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Smark Hen-XT (12/2/15): The Mystery of Iniquity

This week on NXT, we’re treated to squash matches galore as the road to TakeOver: London heats up.

Not all squash matches are created equal.

I’ve made no secret of my dislike of squash matches. As much as WWE’s creative team and bookers think they’re good for new talents, most of them are no fun to watch. Yeah, you put someone over, but when it’s against no name jobbers, or worse, credibility-challenged talents, it doesn’t really do anything to raise someone’s stock.

Take for example 4 of this episode’s 6 matches. They meant nothing and they did nothing to raise anyone’s stock. The best you could say is that they pushed angles a little. At the end of the day, we spent ⅔ of a show seeing people we already know are good do what they usually do.

That being said, not all matches whose outcomes we can easily predict are bad. I’m talking about the other two matches on Wednesday night’s card.

The tag team match between the team of Jason Jordan & Chad Gable and the Vaudevillains was an entertaining match. It was easy to see the amateur wrestling standouts going over. They’re the fastest-rising stars of the NXT tag team division. The Vaudevillains, on the other hand, are slowly losing footing on the division they once ruled. The match was short, yes, but it was filled to the brim with action. There was no letting up and it felt competitive. Both sides had their time in the limelight and we were treated to a good tag team match. At the same time, it tells a great yet simple story. Jordan and Gable are gunning for the titles, and they’re working their way through past champions to get there.

The other good match was the main event between Tommaso Ciampa and Samoa Joe; and it was fun for another reason. Not that it was highly competitive—far from it actually—but I enjoyed it because Joe operated on a level that hasn’t been seen on NXT television in ages. I was saying he’s been on a mean streak since the last taping, but this level of violence was insane. This was a slugfest and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ciampa has a concussion or two for real after this match. Twice I thought Ciampa’s head was going off. The Sicilian Psychopath got his shots in and was great as an underdog trying to get a win, but at the end of the day, he was not ready for the onslaught. If anything, this match truly showed how much of a threat a deranged Samoa Joe is to Finn Balor’s title reign.

There are ways to put on a one sided match without sacrificing entertainment. You can always hide the obvious by creating the illusion of competitiveness. Or you can go the other way and just flat out show a disturbing amount of dominance. But most importantly, you have to show why it matters. You can always put together short squash matches, but if it doesn’t tell a story, nobody would care, and people will lose interest.

The rest of the show:

Baron Corbin def. Tye Dillinger

  • The Lone Wolf defeated the Perfect 10 after nailing him with the End of Days in a one-sided match.

  • If Corbin’s offense is going to consist of him swinging people around, then we can say he’s coming along nicely. That Deep Six spinning side slam/back suplex is beautiful, and the End of Days is impressive. His movement in the ring is smoother now and his mic skills are coming along nicely. The top heel position on NXT is his to take.

  • Not sure if Dillinger is a face or a heel now. I figure if Corey Graves, the heel commentator, is throwing shade at you, you’re probably a face. This might push him to embrace the more comedic side of the gimmick, which is fine by me. His catchphrase, and him by extension, is over as fuck though. So having him job to heels works a bit with getting said opponents heat.

Nia Jax def. Blue Pants

  • Another squash match where Nia Jax destroyed Blue Pants without breaking a sweat.

  • Hey, Blue Pants has new music. I’m guessing they’re a bit worried about copyright issues and dropped their own theme. It’s slower and classier. Not sure if Big Cass is still singing it, though.

  • And we’re back with the Nia Jax Squash session. This was not the way I thought we’d build up the next NXT Women’s Championship #1 contender. The backstage segment where she threw Bayley through a door was nice, but it still doesn’t explain why she was hanging out with Eva Marie last week.

James Storm def. Adam Rose

  • Storm kicked Rose’s head off to pick up the win.

  • As awesome as seeing the Cowboy is on WWE TV, this match is pointless. It’s someone who’s stuck in lower card hell and a guy who may or may not have a contract with the company. What’s at stake? Nothing. That it wasn’t even all that entertaining a match makes it so much worse.

  • I’m sure that somewhere down there Ray Leppan is as sad about his career as the Party-Pooper gimmick. For someone talented enough to do great things and with such support behind him after the ESPN special, Creative has dropped the ball on him.

 Emma def. Liv Morgan

  • Emma sent Morgan back to New Jersey in pieces after the Emma Lock.

  • I’ve gushed about Dark Emma a lot the past few weeks, and this week I’m going to do some more. I loved her part in the backstage segment before the match. She came off as menacing and mature, which is a good thing. The way she looked paranoid after Asuka delivered her challenge on the tron was brilliant as well. She should already be in that top woman heel spot.

  • I hope they keep Morgan’s name now. Also, I think, if she develops her in ring skills, she could be a player in the title scene. She’s pleasant to the eyes so she has that already. Not a big fan of the jersey top, though. (#SGQ)

This episode had 6 matches, in 1 hour, with backstage segments and a couple of vignettes. That alone tells me that not all of the show is worth watching. But if you’re a fan of good wrestling, or just straight up almost-murders, then watch the tag match and the main event. Otherwise, skip everything else. This show gets a C.

Thoughts on this week’s show? Let us know and drop us a comment.

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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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