Welcome to The War Report, a completely new concept where we watch WWE NXT and AEW: Dynamite every week, then compare and contrast the two and declare a winner.
A totally new concept, no-one else has ever done it. Shut up.
We all enjoy the pseudo war between the two shows, largely driven by fans online who by the end of this will either say I’m paid off by Tony Khan (if I was, trust me you’d know about it) or that I’m kissing Triple H’s big muscular arse.
Now I lived through the Monday Night Wars, and while I was on the whole a WCW kid, I enjoyed both WCW and WWF to a huge extent, because it is normal and easy to enjoy two things at once. So The War Report is where I, Jack Atkins, do my best Bill Alfonso impression and call this sucker right down the middle.
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. Wrestling is meant to be fun, don’t take it too seriously.
Let’s get stuck in.
NXT promoted five matches, three of which were about the Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Tournaments. The opening MSK vs Legado Del Fantasma Semi Final was good if nothing special - a few really nice spots though, especially from Joaquin Wilde.
Xia Li squashed Cora Jade in no time at all, good for Li’s character, but a nothing match.
Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon defeated Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell in a Dusty Cup semi. Good performances, but it went a bit too long, think I counted three hot tag spots by the faces, and Candice almost necked herself on a suicide dive attempt which was nasty.
Kushida vs Austin Theory was fun, but unnecessary - the great promo from Johnny Gargano was enough to build to their match at Vengeance Day. Always nice to see Dexter Lumis terrify geeks though, like he did post match.
Main event of Grizzled Young Veterans vs Old Man Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher was a really good match. Both teams looked good, even Ciampa who spent half the match out after a double team apron powerbomb. Ticket to Mayhem sealed it for the scallies, and it was the right decision.
AEW put on a six match card. Things started hot with Darby Allin successfully defending the TNT Title against Joey Janela. I want to see more for Janela in 2021, this was a good showcase for him.
Cody and Lee Johnson defeated Peter Avalon and Cezar Bononi. Ok, but we all knew who was going to win. Was a good rub for Johnson though. Cody apparently dinged his shoulder during the match.
PAC battered Ryan ‘not Dolph Ziggler’ Nemeth in a quick squash.
Jericho and MJF defeated The Acclaimed to win a title shot against The Young Bucks. Alright match, but are The Acclaimed faces now? The contrived singing to Judas can get in the bin too.
Thunder Rosa and Leyla Hirsch had a decent first round match for the Women’s Title Eliminator Tournament. Money is on Rosa losing to Britt Baker in the semis - you heard it here first.
And the main event - bloody hell. A fun frenetic Attitude Era style arena brawl. Highlights included KENTA nailing Peter Avalon with a GTS in the crowd for no reason, Moxley smacking Kenny Omega about with a potato, and Lance Archer looking like a BEAST despite taking the pin. Very fun.
Winner: AEW for that main event alone.