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AEW & NXT 2/4: Ranking the Wednesday Night War Matches

The so-called Wednesday Night Wars continued on this week in the world of wrestling. AEW Dynamite delivered their special “Beach Break” show, while NXT moved forward with their Dusty Classic.

Starting today, the Wednesday Night Wars article will take all of the matches from each show and give them star rating. The matches will then all be ranked from best to worst.

AEW vs NXT: Bottom of the Barrel

10. Jessi Kamea d. Toni Storm (NXT)
Clocking in at just over one minute, this was not really a match as much as it was for story advancement. Mercedes Martinez runs in to brawl with Storm to cause the quick DQ. Io Shirai then makes her way down to the ring and connects with a moonsault to the floor on all the women. *

9. Matt Hardy and Hangman Adam Page d. Chaos Project (Serpentico & Dr. Luther) (AEW Dynamite)
As basic as basic can be. Matt Hardy isn’t that exciting anymore and he seems to be on his last legs, with Adam Page floundering at the moment. Page and Hardy get the win after Matt tags himself in to gloat in the glory. *1/2

8. Lumberjack Match- Lance Archer d. Eddie Kingston (AEW Dynamite)
On last week’s AEW Dynamite, Eddie Kingston picked up the win due to some questionable circumstances. This week, Archer got his revenge in a lumberjack match. Unfortunately, this was nothing special. Both men found themselves on the outside to fight with the lumberjacks, which was mostly dull. Back in the ring, Archer hits the Blackout for the win. **

7. Chris Jericho & MJF won a tag team battle royal (AEW Dynamite)
10 teams consisting of 20 wrestling make up this tag team battle royal. The winning team becomes the #1 contenders for the AEW Tag Team Titles. This was a fun little battle royal but it felt like a giant cluster that you would find at any random independent show. Decent enough, but just more of the same. The teams of Jericho & MJ and Top Flight made up the final two teams. Jericho gets the win after hitting the Judas Effect on Darius Martin on the apron for the elimination. **1/4

NXT Action heats up

6. NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar d. Curt Stallion (NXT)
Considering the build-up for Curt Stallion challenging for the Cruiserweight title, this match was a slight letdown. It’s not a bad match by any means, it’s actually quite solid, but the delivery didn’t match the build. Stallion had some credible moments but it never got to the next level. Santos Escobar hit The Phantom Driver followed by the double underhook knee for the win. **3/4

5. Austin Theory d. Leon Ruff (NXT)
If Austin Theory isn’t a main event act on the WWE main roster, then the writers and bookers need to be fired. Theory has the “it factor” and he’s really growing as a performer alongside Johnny Gargano. Leon Ruff is also another solid wrestler who is finding his niche in NXT. This was kept short to help elevate Theory, which is exactly what it should have been. Theory gets the win with the ATL. **3/4

AEW and NXT: Top 4

4. Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Quarterfinals: Legado del Fantasma d. Lucha House Party (NXT)
When it comes to Lucha-style action, you won’t find that much better on a weekly wrestling show than these two teams. Lucha House Party continue to bring it each week, whether it’s on NXT or WWE Raw. Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde have been a highlight as well as of late and both teams have great chemistry. This was spot heavy, as you would expect, but it works well in doses. This style isn’t spread out across most of the show which is refreshing. LDF get the win after hitting a running kick and Russian leg sweep combo on Dorado. ***1/2

3. Britt Baker d. Thunder Rosa (AEW Dynamite)
The AEW women’s division has been criticized since the start and for mostly fair reasons. While the booking of the women in AEW has been questionable, Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa put on a more than a solid match on AEW Dynamite. Both women were showcased well and came out strong regardless of the outcome. Baker got the win after countering a piledrive and tossing Rosa into an exposed turnbuckle followed by the Lockdrawn. ***3/4

AEW: 6-Man Action

2. The Good Brothers and Kenny Omega d. Death Triangle (Pac & Rey Fenix) and Jon Moxley (AEW Dynamite)
A high flying, high-impact spot-fest as you would expect. All six men work well together and put on the match you would hope for. Omega is Omega so either you love him or hate him depending on his effort. The Good Brothers are a solid team and their inter-promotional angle with IMPACT Wrestling is interesting. Rey Fenix delivers the Lucha highspots as well as anyone else in wrestling. Pac was a missed opportunity in the WWE so it’s good to see him getting his shine elsewhere. I’ve never gotten into Jon Moxley so he’s whatever, but he serves his purpose.

After a fantastic ending sequence, The Good Brothers hit the Magic Killer on Fenix for the win. After the match, Jon Moxley is attacked by a masked man. The man is revealed to be KENTA from New Japan Pro Wrestling to hype their upcoming IWGP US Title Match. ***3/4

NXT: Classic Tag

1. Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Quarterfinals: Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa d. The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole & Roderick Strong)
If you are looking for four great professional wrestlers, you won’t find a group much better than those in this match. Timothy Thatcher has flown under the radar over the last year, and Ciampa is one of the best in the business, period. On the flip side, Adam Cole and Roderick Strong continue to show why they below in a main event slot on any wrestling show.

The match flowed perfectly as both teams showed chemistry throughout. An intense finishing sequence finds Thatcher backdropped on the barricade before Strong gets caught up in the ropes heading back into the ring. Ciampa nails the Willow’s Bell for the win. Fantastic match. ****

Robby Steven

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