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Smark Hen-XT (1/20/16): Warming Up, WWE style


This week on NXT, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, and Baron Corbin had warm-up matches as they get set for their big triple threat next week. Also on the card, the Hugster and the Princess of Staten Island team up before their championship match.

Squashing their way into next week.


If you haven’t learned this by now, WWE likes giving people “momentum” going into a big match by giving them squash matches. I am admittedly not a fan of this method—I think it’s lazy and it hurts jobbers—but Creative seems set in their ways. But with next week’s much hyped main event, it’s a fine way to get new viewers familiar with the men vying for the shot against Finn Balor’s NXT Championship.


In the first of a series of squash matches aimed to hype up next week’s big main event, former NXT Champion Sami Zayn defeated the former Party Animal Adam Rose with the Koji Clutch. Of the three matches, this one made the most sense. Zayn’s returning from an injury that kept him out for most of the year, so his claim to the championship match is tenuous at best, no matter how much we like him. Seeing him work for his shot is more up to par with his underdog persona, and work hard he did. Not everyone would enjoy seeing Rose dominate most of the match, but it makes a bit of sense seeing as Zayn is still getting back in shape. Speaking of getting in shape, seeing the Likeable One with a little more weight is weird. Remember every time Edge would return from an injury looking pudgy? Yup, this is just like that.


Baron Corbin took out the debuting Rich Swann with the Deep Six side slam in the second match of the series. This is more your typical squash, where Swann fought valiantly but fell prey to the Lone Wolf. In all honesty, I was more interested in Swann in this match. He wasn’t going to win, for sure, but what he showed made me excited for him. Corbin was his usual imposing self, so nothing new here. Surprised he didn’t use the End Of Days, but his spinning side slam was impressive enough.


The main event featured Samoa Joe punishing Johnny Gargano and putting him down with a Coquina Clutch. I’ve gotta be honest, I was hoping it would have been much more similar to Joe’s match with Johnny Wrestling’s partner, Tommaso Ciampa, but it wasn’t. There was something off with this match. It was like Joe was cruising through most of it. I’d like to say Joe was just being cocky, strolling around in the ring and taking his bloody time, but it didn’t make him look like the vicious monster that he’s supposed to be.

I must say, even if these matches were squashes, they were still entertaining and, more importantly, were able to hyped next week’s main event. We got a showcase of what each could bring to the table and if you aren’t salivating at the opportunity to see two of NXT’s best (and Baron Corbin) fight it out for Number 1 contendership, then there’s something wrong with you.

The rest of the show:


Apollo Crews def. Tye Dillinger



  • We’ve seen this before, right? Crews destroys Dillinger with his Spin-out Powerbomb after kicking out of the Perfect 10’s finisher. He then calls out Finn Balor for a non-title match next week, which the champ proudly accepts.

  • The edge Crews had during his feud with Corbin is missing this week, and we got boring babyface Crews again. For a highly touted pick-up, they should really make more of a conscious and consistent effort to build his character. Not everyone is like Balor who could get away with his good looks and quiet charisma with little character.

NXT Women’s Champion Bayley and Carmella def. Emma and Alexa Bliss



  • Bayley got jumped by Emma and Alexa and led to her playing face in peril. Carmella came in with the hot tag and made Bliss tap out with her modified leg scissors head lock finisher.

  • The buildup for this match throughout the show was beautiful. The backstage segments tied together Bayley and Carmella’s upcoming title match, Blake & Murphy’s match against the American Alpha (Gable and Jordan’s new team name), and the Tag Champs got involved as well, taunting Carmella and her boys, Enzo and Cass. Talk about efficiency.

*****

This episode was serviceable, for lack of a better term. It had no real standout moments, but it moved angles enough for it to not be missable. It did its job by hyping next week’s big episode and pushed storylines forward. At the end of the day, though, it’s pretty much like the second hour of Raw that you’d probably forget when the next hour kicks in. This show gets a C.

Are you hyped enough for some three-way action next week? 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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