By Chad Cooper
Thanksgiving edition of the Wednesday Night Wars…What a week NXT had, beginning last Wednesday as they beat AEW in the TV ratings and had one of, if not, the best PPV events of the year with NXT Takeover. That momentum rolled over into WWE’s Survivor Series as NXT also had a helluva night.
Head to head TV ratings:
Week 8: NXT (916K), AEW (893K)
Week 7: AEW (957K), NXT (750K)
Week 6: AEW (822K), NXT (813K)
Week 5: AEW (759K), NXT (580K)
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 opens with Virgil, I mean “Soul Train Jones” in the ring who welcomes AEW world champion Chris Jericho to the ring for a celebration. The Inner Circle is out with presents for Jericho. Jake Hager is headed to the ring with a live goat. Jericho’s dad is also here. Fast forward, ring announcer Justin Roberts is in the ring and Jericho and the boys give him an ass kicking. SCU disguised as toy soldiers and ruin the party and take out Virgil. Went on way too long.
No Tony Schiavone this week, but some dude name Marco Solis Martinez joins Jim Ross and Excalibur… Lulz.
1st match: Best Friends v. Lucha Bros.
Orange Cassidy is dressed as a turkey. I give up. Anyhow, Lucha Bros attack the Best Friends. Some good spots here. Match ends with Trent pinning Felix.
2nd match: Hikaru Shida and Kris Statlander v. Bea Priestley and Emi Sakura
I am a fan boy for Kris Statlander, who has set the Indy world on fire in 2019. It was rumored she signed with NXT, but no clue what happened there. Match had its moments, but also sloppy at times too. Ending was a mess. Priestley and Sakura win.
*Jon Moxley promo. He challenges anyone on the roster to step up.
3rd match: Cody v. Matt Knicks
Squash match. Cody via Figure-Four. Cody on the mic. He is interrupted by The Blade and The Butcher. WTF is going on? Allie comes from underneath the ring dressed in all black and is referred to as “The Bunny.” Why was MJF the one doing this? I thought he and Cody had a feud? I give up.
4th match: PAC v. Kenny Omega
These 2 put on a show. Black Arrow, One Winged Angel, V-Trigger. Omega rolls up for the win.
5th match: MJF v. Hangman Page
Winner gets the “coveted” AEW Dynamite Diamond Ring. MJF has Wardlow with him. Felt like a waste to me, and I am a huge MJF and Hangman fan. MJF wins. DDP out to present MJF with the ring. It doesn’t go as planned as DDP and MJF have to be separated.
*Dustin Rhodes inside the ring with Jenn Decker. Moment is cut short as Inner Circle is back out and tack out Dustin. Young Bucks make the save.
*Video promo for Dark Order.
6th match: Chris Jericho v. Scorpio Sky
AEW world title is on the line. Jericho, dad body and all, is a fantastic heel and controlled the match. Jake Hager is at ringside and tries to get involved but SCU makes the save.
While they are brawling, Jericho gets the best of Scorpio and wins via Lion Tamer. Despite the pin, Jericho is not done…He applies the Lion Tamer back on Scorpio but Moxley is out from the stands and it looks as if we are going to get a Jericho – Moxley story.
Final thoughts… Audio was a mess for the second consecutive week. IDK why they can’t get this shit right. Train wreck. This announce team needs revamping. Jim Ross was one of the greatest of all time…But it’s time for him to take on another role. I thought this was the worst of the 9 AEW shows.
AEW Dark match results: Jimmy Havoc def. Brandon Cutler; Shawn Spears def. Sonny Kiss; Santana & Ortiz def. Jurassic Express.
Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic and Tommaso Ciampa are in the ring. Undisputed Era. They go back and forth as Finn Balor enters the fray. Ciampa challenges Balor and our main event is set.
*Oh, Mauro Ranallo is still missing from the NXT announce booth. Tom Phillips took his place.
1st match: Undisputed Era v. Keith Lee & Dominik Dijakovic
The NXT tag straps are on the line. Solid outing. Worth noting, Bobby Fish gets injured during the match and was replaced by Roderick Strong. Lee continues to impress. Bonafide star. Cole makes his way to the ring and Lee knocks him into Thanksgiving. “Holy Shit” chants. UE retains with a “High Low” on Dijakovic.
*Cathy Kelley speaks with Candice LeRae.
2nd match: Shane Thorne v. Mansoor
Mansoor has been competing on 205 Live on the WWE Network and also won the Biggest Battle Royal on Super Showdown. He followed that up with a win over Cesaro at Crown Jewel. Anyhow, quick match. Both men had their moments but it’s Mansoor with a neck-breaker for the win.
3rd match: Candice LeRae v. Dakota Kai
Love me some Candice LeRae… Dakota turned heel at NXT Takeover and comes out to the ring with Tegan Knox’s knee brace, love it. Fantastic match with these 2 ladies.
LeRae’s mouth is busted open, IDK if she lost a tooth or not. Get a DQ as Dakota uses the knee brace on Candice. Dakota looks to inflict more damage with a chair, but Rhea Ripley makes the save.
*Cathy Kelley chats with Tommaso Ciampo about his upcoming match with Finn.
*Vignette of Cameron Grimes.
4th match: Lio Rush v. Akira Tozawa
Rush is defending his NXT cruiserweight title. Match is given plenty of time and it ends with Rush delivering not one, but two “Final Rushes” for the win.
*More Cathy Kelley. This time with the Prince, Finn Balor.
5th match: Xia Li v. Vanessa Borne
Quick squash match. Post match sees Shayna Baszler and the 2 MMA Horsewomen jumping Li. Baszler with the mic and praises the week she had. Ripley back out and says she will beat Baszler and take her NXT women’s title.
6th match: Finn Balor v. Tommas Ciampo
Nothing short of damn good. Both men with great moves followed by false finishes. Adam Cole is out and kicks Ciampo while the ref’s back is turned…Finn follows up with the 196 for the win. Cole in the ring and wants to celebrate with Balor, but Finn drops him with an overhead kick. End of show.
Final thoughts… Definitely missed Mauro on the call. Love the way the WWE continues to push their women’s division on all brands. NXT’s female roster is so damn stacked and talented. This brand continues to deliver week after week.
Announced for next week: Damian Priest v. Killian Dain
Ranking the AEW/NXT matches:
1-NXT: Finn Balor v. Tommaso Ciampa
2-AEW: PAC v. Kenny Omega
3-NXT: Undisputed Era v. Keith Lee/Dominik Dijakovic
4-NXT: Candice LeRae v. Dakota Kai
5-AEW: Best Friends v. Lucha Bros.
6-NXT: Lio Rush v. Akira Tozawa
7-AEW: MJF v. Hangman Page
8-NXT: Shane Thorne v. Mansoor
9-AEW: Shida/Statlander v. Priestley/Sakura
10-AEW: Cody v. Matt Knicks
11-NXT: Xia Li v. Vanessa Borne