The wrestling world is set to be ablaze with the upcoming head-to-head ratings war between AEW’s Fyter Fest and NXT’s revival of The Great American Bash. Both spanning over two weeks worth of television, these two special PPV style cards will both attract fans from all corners of the fandom. What a time to be a fan.
It has been somewhat of a sly play by NXT to book a two week TakeOver over the same fortnight as AEW’s Fyter Fest, both presumably scheduled to have their typical weekend broadcasts before the world was turned upside down by the Coronavirus. Although this should make for some interesting comparisons as the two rosters and production teams are gearing up for one of their hottest contests to date.
As far as the ratings war goes so far, AEW have clearly been storming leagues ahead of NXT TV on Wednesday nights. As we’ve previously covered, this could be down to the fact that TV ratings are somewhat skewed in the favour of AEW: Dynamite, with NXT relying more upon the WWE Network as opposed to solely on their TV deal.
Both brands have taken the opportunity to create two stacked cards for their upcoming shows. Even though NXT have yet to reveal their full line-up for their Great American Bash special, the main event alone is enough to tantalise your tastebuds as both the NXT and North American Championships will be on the line in a winner takes all bout between Adam Cole and Keith Lee.
Meanwhile, AEW’s World Champion, Jon Moxley, will be defending against the goliath challenger, Brian Cage. An interesting two main events that should parallel one another perfectly, providing two very different championship fights for fans to sink their teeth into.
Fyter Fest has a fairly exciting supporting card to help bolster the show’s hype for the two week span. AEW Tag Team champions, Kenny Omega & Adam Page, will defend against the Best Friends, while Orange Cassidy challenges ‘Le Champion’ Chris Jericho in the biggest match of his career. Cody will also be in action, defending his TNT Championship against Inner Circle’s Jake Hager in what should be a cracking mid-card contest.
Whichever way you look at it, Fyter Fest currently has the edge having already announced their full two week card. Presumably we’ll see a couple of extra features to help pull the ratings in their favour; perhaps another appearance from ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson or even a debut or three from those previously released by WWE.
Now, NXT still have plenty of time to start marketing their rest of their two week show. As great as the match between Cole and Lee will be, quite frankly it isn’t enough to guarantee every fan’s view over AEW’s Fyter Fest. With several different narratives being built on NXT TV right now, there’s plenty for them to dip into and use to build their card for the Bash.
The NXT Tag Team champions, Imperium, recently dispatched of Breezango, but with Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch now in contention, we could potentially see a triple threat ruckus come together for the next two weeks. Io Shirai will also be looking to defend her Women’s Championship, perhaps against the woman she pinned to win the title at TakeOver: In Your House, ‘The Nightmare’ Rhea Ripley.
Undisputed Era are still combatting the psychological damage incurred from Dexter Lumis, so maybe we’ll be seeing the team of Strong, Fish and O’Reilly attempt to put their demons to rest for good in some sort of handicap match. Karrion Kross is also on the rise, having put down Tommaso Ciampa at In Your House and recently being put over by Bronson Reed — surely another victim will be waiting for the clock to run out on their momentum as Karrion sets his eyes on the winner of Cole/Lee.
Even though these matches will only make up a slither of NXT’s Great American Bash, there’s enough to work with here to make for a TakeOver worthy line-up. Both NXT and AEW seem to be relying on TV feuds with minimal build to help support their high-profile title fights, which is fine considering this isn’t pay-per-view. It seems to be coming down to which brand has a bigger drawing roster and, judging by TV ratings, that title currently goes to All Elite Wrestling.
But trends seem to suggest that NXT’s TakeOver specials tend to be big business, potentially big enough to salvage the weeks of meagre TV reception. It begs the question of whether NXT should start adapting their content to be more like UFC, fewer shows but with exciting enough action that carries over from one to the next. Fans aren’t looking for week-to-week storylines anymore, more the excitement and drama from the night where the talent are allowed to go all out for the fans at home.
AEW are currently killing it with their episodes of Dynamite, but I personally find that their pay-per-view specials fall slightly under expectations. Not that they’re poor shows, the matches are fun and you get what you pay for, but they’re nothing special. Perhaps they’ll turn things around with Fyter Fest, beginning the build towards All Out in September with some marquee matches like FTR/Young Bucks, Jericho/Tyson and giving Moxley or Cage a credible main-event contender.
Who knows how things will play out over the next few weeks, I’m hedging my bets on The Great American Bash stealing the fortnight with their Winner Takes All main event and a variety of supporting matches. That isn’t to say that Fyter Fest is going to be a bad two weeks of TV, I’m sure AEW will continue to draw decent numbers with several NXT fans choosing to catch the Bash on the Network or via streaming sites. Unfortunately that seems to be an inevitability.
Which show will you be tuning in to first? AEW or NXT? Let us know in the comments section down below.
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