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Wednesday Night Preview: Mox back in action; Ciampa vs. Thatcher in a Pit Fight

Real world events over the last few weeks appear to have taken a bite out of wrestling viewership on Wednesday nights. The shows could bounce back this week in terms of their television ratings, yet both companies will probably deliver a good show regardless. Both have done so in recent weeks despite being overshadowed by recent national news.

AEW

  • Jon Moxley will be in in action
  • Inner Circle three-way challenge: Chris Jericho & MJF vs. Santana & Ortiz vs. Sammy Guevara & Jake Hager
  • -1 (Brodie Lee Jr.) birthday celebration eight-man tag team match: Hangman Page and Dark Order (John Silver, Alex Reynolds & Colt Cabana) vs. Chaos Project (Luther & Serpentico) and TH2 (Jack Evans & Angelico)
  • Cody Rhodes vs. Peter Avalon
  • Penelope Ford vs. Leyla Hirsch
  • Matt Sydal and Top Flight (Dante & Darius Martin) vs. Matt Hardy and Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen)
  • An update from Miro and his new “butler” Chuck Taylor
  • Sting to congratulate TNT Champion Darby Allin

NXT

  • Fight Pit: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Timothy Thatcher
  • Dusty Classic first round match: Johnny Gargano & Austin Theory vs. Leon Ruff & Kushida
  • Women’s Dusty Classic first round match: Toni Storm & Mercedes Martinez vs. Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro
  • Dusty Classic: Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) vs. Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner)

1/20/2021 AEW Dynamite

All Elite Wrestling is back with another loaded episode of Dynamite.

Mox back in the ring

Jon Moxley appeared last week on Dynamite for the first time since he was beaten down by The Elite and The Good Brothers. This week Moxley is back in the ring for a singles match against an unnamed opponent.

Mox possibly has vengeance in his sights, and he also looks to regain the title he lost to Omega via underhanded tactics. He is likely due a return match against Omega. That is if he can escape another gang attack.

Inner Circle challenge

Tension within The Inner Circle is boiling over into combat. Just when they seem to reunite under a common goal, the alliances then immediately suffer strain. Last week they were to present a united front in declaring their New Year’s resolutions. Instead they argued among themselves about which two made the better tag team. The argument leads to a challenge this week. Three different teams from The Inner Circle will meet in a three-way match.

Chris Jericho teams with MJF in a pairing of the group’s highest profile stars. Jericho previously teamed with Jack Hager, so Jericho choosing MJF over Hager caused some serious side eye in the segment last week.

Hager tonight is teaming with Sammy Guevara. They have both been Jericho’s main sidekick at times. Now the two in storyline seem at odds with the direction of Inner Circle. Jericho jokingly named the new team “Sammy Hager,” which did not help in soothing over tensions.

The other team in the three way is Santana & Ortiz. They have teamed the most compared to the other two pairings in the match. They are the sleeper team in this match as they are out to prove the have all along been the superior tag team within Inner Circle.

It’s Sting!

Sting returns to Dynamite tonight for a live segment. He is set to congratulate Darby Allin on retaining his TNT Championship. Allin suffered a brutal beating to retain his title over Brian Cage in the main event that closed the show last week.

Sting for weeks has aligned himself with Allin. That nature of the partnership may come into better focus tonight when Sting appears on Dynamite.

Happy Birthday, -1

-1 (Brodie Lee Jr.) celebrates his birthday with a special eight-man tag match. Along with the tag bout is an ultimatum as Hangman Page once again teams with Dark Order.

Page last week was goaded into saying whether of not he is joining Dark Order. He will reveal his answer after the six-man tag. Page teams with Jon Silver, Alex Reynolds and Colt Cabana. That four-person team faces the combined pairings of Chaos Project (Luther & Serpentico) and The Hybrid 2 (Jack Evans & Angelico).

Making an “impact”

Tony Khan appeared in the building on the show for the first time last night on Impact. He previously appeared on episodes of Impact during pre-taped faux-commercials. His snarky character is unlike almost any other authority figure ever in pro wrestling. He was seen on Impact watching matches at ringside while taking notes.

Private Party wrestled in a match on Impact last night. They earned a title shot for the Impact Tag Team Championship by defeating Chris Sabin & James Storm. In the corner of Private Party was Matt Hardy. Tonight on Dynamite, Hardy teams with Private Party against Matt Sydal and Top Flight (Dante & Darius Martin) in a trios match.

Impact Tag Team Champions the Good Brothers are also now reoccurring characters in AEW. Which promotion’s show will host the tag title match with Private Party challenging the Good Bros?

Other matches

Dynamite tonight also features two singles matches. Cody Rhodes meets Peter Avalon in a men’s singles bout. Penelope Ford against Leyla Hirsch meet in a women’s singles match.

Advertised for the show tonight is also an “update” on Miro and his new new butler, Chuck Taylor.

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


1/20/2021 WWE NXT

The women’s version of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic begins tonight on NXT. The men’s tag tournament also continues on a show headlined by a match inside the Fight Pit.

Pit fighters

Timothy Thatcher collides with Tommaso Ciampa in a Fight Pit match. Although the match was delayed by a few weeks, the two finally meet again as their feud rolls on. The glorified cage match was supposed to take place at New Year’s Evil, but it was delayed until this week.

Ciampa defeated Thatcher in their first NXT encounter at TakeOver. Their match was very good, so it only stands to reason that tonight’s bout will be good as well. The dynamic is nevertheless different with it being in a “pit” instead of a wrestling ring.

While Ciampa has a win over Thatcher, the only other Fight Pit match was won by Thatcher. The “pit” is a nod to mixed martial arts and cage fighting. The look is similar to the Lion’s Den used for matches involving Ken Shamrock in the Attitude Era, except the structure is larger. There is also a platform on top for dives and such, which can turn the bout into a de facto scaffold match of sorts.

Back in the day, cage matches meant blood. This is WWE, though, so the “crimson mask” might not make an appearance. Nevertheless, the Fight Pit will likely usher in a type of violence not normally seen on NXT in most weeks.

Women’s Dusty Classic Begins 

The NXT women’s division kicks off their own version of the Dusty Classic. Tonight the underdog team of Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro meet Toni Storm & Mercedes Martinez in a first round matches.

WWE recently on The Bump announced the full bracket for the Women’s Dusty Classic.

Teams in the Women’s Dusty Classic include Carter & Catanzaro, Strom & Martinez, Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell, Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon, Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez, Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade, Marina Shafir & Zoey Stark, and Jessi Kamea & Aliyah.

Men’s Dusty Classic rolls on

Two more matches from the first round of the Dusty Classic take place tonight. Imperium meets Lucha House Party in a battle between teams from NXT and the WWE main roster. Another tournament bout tonight is Johnny Gargano teaming with Austin Theory to face the team of Leon Ruff and Kushida.

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

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