Another WreslteMania week has come and gone. Four days full of pro wrestling action from local to international promotions alike delivered copious amounts of dazzling matches and moments.
LGBTQ presence during the weekend grew even more this year, so much in fact that putting this list together was immensely more difficult this year because of the collection of amazing bouts featuring LGBTQ pro wrestlers. Nevertheless, the list is here, with plenty of matches you have seen celebrated or worthy of diving back into the backlog over events awaiting your eyes.
Here’s the criteria:
- There must be at least one LGBTQ participant in the selected match.
- They showed the hell out.
EFFY vs. Minoru Suzuki (Joey Janela’s Spring Break 6 Part 2, FITE)
EFFY’s propensity for Daddy battles got a new chapter as he faced off with “Murder Daddy” himself, Minoru Suzuki. The dynamic between the queer icon and the legendary Japanese shooter showcased both the hard-hitting action Suzuki is widely known for with his proclivity for the more goofy presentations of pro wrestling rarely seen when he makes his way to the U.S.
Billy Dixon vs. Hoodfoot (GCW For The Culture, FITE)
Historic. For the second year in a row, Billy Dixon etched his name into the top matches of WrestleMania week beyond any identity markers. His and Hoodfoot’s bloody main event battle was the first all-Black deathmatch in pro wrestling history and stands up among some of the best in recent years.
Max The Impaler vs. Edith Surreal (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FITE)
With everything going on in Texas regarding the policing of trans youth, what the world needed was a display of trans defiance. Edith Surreal and Max The Impaler delivered that in spades in this violent affair.
Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Bandido (Mark Hitchcock Memorial Supershow, FITE)
It’s hard to argue that anyone other than Speedball Mike Bailey was the MVP of WrestleMania week. Of his nine matches across three days, his battle with former ROH champion Bandido was near the top. They even garnered a $5000 bonus for having the match of the night at the Hitchcock Memorial show.
Trish Adora vs. Thunder Rosa (Mission Pro Wrestling Bangerz Only, FITE)
This champion vs. champion clash was a highlight of women’s promotion Mission Pro Wrestling’s GCW debut. Both women are at the top of their game and showed why in this technically brutal bout.
EFFY vs. Pimpinela Escarlata (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FITE)
LGBTQ pro wrestling always finds a way to celebrate its legends and foundations, and that is what defines this match. Wrestlers like Pimpinela Escarlata are defining figures for the recent LGBTQ movement, and her match with EFFY provided a moment to celebrate her properly.
Allie Katch vs. Mickie James (Joey Janela’s Spring Break 6 Part 1, FITE)
Having these two in the same ring would be enough to make an intriguing match, but the way Allie and Mickie built off of James’ same-sex storyline in WWE send this match to a different level.
Subs-Mission Match: EFFY vs. Speedball Mike Bailey (Zicky Dice’s Trouble In Paradise, Twitch)
Perhaps the most outlandish submission match in recent history, EFFY and Bailey spent equal time outside the ring as in it with plenty of focus on feet. Like, a lot of feet. You’ll never see the end coming.
Shane Taylor Promotions vs. Hitmakerz (GCW For The Culture, FITE)
Part clashing of worlds, part proving ground, this tag team battle delivered on its big fight feel. O’Shay Edwards and Shane Taylor held strong for the independents while former WWE wrestlers Franc and Tehuti Miles (formerly known as Top Dolla and Ashante the Adonis) proved they belong in wrestling beyond the glitz of WWE. Also, don’t disrespect Briana Brandy.
Carlos Romo vs. Jai Vidal (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FITE)
It's always been my goal to be the wrestler you can always trust to have a good match, and I feel that lately I've been achieving it, especially in singles.— Carlos Romo (@CarlosRomoPW) April 6, 2022
I want more. UK, Europe, US, let's work. DMs are open or email@example.com.
: @GCWrestling_ / #EFFYGAYDALLAS pic.twitter.com/QcoCwWmEBV
The opener of EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch set the tone for the event with great groundwork and flashes of Vidal’s high-flying prowess. Sealed with a kiss, hopefully this is the first of many appearances for Romo against someone like Vidal who is quickly becoming a popular figure to GCW audiences.
Parrow vs. Taya Valkyrie (No Peace Underground MurderMania, TitleMatch)
No Peace Underground’s no rind deathmatch style is always unique, and this one lived up to that reputation. Featuring everything from light tubes and steel chairs to weaponized champagne, Taya and Parrow delivered a match worthy of Parrow’s NPU championship.
Dark Sheik vs Charles Mason (JCW vs. LA Fights, FITE)
It took an entire roster to stop me from hanging Sheik from the rafters. How beautiful of a sight it would have been to watch her lifeless body swaying in the wind like a Fallen Angel.— Charles Mason (@CharlesMas0n) April 2, 2022
There will be a time where no one is around to save you. I am patient #EatThePoor pic.twitter.com/HZUOiV6PUJ
The main event of GCW’s coastal clash fulfilled the build’s promise of violence. These two fought like they wanted to end one another, testing the loyalty of their respective sides and their own limits. It’s always fun to see Dark Sheik showcase the intensity that lives within her.
Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Cole Radrick (Unsanctioned Pro Mulligan, FITE)
Unsanctioned Pro had the unenviable job of running at the same time as WrestleMania 38, but those that missed it need to go back and check out this show stealer. Radrick and Speedball filled this bout with heart and perseverance in abundance. A must-watch.
