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Smark Hen-XT (7/22/15): Welcome Home

The NXT Championship comes home to Full Sail as NXT looks on to the road to Brooklyn.

The reign of the Demon

Newly-minted NXT Champion Finn Balor returns to Full Sail as he celebrates his win over Kevin Owens in Tokyo.

I like Balor as champion. He is charismatic, entertaining, and talented. He’s no wizard on the mic, but this episode’s opening and closing segments shows that he’s working on it and he’s getting his beats down. That he looks damn good in that suit doesn’t hurt. Balor, more than anyone, represents what NXT is now, that is to say, a progressive and entertaining wrestling show.

With Kevin Owens being his first challenger, high expectations are set after their classic in Tokyo. Add the fact that we’re seeing a desperate Owens makes him an even more dangerous opponent. If the contract signing is anything to go with, this is bound to be interesting.

Flaws in the plan

The Divas Revolution is well on its way in changing the face of women’s wrestling. This week revealed it’s not all fun and games.

One the biggest problems with the revolution is that they practically gutted the NXT women’s division. Rather than being five women deep (which, all things considered, is rather deep already), they’re now left with two talented, experienced, and established women and a bunch of green girls and no names.

So who’s left? Top face is Bayley. The Hugster comes off as a female Sami Zayn, which is a double-edged blade. She’s going on a “Road to Redemption”-esque angle right now, and it would not be surprising for her to head on to win the title at Brooklyn. The biggest challenge for her would be if she is able to pull off the edge that added depth the likeable nature as Zayn did. Top heel is Evil Emma. I must admit, as fine as she has been in the role, one can see the flaws in it. She still comes off as a bit awkward when portraying a sultrier character. Still, she’s talented in the ring and handling the gimmick will come with time.

Beyond them we’ve got Alexa Bliss (a better valet than wrestler at this point), Carmella (green), Dana Brooke (annoyingly overacts everything and green), and, I’m surprised to say this, Eva Marie. Now, say what you will about Eva Marie, but she is a known name and she is actually trying to wrestle now. But all of them need time to develop and work out the kinks. Without Sasha, Charlotte and Becky occupying the top spots, these girls are suddenly thrown into the deep end of the pool. Now, it’s sink or swim time.

The revolution might be the best thing to happen to women’s wrestling, but no one comes out of a revolution unscathed.

The rest of the show:

Baron Corbin vs Hammett

  • The most important thing in this match is that a guy came out and wrestled in the Saiyan armor. From now on, he will always be remembered as Dragon Ball Z guy.

Samoa Joe vs Mike Rawlis

  • Joe comes out to new tunes, and I’m going against my editor Ro here, but I like his new tune more than his first one. I like the first one, but this one just flows better.

  • That being said, I’m getting tired of squash matches. As I’ve said before, someone in Joe’s caliber shouldn’t be foundering around directionless. If you’re not gonna put him on the main event scene—where he deserves to be—you can have him work an up and coming talent. Like say, Baron Corbin?

The Vaudevillains vs Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton

  • And we’re back to squash matches.

  • Wait, we’re getting the Tag Team Championship match next week? That’s a bit rushed. I would have loved to see some more interaction between the gentlemen grapplers and the pig-tail brigade.

NXT under the Demon’s reign is off to a rough start, with half the damn show being squash matches and the women’s division grasping on their last chance to work their top girls. Still, expect NXT to bounce back soon enough.

Balor is poised to headline the brand for the the foreseeable future, and with his skill, it would be highly likely that we’ll get high-quality matches, if not feuds. With the shake-up with the women’s division, there will be some transition period, but for now expect Bayley and Emma to rise to the top and rule it for time to come.

The future might be unclear, but it definitely is still bright for NXT.

Excited for the Balor's reign as champ? Let us know by dropping a comment

Photos from and Finn Balor's Instagram

Jocs Boncodin (@caboncodin) is a Managing Editor of Smark Henry. He answers tweets 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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