At the tail-end of 2019, the Wednesday Night War was a fiercely competitive weekly ratings battle between AEW Dynamite and WWE NXT. Throughout 2020, AEW has taken a dominant lead by broadening its viewership and establishing a strong following within the key 18-49 demo. While NXT has enjoyed sporadic surges this year, broadly speaking, AEW has ruled the past 12 months.
Both companies have experienced setbacks, as they've dealt with injuries and numerous challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ratings battle between the two shows continues to excite fans every week. With that being said, here are five key moments that defined the Wednesday Night War during 2020.
1) Rhea Ripley winning gold gave NXT an edge in the Wednesday Night War
Twelve months ago, Rhea Ripley’s stock couldn’t have been higher. After her stirring performance at WWE Survivor Series, Ripley seemed destined for success on the main roster. It was just a matter of time until The "The Nightmare" dominated on WWE RAW or WWE SmackDown.
As 2019 was coming to a close, Ripley was quickly closing in on NXT gold. She finally squared off with Shayna Bazler for the NXT Women’s Championship. The main event positioning of this match highlighted the star power of NXT's women's division. After a competitive back and forth battle, Ripley hit an avalanche Riptide from the second turnbuckle for the three count. Ripley dethroned Baszler, and the Full Sail crowd was euphoric.
Mauro Ranallo's screams of "the tide has turned, the tide has turned!" perfectly described the significance of this remarkable moment. Ripley's victory genuinely felt like a turning point in the Wednesday Night War. Fans rushed the ring and carried Ripley on their shoulders to create one of the most memorable endings in NXT history.