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Wednesday Nights Winners/Losers discontinued; Two Minute Warning on hiatus

The Jez Show is announcing today the discontinuation of two projects: NXT/AEW Wednesday Night Winners and Losers and Two Minute Warning.

The end of Wednesday Night Winners and Losers was explained during the recent Week 15 edition, readable here.

This will be the last Wednesday Night Winners and Losers write-up I do. The war is not intensifying as I had hoped and each show seem content to plateau under a million viewers a week. For those interested, I will still declare my winner and keep a tally of the winners but I’d rather not have the pressure to force myself to watch Dynamite immediately… it’s actually becoming a little difficult to relate to the wrestlers, or care about their progress week on week. Thanks for your support with this column.

Putting Two Minute Warning on hiatus was a decision that has not come lightly but since the podcast was revived, hosted only by Jeremy after Alex decided not to continue, the product has not been the same. Without a second person to bounce off and share the content load, the podcast simply is not as entertaining a product as I would desire. Not wishing to produce a husk of its former self, I have chosen to mothball the project at this time. Should a suitable co-host be found, I would hope to continue the podcast.

Are you interesting in co-hosting Two Minute Warning? Do you have a knowledge and interest in American Football? All you need to take part is a good quality microphone and a computer with an internet connection. If interested, please contact The Jez Show on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.

When something isn’t working, I like to devote the energy to other things. With the addition of Dan to the podcast, The Main Roster is going swimmingly. New projects and articles will come to replace these that have been lost. To those that have supported these projects til now, I thank you.

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NXT/AEW Wednesday Night War: Week 15 Winners and Losers

With the expectation that NXT will focus on build for WWE World’s Collide a week on Saturday and that AEW will not focus on any kind of build whatsoever, the Wednesday Night War enters its fifteenth week across cable television.

Starting the Show

After a tribute to the recently passed Rocky Johnson, the now traditional music video style opening got NXT on USA underway, recapping the previous week’s events before transitioning into what took place at NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool II. After introductions from Mauro Ranallo, Keith Lee made his way to the ring to discuss his #1 contendership to the NXT North American Championship as well as the hold that the Undisputed Era has had on NXT for the past year. Of course, the UE would not stand for that and made haste towards the ring. A four-on-one attack ensued with Roderick Strong worsening the odds further with the assistance of a steel chair. Strong and co then used the steel chair to compromise the ankle of the ‘Limitless’ one before Tommaso Ciampa arrived, slightly too late, to make the save. The match between Strong and Lee will take place next week on NXT.

After their own tribute to Rocky Johnson and a pan over a rather attractive lady on a lifeguard’s chair, AEW Dynamite got underway with The Young Bucks, Omega/Page, Best Friends and PnP in Fatal Four Way Tag Team match to determine a #1 contender for the AEW World Tag Team Championships. Starting the in-ring action was Trent and Nick Jackson but the “anyone can tag anyone” nature of these matches quickly allowed the teams to swap legal men around freely until Santana and Ortiz forced their way into the match, dragging someone to the corner to be tagged.

No man was really able to get an advantage in the early going with frequent tags taking place and action often too frenetic to follow. Proud N Powerful took the momentum of the match, eventually, and delivered a fantastic version of Eddie Guererro’s Three Amigos, passing Matt Jackson between Ortiz and Santana for the third vertical suplex.

With rules out the window, and the commentary team not even knowing who the legal men in the match were, the action took to the ringside area and culminated with Trent superplexing Jackson from the turnbuckle to the pile of humanity waiting below.

After ‘Hangman’ Adam Page blind tagged into the match at the expense of his Elite teammates, the Bucks, Jackson took exception but this got him dumped out of the ring allowing Omega and Page to double team Chuck Taylor and secure victory. Kenny Omega and Adam Page are #1 contenders for the Tag Team Championships… and Omega is still in a little addressed feud with PAC, not that it’s obvious watching Dynamite.

Match of the Night

The first contest to take place on NXT was another opening round match in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The unlikely duo of The Broserweights – Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne – joined forces to take on the unnecessary duo of Manchild and Modboy – Mark Andrews and “Flash” Morgan Webster. Despite my dislike of this team’s personality, there’s no denying they’re fantastic in the ring and this was on display in this contest.

