Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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Undertaker – Zayn – MISS: Steve Austin had a purpose for being on Raw, to oversee the contract signing for the Universal Championship match. What purpose did the Undertaker serve on Smackdown? Why was he there? Austin was able to put over Maddison Square Garden and WWE’s history in that arena while actually playing a role within the story. Undertaker seemed to be there to talk about taking souls from wrestlers who appeared at MSG. That’s lazy writing. I think WWE writers should have to write out the entire speech that Undertaker was going to make before getting interrupted by Sami Zayn. Clearly, they only wrote the beginning of the speech, and then Zayn’s music hit. If they were forced to write out the whole speech, it might seem like he would actually be there for a purpose. Instead it felt like he came out to kill a few minutes before Zayn came out to act annoying and get chokeslammed.
Miz vs. Andrade – MISS: There was some good wrestling action in this match between The Miz and Andrade, plus I was amused my Shinsuke Nakamura on guest commentary. The reason this is getting a Miss is that while the challenger to the Intercontinental Championship needed a win, WWE is blowing it with Andrade. He should have won the King of the Ring tournament. Now that he is out, he should have gotten his momentum back by getting some wins. While I’m not usually a fan of non-finishes, WWE had that chance with Miz (in a totally heelish move) throwing Andrade into Nakamura. They could have easily had Nakamura attack Miz at that point, causing a disqualification. Nakamura beat up Miz after he pinned Andrade. Why not do it before?
Cross Beats Rose – HIT: I like the team of Fire and Desire, but I wish there was more to Mandy Rose’s character than just “I’m beautiful and she’s ugly.” She is the weak link in the ring on her team as Sonya Deville is much more talented. Her match against Nikki Cross was short, but ok. It wasn’t a Hit or a Miss. But, WWE always has the challengers win these matches before the Title match at a PPV to make the Champions look vulnerable. It was nice to see WWE go away from their regular formula here by having Cross actually get the win.
Heavy Machinery Squash – HIT: We need to see more of these squashes when wrestlers first debut. It is good to see Heavy Machinery getting a squash here, but WWE needs to do more of it earlier in a new act’s run.
Rowan – Reigns Brawl – MISS: This started off with a pretty weak promo from Erick Rowan. He was always the clear weak link in the Wyatt Family, and nothing he has done recently has made me glad that he’s getting this push. He’s ok in everything he does. He isn’t bad. But, he isn’t good either. The brawl got off to a good start with Roman Reigns charging the ring. But, I was totally taken out of the moment when Rowan picked up a fan at ringside and threw him into Reigns and the security guards. That is unbelievable. If this were real, forget about Kevin Owens’ $100,000 fine. Rowan would be fired and arrested. WWE would be sued. We are expected to ignore the fact that he tried to murder Reigns. Now, we have to turn our brain off again. That was a cool visual, but it does far more harm than good. Reigns was too super-man in not selling the beating and making a comeback, even if Rowan stood tall in the end. And, if you know you are going to do a long similar brawl with Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston later in the show, a brawl where security never comes out to try to stop them from fighting, maybe don’t have this brawl earlier in the show too. Why would security come out right away to stop Reigns and Rowan, but be nowhere in the vicinity of Orton and Kingston?
Bayley vs. Moon – MISS: They had a 5 minute match with a commercial break? Sure, they stayed with the action on the split screen, but that still seemed far too short of a match. I wasn’t sure how to react to Charlotte Flair on guest commentary. She didn’t seem to be totally comfortable. I think the idea is for her to be the babyface in this one match, but go back to being a heel going forward. She is being forced to walk a thin line and she didn’t do a great job with it.
Kingston – Orton – HIT: This went on a little too long and it had a few awkward spots like when the table accidentally broke under Kofi. But, overall it was a good segment with a memorable moment for Kofi jumping through Orton and the table to recall their moment from MSG 9 years ago. This whole feud has been built around their history going back to that match and that moment, and how Kofi took 9 years to make it after that, whereas Orton was a huge star the entire time. Going back to that spot in the same building all these years later on the go home show before their WWE Title match at the PPV was a perfect way to go.
Gable vs. Shane – MISS: This was so terrible on so many levels. Instead of focusing on Chad Gable and his attempt to get to the finals of the KOTR tournament, WWE chose to focus on the very cold feud between Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens. This did nothing for Gable who was so secondary to the other two. The bigger problem is that Owens could be a centerpiece babyface on Smackdown, but he has been ruined by this feud. Gable won despite Owens trying to screw him in order to get Shane to overturn his $100,000 fine. Owens was not sympathetic here at all. There is no reason to cheer for Owens going forward after the way he acted here. If he had seen the errors of his ways and cost Shane in the end, he would have redeemed himself. But, Gable won with a tap out after Owens had attempted multiple fast counts on him. So, Owens didn’t redeem himself. Then, he got beat up by Shane who isn’t a wrestler, just got beaten by Gable, and was limping around after the ankle lock. That made him look physically weak. Then he got fired, but you know fired wrestlers never stay fired, so you know it doesn’t really matter.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera
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