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Smark Hen-XT (3/29/17): Off to the Happiest Place on Earth


IT’S PREDICTION TIME! With a couple of days left before TakeOver: Orlando, let’s take time this week to check out the card and set my expectations for each match. The pressure is on for the yellow brand to deliver a great show—it is kicking off WrestleMania weekend, after all—and with this being their home crowd, they’ll need to pull out all the stops. Let’s go through the card:


  • SAnitY vs. Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, No Way Jose, and Ruby Riot: PLEASE LET THIS BE THE END OF THIS. It probably won’t be, but a boy can dream, right? The inclusion of newcomer Riot is a bit out of the blue, but it adds another dimension to the match, as it gives Nikki Cross someone to tangle with. That said, I’m just over this feud. Give the babyface foursome the win, and let’s get the blow-off ASAP.



  • Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Aleister Black: This is a head scratcher for me. El Ídolo doesn’t have the best record when it comes to TakeOver matches (he lost his last two), but it’s clear that Cien’s finding his stride as a heel. The debuting Aleister Black might get some comparisons to a certain former WWE Champion from Chicago, but that’s not a bad template to pattern yourself off of. I’m guessing Cien plays doormat for the Dutch kickboxer, and that’s sad since he could be a charismatic top heel. Black will win his debut.


  • The Authors of Pain (c) vs. #DIY vs. The Revival in a triple threat elimination tag match for the NXT Tag Team Championship: This is a simple formula: get the best teams in NXT and make them fight. AoP are finding their groove as monster hosses, #DIY are the believable underdog team that everyone loves, and the Revival are still the best tag team in WWE TV hands down. The elimination stipulation is great since it gives us essentially two different matches in one, and any iteration of the closing two teams present interesting combinations. AoP wins here.


  • Asuka (c) vs. Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Championship: I want Asuka to retain here really badly. I’m not buying into Ember Moon yet, since her character is shallow (even for NXT babyface standards). That said, Creative seems willing to buy into her stock, and Asuka is ripe for a call-up, so Moon winning is a lock. Moon will be your new champion, and I’m not sure that’s the best call for the division.


  • Bobby Roode (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Championship: It’s a bit weird that they’re saying that the “fate of NXT is in the balance,” whatever the fuck that means. Nakamura’s time as champion was unbalanced, and I don’t know what to think of Roode’s run. I’m so used to feeling that the NXT Championship storylines have been playing second fiddle to the tag or women’s title, so me not really caring for this match isn’t a surprise. Roode has to win this though, just for the sake of stability with the title. No more hot potatoing the title.

NXT can deliver on good shows when they want, and this being WrestleMania weekend, they really do have to pull off a great show. The elimination Tag Team Championship match is my not-so-sleeper match of the night. Do I think it can overshadow Mania? Nope, but it will probably fight tooth and nail.
*****

The Rest of the Show:



  • Dash Wilder def. Akam and Johnny Gargano in a triple threat match: This was great and a lot of fun. It really plays off a lot of each team’s strengths. Akam was a monster, Gargano was the underdog, and Wilder was a smart and cunning heel. The finish was brilliant as it drove the point that the tag match is going to be the one to look out for during TakeOver.

  • Heavy Machinery def. Mike Marshall and Jonathan Ortagun: Pretty fun squash match. This new team looks like a good midcard team as they look capable enough in-ring with a touch of comedy mixed in. I don’t think they’ll be anywhere near the Revival or #DIY’s level, but they should be good for some good pops.

  • Kassius Ohno def. Elias Samson in a loser leaves NXT match: This was the reintroduction we should’ve gotten from Ohno. He needed a “big” match to reintroduce the Knockout Artist to the NXT universe. Yeah, we knew he wouldn’t lose, but the stipulation did feel special. It could’ve been used to build him up before the title match. Samson leaving is fine. He’ll probably end up in the main roster soon, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him jobbing on RAW—if only to hear Corey Graves destroy him again. If he can generate the same heat the way he did in Full Sail, he’ll have a good career as a heel jobber. I still hate him though.



*****

The show itself wasn’t all that bad, but as a go-home show, it felt like a dud (surprisingly a thread for the whole week in WWE). It didn’t quite hype me up for TakeOver: Orlando as much. This episode should’ve gone a week or two before, and it would’ve made more sense. Only the tag title match got a significant push here. The matches are good though, so this episode gets a slightly better B this week.

Thoughts on this week's episode? Excited for TakeOver? 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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