Wednesday Night War! WWE NXT vs. AEW Dynamite – Week #19

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Hello and welcome back to the Wednesday Night War series! We’re following on from when AEW Dynamite went ahead of WWE NXT in my personal tally for the first time since week #9. Can NXT find its way back? Or will AEW extend? As of this writing, the shows ratings have yet to be released. Feel free to check out all the previous editions of the Wednesday Night War series via the links below.

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Wednesday Night War – Week #19

-AEW Dynamite-

AEW is newer, but that doesn’t mean it’s always better. There’s been times where I found some episodes of Dynamite to be fairly average, yet the past two weeks have blown me away. All Elite seem to have found their winning formula in the Wednesday Night War, so they better make good use of it while they can, as this run may not last forever.


The Good

– In all the craziness that was the opening tag team battle royal (love the concept of both partners needing to be eliminated), I failed to realize the gravity of the result; The Young Bucks facing off against their Elite buddy Omega and indifferent Hangman Page at Revolution. Luchasaurus and Orange Cassidy stood out from the crowd, as did The Butcher. The Dark Order promised the ‘Exalted One’ again, and Sammy Guevara’s involvement was a nice touch as well. Usually battle royals can be scrappy and forgettable, but they pulled this off.


– Always loved the family dynamic of Cody, Brandi Rhodes and Pharaoh. Delighted to see them back together like this. I understand wanting to go in a different direction, but this is best for all of them. Scrapping The Nightmare Collective was absolutely the right decision. Arn Anderson’s like bodyguard now? Or enforcer? Fancy that.

– After what was an excellent women’s match last week, it was refreshing to see two talents we have not seen work on Dynamite for a while. Shanna gives me ‘Taylor Wilde’ vibes (old TNA fans know who I mean), while Kris Statlander’s gradually getting over. The match was alright, not as thrilling as I’d hoped, but they did the job without any sloppiness. Statlander’s finisher, the ‘Big Bang Theory’, is one of the best on the roster.

– No matter who Nyla Rose is or was, she’s the Women’s Champion and had every right to put the division on notice. I hope it’s not the end for Riho, but it’s refreshing seeing two new contenders in Statlander and Big Swole. Nyla’s unlikely to lose any time soon, as AEW has shown they don’t play hot potato with their titles. They’ll build her up as an unstoppable force and put someone over in a few months. It looks like AEW officials are hoping it’s Statlander, but only if she can get over in a big way. Britt Baker’s getting nowhere near the title while she’s a heel, which is probably the right way to go.


– Jon Moxley vs. Jeff Cobb was a decent outing, with Moxley dishing out more offense than I expected. Cobb showed some potential, but I can’t say anything positive about the result. Darby Allin saved this with a HUGE pop so big even Taz was blown away.


– I’m a huge fan of Lucha Brothers since their time in Impact Wrestling, and they could easily be carrying this division. They steal the show almost every time, and with Omega & Page thrown in to the mix? We’re always gonna’ get PPV quality, and it’s exactly what we got, as they knocked the ball so far out the park they’ll be looking for days.

This is arguably the hottest division in the world with so much depth it would keep thriving if a few teams were cut. It still sickens me a touch that the Lucha Brothers aren’t champions, but with performances like these it’s only a matter of time. The result confirms what most fans would have predicted long before.. The Elite will go against themselves at Revolution.

– While the first-ever AEW steel cage match only had 15 minutes to shine, Cody, Wardlow, MJF, Brandi and Arn Anderson made it one to remember. From Cody’s bleeding, to Wardlow’s impressive offense, to all the ringside shenanigans, topping it off with an insane moonsault? We couldn’t have asked for more. I had no expectations.. figuring it would be ‘good’ at best, yet they surprised me by making this a memorable encounter.

The Bad

– The only gripe I have is they made Jeff Cobb lose clean in his debut match. He was built up well with a lot of hype, and I think it’s wrong they had him lose here, but at least it was to someone established like Moxley. I was predicting the Inner Circle would’ve interfered to protect Cobb from losing, but when that didn’t happen I questioned it. Turns out he’s just like any other member of the Inner Circle not named Jericho or Hager, which is a little disappointing.

-WWE NXT

NXT TakeOver: Portland was a quality show. It got a little tiresome near the end, but the main thing is they have a plan to rekindle the epic rivalry between Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano. With the reset button pressed, could NXT get back to doing what I know it can do in the Wednesday Night War?


The Good

– Much like AEW has with its tag team wrestling, NXT has built a healthy array of talent around the Cruiserweight Championship. Seeing it defended on an almost weekly basis is a big thumbs up from me, even more so when Jordan Devlin is the champion leading in to a historic NXT TakeOver from Ireland. Lio Rush has gained my respect for his performances the past six months, after coming incredibly close to being released. As for Jordan Devlin? It’s a physical impossibility for him to have a bad match, as he & Rush opened the show on the right foot.

– Tommaso Ciampa is one of a handful of guys carrying this brand. And when he’s pissed, he gives off some ‘Stone Cold’ vibes. This happened with Austin Theory, who showed his clear lack of experience for failing to heed Ciampa’s warning. His serious threat to Gargano, saying he needs to get him out NXT, is exactly what this feud needs. We need to see a definitive end to this storied rivalry, because NXT isn’t big enough to contain them.

