By Chad Cooper
The build up to the second coming of the Monday Night Wars, which has now been dubbed Wednesday Night Wars, was more than a wrestling fan could have ever imagined as AEW “Dynamite” and WWE NXT went toe-to-toe for the first time ever.
With wrestling on TV literally five to six nights a week thanks to ROH, Impact and MLW, I think many will be glued to the TV on Wednesday nights. Fan bases have picked their sides as AEW and NXT trended 1-2 worldwide on Twitter for most of the night. God bless pro wrestling.
Let’s take a quick recap of the first of many “Wednesday Night Wars” – Oct. 2, 2019 edition.
Wrestling returned to TNT for the first time since 2001. It was great to see pyro and smoke fill Capital One Arena in Washington, DC, plus hearing the voice of Tony Schiavone brought me back to the WCW Nitro wrestling days, which is a good thing.
To quote the great Matt Topolski, “it warmed my heart.”
1st match – Cody vs. Sammy Guevara
Love that AEW is showing records of each wrestler during their entrance, but thought the vignette before the match could have been held or not shown at all Rather have the show immediately start with a match.
The match itself started a little slow, but I was OK with it. Cody led it and even had a Brandi bump (that she didn’t sell very well), but Sammy received a good “asshole” chant and even pulled off a running shooting star. Finish saw Cody with an inside cradle, which was actually nice not to see a finisher end the match. Jericho with the post match beat-down on Cody.
2nd match – MJF vs. Brandon Cutler
MJF is a star, but this match was bad. All the talent on this roster – Joey Janela, Jimmy Havoc, Orange Cassidy, Darby Allin – and we get Cutler? I know he is buddies with the Bucks, but come on. The post match segment between Jack Evans/Angelico and Private Party was even more puzzling. I did enjoy the SCU segment in front of the White House as well as the Lucha Brothers brawling. Scorpio Sky does a great Obama.
3rd match – Hangman Page vs. PAC
I was really excited for this match, which ended up being long and physical. Anytime Earl Hebner is reffing a match it means we are going to get a ref bump, and we did. Wasn’t a big fan of the finish, though.
4th match – AEW Women’s world title – Nyla Rose vs. Riho
We get Dr. Britt Baker on commentary for this one. False finishes and Riho gets the pin with double knees. I actually thought the crowd was more into this match than Hangman-PAC. Nyla with the postmatch beat-down and Kenny Omega makes the save…Strange.
I would have rather seen Britt or Penelope Ford in this match, but I was surprised how good the match actually was. Not a fan of how small the women’s championship belt actually was. Someone on Twitter said it looked like a “smashed penny.”
5th match – Young Bucks & Kenny Omega vs. Jericho, Santana & Ortiz
Main event time and we didn’t get to see Omega too long thanks to Jon Moxley returning and he and Kenny literally beating the shit out of each other all over the arena.
Jericho with the Code Breaker on Matt Jackson for the win. Brawl ensues with Sammy back out as well as Dustin Rhodes.
The big surprise in 3-2-1…BAH GAWD it’s UNDEFEATED MMA FIGHTER JAKE HAGGER (better known as Jack Swagger). Heel Jack “tearing up everyone with a heartbeat” said JR. Fans go nuts with “we the people chants.” Wish we would have had more time for the match itself, but I fully understand.
Few thoughts before we get to NXT…
-Loved the set, entrances, pyro, the crowd. It was an exciting show, but it wasn’t perfect.
Schiavone is great, but felt like he was a third wheel with JR and Excalibur.
The opener, Women’s title match and main kept me interested. The rest was “meh.”
Missing some structure. I also think they dropped the ball not having interesting characters like Jurassic Express, Orange Cassidy or Darby Allin on TV.
While many thought for sure CM Punk would show, that rumor was put to rest earlier in the day when it was leaked that Punk would likely be joining the WWE FS1 weekly studio show with Renee Young and Booker T.
I do love the post-show media scrum with several wrestlers including Cody, MJF, Jericho and owner Tony Khan talking to the “media.”
Interesting opening package voiced by Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor as we are live from Full Sail. Big stars are out including Stephanie McMahon, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Mark Henry and Alundra Blayze.
1st match – NXT Championship Adam Cole vs. Matt Riddle
Match of the night, both shows. And dear God Adam Cole is so over with the crowd. Several “holy shit” and “mamma mia” chants. Fujiwara, bicycle kicks, exploder suplex, Panama Sunrise.
Cole with the Last Shot to retain. Surprise in 3-2-1…WHAT IN THE HELL….FINN FUCKING BALOR. Balor grabs the mic and proclaims, “as of now, Finn Baylor is N-X-T.”
Announced for next week is Drew Gulak defending the cruiserweight title against Lio Rush. Should be fun.
2nd match – Io Shirai vs. Mia Yim
Quality match that got a lot of time. Fast pace with Shirai moonsault for the win. Also get a Tegan Knox video package.
3rd match – Johnny Gargano vs. Shane Thorne
Gargano is over. Damn good match featuring suicide dives, reverse hurricanrana. Johnny Wrestling gets the win via super kick.
4th match – NXT Women’s championship Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae
Crowd was hot for this one especially when Candice reversed the Kirifuda Clutch. Shayna retained, but what a fun match. Baszler seems unstoppable.
5th match – Pete Dunne vs. Danny Burch
Nothing special here. Dunne with the win via “Bitter End.” Postmatch saw Damian Priest lays out Dunne.
6th match – NXT tag team titles – Undisputed Era vs. Street Profits
Street Profits have been entertaining RAW crowds for the past few months with fun backstage segments. Match started slow, but business definitely picked up.
I am super impressed with Angelo Dawkins, too. Match goes long, 5 or so minutes past the top of the hour on USA Network. Roderick Strong out to help and UE gets the win. As Adam Cole celebrates on stage with the UE, out comes Tommaso Ciampa to end the show…Remember Ciampa relinquished the NXT title due to injury. Fantastic finish.
I am so ready to see Chelsea Green and Deonna Purrazzo, who call themselves VXT alongside Rachael Evers (who is out due to knee injury). Both are great wrestlers and deserve TV time. Also add Santana Garrett to that list.
Ranking the AEW/NXT matches:
1. NXT: Adam Cole v. Matt Riddle
2. NXT: Shayna Baszler v. Candice LeRae
3. AEW: Nyla Rose v. Riho
4. AEW: Hangman Page v. PAC
5. AEW: Cody v. Sammy Guevara
6. NXT: Undisputed Era vs. Street Profits
7. NXT: Johnny Gargano v. Shane Thorne
7. AEW: Young Bucks & Kenny Omega vs. Jericho, Santana & Ortiz
9. NXT: Io Shirai vs. Mia Yim
10. NXT: Pete Dunne v. Danny Burch
11. AEW: MJF v. Brandon Cutler
It’s obvious that AEW will win the ratings war while they are hot. They are the new kids on the block with a lot of buzz.
NXT had the better wrestling matches tonight, but AEW had more excitement. Let’s embrace this monumental occasion. I’m already looking forward to next Wednesday. Competition brings out the best.