We knew a month like this would come eventually, it had to. Granted, it took three months into 2015 and this project for it to happen but it happened. Hey, let’s look on the bright side — there were still some pretty solid matches!

The big problem with April was the depth, simply not a large number of top-tier matches, as well as a lack of true Match of the Year contenders. While I personally enjoyed all of the matches that made our Top 10, I can’t see many of them (save for maybe the Dragon Gate tag) making most people’s end of the year Match of the Year list.

After a January loaded with shows from across the world including Royal Rumble and WrestleKingdom 9, a surprisingly deep February and a March filled with WrestleMania weekend events, there wasn’t much to choose from in April. NJPW’s solid Invasion Attack event gave us some of our top matches, Lucha Underground finally rounded into form in-ring as their first season came to a close and DDT added two contenders from their Max Bump 2015 show but otherwise, April was a wasteland of major shows with great matches.

The real story in April is the continued dominance of Kota Ibushi. If this man isn’t your runaway favorite for Wrestler of the Year, you may need your head examined. April gives Kota Ibushi his second first-place finish and sixth top-five finish in our Match of the Month project. Ibushi grabbed the top spot in our January poll, finished second and third in February, third in March and now in April finished first and second.
Thanks as always to everyone who voted in this month’s poll as well as those who sent nominations for matches.For those new to our Match of the Month project, please check out the introductory post for details on how we determine rankings, who votes in the poll and more. -Rich Kraetsch

AJ Styles vs Kota Ibushi
April 5, 2015
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Invasion Attack

H2H Results: 324-86 (79.0%)

It seems like so long ago that this match took place, but it was barely one month ago that Kota Ibushi sold out Sumo Hall against AJ Styles for the IWGP Championship. Nobody thought Ibushi would beat Styles here, but that didn’t hinder the heat and anticipation for this match one bit. The two delivered big on the main stage with all the hype behind it. Dave Meltzer gave this match ****¾, while VOW’s Joe Lanza was nearly as high on the match at ****¼. This match deserves to be considered the best match of April 2015, and is a must-see in your Match of the Year voting. This was an all-around wonderful presentation, and it shouldn’t be forgotten. –Rob McCarron (@ShakeThemRopes)

H2H Analysis: April was a unique month for this exercise. For the first time, the #1 match actually had a losing record against another match. Styles/Ibushi finished 10-13 against the Dragon Gate tag. Besides that, the rest of their results fell right in line. Styles/Ibushi also pitched a shutout against two matches, the Shimmer 8-woman tag and Gargano/Richards. -Josh Engleman (@JoshEngleman)


Kota Ibushi vs. HARASHIMA
April 29, 2015
Max Bump 2015

H2H Results: 248-95 (72.2%)

While I enjoyed the Ibushi/HARASHIMA showdown in February (a match that finished third in our February MOTM voting) a bit more, this match is absolutely worthy of its spot near the top of this month’s list. Much of the match was worked at a very un-Ibushi pace, and focused on HARASHIMA attacking the mid-section of Ibushi, not unlike their match in February. Ibushi gets a few of his trademark spots including a beautiful moonsault from the stage as well as the 2nd rope German Suplex he’s perfected in 2015. Eventually, HARASHIMA was too much for Ibushi, winning back the K-OD Openweight Championship he lost at February’s Saitama Super DDT 2015. If Kota Ibushi isn’t your runaway winner for Most Outstanding Wrestler (and hell, maybe Wrestler of the Year), you don’t deserve a ballot. One masterful performance after another  — even if I’d give a little more credit to HARASHIMA on this one. -Rich Kraetsch (@voiceswrestling)

H2H Analysis: Ibushi/HARASHIMA has a fairly standard breakdown for its matchups. Its only losing record was to Styles/Ibushi. It did not, however, shut anyone out. -Josh Engleman


Jimmy Susumu/Jimmy Kagetora vs Masato Yoshino/Shachihoko BOY
April 9
Dragon Gate
The Gate of Passion

H2H Results: 225-109 (67.4%)

