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Smark Hen-XT (11/9/16): Set in Stone



I’m pretty sure when the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic was announced, nobody quite expected the finals we’re getting. Not a knock on TM61 or the Authors of Pain, but on paper, guys like #DIY or NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival looked like favorites coming into the tournament. But a mix of odd bracketing decisions and injuries left us with what we’re getting.


When the brackets were released, it was clear the Authors of Pain were either being set up to put a big name team over, or get a highlight win against the tag champs or their challengers. In the end, it was the latter by beating the team of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa in their semifinals match—but with a little help from Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson.

In what probably was the best match in the tournament so far, both teams looked like stars and showcased their strengths well. #DIY will always have that underdog vibe, just by virtue of being both cruiserweights and indy stars fighting against bigger, corporate-developed behemoths, and they played it up quite well here. On the other hand, the Authors of Pain were dominant throughout the match, but Paul Ellering’s involvement highlighted a new layer to the gimmick. Akam and Rezar might be beasts, but Ellering showed that he, too, was willing to get his hands dirty for his team. The Revival’s interference at the end of the match was a great way to set up the 2-out-of-3 Falls match against #DIY for the tag titles at Toronto. All in all, solid work from everyone involved.


On the other side of the bracket, TM61 had an imbalanced showing throughout the tournament. Their first match wasn’t great. What could’ve been a career-defining match against Generation Next turned into a singles match that was fine. Once again though, they missed the boat with their semifinals match against SAnitY.

Shane Thorne and Nick Miller are good wrestlers, mind you, but they're clearly not clicking with the audience. A middling showing against a stable like SAnitY, who are being groomed to be a dominant force, doesn’t do any favors. The lack of chemistry between both teams certainly didn’t help, nor did how the match was booked to end. A roll-up victory doesn’t make the Aussie duo look strong, and it makes Eric Young’s new stable look like idiots. We did get a quick shot of Young trying to maul Miller after the pin, which was fun, but it wasn’t as effective as I thought it could have been.

The final match of the tournament between TM61 and the Authors of Pain should be a fine match, but it’s one I’ve seen countless of times. Add the fact that we’re getting another NXT Tag Team Championship match between The Revival and #DIY in a 2-out-of-3 Falls match at TakeOver: Toronto, and I’m not hyped about the Dusty Classic finals. I still hope that the finals exceed expectations, but that would be insanely easy given I have low expectations for it.

The Rest of the Show:


  • Ember Moon def. Rachael Evers: Moon continued her winning ways while dressed up as a demonic ninja who does anime signs. That’s her gimmick, and while she’s pretty impressive in the ring, she’ll need more character development before I could entertain the thought of her having even the slimmest of chances to dethrone our Empress, Asuka.

  • Contract signing for the NXT Championship match: Nobody does contract signings better than NXT. Samoa Joe pulling out his own table on the ramp and emasculating William Regal was brilliant heeling. Regal just barely containing his anger while still doing his job was great storytelling. Hell, Shinsuke Nakamura cutting loose and destroying people before signing the contract was perfect. Why couldn’t we have this from the get-go of the feud?


*****

I had high hopes for the Dusty Classic, but the more the tournament went on, the more I lost interest in it. Now, with the finals set, I’m can’t wait to get it over with. There is promise for the match between the Authors of Pain and TM61, but it’s grossly overshadowed by the rest of the card. What a shame.

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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