wrestling / Columns

AEW On TNT vs. NXT On USA: Who Won?

October 4, 2019 | Posted by Justin Watry
AEW Dynamite NXT Jake Hager Finn Balor

I do not plan on doing this every week but after last night, it must be done. Let’s get to it…

AEW vs. NXT – Who won?

What did you watch live Justin? – I have been pumping up NXT for years now, so they got my eyeballs at 7pm. AEW on Dynamite had an instant replay after wards, so it was an easy choice. Plus, let’s be real – the NXT card was more stacked.

Which show had the better opening bout? – NXT takes this one. Starting off with Matt Riddle vs. Adam Cole for the NXT Championship was brilliant. I actually figured the NXT Womens Championship match would headline going in. It was not meant to be, but we will get to that. AEW kicking off with Cody vs. Sammy was the definition of ‘meh’ to me. I spoke highly of Cody Rhodes in WWE and constantly had him in my “Top Underrated Lists’ we used to do. Also I ripped the entire Stardust gimmick from the moment it debuted. Nobody needs to tell me how talented he is. I did not see a single match of his independent run, and even I know the dude is a star. That being said, his bout against Sammy meant nothing and was clearly filler. The cynic in me thinks it only happened so Cody could claim to have the first TNT match and victory. Anyways, putting that versus an NXT Championship match with Riddle and Cole? Um yeah, easy choice. No doubt I enjoyed both but NXT was head and shoulders above AEW here.

How about the post-match? – Chris Jericho attacked Cody. Alright, I get it. They have the Full Gear pay-per-view main event. I was fine with it. I did get a bit tired of the heel stuff on AEW throughout the night though. Overkill if you ask me. Meanwhile on the USA Network, you had Finn FREAKIN’ Balor shock the world and return! An epic moment and the pop of the century from the Full Sail faithful. I went back and re-watched that clip a million times already. I love the move. He was clearly not going to be doing a whole heck of a lot on the main roster after getting destroyed by The Fiend. I am just happy he got recognized as a main eventer and won the coveted Universal Championship. Plus, he did indeed get his battle against Brock Lesnar earlier in 2019. Dude had his main roster run (even if NXT is considered main roster run). Time to go back home.

Come on Justin, there was filler on both shows, right? – Absolutely. The TNT program had a bunch of tag teams interact with actors from the Jay And Silent Bob Reboot. Honestly, I did not like the previous film, so a reboot does not really get me going. The whole thing made little sense. I know they wanted to hype the AEW Tag Team Title tournament; I understand the idea. The problem is none of the guys yapping even matched up in the brackets. Then The Private Party just randomly popped in for five seconds. Okay? It just did not come off well on the television screen. Felt like a WWE style segment to cheaply plug a movie with C-list stars. Being AEW though, my guess is this will get a pass from their fans. Over on NXT, we were treated to The Velevetten Dream Experience. Nothing ground breaking or new…but certainly the better of the two that’s for sure.

What about the lower card matches? – Io Shirai vs. Mia Yim or MJF vs. Brandon Cutler? Are you for real? Not even close. Io is a freakin’ beast right now. Arguably the best heel in all of wrestling, outside of Brock Lesnar. Her match with Yim was pretty darn good. It was not even advertised, so I wonder if they even knew they’d have this match during the day prepping. Very cool if it was thrown on them and then they knocked it out of the park. AEW wanted to showcase MJF, and I am fine with that. NXT did something later on with Pete Dunne also. Fair enough. Highlight a talent and give them a quality win. Basic professional wrestling 101. The problem is this Cutler guy? From what I understand, he is buddies with the Elite Executives. That explains why he was in this spot. Yet, Shawn Spears and others were invisible. Even if you do plan on rotating talents each week, that didn’t stop the usual suspects from getting multiple segments.

Be fair Justin. AEW won the top of the hour showdown at least! – They did. Hangman Page vs. Pac was much better than Johnny Gargano vs. Shane Thorne. I am VERY curious to know the quarter hour ratings for both shows. To me, this was do or die time for both programs. You knew the initial viewers would be there. However, after the limited commercials thing started to wear off, who would flip channels at the beginning of a new hour? Gargano vs. Throne is kinda meh, even if they have had a fun mini-feud going on. Page just main evented the previous AEW PPV for the top prize, him taking on the former Neville is intriguing. I can dig that. They had the better bell to bell action and delivered. Not to dump on Thorne’s effort at all – he is showing to be worthy of a solo run.

