Welcome to the first edition of Who Won The Week?, the series where ComicBook.com's team of wrestling writers come together and vote on which Wednesday night wrestling show put on a better episode — NXT or AEW Dynamite? We then tally up the score and declare the winner for the week, then check out the fan poll results. Be sure to check back every week, as we'll be keeping score on who wins and who has the advantage in the "Wednesday Night Wars."
A couple things to keep in mind — these votes have nothing to do with television ratings. Just because one show had more viewers doesn't necessarily make it the better episode. Also this isn't to determine which one show you should watch each week. We want you to watch all of it so you can join in on the conversation!
Check out the results for Oct. 9 below!
Connor Casey: Dynamite
I chose NXT as the winner for the first week, but that win came with one major asterisk. WWE essentially put on a mini-TakeOver for their first two-hour USA show and while it was pretty great to watch (especially in-person), it just barely managed to sneak past an episode of Dynamite that treated its premiere like a standard episode of television. That's fine for winning one week, but not exactly a winning formula week-after-week, month-after-month and (god-willing) year-after-year.
It turns out I was right. Once NXT didn't have three championship matches and two massive returns to rely on, it couldn't keep up with what Dynamite was doing. I dug the Rush vs. Gulak and Strong vs. Swerve matches, but Walter vs. Kushida felt like the first chapter in a feud they could blow off at a TakeOver and nothing else from the show really stood out (though props to Rhea Ripley for that obscene feat of strength). Meanwhile Dynamite started out white-hot with that Bucks/Private Party tag match and kept things rolling with Allin/Havoc, Spears/Moxley (and that interaction with Omega and PAC afterwards) and the brawl at the end of that main event tag match. On top of that you had Jericho give an excellent off-the-cuff promo introducing The Inner Circle where he was able to put out about half a dozen headlines in just five minutes.
There was simply too much fun to be had with Dynamite, and NXT simply couldn't keep up.
Ryan Droste: Dynamite
Last week, I thought it was razor thin. I had more fun watching AEW but felt WWE NXT was a slightly better show, technically speaking. This week, I didn't think it was as close. While both shows had some great moments and amazing highs (the Young Bucks vs. Private Party and Walter vs. Kushida being the highlights), AEW was more consistent over the course of the night.
AEW started with the aforementioned tag match that tore down the house, and WWE NXT started with a Cruiserweight Championship match between Drew Gulak and Leo Rush. While both were very good matches, with the tag being slightly better, AEW got the initial bump in importance due to how WWE has devalued the Cruiserweight Championship over the years as a secondary championship, usually defended on PPV kickoff shows. While it can certainly be rehabbed here in NXT, that's the story right now. Though hardcore fans have always loved the cruiserweight division, the general audience that's trying to decide which show to tune into are going to view the cruiserweight match as something less important than the Young Bucks' bout.
Following the opener, NXT featured three matches in a row that were nothing to write home about (Rhea Ripley vs. Aliyah, Forgotten Sons vs. Breezango, Boa vs. Cameron Grimes). In fact, I'm kind of surprised these bouts were placed on the show given the "Wednesday Night War" competition going on, and it almost felt like NXT was throwing in the towel for the week. AEW was featuring an outstanding promo at the same time with Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle, followed by Darby Allin vs. Jimmy Havoc and Bea Priestley and Emi Sukura vs. AEW Women's Champion Riho and Dr. Britt Baker.
AEW started to lose some steam by the second hour (Moxley vs. Spears didn't click for me, though it was good to see Omega and PAC at the end) while NXT picked up with Roddy Strong vs. Isaiah Scott and a great promo featuring Velveteen Dream immediately after, as well as Tommaso Ciampa. When it came to the main events, I wasn't as into the AEW tag team main event (Jericho and Sammy Guevara vs. Dustin Rhodes and Adam Page) as I was WALTER vs. Kushida, though Cody's surprise appearance and the brawl that ensued to end the show was great.
When it comes down to it, that three match stretch on NXT following their opening match just takes NXT out of the competition for me this week. Nothing on AEW's show felt as insignificant as those matches. AEW wins this week by a significant margin, in my opinion.
Matt Aguilar: Dynamite
So this is the tale of two halves, and unfortunately even a superb second half from NXT was not enough to overtake AEW Dynamite. Both shows had some fantastic matches and stylish spots, but AEW smartly spread there's out throughout the entire show.
NXT on the other hand decided to lead with an at best mundane and at worst completely boring first hour. Aside from the always fun to watch Rhea Ripley, there just wasn't anything memorable in that first block, and during that same time, AEW had Chris Jericho hitting a killer promo and introducing his new stable as well as an entertaining opening match, so it wasn't even a competition.
The second half of NXT was completely different though, kicking off with one hell of a match between Roderick Strong and Isaiah Scott, followed by some great promos from Velveteen Dream and Tommaso Ciampa. Throw in that fantastic Kushida vs Walter match and I'd put that final hour up against anything, but Dynamite had a stacked second hour as well, and it proved too much for NXT in my opinion.
Next week looks like a much more interesting affair for NXT, so hopefully, they can pull out the win then, but AEW isn't going to rest on its laurels either.
The Winner: AEW Dynamite
Overall Record: AEW 1, NXT 10comments
Fan Poll Results
Do you agree with this week's results? Sound off in the comments section and be sure to cast your vote in next week's poll!