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Smark Hen-XT (3/22/17): Killer Queen


NXT Women’s Champion Asuka is a force of nature. She’s one of the few talents in the WWE that truly transcends the face/heel binary and exists just as a dominant force. NXT has done a great job at building up who she is for the most part, and on the road to TakeOver: Orlando, the creative team continued to shape the legend of Asuka to mythical proportions.


The Empress of Tomorrow had an insanely lopsided match this week against newcomer Priscilla Zuniga. Before the match, she told her TakeOver opponent Ember Moon that “this is [her] head”, then proceeded to cave in said head. After nailing a roundhouse kick and going for the cover, Asuka pulls up Zuniga’s shoulder only to continue hurting the newcomer. The Women’s Champion won via submission with the Asuka Lock.

It’s easy to say that Asuka flips and turns more than Big Show at this point, but there isn’t really a major difference to face Asuka and heel Asuka. She’s always been the cocksure champion who thrives on violence. Whether she’s faced with an opponent almost twice her size (Nia Jax), or incredibly stacked odds (the fatal 4-way at San Antonio), she walks into her fights with the same confident strut down the ramp, and so far, nobody’s been able to beat her. That's the reason she now holds the longest title reign of any kind in NXT history. That, and she'll kick your head off.


We all know her time in NXT is coming to an end soon, and with that, the brand will lose another franchise talent. Nobody’s been written as well as Asuka has been in the past year and a half, and that worries me a bit. There’s nobody at her level—maybe there will never be—but you hope that NXT will be able to create new stars to fill up the large void she’ll leave.

*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Oney Lorcan: This mini-feud had low-key delivered some of the best matches not in a TakeOver in the past months. Lorcan is slowly becoming a fan-favorite underdog who’s only getting better as time rolls by. Cien is finally living up to the charismatic heel he’s shown he could be in Mexico. The match featured crisp exchanges and solid storytelling. I’m worried that Almas facing off against the debuting Aleister Black might derail El ├Źdolo again, but it should still be interesting.

  • Tye Dillinger, No Way Jose, and Roderick Strong vs. SAnitY ended in a no contest: This feud needed to escalate as it was getting stale as it was, and thankfully it did. The numbers game had always been against the ragtag face team, but with the insertion of newcomer Ruby Riot (A.K.A. Heidi Lovelace) it evens up the playing field and gives Nikki Cross another new dance partner. That’s the most intriguing part of this otherwise dead feud. This better end at TakeOver because the men involved in this story has to move on with their lives at some point, right?


*****

Once again, we have another solid match swimming in a sea of mediocrity in this episode. Thankfully, you get the best part of the show at the first half of the show. The Lorcan/Almas match was pretty damn good, and seeing Asuka destroy people was fun, but the main event really didn’t do much for me. Hopefully with Riot involved, they can get me start caring for this feud again. It might be a little too late, though. 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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