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Wednesday Night Preview: Number One Contender & World Title Eliminator

Chris Aiken has your Wednesday night preview for the AEW Dynamite and NXT shows, or the “Wednesday Night War.”


Matches with title implications headline the two Wednesday night wrestling shows. A contender can challenge for the AEW World Championship by defeating the reigning champion in a non-title match. Meanwhile, a number one contender’s match will determine the next challenger for the NXT Championship.

Kenny Omega wrestles his first match on TNT since winning the AEW World Championship. Omega against Joey Janela under no disqualification rules is set for Dynamite. Impact executive Don Challis is again in Omega’s corner as the Bobby Heenan to his Nick Bockwinkel.

Determining the next challenger for the NXT Championship, Pete Dunne faces Kyle O’Reilly in a number one contender’s match on WWE’s black and gold brand. The winner goes on to challenge NXT Champion Finn Balor at New Year’s Evil.

AEW Dynamite:

  • Kenny Omega (with Don Callis) vs. Joey Janela (with Sonny Kiss) in an AEW World title eliminator (No DQ)
  • Cody Rhodes vs. Angelico
  • Hangman Page, Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs. Matt Hardy & Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen)
  • SCU (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs. The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens & Max Caster)
  • Serena Deeb & Big Swole vs. Ivelisse & Diamante
  • The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, MJF, Santana, Ortiz, Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager & Wardlow) vs. Top Flight (Darius and Dante Martin), Varsity Blondes (Griff Garrison & Brian Pillman Jr.), Best Friends (Chuck Tayler & Trent) & Brandon Cutler
  • Sting appears live on Dynamite

WWE NXT:

  • Pete Dunne vs. Kyle O’Reilly in a number one contender’s match (winner gets a title shot at New Year’s Evil)
  • Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm
  • Leon Ruff & Kushida vs. Johnny Gargano & Austin Theory
  • Karrion Kross in action

12/16/20 Dynamite

AEW announced another full lineup for Wednesday. While not nearly as loaded as the previous episode, Dynamite this week still has plenty to offer. A match with title implications headlines the show, and another appearance by Sting also provides marquee star power.

World Title Eliminator

Kenny Omega is coming off a win this past Sunday at Triplemanía in Mexico City. He defeated Laredo Kid to defend his AAA Mega Championship. That came a few weeks after Omega captured the AEW World Championship as well. The belt collector rolls on.

Since capturing the title, Omega has appeared in a few promotions outside of AEW. Before the match on the AAA card, Omega last week appeared with Callis on an episode of Impact. Omega and Callis have another appearance scheduled this week on that show.

Omega’s opponent on Wednesday is no stranger to wrestling internationally for various promotions. Joey Janela worked for a lot of different promotions before signing with AEW. His reputation in death matches followed him to AEW, but that has not defined his role. Nevertheless, Janela against Omega is no DQ.

Janela in recent months formed a partnership with Sonny Kiss. They continue to develop their characters as a team. Kiss will be in Omega’s corner to counteract Callis being in Omega’s corner. If Janela is able to defeat Omega, he would then earn a title shot.

Omega and Janela previously met last fall in two separate matches. Their first encounter was part of an episode of AEW Dark, and a rematch between them occurred almost a month later on Dynamite. Omega won both matches.

Their previous bout on Dark might be a good preview for this week considering it was an “unsanctioned lights out” match. That allowed for the type of brawl viewers might see in the no DQ match on Wednesday.

Sting Is Back

Sting appears live on AEW Dynamite tomorrow

Look who’s back … back again … Stinger’s back … tell a friend.

Advertised for Dynamite is a live appearance by Sting. He appeared on the show last week in segment that ended with him embracing Cody Rhodes. Sting also reunited with Tony Schiavone for their first time together on national television since their days in WCW decades ago.

Sting is clearly now a regular character in AEW, but his character’s motivations are not yet clear. Maybe his appearance on Wednesdays sheds more light on the man called Sting. His character seems to be a fascination with Darby Allin. Why that is might soon become known.

Cody Rhodes To Wrestle

While he has remained a focal point on the show, Cody has mostly appeared in talking segments the last few weeks. That changes on Wednesday with Cody having his first singles match since Full Gear.

Rhodes meets Angelico of TH2 in a singles bout. Cody’s coach, Arn Anderson, is advertised as being his corner. In Angelico’s corner is his tag team partner, Jack Evans.

Dark Order Courts Hangman

Hangman Page reluctantly agreed to team with members of The Dark Order for a tag match on Dynamite. The anxious Millennial cowboy is teaming with John Silver and Alex Reynolds for a six-man tag match against Matt Hardy & Private Party.

