By Chad Cooper
We head into the second month of the “Wednesday Night Wars.” As both shows continue to heat up with great action, both shows have also trended down each week and have yet to gain viewers from the previous week. A lot of that has to do with the World Series and Wednesday’s ratings won’t be any better as the Washington Nationals upset the Houston Astros in Game 7.
Head to head TV ratings:
Week 4: AEW (963K), NXT (698K)
Week 3: AEW (1.014 million), NXT (712K)
Week 2: AEW (1.018 million), NXT (790K)
Week 1: AEW (1.409 million), NXT (891K)
*Show begins with Tony Schiavone with Cody and Dustin Rhodes who arrive via private jet. Tony hypes the contract signing between Cody and Chris Jericho.
1st match: Hangman Page v. Sammy Guevara
A lot of heat from the crowd for Sammy. Decent opener with Page converting a moonsault on to the floor followed by a Buckshot Lariat for the win.
2nd match: Hikaru Shida v. Shanna
Did I miss something here? Who is Shanna? Anyway, probably one of the better women’s match I’ve seen in AEW. Funny thing is, for most of the match, AEW graphics had the wrong hashtag on the scree – #ShidavShazza. Lulz. Deadlift suplex by Shida was on point. She gets the win via running knee.
*Vignette of Brandi and Awesome Kong….Oooookay.
*Rock-N-Roll Express on stage with the AEW tag team titles and they get jumped by Santana & Ortiz. Morton, who looks 90, is slammed through part of the stage.
3rd match: Best Friends & Orange Cassidy v. Alex Reynolds/QT Marshall/John Silver
Not a fan of the dress up as “Rick & Morty” gimmick. Silly match, but G-D…Orange Cassidy is so OVER. He doesn’t need to be hidden in a 6-man. GIVE HIM MORE TV TIME. Best Friends with the Strong Zero on Silver for the pin.
*Contract signing between Jericho and Cody and it was really well done. Jericho, who looks 75 lbs heavier than his Fed days, knows how to get heat and called the West Virginia crowd “hillbillies.” Big screen shows Jake Hager beating up Dustin then lowblows him and slams his hand in the limo card door.
4th match: Kenny Omega/Young Bucks v. Kip Sabian/Hybrid 2 (Jack Evans, Angelico)
Again, not a fan of Halloween costume gimmicks, which Bucks and Omega were wearing (Street Fighter video game, Undertale). Sabian took a powerbomb on the apron. Omega with V-Trigger to Evans for the win. Post match saw the Bucks get jumped by Santana/Ortiz who were sitting in the front row with masks.
*Peter Avalon and Leva Bates are out with mic time. Avalon shits on the crowd but here comes Jon Moxley to shut him up with a DDT. Mox promotes his PPV match with Omega.
5th match: SCU v. Lucha Bros.
Main event for the inaugural AEW tag team titles and what a match it was…But the finish was HORRIBLE. An inside cradle? Nonetheless, SCU are your first ever AEW tag team champions. Capt. Obvious says, Rey Fenix is so damn good.
Final thoughts… I’ll say this – AEW fans hate the heels, love the faces and you don’t usually see that in the “Fed” or other promotions. I don’t know what the fascination is with having talent continuing to sit on the front row during matches. Hopefully after the “Full Gear” PPV, we will start a fresh set of feuds with new faces. Shawn Spears has been on TNT TV just one 1 time in 4 weeks and I’m not talking about the AEW Dark YouTube series.
AEW Dark match results: Shawn Spears def. Michael Nakazawa; Sadie Gibbs/Allie def. Big Swole/Mercedes Martinez; Joey Janela/Jimmy Havoc def. Jungle Express
Show opens with YouTube star Poppy performing the song “I Disagree,” then transitions into Io Shirai’s theme song, “Scary Mask”
1st match: Io Shirai v. Candice LeRae
What an opener. LeRae nose get’s busted wide-open midway through the match that saw both competitors hit big moves. LeRae misses on a springboard moonsault on a chair and Shirai covers for the win. Shirai attacks post most with Rhea Ripley making the save.
*Finn Balor is at Full Sail and mentions losing to the guy with the “new mask,” which is the Fiend Bray Wyatt. “Everyone has their opinions – the office, the boys in the back, the Twitter tough guys. The problem around here is that there are too many fans in the locker room, when they should be sitting out here in the crowd.” He ends the promo by proclaiming Johnny Gargano will be called Johnny “Watches Wrestling” when he is done with him.
2nd match: Bronson Reed v. Shane Thorne
Another solid match. Love that both traded chops for what it seemed like 5 minutes. Reed with a huge splash for the win.
*Cathy Kelley speaks with Tegan Knox & Dakota Kai.
3rd match: The Kabuki Warriors v. Knox/Kai
The WWE women’s tag team titles are on the line and we get a very lengthy match. Several good moves and storytelling but I think it went a bit too long. In-Sane Elbow on Kai for the win as the Kabuki Warriors retain. Love them as heels. Out comes Shayna Baszler and her 2 MMA Horsewomen cronies. Then we welcome Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, LeRae and Shirai…GM William Regal stops the madness and announces at the NXT Takeover will be the first ever women’s War Games match with Baszler and Ripley as team captains.
4th match: Cameron Grimes v. Tyler Bate
This Bate fella is growing on me. Like his entrance and his little waive at the crowd gimmick. Killian Dain out to district Bate, which gives Grimes the opportunity for the double-stomp win.
*Angel Garza video package.
5th match: Undisputed Era v. Keith Lee & Matt Riddle
Another solid main event match on NXT. Riddle is over as is Lee. Adam Cole and Roderick Cole both out and Fish and O’Reilly pin Riddle with the Total Elimination. Era begins to attack Lee and BAH GAWD here comes Tommaso Ciampa. Ciampa with the mic, “Daddy is going to War.” Show ends.
Final thoughts… Love to see NXT giving women even more time on TV. WWE has to jump on board with another all-female “Evolution” PPV, but this time no need for Bellas. So much talent in that NXT lockerroom and we’ve yet to see Cheslea Green on TV. NXT continues with the better matches yet AEW has the more recognizable names.
Ranking the AEW/NXT matches:
1-AEW: SCU v. Lucha Bros.
2-NXT: Undisputed Era v. Riddle/Lee
3-AEW: Hikaru Shida v. Shanna
4-NXT: Io Shirai v. Candice LeRae
5-NXT: Kabuki Warriors v. Nox/Kai
6-AEW: Omega/Bucks v. Sabian/Hybrid2
7-AEW: Hangman Page v. Guevara
8-NXT: Bronson Reed v. Shane Thorne
9- NXT: Cameron Grimes v. Tyler Bate
10-AEW: Best Friends v. Reynolds/Marshall/Silver