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Smark Hen-XT (11/30/16): Imperfect


Tye Dillinger is a curious beast. Here’s a guy who’s been on the main roster only for him to get cut. He crawled his way back to WWE developmental only to be put in a team where he was outshined by his partner. And then, he was given a gimmick that was clearly meant to be comedic at best. He’s 35 years old. And yet, he’s without a doubt the second biggest babyface in NXT right now. Just by sheer force of will, he’s won over the crowd with his antics and ring skills. This is a guy nobody thought would thrive, and yet here we are, cheering him on.


NXT has perfected the underdog trope. Sami Zayn and Bayley went from lovable losers to crowned champions. They know how to use the support of the crowd to slingshot the careers of people. Dillinger is in the prime position to benefit from the same story. After putting up solid matches in losing efforts against high profile guys like Andrade Almas, Bobby Roode, and Samoa Joe, crowd sympathy is at an all-time high for the Canadian. With no other babyface near his level (other than former NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura), the Perfect 10 could benefit from a sustained push to the main event scene.

There is a possibility that Dillinger is going to be an NXT lifer, but I don’t think that’s a terrible thing. Not every gimmick translates well to the main roster. Nobody sees NXT as purely a machine that churns out talent for the main roster anymore; it’s a viable brand for wrestlers to ply their trade in front a huge audience. If Tye Dillinger is bound to stay in NXT, you might as well reward the guy by giving him the opportunity to gun for the title and win against the big boys. That’s the least you can do for the most tenured person in the brand.

*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • NXT Women’s Champion Asuka def. Nicole Matthews: I can’t really think of a more apt description for this match other than this was a public execution. I don’t know what Matthews did to deserve this other than be in the same ring as Asuka, but she got straight up murdered here.

  • Eric Young (w/ SAnitY) def. No Way Jose: Creative is doing a piss poor job at making SAnitY a terrifying unit. First, they got a fluke loss in the Dusty Classic, and now, Young didn’t even look dominant in this win. If this is a group that’s supposed to take what they want, they better look like they can actually do that. Props though for Nikki Cross for being the only interesting person in the stable—you know, if being crazy is interesting.


*****

Looks like NXT is still in a bit of a TakeOver hangover, and this episode wasn’t really all that interesting outside of the match between Samoa Joe and Tye Dillinger. With new episodes taped this week, and the next TakeOver announced for Royal Rumble weekend, expect the brand to pick up the pace in the coming weeks. This episode gets a B- though.

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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