Coming out of the commercial break, Dunne and Riddle continued the dominance they had establish since the start of the match with frequent tags and good double-team work. Despite this, Mandrews was able to get the tag and momentum shifted towards the Welsh duo. After dual tope sentons, it was Webster who returned to the ring against Dunne. Learning quickly that this was a bad idea, Andrews retook his place in the match but himself fell victim to more excellent double-team work from the Broserweights. The pair continued to isolate Andrews and Dunne shifted to his more mat-based, joint manipulation style offense.

After another commercial, the rules went out of the window somewhat with multiple moments in which all four men took the ring at the same time. After a near fall was broken up by a flying Mandrews, he was able to capitalise on the break in momentum, delivering a Slumdog Millionaire to Dunne. This flurry was short lived, though, as Mandrews became distracted by Riddle destroying his tag team partner with a Gotch Driver outside the ring. This allowed Pete Dunne to nail “Junior” in the face as he tried to deliver a shooting star press.

This Broserweight Team has legs and is my pick to go all the way to the finals. Fantastic match.

Fun moments and other good stuff

  • No Nigel McGuinness! Somehow this made Beth Pheonix more tolerable as well.
  • The WWE United Kingdom Championship is now the NXT United Kingdom Championship, with the logo now updated on the championship belt. About time, too! Cruiserweight belt next?
  • Another stellar promo from Cody Rhodes. Don’t agree with his position on MJF’s heeldom but very nice otherwise.
  • DIY are reunited once again. They will need to do something different this time around to avoid the act getting stale but on the surface this is a fun move.
  • Fantastic to see Alex Shelley back on TV and NXT is definitely the place for him.
  • Intrigued to see Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott in an NXT Cruiserweight Championship match; keen to know who NXT UK put up for the Fatal Four Way contest.
  • Keith Lee’s and the security guard’s magic disappearing hedge trick.
  • The Battle Royal, if nothing else, showed just how stacked the NXT women’s roster is and how bright the future of women’s wrestling is in NXT.
  • Shotzi Blackheart eliminating Shayna Baszler. Time for the Queen of Spades to move on to the main roster…

Room for Improvement

  • The Bash at the Beach name should have been saved for a pay-per-view event, held over two nights.
  • Why do all the Welsh wrestlers in NXT have terrible punk rock entrance themes?
  • Joey Janella’s a bad promo.
  • Regular readers of this column will know that I’ve been anticipating a babyface Women’s Champion so that superheel Io Shirai could get her shot at NXT gold. Disappointed Shirai hasn’t been given this shot at NXT Takeover: Portland but I expect it may be too soon in Ripley’s reign for NXT brass to even contemplate letting Io walk away with it all, so it may be a blessing in disguise.
  • JR: “If it ends in our commercial break, which you can see…” followed by NOT picture in picture. Fail.
  • Struggling mightily to find anything positive to say about the Brandi/Mel vs. Statlander/Shida match. Bad match, lame nonsensical accompaniment by Luther and several sloppy moments. Bad.
  • Is QT Marshall’s gimmick that he’s from the Big Apple and so he carries and eats an apple? Really?
  • Lots of times during the night in which Justin Roberts rushed his ring introduction.
  • Maybe don’t encourage a TV-14+ environment if you have to keep muting the whole show because the crowd are swearing…? It’s so offputting to the viewer.

What the ratings said

Another strong win for AEW in the ratings battle this week. With 940,000, the numbers continue to climb out of the winter slump that the ‘Elite’ brand got themselves into. NXT garnered what seems to be their standard
700,000 views this week.

The NXT rating might have been 700,001 were it not for WWE Superstar, Baron Corbin watching, and complaining about, the competition…

The overall ratings war now stands at 11-3-1 to AEW.

And the winner is…

NXT was the clear winner on this night. Dynamite is improving but still lacks the coherence week on week that a good wrestling show needs. There is too big a gap between pay-per-view events and, rather than build towards a “PPV quality” episode in between, AEW stall for time until the next event is near. As a viewer, that’s hard to watch. NXT now lead the series 9-5-1.

The End of the Road

This will be the last Wednesday Night Winners and Losers write-up I do. The war is not intensifying as I had hoped and each show seem content to plateau under a million viewers a week. For those interested, I will still declare my winner and keep a tally of the winners but I’d rather not have the pressure to force myself to watch Dynamite immediately… it’s actually becoming a little difficult to relate to the wrestlers, or care about their progress week on week. Thanks for your support with this column.

