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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 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.