Season 2017)

From the first day of our weekend to the last! This is, simply put, a hoot. Of these guys, only Travis Gordon and Jon Cruz (as Serpentico) were booked on any other WWN or WrestleCon show as far as I can tell, so for the remaining eleven, this was their one shot to impress the world outside Orlando on the biggest wrestling weekend of the year. And boy did they!

It's fast-paced high octane action in the WrestleMania weekend tradition going back to the legendary Dragon Gate six-man tag from the first weekend Ring of Honor ran a show in the shadow of the Grandest Stage of Them All. And, frankly, one of my favorites of the weekend. Seeing this match made watching wrestling on WrestleMania morning entirely worth it.

Fred Yehi vs. Jon Davis vs. Matt Riddle vs. Parrow vs. Timothy Thatcher vs. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams (WWN Championship Battle of the Champions Elimination Match) (Mercury Rising 2017)

Speaking of favorites, this WWN Championship eliminator is way up there for the week. Impeccably booked, with big-but-lesser-known Parrow getting five-on-one treatment to make him look like a world-beater, to Timothy Thatcher eliminated early to keep fans who are still living in fear of his Evolve title reign on-board, to Jon Davis nearly overcoming Catch Point's odds single-handedly, it started extremely well.

And from there it only got better, as Williams and Yehi took advantage of Riddle's injured neck to try and squeeze him out early, only for Hot Sauce to turn around and catch his fellow tag team champion with a schoolboy pin in the spirit of Catch Point's "whatever wins you the match" philosophy.

As the match settled down into its inevitable singles conclusion, it got even better, as our Bro put in a world-class performance selling being down but not quite out and Tracy played his part equally, viciously pummeling him the whole way. It's a formula that could have easily gotten excessive, but it's a credit to both men that they kept me on the ride the whole way, captivated.

Just excellent, folks.

Keith Lee vs. Lio Rush (Joey Janela’s Spring Break)

Talk of excellence this weekend, and these two men's names better be on your lips. Keith Lee and Lio Rush killed it every opportunity they had, and their match against each other on the funnest show of the week is certainly no different. Both are incredibly versatile but perhaps best suited to the roles they played here, Lee as the intelligent giant primed and ready to dominate and Lio as the never-say-die warrior fighting an uphill battle with speed and cunning.

It may not have been either man's best match this weekend, but it is VERY representative.

Donovan Dijak vs. Keith Lee (Evolve 81)

Which brings us to what I feel is Keith Lee's best match this weekend, conveniently enough. And, perhaps, the best match of the weekend, period.

Big men, in pro wrestling, are generally not supposed to fly. They're certainly not supposed to spend most of a match flying around each other. And it's absolutely not supposed to turn out great when they do, but Lee and Dijak broke all the rules here.

And critically, they got away with it because each and every flip and twist had weight. Far from just being a collection of spots, they had meaning. Suicide dives, tornillos, flip piledrivers, moonsaults, everything that happened, happened at the right time, in the right spot, and with purpose.

This one is pro wrestling at its best, folks.

Hell Monkey & Su Yung vs. Power Rangeroo & Silver Potato (KBB Tandem Titles Tower of Terror Match) (Kaiju Big Battel Civil Wars)

And now for something completely different!

I couldn't very well leave Kaiju Big Battel off the list entirely, and fortunately amongst all the fun they delivered a legitimately compelling matchup, with a little bit of help from Su Yung.

First, an explanation of the Tower of Terror match concept. You see, there's a tower, in the ring, it's kind of terrifying, and they put a red... thing... on it, the retrieval of which wins the match. Yep, it's an "on a pole" match!

The story going in is that the Tandem Titles were vacated, and Silver Potato (who is a silver potato) and Power Rangeroo (who is a hammer-wielding, tutu-wearing Power Ranger type) are set to challenge Hell Monkey (who is a one-eyed monkey from hell) and a partner for the vacant belts.

Hell Monkey does not have a partner, and he's given three chances to call one in, lest he forfeit. His first choice comes up empty. He wastes his second choice trying to call Curry Man. But finally, Su Yung (who is a bloody undead bride) picks up, and we have a match! A match where pizza is used as a weapon, early and often.

Saying anything more would ruin it, folks.

Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) vs. South Pacific Power Trip (TK Cooper & Travis Banks) (Mercury Rising 2017)

So let's continue with tag team action and go to one of my other picks for absolute highlight of the weekend. I'm not one hundred percent sure what lit a fire under the South Pacific Power Trip, but boy howdy has it paid dividends. They've gone from a fun undercard act to legitimately one of the best tag teams in the world.

TK Cooper brings the power and the flight, Banks is an incredible hot tag, and Dahlia Black's work as a manager adds a whole extra dimension to their matches. They're really excellent now, it's incredible. And Catch Point's Doom Patrol are no slouches either, delivering consistently quality tag matches in Evolve of late, a promotion never exactly known for the strength of its tag team wrestling.

With their similar dynamics (where Dickinson is a brawler and Jaka more technically oriented), it felt natural that they'd have a good match here, but exactly how good shocked me.

