Wednesday Night Wars: Week 1 of AEW vs NXT

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“The Original Bro” Matt Riddle vs Adam Cole (c)

This match is for the NXT Championship. Cole is wrestling this match with a cast on his right arm after suffering a broken bone last week when Riddle put him in a Fujiwara Armbar. Riddle puts Cole in the Fujiwara Armbar a few times in this match, on each arm at least once. Cole doesn’t tap out and reverses into a Crucifix Pin, but Riddle kicks out. In plain sight of the referee, Cole hits Riddle over the head with his cast and the referee doesn’t disqualify Cole. Cole hits The Last Shot on Riddle to get the pinfall.

Winner AND STILL NXT Champion: Adam Cole

Following the match, Cole doesn’t have a lot of time to celebrate before Finn Balor makes his television return. He returns, enters the ring, and announces in front of Adam Cole and the NXT Universe that he is officially back with NXT.

Next, Velveteen Dream cuts a promo during his segment “The Velveteen Dream Experience.” He uses his time to call out and challenge Roderick Strong for a rematch with the NXT North American Championship on the line.

“The Genius of the Sky” Io Shirai vs “Head Baddie In Charge” Mia Yim

Good back and forth action featuring a Suicide Dive from Yim on Shirai. Yim also hit the Code Blue, but Shirai still fought on. Shirai would put Yim down long enough with a Superplex from the top rope, followed by a Moonsault for the pinfall. It’s hard to ignore Shirai’s quest that she will challenge for the NXT Women’s Championship sooner rather than later.

Winner: Io Shirai

Kevin Nash and Scott Hall are shown in the crowd, attending NXT. Following this was a hype packing concerning the return of Tegan Nox to NXT.

“Johnny Wrestling” Johnny Gargano vs “The Black Swan” Shane Thorne

With the WWE agreeing to terms with Johnny Nitro, who traveled around to different promotions under names like Johnny Impact, Johnny Mundo, and Johnny Ultra, I’m willing to wager that one of his name variations will find itself in a rivalry against Gargano for the “Johnny Wrestling” name. Thorne hit a great Sit Out Powerbomb on Gargano, but Gargano kicked out of the pin attempt. Gargano would hit the Poison Hurricanrana and a Superkick to get the pinfall.

Winner: Johnny Gargano

Mark Henry, Stephanie McMahon, and Alundra Blayze are shown in the crowd, attending NXT.

“Tenacious C” Candice LeRae vs “The Submission Magician” Shayne Baszler (c)

This match is for the NXT Women’s Championship. Baszler worked down the left arm of LeRae, especially after kicking the elbow when her hand was trapped up in the steel steps. LeRae found different ways to reverse the Kirifuda Clutch on Baszler, even putting Baszler in her signature submission hold. Eventually, Baszler did lock in the Kirifuda Clutch on LeRae and submitted her.

Winner AND STILL NXT Women’s Champion: Shayna Baszler

“The Bruiserweight” Pete Dunne vs Danny Burch

Burch and Dunne seemed to be one step ahead of each other in the early stages of the match. This turned into a very hard striking affair between the two. Burch did eventually hit a Top Rope Hung DDT on Dunne, but Dunne kicked out. The momentum would fade away from Burch as Dunne capitalized on joint manipulation. Dunne split the Finger Wishbone on Burch’s hand before connecting with The Bitter End. Pinfall victory for Dunne.

Winner: Pete Dunne

After the match, Damian Priest attacks Pete Dunne with a Rolling Cutter before leaving the ring.

The Street Profits vs “The Undisputed Era” Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish (c)

This match is for the NXT Tag Team Championships and is the main event of NXT this week. Wale accompanied The Street Profits to the ring for their Tag Team Championship matchup. The Undisputed Era does a pretty effective job of isolating Montez Ford from his teammate’s, Angelo Dawkins, corner. Roderick Strong runs down to the ring to distract Ford from hitting the Frog Splash from the top rope. Dawkins spears Strong on the ring apron, but it allows enough time for Fish to attack Ford from the top rope and tag in O’Reilly. The Undisputed Era goes High Low on Ford and O’Reilly pins to retain the championships.

Winners AND STILL NXT Tag Team Champions: The Undisputed Era

After the match, The Undisputed Era is celebrating in the ring as Adam Cole makes his way out to add to the celebration. As he approaches the top of the entrance ramp, Tommaso Ciampa returns and gets in Adam Cole’s face. He has one thing in mind, and it is Cole’s NXT Championship. NXT goes to a close as Cole and Ciampa have an intense staredown.

Ratings Record: AEW 1; NXT 0

The actual ratings, demographic 18yrs-49yrs for both shows is in favor of AEW Dynamite. AEW Dynamite scored 878,000 viewers while WWE NXT gathered 414,000 viewers. The WWE put out a press statement today, congratulating AEW on the rating success on their debut show on TNT.

In all, I favored NXT just a little more than AEW in their first week, head to head. I thought the wrestling was just a little bit better throughout all the matches aired. AEW had a lot of attention focused their way with this show being their first to air and WWE NXT already being an established product. I believe AEW has put WWE NXT in a position where everyone needs to bring their top-shelf game every Wednesday night, which is exactly what we all want as pro-wrestling fans.

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