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Smark Hen-XT (1/27/16): Ménage à Trois


This week on NXT, three of the brand’s top dogs got it on for the right to face the Demon. Also on deck, the newly named American Alpha went after another pair of former NXT Tag Team Champions.

Ménage à Trois


NXT has been building up to this match and, boy, did it deliver. Not that I thought it wouldn’t; it would be impossible for this to not be great considering everyone involved. Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, and Samoa Joe have all been on a roll, but triple threat matches aren’t always the most entertaining matches. Once again, though, NXT’s creative found a way to make this more fun that it should be.


The action was non-stop and every move was crisp. Zayn played the part of the underdog well, selling Corbin’s and Joe’s offense like a boss. Joe was the monster punching everyone in the face. Seeing Corbin unglued was brilliant, and having that cost him the match was great storytelling.

The finish was interesting since TakeOver: Dallas is still two months away; and this gives both Zayn and Joe something to do before the championship program begins in earnest. This also frees up Corbin to get even better and face off with another big star coming in. The problem with the picture though, is the champ, Finn Bálor himself. With this program extending for another couple of weeks, it leaves him with nothing to do once his match against Apollo Crews ends next week. Having the face of the brand lounging away is not exactly best for business. He’ll have a great match with Crews, no doubt, but in the greater scheme of things, it’s meaningless.

The rest of the show:


American Alpha def. Blake & Murphy (w/ Alexa Bliss)



  • Chad Gable and Jason Jordan took out another former top team in Blake & Murphy with Grand Amplitude.

  • I’m not a fan of Gable and Jordan’s new team name. It feels like an apt epithet when one of them inevitably get a shot as a singles competitor. As a team name, though, it sounds meh.

  • What is not meh, though, is their ring work. The things Gable will do when he grabs hold of his opponents are amazing, and Jordan throwing people around is the best hot tag in WWE right now.

  • Blake and Murphy need a new program. They’re pretty good, but they’re not getting called up anytime soon. They need to stay relevant or they’re going to continue being overshadowed by every other team on the division.

Nia Jax (w/ Eva Marie) def Liv Morgan



  • Nia Jax made quick work of the Jersey native, finishing her off with a leg drop.

  • I feel bad for Jax. There’s flashes of brilliance in some of her performances, especially during her match at London, but that’s just it. Her inexperience is still showing, like in the finish of the match where she caught Morgan wrong and it took forever for her to get the hold right to drop her. I understand that they have to hide her deficiencies, and putting her with a solid worker could highlight them rather than hide them, but the powers that be have to start giving her more opportunities against people who can carry her in a match so she can learn.

Alex Riley def. Bull Dempsey



  • Riley drilled Dempsey with a high knee to pick-up the win.

  • I’m liking this angry, probably unhinged, character Riley’s working. He has the tools and a good look so I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a program to put a top face over. They should play up the disgruntled schtick, it just might be the gimmick he’s been looking for to get over.



Elias Samson def. John Skylar



  • The Drifter picked up the win with a neckbreaker on the helpless jobber.

  • So while I still don’t get why Samson is drifting, I’m partially comforted that even the commentary team has no clue with it. It adds up with the whole “trying to be a mysterious hipster douchebag” thing I think they’re trying to do. What bothered me, though, was hearing Corey Graves, the heel commentator, blasting the heel competitor. Even Tom Phillips, who’s supposed to be the sympathetic face commentator, isn’t any help with this either with trying to build Samson up as a credible threat. It feels like they’re sinking the gimmick even before the ship sails completely.

*****

This episode had a great start and a better finish, but the middle part could have been better. If you’re a fan of great wrestling, you’ll want to watch the tag team match and the triple threat. Not the best showing, considering a certain upstart wrestling show just debuted its second season, but it builds up well as NXT prepares to take over Dallas. This show gets a B.

Thoughts on the main event? Digging the name American Alpha? Let us know and drop us a comment!

Photos 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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