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Smark Hen-XT (9/28/16): Classical

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NXT has done a heck of a job building up the Tag Team division. It might not have started with the same fanfare as the Women’s Revolution, the tag teams have slowly made their presence felt by stringing up high quality matches and delivering on great stories. And it all started with one tournament last year. A tournament held in honor of NXT’s greatest figures: Dusty Rhodes.


NXT General Manager William Regal kicked off the show by announcing the second Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. 16 teams are brought together for a single elimination tag team tournament with the finals being held in TakeOver: Toronto. And it begins next week!

I love tournaments. It’s a very simple idea that can deliver so much more—just check out the Cruiserweight Classic. With the DRTTC focusing on tag teams, it takes advantage of a red hot division in NXT. Teams like The Revival, American Alpha, and #DIY all got their careers boosted by competing in the tournament last year. Now that NXT’s Tag Team division is getting some traction with teams like the Authors of Pain and TM61, as well as the added star power of dream teams like Hideo Itami and Kota Ibushi, expect this tournament to be the highlight of the coming weeks for NXT.

*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • Tye Dillinger def. Angelo Dawkins: The match was meh, but Bobby Roode’s segment with the Perfect 10 was glorious. It doesn’t quite make sense to hear Roode claim that the DRTTC is his main goal in NXT, but it gives him an excuse to team up with an incredibly talented partner. In a great backstage interview, Tye talks about why he hesitated, but he ultimately accepted to team up because, even if Roode stabs him in the back, Bobby’s still his best bet to win the tournament and honor Dusty. Moving stuff right there.

  • Samoa Joe destroyed the Ealy Brothers: Joe follows up on his threat and utterly destroys the twins. While it might have deprived us of seeing The Revival do Top Guy stuff, it did give us angry destroyer Joe, so it’s a win for me. I can’t say this enough, but Joe deserves all the credit in the world for carrying this storyline on his own massive shoulders.

  • Ember Moon def. Mandy Rose: I know Moon was supposed to be the bigger star, but I was more impressed with Rose here. Even in a losing effort, she looked good with her offense. That wheelbarrow face plant she did was beautiful. She’s doing Eva Marie’s gimmick so much better, and she’s truly a future star in the Women’s division.

  • The Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) def. Jon Cruz and Jesus de Leon: AoP is a great hoss team, there’s no doubt about that, but the best part was we finally heard from Mr. Ellering himself. I like the slow rollout of info about the team. They’re giving the right amount of info at the right time just to keep our curiosity piqued without being bored of the two behemoths.

  • NXT Women’s Champion Asuka def. Liv Morgan: After disposing of the young upstart, our Empress declares what we all already know: NO ONE IS READY FOR ASUKA. While I think Moon makes the most sense as the next victim opponent for the champion, I don’t think she’s quite ready yet for it. That creates a problem though: what are they going to do with Asuka until TakeOver?

  • Hideo Itami def. Lince Dorado: While this might not be Hideo’s best match since his return, it’s still a pretty solid outing. Itami’s newfound confidence in the ring is refreshing, and it reminds us of why he got signed in the first place. Aries’ post-match attack, on the other hand, reminds us why A-Double is in NXT as well: he’s one of the best smarmy heels this side of the roster.


*****

NXT feels like it has purpose again. They're moving the main event storyline forward, adding wrinkles to the Women’s division, and getting the buzz going around the tag teams with the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. This episode might not have had the best wrestling to date, but it did the little things well, and that’s good enough to get the episode a B.

Thoughts on this week's episode? Let us know by dropping a comment below!

Photo 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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