AEW Wins Over Fans During TV Debut in D.C.

More than 14,000 fans packed Capital One Arena in downtown D.C. for the television debut of the newest professional wrestling organization, All Elite Wrestling (AEW). The AEW “Dynamite” show appeared on the TNT Network.

TNT is showing AEW against the more established World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) NXT series on the USA Network on Wednesday nights.

The main event was a six-man tag-team match between AEW champion Chris Jericho, Santana and Ortiz vs. “The Elite” — Kenny Omega and Matt and Nick Jackson, known as the Young Bucks. The Bucks were on their own for most of the match because Jon Moxley (who worked in WWE as Dean Ambrose) made his return from injury and attacked Omega early in the match. Jericho’s team would go on to win the match.

After the match, Jericho and his partners would attack the Bucks. Cody and Dustin Rhodes would try to make the save but they were thwarted by Sammy Guevara and AEW newcomer Jake Hager (formerly known as Jack Swagger in WWE). The heels, or bad guys, would win out on this day.

The co-feature would feature a local talent who is making history. “The Native Beast” Nyla Rose, a D.C. native who graduated from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., battled Japanese star Riho for the vacant AEW Women’s championship. Rose, the first openly transgender woman to sign with a major wrestling organization, would lose to the much smaller Riho.

In other matches on the show, Pac (who performed as Neville in WWE) won by submission over “Hangman” Adam Page. MJF (Maxwell Jacob Friedman) defeated Brandon Cutler by submission and “The American Nightmare” Cody (Rhodes) won by pinfall over “The Best Ever” Sammy Guevara.

The premiere of AEW Dynamite seemed to win over fans who attended the event.

“It was fun. Good vibe,” said Steven Kramer. “Seemed like most fans were like me in that we haven’t watched since the WWE ‘Attitude’ era [of the 1990s] and this brings us back.”

Another longtime fan, Daryl “Docta D” Johnson, who has worked with local wrestling promotions, was very appreciative of the AEW product.

“A new energy in pro wrestling has finally burst,” Johnson said. “AEW has rejuvenated that diehard pro wrestling fan with its more mature style of entertainment that may have been missing in previous eras often spoke about and thought those voids would have been filled by other rogue promotions in the last decade. AEW on TNT met the expectations of those timed performances by the talented roster.”

In the first head-to-head TV rating competition between the two shows, AEW came out on top averaging a 0.68 rating for adults 18-49 and 1.4 million viewers for the two-hour period. NXT averaged a 0.32 rating and 891,000 viewers.

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