Now a whole ten weeks into the Wednesday Night War, All Elite Wrestling enter this week’s battle determined to regain the lead in the ratings. Last week’s offering, from both NXT and AEW, left a lot to be desired. Here’s hoping that this two week ratings slide will give the All Elite brand the kick up the rear that it needs, and that WWE’s black and gold brand will this week welcome back their voice and heart in Mauro Ranallo. Who will entertain in week 10? WILL they entertain in week 10? Let’s settle in and find out!
Starting the Show
Despite some extremely jarring issues with the sound, AEW started red hot with the six man tag team match set up on last week’s show. Originally advertised as the main event of today’s Dynamite, The Young Bucks and Dustin Rhodes squared off with The Inner Circle’s PnP and Sammy Guevara. The action was fast and exciting, as you would expect of this group (okay, maybe not Dustin) and including a particularly thrilling high-flight exhibition outside of the ring.
I still continue to be overly impressed with Sammy Guevara who, in this match, live streamed as he attempted delivery of a shooting star press only to be cut out of the air by a Young Buck superkick party. Overall, great way to kick off the show on Dynamite; some heart-stopping action to keep the dial on the TNT network.
With a voice as smooth as his dinner jacket, the tones of Mauro Ranallo welcomed us in to NXT. As Ranallo talked, though, the sight behind him was of a beastly Killian Dain marching to the ring. The opening contest got quickly underway as Pete Dunne arrived immediately to begin the contest. It makes me wonder if somebody behind the scenes was keeping an eye on TNT to ensure than NXT got the in-ring action started first. A strike against NXT, though, was after only ten minutes of programme it went to a commercial break. The match itself was a hard-hitting contest that stayed mostly in the ring. Some of the only time spent outside the ring was used highlighting Dunne’s lingering knee injury and proving that big Dain can indeed fly, diving through the ropes to take down an ailing Bruiserweight.
As the match progressed, Pete Dunne was able to gain the upper hand with a submission and sleeper based attack but this offense came back to bite him in the end. As Dain climbed to the top rope, Dunne locked in a sleeper hold atop the turnbuckle. The Beast of Belfast used this to his advantage falling backwards into the ring, slamming Dunne into the mat and laying over his broken body for the three count.
Match of the Night
The wrestling was generally of a high quality across both shows Wednesday night but I believe the opening six man tag team match on AEW Dynamite was the most exciting and interesting of them all. It does strike me as strange that I might enjoy a tag match more than any of the singles matches this week but considering the pace and energy on display in the match, it just makes sense. The crowd in Champaign, Illinois were the most enthused and vocal about this match than any other and the match set the tone for what turned out to be a very good edition of Dynamite.
Fun moments and other good stuff
- Cody Rhodes has turned into hell of a promo. Honestly, I didn’t follow him too closely in ROH and New Japan so I don’t know if that’s where he developed those skills but this Cody is a far cry from the ‘smoke and mirrors’ Cody we saw during the height of his WWE career. I think I might be more excited for all the moments his feud with MJF will bring us outside the ring than I am inside it.
- I spoke last week on this column of my desire to see Xia Li and Shayna Baszler get it on and I got my wish on NXT this week. While Baszler employed her usual techniques of targeting a body part and wearing down her opponent, Li herself got a good deal of offense in herself, drawing on her martial arts based arsenal. While Baszler ultimately bested Li, this match served as a good preview of a top-quality, future Takeover match for the Championship. The time might not be right for that now but hopefully this proposition will be revisited in 2020.
- The list is back! Sorry, The Lexicon of Le Champion has arrived. In all seriousness, though, Chris Jericho is at his best when he is listing things, somehow? I loved all of the little subtle references to WWE talent including Buck (Kevin) Owens and Allen Jones… one AJ Styles.
- “It doesn’t surprise me that dinosaurs are on your list… we’ve been marginalised for 65 million years!”
- While I don’t think we needed the squash tag team match, I did appreciate seeing Jaxson Ryker chokeslam Leon Ruff onto the ring apron. We really need more Ryker single competition on NXT; he could be a top heel for the brand.
- Making a big deal of the rankings is starting to pay off for AEW. The match in which Kris Statlander defeated the #1 ranked competitor to the Women’s Title, Hikaru Shida, meant more as a result. In future matches with top ranked competitors, the stakes will be higher.
- I am already a thousand time more behind remorseless heel Dakota Kai than I ever was behind boring happy-go-lucky Dakota Kai. Looking forward to seeing all of the rivalries that she set up at War Games pay off… Rhea Ripley, Mia Yim and, of course, Tegan Nox. Lots more to see in this very young heel turn for Kai.
- Joey Janela takes a good beating. Certain wrestlers tend to be joined at the hip in any promotion and I think that Janela and Mox will be tearing strips off each other for years to come.
- More head to head moments are coming in this war… it sounds very much like the Chris Jericho vs. Jungle Boy AEW World Championship Match will be going up against a Shayna Baszler vs. Rhea Ripley NXT Women’s Championship Match. As much as I enjoy the work of Jungle Boy and Jericho, I know which match I would tune into if I were watching live on December 18th…
- Oh, but hold the phone… there will also be an NXT Championship match on December 18th. The black and gold brand are preparing a mini-Takeover event at Full Sail. Will AEW answer with further title match announcements? December 18th could be a huge benchmark in the Wednesday Night War!
Room for improvement
- Did I expect more of the Fenix/Trent contest? Yeah, I did. It seemed like the passion only came out in these guys after the match, on a commercial break splitscreen. It wasn’t a bad match but it did very little for the future singles prospects of either man.
- The Dark Order recruitment promos are just getting weird and not in a good way. Time to bring that act back into the arena and try to recruit somebody on the AEW roster.
- Librarians… new gimmick. Now.
- Nyla Rose can dominate two women and a man in the space of three minutes but couldn’t overcome an undersized 90lb woman to win the AEW Women’s Championship? Not in any way credible. Riho should never have been able to defeat Rose. Never.
- Considering the match was against a guy that tried to break his neck, Christopher Daniels attempt at revenge was a little sedate. Pentagon’s demeanour seemed more like a man out for retribution than Daniels ever did. The botched
BestWorst Moonsault Ever didn’t help matters. Has the Angel Fallen?
What the ratings said
For the first time in two weeks, AEW topped NXT in the ratings… but not by very much! During this week’s battle, Dynamite brought in 851,000 while NXT amassed 845,000 viewers.
And the winner is…
Like last week, this week’s victor is a close call. Unlike last week, this is because both shows were excellent, as opposed to last week’s appalling effort. With the in-ring action mostly on par across the two shows, I have turned to the non-wrestling aspects of the show to break the tie. The win this week, therefore, goes to All Elite Wrestling. The promos of Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho were some of the most compelling and entertaining, respectively and tip Dynamite over the top this week. Just as the ratings war is starting to close together so too is my entertainment based rankings. My assessment of the Wednesday Night War now sits at 5-4-1 in favour of NXT. If AEW were to maintain a streak, they could overtake NXT by year’s end. We truly are just getting started, folks!
What did you think of NXT and AEW Dynamite? What were your highlights from both shows? Sound off in the comment section below or join me on Twitter @thejezshow.
Editors note: I have removed the Biggest Shock section of this column going forward. Should there be any truly shocking events that take place, I will create a special section for it in future.