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AEW & NXT 2/10: Ranking the Wednesday Night War Matches

The Wednesday Night Wars move forward as the landscape on both sides are shifting. AEW Dynamite was highlighted by an inter-promotional match featuring New Japan’s KENTA. NXT delivered more from the Dusty Classic with NXT Takeover: Vengence Day just days away.

The Wednesday Night Wars review takes all of the matches from each show and gives them a star rating. The matches are then ranked from best to worst.

AEW vs NXT: Ranked from Worst to Best

11) Xia Li defeated Kora Jade
A 40-second squash as Xia Li gets the win with a spin kick. Kacy and Kayden appear to confront Xia Li but get beat down for their efforts. Take a Pass. SQUASH

10) PAC defeated Ryan Nemeth
Dolph Ziggler’s baby brother had a tough battle in front of him. PAC is a legit badass and star and it’s nice to see him get a top spot in AEW. This was a step above a squash as PAC dominated the entire match beside one implant DDT. PAC with the win after the Black Arrow splash and the submission. Take a Pass. *1/2

9) Cody Rhodes and Lee Johnson defeated Cezar Bononi and Peter Avalon
Lee Johnson showed some promise in this one along with Cody Rhodes and could be a nice addition to the roster. Not so sure about Avalon and Bononi though, they still come across like lower card enhancement talent. This was a decent tag match that worked well to help elevate Johnson and protect Cody. Skim It. **1/2

AEW: TNT Title Match

8) Darby Allen vs Joey Janella
Not much of a surprise with the outcome in this one as Darby Allen is currently getting the rub from Sting. A solid effort from both guys and they have good chemistry. Despite looking like a jobber on WCW Saturday Night in 1997, Joey Janella worked hard and it paid off with his most impressive AEW Dynamite match to date. Skim It. **3/4

AEW: Inner Circle

7) Chris Jericho and MJF vs. The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens and Max Caster)
Chris Jericho and MJF use their experience to take advantage of The Acclaimed who have some charisma to be a top AEW team. This felt like an old school tag match with Jericho and MJF dominating the majority of the match. Caster played the Ricky Morton role before making the hot tag to Bowens. The Inner Circle get the win in a hard-fought match after the Judas Effect elbow by Jericho. After the match, Sammy Guevara comes down to the ring to quit the Inner Circle after continued issues with MJF. Skim It.**3/4

NXT: The Way denied

6) KUSHIDA defeated Austin Theory by DQ
After Johnny Gargano attempted to weasel his way out of his match with KUSHIDA at Takeover, Austin Theory was sent to do the dirty work. KUSHIDA started quickly but was distracted by Gargano on the outside. Theory’s offense didn’t last too long as he was back on the defensive within a minute.

Austin Theory attempted several comebacks but KUSHIDA was able to avoid them until being knocked off the apron. Theory uses his power to keep the momentum, including a fallaway slam and stiff chops. KUSHIDA makes his comeback with a springboard back elbow before hitting a German suplex. KUSHIDA works the arm of Theory before locking in an armbar leading to Gargano interfering for the DQ. After the match Dexter Loomis makes the save as Loomis and KUSHIDA put a beatdown on the heels. Worth a Watch. ***1/4

5) World Title Eliminator Tournament First Round Match: Thunder Rosa vs. Leyla Hirsch
Thunder Rosa is a legit star and it’s a shame that the NWA isn’t currently operating so she can shine there as well. Leyla Hirsh seems to be solid as well, hitting a nice huricanranna and suicide dive to the floor. Both women trade offense before Rosa gains clear control with several trikes and kicks. Hirsh brings a variety to her offense, including several submissions and a moonsault that she misses. A running knee strike to Rosa sets up another missed moonsault by Hirsh. Rosa gets the win after a modified package piledriver. Worth a Watch. ***1/2

NXT Dusty Classic

4) Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals: MSK (Nash Carter & Wes Lee) vs Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza)
MSK have been tearing it up through the Dusty Classic since arriving in NXT last month. Legado del Fantasma always bring it and they are the perfect match-up for MSK. The match started slow but once it picked up into the next gear it never slowed through. MSK picks up the win with a Hart Attack Blockbuster. Worth a Watch. ***1/2

3) Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals: Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell vs.Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
Both teams have shown promise throughout the tournament and this was no different. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart demonstrated solid double team moves but Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell held their own as well. A beautiful tightrope walk into an apron hurricanrana by LaRae on Moon. LaRae then hits a moonsault on Moon followed by a scary suicide dive on Hartwell. In the end, Moon and Blackheart get the win after a Blackheart senton bomb. Worth a Watch. ***1/2

NXT: Main Event

2) Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-Finals: Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake and Zack Gibson) vs. Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa
The random team of Ciampa and Thatcher is working following the end of their feud in the NXT Fight Pit. The GYV talk trash as they head to the ring but Ciampa and Thatcher are tired of the talk and cut them off in the aisle way. Back in the ring and Thatcher and Ciampa get the early advantage until Ciampa is ripped over the apron and thrown into the steel steps. Ciampa is then powerbombed onto the apron as a commercial cuts to a picture and picture.

Back from the break and Ciampa is hurt on the outside. Thatcher is doing his best to hold his own but reachers for a tag to find no partner. Thatcher holds on and eventually makes a hot tag to Ciampa but goes off on the GYV. Eventually, GYV get the advantage and hit the Doomsday Device on Ciampa. Thatcher cuts them off and takes the action to the outside. Back in and the GYV hit the Ticket to Mayhem on Ciampa for the win. This was a hard-hitting battle between four legit pro wrestlers. The finals of MSK vs GYV at NXT Takeover is going to be fun. Must Watch. ***3/4

AEW: Falls Count Anywhere

1) Fall Count Anywhere Match: Kenny Omega and KENTA vs. Jon Moxley and Lance Archer
KENTA uses his briefcase to save Kenny Omega from an attack on Lance Archer but it does no damage. Jon Moxley tries to bring it to KENTA but falls victim to Omega making the save. Omega and KENTA try working together but it’s clear they are not on the same page. KENTA and Moxley get their time to shine together in a preview of their IWGP US Title match later this month on New Japan Strong.

Both teams brawl all over the building, including into the kitchen. Back to ringside and KENTA avoids an Archer powerbomb and puts Moxley through a table with a double stomp. The Good Brothers appear which causes Jake the Snake to get involved. KENTA hits a GTS on Moxley and then Omega nails the One-Winged Angel for the win. Fun garbage brawl. Must-Watch ***3/4

Robby Steven

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