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 14 Winners and Losers

Despite this being the second Wednesday of the year, last night was the first true Wednesday Night War of 2020. After copping out with a clip show last week, NXT will be looking to regain a chunk of the viewers that they lost. Conversely, All Elite Wrestling is still trying to work the kinks out of their production and build their audience back to what it was for Dynamite’s debut in October.

For this week’s Winners and Losers, I have chosen to do things a little differently. Where I would ordinarily watch one show and then the other, this week I will be watching each show side-by-side on two televisions. There are two reasons I’m trying this: The first, honestly, is that life is too busy this week to be devoting four hours of my Thursday to wrestling. Second, in the spirit of a true war, I’m interested in finding out which show is able to hold my attention the most across the two hours. Let’s get started, shall we?

Starting the Show

All Elite Wrestling got Dynamite underway with a fair amount of recap, six minutes of it in fact, before their opening contest got underway. Following Hangman Adam Page’s shenanigans in Private Party’s bar last week, he and Kenny Omega are going one on one with the fun loving tag team. Kenny Omega is in a feud with PAC, by the way, not that you’d be able to tell from watching Dynamite most of the time…

This match was a great opportunity for Private Party to hold their own against two of the top guys in AEW and they certainly did not disappoint. The tag team rules, as they often do in AEW, went out the window and each team had prolonged moments with both members of the tag team in the ring at the same time. AEW tag matches are becoming a little formulaic, I’m sorry to say.

After the match, the video screen turned to a view of PAC in the locker room, administering the Brutalizer to Michael Nakazawa. I noted last week that, while watching on-demand and so without the commercial breaks, I didn’t get the payoff to PAC entering Nakazawa’s locker room so as far as I’m concerned, Nakazawa has been locked in PAC’s Brutalizer for a whole week. Poor guy.

NXT kicked off with a reminder of what happened on their December 18th show, most notably the return of Johnny Gargano and the title victory of Rhea Ripley. The video package switches to what’s coming up on that night, a fatal four way match to determine a contender for the NXT North American Championship as well as the start of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

In half the time it took AEW to get going with something new, NXT started properly with Rhea Ripley coming to the ring. To chants of ‘you deserve it’, Ripley reminisces about the moment in which she was hoisted on the shoulders of fans, celebrating but she is quickly interrupted by my spirit animal and the woman whom dethroned Ripley from her NXT UK throne, Toni Storm.

Toni claims that she will become NXT UK Women’s Champion this Sunday at NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool (man, I need to catch up with NXT UK) and then wants to become a double champion by taking on Rhea Ripley at World’s Collide. Ripley accepts the challenge. Kay Lee Ray comes to the ring and says something unintelligible before Io Shirai takes her microphone to the ring and makes more coherent sense despite speaking Japanese. She then points at the NXT Women’s Championship and shouts “mine”.

Doesn’t get much clearer than that. Bianca Blair comes to the rings and makes an awful 2020 vision joke, claiming she’s better than everyone in the ring. Candice LeRae joins the party but Rhea Ripley has had enough. Ripley jumps Blair and chaos ensues. After Ripley, Storm and LeRae stand tall, a referee comes to the ring and declares that this melee will be coralled into a six man tag team match, starting immediately.

Fun moments and other good stuff

  • Io Shirai can’t be contained. I loved her small attack of Bianca Blair. She can’t be contained.
  • Imperium deserved to advance in the Dusty Classic (see also Room for Improvement)
  • The Broserweights is an inspired tag team name. The pairing of Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne might actually be a force to contend with. They could go all the way.
  • JR: “I have shoes that are 26 years old.”
  • Sammy Guevara picks up a huge win against the veteran Christopher Daniels.
  • Superheel MJF getting out his cellphone and ignoring DDP is the most ignorant thing ever, and I love it.
  • Alex Shelley coming to NXT to team with Kushida in the Dusty Tag Team Classic. I like that, I like it a lot.
  • Another week of picture-in-picture placard communication from Sammy Guevara.
  • Jericho’s right, Elvis was a jacka$$.
  • Keith Lee’s beard.