Although Page was at first reluctant to team with Dark Order, they basically convinced him because Page has no one other friends willing to team with him. The larger goal for Dark Order is apparently to recruit Page into their faction.

The latest episode of Being the Elite is titled “Cowboy Day,” and it chronicles Dark Order’s attempts to befriend Page. While Page does have fun with them, they all forget to ask him to join Dark Order. Maybe they make up for that missed opportunity on Wednesday.

14-Man Tag Team Match

Something not seen normally is two teams of seven wrestlers having a 14-man tag team match. The Inner Circles joins together for this tag match a week after Chris Jericho’s ultimatum. Can they remain united as one?

Jericho teams with MJF, Santana, Ortiz, Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager & Wardlow against seven wrestlers mostly comprised of tag teams. Best Friends join with Private Party and Top Flight to team with Brandon Culter in opposing The Inner Circle.

Other Matches For Dynamite

Tag matches are prevalent on Dynamite this week. Two other tag bouts round out the card for Wednesday. SCU faces The Acclaimed in a tag match. Likewise, Serena Deeb and Big Swole team up against Ivelisse and Diamante in a tag bout from the women’s division.

Dynamite airs Wednesday on TNT  starting at 8 p.m. ET.


12/16/20 NXT

Several matches were announced ahead of time for this week’s episode of WWE NXT. Aside from supercards, announcing so much in advance had become a rarity for the black and gold brand.

Having so much planned beforehand must be a Christmas miracle! Or possibly it is a reaction to proverbially getting blown out of the water in the head-to-head ratings battle. AEW is gaining ground, and more viewers, while the gap between the two shows grew wider the last several weeks.

Number One Contender

The winner between Kyle O’Reilly and Pete Dunne in a number one contender’s match sets the stage for the next challenger. Whoever wins goes on to challenge for the NXT Championship against Finn Balor later this month on the last show of the year.

The NXT title match will take place on a special episode dubbed New Year’s Evil, which is set for the December 30th. The bout will be Balor’s first title defense since he defeated O’Reilly at TakeOver in October. Balor has been out of action to heal injuries suffered in that match.

Besides the title implications, O’Reilly against Dunne is also a grudge match of sorts. Dunne recently turned heel on O’Reilly before joining Pat McAfee’s stable. O’Reilly is out for vengeance. Dunne in storyline felt justified after he was duped and beaten down by Undisputed Era in angle from a few years ago.

O’Reilly and Dunne have twice met before in singles matches on NXT television. Both bouts were critically acclaimed, and something was also at stake in their previous matches.

Dunne won both of their previous encounters on NXT shows. He successfully defended the NXT United Kingdom Championship against O’Reilly in 2018. Dunne more recently won a ladder match over O’Reilly several weeks ago to decide the WarGames advantage.

Storm Clashes With Ripley

Toni Storm turned heel weeks ago, and she finds her at odds with several others in the women’s division. Storm turned on Ember Moon in the lead-up to WarGames. Storm then went on to attack Moon last week.

Rhea Ripley made a save by coming to rescue Moon. Thwarting the attack by Storm sets up a match this week were Storm faces Ripley in a singles match.

Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm

Ripley herself has recently been embroiled in a feud with Raquel Gonzalez. When Storm attacked Moon on the previous episode, that was after Gonzalez had defeated Moon in a match. After Ripley made a save, she and Gonzalez had another staredown. So, Gonzalez could become involved in the match with Ripley against Storm.

Storm is also not solely focused on Ripley. She brawled with NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai last week in a segment prior to the attack on Moon. If Storm is set to be a challenger for Shirai, then the finish on Wednesday becomes interesting.

Both Storm and Ripley are getting a push. So who wins this week? It could as easily be a non-conclusive finish as it could be a clean finish. This is still WWE after all.

Karrion Kross Back In Action

The return of Karrion Kross and Scarlett to NXT seems to have them on a collision course with Damian Priest. Scarlett last week was insulted by Priest, which caused Kross to retaliate by jumping Priest in a sneak attack.

Kross does have a claim to the NXT Championship since he had to relinquish the title without losing it. He was never even able to defend the championship before he had to vacate it earlier this summer due to injury.

Nonetheless, him challenging the current champion will have to wait. Kross will likely face Priest in match that has yet to be announced officially. Maybe the path towards that match becomes more clear after Kross returns to in-ring action on Wednesday.

WWE NXT airs Wednesday on USA Network starting at 8 p.m. ET.

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