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The Smark Henry Mae Young Classic 2018 Review (Oct. 10 & 17, 2018): Tough Cookie

Before we begin, we'd like to apologize to you, dear reader, for missing last week's review. This might sound like a lame excuse, but life has caught up on all three of us at the same time. Really.
But worry no more because this week's review is a two-for-one special!
From the field of 32, we now have our Final Four after last Thursday's episode (Manila time). There were lots of barn burners, and *sigh* that injury that took out one of the favorites to win everything.
Round 2Io Shirai def. Zeuxis

KP: It’s interesting that they decided to give Zeuxis a better shake at things with Shirai than Brookside, though it wasn’t illogical. Zeuxis’ momentum was short-lived, but she was thoroughly entertaining in the moments she was given to act like a little shit.

The only thing I can say about Shirai right now is that she acts like she owns the tournament. My enthusiasm for her is still there, only it’s simmering, waiting for her to face someone that can actually make her break a …
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"Survivor" Series: The Mayor Has Some New Constituents

Welcome to "Survivor" Series, our weekly column focusing on the adventures of one John Hennigan, a.k.a. Johnny Mundo, Johnny Impact, John Morrison, Johnny Nitro, on the islands of Fiji as a castaway on Survivor: David vs. Goliath. The season kicked off this past Thursday (Manila time) with an epic premiere. And as promised, this column will zero in on how The Mayor of Slamtown maneuvered his way through the game, for better or worse.

Come on in, guys! *looks at feet*

Did John Hennigan get voted out last week?  Nope. But he did find himself in a new tribe.

The game was shaken up on Day 10, when host Jeff Probst uttered the iconic phrase, "Drop your Buffs!" It was time for a tribe swap. But before that, another David went home, when MMA fighter Bi Nguyen quit the game due to an MCL injury that she didn't want to aggravate.

What tribe did Johnny Mundo find himself in? The Mayor of Slamtown drew a green Buff, placing him in a brand new tribe, Tiva, which also had t…

Smark Hen-XT (10/17/18): B-B-B-B-Back From The Dead

Aleister Black has finally made his return to NXT, and the man is piiiiiissed. 

It makes sense that he'd be in a foul mood. He was attacked and put on the sidelines last August, taking him out of the main event of NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV for the NXT Championship. Strangely, he still doesn't know who assaulted him, but I guess it makes a bit of sense if the attack happened in a dark area, where Black was knocked out before he could have a glimpse of who it was.

Enter Nikki Cross, who's been saying all this time that she knows who it is. NXT has hinted all this time that the Twisted Sister would play a role in revealing the attacker, and reveal she did. I liked this role for Nikki Cross because it's not very often that you have all these Superstars interacting with one another despite having their own storylines to deal with. An underreported story is the fact that you have a female Superstar having a huge role in a major storyline that would typically just have male …

The MMC With Smark Henry (10/16/18): Like Clockwork

The second season of the WWE Mixed Match Challenge has reached the midpoint mark of the group stage and the favorites are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Country Dominance made it two-for-two, beating a Team Pawz in transition after Bobby Roode replaced an injured Kevin Owens, while season one victors Awe-Ska kept their streak alive after defeating Ravishing Rusev Day.

As has been the trend, the side that takes the match more seriously usually ends up with the win. So, it was a harbinger when Natalya put the cat ears headband on Bobby Lashley and "The Dominator" proceeded to remove it and stomp on it, much to the chagrin of the WWE's cat lady.

Although this is the first time Natty and Roode paired up, there is more synergy between the two (but we have to agree that Owens was initially included for Mic'd Up highlights). This became more apparent when Natalya pointed out in the pre-show interview that Roode likes cats and when Michael Cole ment…

NXT in the UK (10/17/18): This Kingdom Rises

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the moment we've all been waiting for: NXT UK is here, and I am here to review its very first episode. I am all kinds of stoked while writing this because I've been a fan of this brand, its promise and possibilities, since the first WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament early last year.

Heck, I more or less got this gig with Smark Henry by reviewing the second WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament as an audition. That was never published, of course—because it was an audition—but I was very proud of how that came out. I just really love me some good old-fashioned mat wrestling peppered with stiff strikes and brilliant psychology. But enough about me and the things I love, let's proceed with the things we all love, shall we?

Speaking of the second WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, do you guys remember when Joe Coffey snapped and massacred Travis Banks after Banks eliminated him in the semi-finals? The attack more or less led…

The Grapevine (10/19/18): The Color of Money

Good morning, and this is the Grapevine! This section of Smark Henry is where we round up all the founded and unfounded rumors abound the pro wrestling scene that you may have missed over the week.

Here's why WWE is still undecided about Crown Jewel:

Moving or canceling Crown Jewel would reportedly cost WWE $2-3 million. WWE's lack of response to the Saudi Arabia boycotts happening across the business world may mean that it's staying with the deal, or at least considering a boycott as well. Backing out of their whole Saudi Arabia deal would also cost them $12-16 million of their 2019 operating income, which is the amount of profit they would get after deducting operating expenses. (Source: Deadline, Wrestling Inc)We say: Honestly, they were doing just fine without this Saudi deal. It will mean less money for all involved, but when the options are money and at least a lack of negative PR, we're sure you can find a way to make the money again somehow. NJPW wants to sign S…

The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Bound For Glory 2018

Impact Wrestling has been true to their name, as the newly resuscitated promotion had their second PPV event this year with Bound for Glory. There are a lot to dissect here, so let's go straight to our review.
Aaaaand new!
BRAINBUSTER BY @TheRealMorrison! — IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 15, 2018There might have been more Match of the Night-worthy bouts in the card, but let's get the elephant in the room out of the way. If you thought the whole card was brutal, wait 'til we go through with just the build up of the main event.

In our last Tales From The Impact Zone review, we caught the two combatants for the Impact World Championship in Mexico where Johnny Impact called out Austin Aries and dared the latter to go out alone in their meeting at BFG. Aries readily agreed to these terms but not without shenanigans. The reigning titleholder also had a leg up in the go-home episode, winning the six-man tag match involving him, Moose, and Killer…

SmackDown RunDown Live (10/16/18): Setting The Dial to 1000

I guess Triple H said it best. If you want to achieve something monumental, you have to evolve. SmackDown—and WWE as a whole—did just that and nothing less. Over the years, SmackDown has seen countless Superstars come and go, stables form and crumble, and power figures rise and fall. The show changed timeslots a bunch of times as they jumped from Thursday to Friday, and now Tuesday. And this week marked the 1000th time they’ve done all of it while staying as relevant as they were 19 years ago. That’s a milestone if I’ve ever seen one.

While SmackDown has lots of things to celebrate, they’re not the only ones with a milestone to brag about. October 2018 also marks my third year in Smark Henry as the Blue Brand’s weekly columnist. You can check out the first edition of SmackDown RunDown way back in 2015 and see how I evolved from that cringefest of a first impression. Granted, I’m still cringey as hell, but now I do it in style. Wrap your head around that.

And if you’ve been doing someth…