Allie Katch vs. Dirty Dango (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FITE)
The sexual spirit of Allie and Mickie James’ match bled over into this one. For a WrestleMania week without a Grey Sweatpants Battle Royal, this match picked up the distinct mixture of horny combat and ran miles with it.
Kidd Bandit vs. Jordan Blade vs. Silvio Milano vs. Killian McMurphy vs. Rico Gonzalez vs. The Whisper vs. Shay Purser (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FITE)
Featuring debuts, international talent, a good amount of humor and high-flying, this chaotic fight was electrifying. This match cemented everyone’s talent, introduced the world to femme Kidd Bandit in the ring for the first time and supplanted Jordan Blade status in the BGB universe as a killer.
Billy Dixon vs. Keita (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FITE)
Keita made it clear that he believes he belongs atop the QWI 200 in his clash with current number one Billy Dixon. The two built an emotional battle that lived up the Kings of the Coasts billing heading into the weekend.
Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Jordan Oliver (Joey Janela’s Spring Break 6 Part 2, FITE)
Speedball shows up once again thanks to this somewhat impromptu match with one of GCW’s top rising stars. Both went all-out in this match, mixing brutal striking with top-class high-flying. Another must-watch featuring Bailey.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Willow Nightingale (Ring of Honor Supercard of Honor, FITE)
Interim championships are rare in pro wrestling, but this battle for the ROH Interim Women’s title deserved the prize that was on the line. Martinez is a legend and Nightingale is perhaps the most talented woman not currently signed to a major promotion. Both proved why in the only women’s match on ROH’s card.
The Greatest Clusterfuck (Joey Janela’s Spring Break 6 Part 2, FITE)
The Clusterfuck battle royal is always a highlight of WrestleMania week, and its continued evolution into something that feels like a deconstruction of pro wrestling keeps it feeling fresh. From pot smoking to socially distanced wrestling to The Invisible Man to GCW saying trans women are women through action rather than words, there is something present in this marathon match for any fan.
Shayna Baszler/Natalya vs. Sasha Banks/Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley/Liv Morgan vs. Queen Zelina/Carmella (WWE WrestleMania 38 Sunday, Peacock)
The only match from WrestleMania 38 to make the list, these eight women delivered in a match that a number of mainstream wrestling fans may have overlooked. Rhea and Liv are for the sapphics, Sasha and Naomi are worthy champions and we are always here for limb killer Shayna Baszler.
Dark Sheik vs. Parrow (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FITE)
The most violent match at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch built on storylines integral to the BGB mythos. Sheik’s ability to outlast Parrow overbearing strength spoke to queer and trans perseverance, and the climax signaled that EFFY and Parrow’s long-standing issue is far from done.
AC Mack/Ashton Starr vs. Aiden Aggro/DangerKid vs. Dillon McQueen/Kenzie Page vs. Devon Monroe/Ace Perry (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, FITE)
There was so much going on and I didn’t want to record everything. But I remembered to for a couple of really cool spots. This was one of them in the 4-way tag match from #EFFYGAYDALLAS. @KenziePaige_1 had some killer highlights (among the many from that match). pic.twitter.com/S3pHNWBshS— Recovering From WM Weekend He/him/él (@justinruff) April 6, 2022
Eight amazing East Coast and Midwest talents chopped it up in this head-spinning match. MSP’s debut felt like a culmination and McQueen and Paige positioned themselves as larger players. Give us Petty In Pink versus AC Mack and Ashton Starr on Uncharted Territory.
Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Alex Shelley (IMPACT Wrestling Multiverse of Matches, FITE)
Knowing Speedball and Shelley’s level of expertise, there was no way this match wouldn’t deliver. Their distinct styles meshed well together and further cemented Bailey as a rising star on the IMPACT roster.
Max The Impaler vs. Jake Something (Glory Pro Wrestling Cemetery Gates, FITE)
This was a hoss fight, pure and simple. Max and Something set the tone for the entire week with this Thursday battle, wailing on each other until drawing blood.
Trish Adora vs. MJ Jenkins (GCW For The Culture, FITE)
#AWholeLotOfWoman 's a savage!— Marvelous MJ Jenkins (@RealMJJenkins_) April 4, 2022
MJ Jenkins vs @TrishAdora202
-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_#FTCDallas #TheCollective2022#ForTheCulture @GCWrestling_ pic.twitter.com/pDotWVIlJK
Adora and Jenkins kept up the energy of Black female visibility and triumph during this match, one of the few MJ Jenkins has wrestled in recent years. Jenkins still has plenty left in the wrestling world and Adora showcased her versatility and prowess.
Keita vs. Anthony Henry vs. Yoya (No Peace Underground MurderMania, TitleMatch)
Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Jay White (NJPW Lonestar Shootout, FITE)
Allie Katch vs. Laynie Luck (Glory Pro Wrestling Cemetery Gates, FITE)
Sandra Moone vs. Billie Starkz (JCW vs. LA Fights, FITE)
Keita vs. Frontman Jah-C vs. Lord Crewe vs. Carlie Bravo vs. Levi Shapiro vs. Darian Bengston (Zicky Dice’s Trouble In Paradise, Twitch)