Room for Improvement

  • I hadn’t realised show closely linked the commercial breaks between the two shows was. Do the powers that be on each not want to manipulate the timing of the commercial breaks to keep people watching?
  • AEW are absolutely terrible at introducing new wrestlers on their programme. “It’s Japanese wrestling legend, Luther!” Seriously, who? Are casual audiences just supposed to guess why we should give a damn about this guy?
  • Riho is still Women’s Champion.
  • Steve Cutler looks too normal with short hair. Doesn’t look like he belongs in the biker gang-esqe Forgotten Sons stable any more.
  • The Forgotten Sons deserved to advance in the Dusty Classic (see also fun moments/good stuff).
  • Austin Theory looks like every create-a-wrestler I’ve ever made of myself on video games.
  • Why is Stu Grayson the only person in The Dark Order without a mask on?
  • I don’t like either Tag Team Championship team losing to each other on TV. I feel like there should have been much more shenanigans involved in the finish that a minor interjection from the rest of the Undisputed Era.
  • Not wrestling related – but it’s super hard to stay motivated to eat healthier in 2020 with adverts for Dunkin’, Little Ceasars and Chilli’s every ten minutes…
  • Who is Robert Stone and why exactly should I care about him, or his “brand”?
  • AEW’s closing segment with Jon Moxley’s answer was massively anti-climatic. The whole question was borne out of a need to waste time so that Jericho can defend his Championship against Mox at their February PPV. Mox was never joining the Inner Circle and they obviously couldn’t think of an entertaining way to have Moxley swerve Jericho. I can’t think of one either but, with that in mind, I wouldn’t have raised the question of Moxley joining The Inner Circle at all. Waste of TV time.

What the ratings said

AEW returned to winning ways with week with a viewership of 947,000 to NXT on USA’s 721,000. This puts All Elite Wrestling in double digits and puts the overall score at 10-3-1.

And the winner is…

My experiment in watching both shows at the same time was largely a success. I don’t feel that I lost out too much doing it. There were a couple of moments when watching simultaneously was a problem, though. Particularly frenetic matches happening at the same time are some were somewhat difficult to follow; I struggled during the UE vs. Gallus and Lucha Bros vs. Cody and Dustin Rhodes match. Overall, time was saved and both shows were watched. I may do this again in the future.

While NXT wasn’t a barnburner, it was streets above AEW in terms of coherence, storyline development and common sense. Stupid decisions like the nonsense in the Women’s Championship match, Moxley joining and not joining The Inner Circle just ruined the show for me. All the Dusty Classic matches were great, the build for Gargano vs. Balor was good… NXT just did the business better this week. It’s now 9-5-1 NXT over the course of the Wednesday Night War.

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 11 Winners and Losers

With both shows building towards pay-per-view calibre shows on December 18th, the NXT and AEW rosters are in top form heading into week 11 of the Wednesday Night War. Which show will provide the best entertainment going into their big end of year shows? Time to settle in and find out!

Starting the Show

After a brief promo from Adam Cole (baybay), NXT kicked off proceedings with a match for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. The tension between Angel Garza and Lio Rush has been building for quite a while now and so this payoff between them – their second meeting for the strap – is hotly anticipated. The contest starts off furiously with Rush jumping Garza during the announcer’s introductions before the action spills out of the ring, each man delivering flurries of frantic punches. Once back in the ring, the action becomes ever so slightly more technical but the emotion of the two men is still evident as a more strike based offense prevails, leading into the first commercial break. Out of the commercial, the match takes to the top rope with Angel Garza securing a near fall with an Avalanche Spanish Fly. This action at the highest point of the ring turns to action at its lowest point, with each man resting on their knees but slapping the suave out of their opponent. The match looks to be over after Rush nails the final hour but, unfortunately for the Champ, Garza crawls out of the ring and is disrobed of his tearaway trousers in the process.

Lio Rush climbs to the top turnbuckle and attempts another Final Hour to the outside but Angel Garza gets his knees up. Throwing his opponent back into the ring, Garza delivers the Wing Clipper but this move only nets a two count. A desperate Garza then improvises, locking in a reverse full nelson style manoeuvre and forces the tapout from Lio Rush.

Not only do we have a new NXT Cruiserweight Champion but during the commerical break that followed, Angel Garza asked his girlfriend to marry him in the middle of the ring. She said ‘Si’. Congratulations to the happy couple.

All Elite Wrestling kicked of the show with Jon Moxley vs a jobber. After Mox made light work of him, and his supposed tag team partner, Le Champion made his way to the ring flanked by his Inner Circle stable. Chris Jericho asked Moxley for a gentleman’s conversation and proceeded to review the history of Jericho vs. Moxley. To a chorus of boos from the Dallas crowd, Jericho suggested that Jon Moxley needed him and extended an invitation to join the Inner Circle. Jericho doesn’t need an answer now… “take the holidays,” he says.

