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Smark Hen-XT (1/18/17): Spur on to San Antonio


A lot of talking this week as NXT looked to lock up the card for TakeOver: San Antonio, and for the most part, it was fine. We got two new matches added to the card and another fine contract signing segment from the brand. Not a bad day for an hour of wrestling.

The biggest new addition to the TakeOver card has to be Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young. Seeing the Perfect 10 showcase more vulnerability, but at the same time, still stand firm against opposition will only serve to endear him to the crowd even more and strengthen his claim to be the brand’s #2 babyface. We’re finally learning a lot more about Young and SANitY, which is great. We know they’re possibly unstable rogues bent on taking what they want, but Young’s promo about how 2016 didn’t turn out the way he wanted it to be, and SANitY being his way to get what he wants, adds a layer of bitterness that makes this stable click. Yes, they’re nuts, but who doesn’t go a bit crazy when life keeps dealing them a bad hand?


How Big Damo, or Killian Dain as he’ll probably soon be known, fits in all this is interesting. Outside kayfabe, I’m firmly in the camp that SANitY exists to put people like Nikki Cross and Damo over. Young is already successful and Alexander Wolfe is just plain weird, but Cross and Damo are special. It wouldn’t be a stretch to expect the big Irish to get involved in the TakeOver match, and expect it to be as impressive as his previous run-ins.

(Also, much props for Cross looking like an insanely giddy schoolgirl with Damo joining SANitY. So adorbz in a crazy psychopath kind of way.)

*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • Nikki Cross (w/ SANitY) def. Kennadi Lewis: Out of everyone in the fatal 4-way NXT Women’s Championship match, we’ve seen the least of Cross in action. Picking up a win in such a dominant fashion is a good way to show people that she can go in the ring and why she’s the dark horse of the title match.

  • Roderick Strong def. Steve Cutler: A solid, if unremarkable, outing for Strong as he picked up the win. His post-match interview doesn’t really do much for me. Andrade Almas has a vendetta against Roddy (the latter did eliminate the former in the number one contendership match), but hearing Strong brush Cien’s comments off as unimportant came off as arrogant and dickish. Isn’t he supposed to be the face here? It doesn’t help that we know next to nothing about him other than he’s an established indy guy who teamed up with Austin Aries. Nonetheless, both guys can go in the ring, and they have great chemistry together, so it should be a fun match at San Antonio.

  • TM-61 def. The Revival: It annoys me that they need to write off the better member of TM-61, but what a way to write Shane Thorne off TV. It was a solid match that showed off the Aussie duo’s resilience and the former NXT Tag Team Champions’ dominance. The post-match beatdown was great and keeps Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder important to the NXT tag team division while they’re burning time before the inevitable call-up.

  • NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode sign the contract for their NXT Championship match: Roode has gotten the whole delusional arrogant douchebag schtick down to the T, and while his promo during this segment wasn’t glorious, it was serviceable and adds more layers to a thin championship angle. Nakamura’s eccentricities are beyond explanation at this point. He’ll go from goofy to murderous and end with arrogance in such a smooth way that you just accept the fact that he’s weird by any standard. That he backs it up by kneeing people’s heads off makes you less inclined to question him. No knees today, but ending the showing with a Mexican standoff was a good choice as it teases just enough without being too overt.


*****

We’re just over a week away, and NXT’s built a solid card for TakeOver: San Antonio. Dillinger/Young and Strong/Almas are solid and interesting matchups that can help set the tone for the rest of the card. This week’s episode did a good job building up the card as a whole, and you can’t really ask more from a show leading up to the special. Hell, NXT has done a lot more over these past two weeks to hype up their event than the main roster has in the past month. This episode 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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