Wednesday Night Wars is back after both shows were live again after the holidays. AEW had no show on Christmas night and NXT did a year in review on Jan. 1. A lot of buzz on Twitter thanks to a women’s matches on both shows – one was very favorable while the other got the shit emoji.
Head to head TV ratings:
Week: 14: AEW (967K), NXT (548K, year in review)
Week 13: NXT (831K), AEW (no show)
Week 12: NXT (795K), AEW (683K)
Week 11: NXT (778K), AEW (778K)
Week 10: AEW (851K), NXT (845K)
Week 9: NXT (810K), AEW (663K)
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)
Match 1: Hangman Page & Kenny Omega v. Private Party
Good opener here. I am a fan of all the participants but thought Kassidy oversold too much. Both teams got plenty of offense and Omega with an impressive Snap Dragon on Quen. Omega with the One-Winged Angel on Quen for the 1-2-3. Private Party AEW’s version of WWE’s Street Profits?
*Backstage we see officials trying to scrap PAC off of Omega’s buddy Michael Nakazawa. PAC demands a third match with KO or these attacks with continue.
Match 2: Riho v. Kris Statlander
Brandi is on commentary for the AEW women’s championship match, so already I don’t like it. Marks all over Social Media have been waiting for this because they were so convinced, as was I, that Kris would win the title and lead the weak women’s division. A good match that was absolutely ruined… Awesome Kong and Brandi get involved and Japanese “legend” and Jericho’s buddy Luther is now the newest member of the Nightmare Collective and they attack Statlander. Then Riho aids Statlander, but Riho wins. What a joke. This was the worst segment in the company’s history and Twitter shit on it. Now I see why Statlander chose to work Bar Wrestling on New Year’s Day instead of having to work this cluster fuck angle. I legit pissed at this point. Pissed off. Brandi has no business being in any angle, I don’t care who she is married too. Stop it before people really shit on this AEW women’s division because it needs help. About as bad as Women of Honor’s roster.
*Vignette of Kip Sabian & Penelope Ford
Match 3: Sammy Guevara v. Christopher Daniels
I was excited for this as its young vs. veteran. Good work but Pentagon Jr. on stage to distract Daniels while Sammy takes advantage to win. Dark Order out to ask Daniels if he wants to join…He teases then it’s a “no.” All hell breaks loose and Young Bucks and rest of SCU out to make the save.
Match 4: Lucha Bros. vs. Cody & Dustin Rhodes
Rey Fenix is so damn good. I would pay just to watch him train. It was cool to see brothers Cody and Dustin team up. This match was nothing short of good. Cody Cutter on Pentagon then Dustin with the Final Reckoning on Rey for the victory. Tony Schiavone in ring to talk to Cody about MJF, but Double A Arn Anderson interrupts (sounded sober, so that’s good).
*Back stage interview with “Leaping” Lanny Poffo.
*MJF out to scream and cuss about Cody. DDP is out. *SIGH.* He is barking about having one more match. Man, this is so WCW-like. All that talent and DDP has TV time. Well, here comes The Blade, The Butcher and The Bunny and MJF tells DDP that “WCW is dead.” THANK YOU. MFJ with a low blow but out comes QT Marshall and Dustin Rhodes. Why does MJF need Butcher, Baker and Candlestick Maker? Makes zero sense.
Match 6: Jurassic Express v. Best Friends & Orange Cassidy
DEAR GOD…IS ORANGE CASSIDY GETTING TO WORK A MATCH? Well, it’s not a singles match, but it will do. This is the shit that is going to get AEW over…Not DDP and Brandi. Don’t’ at me. Fun match. First “This is Awesome” chant of the night. Jungle Boy with a Frankensteiner on Chuck Taylor for the win.
The final segment of the night isn’t a match, instead it’s AEW World Champion Chris Jericho, Guevara and overpaid Jake Hager out to get an answer from Jon Moxley about joining the Inner Circle. I do enjoy Sammy’s cue-card gimmick. Moxley reveals an Inner Circle t-shirt under his jacket and the fans lose their shit! Moxley has joined the group… SWERVE. Moxley cleans house and heads back through the crowd AKA Shield style. Show ends.
Final thoughts… So much for the big tribute to Memphis legends. They put that off on next week’s AEW Dark YouTube gimmick. And all that pop from Darby Allin last week in his match with Cody and he isn’t on TV this week? Instead, getting a match with a jobber in Brandon Cutler on YouTube. Silly. Also, too many damn tag team matches. Enjoyed the opener, six-man tag and the ending.