I have many, many problems with the opening of this show. First of all, if this was going to be a promo segment, we really didn’t need the squash match. Just have Mox come out and pick up a microphone; as soon as he’s about to speak, hit Jericho’s music and go from there. As for the invitation to join the Inner Circle… Jon Moxley isn’t going to join the Inner Circle, we all know this up front. This invitation is purely an exercise in putting off the inevitable match between the two until the new year. I agree with the need to wait for this match to happen – it should be the headline of the next pay per view – but d’ya think you could come up with a less predictable way to put these guys in a holding pattern until 2020? This whole thing is completely lacking in inspiration.

Match of the Night

Although it started oddly, the match of the night across both programmes was the Texas Street Fight between The Young Bucks and Santana/Ortiz, PnP. The match proper was able to get underway after Nick Jackson regained the momentum with a wicked Senton Bomb from the top of the entranceway and through a table.

There were a lot of fun garbage wrestling moments in this match, as well as some great technically sound spots. It wasn’t only the competitors taking good bumps, though. Referee Rick Knox sold an inadvertent punt kick like a champ and spent the rest of the match catching z’s under the ring. This match came to an end after The Young Bucks delivered their Meltzer Driver manouver to Santana on top of some steel chairs. The Bucks will go on to face SCU for the Tag Team Championships next week.

Fun moments and other good stuff

  • Owing to the distraction of Kushida, Raul Mendoza finally picks up a win on NXT.
  • Who’s QT Marshall? That’s the point. They’ve found the person in AEW they’ve promoted the least to be MJF’s pick to team with Cody. Wonderful interjection of an MJF promo during Cody’s entrance… Maxwell is knocking it out of the park right now.
  • MJF followed this up with another fantastic promo – replying to every insult Cody threw at him last week, making a stagehand that laughed at him kiss the ring, explaining the reasons Rhodes doesn’t just fire him. The eventual match between these two might be the best built up rivalry of any in pro wrestling in the last few years… and there’s still a long way to go!
  • Dakota Kai continues to pick up wins against those who wronged her and is using any dirty deed necessary to do it. Between the underhanded victory and Mia Yim’s post-match attack, these two aren’t done. Let’s raise the stakes next time.
  • Nice little match between Breezango and the Singh Brothers. Good to see both of these teams back on TV and there was a lot more support for the Bollywood Boys in Full Sail than I would ever have expected.
  • Last week, I said that the Dark Order needed to started recruiting wrestlers into their stable and this week… they did that! If anyone at AEW (or any other promotion for that matter) would like some more ideas how to book their show, shoot me a message 😂
  • Any of the options – Keith Lee, Tommaso Ciampa or Finn Balor – will make a compelling NXT Championship match next week but I’m intrigued to see Finn Balor take on Adam Cole. I don’t expect Balor to regain the NXT Championship… barring a bigger event taking place, like Balor forming a stable or similar.
  • Great to see some fresh talent in the AEW Women’s Division picking up a win. There’s still a LOT of work to do, and a championship to remove from the division’s figurehead but you gotta start somewhere.

Room for improvement

  • Last week, I asked for more Jaxson Ryker in singles competition and this week I thought I was getting that with the added bonus of him crushing Travis Banks. I’m really not a fan of Banks, I find everything about him supremely irritating so imagine my annoyance at his winning the match and escaping Full Sail unscathed…
  • Still not buying this #HBIC shtick from Mia Yim. In actuality, she’s about as street as Oxford Street.
  • More fake audience in the crowd at NXT. Just no need for it, really. If you must insist on planting people for wrestlers to collide with, have them dress in their own clothes instead of brand new, jet black, completely unwashed NXT t-shirts. Suspend my disbelief a little…
  • Jake Hager talked too much on commentary. Sometimes silence is golden, y’know?

What the ratings said

Well, can you believe it? In the most unlikely of outcomes, both NXT on USA and Dynamite on TNT garnered a viewership of 778,000 each. Can you imagine the ruckus if there had been a tie during the attitude era? Unbelievable. The current record stands then, at 8-2-1 in favour of All Elite Wrestling.