Janelope (Joey Janela & Penelope Ford) vs. World's Cutest Tag Team (Candice LeRae & Joey Ryan) (Beyond Caffeine)

While we're talking about tag team action, I couldn't very well leave off this fine intergender match, could I? The World's Cutest Tag Team have long been the standard-bearers for intergender tag action, but in Janelope, they may have found equals.

Janela isn't as sleazy as Ryan, but he lives up to his moniker as a bad, bad boy, and Ford holds up her end of the bargain very well herself, taking wild bumps (if you haven't seen the cartwheel spear from their match against Da Hit Squad yet, check it out!) and building sympathy until Joey can clear house.

If for no other reason than the generational mirror match aspect, this one should be on your list.

Aaron Epic & Tripp Cassidy vs. Roscoe Eat Lisa (Mikey McFinnegan & Zakk Sawyers) vs. State Line (Damien Angel & Eddie Taurus) vs. Submission Squad (Davey Vega & Gary Jay) vs. the Carnies (Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy) vs. Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude & Rob Killjoy) (Tag Team Gauntlet Match) (ACW Open Season 2017)

And a final stop in the tag leagues, this one made the list on the strength of its final act. Two of the south's fastest-rising tag teams, the Carnies and the Ugly Ducklings, did battle in the noonday sun and, as you expect from them, they tore the house down.

Keith Lee vs. Ricochet (Evolve 80)

Keith Lee's incredible weekend started here in an excellent David-and-Goliath match that pitted the Limitless one against the Future of Flight. It took everything Ricochet had in the tank plus a mistake from Lee to score him the victory, and it was executed excellently.

And, as the only match in the Keith Lee Challenge Series where he took a loss, it opens the door to possibility. Ricochet as the mountain Keith Lee has to climb, refining his game, ironing every imperfection out before winning the Evolve World Championship?

Count me in.

ACH, Keith Lee, Michael Elgin, & Sammy Guevara vs. Uncle John's Friends (AR Fox, Dave Crist, Jake Crist, & Sami Callihan) (FIP Establish Dominance 2017)

These Uncle John's Friends tag matches have been regular highlights of the new-look FIP since the first show in January, and this one is no different. And with the added star power of BIG MIKE and ACH (who busts out his best John Cena impersonation at one point!), this one is extra fun.

Dan "the Beast" Severn vs. Matt Riddle (Joey Janela’s Spring Break)

This was, going into the weekend, one of my most anticipated matches, but frankly, I wasn't expecting a whole lot. Like, slap exchange, suplex, suplex, Bromission, done in like four minutes, tops. Cool, but not really all that much to say for it beyond "Matt Riddle and Dan Severn wrestled!"

But what I got was nearly nine minutes of pure, compelling shoot-style pro wrestling action as past and future collided. And, as the match progressed, the realization that Joey Janela's Spring Break wasn't just a fun show, wasn't just a gimmick, but was legitimately a great pro wrestling show.

Darby Allin vs. "All Ego" Ethan Page (Anything Goes Match) (Evolve 81)

And this wasn't even technically on the card initially! Sure, you could see it coming given that Page had nothing to do, Allin issued a YouTube video showing that he wasn't as missing as people thought, and WWN officials even said they had wanted to book the match before Darby "disappeared", but none of that matters here.

What matters is that Darby Allin absolutely put his body on the line here to an occasionally uncomfortable degree, like a greatest hits of every terrible thing that's happened to him in Evolve and then some. Press slammed to the outside? Yep. Lawn Dart into the wall? Yep. Chair around the neck and into the ringpost? Yep. Press slam through tables? Yep. Package piledriver through chairs? Yep. Balcony dive wearing a trash can for some reason? Yep. Diving splash off a giant ladder to win it? Yep.

Like Mick Foley in 1998, Darby's making decisions now that his future self may well end up paying for. But right now, it makes him stand out something fierce, a daredevil without equal, and we'll likely look back at this as being the night his career took flight.

Jon Davis vs. Martin Stone (c) (FIP Florida Heritage Championship) (FIP Establish Dominance 2017)

The third in their series, Stone and Davis have been tearing it down stiff shot for wrenching submission hold for months now and this was no exception. Fighting into the crowd in the Florida heat for a significant portion of the match and taking big risks on the pavement really kicked it up a notch.

Donovan Dijak vs. Matt Riddle (Beyond Caffeine)

Beyond has no titles, and are proud of it, but this was surely a title match in every aspect but for the lack of a shiny belt. Two men, evenly matched with equal claim to prominence putting it all on the line and making magic in a match six months in the making.

And it felt like it, with an electric atmosphere from the jump, with officials needing to keep the two men separated. Both men clip each other with finishing level maneuvers within the first ninety seconds and it's on, an indie main event in the best sense of the term-- big moves, big counters, intense, non-stop action.

My god, the counters! There is, it seems, not a single signature maneuver from either man here that doesn't end up countered in some new, interesting, and exciting way.

There you have it, folks

Fifteen matches to check out on your FloSlam subscription if you haven't already. And if you have and you agree, disagree, or just want add to this, head on below to the comments why don't you?

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