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NXT/AEW Wednesday Night War: Week 10 Winners and Losers

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 Best Worst 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.

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NXT/AEW Wednesday Night War: Week 7 Winners and Losers

Off the back of an entertaining Full Gear PPV event, All Elite Wrestling looked to carry some momentum into Dynamite and regain some of their lost viewership. Meanwhile, over on the USA Network, NXT seek to continue their climb and overtake their rivals in the Wednesday Night War. What will this instalment of the battle bring?

Starting the Show

Following a video recap of Saturday’s Full Gear event, AEW Dynamite kicked off with an update on the condition of Kenny Omega following his brutal bout with Jon Moxley. Informed by JR that Moxley will kick off the night’s competition shortly, we peek into the medical examination of Omega. We learn that he, unlike Mox, has not been cleared to compete and Kenny does a fantastic job of carrying on his face the mental pain of his opponent being cleared before him. This is real emotion on display or, at the very least, a stellar and convincing reproduction of it. Back in the ring, Jon Moxley makes light work of Michael Nakazawa before taking to the microphone. Mox rubs the victory into Omega before sharing his reluctant respect for him. Following this, Moxley effectively calls out the entire roster, claiming they don’t have the balls to confront him. Ultimately, he is proven correct, with no-one answering the call in that moment.

NXT launched itself onto the airwaves with a recap of last week’s show, combined with the opening music video. The only thing that would have made this more perfect is fully putting up the NXT titlecard at the crescendo of the music. I’d love to see NXT open in this way going forward; it’s super fresh and very unique. The show proper got underway with the NXT Cruiserweight Championship match which I, for one, highly anticipated. The match met all expectations and continued to demonstrate the ability of the Cruiserweight roster. The early commercial break really broke the flow of this match but the match overall was a delight to behold. I’m a little disappointed with the ending but I’m satisfied in the fact that it means this will not be the last time we see Garza and Rush face off in the near future.

Match of the Night

In my opinion, the match of the night belonged to “Hangman” Adam Page and PAC. The raw emotion that carried into their second match was unmatched and lacked the errors that other top matches from the night had. This match put PAC over, big time, as he took his underhanded, bastard tactics to another level rendering Page unconscious and refusing to relent. Great story, great action, match of the night.

Honourable mention for the Cruiserweight Championship match. The end of the match combined with the few moments in which each superstar stood waiting to be hit or for moves to be delivered pushed the edge to Hangman vs. PAC.

Biggest Shocker

For me, the biggest shock of the night is that NXT didn’t payoff the best possible outcome in the night long women being attacked, Baszler needing a fourth member deal. Sure, Kay Lee Ray is fine but everything pointed to a larger conspiracy that would have seen, if I were writing the show, Dakota Kai join Team Baszler. Kai left last week’s NXT livid and emotionally devastated that she had been supplanted for Team Ripley. She was presented as a weak, feeble person that didn’t have the resolve to fight for her place, let alone fight against some of the toughest women in the business. Imagine then, that driven by the negative emotions of last week, Kai took the decision to reach out to Shayna Baszler and join her War Games team instead. Asked to prove that she was ruthless enough to join her team, Baszler instructs Kai to make and impact, which she does by taking out all of Team Ripley with Shafir and Duke feigning injury to cover her tracks. During the main event, Shayna Baszler’s music hits and Kai rushes to the ring through the crowd, standing alongside Mia Yim, whom she’d sworn to protect backstage. Shayna tells Yim she isn’t there to fight, she’s here with video evidence proving who attacked all the other women backstage. The video shows a person brutally attacking Ripley and co before telling Shafir/Duke to take a dive; that person turns around and is revealed to be Dakota Kai. Before Yim can react, Kai kicks her in the head and drags Io Shirai to the ladder, where she climbs and secures the victory. The event ends in the same way but with Kai in the place of Kay Lee Ray as Bayley jumps Baszler.

