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Smark Hen-XT (1/11/17): Gods Bleed


Ever since her debut, NXT Women's Champion Asuka had been untouchable. We've seen her at a disadvantage—the numbers of Emma and Dana Brooke, the size of Nia Jax, the experience of Mickie James—but the Empress had generally stayed calm and collected as she continued to overcome the odds. This week, though, it feels like something snapped. It might have taken the combined efforts of Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, and Nikki Cross, but the Women's Champion found herself looking up at the ceiling for the first time in ages. This didn't sit well with Asuka, and she later demanded a match against all three women at TakeOver: San Antonio.


NXT's women's division has been rebuilding since being gutted back in July, but it's finally showing strides of being competitive again. Kay and Royce might be green, but they've gotten good at getting heat as heels, and their ring work is catching up. Cross has taken the ball with her stint with SANitY and is slowly being a revelation as a deranged pitbull of a character. Add Ember Moon, who's waiting in the wings, and the plethora of female indy talents WWE just signed, and we have the makings of a division more stacked than their golden era with the Four Horsewomen.

It'd be interesting to see how Asuka fares against the three opponents gunning for her. For the first time in ages, her undefeated streak and, more importantly, her title might be in jeopardy. So far, I enjoy seeing the Empress of Tomorrow lose her shit, if only because it promises violent retribution.

*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • Elias Samson def. Jonathan Cruz: My feelings for the Drifter had evolved from active disdain to passive apathy, and that's a bad thing. I wish Samson was presented more as a threat rather than an annoyance to the main event players. At this point, we're getting the same tired schtick. It didn't win me over the first time around, and it's not going to change now.

  • Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Oney Lorcan: I love the little touch of continuity here when the commentary team and Cien himself referenced the Osaka match between the two. Now that El Idolo is setting his targets on Roderick Strong, we might finally get the former luchador enmascarado achieve his potential.

  • #DIY def. The Revival to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship: When these two teams meet, it always feel special. While this might not have been the instant classic like their TakeOver matches were, it was a fitting end to the feud. It's hard not to cheer for Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano—they’ve pretty much perfected the art of the underdog. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder themselves are tag team wrestling incarnate. To see them go down as a team again was a great touch to their gimmick: win or lose, they go out as a team.


*****

This week's episode made good headway into building the card for TakeOver: San Antonio. We now know that #DIY will be the ones defending the NXT Tag Team Championship against the Authors of Pain. The developments in the Women's Championship scenes were well booked, and promises an intriguing match at when NXT heads to San Antonio This was a solid show that was mostly fun to watch. It gets an A-.

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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