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Smark Hen-XT (12/14/16): Purpose Driven Life


Purpose. It’s arguably one of the most important characteristic that determines if a story's good or not. If you understand what someone is striving for—and why he’s doing it—it makes following a story a lot easier. This week, after a couple of weeks of the show jogging in place, NXT had purpose. Almost every single aspect of this episode was actively pointing to one thing: the NXT Championship.


The show kicked off with a highly edited version of the Steel Cage match between Samoa Joe and NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura in Melbourne. In a way, it was the correct, if not a bit disappointing, end to this chapter of the NXT Championship. What was well-booked feud back in the run up to TakeOver: Brooklyn II and through Toronto suddenly became a rushed mess at the end. That we didn’t get the last 2 matches in their entirety was an odd choice. If the end goal was to put the title on Nakamura to begin 2017 and free up Joe from his commitments to the brand, then waiting for San Antonio and building up to the rubber match would have been the smarter choice.

What’s done is done, and the feud is over. We now have a definitive champion that’ll have to prepare for a new challenger: the winner of next week’s Fatal 4-way match. The rest of the show focused on the four qualifying matches to determine who's going to be in the number one contender's match.

*****

The Rest of the Show:



  • Tye Dillinger def. Eric Young (w/ SAnitY) via disqualification: This was a pretty short match that, while ending in a DQ, did the job furthering everyone’s stories. Dillinger gets to continue with redemption angle and gets another shot in the Fatal 4-way match next week, while Damo once again run roughshod against another opponent of SAnitY to Young and company’s amazement. It was nothing special, but much like the whole episode, it was focused.

  • Andrade "Cien" Almas def. No Way Jose: Thank god for the Cien heel turn, as it fixed my immediate issues with him: he doesn’t bore me anymore. True, he’s not flying around and showcasing his athletecism, but he now has the opportunity to be what he was meant to be, a pretty boy douchebag. Giving him the win tells me they’re a lot more confident now with him after a rocky start.

  • Roderick Strong def. Elias Samson: I’m honestly surprised at the cold welcome the Messiah of the Backbreaker is getting. It’d be easy to assume that an indy darling would be welcomed by Full Sail, a rabid hardcore crowd, but we’re getting crickets here. Hopefully the Fatal 4-way will serve as a great coming out party for the former ROH Champion.

  • Bobby Roode def. Oney Lorcan: We live in a world where Oney fucking Lorcan got a shot to work a number one contendership match. That being said, this was a great showing for the Boston native as he looked like he belonged in the ring with Roode. Pretty sure nobody was expecting him to win, but that didn’t stop Lorcan from trying. Roode’s victory makes perfect sense here though, as he’s the only one remotely close enough to be a credible challenger. He’s clearly the heavy favorite to win next week Fatal 4-way.



*****

It wasn’t the most polished episode, but it was the first one since Toronto that felt consequential. By focusing on the NXT Championship, the title felt special. With guys clamoring for a shot at it, and men locking themselves up in a cage for it, it looks important. Since the whole episode revolved around the title, the show felt cohesive. Next week’s number one contender’s match should be a fun affair, just based on the people in it. But this week 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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