The War Report - March 03, 2021: SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
NXT vs. AEW: Dynamite - which was the better show this week?
It’s Thursday, it’s The War Report, it’s the realisation that I’ve done such a good job in only three weeks that NXT is considering moving to Tuesdays.
So yeah, once again we arbitrarily compare NXT and AEW: Dynamite, because nothing is more exciting in professional wrestling than rivalries, whether actual on-screen storyline rivalries, or made-up-by-the-fans-to-enforce-weird-tribalism rivalries, like ‘The Wednesday Night Wars’.
This week promises to be a big one with AEW promoting the ‘Crossroads’ special of Dynamite, which also happens to be the go-home for Revolution on Sunday. Bloody hell. NXT will no doubt be dropping more breadcrumbs on the proverbial wrestle trail that is The Undisputed Era imploding like a dying star, Karrion Kross will be looking to eat someone, literally, and will we get the truth about Kacy Catanzaro’s injury? We’ll see.
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. This is coming from the guy who wholeheartedly bought into WCW’s push of Jeff Jarrett as ‘The Chosen One’. Still love you though, Double J.
Wrestling is meant to be fun, don’t take it too seriously. Now let’s get stuck in.
NXT’s card was thrown into a slight bit of disarray following Wes Lee’s injury, meaning the MSK vs. Lorcan & Burch Tag Title match will have to wait. Luckily, Tomasso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher stepped up, but the champs got the win after a distraction by Imperium.
Sticking with tag action, Dusty Cup winners Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez took on WWE Women’s Tag Champs Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax. Full disclousre; I’m not much of a fan of Kai, but she played the babyface in peril well. Well, I think they were babyfaces, it’s still not entirely clear. Shenanigans reigned supreme when Baszler got the win with the Karifuda Clutch on Kai, despite Kai not being the legal wrestler. The ref who called it was a Raw ref sent out by 'Scrap Iron' Adam Pearce after a ref bump. Interesting…
Ember Moon went over Aliyah in quick fashion, and Cameron Grimes beat Bronson Reed thanks to interference from LA Knight. Looks like we’re getting Reed vs. Knight for the former Eli Page’s first feud.
And the main event saw Finn Bálor and Roderick Strong batter each other for over 15 mins, until the Prinxe got the win with a gorgeous 1916. Apparently this was their first singles bout in NXT. I’d like to see more.
AEW promised us a supershow heading into Revolution, and wasted no time by kicking off with Cody & Red Velvet vs. Jade Cargill & Shaq.
Now I was expecting a car crash, but Shaq was great. Wearing a crisp pair of Reebok Shaqnosis, he actually looked half decent in the ring, slugging Cody with a beautiful Brodie Lee powerbomb, and taking bump of the night when Rhodes splashed him off the apron through two tables. Cargill got the win for the heels though, and it was the right choice.
Rey Fenix & PAC turned up, battered John Skyler & D3 in about a minute then buggered off again, whilst Max Caster punched his ticket for the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match, beating 10 after Jack Evans boomboxed him in the face on behalf of Matt Hardy. A nice showcase for both men, but to be honest it could have been a tad shorter, and for my money they were both fighting over a spot that should arguably have gone to someone like Joey Janela.
We had the finals of the AEWWWCET as Ryo Mizunami went over Nyla Rose. Rose looked strong in defeat, but I don’t have much hope in Mizunami beating Hikaru Shida for the strap. I like Shida a lot, but this reign is more than stale. Still, it'll be a damn good match if given time.
Adam Page & Meatman John Silver defeated Marq Quen & Matt Hardy in a fun encounter, Big Money Matt playing the cautious coward is always fun. And my personal match of the night saw FTR & Tully Blanchard defeat Jurassic Express. Just seeing Tully hit a rebound suplex and a spike piledriver was enough to make me happy, but this was straight up good ol’ tag wrasslin’, done AEW style.
Winner: AEW. Close call this week, but AEW’s best matches were just more fun than NXT’s. Particularly the opener and the FTR bout.