– I’m a huge fan of GRIZZLED Young Veterans, who are SOON(!) to be the number one tag team in NXT. Zack Gibson is a wizard on the mic, and James Drake is a consistent, quality worker. Gibson riles people up so well.. I marked out when he ripped my home town of York (in England) last week. Kinda’ sad seeing Raul Mendoza teaming up with Joaquin Wilde, as he probably deserves better; but it makes sense as both these guys are pros at putting people over. I wonder how long it will take til the NXT fans are blowing the roof off with the chant “Shoes Off! If You Hate Gibson!”


– The Broserweights are arguably the most entertaining thing going on in NXT at the moment. Like I’ve said for weeks, their chemistry is unquestionable. Work horses Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan got in there and worked their butts off to make the new tag champions look credible. Matt Riddle sold the win almost like he’d won the titles again.

– Keith Lee’s reaction when Kona Reeves interrupted was limitless. Loved how he showed he isn’t accepting any silly business while he’s champion. A quick match, but clearly it was a setup for Dominick Dijakovic to almost beg him for a rematch. Lee is right, they could fight forever.. so long as William Regal approves.

– The Forgotten Sons are no longer forgotten? I’m seeing some improvement with their promos, but we all know they’ll be fodder for GYV. Does this mean they have turned face? It would be a nice change of pace.


– Bianca Belair does a ‘Ciampa’, only in the middle of a match. While it was random as hell (why not wait til after?), the biggest takeaway is that it looks like Belair isn’t done with Charlotte, so does that mean she could somehow worm her way in to the title match at WrestleMania? I hope so. That would be the sweetEST!

– Roderick Strong and Velveteen Dream always work well together. And while the fans reacted here and there, it’s the only positives I can think of. Also, The Undisputed Era finally took one guy out by themselves.

The Bad

– The Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong dynamic is mind-boggling. Dream is airbrushing Strong’s wife and kids on to his tights, but we’re meant to cheer for a guy using tactics a dastardly Rick Rude would be proud of? How do we support Strong when he’s part of a heel stable? Logically, it doesn’t make sense. And the fans let us know in the main event, as they struggled to know who to cheer for. There was a shock reaction when Dream revealed his newest tights, but again.. I don’t get it. Unless Strong and/or Undisputed Era turn face, then it’s ridiculous to assume the fans will get behind either of them.

– As a fan of Chelsea Green’s work when she worked for Impact Wrestling as Laurel Van Ness, I’ve yet to buy in to her as part of Robert Stone’s brand. Kayden Carter is there making hardly any impression at all. To show how little importance their match has, Bianca Belair delivered a cool promo on Charlotte Flair. Why didn’t Chelsea or Kayden attack her for interrupting? And where the hell is Io Shirai? It seems this division only cares about Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox.

– Last year, Dominick Dijakovic and Keith Lee were bitter enemies. You couldn’t have them in the same room without tearing the living crap out of each other. They team up a couple of times (for WarGames etc.) and suddenly they are best buddies with the utmost respect? What the hell Dijakovic? Don’t politely get in the ring and make excuses, borderline pleading to be granted a rematch.. take the big guy out! Ravage him. Destroy the champ, then tell the world how you would’ve won at TakeOver had your back not given out. They need to up the heat between these two pronto, or I fear this rivalry won’t reach its true potential.

Conclusion

NXT is in a rebuilding phase. It has a handful of talent carrying the show, but other newer superstars are struggling to make their way through. As a developmental territory, it’s impossible for NXT to be killing it all the time. AEW Dynamite however, is their biggest product. There’s nothing above Dynamite (like Raw/SmackDown is to NXT), so they can put everything they have in to making it their best effort. We also get more ‘first-time’ moments as there’s still much we haven’t seen AEW do.

For those who don’t know, I watch a lot of wrestling each week. Outside of PPVs, my weekly schedule consists of Raw on Mondays, Impact Tuesdays, AEW, NWA and NXT Wednesdays, NXT UK Thursdays, and SmackDown Fridays. And out of everything I watch, AEW Dynamite has impressed me the most the past few weeks. Not always the case though, as NXT, Impact, and even the NWA has surprised me the past year. With that said, it’s not always easy to be focused on everything. I gauge shows by what grabs my attention the most. Which show forced me to watch intently? And also, who had the hottest crowd?

To round this up, AEW goes ahead by two for the first time in this series. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping NXT returns with a stonking effort, because the last thing I want is the battle to fizzle out. This brings my personal tally to 8-6-5 in Dynamite’s favour, but rest assured I’ll keep on keeping on with this series for the time being, after some let me know they are enjoying it. How do you feel about the state of NXT? Do you think it can claw its way back in to this fight? Or has Dynamite got it fumbling for the ropes? Please let me know your thoughts, and I hope to see you again next week. Thanks for reading! See you next week for more Wednesday Night War action.

Wednesday Night War – WWE NXT vs AEW Dynamite

Wednesday Night War

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