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Smark Hen-XT (3/2/16): The Greatest Men That Ever Lived


On this week's episode, Baron Corbin welcomes Austin Aries to NXT. Also on deck, former NXT Champion Neville faces off with current champion Finn Bálor.

Double A


NXT continued its raid of former TNA stars as Austin Aries was introduced by William Regal. Even with the spoilers by WWE themselves, it’s still pretty awesome to see someone of Aries’ calibre joining the already stacked NXT roster. After soaking in the cheers from the UCF crowd, Aries made his way to the ring, only to be attacked from behind by an enraged Baron Corbin.


Short as this segment was, it was well made. As far as introductions go, this was near perfect. Aries was automatically introduced as a big deal—in the off chance you haven’t heard of him—by having some fanfare about his signing. He’s then immediately thrown into a feud with Corbin, a top dog in NXT’s hierarchy with nothing to do. Aries might have oversold the beat down a bit, but it did make the Lone Wolf look more vicious. It also ties in nicely with Corbin’s vendetta against indy darlings. At least this time, him screaming that Aries should go back to ROH would actually make sense.

A match at Dallas would be the perfect venue for the self-proclaimed Greatest Man That Ever Lived to showcase his skills, and working with Corbin puts him immediately near the top of NXT’s pecking order. Great addition to the team by Based Haitch and company.

Champ vs. Champ


The Man Whose First Name We Forgot That Gravity Forgot, Neville, had a great match against the reigning NXT Champion Finn Bálor in the main event. Touted as a fight for pride between the man who holds the honor as the longest-reigning NXT Champion and the man chasing that record, it lived up to its billing.

The main event was a back and forth affair, with both men dishing out their best and pulling out a counter for everything they got. Some of the greats spots were when Neville selling the Pelé Kick like a boss and the German suplexes from Neville. The finish was hectic as was fun. Bálor caught Neville’s kick and turned him over with a lariat, then hit the corner dropkick and the Coup de Grâce, and finally capped it off with a Bloody Sunday (still hoping WWE lets him keep the name). They had a show of respect with a handshake to end it all.


I might not like how Creative handled Bálor’s reign, but I cannot deny how they’ve made the NXT Champion important and keep it that way. A lot of the match was about the prestige of title, and the honor of holding it. Coupled with the way they’re handling the number one contendership feud, the title really feels like a big deal. People are honored to have it and friendships are destroyed to gain it. While Bálor had pretty much been a distant champion, who only showed up to have an occasional match once a taping, the title though is always present in everyone’s minds because wrestlers are either talking about it or gunning for it. It isn’t just a decoration to be given to someone. It’s a symbol of being the face that runs the place down at Florida.

Next week, we’re getting a 2 out of 3 falls match to determine who gets the opportunity for the title at Dallas, and with it, a potential changing of the guard. Bálor may or may not beat his opponent, and therefore keep Neville’s record intact. Either way, this was a great match to kick off the last leg of the journey to TakeOver: Dallas.

The Rest of the Show:


The Vaudevillains def. Hugo Knox and Tucker Knight



  • Aiden English and Simon Gotch picked up the win with the Whirling Dervish.

  • I like the Vaudevillains more as heels, and more especially vicious ones. They’re rebuilding their cred with this run, and it could take them to a title match or a call-up. Wherever it leads them, they’ve earned it with their experience. Also, love the coat.

  • Hugo Knox was rocking purple polka dots tights. That’s the only thing that stuck to me. He’s been in development for about a year now, so it’s interesting to see how they’ll build up the former goalie.


Emma (w/ Dana Brooke) def. Santana Garrett



  • Emma made Garrett tap out with the Emma Lock

  • Not sure why Emma and Dana Brooke is still talking shit about Asuka. I would have thought they would have at least backed away getting their heads nearly kicked off in the past two TakeOvers. While I’m a fan of seeing Emma and Asuka go at it forever, it would make sense if Creative keeps them far away from each other until they’re going at it for the Women’s title.

  • The match itself was short, with Emma being dominant. Still though, seeing Garrett was fun, and she could be a great addition to the division should NXT pick her up.


Elias Samson def. Steve Cutler


  • The Drifter hit the snap neckbreaker to win.

  • At this point, the only reason to watch Samson in a match is to hear Corey Graves throw shade at him. I think that’s the only reason for his existence. Also, fuck that air guitar taunt.

*****

NXT definitely bounced back after last week’s disappointing show with a great one this week. The main event was great and Austin Aries’ debut was worth going through the squash matches, which were fun in their own way. This episode gets an A-.

Excited for Austin Aries? Thoughts on the main event? Drop us a comment and let us know!

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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