When guys have so many matches against each other they can sometimes run together. So why watch this one? Because everything familiar is done to perfection. Yoshino flying across the ring at warp speed. The dickish glee on Yoshino’s face as he uses the drawn-out arm wringers to toy with Susumu’s injured arm.  Susumu being so manly hitting lariats with his injured arm that every woman in the crowd had to shave their chests afterwards. Kagetora’s guided missile dive from the ring to the floor, moving as though shot out of a cannon towards Yoshino. The pinfall coming from a brilliant rollup rather than a devastating finishing hold, befitting of a fight where both teams were right on the precipice of victory and neither could truly vanquish the other. – Sean Flynn (@spiffie6123)

H2H Analysis: I’ve already mentioned that this match was able to take down Styles/Ibushi in their H2H battle. The other interesting tidbit for this one was the complete destruction of #6 Ishii & Irie vs. Sekimoto & Okabayashi, 11-3. -Josh Engleman

Guest Writeup: A match where three of the four participants took turns looking like the best wrestler on the planet. The fourth guy brought the HEART and the DRAMA. All combined together, it was a classic tag team bout. –@Alan4L


King Cuerno/Cage/Texano Jr. vs. Mack/Killshot/Big Ryck vs. Ivelisse/Son of Havoc/Angelico
April 22
Lucha Underground
Lucha Underground on El Rey

H2H Results: 240-146 (62.3%)

This story and the team of Ivelisse/Son of Havoc/Angelico is so comparable to The Breakfast Club — thrown together by Dario Cueto as some sick social experiment. Three wrestlers who never associated with each other anywhere outside the ring, or even in it. As they continued through the tournament, they began to realize maybe they weren’t so different from each other after all. Each had a common goal of winning the titles, instead of harassing a frustrated high school principal in unison. When this match got chaotic, they thrived and won the titles because chaos was all these three knew. – Lawrence O’Brien

H2H Analysis: This match was incredibly unique, in that it had a losing record against five other matches, but was still able to finish #4 thanks to the strength versus the bottom tier, specifically a 22-1 drubbing of Athena/Yim. -Josh Engleman

Angélico, Ivelisse & Son of Havoc vs. The Crew
April 22
Lucha Underground
Lucha Underground on El Rey

H2H Results: 235-156 (60.0%)

The Breakfast Club of Angelico/Ivelisse/Son of Havoc hadn’t done enough to impress Dario Cueto and he refused to give them the Trios titles unless they went through one more test: Cueto’s cronies The Crew. Once again, in the face of adversity, the dysfunctional trio rose together. They beat The Crew in their own street brawl type of environment, highlighted by one of the most amazing spots of the year by far in Angelico diving off the top of Cueto’s office all the way back down to the ring. Not to mention, Ivelisse had broken her ankle in the previous match and held off The Crew on one leg. What a complete story this saga told. – Lawrence O’Brien

Yuji Okabayashi and Daisuke Sekimoto vs Keisuke Ishii & Shigehiro Irie
April 29
Max Bump 2015

H2H Results: 196-133 (59.4%)

One thought permeated my mind while watching this: Poor Keisuke Ishii. I thought we would get Irie and Strong BJ in a battle of hoss behemoths, but Ishii working from underneath while getting in hope spots and taking ungodly amounts of punishment was enthralling. The fans clung to the hope that Team Dream Futures would unseat the dominant KO-D tag champs but Sekimoto silenced those them. Great build throughout with a last 2 minutes that was absolutely mental in the best possible way. Strong BJ has made me want a rematch with Happy Motels and now I want a rematch with Team Dream Futures. Not shabby work from all 4 gentlemen involved. -Rob Barry


Young Bucks vs Roppongi Vice
April 5
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Invasion Attack 2015

H2H Results: 221-152 (59.1%)

Really, you should probably go out of your way to check out any Young Bucks tag on a big NJPW show. This one, even moreso.It debuted Beretta & Romero as Roppongi Vice on a big stage. Beretta & Romero are night and day better than Kozlov & Romero were at the end, and I’ll go so far as to say Romero looks like a brand new person now being a part of this refreshed tag scene. It wasn’t the best match on Invasion Attack, but it was top 3. That really isn’t a knock, as NJPW cards have been so loaded over the last couple of years that a top 3 performance is great in itself. –Rob McCarron


Drago vs. Prince Puma
April 29
Lucha Underground
Lucha Undergrond on El Rey

H2H Results: 207-175 (54.33%)

Given that Lucha Underground feels as closer to a comic book than anything this side of CHIKARA, I wouldn’t take the “career at stake” implications too seriously. Drago and Prince Puma had themselves a good match. In a bigger month, I don’t think this match makes the list, but it certainly deserves its spot in April 2015. The first 10 minutes of the match felt like they were really building to something truly special, but were usurped by a ref bump and a run-in that were both telegraphed from miles away.