That should have been the shocking moment of the night… but hey, what do I know? By the way, because they didn’t make it explicit on the show, it was Bayley…

Fun moments and other good stuff

  • Great to see the Luchasaurus back in the ring. Here’s hoping we can see more singles action from him, leaving Jungle Boy and Marko to handle tag division duties.
  • Finn Balor’s verbal tirade transitioning into a War Games build transitioning into a Roderick Strong vs. Keith Lee match. See also bad stuff below.
  • Darby Allin is big time over. I came into this night thinking that AEW needed to find a good feud for this kid that can payoff with a big PPV match, focusing on what he can do in the ring rather than his more risque style of wrestling. Accepting Jon Moxley’s open challenge accomplishes half of that… but a match with Mox is never not going to be high risk. Here’s hoping it won’t be one-and-done next week in Indianapolis.
  • Nice little rivalry building between Shawn Spears and Joey Janela. Their payoff will be a good opportunity for them both to demonstrate the technical aspects of their repertoire and put on a great match for the audience.
  • A feud in which the hatred was between Pete Dunne and Killian Dain was evident has morphed effectively into a chaotic, three-way war – adding Damien Priest. Priest definitely isn’t a third wheel in this situation and will add a dynamic element to this Triple Threat match, in a Survivor Series weekend dominated by Triple Threat matches.
  • A lot went down in the Chris Jericho initiated talk segment, all of it good. We saw a coming out promo for MJF, followed by an ego-off between arguable the two best heels in the company, followed by the debut of Wardlow. Cody’s quest for revenge should dominate Dynamite for weeks to come, with Cody being denied his retribution all the way to the next PPV event. By the way, as a subordinate of MJF, the Burberry tie is a nice touch.
  • There’s not often much worth hearing during a backstage brawl so using the commercial break splitscreen for the majority of the altercation between the Young Bucks and Santana/Ortiz was an excellent use of time.
  • Mia Yim took an absolute beating tonight. Major respect, hope she’s okay for Takeover: War Games.

Room for improvement

  • If the Cruiserweight and United Kingdom Championships are now truly NXT titles, they need a fresh design, replacing the front and center WWE logo with an NXT based design. Without that, it’s a constant reminder that you changed the names without much reason.
  • I loved Finn Balor’s rant about how soft NXT has gotten but Gargano’s injury really hurts Balor. I would have hoped Balor be confronted by someone who he might face at Takeover: War Games. Riddle already has a match… Balor won’t be joining the War Games match… what’s left for him to do at the first major event since his return? Do they take Riddle out of War Games? Cancel my last. After writing this, they did indeed take Riddle out of War Games and put him in a one-on-one with Finn Balor. Kudos.
  • Enough of the stupid Librarian crap, seriously. If Shane Douglas couldn’t pull of this kind of scholarly elitist gimmick, Peter Avalon sure isn’t going to.
  • Two squash matches in the programme does not a quality wrestling oriented show make.
  • Forced Star Wars reference from Nigel McGuinness and Beth Phoenix.
  • Why is All Elite Wrestling obsessed with battle royals? And giving out trinkets like medals and rings? Very strange.
  • Rules go out the window in AEW tag team matches. Officials rarely keep illegal competitors on the apron, hold them to account for being in the ring too long. The referee would have clearly seen Jake Hager attack Kazarian outside the ring, he was looking right at him. Rules matter.
  • I really, really don’t like a mid-card (at best) guy like Scorpio Sky kicking out of the Codebreaker, beating the World Champion, or handing Chris Jericho his first loss. The only legitimate reason to potentially do any of those things would be as the launchpad for a main event push for Sky, which I don’t see being their end game. Where can this go, other than making your company’s top guy look weak?

What the ratings said

This week, AEW Dynamite improved to 957,000 views on last week, failing to break back through that 1 million barrier. NXT slid backwards to 750,000 viewers, failing to capitalise on the promise of RAW and SmackDown superstars boosting the show’s appeal. The viewers lost from the early weeks of the Wednesday Night War do not seem to be returning for their Wednesday night pro wrestling fix.

