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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WWE MAIN EVENT TV REPORT
MARCH 18, 2020
HULU STREAMING TV
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Byron Saxton, Mickie James
REASONS TO WATCH…
- First Main Event of the Empty Arena Era
(1) LEON RUFF vs. ALEISTER BLACK
The ref called for the bell and Black leaned back against his corner, glaring across the ring at the dimunitive Ruff, who was sporting standard yellow trunks, yellow kneepads, and white knee-high boots. Ruff nervously bobbed in an athletic boxing position. An alarm eerily began sounding against an otherwise silent background as Black slowly walked away from his corner before sitting cross-legged in the middle of the ring, never lifting his gaze from Ruff.
Ruff gestured for Black to get up, and pleaded with the referee to get him to his feet. He turned his back to Black and leaned on his corner, then sprinted toward the seated Black, thrusting his knee through the air. Black dodged the attack by rolling onto his back, then kipped up to his feet. He spun around to face Ruff, who attacked with a right kick, but Black caught Ruff’s boot under his left arm. Black thrusted Ruff’s boot laterally through the air as though hand-starting a vertically-situated 1918 Fokker Dreidecker. This caused Ruff to spin 360 degrees, lining him up for the Black Mass. Ruff crashed to the ground lifelessly, like so many Sopwith Camels over Western Europe during the Great War. Black covered for the three-count.
WINNER: Aleister Black by pinfall.
(Meyers’s Analysis: It’s surprising they left the background alarm in instead of restarting the recording, what with no live audience to entertain – it only added to the apocalyptic atomosphere introduced on the last episodes of Smackdown and Raw. The match itself was an old school squash, and Ruff was a good hapless jobber. Curious if Black would’ve been on Main Event under normal circumstances.)
-Main Event recap session:
- Replay of John Cena – Bray Wyatt in-ring segment Smackdown
- Replay of Undertaker – AJ Styles contract signing from Raw
- Match rundown for upcoming PPV WrestleMania
- Replay of Edge in-ring promo from Raw
- Replay of Steve Austin 3:16 Day in-ring segment from Raw
(2) ANGELO DAWKINS (w/Montez Ford) vs. MURPHY (w/Akam)
As the bell rang, Ford began enthusiastically slapping the ring apron, then poised with open hands to an audience that existed only in his mind. The wrestlers exchanged go-behind waistlocks before being separated against the ropes. Murphy worked Dawkins to the mat for a few moments, then Dawkins got to his feet and leveled Murphy with a shoulder block. Murphy tossed Dawkins over the top rope, but Dawkins landed on his feet and quickly scooted back into the ring to shoulder block Murphy again, who was running in preparation for a suicide dive.
Ford carried on with more apron slapping, then counted along with Dawkins’s blows against Murphy in the corner. For reasons unknown, Dawkins became distracted by Akam, who was 15 feet away on the ring apron, allowing Murphy to sneak in with a knee strike to Dawkins’s head. Murphy then fired Dawkins between the turnbuckles, shoulder-first into the ring post. Dawkins tumbled down to the floor and we cut to commercial.
The wrestlers were trading blows in the ring after the break, during which we presume they were smoking Marlboro Reds and chatting about AEW. Eventually both men collapsed to the mat, at which point Ford appeared to completely lose his mind – he screamed incomprehensibly and slammed both hands on the apron exactly 26 times. Akam observed these proceedings with little regard. Dawkins and Murphy stirred to their feet. Dawkins took Murphy down three times with clotheslines and a reverse elbow. Murphy missed a forearm in the corner, allowing Dawkins to take Murphy down with a bulldog. Dawkins covered for two.
After regaining some hit points at ringside alongside Akam, Murphy took out Dawkins with a meteora off the top turnbuckle. He covered Dawkins for a two-count. Ford and Akam briefly tangled on the floor, but Ford ended the confrontation with a superkick that sent Akam down. Murphy bailed out of the ring to fire Ford into the ring barrier, but when he rolled back in, Dawkins executed a sitout powerbomb into a pin, good for the three-count.
WINNER: Angelo Dawkins by pinfall.
(Meyers’s Analysis: A bizarre choice to run out the Street Profits, perhaps the most fan-involving act on the show, in a show with no fans. Ford’s antics did provide a bit of energy and sound to chip away at the foreboding silence of the empty arena. The match, an afterthought in this setting, was fine.)
SHOW SCORE (0-10)
FINAL THOUGHTS: The first Main Event in an empty arena has broken the Show Score meter. Stay tuned for possible repairs next week.