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Smark Hen-XT (4/22/2015): This Is NXT




Welcome to Smark Henry's NXT review column! I'm Jocs Boncodin, your reviewer. A little background on me: I've been watching NXT since it was rebranded back in 2012, and I haven't looked back since. The thing I just love about the show is how refreshingly straight up it’s played. It’s as if you’re watching a good WWE-produced show while cutting out all the excess baggage that turns you off in RAW or SmackDown. It’s a wrestling show that focuses on actual wrestling, and with its intimate setting and incredibly active crowd of FullSail University, it’s just not hard to love the show.

So onto to this week’s episode: We have a Triple Threat Match for the number one contendership for the NXT Women’ championship featuring former champ Charlotte, the hugster Bayley, and Becky Lynch, who I can’t think of an epithet for. We also have Kevin Owens and Alex Riley part deux, and crowd favorites Finn Balor and Hideo Itami in action. We had a good show, so let’s get down to it.

Triple Threat Fun.

Three of the best from the NXT women’s division strutted their stuff on the show, and I know it’s a bit clichéd to say this if you’re following NXT, but it was one of the best damn matches this week in WWE television. But in a way, it also highlights one of the biggest weakness in NXT today: It’s top heavy. Outside this trio and champion Becky Lynch, you’d be hard pressed to find any more quality talent today in the division. Alexa Bliss (who has been on the show for the better part of the year) and Carmella need polishing, Emma just isn't credible enough after her weak main roster run and is in some weird state of limbo, Blue Pants is a talent enhancer at best, and Dana Brooke is just too damn green to put on TV, period. You can say the same thing about the main roster divas, but the only edge the NXT girls have is that they have better writers. That the top quartet will have to leave for the main roster sooner or later, particularly Charlotte and Banks, one has to worry about what happens when they’re gone. Not to knock on Sara Amato, who’s done excellent work on the divas, but we’ll have to see massive development from the rest of the girls, and it has to come sooner rather than later.


That being said, the match with the trio of Charlotte, Bayley, and Lynch was solid gold. Pretty well wrestled match, as you’d expect from them. Action was well paced and solid all throughout. The Flying Elbow and Powerbomb double team spot was great, as with Charlotte’s roar afterwards. The finish was not bad, but nothing new, too. Charlotte's Figure-8 is a sight to behold, and Lynch sneaking in the pin was a good call. That was the best part of the match, the right person won. Becky Lynch had an excellent showing during TakeOver: Rival, and I'm glad to see her getting the title shot this time.

The Rest of the Show:


  • We kick things off with a match between Finn Bálor and Tye Dillinger. Bálor's entrance, even without the war-paint, is a thing of beauty. Yes, it takes forever, and yes, it isn't as powerful without the paint, but man is it theatrical, and it has some great moments for the fans to participate in. That being said, the match itself is nothing new. Bálor picks up the win in a relatively one-sided match.


  • I must say though, while both Itami and Bálor have that hesitation corner dropkick in their arsenal, the latter's version looks more painful because he really pushes his opponent into the corner.


  • Corey Graves is the most entertaining commentator in the WWE right now. His running feud against terrible haircuts seems pretty hypocritical, but hey, he makes it funny. Add his disdain for Becky Lynch and her “misappropriation” of goat horns and we've got gold. He's not really a face or a heel, nor does he have to be either right now, but he already is better than the main roster commentary team.
Photo from WWE.com

  • I like how Breeze can stick around near top of the card without having to be in the title picture. I won't hide the fact that I'm a Breeze mark, but his spot right now as second top heel who gives main eventers something to do other than feud with Kevin Owens makes me happy. He probably won't get the same spot on the main roster, hell, he'll probably be buried there, but in NXT, he can be that available side feud that Kane and Big Show currently occupy on Raw, only loads more talented and better on the eyes.


  • Kevin Owens delivers his promos so smoothly, and the interview shows how natural it all flows from him.

    Photo from WWE.com
  • We got a lot of squash matches here, with Itami beating CJ Parker (in CJP's last televised match. Thank you, Parker) and Rhyno goring... someone... They're practically just giving them wins to reestablish themselves.


  • I don't know how to feel about the feud between the Dubstep Cowboys, I mean Blake and Murphy, and The Realest Guys in the Room. I get that creative is trying to push this as something as a personal feud, but the Blake and Murphy going trying to woo Carmella to spite Amore and Big Cass does not help. They're showing character, though, which is a lot more to say about the previous champs.


  • The Owens-Riley match was good, but it pretty much the same thing from the Ohio show, only they replaced Bálor with Sami Zayn. Not a knock against the champ’s work, but when you practically have the same match with the same person twice in a month, that’s not a good booking. Honestly, this is all just set-up for the sequel of their good TakeOver: Rival match. The post-match attack by made Zayn look strong, showing he does have what it takes to stand toe-to-toe with the bruising NXT champ, and making the inevitable rematch more even looking, and if not, at least interesting.


Overall, this is exactly the kind of show you’d expect from NXT. When they have good matches, they’re really good. My biggest worry would be them retreading familiar waters with the angles they’re running, but when results have been good, sometimes you don’t have to fix what’s not broken.

Peace out, and see you next episode.

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