AEW Dynamite Vs. WWE NXT, 10/10/23: 4 Things We Hated And 4 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s review of both "AEW Dynamite" and "WWE NXT," which aired at the same time on Tuesday night in what's starting to become an annual one-night-only ratings battle between the two shows when "Dynamite" is pre-empted by the Major League Baseball playoffs every October. While last year's dual threat Tuesday passed relatively unremarkably, this one became an entire thing, with the already main-roster-enhanced "NXT" loading up against the temporary competition while AEW took its own steps to maintain "Title Tuesday's" audience on Tony Khan's birthday.


While WINC will sadly no longer be running our weekly "NXT" reviews going forward, it seems appropriate that our last one should be this one, a joint effort where our writers and editors provide their opinions on what worked for them and what didn't between the two concurrent shows (it also allowed some of us to focus on "NXT" and others to focus on "Dynamite," which was helpful). Our live coverage/results pages for both WWE and AEW programming can give you all the info on what you may have missed, but what did we think of Tuesday night's content barrage? Here are four things we hated and four things we loved about the 10/10/23 episodes of "AEW Dynamite" and "WWE NXT."

Hated: All Rhodes don't lead to NXT (Daisy Ruth, WINC news writer)

Cody Rhodes was one of about 100 WWE main roster names to make an appearance on "NXT" Tuesday night, and even though he told us he wanted to talk about some announcements, outside of that, his appearance on the show was pretty lackluster. Rhodes came on to announce the return of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, as well as a Breakout Tournament for the men of "NXT." Definitely what I expected Rhodes to say, but I didn't foresee him becoming "special guest general manager" for the night.


I don't know why, as someone who remembers the celebrity guest general manager period of "WWE Raw," I thought he would be more involved with the show, but outside of making a couple matches for next week, he kind of just hung around backstage and announced his position as special guest general manager a lot. Don't get me wrong, I love a good battle royal, but how the heck did Rhodes even have the authority to make matches for next week? We know he won't be back next week to see them through; couldn't Shawn Michaels just change them once Cody is "out of power?" Rhodes really needed something more to do on the show, or they should have just let him hang out in catering and have some peace.

For Rhodes' first time in the "House that Dusty Built," I expected and wanted more. I could have even handled Rhodes getting a little bit more emotional about that fact. But on a show that was so jam-packed with major appearances, I can see why that didn't happen.


Loved: Inspired use of picture-in-picture on Dynamite (Ross Berman, WINC news writer)

I have often come to this "loved/hated" space to sing the praises of either Toni Storm's homage to Turner Classic Movies, or Don Callis collecting impressionable young men to aid in his vague revenge scheme against his old Canadian friends, so you would think that I would be bemoaning both acts being relegated to picture-in-picture during commercial breaks. But the use of Storm and Callis was an inspired touch on an overstuffed, ADD-riddled episode of "AEW Dynamite."


Callis borrowed a page from the book of his new protege Sammy Guevara, spending a picture-in-picture ad break painting a picture of Kenny Omega getting stabbed, gloating about how Hobbs was responsible for putting both Omega and Jericho out of action, and promising the return of Sammy Guevara, as well as more revenge. Simple, effective, and a welcome distraction from the Big Bang Theory ads that one is forced to endure during "Dynamite."

As for Storm, she made the smallest of small screen debuts in "Lover's Lament," a two-act silent picture that saw Storm pantomiming next to two different ad breaks, the second of which teased Storm's upcoming involvement in the AEW Women's Title match. Much like LA Knight being the WWE spokesperson for Slim Jim, Storm spending two segments pantomiming and vamping next to AEW's precious advertisers is more important than any title she could win. The segments aren't exactly cinema — more akin to those half-baked short movies that players can watch in video games like Grand Theft Auto V or Red Dead Redemption 2 — but the inspired use of-picture-in-picture is better than matches being stretched too long to fill time during commercials, and this writer will never complain about two Toni Storm segments.


Hated: The women's matches only get 10 minutes each on NXT (Olivia Quinlan, WINC news writer)

In an episode of "NXT" that was largely overshadowed by main roster talent, having Asuka being featured in a women's match against a younger, fast rising star in "NXT" seemed to be a good move. And this definitely would've been the case if they had actually gotten the television time that they deserved.


