Who is Winning the Wednesday Night War? - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

Who is Winning the Wednesday Night War? - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Dallas Allsopp Thursday, February 6, 2020
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Dallas Allsopp, Ethan Neufeld and Callum Wiggins will be discussing the current state of the Wednesday Night War.

The Wednesday Night War is well and truly underway, with NXT and AEW Dynamite going head to head each Wednesday night. Both shows feature incredible wrestling and more realistic storylines, especially when compared to the offerings from Raw and SmackDown. But who is winning the war?

Question 1: AEW has beaten NXT nearly every week in terms of ratings. Do you feel this is an indication of the quality of both shows?

ALLSOPP: Not at all, as television ratings are never the be all and end all of how strong a show is. NXT has consistently been the best WWE produced show over the past few years, which is still the case today. Therefore, losing the ratings battle does not mean it is a bad show. AEW on the other hand deserves the plaudits for Dynamite, as it is a great show that consistently challenges NXT in terms of entertainment. Both shows are fabulous, however AEW is not better than NXT by virtue of the ratings alone.

NEUFELD: It depends on how you define quality. To define which show is winning, we’d need to know each show's production value and the revenue generated by each, both of which would be hard to pin down. But in terms of quality from the viewer, it’s easier to answer. AEW has more of a spectacle component that is more akin to Raw or Smackdown, whilst NXT has a more low key vibe. Some people, myself included, prefer NXT’s style, but AEW is probably more likely to attract the casual viewer due to it’s bigger production value and wackier stories. Let’s also not forget that AEW still feels new, and may be riding that wave a little longer. Lastly, AEW seems to be putting more time and money into promoting their show than WWE is for NXT. Much of the NXT promotion feels as if it’s within the sphere of WWE, whilst AEW is branching out to things like SuperBowl ads. I think NXT’s in ring product has been superior, but AEW’s characters have been more entertaining. They offer different things, which is good.

WIGGINS: I don't think it necessarily speaks to the quality of either NXT or AEW shows, as I think both deliver strong weekly episodes, especially when compared to Raw or SmackDown. The difference in ratings is likely more indicative of the buzz surrounding both companies. AEW is the fresher commodity, offers the only wrestling you can find on TNT, and skews to a younger demographic. Meanwhile, NXT follows the predominant WWE trend of an audience that is getting older and older, as they continue to struggle to attract new fans. Plus, it still hasn't shaken the perception of being the developmental brand, so I feel it will continue to dip below AEW for a while, albeit not a huge distance away.

Question 2: What has been your favourite moment of the Wednesday Night War?

NEUFELD: Rhea Ripley defeating Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women's Championship. In storyline, it was time for Baszler to lose and for Ripley to take it, but I can’t help but feel that before AEW started, it would have happened at a TakeOver event. The decision to put it on an NXT show may have been to boost ratings against AEW. I think it was a very smart decision, as waiting until NXT TakeOver: Portland would have dragged things out too much. But also, it was smart because it made a statement to AEW about the relative state of their respective women's divisions. NXT’s is amazing, whilst AEW’s is lacking. I don’t know if AEW considered counterprogramming against Ripley vs Baszler with a women’s match of their own, but it would have really shown the disparity.

WIGGINS: There are many memorable moments to choose from, be it Cody's phenomenal promo in the build to Full Gear's AEW World Championship match, Keith Lee capturing the North American Championship, or a show on a freaking cruise liner! But I think the moment that resonates the most is Rhea Ripley defeating Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women's Championship. After such a dominant reign from Baszler and Ripley riding an enormous wave of momentum from her debut on NXT onwards, it was the perfect time and place to deliver a title change. It felt like a big deal, and hopefully it's one of many in both of their respective careers.

ALLSOPP: Prior to this week’s episode of Dynamite, my favourite moment had been Rhea Ripley defeating Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship. It was such a momentous event that I genuinely teared up for her. But this week’s Dynamite had MJF lashing Cody with a belt, which felt so visceral and memorable that I cannot stop thinking about it. This truly was a moment that left it’s mark on me.

Question 3: Overall, which show do you prefer? Will it the be the prevailing show once the Wednesday Night War is over?

WIGGINS: NXT is my preferred show, simply because it has a higher standard of wrestling overall. I think AEW has far better production value and promos, and both are on a similar level in terms of storytelling. But, fundamentally I watch wrestling shows to see good wrestling matches, and NXT consistently delivers those for me, at least more so than AEW. And, of course, NXT doesn't have the Nightmare Collective. Frankly, it could fall short to AEW in every category and I'd still like it more because there's no Nightmare Collective.

ALLSOPP: NXT. Every day my choice will be NXT, as I have watched the product non stop since it’s inception. The show appeals to me in a way that no other show does, however AEW is a great show in it’s own right. Dynamite pushes NXT to try harder, which in turn makes AEW work hard to be a true alternative to WWE. I feel the war will never truly be over as neither show is going anywhere else soon, so fans will be the true beneficiaries here. Simply put, Wednesday nights are my favourite wrestling night of the week.

NEUFELD: NXT is what brought me back into the fold of wrestling, and it has been consistently good, if not great, for years. It has become a show that I must watch, even if it’s catching up a week or so later. AEW is fun and a good watch, but it hasn’t pulled me in yet. It lacks consistent in ring excellence and production polish. It is still early days, and AEW may get there in time. As an example, Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa is one of the greatest wrestling feuds in recent years, if not ever, but it is built on years of NXT storylines from their initial entry into NXT and their time as DIY. AEW hasn’t been around long enough to have built such stories and characters. Who knows, they may have similar greatness down the line. But as it is, NXT is my show.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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Dallas Allsopp is a writer with two main interests, Pokemon and wrestling. He has been writing for a few years for his own personal blogs and is now taking his passion for wrestling and putting it into his writing. You can follow him on Facebook.


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