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Over the past seven years, the best of the best have put on a show for either the Pennsylvania or Iowa crowd. However, for the first time ever, Who’s #1 is coming to Austin, TX, and this year’s card is bringing the heat. The 2020 Who’s #1 card is arguably the best one the history of Who’s #1.
We went back and pulled the “best” match from each Who’s #1 event. Whether it be for the match itself, the stakes involved, or the athletes competing, all of these matches are worth rewatching.
2013: Jason Nolf vs Joey McKenna (138)
The best match from FloWrestling’s inaugural event. Jason Nolf, a two-time PA state champ at the time was putting his #1 spot on the line against Cadet World Team member and two-time Prep National champion Joey McKenna. McKenna got the first takedown, but the offensive from Nolf proved to be too much.
2014: Larry Early vs Jo Smith (150)
One of WNO’s more heated rivalries, Larry Early and Jo Smith did not care for each other and truly wanted to win. While this was the third time the two had wrestled, it was the first time in folkstyle. Smith came out of the gate swinging, but Early proved too much in the end, and reminded everyone how many times he had beat Smith.
2015: Chad Red vs Luke Pletcher (132)
High school turned college rivalry, this rubber match lived up to all the hype and then some. After Red defeated Taylor Lamont and Pletcher beat Yianni Diakomihalis, the two squared off in the Snake Pit. Another long 1-1 overtime match, but this wasn’t your basic 1-1 overtime match. It was constant attacks and scrambling from #1 Chad Red and #2 Luke Pletcher. Plus, per usual, an electric celebration from Red.
2016: Jordan Decatur vs Gavin Teasdale (120)
In the preview for this one, Kyle Bratke wrote, “Teasdale and Decatur are both known for being offensive dynamos, so we should be in for a high-scoring affair on October 2!” He wasn’t wrong. Plenty of offense from a variety of attacks. The credentials coming into this match were insane. Just entering his junior year, Teasdale was already a two-time Pennsylvania state champion, two-time Cadet World Team member, and coming off a Fargo title. Decatur was coming off a summer where he won his second Fargo title, and while Teasdale kept coming the entire match, Decatur’s gas tank held up.
2017: Kurt McHenry vs Malik Heinselman (113)
A battle between two freestyle savants, Kurt McHenry was coming off his second-straight Cadet World title while Malik Heinselman had made three-straight age-level World Teams. The extremely undersized Kurt McHenry got up early, got thrown to his back, and then used a last second takedown to dethrone #1 Malik Heinselman. Who doesn’t love a buzzer beater?
2018: Alex Facundo vs Brevin Balmaceda (160)
#2 ranked Alex Facundo took a while to get going, but the Cadet World bronze medalist looked as good as ever in that third period. Very few can disappear on a duck like that against three-time Florida state champion and Super 32 champion Brevin Balmaceda. Lucky for all of us, we get to watch Facundo once again at Who’s #1 this year when he takes on Cael Valencia at 170 lbs.
2019: Shayne Van Ness vs Jesse Mendez (132)
This was six minutes of incredibly high level and high paced wrestling. #1 Jesse Mendez came out looking like the clear #1 132-pounder in the country, but Shayne Van Ness wowed everyone with some of the slick stuff he was able to do. These two will once again in a four-man group at Who’s #1 this year. If Van Ness defeats Jordan Williams and Mendez gets past Joel Vandervere, we get to see these two run it back.
Bonus A - 2014: Mark Hall vs Anthony Valencia (170)
To quote The Wrestling Nomad from a previous article, “Come on, you think we'd do a WNO list and NOT include this match? It wasn't just for the #1 spot at 170, it was for the unofficial pound-for-pound crown in high school at the time. The year before, Valencia beat Hall at the Freak Show, and Hall wanted revenge.”
BONUS B - 2014: Nick Suriano vs Daton Fix (120)
Ah yes, the marathon match. 2014 really was a great year. With unlimited overtime, these two wrestled for over 30 minutes before Nick Suriano finally got a takedown. Although this rivalry followed the pair all the way to the NCAA finals and is still ongoing, at the time, the two were just a sophomore and junior. This match was a historical 30+ minute war. The rules have since changed and we will probably never see anything like this again at the high school level.
Don't miss a match like one of these while it goes down live. Make sure you tune in October 3rd for the 2020 edition of Who's #1.
2020 Who's #1 Card
138 Shayne Van Ness vs Jordan Williams
138: Joel Vandervere vs Jesse Mendez
182: Lenny Pinto vs Rylan Rogers
112: Sage Mortimer vs Mia Palumbo
126: Jordan Titus vs Dean Peterson
152: Victor Voinovich vs Jagger Condomitti
285: Kyonte Hamilton vs Chase Horne
220: Kyle Haas vs Nick Feldman
145: Cody Chittum vs Wyatt Henson
195: Seth Shumate vs Tate Picklo
73 kg: Kennedy Blades vs Amit Elor
132: Nic Bouzakis vs Ryan Crookham
160: Paddy Gallagher vs Travis Mastrogiovanni
120: Richie Figueroa vs Drake Ayala
170: Alex Facundo vs Cael Valencia
138: Van Ness/Williams vs Vandervere/Mendez