WrestleMania week 2021 is in the books and it was one of historic proportions for the presence of LGBTQ pro wrestlers. Nearly all of the dozens of events held between Wednesday and Sunday featured an LGBTQ combatant, delivering more outstanding performances than the mind (or eyes) could handle. It’s the best problem to have.

As the pro wrestling world comes down from the collective high all of these showcases brought, let’s take the opportunity to relive the 25 best WrestleMania week matches featuring LGBTQ talent that will haunt our thoughts in the best way until next year.

Here’s the criteria:

  • There must be at least one LGBTQ participant in the selected match.
  • They showed the hell out.

Pup Collar Match: Billy Dixon vs. AJ Gray (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FiteTV)

Rivaling the stellar Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks WrestleMania Night 1 main event in emotion and significance, Dixon and Gray’s bloody war to close EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch encapsulated the mentality Dixon expressed heading into the match. His blazing promo at GCW For The Culture fanned the match’s flames as well. Nobody slept on this one.

Soul on a Pole Match: EFFY vs. Ace Perry (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FiteTV)

The premise sounds wacky in the best way, but Ace Perry’s two-year odyssey to reclaim his soul from EFFY resulted in a match packed with heart, tough love and a rallying cry for anyone who has felt overlooked.

IWTV Independent Wrestling Title: Edith Surreal vs. Lee Moriarty (IWTV Family Reunion, IWTV)

After winning Butch vs. Gore’s Cassandro Cup, Edith Surreal kicked off her week with a technical masterpiece against reigning IWTV Independent Wrestling champion Lee Moriarty. From her evocative entrance to the conclusion of the two’s mat wrestling clinic, Surreal set herself up as even more of a star heading into her packed slate.

Faye Jackson’s Grey Sweatpants Battle Royal (Allie Kat’s Real Hot Girl Shit, FiteTV)

I don’t know if words can truly capture the spectacle of Faye Jackson’s uninhibited sendoff from pro wrestling. It has to be seen to be believed, and there is plenty to take in if you’re just trying to see something. (This passage is meant to be read with Ginuwine’s “Pony” playing in the background)

Allie Kat vs. Billie Starkz (Allie Kat’s Real Hot Girl Shit, FiteTV)

Allie Kat chose the perfect opponent for her namesake show in the leader of the Big Starkz Brand. Both women brought the fight in only the way close friends could and shone brighter than the unforgiving Tampa sun.

Jamie Senegal vs. Ace Austin (No Peace Underground MurderMania, IWTV)

Part deathmatch, part striking duel, all thoroughly intriguing. Austin, the reigning Impact X-Division champion, stepped into Senegal’s hardcore domain and the two delivered something beautifully unique for the No Peace crowd.

Brooke Valentine vs. Willow Nightingale (Allie Kat’s Real Hot Girl Shit, FiteTV)

Twelve hours after teaming up as Thick & Juicy 2.0, Valentine and Nightingale faced down one another in a battle of two powerful women. Underhanded tactics aside, these two delivered a fight worthy of many, many cartwheels.

Dark Sheik vs. AC Mack (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FiteTV)

Dark Sheik and AC Mack make a habit out of stealing whatever show they’re on. So, naturally, there is only one outcome when they stepped into the ring against one another.

Edith Surreal vs. Devon Monroe (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FiteTV)

The same can be said for Surreal and Monroe. Both delivered standout matches against Dark Sheik at previous Big Gay branded events, and this battle proved even further that they were worthy of that celebration beyond their common opponent.

Dark Sheik vs. Holidead (Allie Kat’s Real Hot Girl Shit, FiteTV)

What do you get when you place two soulstealers in the same ring? A devilishly grand battle between two of the most intriguing women in modern independent wrestling.

AC Mack vs. Myron Reed (Action Wrestling/SUP Have Fun Be Sad, IWTV)

The former Action Wrestling champion Mack and current Paradigm Pro Wrestling champion Reed delivered one the week’s best showcases of pure athleticism. We stan a Kidman reversal in this house.

Angelus Layne vs. Nolan Edward (Action Wrestling/SUP Have Fun Be Sad, IWTV)

The match may have been a bloody, unsanctioned affair, but Angelus Layne’s first true WrestleMania week was well worth the wait. She and Edward utilized anything and everything in this hardcore, starmaking performance.

JD Drake vs. MV Young (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FiteTV)

A stiff battle with strike exchanges that go beyond eliciting winces from the audience, Young and Drake simply beat the mess out of one another as a means of Young proving himself against one of pro wrestling’s veteran standouts.

