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.
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•Tag Team Battle Royal – HIT: This was one of the best battle royals you will ever see. The crowd was hot the whole match and the eliminations felt like they were well thought out and served a purpose to a larger story. The concept of a tag team battle royal where both members have to be eliminated creates some intriguing scenarios that you can’t get with every man for themselves. The fans knew The Young Bucks were the most likely to win, but they were the right choice. A Bucks vs. Hangman Page and Kenny Omega match has been setup for weeks and it has finally become official. I’m expecting their match at Revolution to be one of the best in the short history of the company.
•Shanna vs. Kris Statlander – HIT: Nothing super memorable from the match, but nothing bad either. The crowd popped for the “boop” spot in the beginning of the match. I can see Kris Statlander becoming something down the road, but she has some work to do. Fans want to like her, but some are finding her alien character a bit ridiculous. If AEW made it more clear that she is a real person, but she can be kind of goofy that might be the right play. Britt Baker has also really found herself in the new heel character. She isn’t yelling or blaming the fans, but playing up the criticisms that people had of her when she was being promoted as the face of the women’s division.
•Nyla Rose Promo – HIT: Nyla Rose fell into a lot of the wrestling tropes early in her promo. She blamed the fans and yelled. The opposite of what Britt Baker did on commentary. As the promo went on, Rose felt much more confident and passionate about what she was saying. She also said a line about wanting to be a one-time champion because there’s nobody who can beat her. Rose has had her up’s and down’s since debuting, but she’s been two for two these past weeks and is showing significant improvement.
•Jeff Cobb vs. Jon Moxley – HIT: This match was a big test for Jeff Cobb. Cobb is one of the hottest free agents in wrestling who AEW would surely love to lock into a long term deal. He looked good in his first AEW outing and was protected with the roll up finish. It remains to be seen how long he’s in AEW, but he could be a valuable asset with the right push. Darby Allin also made his return in the post match. Allin’s charisma and connection with the crowd is difficult to describe because there’s nobody in wrestling like him. He’s his own unique character and the crowd is seeing him as a star.
•Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. The Lucha Bros. – HIT: What an incredible match. Kenny Omega and Hangman Page are a fantastic tag team. Depending on where Hangman Page goes, it would be fun to see them have more chemistry and act like a team that gets along. The Lucha Brothers brought it as always, but it may be time to have Fenix and Pentagon go solo. They are both incredible performers who could benefit from doing more singles matches. They don’t have much of a direction at this point other than putting on some of the best matches.
•Cody vs. Wardlow – HIT: I didn’t know what to expect from Wardlow, but he played his part well. Cody consistently brings out the best in all of his opponents through masterful storytelling. AEW did not follow WWE’s cage match rules of having the escape element or constant outside interference. At one point, Arn Anderson appeared to be contemplating turning on Cody at the request of MJF. Anderson sold the moment and made the viewers at home question whether they would swerve them. Cody won the match after a moonsault off the top of the cage creating one of Dynamite’s most memorable moments. Following the match, Cody cut a promo about falling in love with wrestling in Atlanta which did not make the broadcast.