By Chad Cooper
We are officially 1 month into the “Wednesday Night Wars” and both shows continue to provide quality entertainment. NXT has given us better wrestling matches, but if you are into bigger names and production, AEW has the edge.
Week 1: AEW (1.409 million), NXT (891K)
Week 2: AEW (1.018 million), NXT (790K)
Week 3: AEW (1.014 million), NXT (712K)
1st match: Lucha Bros. v. Private Party
No show intro, show opens with both teams in the ring with the winners advancing to next week’s inaugural AEW tag team title championship. If you love a lot of spots, this was your match. Very physical. Private Party is rearing their heads to become the next wrestling stars. Great non-stop action. Obvious booking here with Lucha Bros. winning.
*Wardlow vignette. Dude looks massive, but apparently skips leg day.
2nd match: SCU v. Dark Order
Meh…For a semifinal match for the AEW tag team tournament, this was not good. Maybe because it was positioned after a hot opener, but I could have done without. Obvious booking as SCU (Frankie, Scorpio) win. During the match, the Inner Circle find their way into the arena and set up shop in a suite.
3rd match: Joey Janela v. Kenny Omega
Good to see Joey on TV instead of YouTube. Kenny, who won the AAA Mega Championship over the weekend, was not wearing the title. His snap-dragon suplexes get major pops. Janela was selling his ass off like he was Dolph Ziggler. Fun match with Omega with the one-legged angel.
*Cody in-ring…His interview is disrupted several times by Jericho and his people. Out comes Dustin, MJF and D-D-P, Diamond Dallas Page…The 4 make their way up top to the suite and brawl. Good segment.
4th match: Young Bucks v. Best Friends
Orange Cassidy gets a few moments. He is double-super-kicked at the beginning of the match, then eventually makes his way to the top rope. With both hands in his pocket, OC with the jump onto the Bucks outside the ring. Match eventually picks up and Bucks get the win.
5th match: Britt Baker v. Jamie Hayter
Britt with a huge Pittsburg pop. I have no clue who the hell Jamie Hayter is, but the match was terrible.
*Post match has Brandi Rhodes attacking Hayter during an interview.
6th match: Jon Moxley v PAC
PAC attacks Mox before the match with a chair. Action really heats up near the end. PAC with a Falcon Arrow off the top rope. Mox hits the Paradigm Shift but it’s not enough as the match ends in a draw. Mox with a DDT to the referee. Show ends.
Final thoughts…Really good show.
AEW missing the boat on not using Orange Cassidy in singles matches. One of the top Indy draws so hopefully that changes. Not a fan of where this women’s division is heading. Also think Darby Allin should be on TV every week. Again, where is Shawn Spears? Would also like to see some story building using backstage interviews. Have. To. Build. Stars. Why DDP? So many talented players on that roster and they bring in DDP…ugh.
AEW Dark match results: Dustin Rhodes/Sonny Kiss def. Peter Avalon/QT Marshall; Darby Allin def. Jack Evans and Jimmy Havoc in a falls count anywhere; Emi Sakura def. Penelope Ford, Allie and Sadie Gibbs.
Announced for next week: AEW tag titles – Lucha Bros. v. SCU
1st match: Rhea Ripley v. Bianca Belair
Such a solid opener and the match got plenty of airtime. Lo Shirai out and attacks Ripley while the ref’s back is turned, but Candice LeRae runs down Shirai. Finish sees Ripley ducking a roundhouse kick and responds with a riptide.
*Cathy Kelly interviews Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate.
*Tommaso Ciampa video package.
2nd match: Matt Riddle v. Cameron Grimes
Strong match that got better as it got deeper. MAMA MIA moment when Grimes backflips into a German suplex. Riddle with the Bro-Derek for the win. Grimes and Bate have a post-match moment.
3rd match: Breezango & Isaiah “Swerve” Scott v. The Forgotten Sons
Swerve is special. He will be on a main roster sooner rather than later. He used Ryker’s chest to springboard outside onto Cutler/Blake. Swerve gets the pin on Blake after a back kick to the head.
*Roderick Strong vignette.
*Killian Dain vignette.
4th match: Angel Garza v. Gentleman Jack Gallagher
NXT Cruiserweight champion Lio Rush on commentary. Another solid match. Another Mama Mia moment is when Garza launched Gallagher over the top rop from his back using just his legs. Garza with the Cerro de la Silla-sault for the win. He and Lio will have a fun match.
5th match: Tegan Knox/Dakota Kai v. Marina Shafir/Jessamyn Duke
Winner gets a shot at WWE women’s tag champs – Asuka/Kairi Sane. Don’t know why they chose Marina/Jess to be in this match…They aren’t very good. Tegan/Dakota with the win.
*Kabuki Warriors video taunting Tegan/Dakota.
6th match: Roderick Strong (c) v. Keith Lee v. Domiki Dijakovic
The NXT North American title is on the line…And this was one of the best matches I’ve seen in a long time. So many big spots including Strong delivering an Olympic slam on Lee; Dijakovic with a choke bomb on Lee; Dijakovic tried to suplex Strong off the middle turnbuckle and Lee snuck in and power-bombed all 3. Finish saw Lee blocking a Hurricanrana, then delivers a sit-down power-bomb on Dijakovic for an apparent victory, but Strong snuck in like a thief in the night with a head kick to Lee for the pin.
*Post-match: Undisputed Era out to celebrate then continue to pound on Lee…Out comes Ciampa then Johnny Gargano…BAH GAWD here comes Finn Balor…who then turns and head-kicks Gargano to a STUNNED CROWD. Balor drops Gargano on his head outside the ring to end the show.
Final thoughts…Of the 4 Wednesday Night Wars, this was probably the best of the 4 NXTs. What a fantastic main event with a “swerve” Balor heel turn. I don’t know why we have to see the MMA Horsewomen – Duke & Shafir. They don’t do much for me. Would have rather seen Chelsea Green and Deonna Purrazzo. They are too good not to be on TV.
HOT TAKE: I grew up on Mid-South Wrestling/UWF…I love JR, but it’s time for him to take another role with AEW. He has lost several steps. Don’t @ me.
Announced for next week: WWE women’s tag team champs Asuka/Kairi Sane v. Tegan Knox/Dakota Kai; Cameron Grimes v. Tyler Bate; Lo Shirai v. Candice LeRae
Ranking the AEW/NXT matches:
1-NXT: Strong v. Lee v. Dijakovic
2-AEW: Lucha Bros. v. Private Party
3-AEW: Moxley v. PAC
4-NXT: Ripley v. Bianca Belair
5-NXT: Riddle v. Grimes
6-AEW: Joey Janela v. Kenny Omega
7-AEW: Young Bucks v. Best Friends
8-NXT: Breezango/Scott v. Forgotten Sons
9-NXT: Garza v. Gallagher
10-AEW: SCU v. Dark Order
11-NXT: Kai/Knox v. Shafir/Duke
12-AEW: Britt Baker v. Jamie Hayter