Welcome to the latest 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. 16 below!
Connor Casey: AEW Dynamite
I have to give the nod to AEW again this week. With the exception of Lee vs. Dijakovic, NXT was mostly comprised of short matches that didn't have much weight to them. That's not to say they weren't fun, I had a great time with that sprint between Matt Riddle and Bronson Reed, but it feels like we're just waiting for things to happen. We're waiting to see who in the crowded women's division actually gets the next shot at Shayna. We're waiting on Finn Balor to finally have a match. We're waiting for Ciampa and Gargano to be in the same room together again, and we're waiting to see if Ciampa actually gets the next shot at Adam Cole or if Balor is standing in his way. I know we're still more than a month away from WarGames, but I'd like for the show to start building that card.
Meanwhile AEW made it so that every match on Dynamite mattered this week. Darby Allin put on a star-making performance against Jericho in defeat (I can't get the Jeff Hardy comparisons out of my head). Ditto Riho in her defense against Britt Baker. Plus we got some fun storytelling moments out of the tag tournament matches with Pentagon and Fenix firmly establishing their heel roles, Scorpio Sky coming through for SCU in street clothes (and one shoe!) and Marko Stunt putting up a valiant effort as Luchasaurus' replacement. It's only been two weeks, but they've handled the tournament so well that I'm good with any of the teams not named Dark Order winning. Heck, even the squash match served as purpose as it gave Santana & Ortiz the chance to show off their moveset before calling out the Bucks to a pay-per-view match.
TLDR — NXT was fun but feels like its in a holding pattern, while Dynamite was a must-see episode.
Matt: AEW Dynamite
While I will put up the Keith Lee vs Dominik Dijakovic match against just about anything (that match was fantastic), Connor's right in his take on the show at the moment. It feels like NXT is setting up quite a few dominoes, and once they fall it will be great, but half the show feels like we're just teasing the big things to come as opposed to actually seeing them play out. We're seeing plenty of set up for the future, whether it's Shayna Baszler's next challenge, Tommaso Ciampa's back and forth with Adam Cole and the rest of Undisputed Era, or Finn Balor's first opponent since returning, but again, those aren't hitting high notes now.
It also doesn't help that NXT has been slow to start for the past three weeks, leaving some of their most engaging matches for either the end of the first hour or the second hour completely. Sure Ciampa started things off, but that match was a bit of a snoozer. Compare that to a ridiculously enjoyable tag match to open Dynamite and you are already starting off in the hole, which only grows once the all-star group of PAC, Jon Moxley, Kenny Omega and Hangman Page hit the ring.
The future is bright for NXT, but right now we're in a bit of a holding pattern, and until they can really churn out some back to back great matches and storylines, AEW will probably be in the driver's seat.
Ryan Droste: AEW Dynamite
Last week, I wrote about AEW winning by a landslide. This week, I thought it was a little bit closer, but Dynamite still took home the "W" by a significant margin.
While NXT was a fun show with a lot of the brand's top stars on it, the matches tended to be one-sided, non-competitive affairs against opponents whom you knew had no chance of winning. The matches involving Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle, Tegan Nox, and Io Shirai fit this bill. I'm not saying that's always a bad thing, as it made sense in Ciampa's first match back after a severe injury to have him compete in more of a "warm-up" match than taking on a top name. The difference is, AEW was presenting competitive matches all night long between stars, so it's hard to say NXT was the better show.
Two of the first three matches on NXT were these one-sided contests with no illusion about who would emerge victorious. Meanwhile, AEW was presenting another great tag team tournament match (SCU vs Best Friends) and a very good women's match between Riho and Britt Baker, with a non-competitive squash featuring Santana and Ortiz as a buffer between the two bouts. AEW handily won the first hour of the show.
Both shows had great seconds hours, and I did very much enjoy the Pete Dunne vs. Damian Priest and Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic matches on NXT, in particular, this week. AEW had another tag tournament match between the always fantastic Lucha Bros and Jurassic Express and one of the best tag team television matches you'll see featuring PAC and Jon Moxley taking on Kenny Omega and Adam Page had the crowd on the edge of their seats. AEW followed all of that up with a fantastic match between Chris Jericho and Darby Allin that felt like Allin's national breakout performance.
What we've learned once again is that Wednesday nights are certainly the best night of the week for wrestling fans. Get me to next week already!
The Winner: AEW Dynamite
Overall Record: AEW 2, 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!