In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)
•OPENING MONTAGE – MISS: The music is so hot that I can’t hear ANYTHING the people are saying. I have no idea what they’re watching or responding to. Although I see Billy Zane, so these must be wrestling critics? Ah well, it’s a shame that the AEW sound people are working this show.
•MOONEY EXPLAINS – HIT, BECAUSE VERY NECESSARY: Sean Mooney, the best thing after Joe Galli, is back and sets up what the Circle Squared is. Allegedly, NWA Power is so popular that people have flooded W.P. Corgan’s mailbox and thus a show where he looks for the newest talent to offer a contract. This will be focused on two parts: promos and wrestling. Mooney pushed for fan feedback as well as people recording their live reactions and sending them in. I do love this spin on it because it stays true to the grassroots element of NWA. If nothing else, one thing NWA has going for it is intimacy and this extends that.
•INTROS AND PROMOS WITH KYLE DAVIS – HIT: Kyle introduces the first team, Hawx Aerie, and they come out in sweet track jackets and look like a real time, unlike (The) Wild Card(s), and then it dawns on me! That’s Luke Hawx from XPW! Now he’s tagging with his son, who apparently did some death defying stunt jumping off the second floor of a mall for a crossbody into a ring. That’s nuts. PJ, the son, talks and honestly, he needs some work. He also looks a little Jason Biggs-y, and that’s not helping. Luke, however, though he’s a bit loud, he speaks like a real straight shooter that’s all about business and ends with a great line: “We are the ABCs and XYZs… we don’t just start something, we finish it!” The crowd immediately buys in and starts chanting XYZs, and normally I’d accuse the crowd of being too Full Sail, but the line was a great closer and lent itself to chants. Well done, Luke.
Nikita Koloff, the Russian Proselytizer, comes out next and introduced his new recruits, Jeff Lewis Neal and Tyson Dean. Now these names are horrible. Jeff Lewis Neal sounds like a CPA and it’s just too long and clunky. Say what you will about Vince McMahon and his penchant for syllable count and sound on names, but there’s methods to it and Jeff Lewis Neal suggests why. Tyson Dean is just too boring and too reminiscent of many things: Tyson Kidd, Tyson Dux, Dean Douglas, Simon Dean. No disrespect to any of those, but those aren’t necessarily names you want to evoke. Only Jeff spoke and his lines were forgettable outside of saying they’re the best kept secret and that made me cringe slightly. Buddy Murp–, sorry, MURPHY, is already the best kept secret. Plus, that’s just not a good tag name, so hopefully it isn’t. That said, they look like tough guys, their gear is good, I’m intrigued.
•HAWX AERIE VS. NEAL AND DEAN – HIT: This was a PERFECT studio formatted match! I really enjoyed it. The heels with bad names attacked the father/son duo and quickly isolated the son and took turns beating him up, including a well done sequence of alternating attacks and picturesque spinebuster (as I am a spinebuster mark). The heels went for Hart Attack but the dad broke up the pin and we get a quick switch-around into a lovely suplex from the son and then the hot tag. Let me tell you, Luke Hawx knows how to pull off a hot tag because he came in like a whirling dervish and just took everyone out, tagged back in the sun and they do a tandem powerslam for the win. Just picture perfect story in the ring as old as time, quick pace, frenetic energy in the hot tag, I really liked this match and thought both played their roles perfectly. I would find it hard to say only one could stay on, but if I had to I’d go with the heels with bad names. The credibility in their look and the fact that they don’t look like either will ever be a solo star makes me like them more; they’re a true tag team that will always be one.
•MORE WITH MOONEY – NEUTRAL: Show closes with Mooney and we find out the Crockett Cup will be in College Park, GA (just south of Atlanta) on 19 April and that the NWA will have a press conference for media only on 26 February with Aldis and Scurll.
•OVERALL – HIT: After the cluster… of last week and my inability to really decipher if I liked two weeks ago as well, this was a light jaunt that tickled my fancy. The match was great and perfect for NWA Power formatting, both teams were terrific in their roles, the promo intros were fine enough, and Sean Mooney did what he does best. You could say hey, next time let’s do two matches a show, but I’d push against that. There’s already too much wrestling right now in the world, a fun and quick 22 minutes or so reminded me of the first season of Power where it was all a fun and quick 50 minutes. Keep the short runtime!