This week, we will be one month deep into the Wednesday Wars and it has gone how everyone expected it: full throttle from both companies.
WWE NXT started with the big guns having the first match of the war being an NXT Championship match between Adam Cole and Matt Riddle, and AEW responded by crowning the first ever AEW Women’s Champion after Riho defeated Nyla Rose.
NXT did slightly decline in the next two weeks because they put all their eggs in one basket for the first show, hoping that’ll draw everyone in and keep them there; whereas AEW have had constant shows keeping their viewership over 1,000,000 viewers, higher that RAW and Smackdown combined. Despite this, the war has actually been quite even from every other aspect and really has been lighting up the wrestling world, making Wednesday the day to watch.
As you read this, the fourth instalment of the Wednesday War Podcast, and the fourth episode of each show, would’ve happened so we will know if AEW go 3-1 up in the war, or will NXT tie it up? I’m going to dissect each week and break down what happened, and who is truly winning, despite my comments on the Wednesday Night War Podcast.
Week one, in my opinion, was the climax of NXT straight away. They put the massive matches out there in a hope they could get people watching and would retain from that first episode. We have the two epic returns of Finn Balor and Tommaso Ciampa, as well as the NXT Championship opener, the NXT Women’s Championship banger and the NXT Tag Team Championship main event.
That is a lot of action in the first episode which we all knew they weren’t going to live up to. What the episode did do, was plant the seeds for storylines and create hype leading up to War Games in November, as we will undoubtably get Cole vs Balor vs Ciampa for the NXT title, all thanks to this first episode. It also began to show the route WWE are going with regarding the NXT Women’s Championship and who will challenge Baszler next, after a great showing from Io Shirai in a win over Mia Yim.We also got the beginning of a mini feud between Pete Dunne and Damien Priest which I can get behind.
On the flip side, AEW gave us the debut of Jake Hager and the formation of what we now know as the Inner Circle after Chris Jericho’s new stable decimated the Young Bucks, Cody and MJF. We got the escalation of the feud between Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley, an interesting choice to have Moxley attack Omega during his match and for the match to continue.
AEW put incredible exposure on a younger competitor in Sammy Guevara, not only having an incredible match with Cody but also joining Jericho and the Inner Circle. Like I mentioned in the introduction, Riho was crowned the inaugural Women’s Champion in defeating Nyla Rose, and we also got the match we all wanted back at Double or Nothing, with PAC defeating Adam Page on Dynamite. Despite AEW’s strong card, NXT did win the first week due to their absolute big guns being pulled out.
Week two was a tad more even. Josh and I gave the win to AEW Dynamite this week, to the chagrin of Matty, even though this week was extremely close. AEW gave even more exposure to younger talent with Private Party having a big upset over the Young Bucks in the Tag Team Tournament and Darby Allin beating Jimmy Havoc to be the number one contender for the AEW World Title. We also got to see the debuts of Bea Priestley, who teamed with Sakura in a losing effort to Dr. Britt Baker and Riho, as well as Jon Moxley who defeated Shawn Spears. The night ended with a fantastic tag match and brawl between the Nightmare Family and The Inner Circle, after Jericho and Guevara defeated Page and Dustin Rhodes which invited Santana and Ortiz to the ring to join Jericho, Guevara and Hager, the latter already being at ringside.
To even the odds, we got Cody, MJF and the Young Bucks down to not only even the odds, but to beat those odds and gain the upper hand over the Inner Circle. After winning his match earlier, we saw Darby Allin skateboard down the ramp and attack Jericho, before joining the Nightmare Family in the ring to stare down the heels and end the show. INCREDIBLE STUFF. NXT wasn’t to be overlooked either: Lio Rush defeated Drew Gulak to win the Cruiserweight Title so Drew could move over to Smackdown, Rhea Ripley continued her newly found dominance of the women’s division, as did Bianca Belair, and we got one of the match of the year contenders between WALTER and Kushida.
NXT did their own exposure to lesser known talent as Isaiah “Swerve” Scott had a fantastic showing against NXT North American Champion, Roderick Strong. The Undisputed Era continued their storyline with Tommaso Ciampa after the match, as well as Roddy’s feud with Velveteen Dream. Despite the unbelievable main event and opener of NXT, AEW pipped them at the post with a show that was just a tad batter.
And finally, week three. More Tag Team Tournament action as SCU defeated Best Friends and The Lucha Brothers defeated Jungle Express, but that wasn’t the main story in this tournament. Straight off the bat of the show, Penta and Fenix attacked SCU before their match and injured Christopher Daniels, putting him out of their match. Brilliant storyline and continuation of this little feud which makes me feel like Lucha Brothers are winning the titles.
More hype around The Inner Circle as Santana and Ortiz defeated some local talent and Jericho defended his AEW World Title against Darby Allin in an amazing Philadelphia Street Fight. Riho had another defence against her tag partner last week in Dr Britt Baker, showing AEW are pushing their woman’s title to the forefront of the company alongside the World Title. We also got another seed to a brilliant looking feud as Jon Moxley turned on PAC during their tag team match which set up a match for this week, whilst also keeping Moxley’s feud with Kenny Omega involved as well.
NXT was a little bit of a disappointment for week three despite having two incredible in ring returns, in the form of Tommaso Ciampa and Tegan Nox. They did show the NXT universe Imperium who defeated the Brit-Am Brawlers and continued to fuel the women’s division and the title picture heading into War Games III. Despite these three decent showings, NXT definitely has declined since week one and AEW took the lead, going 2-1 up in the Wednesday Night Wars.
As much as I enjoy playing each company against each other and having a scoring system, I just love both companies and hope they do as well as they can, independently and not against each other. AEW are fresh, which is why more eyes are on the product, so we do expect their viewership to decline over the new few weeks and be at the same level as NXT. We have both of their PPV’s in a few weeks’ time, so only time will tell about who will win the early part of the war.