I was super excited to see the two of them square off, and was not let down by their match tonight. That being said, I definitely thought that they deserved more than ten minutes, especially given that the bout was announced last week at the same time as the appearances from Paul Heyman, John Cena, and Cody Rhodes. Don't even get me started on the fact that the latter two men both got double the television time that Asuka and Perez did.

It was refreshing to see two actual "NXT" stars compete in a first round match for the "NXT" Women's Breakout Tournament. To be completely honest, I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy the match between Dani Palmer and Lola Vice, but it turned out to be pretty decent. However, much like Asuka and Perez, given that this match is part of an ongoing tournament — and was the only match on the card not to feature a star who also appears on the main roster — I thought this bout could've used some more television time.


Hated: Both title changes on Dynamite (Miles Schneiderman, WINC senior lead news editor)

Two titles changed hands on "Title Tuesday," and I have issues with both of them.

I'm a big Hikaru Shida fan, and I think it's objectively cool that she's AEW's first three-time women's champ. I'm also cautiously hopeful that Saraya no longer having the title but seemingly still feuding with Toni Storm means we're actually getting a women's division feud that doesn't involve a championship, which should theoretically lead to more time for women on AEW TV. But that's entirely hypothetical at this point, and while I don't have a problem with Shida holding the gold, I don't really understand ... why? Like, it was only Saraya's second defense. She'd been champion for 45 days, and Shida was also the champion before her. Saraya never really had a feud or storyline of her own while she was champion; she wasn't even really feuding with Shida, before or after All In. Basically the only thing she did with the belt was help facilitate the rise of Storm's "Timeless" character. So ... what was the point of Saraya's reign? If it was always planned this way, why do the All In title change at all? Just because they were in London? And if it wasn't always planned this way, what changed? AEW signing Saraya and allowing her to wrestle was a big screaming deal not even a year ago, and her winning the championship felt like a prophecy coming true. Now it just feels like it never happened. So what the hell did?


Over in the International title picture, meanwhile, we had Orange Cassidy winning the championship back despite not even being originally announced for the show. Apparently Jon Moxley still isn't cleared to compete after that concussion he so obviously suffered a couple weeks ago (so tricky, these brain injuries — you might not want to keep wrestling for 12 minutes after you've 100% clearly just gotten one) and most of us were assuming he was winning the title back Tuesday night, so apparently Tony Khan's solution is to just give it back to Cassidy, which ... now what? Cassidy is coming off a 326-day title reign with a long-running story about how all the defenses (31 in total, an AEW record) were wearing his body down. Moxley finally dethroning him was a huge moment. So what, are they just going to wait until Moxley comes back and have him beat Orange again? Is Orange going to have another lengthy reign? Both options seem like creative dead ends. Why was it so important that we get that title off Rey Fenix as soon as possible? And why did it have to be Orange instead of someone else on your MASSIVELY BLOATED ROSTER who could have used the rub?


I don't know, I don't get any of this. This kind of booking is why AEW isn't for me.

Loved: Jade Cargill is (rightfully) positioned as a star on NXT (Ella Jay, WINC news writer)

After a special greeting from WWE CCO Paul "Triple H" Levesque at WWE Fastlane, Jade Cargill made her way to the company's development brand of "WWE NXT," where she was met by Senior Vice President of Talent Development Creative Shawn Michaels. Cargill, of course, dressed to impress for this occasion, arriving in a bold pink ensemble.


The commentary team initially introduced "NXT" fans to Cargill upon her signing, but seeing her in the flesh (at least in a video alongside Michaels), provides Cargill with another valuable opportunity for exposure — one that was complemented by Cargill's star-like presentation. While Levesque made it clear that the former AEW TBS Champion will be regularly factored into WWE television when she is fully ready, Cargill's appearance on "NXT" allows fans to see a closer glimpse of the newest WWE star, who has already generated "holy s***" chants with her presence alone. If that's not a promising sign, I don't know what it is.

Paired with her poise and striking outer shell, Cargill's brief on-screen appearances with the higher-ups indicate nothing but positive signs for the future of her WWE career. It also shows that the company is rightfully invested in her. If Cargill can keep this momentum rolling, many pundits, including myself, believe she could be a true needle mover in the WWE women's division. For now, though, WWE continues to lay little breadcrumbs that will (hopefully) lead to an impactful WWE in-ring debut on "Raw," "SmackDown," or "NXT."


