AEW Dynamite vs. WWE NXT: Who Won the Nov. 20 Battle of the Wednesday Night War?

Jonathan Snowden@JESnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterNovember 21, 2019

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 11:  Jon Moxley enters the ring during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling G1 Climax 29 at Nippon Budokan on August 11, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

It was a wild Wednesday night, as a score of WWE superstars, including Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins, answered Triple H's challenge to test their might against the best of NXT.

The result was an exciting and truly unpredictable show that saw wrestlers from both Raw and SmackDown make their way to Orlando, Florida for the final NXT prior to Survivor Series on Sunday. 

All Elite Wrestling answered with one if its own strongest shows to date, delivering both incredible in-ring performances and some high-level, organic promos that led directly into next week's program. The show was bookended by two legitimately great matches, something that is almost becoming habit at this point.

Choosing between these two amazing shows wasn't easy. This is a fine time for professional wrestling artistically, and this is an era fans will talk about in awe 20 years from now. 

I almost called this week a tie—but that would be an enormous cop-out. We want winners and we want losers. So, let's take a deeper dive into Wednesday's shows to see who emerges as the weekly champion.

         

AEW Dynamite

Where: Indianapolis, Indiana

Main Event: Darby Allin vs. Jon Moxley 

Match of the Night: Main event

Moment We'll Remember: A frazzled Chris Jericho in the middle of the ring with his crony Jake Hager being tricked by Scorpio "Bugs" Sky into putting his AEW championship on the line next week.

For the second week in a row, Jericho put over a rising star in a big way, allowing Sky to shine in the biggest moment of his professional career. 

What Worked: AEW opened the show with a fantastic match between Nick Jackson and Rey Fenix. It was the former's first singles match in more than two years, though you'd have never guessed it from the flawless execution and remarkable pace. 

The two men stuffed a lot into 12 minutes that just flew by, and it's worth noting just how enthusiastic the crowd was here. This could have easily been match of the night depending on what kind of match you prefer.

The two men are both among the best high-flyers in all of contemporary wrestling, which makes them two of the best flyers in the history of wrestling.

Darby Allin, in another star turn, made the most of his opportunity in the spotlight. Carried to the ring in a body bag with his opponent's name on it, he jammed his foot on the gas pedal from the opening second and never came off the throttle.

It's hard to get over a new star by having them consistently look amazing in losing effort after losing effort. Eventually, no matter how compelling the wrestler is, fans have been trained to tune out losers. But right now, this path is the right one for Darby.

He really does feel like a young wrestler who has almost turned the corner—and when he finds the open road out in front, the entire wrestling business is going to be hard-pressed to keep up.

Truth be told, everything worked here. Even the 12-man Battle Royal, a gimmick that would normally feel like either an endless slog or ephemeral nothingness, was a ton of fun to watch.

The announcers did a great job of not telegraphing MJF's surprise win at the end, a rare display of steely discipline in a genre not always known for subtlety. 

Missed the Mark: I was looking hard for something not to like, if only to fill this slot in the column, but nothing really stood out. I was entertained for the entire two hours. 

If I wanted to nitpick, and it does feel like I'm picking on them at this point, but the excellently produced Dark Order video package actually left me more confused than ever about what exactly that group is about. I feel like I understand who they are and what their motivations might be even less than I did going in.

And I didn't understand the gimmick at all going in.

Grade: A+

             

NXT

Where: Orlando, Florida

Main Event: Adam Cole vs. Dominik Dijakovic (Ladder match) 

Match of the Night: Undisputed Era vs. The Revival

Moment We'll Remember: Becky Lynch, returning home to NXT for the first time since cementing her status as the biggest star in all of women's wrestling, is met with chants of "Shayna's gonna to kill you" and "Rhea's gonna kill you." 

At one point, Lynch was the underdog NXT fans rallied behind. Now she's The Man, representing the establishment. It's an interesting dynamic.

What Worked: WWE brought out the big guns in the final push toward both NXT TakeOver: WarGames and Survivor Series on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Not only did Lynch return to a mixed response from the NXT faithful, but the show also closed with the crowd chanting "Seth's not cool" at WWE's current standard-bearer, Seth Rollins.

One of my main critiques of the Survivor Series build this year is that WWE has given fans very few reasons to choose between Raw and SmackDown. The brands are virtually indistinguishable, and it doesn't feel like either has a distinct fanbase with a clear rooting interest.

That's definitely not true of NXT. While the fans were polite enough and responded to the returning Superstars in a major way, they were most definitely "Team NXT."

It may be WWE's smallest show when it comes to ratings, but it drives fan loyalty and engagement in a way the main roster hasn't in a long time.

The best match of the night on either show was a tag team bout between Undisputed Era and a returning Revival. But the wrestler who stood out to me the most was Rhea Ripley, who shined every bit as bright as the megawatt Lynch. She's going to be a huge star in this industry. 

Missed the Mark: The Viking Raiders had a forgettable match with Forgotten Sons. It was a return that few will remember in the wake of, well, everything else that happened on the evening.

It may be petty as complaints go, but this show almost tried to do too much. This match was an example. I'd have rather seen them cut it completely and give five more minutes to the main event, which felt like it was coming to a conclusion just when your standard ladder match is just getting started. 

Grade: A

                

Overall: I feel I could just copy and paste pieces of this column every week, because both groups again somehow exceeded my expectations. At this point, picking a winner is just a matter of personal preference—I wouldn't even bother to argue if you disagree. The competition is that close.

I went with AEW. The two hours went by in what felt like 15 minutes, a sure sign of a perfectly executed week of wrestling television. It was a smoother ride than NXT's, which doesn't have a consistent rhythm.

In a battle this close, the little things count. To me, it was AEW's superior production that pushed it over the finish line here.

Despite his internet accolades, or perhaps because of them, NXT's Mauro Ranallo sometimes tries to do too much, drowning out his colleagues in the middle of their sometimes interesting points, lost in the moment. It's a stark contrast to the AEW show where the announce team led by Jim Ross always seems to find a way to let Tony Schiavone and Excalibur get their time to shine.

Winner: AEW

Overall: AEW (6), NXT (2)

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