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  1. #1
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    NXT Versus AEW: Week 2 (Oct. 9th)- Who Won? And A Breakdown/What's To Come (W/Rankings!)

    I think Wednesday nights were what my fandom of professional wrestling needed. Why? Bear with me- to put into context, Tuesday night through Wednesday is my marathon day (AKA hell day)- as in, I go in to work Tuesday nights, work a 10 hour shift, then immediately go home to get my 6 year old on the bus, then be alone with my non-napping, crazed 3 year old for the entire day. Then I get my 6 year old off the bus from school, and the real fun starts. For those who don't have 2 kids, just know that they fight all.the.time.about.everything. Sibling rivalry is thriving in my home. It's like I have midget versions of Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Wrestling in my personal space! So toddler DIY start fighting roughly 3.8 seconds after the oldest hops off the bus, which is like hour 19 in a row for me. Ugh… Just shoot me now!


    And yet this past Wednesday, as I traversed hour 20 in a row- cooking dinner for my little balls of rage, I was singing and happy. I paused… why am I so happy right now?!? At this point on a Wednesday night I'm usually death worn over, and then it hit me… AEW and NXT are on tonight! At hour 23 my kids are at least in their rooms (sleep is a process!), my girlfriend is just getting home, and I'm just starting to dive into AEW! If that's not love, I don't know what is!







    So this week both shows numbers dipped a bit. AEW had roughly 1,140,000 viewers on the night from all sources, while NXT had just under 800k. A fairly negligible drop for both considering they are competing with MLB playoffs. Not at all surprising, as many of us need to come to grips with the fact that professional wrestling is a small, niche market. People outside of the core audience are gonna tune in the first couple of weeks to see if the spectacle is worth their time, then most peace out shortly after. Pro-wrestling isn't for everyone! There might be 3-5 million people watching pro wrestling weekly on television, and that is spread out! You aren't going to see a boon in numbers unless you are doing something drastically different, like the Attitude Era was. And right now, though we are seeing some pretty great wrestling, we aren't seeing anything truly genre bending.


    For my money, despite the slight numbers dip, AEW had a dreamy week. If you watched episode 2 of AEW on TNT, I'd be surprised if you weren't entertained. Seemingly finding their stride, the show felt seamless for the most part, floating from one segment to the next, match to match, cohesively. A marked improvement from week 1! On a personal note, I audibly marked out multiple times on the night! It was a fun show for a fan to watch, and in my opinion, AEW won the night rather easily.


    NXT on the other hand, dipped a bit in quality, though not much. They toned down the marquee matchups, though still had a lot of good wrestling on the card. They did add in a little more character development, which was nice, and I hope they continue down that path going ahead.


    The main thing to keep an eye on though, is within the numbers/ratings, NXT is low on key demographics (18-49), while AEW is surging in that demo. Granted, a lot of that is wrestling fans tuning in to a new fed to see what the buzz is about, but if in a few weeks these trends continue, WWE might feel the need to tinker with NXT a bit, which makes me very nervous. You see, NXT resurrected my fandom, and the show going to cable has been a fear of mine for this exact reason. They go from development, to televised scrutiny in a market not built for pro wrestling- that combination just reeks of potential disaster, and ill advised reconstructions- like Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn. Only time will tell, but personally, I think the numbers will balance, and even build very slightly for both feds, as long as patience remains a virtue.


    If you're looking for highlights from AEW, that tag opener between Private Party versus the Young Bucks was fantastic, kicking off AEW's tag tournament in awesome fashion. While Chris Jericho's following promo introducing his new stable was outstanding, showing why Y2J is one of the very best talkers in pro wrestling history (seriously, watch the moment he addresses fans chanting "We the people" at Jake Hager- what.a.shoot)! Jon Moxley versus Shawn Spears was entertaining, especially with Tully Blanchard, Pac, and Kenny Omega in the mix! And the closing men's tag match was fun as well.


    On the NXT side Roderick Strong against Isaiah "Swerve" Scott was a somewhat surprisingly great match, followed by a solid promo by Velveteen Dream to build his feud with NA Champ Roddy. Lio Rush versus Drew Gulak for the Cruiserweight Championship was highly entertaining, and the closing bout between WALTER and Kushida had flashes of brilliance, though was much too short (give these two men a 25 minute match on a Takeover card, please!!!). Also Rhea Ripley is a spectacle for the NXT women, and her building feud with Women's Champ Shayna Baszler is mouth watering!


    Things to avoid were the women's tag match on AEW's Dynamite, as it nearly killed the show's momentum in my opinion. It dragged on for what felt like 8 million years, and wasn't very entertaining to me at all (I really started to feel my fatigue at this exact point in the show!), while on NXT, Cameron Grimes music/character shift and match against one of the blandest wrestlers ever, Boa, was brief, but not worth a look if you ask me. As much as I like Grimes in the ring, I think his character/music switch was made with too much haste, and doesn't seem to fit him even remotely.


