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My Favorite Wrestler (This Week): Bread, Bro, ZSJ, more

Welcome to My Favorite Wrestler (This Week). Each week, the Wrestling Observer team chooses, you guessed it, their favorite wrestler of the week. The only criteria are that the reasoning for the choice must be because of something the wrestler did within the last seven days.

This week's panel --

There's not a lot on the news front this week. A bunch of guys left TNA, and another bunch of guys came back. WWE has been building up to Fastlane and WrestleMania, EVOLVE crowned a new champion, and ROH came to Japan for the Honor Rising shows from Korakuen Hall. Here are our favorite wrestlers this week. Who’s yours?

Satoshi Kojima

By Zach Dominello

In a world full of Nintendo Switches and Netflixes, it’s easy to take the simple things for granted, like the sunrise, the air we breathe, or most importantly, bread. Thankfully, Satoshi Kojima has taken to Twitter to profess his love for the often underappreciated food group, and it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread:

I like bread very much.

I like hard bread and soft bread very much.

I gain weight, but much bread eats.

— 小島 聡【SATOSHI KOJIMA】 (@cozy_lariat) February 24, 2017

I love dish bread and sweet bread.

I like bread for pro wrestlers of all over the world most.


— 小島 聡【SATOSHI KOJIMA】 (@cozy_lariat) February 24, 2017

I want bread!

I'd like to eat bread!

I like bread!

I'm loving bread!

Thank you very much, bread!

I eat again.

— 小島 聡【SATOSHI KOJIMA】 (@cozy_lariat) February 24, 2017

Excuse me.

I was excited to like bread too much.

— 小島 聡【SATOSHI KOJIMA】 (@cozy_lariat) February 24, 2017

I love how he ends his series of tweets in the most Japanese way possible -- with an apology. Kojima’s lariat may be his bread and butter, but his Twitter game has been amazing recently. His occasionally incomprehensible slice of life tweets read more like poetry than status updates:

Good morning.

Tokyo is fine weather.

Fight will be done tonight.

A body is vigor. I thank a wrestling fan.

— 小島 聡【SATOSHI KOJIMA】 (@cozy_lariat) February 20, 2017

I hope these gems are being collected to be released in book form somewhere down the line. In the meantime, New Japan’s merch team had better jump on this:

I sleep now.

The person who eats five a day of bread is a member of a BREAD CLUB.

Everyone will join me, too. Good night.

— 小島 聡【SATOSHI KOJIMA】 (@cozy_lariat) March 2, 2017

Bread Club 4 Lyfe.

Zack Sabre Jr.

By Ryan Frederick

Zack Sabre Jr. is my favorite wrestler this week after ending the 596-day title reign Timothy Thatcher had as EVOLVE Champion. He also enjoyed being the recipient of the Bryan Danielson Award for Best Technical Wrestler in the 2016 edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards, which were released this week on our website.

Sabre has long been one of the best workers in the world, and while his style is one that not every fan enjoys, I personally enjoy watching him work inside the ring. He puts up consistently good matches in EVOLVE, PWG, and other independent promotions around the world. He was showcased in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic last year, and will be working for New Japan this year. His reign at the top of EVOLVE has just begun, and he'll be headlining their events over WrestleMania weekend.

For now, though, him ending Thatcher’s reign has sewn up his standing as my favorite wrestler this week.

zack sabre jr evolve main.jpg

By Alan Boon

My favorite wrestler this week is also Zack Sabre Jr. Not only is he the new EVOLVE Champion -- he dethroned Timothy Thatcher at EVOLVE 79 after almost 600 days of Thatcher holding the title -- but he also worked such an intense, intriguing contest that even those EVOLVE fans with little time for Thatcher (and there are more than a few) were drawn into an engaging battle.

Sabre Jr. started and ended the weekend with losses, to new sensation Keith Lee at EVOLVE 78 and to the littlest big man in the game, John Silver, at Beyond's Under Construction, but showed a killer instinct in his match with Thatcher that he'd been lacking.

Sabre Jr. closed his title-winning night with a short speech to the crowd. "Professional wrestling is for everyone, this Earth is for everyone. Thank you, New York, politics speech over." Wrestling is art, and all art is political. We've got an outspoken champion to carry that message now.

By Joseph Currier

For all of the complaining I've done about Timothy Thatcher's title reign in my recaps, it would've been difficult to envision a better ending to it than what happened at EVOLVE 79. The moment was nearly perfect. The match was nearly great. And Zack Sabre Jr.'s speech after was the best part of the whole thing. He's easily my favorite wrestler this week.


By Arya Witner

My pick for this week is the former NXT Tag Team Champions, DIY. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa have long since cemented their reputations as top workers. However, it takes you to another level to not just get one great match out of The Authors of Pain (TakeOver: San Antonio), but they got two (this week's episode of NXT).

NXT has become a weird hodgepodge of some of the best workers in the world and some of the greenest workers in the world. When you get a combination like that, sometimes match quality literally goes all over the place. The Authors of Pain haven't had a lot of great matches, but somehow, some way, Ciampa & Gargano have solved the mystery of them.

Matt Riddle

By Mike DellaCamera

I planned to write about the newly crowned EVOLVE champion, Zack Sabre Jr -- who incidentally I got to see in person the following day at Beyond Wrestling. But since my fellow contributors already sang the well-deserved praises of the technical wizard, I’ll go with someone else who was on the same Beyond card -- Matt Riddle.

Riddle is a borderline incomprehensible mix of pure talent and charisma. The fact that he just finished his first full year as a pro wrestler is, legitimately, mind blowing. For someone who, for all intents and purposes should be completely untreatable to the fans (a former UFC fighter, wrestling prodigy, annoyingly good looking), he has an incredible and organic connection to the crowd. When his music hits, whatever building he’s wrestling in explodes. I’ve been able to see him wrestle for three different promotions, and it’s the same thing every time.

People gravitate towards transcendent talent; they have a certain gravity surrounding them that just feels different from everyone else. It’s special, it’s different. All of this says nothing about his matches, which while they can be on the shorter side, are never a letdown. If the King of Bros is wrestling near you, run, don’t walk, to see him in person.

TK Cooper

By Alan4L

I'm not sure there's a more eye-catching young heel in wrestling right now than New Zealand's TK Cooper. One third of the South Pacific Power Trip in PROGRESS, TK has exploded into the new year with some great performances in the Electric Ballroom.

His act is so great as the brash, dungarees wearing, punchable face of the SPPT. With his girlfriend Dahlia Black by his side (and often on his lap) and his tough as nails buddy Travis Banks watching his back, TK has a great dynamic going on around him.

But he's really started to come into his own with his own performances. In the incredible match against Team Ringkamp at Chapter 43, TKC was throwing himself around like a madman and taking the best shots that "Der Ringgeneral" WALTER had to dish out -- the youngster had a death wish. Cooper is destined for big things.