The first week of October has been a brand new look for the world of professional wrestling. There has been a lot of build up and anticipation for this week and rightfully so. The month has now brought us the official debut of All Elite Wrestling (AEW) on TNT, the first fully televised episode of NXT on the USA Network and lastly the first episode of Friday Night Smackdown airing on Fox. As you can see, this week has been quite the ringer for the new season. Each show brought us very different outlooks for what a pro wrestling fan may want to see in a product let’s discuss what each brand and what may be a telling of what they have in store for us in the future.
Starting with AEW this episode in my opinion was a great start for a new company looking to get fans to continue to tune in and look forward to seeing what may come next. You ever watch a new superhero film where you get the origin of a character see them begin their journey but throughout the movie you start to see the seeds being planted for the sequel and the ending caps off with a huge moment that sets up the next film? This is exactly what that felt like. In the beginning of the show you had Chris Jericho the company’s World Champion attack his most next opponent for his title “The American Nightmare” Cody (formerly known as Cody Rhodes) the inaugural women’s champion crowned in Riho defeating Nyla Rose in a back and for suspenseful match. Throughout the pilot episode AEW highlighted some of the not so well known talent by pitting them against veterans of the business. When you look at the show from top to bottom it pretty much had it all, by the way, remember when I mentioned how in a movie it has that huge cliffhanger at the end that gets you excited for the sequel? Well it had that too. The main event featured a 6 man tag match which featured the “Young Bucks” Matt and Nick Jackson alongside Kenny Omega against the trio of Santana, Ortiz, and World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho. In this bout rival of Omega, Jon Moxley attacked him which led to a brawl backstage ending with Moxley delivering a double arm DDT through a coffee table to Omega. With the numbers game being too much for the Bucks to overcome they eventually fell to the trio led by Jericho but the aftermath of the match was when things got really crazy. The trio continued to assault the Bucks and not too long after did Cody Rhodes come to their aid to help. He himself was then jumped from behind by his opponent earlier in the night Sammy Guevera. Following this many other wrestlers from the back jumped into the fray turning the situation into an all out brawl, including the brother of Rhodes, Goldust but all of this was highlighted by the appearance of Bellator fighter Jack Hager known by most wrestling fans as Jack “Swagger.” Siding with the group led by Jericho this was a big way to end the show wondering how the other group of superstars will respond to the assault.
For a debut show on a brand new big time network which most likely had a lot of newer eyes on the product I felt AEW delivered in a way that would leave fans wondering what’s to come next week. I for one am certainly looking forward to next week’s episode.
For NXT which came on at the same time as AEW this was my personal favorite show of the week. It started off with a huge bang having Adam Cole defending his NXT World Championship against Matt Riddle. Following this match Finn Balor returned to confront Cole and announcing that he will now be apart of the NXT brand. It also included many premier NXT talent throughout the show with Johnny Gargano, Shane Thorne, Pete Dunne, Io Shirai, Mia Yim, and Shayna Baszler defending her title against Candice LeRae. At the end of Pete Dunne’s match where he picked up a win NXT star Damian Priest attacked him which will most likely lead to Priest’s first major feud on the show. Pairing Priest with a great established worker like Dunne will only lead to great things for him. The end of the night saw Adam Cole’s buddies from the Undisputed Era Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly put their tag team titles on the line against the street profits where they gained the victory in another solid match on the show. Cole came out to celebrate with his guys afterwards which led to a huge return by former champion Tommaso Ciampa coming out to confront Cole similar to Finn Balor earlier. With Ciampa being out for a few months due to a neck injury seeing him return seemingly ready for action was refreshing and knowing Cole has a new slew of opponents to contend with only makes what may come down the line that much more exciting.
Smackdown’s first night on Fox was an interesting one to say the least. As a die hard wrestling fan it did feel great to see the new presentation of the show with the new stage, the match graphics of some of my favorite superstars being on the show definitely looked really cool. As for the actual show minus the ladder match between Kevin Owens vs Shane McMahon which was solid overall the show felt more prop/star driven then focusing the actual storylines and the wrestling. There was an instance that saw Braun Stroman and undefeated heavyweight pro boxer Tyson Fury have a war of words with one another with an eventual confrontation sure to come in future weeks. The Rock opened the show with Raw women’s champion Becky Lynch embarrassing King of the Ring Baron Corbin and to end the night off Lesnar took the WWE Championship from Kofi Kingston. Lesnar ended a nearly 7 month reign in about 7 seconds. This was followed by Rey Mysterio appearing with another former UFC Heavyweight Champion in Cain Velasquez attacking Brock Lesnar to end the show. For many of the die hard pro wrestling fans this may not be the type of show that they would seem to enjoy. On the other hand the casual viewers seeing all the big names interact with some of their favorite superstars may have been a fun experience. The ratings for this week’s show was some of the best ratings WWE’s had on one of their programs in years. It will be interesting to see what is next to come for all these brands in the near future, one thing is for certain with all the different style of show’s around this day and age there is a plethora of options for pro wrestling fans to get their fix of what they enjoy the most.
-First Degree Sports