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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•Adam Page & Kenny Omega vs. SCU – HIT: Another hot match to kick off Dynamite. The fast-paced athletic matches have proven to be a great way to set the tone and pace of the show. Dark Order continues to hint at some relationship with Christopher Daniels. Either as the “Exalted One” or a member. What stood out to me was the Evil Uno spoke cripticly to SCU as well as Kenny Omega and Hangman Page. I am hoping that Dark Order remains a mid-card act and doesn’t involve the top stars. Fans may be willing to accept them at a certain level, but evidence has shown that the crowd doesn’t want them anywhere near the top level in their current incarnation. The reveal and execution of the Exalted One could change that belief.
•Dustin Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara – MISS: Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin is the perfect match for these two at this point. They are two non Elite or former WWE guys who are most likely to make it to the next level like MJF. Guevara has all of the charisma and ring ability, but he needs to start picking up wins. In 2020, nobody is teflon. Austin is the hometown of Dustin Rhodes and the audience reacted big to him. AEW is doing the right thing by giving fans feel good moments for stars in their hometowns. The finish played into the post-match confrontation with Jake Hager where Rhodes challenged him to a match at Revolution.
•Britt Baker Promo – HIT: I’ve been of the mindset that turning Britt Baker heel is the best move for her. She wasn’t getting over when she was being pushed as the face of the women’s division. Fans were beginning to reject her in part because they were tired of hearing about her being a dentist. After a few strong promos, this one felt a bit shaky to start. Fans were booing her to the point where she snapped and called the crowd “chubby Whataburger faces”. That line elicited as much crowd heat as the first time MJF mocked Cody’s lisp. Baker is really hitting her stride as a heel and is becoming one of the highlights of the show.
•Riho vs. Nyla Rose – HIT: Without question, this was one of if not the best women’s match in AEW. Credit to both women for elevating each other. Riho is underrated as a worker because of her size. She has gotten over every time she’s been on television. She’s been able to get good matches out of a variety of opponents with varying skill and experience levels. Nyla Rose has largely struggled, but showed signs of improvement. This week, she brought it and looked believable as the new women’s champion. She will have a healthy amount of challengers including Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida.
•MJF vs. Jungle Boy – HIT: Jungle Boy has a great connection to the crowd but his in-ring skill isn’t at the same level as some of the other young talent. He’s not nearly as polished as Darby Allin or Sammy Guevara, but he’s made some of the biggest strides in AEW. This match proved they have something special with him. MJF is far from the best in-ring worker in AEW, but he is one of the most entertaining. Jungle Boy and MJF put together a great match showcasing the wealth of young talent in AEW. MJF took home the victory by using his ring provided by Wardlow followed by the Cross Rhodes. There was one point in the match when MJF taunted Brandi on commentary. Jim Ross responded back with fire in defense of her. Ross was on tonight conveying his passion while genuinely enjoying himself.
•Jon Moxley vs. Santana – HIT: Jon Moxley remains one of the hottest acts for AEW. His feud with The Inner Circle is helping to elevate each of its members in the lead up to Revolution. The match with Santana stayed true to the selling point of an “eye for an eye” with both men blinding each other during the match. In the post-match, Jeff Cobb made his AEW debut giving a Tour of the Islands to lay out Moxley. Depending on his deal with AEW, Cobb could be a significant asset for the company. He is one of those wrestlers where critics often say if he only had the right booking behind him that wanted to elevate him to the next level, he could be a major star. He has bounced around to a few different companies including PWG, ROH, and Lucha underground. His weaknesses as a wrestler lie in his talking ability making his alliance with The Inner Circle a natural fit. Booking a match with Moxley for next week is a big selling point for the ardent fans who watch a ton of wrestling. Cobb isn’t well known amongst the masses so the way he was introduced with the announcement from Jericho, followed by the vignette, and Moxley beatdown is a better strategy then throwing him out there and hoping the audience knows him.