And the winner is…

While both shows were pretty good, I can’t get over the stupid opening to AEW Dynamite and, therefore, NXT are awarded the entertainment value win this week. AEW are working out a lot of the issues their programme has had the last month or so but there’s still work to be done. When you’re going head to head with another company and want to keep viewers on your show rather than switch over to the competition, a dumb squash match against a no-name isn’t going to get it done… not when the other side is offering a very good Cruiserweight Championship match. Totals for the War to date have NXT in the lead 6-4-1. Both promotions promise incredible shows next week, I look forward to seeing who lives up to the hype!

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 9 Winners and Losers

Riding high from victories in the ratings and within WWE at Survivor Series, the NXT brand took some swagger into Wednesday night with pre-advertised Tag Team and Cruiserweight Championship matches. Not to be outdone, though, AEW Dynamite itself awarded a special ring presentation and a World Championship match on its programme. It’s all to play for in Week 9! Who will come out on top?

Starting the Show

After a video recap of Takeover: War Games, NXT gave us another music video opening as Josiah Williams (that dude that once rapped Adam Cole to the ring) performed to a backdrop of the NXT roster celebrating around the ring with video of Survivor Series dominance interspersed. The party is interrupted by The Undisputed Era who, of course, have come to claim the victory for themselves. The good times and brand solidarity is over. From inside the ring, flanked by Dominic Dijakovic, Keith Lee, and Matt Riddle, Tommaso Ciampa tells The UE that their days of dominance are over, starting with Lee and Dijak taking the Tag Team Championships on the night. As Ciampa continued to make clear his intentions for Adam Cole and the NXT Championship, Finn Balor joined the Erra on the ramp, accepting a challenge for a match with ‘Daddy’ later in the night. With the match supposedly set, Keith Lee beckoned Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish into the ring for their Tag Team Championship match, aka “Basking Season.” During the commercial break, Bobby Fish picked up would could potentially be a very nasty injury and was replaced by Roderick Strong. Gotta love the Freebird rule! Overall, the match was fine but the dark cloud of Fish’s injury hung over the whole match. The match ended after a distracted Dijak falls victim to a high/low from Strong and O’Reilly. The distraction came in the form of Keith Lee launching an interloping Adam Cole into the front row of the (fake planted) crowd and Lee then apparently forgetting that a match was going on.

Not a fan of this match ending… especially considering that Fish may be out with injury, it would have made more sense to ride the momentum of Survivor Series and put a belt on Keith Lee. From a Roman Reigns fist-bump on Sunday to a strange Scooby Doo I ruh ro moment on Wednesday. Shame.

The open for AEW Dynamite was led by one Soul Train Jones… the guy looks familiar but I can’t quite put my finger on it (sarcasm, folks). After a slow… one… word… at… a… time… introduction, Le Champion, Chris Jericho, makes his way to the ring for his Thanksgiving Celebrashon – the greatest celebrashon in pro wrestling history.

After introducing his new line of champagne, A Little Bit of the Bubbly (is there anything they won’t market?), Jericho is joined by the rest of the inner circle. After a fairly drawn out gift giving session that included Chris Jericho’s dad getting cheap heat from the Chicago crowd, Justin Roberts being forced to read out a thank you note from AEW and TNT and various other bits. All this led me to believe that there would be somebody of significance hidden in the giant inflatable cow outside the ring, or perhaps the stegosaurus but, in fact, SCU were amongst the marching band that accompanied the shows open. Overall, SCU failed to get a reaction anywhere near the caliber heard during Jericho’s celebrashon. Slightly disappointing payoff for the segment, especially since the Inner Circle got away pretty much unscathed.

Match of the Night

The in-ring action was really the only thing going for both shows this week, with the majority of non-wrestling action lacking in sense or coherence on the most part. This week’s top contest came from AEW’s rematch between Kenny Omega and “The Bastard” PAC. A quick, impactful start quickly took the pair outside of the ring, leading to a textbook somersault plancha from Omega, taken and sold perfectly by PAC. As the show went into commercial, the action slowed to avoid breaking the momentum of the contest with a break. In the split screen, we could see a number of rest holds and resets so that when the programme returned, with its advertising commitments met, the impact and technicality could ramp up once again. Strikes were the order of the day in this match and while that can sometimes ruin a match (because the strikes aren’t executed or sold well) that was not the case here. As the match drew to a conclusion, the grappling turned to a series of counter-pins with Kenny Omega eventually getting the upper hand for a three count.

