4/8 WWE MAIN EVENT TV REPORT: Natalya plays to a crowd that doesn’t exist in match against Aliyah, Austin Theory vs. Shane Thorne breaks from formula

By Mike Meyers, PWTorch contributor



SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE MAIN EVENT TV REPORT
APRIL 8, 2020
HULU STREAMING TV
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips

REASONS TO WATCH…

  • Observe Natalya’s bizarre empty-arena behavior
  • Thorne vs. Theory transcends Main Event formula

(1) NATALYA vs. ALIYAH

After her entrance, Natalya placed her cat ears headband on the ref’s head, but he was sure to remove them for the sake of dignity before calling for the bell. Charlotte kipped up to escape from an early head scissors on the mat, then slowly walked a circle around the ring while rhythmically clapping her hands and looking out to a nonexistent crowd.

The women grappled briefly before Aliyah made quite the effort to stall the match by hanging through the ropes and eventually rolling out to ringside, screaming for a time out and saying she isn’t ready. Natalya grew increasingly impatient, lunging through the ropes at Aliyah, and eventually yelling, “Bitch, get your ass in this ring!” When Aliyah finally entered, she offered her hand to Natalya to shake. Natalya gestured, again to the nonexistent audience, and said, “Ask them if I should shake it.” Aliyah, incredulous, asked, “Who?” Natalya clarified, now just saying, “Him!”, referring to a lone crew member off camera. Natalya eventually took her hand, but only to yank it down to the mat and stomp on it. She rolled up Aliyah for a one-count.

Natalya planted Aliyah to the canvas tailbone-first from an atomic drop position, then hit her with a low running drop kick. Natalya clotheslined Aliyah and tried to set up the Sharpshooter but Aliyah rolled to the ropes. While Natalya was entangled with the ref, Aliyah sprung to her feet and smashed Natalya with a forearm, knocking her down into the corner. Aliyah moved in and delivered two series of kicks while being admonished by the ref. Backing out of the corner, Aliyah executed a northern lights suplex and pin for a two-count. On their feet, Aliyah applied an abdominal stretch. Natalya reversed the hold, but Aliyah snap mared Natalya to the mat. Aliyah ran at Natalya in the corner, but Natalya dodged, causing Aliyah to get her boot hung up on the top rope. Natalya took advantage and swept Aliyah onto her back before applying the Sharpshooter. Aliyah quickly tapped out.

WINNER: Natalya by pinfall.

(Meyers’s Analysis: Strange match. Both wrestlers acted like contemptible heels, and Natalya repeatedly played to an audience that wasn’t there. I wondered if she was doing it as part of her character, but the announcers didn’t acknowledge the behavior at all. The match does stand out against other Main Event matches with how much vocalization we heard from both wrestlers.)

-Main Event recap session:

  • Video recap packages for the top matches from WrestleMania:
  • Undertaker vs. Styles
  • Lynch vs. Baszler
  • Owens vs. Rollins
  • Ripley vs. Charlotte
  • McIntyre vs. Lesnar
  • Replay of McIntyre in-ring promo from Raw
  • Replay of McIntyre vs. Big Show from Raw

(2) SHANE THORNE vs. AUSTIN THEORY

Thorne controlled early on the mat with a side headlock, but Theory leveled Thorne with a shoulder block. Thorne got Theory back on the mat and applied a straight jacket submission hold. Theory reversed out and applied a headlock. They got to their feet again, but Theory maintained control with an active, writhing wristlock. Thorne broke free by way of an arm drag, then chopped Theory across the chest. He snap mared Theory to the mat and followed up with a kick to his back. Thorne ran at Theory in the corner, but Theory hit a drop toehold, dropping his opponent face-first into the middle turnbuckle. He then leveled Thorn with a drop kick before rolling out to ringside. We cut to break.

Theory landed a belly-to-back suplex in the ring and covered for a two-count. Theory applied a chinlock while proclaiming, “I can do this all day!” Thorne escaped the hold by ramming Theory into the corner three times, then hit a drop kick that sent Theory reeling into a corner. Thorne landed a running knee strike and a cannonball to Theory in the corner, then hit a falcon arrow in the middle of the ring for a two-count.

The men exchanged blows, first on their knees before getting to their feet. This culminated with a Theory superkick stunning Thorne, allowing Theory to land the TKO (a fireman’s carry into an RKO). Theory covered for the three-count.

(Meyers’s Analysis: Very good match, a step above the standard Main Event formula. The submissions appeared as battles rather than rest holds. The match, while short, managed to build toward a nice crescendo. Worth watching.)

SHOW SCORE (0-10): 8.4

FINAL THOUGHTS: Both matches stood out against their Main Event peers for vastly different reasons. An interesting episode worth checking out.


RECOMMENDED: 4/1 WWE MAIN EVENT TV REPORT: The O.C. (Gallows & Anderson) vs. EVER-RISE (Chase Parker & Matt Martel), Fabian Aichner vs. Cedric Alexander

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