Hated: Chris Jericho completely misses the point of a squash match on Dynamite (Berman)

In 2014, John Cena and Brock Lesnar turned the idea of the squash match on its head, in a match that saw Lesnar toss Cena around like a ragdoll for 16 minutes, using nothing but suplexes. Cena was unable to mount much offense, if any, and was eventually put down by "The Beast" with an F-5. It was a spectacle, still remembered to this day. On Wednesday, Chris Jericho attempted to have the same match with Powerhouse Hobbs, and it was a dull, lifeless affair.


Jericho flopped around for seven minutes and 23 seconds, eating a myriad of spinebusters from Hobbs and getting in fits of offense here and there that didn't so much spark the crowd as it did frustrate them, knowing that the inevitable result of Jericho getting pinned was getting delayed for yet another hope spot. The genius of a squash match is in its brevity, as seen later in the night when Wardlow powerbombed Matt Sydal until the referee stopped the match. Sydal, a zen-like wrestler, doesn't have the ego of a Chris Jericho, and was willing to look helpless in the face of the younger, stronger Wardlow.

Jericho's ego is an albatross around his neck. The often smart performer is seemingly blinded by his own stature, letting promos, segments, and matches drag on well past their expiration point. Last week, Hobbs seemed like the next big thing, on fire after attacking both Jericho and Omega. Jericho's maudlin, overwrought performance on Wednesday was a glass of cold water on whatever fire Hobbs had burning under him. Jericho can say he took the loss, he can say he got so injured that he had to be taken to the hospital in kayfabe, but no amount of excuses can account for the way Jericho snuffed out Hobbs's bright light.


Loved: More Chase U on NXT, please (Quinlan)

Chase U is easily the best part of "NXT" programming. There, I said it.

Taking a peek into a Chase U classroom has become a staple of "NXT" over the past few months, and while I have been thoroughly enjoying those, I have to admit that introducing Jacy Jayne into a classroom setting makes things that much better. From the get-go, I've been a fan of the blooming friendship between Jayne and Thea Hail, but seeing her distract Hail by chatting with her and showing her stuff on her phone in true teen drama fashion was a refreshing break and a little bit of fun from an "NXT" that very heavily featured big names like John Cena and Cody Rhodes. I will admit that I haven't always been the biggest Jacy Jayne fan, but she's finally found her niche as a mean girl character, a role that is often overdone and isn't the easiest to pull off.


Andre Chase and Duke Hudson were nothing short of genius either, playing the roles of the stern teacher and the supporting student, respectively, to perfection (as always). I thought this was also a great way to announce that the pair would be competing in the Bada Bing, Bada Boom Tag Team Battle Royal next week, especially given WWE's fondness for announcing competitors in these types of matches on social media or using graphics.

(Also, don't tell anyone, but I'll secretly be rooting for the two of them to win whilst fulfilling my live coverage duties next week.)

Loved: Christian's whole thing finally hits home on Dynamite (Schneiderman)

I'm probably the one person in the world who isn't in love with Christian Cage's "father of the year" gimmick. I think it's fine. The memes people make about it are funny. But I often see the character treated like one of the best things in wrestling right now, and that's never really made sense to me. In a weird way, it feels like AEW's version of LA Knight. People are cheering their hearts out, they're losing their damn minds over this guy, and I'm sitting here going "You realize he's just saying the same stuff over and over again, right?"


This week, though, the schtick finally worked for me, and it worked for me because Christian directed it at his old friend, Adam Copeland. It's almost like everything that came before this particular promo was just practice, a warm-up. This was the real deal. Last week, Copeland said he came to AEW because his daughter told him to "go have fun with Uncle Jay." Now here's Uncle Jay, telling that little girl that he's ready to come over to her house and sleep with her mom once he's done brutalizing her dad. Like, there are personal feuds, and then there's your best friend telling your wife to keep the sheets clean for him because he's coming home to be a father to your two daughters. Holy s***. I sort of understood why people found the gimmick funny before, though I questioned their sense of humor. Now it's finally gotten through to me that he's doing great work as a heel, because what kind of insane monster says that, specifically to that person?


Of course, the problem now is that I'm not sure I'll ever buy into an Edge & Christian reunion down the road, but you know what? Maybe there just shouldn't be one. Maybe they should go out as opponents rather than tag team partners, telling an actual story instead of settling in as a cheap pop nostalgia act. That would be a much more fitting capstone to both performers' long and iconic careers.