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Clark: The Ratings War Between AEW and NXT is Far From Over

Ratings are something people speculated on once the competition was announced. Does an impressive start imply a flawless victory?

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Ratings are something people speculated on once the competition was announced. Does an impressive start imply a flawless victory?

Television ratings matter in the professional wrestling business. Despite what anyone says or believes, the fact is that ratings are indeed important. They may not be so important that one dip during one week is cause for alarm. It also doesn’t mean that one great week is a sign that big things are ahead. But yes, ratings do matter.

However for many fans following the industry after October 2, 2019, ratings are now of paramount importance. That’s because of the supposed war between AEW and WWE’s NXT brand. Both companies went head-to-head for the first time ever on the second day of October and the ratings revealed some earth-shattering news.

That actually wasn’t the case after all, as the numbers came back exactly the way many insiders believed they would. Various websites reported the numbers, which showed AEW bringing in nearly 1.5 million viewers for its debut episode on TNT.

NXT on the other hand, had less than 900,000 viewers for this first episode that countered AEW’s debut, which was down from the brand’s first two weeks on the USA Network. According to the reaction from some analysts, this was a thorough beating at the hands of AEW, which means that NXT is now in serious trouble. But is that really the case?

Does one week, especially the first week, automatically guarantee a win for Tony Khan’s company moving forward? It was expected that AEW would have a good first week, if for other reason than curious fans were going to tune in to see how the show looked. But is that an indication of what’s to come?

The big takeaway here is that while AEW did have an impressive showing in week one, the fact is that no one knows what will happen in week two. It’s easy to point to the numbers and say that it’s only going to get better moving forward for AEW. But if that’s not the case and the rating for week two are lower than expected, what happens then?

Do fans declare AEW to be D.O.A? Will the company’s haters, who have spoke out against AEW from day one, have a reason to proclaim the demise of the promotion? If AEW does indeed slide from the first to the second week, what does that mean? 

On the other side of the conversation is NXT, which did not have a great week one in the ratings. With that being the case, does this now mean that WWE will do something desperate in response? Is Vince McMahon truly worried about the numbers for October 2? Or did WWE fully expect a dip due to AEW’s debut?

If NXT manages to pull the ratings up for week two, does that mean that WWE is in the driver’s seat and preparing to roll over AEW? The truth is that while it’s incredibly easy to take sides based on ratings right now, there’s just no way to know how all of this is going play out.

In a statement issued on October 3, WWE described this new ratings war as a marathon, not a sprint. There’s perhaps no better way to describe what’s currently unfolding between NXT and AEW. This is indeed a long road and there’s many miles ahead before anyone on either side can truly know what the end result will be.

The most ironic part about all of this is the fact many fans are arguing over the numbers. Those fans often complained that WWE was a monopoly in the business and that someone needed to come up and challenge them on their own turf, much like WCW once did.

But the moment that someone showed up, WWE fans began circling the wagons. AEW was met with criticism and doubts every step of the way. Instead of allowing the company to grow and ultimately find its own way, AEW was demonized for even stepping up to WWE.

Loyal AEW fans not only support the company founded by Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks; they actually believe NXT is now in dire straits. Those fans feel that AEW’s dominance of the pro wrestling business will begin with NXT and end with WWE. 

The notion that AEW could do enough damage that WWE will actually be forced to close down at some point, defies all logic. But that’s exactly what many fans feel is the endgame for Vince McMahon’s company. Never mind that WWE is firmly entrenched in pop culture, with deep roots that go all over the world. 

Forget the fact that WWE has become an iconic company in the world of entertainment, with crossover appeal that speaks to people from all walks of life. WWE is more profitable now than ever before, thanks to the deal with FOX for Friday Night SmackDown. The company is doing just fine, but for some, that’s all going to change because of AEW.

No matter which side fans choose, the only thing that really matters is that competition is alive and well in the industry. The Wednesday Night Wars are important, not because one company will supposedly destroy the other. It’s important because with another pro wrestling show on TV, fans have another choice.

There’s something to be said for over saturation and that’s true in any form of entertainment. But AEW came along at the right time, with the right talent and the right ownership. It’s a recipe for success, if all goes well. But that success will not come overnight, just as WWE’s fate cannot be decided overnight either. This competition is only just getting started and hopefully, the fun is only just beginning.


