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Smark Hen-XT (8/12/15): Talking Points

This week, interesting developments for the NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn card as we find out who faces Sasha Banks for the Women’s title. And we go over probably one of my favorite parts of NXT, the commentary team.


Commentary teams are such a vital part of the production of a televised wrestling show, or any athletic competition, actually. I know wrestlers are supposed to tell the stories in the ring with their actions and mannerisms, but the men behind the booth expounds on the stories. A good team won’t distract you from what’s happening; they’ll enhance it. They’ll tell you more about the characters beyond what is apparent and they’ll give you more insight about why certain actions are taken. It’s in this that the team of Byron Saxton, Rich Brennan, and Corey Graves excels more than their main roster counterparts.

While this is a generally young team, you can hear experience and intelligence among them. Graves comes off as your heel color commentator, but he doesn’t devolve into the ramblings of a has-been. Yes, he does have a petty war against terrible haircuts and the misappropriation of goat horns, but who doesn’t? What he does so well is explaining the gimmick and exploring stories without being gossipy. Take for example, his explanation of Tye Dillinger’s “Perfect 10” gimmick. He goes and just tells it straight up.

Rich Brennan provides the perfect foil for Graves in that he comes off as a more reasonable Michael Cole. He calls the actions quite well and plays off his partners’ banters. Byron Saxton is easily the weakest part of the team, which is odd because he’s had the most experience in the group. He comes off the victim in the exchanges among the team but he plays well into that role. He stays cool and never loses sight of the action.

It’s a shame we only hear this team once a week. As much as the voices of guys like Lawler and Cole, and to an extent, JBL, are institutions already on RAW and SmackDown, I for one think it’s only a matter of time before the NXT commentary team starts calling the shots, so to speak.

The rest of the show:

“The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger vs Solomon Crowe

  • I love “The Perfect 10” gimmick. It’s ridiculously simple to get. Here’s a cocky heel that judges people. It can go comedy or real nasty. If Dillinger can harness the same juice as Breeze did with his supermodel gimmick, expect great things for the Perfect 10 in NXT.

  • Crowe, though, I’m worried about. The guy’s talented, with a gimmick he could actually work if given the chance (the whole voice of the misfits and geeks, a little monster, as one might say), but he’s relegated to a jobber role. All he needs is a breakout match, an opportunity, and he could do great things in NXT.

Baron Corbin vs Axel Tischer

  • The match itself is nothing, but excellent post match. Corbin delivers a decent simple promo about his dominance. Samoa Joe comes out to question said dominance. Brawling ensues. Perfect.

  • If you were NXT creative, who’d you put over though? The highly talented and proven veteran in Joe, or the young upstart in Corbin? Id’ love to see them hoss out, but I don’t think I can seriously take Corbin cleanly beat Joe. He doesn’t have that credibility, but a loss might drop his stock. On the other hand, Joe can survive this feud win or lose, the hardcore crowd will still love him, but a loss might hurt him in the eyes of newcomers and casual fans.

Finn Balor vs Marcus Louis

  • Balor wins in a predictable match. Also, someone tell Louis to stop dressing up like Kane. I sorta miss him doing the whole Phantom of the Opera-esque thing of lurking in the background of Breeze matches. Now he’s just generic crazy person.

  • Post match attack by Kevin Owens and we see more excellent heeling by the challenger, nailing the champion with his Pop-up Powerbomb then mocking his fallen opponent by doing his signature arms spread pose with the title. Owens is a god of mind games.

Bayley vs Becky Lynch for the number one contendership for the NXT Women’s Championship

  • NXT Women’s champ Sasha Banks joins commentary for this match. She was off her game tonight. With the whole #DivasRevolution, she forced to thread a thin line of having to respect the girls while having to tell everyone that she’s still better. It came out as a bit confused and half-baked.

  • The match itself was great. It looks like Lynch was calling the match for the whole time. She certainly was dominant for most of it. But the match was predictable. It just made more sense for Bayley to pick up the win, as she is primed to take-over the women’s division. She showed her tenacity and resilience. And she’s really over across different demographics; kids and adults love her. She is honestly a perfect poster child for the women’s division.

NXT is chugging along as it prepares for its biggest TakeOver special at Brooklyn. Aside from the main event, most of the matches were squashes, but it was outside the matches that the real stories were told. The card’s pretty much locked up as we now know that Bayley is on her way to face Sasha Banks. It sure looks like we’re getting a great hoss fight between Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin. Both are excellent additions to the TakeOver: Brooklyn card. And with a great team calling the action, expect a great all around experience on Saturday the 22nd.

Just a reminder, Smark Henry together with out friends over at Skinny Mike's are getting together to bring you SummerFest, a SummerSlam (and NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn!) viewing party on the 23rd and 24 August. Hope to see you guys there!

Thoughts on this episode of NXT? Excited for the Women's Championship match? Let us know and drop us a comment!

Photos from and Tumblr

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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