The War Report - 2021: War Is Over… For Now
NXT vs. AEW: Dynamite - which was the better show this week?
I take solace in the memory of Pat Patterson for this week’s War Report, a War Report which serves as the end of the Wednesday Night Wars. Patterson was known for his drunken rendition of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’, and no song could be more fitting for the finale of the War Report.
Ok, so I’m being melodramatic, but no sooner had this article got off the ground and NXT throws in the towel by moving to Tuesday nights. Typical.
So yes, this shall be the final War Report. No article next week as I’ll be live on cultaholic.com for Night One of TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, and due to me being a very old man, Thursday will see me crying into a tepid cup of coffee as I try and recall the last time I stayed up past 9:30 PM. Besides, judging an episode of Dynamite against TakeOver just isn’t fair is it.
But that’s next week, what about the here and now? Let’s arbitrarily judge some wrestling.
The criteria on which I will be judging the two shows are as follows;
• Match Merit
• Promo Performance
• Storyline Development
• Watercooler Talk; the big moments we’ll all be talking about on Twitter for the next week
• The Whole Damn Show
And remember these are just my opinions - if you agree with me then great, if you disagree then that’s also great. After all, I much prefer Bret to Shawn, so take that however you want.
Wrestling is meant to be fun, don’t take it too seriously.
All systems were go this week as NXT logged the final show before the two-night TakeOver next week.
The opening bout of Roderick Strong vs. Cameron Grimes was exactly what you want; fun, exciting, and surprising. Grimesy getting the win after the ol’ Johnny Gargano/Andrade Almas garment ending was very surprising, and it’s nice that Roddy is getting the chance to tell his story in the wake of Undisputed Era falling apart.
Likewise, Santos Escobar vs. Tyler Breeze was also a good match. I often forget just how good Breeze is in the ring. Shout out to Vic Joseph for the worst shout of the night though “Breeze has never faced anyone quite like Santos Escobar” the amount of disrespect shown to Jushin Thunder Liger is obscene.
Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell vs. Gigi Dollin and Zayda Ramier was over before it started, but it was just to give The Way the rub. Same for Xia Li vs. Team KC. Ok, so we did get Tian Sha choking Kayden Carter out and blowing smoke in her face, but it would have been nice if this got a few more minutes.
Raquel Gonzalez vs. Zoey Stark was another good match, if not inevitable considering Gonzalez’ title match next week. Stark impresses me week after week, and she was given ample opportunity to look good here before the eventual loss.
And our main event was the
twelve eleven man battle royal for the gauntlet for The North American Title. Bit of a mouthful that. Usual battle royal fayre, but it told numerous stories (Swerve vs. Ruff, Dunne vs. Kushida) and the fact that Dexter Lumis just stood there for the duration looking hard gets a thumbs up from me. As does Austin Theory eliminating himself with a kip-up on the floor. Shine on you magnificent bastard.
AEW also started with a bang, with Christian Cage and Frankie Kazarian in a battle of the grizzled old bastards. This was a good back-and-forth between two veterans, but Cage going for The Killswitch time after time got a bit tired. Always thought it was an awkward move, never mind the fact it’s had 50 different names.
Cody Rhodes and QT’s Marshall’s exhibition match didn’t go the way I was expecting. Cody trying to be the bigger man made him look like a dick, and I have every sympathy for QT Marshall. The post match beatdown was pretty good, but I have no hopes for QT’s new stable outside of Dark to be honest. The powerbomb on Big Shotty Lee was gorgeous though.
Moxley vs. Bononi was far more competitive than I thought, and with Mox putting Cezar over in his pre-match promo you can tell AEW have high hopes for the massive Brazilian. Mox slipping out of a Pump Handle into a choke was lovely stuff.
PWG time as (not the) Bullet Club beat Lucha Bros and Laredo Kid. Lots of dives, intensity, high spots, and somehow a bit of time for an old fashioned face isolation spot. We all knew the heels were going to win though.
Bunny and Nyla Rose beating Shida and Conti was another surprise. Again, didn’t think Shida would be the babyface in peril, and Bunny getting the decisive fall on Conti was a welcome surprise. So happy AEW is finally building it’s women’s division.
And that main event Arcade Anarchy match. A fantastic main event. Like others,I was completely over this feud, but it brought me back in with this match. AEW are great at these crazy gimmicky brawls, such as the Parking Lot Brawl, Mox & Archer vs. KENTA & Kenny, as well as Baker vs. Thunder Rosa the other week.
Winner: AEW. The main event alone wins this one, but throw in the opener and the PWG-esque six-man and AEW win the in-ring section easily. Spot of the night: Kris Statlander’s gorgeous leg trap Falcon Arrow off the apron through an air hockey table. Glad to see her back, Trent and Sue too.