And the winner is…

Deciding a winner this week was tough and there were times that I thought I’d declare week 7 a tie but, ultimately, less went wrong on Dynamite and the story wasn’t left with a gaping hole in it in the same way NXT did (see rant above). Furthermore, while the Full Sail crowd were engaged and vocal, as always, the reactions from the Nashville audience were at another level, especially during moments like MJF’s promo and Cody’s arrival. It takes a lot to top an NXT crowd and that should be recognised. This week, AEW put on the better television show. Overall, the war is 5-2 to NXT but with a stellar event this week, the All Elite crew prove they ain’t licked yet. The war wages on…

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.

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NXT/AEW Wednesday Night War: Week 2 Winners and Losers

It wasn’t a dream! We truly are getting head-to-head wrestling every Wednesday night! All Elite Wrestling and WWE NXT returned to the airwaves for their second week of direct competition. Would NXT be the better show, as I determined last week? Join me for a double show breakdown…

Starting the Show

Echoing their week one open, AEW put up their fan favourite company men in the opening bout, pitting The Young Bucks (whom I still hear announced as The Bucks of Youth in my head, cheers BROKEN Matt) against Private Party to kick off the AEW World Tag Team Championship tournament. While I’m personally not the biggest fan of their superkick schtick, there’s no argument that the Bucks are in the conversation as the best tag team in the world today. Private Party are themselves no slouches, though, exemplified by Marq Quen’s insane series of tope manoeuvres, firing up the crowd. While I went into the match thinking that the Bucks simply HAD to win this, Private Party made a believer of me during the course of the match. The upset victory was credible and believable given the work put in during the contest. A hot start to the show as well as the tournament itself. Quick post match note… continuing the Party celebration / Bucks disbelief throughout the commercial split-screen was an excellent timing choice, furthered by the immediate entrance of Chris Jericho’s stable at the return. Great way to keep viewers engaged.

With the unenviable task of topping last week’s opening contest, NXT kicked off with the Cruiserweight Championship match between Lio Rush and Drek Gulak. The match was fantastic, as you’d expect from these two, but it angers me greatly that it took a ratings war for WWE to recognise what a gem they have in the Cruiserweight division. I’m not sure what the future holds for 205 Live but at the very least it’s good the Cruiserweight Championship will have a solid home in NXT. Lio Rush winning the title was not wholly unexpected and the crowd were very behind the man of the hour. A hot start to the show but, in contrast to last week, I think that AEW’s was hotter this week.

Match of the night

Unlike in week 1, tonight’s best match was less obvious. The contests between Lio Rush/Drew Gulak and WALTER/Kushida were contenders but the predictable ending of the Cruiserweight Championship match and rare botch from Kushida (however well recovered by WALTER) remove them from contention. Owing the degree to which they impressed me with their in-ring work, as well as the shock, unexpected victory, it is my opinion that the match of the night tonight was the AEW Tag Tournament match that opened Dynamite. Special mention for Moxley/Spears – a solid match – but very much a filler for TV; I’m sure we’ll see them together again.

Biggest Shocker

With no debuts or unannounced arrivals to speak of, there were no truly shocking moments in either show. As each show looked to follow their high-energy debuts, they went back to the formula – developing characters, putting up wins and losses and furthering existing storylines. That’s a-okay with me. I suppose the real shock here is that neither brand burned themselves out and pitched a stinker in week 2!

Fun moments and other good stuff

  • Chris Jericho’s quip about We The People: “It was a stupid idea from bad creative and all that’s gone.”
  • Darby Allin and Jimmy Havoc proved they can have a solid wrestling match, without the garbage.
  • Do Aliyah and PAC have the same entrance music? šŸ˜‚
  • The prospect of Ripley/Baszler and Rhea Ripley showing that she has more intensity and charisma than the entire AEW Women’s division (see below).
  • Barbed wire broom.
  • Breezango’s new “Men at Work” entrance, moving them away from the fashion police gimmick.
  • Having dropped the happy-go-lucky yet scared pigeon demeanour, Dakota Kai is a lot more tolerable. Still happy to see her take the L from Bianca Belair.
  • The AEW commentary team, especially JR, felt a lot more natural tonight. The three man team told good stories and helped introduce their talent to any new audiences tuning in for the first time.