    Things to look forward to next week include NXT's headlining match of Keith Lee versus Dominick Dijakovic in the 4th match of their ultimate hoss feud, and Pete Dunne versus Damien Priest (this will be interesting to see who loses, as both seem to be primed for pushes), while Tommaso Ciampa will probably squash Angel Garza, but Ciampa is pretty much must watch whenever he is on TV at this point!


    For AEW we get Champion Chris Jericho against rising star Darby Allin in what should be a vehicle match for Darby, and another exciting 1st round tag match against the Best Friends, and one of my favorite modern tag teams in SCU (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian)! I also tend to think AEW will let a little bit of their freak flag fly for the first time on Dynamite, so expect and look for an Orange Kassidy segment/match!








    Give Me 5!


    Keep in mind that this is purely subjective, but here are my top 5's for each fed atm- these are the 5 people you should have eyes on above all others right now!



    AEW:


    1)Chris Jericho
    2)Pac
    3)Kenny Omega
    4)Jon Moxley
    5)Darby Allin



    NXT:


    1)Rhea Ripley
    2)Shayna Baszler
    3)Tommaso Ciampa
    4)Roderick Strong
    5)Keith Lee









    And that wraps up week 2! I hope to do the rankings for each fed monthly for as long as this surge in my fandom remains. I might actually rank NXT UK as well in another column for those interested, as I have been watching it weekly for over 2 months now, and think there is some talent there going criminally unnoticed! Also expect me back for a week 3 version of this column, as in the pro wrestling world, this is where all the buzz is right now!

    Any comments or insight? Let's chat below! Thanks for reading, see you next week, and enjoy week 3 starting tonight!


  2. #2
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Really like this format man, especially the 'people to keep your eyes on' but.

    For me it was such a shame that the AEW Women's tag was so weak. Last week that was my surprise highlight of the show, it took me from being disinterested to on the edge of my seat and cheering Ryho. This week though felt like a reminder why I wasn't interested in the first place. Hopefully they can right the ship next week.
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  3. #3
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    I echo everything Sam said. Almost.

    I didn't buy in to the women's match last week either. AEW is showing promise, but it's women's division has a long way to go if it wants to get anywhere near WWE's women.
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  4. #4
    The Brain
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    I'll echo your comments on AEW almost entirely! I thought they had a great week overall, I liked episode 1 plenty but episode 2 seemed to click even more. I'll also agree that the women's tag match was the slow point of the show. I must admit I'm baffled that of all the talented women on their roster and still available unsigned, Britt Baker and Bea Priestley are getting such a big spotlight. I don't think either of them are well suited, particularly Baker, but I guess time will tell!

    WALTER/Kushida is on my list to check out for sure, huge fan of both guys. I'll be interested to see if I agree more time would have improved the match, at this point in my fandom I'm actually keen on shorter matches and I think the idea that long matches are better has spun totally out of control, but there are times when they do actually work better.

    Fun column Kleck, I was a tad uncomfortable with the Caitlyn Jenner crack but I know not everyone looks at these things the same way so it is what it is. Already looking forward to week 3!

  5. #5
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    Dude, your Tuesday-Wednesdays sounds hecticc. As a father I can definitely relate!

    I'm glad Young Bucks didn't win as it shows that they're willing to put over newer talent. Their audience knows how integral they are to the brand so in the eyes of their fans, putting Private Party over is definitely a big deal. Also, I agree that Jericcho is undoubtedly one of the very best talkers in pro wrestling history.

    I think NXT needs to cancel 205 Live and just add them onto NXT. That way it can counter the over-exposure that having a 2-hour television show usually entails.

    Keep it up, Kleck!

  6. #6
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    Sam- Thank you! I am still ironing out the format a little, but it feels like a good mix. Like Dynamite, the women have yet to impress me on Dynamite (). I'm posting week 3 in a little bit, I'm interested in your thoughts on the women's match. That tag match was just way too disjointed.


    Dynamite- You and I are thinking alike. I really like AEW so far, but that women's division needs to desperate TLC. Now, if I want women's wrestling I'm turning to NXT- as that division has been awesome lately.

    Miz- I think Kushida/Walter could have told quite the story with 20+ minutes. Not just 20 for the sake of it, but I feel like these two are both pretty detail oriented, so with enough time they could create some magic.

    I do apologize for the Caitlyn line. I actually have a good friend that is post op Male, and he is a handsome completely passable guy these days. I wasnt attacking all people who go through this difficult process, so much as tongue in cheek saying Bruce was a super manly man, very rugged, and chiseled. As a lady, that doesnt translate so well! I do feel for her, but at the same time I doubt any SJWs are lining up to date her! (Not a knock on you!)

    Don- Oh Don, you have no idea! Tuesday/Wednesday is dreaded for me. I love my kids sure, but that kind of marathon has me feeling crazy by the time my head hits the pillow! This AEW/NXT battle has given me something to look forward to though at the end of the night each week though, and it inspires me to praise both federations.


    Thanks everyone! Im posting week 3 soon! Be ready, I was full of it this week!


  7. #7
    The Brain
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    Nice clarification on the Caitlyn thing! I too have some trans friends so my ears do perk up a bit on how that topic can be sensitive, but I do get what you're saying.

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