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Thursday is a rather communal day amongst the wrestling fanbase, even if the entirety of Wednesday Night is framed around a ratings war between two hugely different organisations.

The weekly battle between NXT and AEW has brought out a competitive edge in fans of the shows that both companies will be grateful for – they are still the ruling class, we are still the peasants fighting over the scraps, after all – but the loyalty and debate is borne of a belief that something last night was just really, really good. NXT on USA Network has thus far been a cathartic continuation of the brand’s attempt to be a hybrid of all the things WWE were once so good at enhanced by Triple H’s favourite wrestlers from the independent scene and the odd Performance Center standout. Meanwhile, All Elite Wrestling has mined a core base of talent from New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring Of Honor and pillaged just as much from that same indie scene. I Cody & Co’s case, they’ve instead invited wrestlers into an ostensibly collaborative process that welcomes exchange of ideas between parties that have a mutual understanding of what their audience wants.

Approximately 1.6m (at least) on television alongside others watching via other means have proven that an audience exists for both. They’re different shows with hugely different and divergent moving parts, but they’re billionaire-backed and here, long haul, to provide most wrestling fans with at least one weekly product they can wholly and earnestly enjoy. And that’s what Thursday is; the day to reflect upon how funny Chris Jericho was, or who Keith Lee pounced into space, or why, with wonderfully pathetic pettiness, my show was better than your show and vice versa.

Or it was, before it became about a) reflecting on if either one should have even happened last night and b) asking people not to spoil WrestleMania.

CONT’D…

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