Boy Butter Slippery Scramble: Jared Evans vs. Ashton Starr vs. Allie Kat vs. Killian McMurphy vs. Frontman Jah-C vs. The Whisper (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FiteTV)

The name certainly is a chuckler, but the opener on EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch delivered far more stride than glide. This six-person affair left audiences wanting singles bouts between all involved.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Title: Natalya/Tamina vs. Shayna Baszler/Nia Jax (WWE WrestleMania Night 2, Peacock)

The only WWE match to feature an out LGBTQ performer (Baszler) certainly left its mark. From Tamina feeling some much overdo love to Baszler destroying Natalya, this match was the perfect remedy for a somewhat stagnant WWE women’s tag team division.

Twink Hunter Tag Team Gauntlet: Parrow/Odinson vs. Dillon McQueen/Kenzie Paige, Jai Vidal/Parada, Tyler Klein/Calvin Couture, Gregory Iron/Shane Black, Eric Taylor.Mikey Montgomery (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FiteTV)

Parrow and Odinson are simply beasts. After multiple deathmatches earlier in the week, the two got to have some fun throwing around some the best tag teams, LGBTQ and otherwise, in between Parrow’s bouts of distraction at all the alluring talent in the ring.

Mr. Grim vs. Timmy Lou Retton (Generation Championship Wrestling We Run This Town, Titlematch)

Donning his fresh pansexual Pride gear, Mr. Grim unleashed his mix of power and agility against a fitting opponent in Retton. High-flying and bone-rattling, these two put on perhaps the best match from the Generation Championship Wrestling docket.

AC Mack/MV Young vs. Jordan Blade/Eel O’Neal vs. Ashton Starr/Jared Evans vs. Erica Leigh/Boar (IWTV Family Reunion, IWTV)

Butch vs. Gore brough pure chaos to the IWTV Family Reunion with this match. A mix of established tag teams and contentious duos, the action was fast and loud. But what did you expect with a shot at the number-30 spot in BIlly and EFFY’s High School Reunion Rumble on the line?

O’Shay Edwards vs. Jon Davis (Action Wrestling/SUP Have Fun Be Sad, IWTV)

Edwards, one of the best modern stars to emerge from the southeast U.S., took on one of the recent forefathers of that same scene in a matchup of powerhouses. The definition of hoss fight, these two needed no frills to deliver one of the most physical contests of the week.

Satu Jinn vs. Ruben Steel (ICW No Holds Barred Vol. 12, IWTV)

This one isn’t for the faint of heart. Jinn and Steel engaged in the IWTV Showcase of the Independents’ bloodiest brawl, utilizing broken glass, kenzans and every other deathmatch staple to paint a beautiful, violent portrait.

Jared Evans vs. The Whisper vs. Eric Corvis vs. Cole Radrick vs. Joey Silver vs. Ellis Taylor (Tony Deppen’s Bierhaus, IWTV)

All action from Evans’ reads to The Whisper’s triumph, this unique mix of competitors felt like the perfect beer flight Deppen’s Bierhaus could deliver.

MV Young vs. Robert Martyr (Unsanctioned Pro Fueled By Spite, FiteTV)

Young and Martyr’s clash embodied this show’s name to the max. Spending equal amounts of time in and out of the ring, this match was an apt close to both men’s weeks after numerous hardshot bouts.

Funny Bone/Nurse Ratchet/Super Beast vs. D-Rogue/James C/Willow Nightingale (IWTV Family Reunion, IWTV)

It felt really good to see a match with that unique Hoodslam flavor after more than a year of the company being sidelined due to the pandemic. The perfect mix of spooky, kooky and intense action.

Kiera Hogan vs. Jazz (Ladies Night Out: Midnight In Tampa, Titlematch)

The final WrestleMania week stop on Jazz’s retirement tour saw her step in the ring with a familiar foe in Hogan. This one was all about celebrating a pioneer for Black women in pro wrestling.

Impact Knockouts Tag Team Title: Brooke Valentine/Willow Nightingale vs. Kiera Hogan/Tasha Steelz (GCW For The Culture, FiteTV)

This late night delight saw Valentine, who was suffering from food poisoning, step in for an injured Faye Jackson to take on one of Impact Wrestling’s most engaging tandems in Hogan and Steelz. It was a gutsy performance that fit the electric atmosphere of AJ Gray’s signature event.

Honorable Mentions: Edith Surreal vs. Lady Frost (Allie Kat’s Real Hot Girl Shit, FiteTV), Erica Leigh/Boar/Boomer Hatfield vs. A Very Good Professional Wrestler/Travis Huckabee/Matt Makowski (IWTV Family Reunion, IWTV), Parrow/Odinson vs. Rohit Raju/Jake Something (No Peace Underground Shallow Graves, FiteTV), Edith Surreal vs. Jordan Oliver (GCW Acid Cup 3, FiteTV)

For more on all of WrestleMania week’s pro wrestling events, check out episodes of the Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring covering EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, WWE WrestleMania Night One and Night Two and all of the week’s events on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and all other podcast services.