SO having finished watching both shows I thought I would put down a few thoughts in comparison.
I’ll start off by saying I think both shows were generally great way better than most WWE main roster shows. That said NXT was IMO the far better show, and it was very evident WWE was playing the “war” game at a higher level then AEW. Starting off with the NXT title match means that if you were checking back and forth you probably stayed on NXT for that match, and it was the best match on either show. Then NXT had picture in picture wrestling through every commercial so that there was less incentive to turn the channel to AEW if you were enjoying the NXT show. The NXT women’s matches were also both better than the AEW women’s title match which seemed awkward at times. I also didn’t really like that the AEW women’s title match seemed to be the point where the announce team chose to highlight the upcoming schedule, and that the women’s title belt looked tiny.
One segment on AEW that seemed strange to me was the Lucha Bros and SCU interaction. Those teams are not even on the same side of the tag team bracket, so the only way they face one another is if both teams win their respective brackets. So either this is telegraphing the outcome, or kind of pointless. I mean they could have booked this as a round 1 match.
On the flip side AEW came across as the much bigger event with the huge crowd and celebrities in attendance (Jay and Silent Bob trump Hall and Nash.)
I also think it is far more likely that AEW can continue to produce similar quality shows then NXT will be able to. AEW had a fairly standard TV show with one title match, and some good segments and wresting, whereas NXT put up almost a takeover quality card with 3 title matches. They also advertised the limited commercials will that be a thing going forward? If not that will take a toll. Are they going to do picture in picture commercials every week? If not that will also take a toll.
AEW will murder NXT in ratings. It was like watching a proper show against an underground indie show
I have no doubt AEW will win in ratings. That doesn’t make it the better show. It had much more curiosity for people.
Two things I’ve been thinking about…
- Wouldn’t it be great if NXT and AEW eventually drew a comparable number to Raw? Unlikely, but I can hope.
- NXT stunt book like that every week. Unless they hire Vince Russo
AEW was presented as a big show. Will be curious how this comes off going forward in smaller venues and less hot crowds in a few weeks.
NXT (and WWE) continues to be extremely reactionary and I can’t help but feel it is only a matter of time before we start to see the product hurt negatively by this. They wanted to open hot so their idea was to hot-shot a major first-time NXT Title match with two of their best rising stars that ended with a clean finish pinning Riddle (has he been pinned before) to start the show? I’m not saying it buries Riddle or the title but I think it is a widely held opinion the championship matches should main event (actually this was something discussed out of AEW All-Out).
Now you bring back Finn Balor, making little of the Riddle loss. So we have established top main roster stars can come back to NXT. Get ready for weeks of “he/she should go back to NXT” chatter.
Oh and then bring back Ciampa to close the show and confront the same guy Balor confronted? Cole is the champion and a marked man but does every surprise return have to target him to the point the title scene is convoluted? Anyone can walk out as a surprise and be penciled in now as the next challenger…(I know there is plenty of back story to both of these but still, consider this a new show for new eyeballs, which it very much is).
Riddle was Pinned by Dream when he challenged for the NA title. As for the surprise returns challenging for the title, in this instance it makes sense, and makes the title seem coveted. Finn was the longest reigning NXT champ and a former universal champ, if he is coming back at all it should be to shoot for the top. It would make little sense to have him confront say Roddy. Ciampa never lost the title so again only makes sense that he would want it back, especially as they kind of capped the Gargano feud so it isn’t as if attacking Johnny would have made sense. I get the new eyeballs idea, but Balor has been on the main roster so he is someone many people know.
If they bring back too many guys from the main roster though I agree it will be an issue.
This is my point though: a new main-roster fan now views NXT as an extension of the WWE Universe, not something different. IF the Brand Split was ever done correctly, this is what it would feel like: RAW and NXT. But once you start crossing rosters with talent going back, you’ve merged the brands - so is the Universal Title now more superior to the NXT Title (IF NXT is not developmental, which WWE wants us to believe as it goes against AEW, what a weird thing to do to the title). If there was a story leading to this, fine…but the surprise appearance screams hot-shot angle and that rarely works for WWE
Like I said it depends on how often they do this and how he is used. If he is coming down to help put over the top guys I think it works. If he comes in and wins the championship I’m against it (at least anytime soon). I mean the rosters already were not separate it was just that generally it was a one way street. You already have seen guys move up from NXT and generally they are not a huge deal or are mid level.
As for titles yes right now the Universal title is the more prestigious belt as it has history, and more known people holding it. Plus there have been a ton of former NXT champions that have gone up and been nothing on the main roster.
AEW is the way hotter show, not even close.
Years of neglect through call-ups have damaged the product for good IMO. It’s a fine show but not comparable to AEW.