Honorable mention for the Cruiserweight Championship match. Were it not for the botched “Come-Up” spot due to a miscommunication between Lio Rush and Akira Tozawa, they may have picked up the crown.

Biggest Shocker

Devoid of an impactful moments, neither show managed to shock me this week. With a few vignettes to promote the arrival of the Blade, the Butcher and the Bunny, their arrival might have been shocking, rather than confusing.

Fun moments and other good stuff

  • Dakota Kai’s broody heel persona is 167 times more entertaining than pouty baby face Kai, but there’s still work to be done.
  • Mutual pump kicks to the face by Lio Rush and Akira Tozawa. Fun moment in a fantastic match.
  • Xia Li has had a great couple of weeks on NXT television. Perhaps the ambush by Duke, Shafir and Baszler is sign that we’ll soon be living in the era of NX-Li,.. once Baszler is finished with Rhea Ripley, of course.
  • Dasha Gonzalez’s Japanese pronouncuation is on point! AEW are lucky to have both her and Justin Roberts on staff… professional wrestling’s King and Queen of enunciation.
  • Good to have Dustin back in the ring but shouldn’t that brawl with the Bucks, Guevara and PnP turned into an impromptu six man tag match… playa?

Room for improvement

  • No Mauro Ranallo on commentary this week after Corey Graves insensitive comments on Twitter this past weekend. I really like Tom Phillips, he’s been doing a great job at NXT UK, but he’s not the voice of NXT. I hope that Mauro’s doing alright and that we see him back soon.
  • While on the topic of commentary, whose bright idea was it to put this random dude, Marco Solis, that can barely speak alongside JR and Excalibur? I understood maybe 5% of what he was saying the whole time he was out there.
  • The microphone started off a bit echoey in the arena for AEW but it seemed to get better as the celebrashon went on.
  • The hashtag for Chris Jerigoat went up on the screen before the line was delivered. Also, what is it with AEW trying to bring terrified animals out into the arena? Gonna have PETA on your asses…
  • The Saudi propaganda machine comes to NXT as they try to make Mansoor a credible competitor outside of his home country. Mansoor is fine in the ring, certainly befitting on the NXT brand but I don’t understand how anyone can see past the fact he’s only there to make Saudi Arabia look good and pick up high profile wins at Crown Jewel events.
  • Am I supposed to know who the Blade and the Butcher are? What could have been an exciting, shocking debut (perhaps worthy of the biggest shocker section) was actually a wet fart because of an extreme lack of context. As with Jerigoat earlier, someone jumped the gun and put up the hashtag before they’d pulled the “Bunny” out of the hole.
  • “That girl is like a sister to me” says the person who wasn’t pictured with her until they were part of a War Games team. Pull the other one.
  • Turning heel hasn’t improved Dakota Kai’s in ring work a great deal… Ms. I’m going to stand here with my head out and wait for Candice LeRae to headscissors me. Look groggy at least…
  • No return slap for Lio Rush from Angel Garza? Guess Garza’s happy to be punked. (Apparently it happened on a WWE.com exclusive, which frankly isn’t much use to a viewing audience watching on USA Network)
  • I still don’t understand the Dynamite Diamond Ring thing…
  • Why specify that “seconds” are banned from ringside if you’re going to involve them anyway? The referee should have called the match there and then if that was the stipulated rule or else it makes a mockery of it. Stupid booking.

What the ratings said

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday in the States, we had to wait a little longer to find out the ratings for this week’s battle but, given the result, I would suggest that AEW would probably have been content to wait a little longer…

Taking their second victory in as many weeks, NXT led the ratings contest with 810,000 views against AEW Dynamite’s 663,000. This is All Elite Wrestling’s worst viewership yet as the numbers continue to drop at an alarming rate, week on week. AEW still lead the ratings war overall at 7-2.

And the winner is…

Boy, oh boy, was this a disappointing week of Wednesday wrestling. Each show planned special spots and moments for their programmes that just failed to connect. Picking a winner from these two shows is a real challenge and, so, I’m not going to. I am awarding a tie to this week. I hate ties, ties suck but a tie is the only fitting response to hotly anticipated shows that failed to deliver. This brings the weekly total to 5-3-1 in favour of NXT. Pray to whichever deity you subscribe to that this damp squib week was just a one off…

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.