Room for improvement

  • The referee was far too liberal with the rules in the opening contest. The Young Bucks spent a large majority of the match in the ring together without even being asked to leave the ring. If wins and losses matter in AEW, the rulebook should too.
  • Tegan Nox returns next week? We’re just ignoring the fact NXT UK is a thing now, huh?
  • Why isn’t Jericho’s stable called The List after we dropped that name several times at the start of the promo?
  • Already bored of Cameron Grimes’ quick victories and I doubt he’s 220lbs.
  • Still haven’t seen an ounce of charisma from anyone in the AEW Women’s division
  • I won’t tolerate a third cluster finish in a row from AEW. They need to find another way to close the show next week.

What the ratings said

The ratings are in and, while viewership of both shows was down on week 1, AEW once again came out on top. This weeks Dynamite brought in just over 1 million views while NXT garnered a viewership of just under 800k viewers. Hopefully, these ratings will pick up for both shows in week 3, now viewers have a better idea what to expect.

And the winner is…

Once again, two solid battles offered to the Wednesday Night War. While both shows kept me engaged and had a lot to offer, I must conclude the AEW Dynamite was the better show tonight; each of the matches and moments flowed together from start to finish. Just as last week, this doesn’t mean that NXT was a bad show – just that the moments overall across the All Elite offering were more entertaining, in my eyes. For my money, Moxley’s in-ring debut, Jericho’s promo and the opening tag team match won out against 205 finally being used, quick finishes and Giant Bernard references. With that, the war for best Wednesday night programme, regardless of the ratings, is now tied at 1-1. I can’t wait to see how this number develops as the weeks roll by; what a great time to be a wrestling fan!

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.

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NXT/AEW Wednesday Night War: Week 1 Winners and Losers

In a historic moment that harkened back to the glory days of pro wrestling’s most entertaining and prosperous period, the Wednesday Night War – the ratings battle between WWE NXT and AEW Dynamite – got underway last Wednesday night. This inaugural edition of the war pitted a rowdy homefield NXT crowd in Florida against a sold out Washington DC diehard set and featured several exciting and impactful moments now committed to the annals of history.

Starting the show

Without argument, I would suggest, each show needed to start their programme strong and neither disappointed. WWE publicised ahead of time that they would be kicking off with the NXT World Championship match: Cole vs. Riddle. This was a shrewd move by WWE, as this was expected to be NXT’s match of the night (more on that later). AEW, conversely, put their money behind their VP and started the show with Cody Rhodes. Cody is, or at least his group are, the biggest draws in the company. Starting off with Rhodes made a lot of sense. Starting off with Rhodes against a virtual unknown did not. With the story and groundwork done so far during PPV and B/R broadcasts, there were better opponents for Cody that would have made far more sense… Darby Allin or Shawn Spears, to name but two. That said, the match between Cody and Sammy Guevara was one of the highlights of the show. The quality of wrestling on offer was solid, the pair told a good story – strengthened by Cody’s “if I lose, I relinquish my title shot” decree – and the right person won. A solid start.

With his title shot validated, Cody was attacked post match by reigning champion, Chris Jericho. After wasting some time on a hug with Tony Schiavone and a handshake with Guevara, Jericho had barely enough time to put Cody down before the show was forced into commercials… where the best parts of the attack went down, without sound, without commentary and on a tiny, barely watchable screen. I understand why they wanted to keep the action going, with the competition on USA not having any commercials at all for the first 30 minutes but the timing choices made here, and throughout the whole show, left a lot to be desired.

NXT, by comparison, presented the best match of both shows and threw in a surprise return for good measure.

Match of the night

It should be fairly obvious by now that I considered the Adam Cole (baybay) / Matt Riddle NXT Championship contest to be the undisputed match of the night.

