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Smark Hen-XT (6/24/15): Looking to the East

This week on NXT, a new set of tapings begin as they build up to the NXT Championship Match on The Beast in the East live special.

The Best in the East

It appears only NXT is the only WWE show interested in actually building up the WWE Network’s next live special, The Beast in the East. This is somehow unsurprising, as this is pretty much a glorified house show in Japan. There are actually only two things you’re going to want to see there: First would be the eponymous beast, Brock Lesnar, having his pre-WWE World Heavyweight Championship match meal with Kofi Kingston. The second would be the NXT Championship match between Kevin Owens and Finn Balor.

Hideo Itami opens the show with a sling to give us some insight on his recovery, but more importantly to build up the Championship match, claiming that he’ll challenge whoever wins it. Somehow, I’m thinking the special would have been the perfect place for him to win the NXT title. There’s nothing like winning the belt in your home country. Balor, though, makes a suitable replacement for the injured Itami. His massive following in Japan makes it plausible for him to win it there and allows Owens to move up completely to the main roster and take the US championship from Cena. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Owens flubs up a bit with his promo, but masterfully recovers and turns it into a dig against Itami. You’ve gotta admit, the guy’s too damn good. I can probably count the guys active in both rosters that can do that in one hand.

The Balor attack on Owens needs a bit more explanation though. I know they’re going to match up on July the 4th, but I felt the lack of meaningful interaction between the two guys didn’t merit the sudden attack. Both have been busy with other things, Balor suddenly showing up was a bit jarring, even if he was the number 1 contender. A simple throwaway line about Balor being Itami’s former partner would have sufficed. Rhyno showing up and finally acting on the attack from a couple of weeks ago makes a bit more sense.

We jump to the main event match between Rhyno and Balor. The match in itself was good. Both vets worked well with each other, just like they did in their last match three weeks ago. But there are two important things here: First is Owens’ presence on the commentary booth. Owens does a good job hyping up the Championship match and building up Balor. He also calls out their previous match, and uses that as his reason for keeping the belt. He’s beaten him once, anyway, so in his mind it should be nothing to beat him again. We know what happens when Owens underestimates an opponent though *cough*CENA*cough*. The second important thing would be the post-match attack from Owens. He and Rhyno team up to attack Balor, and Samoa Joe comes in to save the day. This is important as it ties up both running feuds between all four men and gives Balor and Owens the opportunity to tie up and be more actively involved in building up towards the July 4th match.

The rest of the show:

Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs Jason Jordan and Sylvester LeFort

  • Where the hell was Big Cass going with that pre-match promo? I did not understand what he was going on with with the Ted joke. Rare miss for the normally solid promo guys.

  • That’s odd. The match ended up furthering the Jordan angle without doing anything for the Realest Guys in the Room. Missed opportunity here.

Dana Brooke vs Cassie

  • You know the worst thing that can happen to a squash match? When the jobber shows more skill than the person going over. Brooke looks sloppy and lost half the damn time. At least she can do the Samoan Driver better now.

Balor introspective part 2

  • Finn Balor wearing a Finn the Human Shirt is the most awesome meta thing in the world. Also, LEGO!

  • Great move to have Jason Albert help explain how the NJPW dojo worked. Don’t go expecting a WWE/NJPW partnership anytime soon though. I highly doubt that’s happening. We’re just getting context here.

  • It wasn’t as engaging as last week’s video. They’ve practically just glossed over several years of awesomeness. I understand it’s hard to fit all of his achievements in 10 minutes, but a little more insight as to why he’s an important pick up could have been nice. I also blame that on the lack of Becky Lynch for its boringness.

Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley) vs Sawyer Fulton and Angelo Dawkins

  • Dawkins looks like a far cry from when he first debuted. Guy looks jacked.

  • Rawley’s dancing really turned me off this match. That is why I find it hard to cheer for him, even with Ryder with him. Ryder though, shows why he still deserves his job in the company. The guy’s a pretty solid worker, and expect him to carry Rawley in this team-up.

Good show this week. The opening promo was solid, and the main event was well-worked. Everything in between was a bit disjointed, but still entertaining (other than Mojo dancing). But this is a trend we’ve been seeing a lot in NXT. We’re still seeing NXT build up one feud and put less effort in the others. About half the damn show had Balor and/or Owens’ face plastered in it. Expect a lot more of this as they build up the live network special.

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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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