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Smark Hen-XT (3/15/17): Questionable Choices


Let’s get this out of the way: I’m not a fan of Kassius Ohno’s ring gear. I like the idea of a Dream team inspired Ohno jersey, but it does not look good in action. I’m not sure who’s idea it was, but that’s pretty much one of the biggest questionable choices that riddled this episode.

That being said, the match was great. It had great pace: from Ohno’s frenetic energy to start the match, to Bobby Roode’s slow methodical pace at the middle, and capping off with an exciting exchange at the end. It also had a good story; Ohno’s title chase gives him a sense of urgency that showed throughout the match, while Roode looked liked the arrogant and conniving champion.


Roode’s ability to tell a story with his expressions are second to none—the character honestly believes he’s the shit, but he doesn’t appear dominant as he thinks he is. At most, he lucks out and takes advantage of an opening, but he sells it like it was all him. He’s not cheating to win and he goes over clean, but it still doesn’t make him look as strong.

Fashion choices aside, Ohno looked great in this match. He might be 270 lbs, but he’s agile and strong. I don’t know why they decided to give him a loss in his redebut, though. I know they taped the Elias Samson match before the title match, so it could’ve helped if they gave him that match first before showing the title one. Yeah, he looked strong, but he still lost, and he lost all the momentum from his big comeback angle. That could’ve fueled the Knockout Artist’s story for a good couple of months, but we get the pay-off after a couple of weeks. It felt weak and slightly unsatisfying.


With Roode winning here, we now know the main event for TakeOver: Orlando. Shinsuke Nakamura getting his rematch against Roode is a great idea, because it could go either way for me. A Roode win frees up Nakamura for greener pastures and provides some stability to a title that changed hands so much in a short amount of time. Nakamura winning is pretty much giving the top title to the brand’s top star, and while we can question Nak’s consistency with his matches, there’s no doubt he’s the biggest draw in the roster. I’m not excited about this, but it could turn out great.

*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • NXT Tag Team Champions The Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) def. The Ealy Brothers: There’s not really much in this match, though I’m surprised at the offense the twins got. They’re also a lot bigger than I expected. That said, it was mostly set-up for probably the most interesting match on the TakeOver card. The triple threat elimination match features the best tag teams in the WWE right now as well as the promising and dominant champions, so don’t sleep on this match.

  • Nikki Cross def. Macey Estrella: Yup, we’re getting another squash match, but it does well to establish just how sadistic Cross could be. The question remains though: why is she like that? That being said, Cross looked strong and builds her up after a disappointing outing back in San Antonio. The post-match beatdown was your standard affair between SAnitY and Tye Dillinger and friends. Nigel McGuinness brought up a good point: when will Tye learn that this shit doesn’t work? We’re getting a six-man tag match next week, but I can’t see that evening the odds in any way.

  • Asuka video package: I don’t look at video packages a lot here, but this needs some special attention. Holy shit, this is just the perfect recap for the Empress. They gave us a highlight reel of the Women’s Champion’s in ring violence spliced with shots of her lounging poolside. Her quotes over everything just pushed it over the moon. “There is no Women’s Revolution; there is only Asuka” is fucking boss and perfect. Asuka is the perfect mix of cockiness and violence. I love it. Will Asuka lose at TakeOver? I don’t know, but at this point I’d rather see her retain and just totally destroy the division. Yeah, she’ll probably get her comeuppance, but I think it’d be more satisfying to see her just complete her dominance.

*****

For the second week in a row, the main event carried this episode on its shoulders. That said, there were some good bits in the first half of the show, like the Asuka video package and the promo exchange among the Revival, #DIY, and the Authors of Pain. My only grind is that they’re taking too much time setting up the pieces for the TakeOver card, and it’s only a couple of weeks away. At this rate, they probably won’t be done building up the card until after WrestleMania. NXT will need to wow me in the next episodes if they want me to get excited about the show. 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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