The match had all the qualities you’d look for in a five star bout. I could go on about it but if you’ve seen the match, you know how good it was… if you haven’t, stop reading this and go find the match. Now.

Biggest shocker

Each Wednesday night show delivered its share of surprise moments with shock debuts/returns at each event. AEW’s surprise of the night came in the form of the debuting Jake Hager (formerly known as former WWE World Heavyweight Champion and All American American, American, American, Jack Thwagger). The moment was unfortunately diminished by the fact that his arrival was foretold in the dirtsheets and by the blank expression on Hager’s face as he stumbled through the run-in, looking for things to do.

The biggest reaction from the All Elite, Washington DC crowd was for the return of Jon Moxley in the same match. The status of Moxley’s elbow injury and infection was kept mostly opaque and, even if anticipated, the crowd were set ablaze as Moxley crawled in behind Kenny Omega.

The moment of the night over both shows came in the immediate aftermath of the match of the night in the return to NXT of Finn Balor.

On a night where Tommaso Ciampa also returned from injury to the black and gold brand, Finn Balor’s backstep from the main roster is the most shocking. There was a time when leaving NXT meant you would never return but as Triple H looks to put on the best wrestling show, it stands to reason that he’ll bring the best wrestlers back to NXT; especially where daddy-in-law has had them on the main roster without any clue how to use them! Balor in NXT opens so many fantastic match opportunities. Expect Finn to receive a lot of TV time on NXT going forward as we slowly works through the roster, leaving five star matches and red paint in his wake.

Quick notes for improvement

  • AEW went right into the the opening music/video at the beginning. No pomp and circumstance marking their first show, no explanation of why their show is different, nothing. Big shame.
  • NXT’s commercials were too frequent after the initial commercial free period. Thoroughly broke the flow of the matches and I for one, would have preferred consistently timed commercials.
  • Mia Yim looked slow and frequently hesitated throughout her match. Io Shirai managed to carry the match on her own but NXT need to consider whether they want to put Yim in matches with the top tier of talent going forward.
  • I’m already bored of the AEW/WCW comparisons.
  • LOTS of big names missing for AEW. Show people tuning in to your product for the first time who you have. Give them someone to attach to and bring them back next week.
  • The SCU segment was just… weird. Did anyone actually find it funny? Would someone seeing for this time understand what the point was, and why they were shouting SCU? Furthermore, either putting the Lucha Bros in their faces was a tournament spoiler or a bizarre moment between two teams that won’t be facing each other any time soon…
  • Beth Phoenix.
  • Nigel McGuinness.

What the ratings said

The ratings came in fairly quickly on Thursday and gave the Wednesday Night War its first champion: AEW Dynamite. Dynamite amassed a 0.68 rating amongst adults with 1.4 million viewers overall whilst NXT on USA only secured a 0.32 share amongst adults, 891k viewers overall. For reference, the ratings view adults as those aged 18-49. For my money, All Elite Wrestling were always going to win the ratings battle in their debut. NXT is the established brand and watching it live wasn’t as important as watching the history of a brand new endeavour unfold before our eyes.

And the winner is…

While ultimately, the ratings will dictate the winner of the war over time, I will be keeping a record of who is winning the war in terms of putting on the best show. For this debut week, despite AEW Dynamite winning the ratings battle on Wednesday night, I found WWE NXT to be the better show in week one. NXT did not have a bad match, it had the better surprises, the better timing and the match of the night. This is not to say that I found the AEW show to be bad… nothing could be further from the truth… but objectively, NXT was firing on all cylinders Wednesday night, whereas AEW still has a few kinks to work out. I fully expect the bar to be raised again for week two; I cannot wait to check out both shows next week. I leave you with my immediate thoughts, from Twitter as I don’t think I could sum it up any better again…

What did you think of the inaugural Wednesday Night War? Did you prefer one show over the other. Let me know your thoughts in the comments or find me on Twitter @thejezshow.