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Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE RAW 3/1/21

Bodeen takes a look ath the Top 5 moments from an eventful episode of WWE Raw on the Road to WrestleMania!

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Bobby Lashley WWE Champion Raw

Bodeen takes a look ath the Top 5 moments from an eventful episode of WWE Raw on the Road to WrestleMania!

With just 6 short weeks left until WrestleMania, RAW once again came to us from the Thunderdome, with the main story on RAW this week being focused on the WWE Championship match between The Miz and Bobby Lashley. Despite this there were still some other moments on RAW that stood out, so without further ado let’s once again look at the top 5 moments that stood out on RAW.

5. Mustafa Ali pins Riddle

There is no denying that the booking of RETRIBUTION has been botched. While it was extremely interesting to watch Retribiution at first, Retribution soon died even after Mustafa Ali turned heel mainly due to terrible logical booking and a series of losses that made them all look weak.

However, it is still nice to see RETRIBUTION get wins back, especially when it comes to their leader, Mustafa Ali. Ali is extremely talented and has shown he can perform with the best in the ring. That is why it was so great to see him beat Riddle on RAW.

While the match between the two men was nothing special and had a bad-looking finish, it was still nice to see him beat the United States Champion in a non-title match and give RETRIBUTION and himself a small amount of credit back.

4. Miz makes Bobby Lashley wait

Over the years The Miz has grown to be one of the best heels in the business, his promos are amazing to watch and over the years Miz has learned to control any crowd as a heel. Miz’s promos though are not the only thing that has helped him as a heel, as we have seen Miz over the years use brilliant strategies to give himself an advantage in the ring.

Miz would once again use his mind this week on RAW as he used excuse after excuse throughout the night to avoid defending the WWE Championship against Bobby Lashley until eventually, Shane McMahon forced him to defend or vacate the title at the end of the night.

The great part about watching this was seeing the reaction from MVP and Bobby Lashley as they grew increasingly frustrated with The Miz and his ideas as their annoyance at the start of the night turned into a pure rage after Miz retained after being counted out.

3. Damian Priest gets another win 

At first, I was somewhat worried about Damian Priest being teamed up with Bad Bunny, mainly due to the fact it feels Priest deserved more. However, after a few weeks and seeing how much merchandise Bad Bunny has been selling, the relationship between the two men can be effective for Priest especially as Bad Bunny guarantees Priest time on RAW, where he can impress fans.

Priest would once again look good on RAW this week as he pinned Elias in a solid match between the two men. It was also nice to see Priest beat Elias without any major interference from Bad Bunny, as Priest has arguably looked somewhat weaker due to the distractions from Bad Bunny in his matches.

With there being a good chance that Bad Bunny will be on WrestleMania with Preist, it will be interesting to see what will happen to Priest after WrestleMania

2.  Drew Mcintyre and Sheamus destroy each other

While this may not off been on a Pay-Per-View, Drew McIntyre and Sheamus put on an amazing match between each other and easily put on the best match of the night. The match showcased the brutal style of the two men as they traded moves with both men working extremely well together.

The match would start with an intense brawl between the two men as they gave each other a beating. After a brutal match where both men push each other to their limit, Drew McIntyre would catch Sheamus with a Claymore after Sheamus attempted a Brouge kick to win the match.

After the match, both men stared at each other potentially meaning that this is not the end of their feud as he approach Fastlane.

1. Bobby Lashley finally wins the gold 

It is hard to believe how much Bobby Lashley’s career has changed in a year. This time last year, Bobby was stuck in a never-ending feud with Lana and Rusev which had lost all credibility. Then Bobby Lashley left Lana for MVP and started The Hurt Business, where he became a dominant part of the mid-card as the United States Champion.

Even after being a dominant mid-carder for so long Lashley still hadn’t reached that next level however Bobby would finally break through the glass ceiling this week on RAW after he waited for three hours to dominate The Miz to finally become WWE Champion after what has felt like an eternity.

With Bobby now Champion the big question is, will Lashley be Champion by WrestleMania and if so, who will Lashley face?

These were my top 5 moments from RAW this week. What were your top 5 moments and what do you think of Bobby Lashley being WWE Champion? Let us know in the comments below. 


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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 2/28/2021

A weird week of matches and shows! Let’s see what made the Top 5!