*Next week is “Bash at the Beach…” Come on guys. People are already comparing you to WCW 2.0, don’t give them any more ammunition. Matches announced were Kris Statlander/Shida v. Awesome Kong/Mel; MJF/Butcher/Baker/Blade/Bunny v. DDP/Dustin/QT Marshall. Starting to realize that I won’t lose sleep if I miss a week of AEW Dynamite.
AEW Dark: Darby Allin v. Brandon Cutler; Peter Avalon & Mr. AEW Dark Shawn Spears v. Billy & Austin Gunn; Nyla Rose v. Shanna.
NXT women’s champion Rhea Ripley is out with mic in hand and the crowd is eating it up with “you deserve it chants.” Before she can speak, out comes the lovely Toni Storm followed by NXT UK women’s champ Kay Lee Ray, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair and Candice LeRae. We have us a brawl, which leads us to our opening match.
Match 1: Ripley, Storm, LeRae v. Belair, Ray, Shirai
Bravo ladies, bravo. Such a damn good match with plenty of one-on-ones and false finishes. Ripley pins Belair after delivering a Riptide.
*Video package of Tommaso Ciampa
Match 2: Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Imperium v. The Forgotten Sons
Not the biggest fan of either team, here. Imperium gets the win as Aichner pins Blake to advance to the second round of the tournament.
*Cathy Kelley backstage with Matt Riddle regarding his partner Pete Dunne and the Dusty Classic.
Match 3: Austin Theory v. Joaquin Wilde
Nice to see Theory from Evolve getting a solid push again this week. Not a lot here but Theory is solid and gets the win after his TKO finisher.
Match 4: Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Undisputed Era v. Gallus
Big first round match between the NXT tag champs and NXT UK tag champs and a damn good match, though I am certainly not familiar with Gallus. Cole gets involved giving the Era the victory and advancement to Round 2.
*Video package of Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews
*Johnny “Mr. Wrestling” Gargano is out and he has something to say. He shits on Finn Balor for leaving the brand after getting the call to jump to WWE. Johnny said he got the same phone call but wanted to stay in NXT. Well, here comes Finn. He burns Gargano and says “a promo is the only thing the doctors will clear him for.” Ouch. Balor calls him soft and proclaims the two will settle their score at NXT Takover Portland on Feb. 16, if Gargano can make it.
*Promo from the Grizzled Young Veterans along with Kushida and his new tag team partner, Alex Shelley.
Match 5: Mia Yim v. Kayden Carter
Both take plenty of chops from each other before Yim with her finisher to win. Mia congratulates the young Kayden and BAH GAWD CHELSEA GREEN IS HERE AND SHE LAYS OUT KAYDEN… CHECK MY PULSE. Robert Stone (Robbie E) is out with a mic and announces the Robert Stone Brand and the “hottest free agent” Chelsea will be a client. YOWIE WOWIE.
Match 6: Keith Lee v. Damian Priest v. Dominik Dijakovic v. Cameron Grimes
Winner gets a NXT North American title shot with Roderick Strong. Hot, hot, hot. And wowza, Keith Lee is over with the NXT crowd like Orange Cassidy is in AEW. All players have their moments. It’s Lee who catches Grimes for a Spirit Bomb to become the No. 1 contender. What a damn match.
*It was also announced that a women’s battle royal will be held next week to determine the No. 1 contender for Rhea Ripley. The match includes Chelsea, Santana Garrett, Bianca, LeRae, Xia Li, Dakota Kai, Yim, Vanessa Borne, Shotzi Blackheart and Kayden.
Final thoughts… Love how Triple H has embraced the women’s division and given them tons of TV including opening the show with six of them. Like I mentioned with AEW, I am not the biggest tag team fan, especially when I have to watch multiple tag team matches, but I get that we have the Dusty tag tournament. I may sound like a broken record, but this continues to be the all-around best wrestling show, not only on Wednesday nights, but on TV.
Ranking the AEW/NXT matches:
1-NXT: Lee v. Grimes v. Priest v. Dijakovic
2-NXT: Ripley/Storm/LeRae v. Belair/Ray/Shirai
3-AEW: Page/Omega v. Private Party
4-AEW: Jurassic Express v. Best Friends/OC
5-AEW: Cody/Dustin v. Lucha Bros.
6-NXT: Theory v. Wilde
7-NXT: Undisputed Era v. Gallus
8-NXT: Imperium v. Forgotten Sons
9-AEW: Riho v. Statlander
10-AEW: Guevara v. Daniels
11-NXT: Yim v. Carter