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Smark Hen-XT (5/31/17): Son of a Bitch


Tommaso Ciampa is a bad man.

The Psycho Killer kicked off this week’s episode with a promo to explain why he turned on Johnny Gargano, and it was a solid one. The best heel promos have an element of reality to them, and this was felt throughout Ciampa’s time on the mic. He explained his frustrations—his injuries and people deeming him replaceable—and he delivered this with bitterness that felt real. He blamed the NXT Universe and Gargano for selling him short. Yes, there were several logical leaps made, but the promo made sense in its own deranged way.


Ciampa’s going away for a while, so it makes sense to keep Gargano out of TV for now. With Ciampa gone due to a knee surgery, they’ll need to milk Ciampa’s swerve in Chicago for what it’s worth. By keeping Gargano away, they’re selling how vicious the post-match attack was. The real challenge will be figuring out when the right time to bring Gargano back will be. It can’t be too soon as the beatdown will look weak, but not too late that people will have lost interest already. When Johnny Wrestling does return, it’ll be up to him and the Creative team to keep the feud going in Ciampa’s absence. That said, this promo does a good job at setting up the future feud when both men are ready to go.

Tommaso Ciampa might be injured, but don’t get this wrong: when he returns, expect him to fulfill his promise. He might very well be the most dangerous son of a bitch on NXT.

The Rest of the Show:


  • WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne def. Danny Burch: I’ve enjoyed the British division matches in NXT, and this one is not different. Both the champion and his opponent are great technical wrestlers who love to brawl, and this match was a great way to highlight both guys. Dunne continues to prove he’s the future of the division with a solid match and promo, while Burch is the lowkey workhorse that’ll push the division’s stars to the moon.

  • Cezar Bononi def. Andrade “Cien” Almas: NXT is slowly making the whole unfocused Superstar angle work with Cien, and this upset win by Bononi (who El ├Źdolo had dominated the whole match) is a step in the right direction. This is a trope we’ve seen happen in most major sports—a talented young superstar blinded by fame—and it’ll be interesting how the Creative team will continue this angle.

  • Roderick Strong and Kassius Ohno def. SAnitY: This was a good, but not great, main event. The talent is surely there, but since this has been a match type we’ve seen multiple times before, it starts to lose its luster. We had a good twist in the clusterfuck that was the finish when No Way Jose returned to even out the numbers, but even with Strong picking up the win with the End of Heartache, it feels like NXT has gone to the well way too many times with this angle.

*****

NXT’s streak of solid episodes stays true this week with another great show. Sure, Ciampa’s injury is a bummer, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they did a good job of laying the foundations for the feud. It also helped that all the matches this week were good. You can feel that the show’s getting a bit more focused with the way it tells its stories, and it’s clearly benefiting from the great booking. This week’s 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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