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This is one of the more tame weeks. New Japan had a few big events, but let’s just say it wasn’t their best work. Then we get the announcement of combining the Intercontinental and Heavyweight to become a “world heavyweight” title, so yeah, New Japan is weird right now.

Speaking of weird, AEW Dynamite: Riho vs Serena Deeb, won the match vote last week.

This will be the voting week to round out February, and we should start March off strong with what’s coming next week!

Quick Top 5:

  1. NJPW Castle Attack 2.27: Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii
    Rating: ****
  2. NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi (c)
    Rating: *** ¾
  3. AEW Dynamite: Lance Archer vs Rey Fenix
    Rating: *** ¾
  4. NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: BUSHI vs El Desperado vs El Phantasmo
    Rating: *** ¾
  5. AEW Dynamite: Hangman Page vs Isaiah Kassidy
    Rating: *** ½

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • NJPW Castle Attack 2.27: Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL w/Dick Togo
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NJPW Strong: IWGP United States Championship: Jon Moxley (c) vs KENTA
    Rating: *** ¼
  • IMPACT!: Chris Bey, Ace Austin & Black Taurus vs Josh Alexander, Trey Miguel & Willie Mack
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: TenCozy (Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan) vs The United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay)
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NXT: Zoey Stark vs Io Shirai
    Rating: *** ¼
  • NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: NEVER Openweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs The Great O-Khan
    Rating: *** ¼
  • WWE Raw: Bobby Lashley vs Braun Strowman
    Rating: ***
  • NXT: No DQ: Santos Escobar vs Karrion Kross
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Moose vs Jake Something
    Rating: ***
  • WWE Raw: Angel Garza vs Damian Priest
    Rating: ***

5. AEW Dynamite: Hangman Page vs Isaiah Kassidy

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Kassidy runs, but Hangman follows! Kassidy leaps, into a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Both men are down and fans are fired up! The standing count begins, the fans rally up, and both men stand at 3. Hangman runs in at Kassidy to corner clothesline him! Hangman snapmares Kassidy, runs and SLIDING- NO! Kassidy dodges, mule kicks and CHOPS! Kassidy reels Hangman in but Hangman suplexes to BRAIN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!!! Kassidy lives and “This is Awesome!” Hangman and Kassidy slowly stir. Hangman aims from a corner, runs at Kassidy, but Kassidy blocks the boot to BOOT back! And enziguri, to a POISON-RANA! Cover, TWO!?!

But Kassidy has the arm for an ARMBAR! Hangman endures as Kassidy pulls back! Hangman sits up, and gets the ropebreak! Kassidy lets go at the ref’s count of 4, and Hangman drags himself away. Kassidy gets up, runs over, but Hangman FLIPS him out to the apron! Kassidy grabs at Hangman’s arm but Hangman BOOTS him from below! Hangman runs to triangle LAR- HOT SHOT!! Kassidy counters Hangman at the right time, slithers back up to the apron, and springboards, but no Destroyer! Hangman gives him the DEADEYE! Cover, Hangman wins!!

Winner: Hangman via Deadeye

 

2t. NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: BUSHI vs El Desperado vs El Phantasmo

From My Results:

Early on this was a little paint by numbers. Counters, a few signature spots to get early advantages, but the match didn’t pick up until ELP tried to take out Desperado. ELP and Despy fight up the ramp, ELP rips the mask to expose Despy’s head and pulls out the Jerry Lynn special, Cradle Piledriver right into the ramp!

ELP takes the ripped mask as a trophy, and we see a singles match between BUSHI and ELP for a good bit of time. BUSHI proves to be as stubborn as other Tetsuya’s in LIJ, and takes it to ELP fairly well. BUT – that’s not the story here. Desperado starts slowly making his way back to the ring with a new mask. Desperado comes in and goes on a warpath after ELP. Stiff looking strikes, dives that take out both of his opponents, and just an unbridled rage that makes him focus on ELP.

This of course allows for BUSHI to pick some solid spots, and after Despy returns the match really picks up. It’s also great to ELP’s heel tendencies where he takes moves from higher profile people just to turn the knife. Styles Clash, V-Trigger, an attempted One Winged Angel, Sweet Chin Music, the Undertaker arm fold pin cover, and it’s just good entertainment.

