Ed. Note: Fingers crossed that this will be the last weird week of no live wrestling in Japan. The new New Japan Cup start date of March 16 is still on the company’s schedule, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see. If you’re in the US and you’re watching lucha, remember that Mexico’s Daylight Savings Time doesn’t start until next month, so the usual times are going to be off!
Update: New Japan has canceled the remaining New Japan Cup dates. This doesn’t bode well.
Update 2: Okay, a bunch of stuff has been canceled and removed from this article. Like the Ring of Honor shows. Definitely check out the stuff that’s VOD or pretaped, I guess.
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Wednesday 3/11, Friday 3/13, Sunday 3/15: wXw 16 Carat Gold 2020
(Available for VOD on wXw Now.)
wXw is staggering the VOD release of their annual tournament over three days, and, while I claim no familiarity with every person on the European wrestling scene, I’m confident that these are worth a watch. There is some very solid talent on these cards, and the allure of matchups like Shigehiro Irie vs Black Taurus and Mike Bailey vs Bandido have me hollering like some kind of cartoon wolf.
I also think this is worth a look because it’s such an odd time for wXw, the most recent wrestling company to start a partnership with WWE (à la Evolve and Progress). It’s cliché to call this the “end of an era,” but with the departures of Timothy Thatcher (who signed with WWE in February, and is now bound for either NXT or NXT UK) and David Starr (who has suggested that his outspoken anti-WWE persona and very public fights for better labor conditions for wrestlers have made it so that wXw can no longer book him), I don’t know how else to really say it.—LB Hunktears
Thursday 3/12: Ice Ribbon RE:BORN
(Streams at 6AM EDT on Nico Pro.)
With one of the best rosters in joshi wrestling, it can be frustrating how hard it is to catch Ice Ribbon shows. Thankfully, Nico Pro will be airing their most recent Korakuen Hall show, and judging by the card, it will be one to watch. There’s a 3-way tag intergender match on the undercard, with Hamuko Hoshi & Tank Nagai vs. Hiragi Kurumi & Minoru Tanaka vs. Orca Uto & Risa Sera. Elsewhere, Miku Aono of Actwres girl’Z faces Ice Ribbon’s Suzu Suzuki in a singles match. In the semi-main, the incredibly stylish and incredibly hard-hitting Rina Yamashita teams up with former elementary school pro wrestler and current mean young goth Ram Kaicho against tag champs Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi, who look to make their fifth defense of the International Ribbon tag team titles. ICExInfinity Champion Maya Yukihi looks to make her third defense against Akane Fujita in the main event.— Nigel Spudes
Thursday, 3/12: New Japan Pro Wrestling Together Project Golden Ace Talk Show
(Streams live at 6AM EDT on New Japan World, available later with English subtitles.)
No this isn’t wrestling, but what are you going to do? Nothing. There’s nothing you can do to stop me from recommending watching the two beautiful men who currently reign over New Japan’s tag team division having a conversation. While I’m sure it can’t hold a candle to last week’s Hiromu Takahashi/Tetsuya Naito talk show, this is sure to be a different kind of treat. Hiroshi Tanahashi may look a Texas trophy wife, but he’s incredibly charming and very good at being a celebrity. And, well… Kota Ibushi may only have one braincell that he actually borrowed from his tag team partner and mentor, but his natural weirdness should make for an entertaining watch. I hope they talk about shopping, personally.—LB Hunktears
Friday 3/13: CMLL Arena Mexico
(Streams live at 10:30PM EDT on the CMLL Youtube.)
CMLL’s lineups have been hit or miss lately, but this card looks to be more hit than miss. One of the bright spots in recent months has been Hechicero-led midcard trios matches, in which the 19-year veteran leads a rotating trio of rudos against a rotating trio of técnicos, blending clásico mat wrestling style with high-flying modern style, with a focus on weird, creative spots. The 3rd match here, with Hechicero, Rey Bucanero & Luciferno facing Soberano Jr, El Audaz & Rey Cometa looks to continue the formula. There’s also been a lot of solid sub-10-minute lightning matches lately, and Titán vs. Polvora in the 4th match should be another one of those. The semi-main sees the conclusion of the tournament for the national tag titles, with Atlantis Jr. & Flyer facing Templario & Hijo del Villano III, and the main event trios match sees Felino & Cavernario face off for one last time before their hair vs. hair main event at Homenaje a Dos Leyendas on March 20th.— Nigel Spudes