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Smark Hen-XT (6/14/17): REKT


This week’s main event was a rematch of the TakeOver: Chicago NXT Women’s Championship bout. This time though, Nikki Cross, Ruby Riot, and Asuka met in an elimination-style contest. I wasn’t 100% sold with the TakeOver match, but I was pleasantly surprised with this one.

Let’s get my one complaint out of the way first: Riot felt like the odd woman out in this match. This is a bit disappointing considering she’s one of the more promising prospects in the division. Yeah, she did fine and had good spots, but compared to the wild Cross and the dominant Asuka, Riot’s involvement felt like an afterthought. It didn’t help that the finish (that didn’t factor Riot in whatsoever) completely outshined the match itself.


With Riot out of the way, Cross and Asuka ended up fighting all over Full Sail. We’ve already had one entertaining brawl this week on RAW, so this one was a welcome sequence for me. Both women did really well in incorporating their surroundings to their fisticuffs, like when Cross actually tried to drown the champ in a cooler of water. That was cool and a bit hilarious. Seeing both women taking themselves out with a vicious table spot was great as well. Truth be told, I didn’t even know there was a table below them until they showed both women already down. That initial cut made it look like they were falling to their deaths, which amped the excitement for me a bit. There’s nothing like possibly televised murder to get me marking out.


I think the ref called the match off early, but since the fact that we weren’t getting a clear resolution in this episode was already apparent, it was fine. I hope this leads to a singles match between Cross and Asuka, something I’ve been hoping for since both women started interacting with each other. Could we get a Falls Count Anywhere match, please? We still have a couple of months before TakeOver: Brooklyn III, so this will be an entertaining program to fill the time before the inevitable Asuka/Ember Moon rematch.

The Rest of the Show:


  • Drew McIntyre def. Rob Ryzin: We’re getting to the point of diminishing returns with one-sided McIntyre matches. This honestly did not do anything new for me. I already know McIntyre is one tough mofo; there’s no need for the Creative team to keep on telling that story. If there’s one thing made clear here, it’s that the Creative team doesn’t know what to do with Drew.
  • NXT Tag Team Champions The Authors of Pain def. Anthony Dominguez & Wilmer Freyday: I’m happy this wasn’t the typical AoP squash match. Having Akam just fucking destroy everyone on his own is a good way to show how dominant the champions are. Rezar and Paul Ellering could’ve been talking about where they’d be eating after the show, and I wouldn’t have cared since I was too busy admiring Akam mauling his opponents and pulling off a wrist-clutch Burning Hammer. The post match promo by Ellering was fine, and the stare down with Heavy Machinery was okay. I like me some hoss fights, but I’m not really buying into Heavy Machinery as a top challenger yet. This just goes to show how woefully shallow the tag team division is right now.
  • Velveteen Dream def. Raul Mendoza: I’m not entirely sure how I should feel about the wrestler formerly known as Patrick Clark. I just don’t trust WWE to handle a gimmick like Velveteen Dream. Just listen to Nigel McGuinness during this match, and you can see just how callous and uncouth they are with the gimmick. Clark’s obviously committing himself 100% and working his ass off to make it work, but hearing Nigel calling him “weird “ and sound borderline homophobic isn’t doing anyone any favors.

*****

While the main event was entertaining, getting there was a struggle for me. As a whole, this episode felt like a big misstep for NXT, which is a damn shame since they’ve been consistently good these past few months. That said, we’ve still got some interesting developments. The feud between AoP and Heavy Machinery is starting, and it looks like we’re getting more of Cross and Asuka, which is good news for me. That said, this episode only gets a C+.

Thoughts on this week's episode? Let us know by dropping a comment below!

Photos 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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