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Who War It Better?: NXT vs. 205 Live: May 2-3, 2017

Ratings wars are not new to the landscape of wrestling, so we at TurnHeel want to capitalize on a new opportunity. The Midweek Wars. NXT versus 205 Live.

Welcome to another new series here on TurnHeelWho War It Better? It isn’t the “Monday Night Wars” but NXT and 205 Live are constantly fighting for ratings supremacy on the network, and it’s high time we see who’s putting out the better product.

Last Weeks Champ: NXT (Network #1 Watched Show)

NXT (Episode 390)

Highlight: Heavy Machinery

This week on NXT, it was a show rooted in getting some of the fresh or returning faces some victories. Easily the best out of all of these was the win obtained by Heavy Machinery against Hector Kunsman and Ricardo Watts. If we could bottle Otis Dozovic’s charisma, we could monopolize the energy drink industry. His facial expressions and vocal outbursts are as entertaining out of a “hoss” that we’ve seen in a long time. Both Tucker Knight and Dozovic are also bringing some innovative moves to the ring, which is helping them be such a fresh alternative in the NXT Tag division. We’ll see how the story unfolds between them and D.I.Y. but it wouldn’t be too far reaching for Heavy Machinery to have a title match against AOP sooner rather than later.

Lowlight: The finish to the Women’s Battle Royal

NXT’s main event this week was meant to decide the next number one contender for Asuka’s Women’s Title, and we didn’t get that. There is nothing wrong with having a Fatal Four Way at NXT Takeover: Chicago, but last time I checked, interference in a battle royal did not cause stoppage to the match. The match in theory should have still continued until only one woman remained in the ring. Again, nothing wrong with the Fatal Four Way now set, but the logic behind getting there is a bit flawed. Call me old fashioned.

205 Live (Episode 23) 

Highlight: Drew Gulak vs. Mustafa Ali

This has been slowly becoming one of the best feuds on not only 205 Live, but also in the WWE altogether. It hearkens back to Mick Foley’s anti-extreme gimmick during his time with ECW but obviously nothing compares to O.G. Foley. The politician angle for Gulak really works for him, as clean cut his appearance is, rather it be in ring gear or his suit. His motto is just cheesy enough to not be unbearable, but has a subtle effectiveness to the entire feud. The way Corey Graves has spoken about Gulak during commentary is the exact way that Gulak is meant to be packaged. You come around to him, it’s not instantaneous. We haven’t even talked about Mustafa Ali, who is probably the top mid-card talent on 205 Live if we are allowed to break down the 205 Live roster down to that many groups. Here’s a little fantasy booking for you, at Extreme Rules, Gulak and Ali have their blowoff match where if Ali loses, he can no longer use aerial moves. If this were to ever happen, expect more wins coming Gulak’s way in the coming weeks.

Lowlight: Noam Dar and Alicia Fooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooox

Can’t leave stuff alone can they? Noam Dar needed to get away from this storyline to be taken seriously moving forward and now it appears he is handcuffed with this arc for at least another week. My only hope for this, is that it is signaling the return of Cedric Alexander to 205 Live. Although 205 Live has found its stride in the last few weeks in his absence, any additional star power they can add to the “most exciting hour on television,” is welcomed.

Verdict: 205 Live is this weeks winner

Overall the show was better and storylines were advanced far more on Tuesday than on Wednesday. As far as ratings go, 205 Live needs the boosted numbers to compete. It has a great set of performers at its core, but is hamstrung by the dead audiences and the sheer amount, we’ll call it over-saturation, of wrestling content nowadays across the entire industry, let alone the WWE Network.

There you have it, week one of the Midweek Wars has come to a close and here’s to many more here on TurnHeel. See you soon.

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