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Smark Hen-XT (5/4/16): Heavy Impact


This week, the TNA takeover continues as Eric Young debuts, and we look at what it means for the NXT roster. Also on deck, The Perfect 10 met The Greatest Man That Ever Lived inside the squared circle.

Everything Old is New Again



NXT opened with a short but sweet promo from your new NXT Champion Samoa Joe about his inevitable title win, only to be interrupted by the brand’s newest signee, Eric Young. This led to this episode’s main event.


With Eric Young in the mix, let’s see how the top of the NXT hierarchy looks like: we have the Champion Samoa Joe, the former champ Finn B├ílor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Austin Aries, and now, Eric Young. None of those guys are Performance Center products. They’re all free agent signings meant to bolster the roster. If that’s the case, then what does this mean for the PC guys?

First, it tells me not all of them are ready. If you look at the recent batches of trainees at the PC, only a handful of names really stand out: Manny Andrade, Rich Swann, and the team of Shane Veryzer and Mikey Nicholls—also know as The Mighty Don’t Kneel or TMDK. These guys are good, but there are only a few of them. A lot of the guys in the PC have been there for almost a year now and are nowhere near a TV debut. That doesn’t mean that the system isn’t working, just that WWE is doing what the Philadelphia 76ers have been doing to their basketball team, only better in the way that WWE is putting up a winning product with high-level talent. They’re signing guys who have great potential but are nowhere near ready, then filling the roster up with great free agent vets who suddenly get a career resurgence as both a stopgap and a way to energize the brand.

I wonder how many will actually get to debut in this batch.

Second, it shows me that NXT has succeeded in their mandate of being a legitimate in-house alternative to RAW. The brand has the power to reel in big name signees, and they’re showing it with every new debut. Yes, the PC will still exist as a place to develop the future, but NXT is more than that. It’s the place to be when you want to see a more streamlined product with a purer form of wrestling. It probably means that PC guys will have a tougher time breaking out with a stacked roster, but this should be seen as a challenge rather than a problem. If the kids want to dance with the best, then they better step up.

The Orlando-based brand just got bigger with Young’s debut, and it means great things for Based Haitch’s product. Expect him to shake up the scene as we get started with a whole new era for NXT.

The Rest of the Show


Nia Jax def. Tessa Blanchard



  • Jax destroyed Blanchard as she works her way to the top of the Women’s division.

  • Jax is pretty much your uncrowned number one contender at this point. Outside of a rematch with Bayley, there’s really no other story to tell at this point for NXT Women’s Champion Asuka. With Nia Jax continuously improving in the ring, it’s not hard to imagine her having a solid match with the champ.

  • We really didn’t see much from the daughter of Tully Blanchard as Tessa was entirely dominated, but that was the point the match. I would like to see more from her though.


Austin Aries def. Tye Dillinger



  • A-Double picked up the win after a 450 splash on the Perfect 10 in a fun match.

  • This was Aries’s best match in NXT to date, and it’s all likely because his opponent was so fun to watch. The crowd was also treating him as a heel against a fan favorite in Dillinger. Either way, this was the first time for me to see what he can bring to NXT and it’s finally gotten me on board with his deal. I’m seeing a possible heel turn, and it might be what he needs to get traction.

  • I’m not sure why Dillinger is stuck jobbing to indy stars, but the guy is talented and entertaining. He’s also a great chameleon who’s able to play face or heel without straying too far from his gimmick. Even Aries, in a post match interview, put him over and called him an “A-level talent”. Everyone feels like Jason Jordan got the better end of the deal when he broke away from their team and went on to become NXT Tag Team Champion with Chad Gable, but Dillinger has shined in his own way. I hope he gets a serious run at the top of the card someday.

  • Also, something to note, but for these first two matches, the camera work during the entrances were spot on. They had great shots that had a very cinematic feel to them. I hope they stick with this.


The Revival def. The Hype Bros



  • The former NXT Tag Team Champions took care of business in a one-sided affair against Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder.

  • I enjoy seeing The Revival destroy tag teams because they do it so well. I think I can watch an episode of NXT of Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson double-teaming everyone. And that sounded better in my head.

  • Can we just break up the Hype Bros now? Really, set Zack Ryder free from this mess.


No Way Jose def. Noah Kekoa



  • Jose made his Full Sail debut and earned a victory against Kekoa with a Full Nelson Slam.

  • Hey, would you look at that, character development in only Jose’s second match! It’s a bit cliche to get the smiling happy dude to stop smiling after getting punched, but hey, another layer to the dancing man with a baseball background. He’s now more nuanced than half the roster.

  • I’m not a big fan of his finisher, though. Maybe because when I see a short arm spin setup, I’m expecting a Rainmaker, but the Full Nelson is a bit clunky. Might as well remove the setup and just go straight with the slam. Or spin out to the right hook. Anything else, actually, because that finisher is meh right now.

*****

This episode gave us two solid matches and a big debut. This is a great way to kick off a new era for NXT. With EY on board, NXT gets another solid hand to carry the brand, and with an already crowded and stacked roster filled to the brim with talent, it opens up new possibilities for new matchups. This episode gets a B+.

Excited for EY? Thoughts on this week's episode? 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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