ITR’s Fave 5: Our Panel’s Top Five Matches Of The Week #2

Week two of our Fave 5 series has arrived with panelists Kenny McIntosh, Sondra Ruth, Liam Wyatt and Gary Cassidy having all selected their respective contests for the week.

Joining the panel this week is contributor Innes McVey, who will kick off proceedings with his selection.

Big E vs Sheamus (WWE Smackdown)

The Big E bandwagon must be nearing capacity at this stage, with the talented super heavyweight now a firm favourite among fans. Count our own Innes McVey among that number, as he felt the New Day man’s Falls Count Anywhere match against Sheamus exceeded expectations. “A hard-hitting and brutal affair that had no right to be as great as it was”, Innes noted. “These two went all-out to deliver a PPV-esque match that really elevated the energy of the show as a whole.”

Innes was not alone in his appreciation of this match as Kenny McIntosh agreed “These two had a hard hitting, intense brawl through the arena and gave you the feeling of a proper fight.” Kenny added “Big E got the important win and Sheamus didn’t lose anything in the loss. This is how you do it.”

Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi (New Japan G1 Climax)

Over in Japan, the ‘Match of the Year’ factory otherwise known as the G1 Climax tournament rolls on. Despite strong competition on the same card from Kota Ibushi and Minoru Suzuki, Liam Wyatt has stumped for Okada vs Shingo instead. “Reports of Okada’s demise appear to have been exaggerated, with the Rainmaker clearly playing on expectations of his G1 matches to craft a clever, almost meta, storyline of self sabotage.” He continues “This first time meeting between two of New Japan’s finest was a beautiful demonstration of brutality and storytelling, which continued Okada’s G1 narrative whilst showcasing Shingo as the main-eventer-in-waiting that he truly is.”

Finn Balor vs Kyle O’Reilly (NXT Takeover 31)

Another series known for producing MOTY contenders is NXT Takeover, with the most recent installment’s main event delivering big time for Gary Cassidy. “Finn Balor vs Kyle O’Reilly – talk about leaving it all in the ring! That match was a wonderful mix of technicality and brutality as strong style came to NXT.” The ultra stiff encounter, which left champion Balor with a broken jaw, certainly left an impression. Gary added “While both men suffered the consequences of their own actions, the memory of the match will most definitely remain long after those injuries have healed!”

EFFY vs Marko Stunt (EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch)

The Collective was independent wrestling’s rescheduled Wrestlemania week and chief among the line up was EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch. Stepping in at short notice, AEW’s Marko Stunt took on the event’s namesake in Sondra Ruth’s pick of the week. “It had everything – a surprise opponent since Marko was filling in for Priscilla Kelly, a storyline tie to the previous match since Marko was the ultimate twink to get revenge for EFFY treating twinks as an unlimited commodity against Parrow, and loads of sex toys. It was ridiculous and loads of fun.”