Enough about the men! There were two women title matches as well… – Indeed. I can’t call this one. Fairly even in my opinion. Shayne Baszler always brings the goods in a high profile setting, and we know the skill level of Candice LaRae. With the potential of FINALLY crowning a new NXT Women’s Champ, the tension was high. As previously mentioned, I would have closed the show with this…but I get the final surprise was needed for the final image. Candice came so close to winning. So close. It was yet another great bout from Shayna. Why people are griping about her retaining is beyond me. Constantly delivers and is a pure heel. When someone (Dakota Kai?) pins her cleanly, the place is going to go nuts. On AEW Dynamite was an equally thrilling women’s title match. I had Nyla Rose winning the inaugural NXT Womens Championship. I think most did. She won the big battle royal for a reason, right? Wrong. Riho pulled off the upset and received a huge ovation from the Washington DC crowd. Loved the bout, even if it did take A LOT of suspension of disbelief for the 90 pound girl to beat a much larger opponent. Great match, great moment.

Okay, we got you. Now talk about the different presentations. – Okay, I will. NXT had their usual 500 Full Sail fans going wild, whereas AEW claimed over 14,000 fans in a packed arena. I loved the sold out building. I love that feel. It just makes everything seem bigger. You can’t deny the feeling of watching WrestleMania open up every year with 80,000 people inside a stadium and a single squared circle in the middle. So cool. NXT has already announced their partnership with Full Sail, so they are not going anywhere. AEW has the benefit (and curse?) of touring every single week. We know the first couple shows will do well. That is to be expected. What we don’t know is how things improve/collapse as time goes on. We all recognize the special circumstances about October 2nd. What about November 20th? What about December 18th?

Let’s get back to the wrestling please. Fine! We had two tag team main events. One was a standard six man bout. The other was a tag team title match with a special entrance by Wale. Not that I know or care about him but it was something extra. Chris Jericho, Santana, and Ortiz vs. Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks headlined AEW Dynamite. Honestly, this may have been my first time seeing a Young Bucks match. I had seen one or two Omega matches before. The match was fine, but all people will remember is the Jon Moxley run in. The referee turned blind for a few minutes, as he and Omega brawled all over the building ending with a wicked crash and burn through a glass table. OUCH! I guess Moxley is fine…and I guess Omega is *not* in the match anymore? No clue. Suppose we will forget that sports like move. Over on NXT, The Undisputed Era beat The Street Profits to keep their prophecy alive. If I am being 100% truthful, neither match did anything for me. I will give the slight nod to AEW only because I was waiting for SOMETHING to happen. Obviously, they were the ones who needed that classic Lex Luger Moment…

Well, you are kinda right. Does Jack Swagger qualify? – Both shows had a big return to close the show. Before getting to AEW, NXT wins this round. Seeing Ciampa come out was just beautiful. So poetic. Finn Balor and now Ciampa going after Adam Cole? He is screwed. Awesome moment and just the kind of jump start NXT could use heading towards Takeover War Games. Now for AEW…oh my. First, let me say that I was a Jack Swagger fan in WWE…nine years ago. Go back and read my columns. I defended his World Title victory, and I even defended the dude getting countless opportunities despite constantly screwed up. That being said, it is 2019. The ‘revolution’ for AEW was supposed to NOT have former WWE mid-carders that aging and past their primes. This was a typical Impact Wrestling moment. Yeah, he had been rumored for weeks, so we all kinda suspected him showing up. Still, a far cry from the Bill Goldberg or CM Punk rumors that were flying around months ago. I am okay with a big Jericho heel stable and the tall Swagger towering over the smaller roster. I just don’t think this signing lines up with anything the Elite Executives have stated publicly, and that is not even discussing the political side of things. NXT wins with Ciampa, even though I have always defended Jack Swagger…he just doesn’t match up with All Elite Wrestling.

Who cares about that crap? We have ratings and viewership numbers! – Indeed we do. I waited to write this column because I knew the numbers were going to be released Thursday afternoon, and I knew what the predictable reactions would be. I posted back in August in column form AND on the 411 Foresight Wrestling Podcast: AEW would win the ratings battle week one with over a million viewers. I stated that again Wednesday afternoon and again earlier Thursday afternoon. I said it over and over. However, I also reminded people that Hulk Hogan’s TNA debut segment on Monday night against a mosnter Raw (Bret Hart returning) drew a massive three million viewers! It is true folks. The very next Thursday was back to its’ usual 1.1 rating. Need I remind everybody of the XFL premiere rating? Need I remind everybody of what happened after that? Long story short, AEW was always going to win the ratings in week one. I suspect the same may happen in week two or even three. Over the long haul though, NXT has more backing (WWE, USA Network, FOX, and Vince McMahon) and more weapons to bust out (main roster stars and major signings). Ultimately though, I enjoyed both shows. I liked NXT more, as you can probably tell…but the WWE statement nailed it. This is not a one night sprint. This is a marathon, and the real winners will be the fans. Hopefully not just for one week but for a long, long, long time.

Therefore, I have one thing to say to both companies after Wednesday night:

Follow that.

Cheap Plugs

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article topics :

AEW, AEW Dynamite, NXT, WWE, Justin Watry