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Smark Hen-XT (06/10/15): Squash Mountain

This week on NXT: Samoa Joe debuts, and squash matches galore!

Let’s make it official.

Samoa Joe wrestles his first match on NXT, and it was fine. In all honesty, I‘m not really a fan of having squash matches to main event any show just so you can make a debut look strong. The guy they fed Joe with wasn’t even any good. It’s times like these I wish CJP was still on NXT; at least we know he’s going to make someone bleed in a losing effort.

But I digress. The match itself was nothing special. It showed of some of the possible signature spots we can expect from Joe, which is always nice. His Muscle Buster is cool. I think what happened in the ring was overshadowed by having NXT Champion Kevin Owens on commentary—which he did a great job on, by the way. He really works well with Rich Brennan and Graves on the booth. He responds to their comments in an entertaining way. I like that he kept on pushing them away from discussing his match with Cena by telling them to talk about the match, but dismisses their comments about the match. Plus he scares both Brennan and Byron Saxton

But the real draw here was the post-match promos from Joe and Owens. The former’s challenge was concise, perfect for his no-nonsense gimmick, while the latter’s response was perfect heeling. The reason he gave for not giving Joe a title shot was ironic and hypocritical, but it does the job of reminding everyone why he’s the perfect villain.

So we’re getting a non-title match between Joe and Owens next week. Honestly, that’s the only thing you can pick up from the show. But let’s go ahead and talk about it anyway.

The rest of the show:

Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley vs. Elias Sampson and Mike Rallis

  • I like Ryder, I really do. I think he’s a talented guy who got pushed aside in favor of more talented guys. I think the tag team division might be the place for him. But Rawley just bloody annoys me. Between his general disjointedness in the ring and now coupled with his insanely overacted hyped gimmick that realistically can only be induced by copious amounts of uppers, he does nothing for me.

  • That being said, as an NXT tag team, I can seem them working. Not that I’ll be cheering for them, but they could possibly work. Ryder can carry the match; Rawley can come in for the hot tag. That way they can hide Rawley’s lack of skill and cardio and Ryder gets to show off his stuff.

  • The Assisted Avalanche Leg Lariat as a finish is good. At least we aren’t seeing any of Rawley’s ass-based moves.

  • The short Balor vignette was good. It at least pushes the idea of the inner demon thing being more than a cosmetic thing but a real gimmick.

Emma vs. Blue Pants

  • Sweet of the Full Sail crowd to greet Leva Bates a happy birthday.

  • Corey Graves with a perfect heel explanation of how Blue Pants, and talented jobbers actually, are so good at getting heat for whoever they’re putting over. They’re sympathetic characters. This is the kind of commentary work we should be seeing in all wrestling shows.

  • So apparently, it’s “Evil” Emma, rather than “Dark” Emma. Thanks, Full Sail, for correcting me.

  • The Realest Guys (and Girl) in the Room did great work on the backstage segment they were on. Thankfully, their in-ring work is catching up with their mic skills. I’m liking the intensity from them. Even with the jokes from Amore, they come off as convincingly pissed and that spells good news for them that they can go beyond petty jokes and comedy shticks.

Tyler Breeze vs Bull Dempsey

  • Wait, are they going with the Fat Guy cardio schtick on Dempsey? WTF?!? As a big guy, honestly, NXT creative, really?!? AND THEY HAVE KEVIN OWENS AS NXT CHAMP. WHAT THE FLYING FUCK?!?

Becky Lynch vs Jessie McKay

  • The match bogged down in the middle, but picked up right at the end. The modified Torture Rack Drop she used to set-up the Discoostin (I don’t know what that means) Armbar was nice.

Baron Corbin vs Angelo Dawkins

  • Heel Baron Corbin is pretty good. A lot better than tweener Corbin. He’s perfectly cocky in his role as the big bad wolf in NXT. I do hope they move away from squash matches and go for longer, more balanced matches.

The show was a step up from last week, if only because Joe and Owens spiced things up at the end. Still though, you’ve got essentially a show full of squash matches. From top to bottom. Not a good sign, guys.

Do you guys agree? Let us know and hit us up with comments.

*Photos from

Jocs Boncodin is a Managing Editor of Smark Henry. He answers emails by day and watches wrestling by night. An aspiring writer, Jocs spends most of his idle time fantasy booking angles and overthinking wrestling storylines. A big fan of the WWE, his introduction to the local online wrestling community Smark Gilas-Pilipinas has opened his eyes to the wonders of puroresu and lucha libre. He currently handles Smark Hen-XT,'s weekly NXT review.


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