BUSHI has a great count break up where he just grabs Marty Asami’s arm to prevent the 3. BUSHI sets up for MX, but he gets caught with Sudden Death…and rolls out of the ring. So ELP has to go back to a now slowly coming back up Desperado, ELP charges, gets caught with a big right hand and not 1 but 2 Pinche Locos!

Winner: Despy via Pinche Loco

 

2t. AEW Dynamite: Lance Archer vs Rey Fenix

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Fenix goes to a corner while Archer is in the drop zone. Fenix hops up and MOONSAULTS, but Archer moves, so Fenix somersaults through! ROLLING CUTTER!! Cover, TWO!! Archer survives again and Fenix can’t believe it! Fenix hauls Archer up, Archer whips him away and runs in to ROCK him with a right! Archer puts Fenix up top, hooks legs and brings Fenix out, FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Fenix survives again but Archer drags him back up! Archer goes up the corner, drags Fenix up to join him, but Fenix fights the choke grip to adjust! Archer body shots, Fenix rebounds, SUPER SPANISH FLY!! Cover, TWO!?!? How are either of these guys doing this?!

Fenix fireman’s carries, Archer pulls the mask! Fans boo, Fenix SUPERKICKS, mule kicks, forearms and CHOPS! Fenix fires up, runs, but gets DERAILED!! Both men are down but Archer fires up! Archer drags Fenix up and reel shim in, for a BUCKLE BOMB! Choke grip, CHOKE SLAM!! Cover, TWO?!?! Archer drags Fenix to a corner, hauls him up, CHOPS and inverted crucifix lifts, for the BLACKOUT BOMB!!! Cover, Archer wins!!!

Winner: Archer via Blackout

 

2t. NJPW Castle Attack 2.28: IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi (c)

From My Results:

Naito focused on mat wrestling in the beginning, and it was all in effort to get to Ibushi’s knees to bring the match to parity. With Naito having well documented bad knees (including miss time during the Road to), Naito had to work to make things more even.

We see a lot of old threads get pulled on, the corner spot could reference to Naito and Omega’s G1 match, the Outside In German Suplex was something Ibushi struggled to execute before on Naito. Naito pulled out an Avalanche Diamond Dust that we don’t often see, and this was somewhat interesting. New Japan continues to implore that main events are 25+ minute matches, and lately these all drag.

Even with the fun story aspects, a few big scary spots as we’ve come to expect, the match never ascended to a great height. Naito hit Valentia and a few running Destinos, but that wasn’t enough to take out the champion. Ibushi hit Kamigoye to the back of the head, much like as Wrestle Kingdom, then we got 2 more Kamigoyes and Ibushi just falling on top of Naito for the pinfall victory!

Winner: Ibushi via Kamigoye

 

1. NJPW Castle Attack 2.27: Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii

From My Results:

Ishii has had White’s number lately, and just added to the broken status of his mental health after the Wrestle Kingdom loss. Within the first minute or so, Jay looked to have tweaked his hamstring, and that added an interesting layer to his early attack. But much like the strategic genius that he is, he lays Ishii over the barricade, and Ishii starts selling a rib injury.

Everything in this match mattered, the leg and ribs came back to play into aspects of the finishing sequence. Ishii was slow transitioning between some of his power moves since he was hampered with the rib injury, and Jay got caught a bit more than usual because his quickness was taken away.

A huge Avalanche Brainbuster after a Jumping Headbutt nearly gave Ishii the win, but a slow cover as he wanted the high stack, kept Jay alive. They fight back and forth, then we get a great counter wrestling sequence to finish the match. Ishii slips suplexes and Blade Runners, Jay slips the Brainbuster and eats a strike. It was up, down, back and forth, just hard to call until Jay finally slips a hold and catches Ishii with Blade Runner for the win!

Winner: Jay via Blade Runner

 

Thoughts:

Definitely a weird week when I was not a fan of the New Japan shows, and I’m not AEW’s biggest fan…but I guess the top stuff is the top stuff. My vote will go to Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii, purely because it was the only thing that really stood out during this weekend.

Personally, I hope New Japan figures it out and starts getting interesting; because I’m really going to need to consider other promotions if New Japan stays stale – you know, just to spice things up. Ugh…weird week, but yeah the White vs Ishii match is worth watching.


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