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Smark Hen-XT (9/23/15): If Looks Could Kill...

This week, NXT welcomed it’s newest Diva and The Vaudevillains defended their newly won NXT Tag Team Championship.

Murder eyes

NXT held the contract signing for their newest Diva, world renowned Joshi wrestler Kana, now known as Asuka. First off, it’s pretty interesting that she got this much fanfare for her debut. Very few superstars got this much hype. While not like Hideo Itami’s own contract signing, it still felt like a big deal when you get this kind of attention. Looks like for now, big expectations are being placed on the newcomer’s shoulders.

I must admit, though, when I first read the spoilers for this episode, I was most worried about this segment. The thought of two women—one very green and the other, while talented, washed out of the main roster—bullying the new girl was not appealing to me. It reeked of lazy writing. And then, Asuka did this:

Holy Shit
What she did right there was tell a story with one look. With that turn and smirk, she practically read Dana and Emma’s last rights in a moment. While there’d be a hundred guys who can run their mouths and drop promos for hours, very few can say so much with just body language. That's great storytelling. If only her walk backstage wasn’t that awkward, it would have been perfect.

Now, I don’t want Asuka to be crazy diva #83 or something, but very few can deliver on the heartless violence and pain that the look promised. I believe someone who used to preface her name with the words “Most Dangerous” can. I’m excited to see her work. Too bad it has to come at the expense of Dana and Emma’s heads getting kicked off.

The rest of the show:

Eva Marie vs Carmella

  • Interesting video package before the match. They’re practically putting all the blame on the botched pin from the last Eva Marie match on the ref. Well, he was partly at fault for not going through with the count. Still, though, she’s at fault there. She’s playing the delusional face here, so it’s slightly forgivable.

  • I’m firmly on the camp of keeping Eva Marie as far as humanly possible from any championship, but I have to say, this was a decent outing from her. She moved a bit faster, showed more emotion, and most importantly did not botch anything too bad.

  • Still though, someone should tell her there’s more to taunting than screaming her opponent’s catchphrase a bajillion times with her shrill voice.

  • The count out win for Eva Marie, though. First reactions was that it was a cop out. The camera work when her feet wasn’t shown on the ropes felt like a rehash of her last match. The count out was meh. But if she’s playing the whole egotistical winner schtick, it’s fine.

Tyler Breeze vs Bull Dempsey

  • The battle of directionless midcarders. Breeze is running in place and Bull, even with the new gimmick, isn’t taking off that well. Yeah he’s over a bit, but there’s nothing new about how he works. He smiles more now? Does that make him a face?

  • Breeze wins with a roll-up and his foot on the ropes. Nothing really stands out from this match.

  • The backstage interaction, though, between Apollo Crews and Breeze makes me hopeful. They’re gonna go at it on TakeOver: Respect, so that should be an interesting match. Why Crews was being a dick though, seems like a play straight out of the John Cena Face playbook

Blake and Murphy vs The Vaudevillains for the NXT Tag Team Championship

  • Sorta sucks though, that Blue Pants had to rush in and drive away Alexa Bliss early on from the match. But we did get finally get a straight up match between the two without any interference finish, so it’s all good.

  • Also, saw this on reddit, but it does bring a great point: If Full Sail is going to chant “Come on Blakey, let’s go party!”, they really have to follow it up with “Ah ah ah yeah!”. It just completes the whole thing.

  • But I digress. Both teams delivered on a solid main event. English played face-in-peril quite well and Gotch is slowly becoming one of my favorite hot tags. The things he does with his kicks are borderline insane now. Their match at TakeOver: Brooklyn was better, but this is still pretty good. The champs successfully defended their titles after hitting the Whirling Dervish.

  • With the champs out of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic (the Mechanics, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, got the upset victory during the Texas tour), I hope they have something to do for them at Respect. It’ll seem like a let down to have a Tag Team Tournament finals without the involvement of the tag champs.

Solid show after a slow start from NXT. Both the Asuka debut and the main event title match were entertaining and carried the show. Sort of bummed that we didn’t get any Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic matches this week, but still, the division delivered with the title match. The Divas division, though, just got a whole lot better and I’m excited to see where this goes.

Excited for the newest Diva on the block? Drop us a comment!

Photos from

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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