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Smark Hen-XT (8/3/16): GLORIOUS


This week on NXT, Bobby Roode debuts, Samoa Joe and Asuka destroys people, and Hideo Itami returns.

Roode Awakening


Bobby Roode finally debuted, and it was perfect. While it didn’t have the element of surprise, the NXT Universe had been holding their breath and waiting for this moment since he first showed up at TakeOver: Dallas. That his theme song and promo were brilliant, too, was icing on the cake.


Since that first chant of Glorious Domination blasted on the speakers, everyone was on their feet. As Roode walked down the ramp, people were chanting his name. The first part of his promo was your typical “Indy darling debuting and pandering to NXT”, but it was a brilliant set up to one of the cruelest takedowns. When he started to drag on, you can see the crowd lose their energy, and when he finally destroyed the Full Sail crowd, the audience turned on him so fast it was awesome. In every single moment of that segment, Roode had them eating out of the palm of his hand.

I love their take on the Bobby Roode gimmick. It’s the perfect combination of his Wall Street gimmick and the IT Factor one. He believes he’s the biggest superstar of NXT—the new face for a global brand—and everything about him screams that. His fit as a main event heel is a bit awkward right now, with Samoa Joe as your dominant heel champion, but that could easily change after Back to Brooklyn. He’ll be a great challenger and an excellent piece to add to an already impressive NXT roster. I cannot wait to see what’s next for Roode.

Destroyers


Both the NXT Champion and the Women’s Champion came out and decimated people this week, and it was such a joy to watch.


Samoa Joe kicked it off by interrupting Mojo Rawley’s match against Chris Atkins. After laying waste to both guys, Joe picked up the mic and declared that since NXT GM William Regal didn’t consult him about his title defense against Shinsuke Nakamura, the champ doesn’t need to consult with Regal when he decides to destroy everything in sight. Rawley tried to mount a comeback, but the Samoan Submission Specialist locked in the Coquina Clutch.

No one in NXT can touch Samoa Joe on that mic right now. There’s a legitimate sense of hurt and anger from him every time he talks about Regal’s management. What worries me is that this promo further emphasizes that the big feud here isn’t Joe-Nakamura, it’s Joe-Regal. This could have been the perfect feud to build up Nakamura’s gimmick, but the number one contender found himself relegated as minor player in his championship quest.


In the Women’s division, Asuka invited her challenger, Bayley, to a ringside seat to watch her decimation of Aliyah. The Women’s Champion was vicious and almost heelish here; she was toying with her opponent while never taking her eyes off Bayley. After she held on to the Asuka Lock beyond the bell, Bayley rushed in to save Aliyah. Asuka then continued to taunt the former champ with the belt.

Asuka needed a segment like this so bad. After her feud with Nia Jax ended with her looking mortal, she needed to bounce back and reassert her claim as the baddest woman in NXT. She did that and more. The champion showcased her dominance both with her in-ring action and her cocky mannerisms. Bayley was also great here. This more matured version of her gimmick fits her well. She’s not all smiles any more; she’s getting down to business, while sticking to her roots as the lovable babyface. I’ve said this before, and I’m saying it again: she is doing the John Cena gimmick better than John Cena, and it’s perfect.

The Rest of the Show:


Hideo Itami def. Sean Maluta



  • Itami returned to NXT after over a year out of action, picking up the W with a running knee.

  • It’s great to see Itami back; he was one of the first true international superstars NXT brought in, and he was just getting into a groove. Seeing his momentum derailed with an injury was terrible, and I’m honestly very happy to see him working again.

  • He couldn’t have returned to a more difficult position, though. Most of his old running mates have gone up to the main roster, and he finds himself no longer holding a unique spot. With Nakamura present, Itami will have to carve a new niche in this roster. His biggest worry has to be seeing himself passed over in favor of the newer guys in NXT. To avoid that, he’ll have to scratch and claw his way back up to the top.

  • Sean Maluta’s probably going to be signed to a Performance Center class in the near future. His stock should be up after his showing here and in his lone CWC match. That he came from a wrestling bloodline should at least merit a look from WWE.

The Revival def. TM61



  • The NXT Tag Team Champions had a great match and got the win after a DDT by Scott Dawson.

  • The Revival can do no wrong right now. Their claim as the greatest tag team in the world is looking pretty legit, with their work in the ring and on the mic.

  • TM61 also had a great showing, but their generic indy darling gimmicks is starting to bore me. They need something more to their characters before we can start taking them seriously as challengers.

  • Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano played their parts quite well here, interrupting both the champs’ backstage interview and post-match celebration. While I might not completely dig their gimmick as indy friends teaming up, they’re a lot more better packaged than TM61. I want to say they’re improving on the mic, but dropping Pok√©mon references isn’t really all that funny. I’m excited to see them challenge for the tag titles at Back to Brooklyn, though.

*****

This week was glorious. Every segment was spot on, and there was no wasted time. Bobby Roode had the perfect debut, Itami’s return was great, and all the title programs moved forward. NXT couldn’t have booked this episode any better. It gets an A+.

Thoughts on Bobby Roode's debut? Drop us a comment below!

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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