By Chad Cooper
It’s Week 2 of the “Wednesday Night Wars” after AEW Dynamite dominated (as expected) the television ratings despite NXT having the overall better wrestling matches last week. Nonetheless, wrestling on Wednesday nights are dope.
1st match: Young Bucks v. Private Party
Hot opener here and Private Party are rolling. I am very impressed with Quen and even more impressed with the booking as PP advance in the AEW Tag Team Tournament defeating the Young Bucks. You see that Hurricanrana on Nick Jackson followed by a cutter by Kassidy? Bravo.
In-ring segment with AEW World Champion Chris Jericho along with Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Ortiz and Santana. The name of the new faction is “The Inner Circle.” Fans with a “We The People” chant and Jericho shuts it down as a bad creative idea that is dead.
2nd match: Darby Allin v. Jimmy Havoc
Winner gets a shot at Jericho next week. Felt the crowd was down for this one. I don’t know if it was the right matchup for the two, but Darby Allin is a star and his finisher – Coffin Drop – is becoming one of my favorites in the sport. Darby wins.
3rd match: Riho/Britt Baker v. Bea Priestley/Sakura
Disappointed in this match. Felt clunky and out of synch. I am a huge Britt fan and do like the direction they are going with her and Priestley storyline. Britt/Riho win.
Orange Cassidy with a huge pop from the crowd with him just sitting in the front row. GIVE THE MAN A DAMN SINGLES MATCH ON TV.
4th match: Jon Moxley v. Shawn Spears w/Tully Blanchard
Big fight fill. PAC was on commentary, which was unnecessary. Very physical match that saw Tully get involved multiple times. Mox with the win via double arm DDT. Kenny Omega out to stare down Mox, but it didn’t last long as PAC attacked Kenny from behind.
5th match: Main Event, Hangman Page/Dustin Rhodes v. Chris Jericho/Sammy Guerva
Solid tag match, nothing special. Jake Hager gets involved and allows Jericho with the Judas Effect for the pin on Dustin. Out comes MJG, Young Bucks, Cody, Santana, Ortiz and we get a brawl to end the show for the second consecutive week.
Few thoughts before we get to NXT…
Same number of matches (5) this week as the debut episode. Didn’t think the live crowd was as hot all the way through. Not a fan of some of the roster showing up and sitting on the front row during matches. No need for it.
I’m still trying to get used to the three-man booth. JR is a legend, but something isn’t clicking. I’d rather have Tony Schiavone and Excalibur, who I am not a fan of at all, or Tony and JR. I did think this show was better than last week.
Final Grade: B-
Dark match results: Kip Sabian def. Peter Avalon and Sonny Kiss; The Dark Order with Angelico and Jack Evans def. SCU & Cima; Kenny Omega def. Joey Janela in a “lights out match.”
Announced for next week was Jericho defending the AEW World Title vs. Darby Allin and Riho defends the AEW Women’s title against Britt Baker.
1st match: Drew Gulak v. Lio Rush – Cruiserweight title
Legit opener here, but I wasn’t blown away. Cruiserweight title matches have been really awesome on WWE PPVs but this one fell a little short to me. Lio Rush is the new champ.
2nd match: Rhea Ripley v. Aliyah
Total squash match for Ripley, who then challenges NXT Women’s champion Shayna Baszler.
3rd match: Breezango v. The Forgotten Sons
It was supposed to be Breezango vs. Ever-Rise, but the Forgotten Sons – Steve Cutter and Wesley Blake – drug the Ever-Rise carcasses on stage. Decent back and forth. Good to see the NXT crowd on Breezango, but Forgotten Sons earn the win.
4th match: Cameron Grimes v. Boa
Grimes with a quick win. Out comes Killian Dain to mop up Boa.
5th match: Roderick Strong vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
Non-title match as Strong, the NXT North American champ, and Swerve gave the crowd what they wanted. Swerve is good. Strong with the win. Undisputed Era out to celebrate. Velveteen Dream also out to announce he and Strong will go at it again for the NXT North American title in 2 weeks, plus Tommaso Ciampa reminds Adam Cole that he wants his NXT title back.
6th match: Bianca Belair v. Dakota Kai
Entertaining match. Belair with a win via KOD.
7th match: Walter v. Kushida
What a way to end NXT. Crowd was so hype, they were dueling chants. Loved this match, which saw Walter with the Ripcord Lariat win.
Announced for next week: Keith Lee v. Dominik Dijakovic, Pete Dunne v. Damian Priest; return of Tegan Nox; and Tommaso Ciampa v. Angel Garza.
Few thoughts…Nothing wrong with this episode at all, just felt a little down from last week despite there being 7 matches this week, up 1 from last week’s 6 total. Still waiting to see Chelsea Green.
Final Grade: B-
Ranking the AEW/NXT matches:
1. NXT: Roderick Strong v. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
2. AEW: Young Bucks v. Private Party
3. NXT: Walter v. Kushida
4. AEW: Shawn Spears v. Jon Moxley
5. AEW: Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara v. Hangman Page/Dustin Rhodes
6. NXT: Lio Rush v. Drew Gulak
7. AEW: Darby Allin v. Jimmy Havoc
8. NXT: Breezango v. The Forgotten Sons
9. NXT: Dakota Kai v. Bianca Belair
10. AEW: Britt Baker/Riho v. Bea Priestley/Sakura
11. NXT: Rhea Ripley v. Aliyah
12. NXT: Boa v. Cameron Grimes