ITR’s Fave 5: Our Panel’s Top Five Matches Of The Week #3

Kenny McIntosh, Sondra Ruth, Gary Cassidy and Liam Wyatt are back with their favourite matches from the past week.

Rounding out the panel this week is’s Scott McDonald who, as per Fave 5 etiquette, offers his selection first.

SANADA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (New Japan G1 Climax)

The G1 features twice on this week’s list, with Scott McDonald having been impressed by eventual finalist SANADA’s tilt with promotion ‘ace’ Hiroshi Tanahashi. “This was an excellent technical match filled with great counter-wrestling” said Scott. “Until now, I hadn’t noticed just how similar the two men were stylistically, and it made SANADA’s victory seem even more impressive since he was able to out-wrestle a living legend.”

Shotzi Blackheart vs Candice LeRae (WWE NXT)

The black and gold brand’s women’s division is perhaps the most talent rich in the company, with no shortage of show stealing stars eager to step up to current champion Io Shirai. This week’s episode saw former indie stand-outs Shotzi Blackheart and Candice LeRae go head to head in a match that excited Sondra Ruth. “A lady with green hair and a Halloween tank fought a lady with purple hair and evil faerie wings–and the match lived up to the aesthetic.” She continued “Indi Hartwell giving Candice brass knuckles at the end helped establish their budding alliance, and Shotzi looked great in defeat because she got screwed over. It was the perfect blend of great wrestling and character-building shenanigans!”

Kevin Owens vs Aleister Black (WWE Monday Night RAW)

A feud that had been simmering for weeks finally boiled over on the Red brand this past week as Owens and Black battled in No Disqualification match. Given the quality of the talents involved, it’s perhaps no surprise that it gets Gary Cassidy’s seal of approval. “This match was everything I think has been missing from RAW over the past few weeks, maybe months” Gary exclaimed! “This had everything I love. Brutality, close calls, enough (but not too many) near falls, and just good all-round storytelling. A shame it wasn’t worthy of a PPV slot, but a fantastic TV match that got every second it deserved to build us up for the rest of the show.”

Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay (New Japan G1 Climax)

Our second New Japan entry comes in the form of Okada vs Ospreay, with the Chaos stablemates squaring off in their respective final matches of this year’s A Block. A clash between two of the world’s premier grapplers was bound to yield fireworks but Liam Wyatt got a little more than he bargained for. “This one had many levels. On one hand, you have two of the promotion’s best going hell for leather across a 20 minute time period”. He continued, “..and whilst amazing in its own right, the return of The Great O’Khan, the debut of Stardom’s Bea Priestley and subsequent heel turn from Ospreay caught me completely by surprise and raised the whole thing up a notch. Fresh talent, a new stable and, with any luck, the start of a closer working relationship between New Japan and Stardom – exciting times indeed.”

Cody vs Orange Cassidy (AEW Dynamite)

Cody’s initial TNT Title run delivered a plethora of choice match ups and it would appear that his second reign may continue in that vein. Paired with the laconic Orange Cassidy, Cody’s title defense on Dynamite hit all the right notes for Kenny McIntosh. “There can be criticism levelled at AEW, but one thing they have cultivated tremendously is the idea that a title match will have a result!” he noted. “With that said, it was even more impressive during this past week’s show that they had Cody go to a time limit draw with Orange Cassidy with both competitors coming out of it with more than they did going in. Cody proved he couldn’t be beaten and Cassidy proved he could hang with the TNT Champion.”