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Smark Hen-XT (9/30/15): Looking Forward to TakeOver

This week, the whole card for NXT TakeOver: Respect is revealed as superstars jockey for momentum going into next week’s special.

Reading the card

Prediction time! Here are the booked matches:

  • Apollo Crews vs Tyler Breeze: Of the whole card, I think this is the weakest match, and that’s a shame considering the talents involved. Let’s be realistic, though, Crews is just starting his journey as an NXT talent, and Breeze is stuck in midcard hell for the better part of the year. This will serve as a decent opener or mid-show cool down match, but it’s not going to be anything more. Expect Crews to go over, seeing as Breeze is going nowhere. While it might be realistic to see the feud extend, because the title scene is on hold right now, I can’t see Breeze as the guy to be the first to deal Crews a loss. He’s lost some credibility.

  • Asuka vs Dana Brooke: I’m going to admit, I’m starting to warm up to Brooke. She’s improved both in the ring and on the mic. She’s starting to show more of her potential. It’s sad that she’s going to get her head kicked off next Wednesday. Make no mistake, she’s nothing but prey for the incoming Asuka, and she shall be the first sacrifice at the altar of our new goddess of violence. Asuka’s going over.

  • Jason Jordan and Chad Gable vs Baron Corbin and Rhyno (Semifinal match for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic): At this point, I’m asking, who’s better to put over: the future of tag team wrestling in both NXT and the main roster, or the upstart monster and his new found mentor? This should be a fun match between excellent technique against raw power. I’m a huge mark for the amateur wrestling standouts though, so I’m predicting a win for Jordan and Gable, but don’t sleep on Corbin and Rhyno.

  • NXT Champion Finn Balor and Samoa Joe vs Dash and Dawson (Semifinal match for the DRTTC): This semi final match is a lot easier to predict. The Mechanics, while sneaky good, are just unproven talents when placed beside the Demon and the Samoan Submission Machine. Balor and Joe goes over.

  • The winners of the 2 previous matches for the Finals of the DRTTC: So, if my predictions are correct so far, Jordan and Gable are going to meet up with Balor and Joe. If this does happen, then it’s going to be an awesome show. I’m sticking with my prediction earlier this month and say Jordan and Gable are going over. Why not Balor and Joe, though? Simple, Balor’s going to turn on Joe. Or Joe’s gonna turn on Balor. Either way, neither of them are ending the night as friends and we’ll have the main event for TakeOver: London. Having it happen in the Finals gives it more importance.

  • Sasha Banks vs NXT Women’s Champion Bayley in a 30-minute Iron Man match for the NXT Women’s Championship: Ahh, the main event. I’ll get this out of the way and say Bayley’s retaining the belt. That, I have no doubt of. Banks just needs to deliver on a great show as always and she’ll go on her merry way back to the main roster. This match though, will be every bit the same roller coaster ride of a match, and maybe even more. Both ladies are bringing their A-game, just based on the video package, and I’m expect nothing short of true brilliance from the first all-women main event from a WWE special.

The cards are set. I hope I read them right. NXT have never failed to deliver on an entertaining special, and I expect the trend to continue.

The rest of the show:

NXT Champion Finn Balor and Samoa Joe vs Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady (DRTTC Quarterfinal match)

  • OK, so I spoiled this match already. Balor and Joe won.

  • This match was so awkwardly edited. We just saw the first and last couple of minutes from the match. There is, apparently, a good reason for this. And no, it’s not the lack of time. If a father from reddit is to be believed, the middle of the match was pretty much Balor and Joe heeling it up so well that it was disgustingly violent. They really laid the beating of a lifetime on Amore. I figure, if they’re not planning on turning the champ heel, it wouldn’t be good to show him as one. Still though, I would have loved to see the whole match.

  • Speaking of Balor, he came out to a new mix for his entrance theme, replacing the heartbeats that usually preface “Catch Your Breath” with a more rock beat. Add the leather jacket, and we’re seeing a lot more of the Bullet Club leader that made his name in Japan. It also creates more of a gap between the him and the Demon within, which is always good as it actually gives him more character.

  • I can’t really discuss anything new about how both teams work, seeing as it was edited so much. Suffice to say, what they’ve shown us were things we’ve already seen. Enzo played face-in-peril, Cass was a good hot tag. And surprisingly no tension between the champ and his partner

Apollo Crews vs Johnny Gargano

  • This was a fun little match. Gargano, once again, proved his worth as a possible valuable member of the NXT roster. Give this guy a contract already. His moves were crisp and on-point. He sold well. But not only did he look good, he made Crews look good as well. Excellent chemistry between both competitors.

  • Crews wins, though, as he actually needs it more going into his match against Tyler Breeze at TakeOver. No surprises there.

Dana Brooke and Emma vs Payton Royce and Billie Kay

  • Nice little backstage segment first, from Dana Brooke and Emma with GM William Regal. They might have laughed at the thought of facing the newcomer at TakeOver, but Regal quickly changed their mind by showing them a glimpse of the murder skill that Asuka brings to the table.

  • Brooke brings home the W after hitting her Samoan Driver finisher on Peyton Royce in a completely missable match. While Royce and Kay are usually serviceable enhancement talent, their showing this week left a lot to be desired. Royce, especially, looked awkward and clunky in her offense. Their outing did nothing to help either teams.

Tyler Breeze vs Tommaso Ciampa

  • Ciampa brought the pain in this match, delivering stiff looking blows against Prince Pretty. Just like Gargano, he’s earning his keep, delivering decent performances and upping his value on the wrestling free agency. It would serve NXT well to lock him in a contract as well.

  • Breeze fought hard for this win. He took every stiff elbow and knee from Ciampa and gave back. He gets the win after hitting the Unprettier, a great and appropriate finisher for him. Why he didn’t use it to begin with boggles my mind in hindsight. I love the Supermodel Kick, and the Beauty Shot is a sweet looking move, but both feel plebian next to a move that is practically begging to be used against the uggos of the world.

The go-home show was a bit of a let-down compared to the past few shows. If I were to grade it, I’d give it a B. What could have been the best match of the night was extremely edited, and the other matches could have been better. Nonetheless, the episode delivered in the sense that it builds up towards next week’s special. The video package at the end of the show was great and built up the main event well. The DRTTC’s slots are filled and the match-ups look promising. The rest of the card looks interesting, too. It hyped up TakeOver: Respect, and that’s all you could ask from a go-home show.

Agree with out predictions? Share with us yours on the comments section!

Photos from and Twitter

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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