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Smark Hen-XT (10/26/16): Back from the Dead


NXT Women’s Champion Asuka pretty much destroyed everyone in her way. If her undefeated record doesn’t show you that, then let the sick smile in her face every time she kicks someone’s head off tell the story. She’s a beast in every sense of the word—she hasn’t even used her feared Asuka Lock to get W’s—and it’s backed NXT in a corner. Who do you book against Asuka that’s a believable threat?

There are two ways to solve this conundrum: you either build up another dominant force or you bring in established talents. It’s a tough choice between the two, but NXT has enough balls to gamble on pulling off both at the same time.

NXT
’s Women’s division is setting up several characters right now as key players. The Aussie duo of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are the mean girls trying to stake their claim at the top. Liv Morgan and Aliyah are your underdogs. Waiting in the wings is Ember Moon, who seems to be the most polished and ready to go to war with Asuka. Still, there’s a lot of work needed for these ladies to believable challenge the Empress.


So they decided to bring in former WWE Women’s Champion Mickie James. Back from a tour of the industry, she’s a well-known talent and a credible hand. Does she deserve a title shot? Some might think not as she’s been gone for over half a decade, but there are those who look at her previous achievements in the WWE as enough to justify the sudden title shot. It won’t take much for her to get a great match from Asuka, and the Empress herself looked excited when her next challenger was announced. It’s a great move by the creative team, as it gives them a stopgap solution while the rest of the division tries to play catch-up without sacrificing quality.

I’m excited for the Women’s division. It’s slowly looking less like a rebuilding team and more like one ready to make big waves. It’s been a quick turnaround since being gutted back in the WWE Draft. I’m also digging the the Asuka-James match-up as it’s a fresh one between two incredible talents. The title match is going to be exciting.

*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • DIY def. Hoho Lun and Tian Bing in a First Round match of the Dusty Classic: Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa are coming into their second Dusty Classic no longer as underdogs but as heavy favorites to win it all. Their victory here came to no surprise to anyone. What was a surprise was Tian Bing’s outing. While not the best debut for the first Chinese-born Superstar, he did show a lot of promise. He’s still moving at half-speed, but you can see the framework for a star. Lun, on the other hand, is still very underwhelming.

  • Aliyah def. Billie Kay (w/ Peyton Royce): I like how they’re slowly building up the feud between the pairing of Kay and Royce and Morgan. Bringing in Aliyah, who’s cut from the same mold as Morgan, adds some depth to the angle. The decision to let the Aussies stand tall after the scuffle is an interesting choice, but it does give Morgan and Aliyah some more fuel to move the angle forward.

  • Tye Dillinger def. Noah Potjes: The Perfect 10 might have picked up the win, but wasn’t able to celebrate the win after Bobby Roode jumped him on the stage. Laying out Dillinger was a good way to get heat, and it was a great choice by the production team to not hit Glorious Domination while Roode was standing tall. It didn’t give the crowd the chance to cheer him after a villainous deed.

  • NXT Women’s Champion Asuka def. Thea Trinidad: Thea got killed dead. That’s it.

  • WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins and Kota Ibushi def. Mustafa Ali and Lince Dorado in a First Round match of the Dusty Classic: You would have seen this in an episode of RAW, and you wouldn’t have cared about it. Booked as the main event and the last match for the First Round of a tournament—in a crowd that really appreciates these guys—and you have something special. It was a short match, and it wasn’t really that mindblowing like match between The Revival and Cedric Alexander & Andrade Almas, but I enjoyed it far more than a typical Cruiserweight tag match on RAW because I have something I can sink my teeth in and care for what happens.


*****

Mickie James’s return is a great way to inject some excitement to a somewhat bland episode of NXT. It adds to the already considerable hype to TakeOver: Toronto. That the rest of the division is also active in with a midcard feud shows that it’s not one to write off after the WWE Draft. The First Round of the Dusty Classic also wrapped up, and we’ve got great second round match-ups to look forward to. This episode gets 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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