Last month was the first to feature nothing but quarantine shows. As I’ve said in various other pieces, AEW jumped out of the gate with the right kind of approach to the difficult circumstances and produced a month of great episodes as a result. NXT took a little longer to find their footing but once they did they were mostly back on track.
May has come to a close and I don’t know about you, but I’m getting all funned out. I’m ready for normalcy again, for crowd pops again. If there was one defining trait for the month of May (in terms of wrestling, an admittedly teeny tiny part of the world right now), it was how bland the product is without a real crowd. Having wrestlers in the stands is better than nothing, but it’s nothing compared to a real audience. The real tragedy of the month (again, wrestling only) is how many incredible moments there were that would have caused an audience to go bananas.
Someone won the month though. Let’s see who it was.
WINNER: advantage TIE
I’m happy to say that reports of NXT’s death have been greatly exaggerated. The yellow show bounced back big this month, particularly in the final week when they added human beings to the crowd. Considering Full Sail only held 500 people anyway, having 50 or so squeeze into the Performance Center made it feel almost like home again. The crowd, combined with Mauro Ranallo’s always excellent commentary, elevated the brand in the final episode of the month. The shows leading up to it were subpar, though, and AEW has remained consistently great so no lost points there. We’ll call it a tie.
WINNER: advantage NXT
While AEW had some great wrestling this month, they continue to be hamstrung by a reduced roster. They deserve props for being creative with what they had, running some great skits to supplement the in-ring work and all, but NXT basically just barreled ahead like normal. It was only a matter of time before it paid off for them. This month it did. Cole vs Dream opened the month and nothing else really came close to it. The rest of the shows were a solid mix of great tag matches, solid women’s matches, and just the right balance of Matt Riddle, Johnny Gargano, and Finn Balor sprinkled throughout. It’s almost unfair how much talent NXT has at its disposal. I almost want to give points to AEW for making the most out of half a deck, but sometimes you just have to give points to the people managing what they have, fair or not. Credit to Triple H and co. for putting everyone to good use.
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WINNER: advantage AEW
NXT announced the return of IN YOUR HOUSE, but if they don’t actually give away a house like in the old days, is it really worthy of the name? Other than that, the show was business as usual. Meanwhile, on AEW, things were far from business as usual.
Where to begin? There was a tag match between Matt Hardy and Kenny Omega vs Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara, during which Matt and Kenny nearly ran down Sammy Guevara with a golf cart, as well as Omega doing a moonsault off a scissor lift, followed by Chris Jericho powerbombing Omega on top of the golf cart. A week later Vanguard 1 was destroyed by Jericho. A week after that the Elite brawled the Inner Circle inside a football stadium, and then this happened…
I mean, just in terms of pure insanity and unpredictability, AEW wins in a walk.
Oh, and the former Dawson and Wilder tag team debuted on the final show of the month, adding a great pair to an already stacked tag division. AEW was the most entertaining show of the month, purely in terms of not knowing what was going to happen next.
WINNER OF THE MONTH:
Alright. We’ll call it a draw. Neither show stumbled this month in the presentation department, and while NXT might’ve had better in-ring work, AEW had better sports-entertainment.
What a bizarre world this has become.