No matter what they say it’s still developmental and AEW feels major league and so far above them in terms of crowd, reaction, stars, buzz and so much more.
I don’t know about that.
NXT’s women seem like much bigger stars IMO to AEW.
And the in ring work was better in almost every NXT match.
IT isn’t the same level of spectacle or have the buzz. But for in ring work and good matches so far I give the edge to NXT. I’m just not sure they can maintain that long term.
What I am talking about is largely that the better show last night was NXT (IMO), but it was never going to have the buzz or excitement of AEW.
IT isn’t brand new, it hasn’t recieved nearly the build up etc.
I think AEW did great, I have some concerns (largely built around their women at this point), but they established some feuds and introduced their characters. I will say though that their face heel dynamic is very confusing to some extent as is what the reasoning behind the ref not throwing out the main event after the interference by Moxley, that could have been booked better.
But was NXT the better show because they stacked 2 major returns, 3 title matches, and had limited commercials last night?
AEW suffered from commercial breaks and pacing; but their show largely can be formatted this way week-to-week (while other aspects like crowd size and venue presence may drop off).
If NXT was better because it booked a TakeOver on USA, and needed to bring back a Main Roster name to pop the crowd and keep eyeballs in the first hour, then it is in a bad spot going forward because that is a hard format to replicate week after week. This is also why I hated Balor coming in so early. Any appearances by new talent now will be underwhelming when people are wanting Sami and Nakamura back in NXT as well.
There’s good ring work everywhere, maybe NXT was slightly better but I don’t think that’s the end-all be-all.
But in terms of commentary, atmosphere, crowd, promos - it wasn’t even close. I don’t need amazing ring work every week - good is perfectly acceptable. Save the big matches for PPV.
Riho had a bigger reaction than any woman on NXT, so she came off as a bigger star to me.
Yup I said as much AEW came across more like a typical week, and NXT came across as trying to put on a huge show. I’m not sure if NXT can maintain this going forward.
The in ring this week wasn’t close other than Pac/Page, and some parts of the 6 man.
Commentary is to taste I like the NXT team, so that was largely a wash for me. Crowd absolutely goes to AEW and will as long as they keep these larger crowds engaged going forward. Promos I think were better in AEW but it wasn’t by a lot for me the SCU video was silly, their pairing with the Lucha Bros made no sense. I’m failing to recall any other really big promos on the show.
Riho had a bigger reaction due to crowd size but the in ring work was not anywhere near any of the women in NXT, her ring gear is not good (Nyla’s on the other hand was a big improvement on her old gear), and her facials aren’t great. To me all of the NXT women came off as more polished and bigger stars. but to each their own.
What made the in-ring this week better than any other week in WWE? Same style, same reaction, just not special at all. In-ring isn’t a selling point for me. Doesn’t make or break a show at this point with SO much good wrestling out there.
did you actually watch the NXT show?
NXT typically is pretty good in ring, and not at all WWE style like the main roster. but they featured a number of really good workers in the show this week.
It is not the be all end all for me but there were a lot more sloppy spots and contrived set ups in AEW, which hurt it a bit for me.
The in-ring work on NXT last night was on average better than the AEW work, but NXT can’t maintain this level of show.
The first match benefitted by not having commercials, but the Io-Mia match and the women’s champtionship match and the final tag match were hurt by the commercials.
And the Balor surprise would have been so much better in a large auditorium.
On the whole, I prefer the wrestlers on NXT (as now constituted), especially the women, but it’s a show that will be burdened by WWE-isms sooner than later. Already happening with their continued insistence of having Beth on the mic. She’s a fine person no doubt, but she’s not up to broadcast standards for a commentator.
I don’t know how long NXT can continue like this. I will lament its eventual transformation into a McMahon-ish show.
AEW gives me the wrong feel when they rely on old WWE talent (Ross, Schiavone, etc.) to get over a new era of wrestling. Give me Golden Boy with Excalibur - they make a great announce pair.
The new Jericho heel faction are not as high work rate as the Undisputed Era, but they come off as real potential threats and I would not be surprised of Jericho goes over Cody because of Jericho’s gang. Which all means that AEW is building a solid long-term storyline.
So overall a good night for wrestling fans. I hope AEW can iron out the remaining production wrinkles, and also be a bit more willing to move away from the old WWE talent.
What made it better than anything else on WWE this week? In-ring from show to show is virtually the same.
Schiavone was in WWE one year, the rest with NWA/WCW. Ross also spent years in WCW…so yeah not WWE guys at all.
If you cannot tell the difference in ring between Cole/Riddle and Rollins/Rusev I get why in ring work is less important to you.