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Smark Hen-XT (11/4/15): Et tu, Brute?


Betrayal is in the air as the the NXT Champion Finn Balor finally returns to Full Sail to defend the title against the up and coming Apollo Crews.

Backstabber


Let me start by saying that this was a good championship match. The spotlight during the introduction gave this a big fight feel. Finn Balor and Apollo Crews have great chemistry between them and had answers for everything their opponent brought to the table. The moments before the finish were dramatic and exciting that it was a damn shame we didn’t get a clean finish.

But who are we kidding? Man, that finish was awesome. As both competitors were struggling to get to their feet, Baron Corbin rushed in and beat down both guys. Samoa Joe cleared Corbin out of the ring then turned to lay out Balor with a clothesline and a Muscle Buster.


Seeing Joe turn heel after months of teasing is great. He’s already been pretty vicious in his last outings, and with this heel turn, he can really just unleash the ruthlessness that he’s capable of. I liked the hint of hesitation from him before destroying Balor. It tells me that he might not like what he’s doing, but he’ll still going to do whatever it takes to get the NXT Championship. I want to see how they build up on this.

The DQ finish also gives us many potential directions for all four men. Corbin and Crews could feud, with both men seeing each other as the reason they both don’t have gold. Joe’s betrayal of Balor can give us a great blood feud to headline any show. All four men can just brawl it out for the title. All of these options are great and it makes me excited. TakeOver: London is going to be awesome.

The rest of the show:

Asuka def. Cameron


  • This was a short but fun match. Asuka was her usual charismatic self. She looked like she was having fun all the way. Cameron did good work as well, hitting some nice moves (that boot to a sitting Asuka that finished with a split was unique).

  • I think a stint on NXT is something Cameron desperately needed, and I’m glad to see her at least finally working now. She might not turn out to be like Sasha Banks or Bayley, but she could at least polish her ring work and mannerisms and be a decent heel.

  • This. Just pure brilliance.




Bull Dempsey def. Angelo Dawkins (w/ Sawyer Fulton)



  • Yeah, Dawkins literally got squashed. Dempsey, as fun to watch as he is, should really have a lot more going for him. All the momentum he got from the vignettes and the hype got wasted.

  • Man, whoever gave Fulton his hairstyle has gotta go. Still though, creative is finally doing something with the jobber pair. While my hopes for a complete Shoot Nation on NXT TV might not come true, both guys seem to be quite capable talents and this program would give both of them a shot at relevance.

Eva Marie def. Marley


  • This was bad. Just really bad. I can’t buy into the idea that Eva Marie is improving in the ring when her outings are still cringe-worthy. She’s still moving at half-pace, her moves are telegraphed badly, and her mannerisms feel forced. I want to boo her because she presents herself as a terrible human being, not because she truly sucks.

  • As I’ve said before, when the jobber outshines you, you’re doing something wrong.

Dash & Dawson and The Vaudevillains interviews

  • Both teams were given interviews to hype up next week’s title match and it was dissatisfying.

  • The Mechanics, riding high after taking out Big Cass last week, threatened to do the same to the champions, even offering them their own wheelchair. While their promo wasn’t bad, they really didn’t make me care for their big match next week. I get it, it’s for the Tag Team Championship, but it feels like an afterthought to their feud against Enzo and Big Cass.

  • The Vaudevillains didn’t fair any better in their interview. Again, in a vacuum, it was good, but in the greater scheme of things, they felt like they just got tacked on in the middle of a good feud. As charming as they were, they also couldn’t get me hyped for the title match.

The finish salvaged this episode. The first half was filled with mediocre matches and interviews I could barely care for. Good thing the main event was awesome, so you have at least a reason to watch this show. Giving the episode a C.

Photo from WWE.com

*****

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, smarkhenry.ph's weekly NXT review.

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