This is a good match, and you should seek it out, but Lucha Underground is both capable of and has shown us so much more. -Alex Wendland

Kenny Omega vs Mascara Dorada
April 5
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Invasion Attack 2015

H2H Results: 220-193 (53.2%)

Apologies to Kenny Omega, who put in a great performance, but this was the Mascara Dorada show. Dorada wanted to show New Japan and the world that he deserves more featured singles matches and boy did he ever show he belonged. Dorada wowed the crowd with his super smooth high-flying offense. For those aware of Dorada’s work in Mexico, this may be business as usual, but for people new to him, prepared to be wowed. -Rich Kraetsch


Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe
April 29
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Wrestling Hinokuni

H2H Results: 190-187 (50.44%)

Unlike Styles vs Ibushi, which had incredible hype going in and somehow managed to meet expectations, Ishii vs Makabe had a bit less hype but didn’t quite meet it. I think Ishii spoiled a lot of us last year with his groundbreaking strong style performances. This match was worthy of re-watches, but it wasn’t the best Ishii performance we’ve ever seen, and likely won’t be the best this year. Makabe, in the end, got his championship back, and we wait to see what is in store for the NEVER Championship now that Makabe has his grip on the belt again. –Rob McCarron


Outside of the Top 10 (Unranked & Not Listed in Order)

Slim J v Fred Yehi

H2H Results: 79-185 (30.1%)

Arisa Nakajima vs. Kayoko Haruyama

H2H Results: 69-182 (27.5%)

Bad Luck Fale vs. Kazuchika Okada

H2H Results: 179-182  (49.7%)

Athena vs. Mia Yim

H2H Results: 70-205 (25.6%)

Aja Kong, Kansai, Kimura & Ozaki vs. Skater, Nakagawa, Matsumoto & Ohata

H2H Results: 49-216 (18.5%)

Davey Richards vs. Johnny Gargano

H2H Results: 69-206 (25.2%)

TJ Perkins vs. Timothy Thatcher

H2H Results: 116-170 (40.5%)

Big Show vs. Roman Reigns

H2H Results: 118-277 (29.9%)

The Others (Did not receive three or more nominations)

Cedric Alexander vs Michael Elgin (ROH – April 18)
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Roderick Strong (PWG – April 3)
Kidd & Cesaro vs. New Day (WWE – April 26)
Virus vs. Avisman (Chilanga Mask – April 12)
Taka Michinoku vs. Hiro Tonai (K-DOJO – April 12)
Go Shiozaki vs. Takao Omori (AJPW – April 5)
Koguma vs. Mayu Iwatani (STARDOM April 23)
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Roderick Strong (PWG – April 3)
Tommy End vs. Tommaso Ciampa – (AAW – April 10)
Texano, Pentagon, Dark Cuervo vs. Parka, Psycho Clown, Angelico (AAA – April 2)
Dragon Lee vs. Virus (CMLL – April 5)
Volador vs. La Sombra (CMLL – April 10)
ACH, Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett vs. Johnny Gargano & OI4K (AAW – April 10)
Eddie Kingston vs Ethan Page (AAW – April 10)
Biff Busick vs. Roderick Strong (Evolve – April 18)
Shingo/Tozawa vs Kzy/Hulk (Dragon Gate – April 9)
Kaz & Kondo vs Team 246 (W1 – April 1)
Super Shisa vs El Lindaman (DG – April 9)
Mike Bailey vs Jonathan Gresham (CZW – April 11)
Kairi Hojo vs. Haruka Kato (STARDOM – April 23)
Kengo Mashimo vs Yuji Hino (K-Dojo)
Go Shiozaki vs. Kengo Mashimo (AJPW – April 19)
Sami Zayn vs. Rhyno (NXT – April 15)