Updated: Feb 28
We hear it all the time from the commentary desk: “Styles Make Fights.” But what does that mean in practice? Welcome to the 6th SMF, where we will be exploring that idea by using my SMF Interactive Dashboard to preview a fight scheduled for the following night's AEW show.
For more details on how this interactive tool works, please take a glance at the "Styles Make Fights" introductory post!
I want to emphasize: please feel free to play around with the interactive dashboard, it’s really neat!
Round 1: Tay Conti vs Nyla Rose
Tay Conti did everything she should have done to improve on her first attempt at Nyla Rose: she slowed down her offense and played for time, she even worked throws back into her repertoire in spite of the size difference.
I truly thought that this match-up was Tay’s to lose, but she knew what she had to do, she did it, and it just wasn’t enough to push Nyla into the deep water of a long match where cardio and muscle fatigue would have tipped the scales her way. This match was completely different from their first, but the end was exactly the same: beast bomb, three count, over.
Round 2: Nyla Rose vs Dr. Britt Baker, DMD
Tomorrow night we have the kind of match up you don’t see very often: two dominant competitors, both hated by the crowd. Despite the obvious differences between the monster and the doctor, their fighting styles are actually rather similar.
Minor differences: the despised dentist is the more technical grappler, and the behemoth simply absorbs her opponents’ offense, whereas Baker gives hers no openings to counter-attack.
But both have an offense mix that is centered on throws & slams and dirty fighting, with some striking mixed in.
Last night, Nyla faced a real challenge and tested her mettle against Tay Conti, while Dr. Baker got a virtual bye against an unready out-of-her-depth last-minute replacement in Madi Wrenkowski. Will the relatively rested Britt have an advantage? Or will the tested Nyla be readier for the challenge? I suspect the latter.
So let’s take a closer look at how each of them change up their strategy when facing a real challenge like they will present for one another tomorrow night:
They both get more careful, slowing down all of their offense, except for fouls, really leaning into rulebreaking as their key to victory. It doesn’t always work, but more often than not it does. However, in the past they haven’t been up against an opponent with the same strategy. Will we find out tomorrow night who really plays dirtiest? Or will one of the competitors change up their strategy in response? I’m looking forward to finding out!