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Smark Hen-XT (6/7/17): Don’t Play the Lottery


This week kickstarted the newest NXT Championship program between the Glorious Bobby Roode and the Messiah of the Backbreaker, Roderick Strong. Roddy started things by declaring his intention to go after the NXT Championship not just for himself, but for his fiancee and their son. This brought out Roode, who proceeded to lay the verbal beatdown on Strong who was left speechless at the end of the segment.


Right from the get-go, we know Roode’s going to be carrying the buildup for this program (as he has in most of his feuds in NXT). Strong’s strengths are not with his mic work, and putting him beside a man with the gift of gab like Roode only highlights this. That said, it’s not as if Strong is going to be dead weight. His promo was not all that bad, even if it felt heavily scripted. And when match time comes, we know Strong will do most of the heavy lifting there anyway. Expect the creative team to follow a similar formula as with Roode’s previous championship feuds: let Strong handle the physicality while Roode carries the promos.

Roderick Strong is one of the best in-ring workers in NXT. Bobby Roode is definitely the best character in the brand today. It’ll be interesting to see this feud play out. The NXT Championship feuds have been low key solid in the past few months since Roode’s entered the scene. This one shouldn’t buck that trend.

*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • Heavy Machinery def. Lars Sullivan and Victor Andrews: I love what NXT is doing with Sullivan. By giving us glimpses of an impressive power game and hiding his greenness behind tag matches, it feels like we’re getting a taste of the brand’s next big monster. It’s a shame that it came at the cost of making Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight less impressive. Being unable to take down the big man puts a damper on my excitement for a potential match against the Authors of Pain.

  • Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay) def. Sarah Logan: This was a decent match, and by decent, I mean not incredibly bad and sloppy. Royce and Kay seems stuck in midcard hell though, especially with the top of the division occupied by better talents like Ember Moon, Nikki Cross, and NXT Women’s Champion Asuka. It'll be a tough climb back to the top for the Iconic Duo.

  • Hideo Itami vs Oney Lorcan ended in a no-contest: Holy fuck, this match was great. Lorcan and Itami are two of the stiffest SOBs in the brand, and letting them slap the taste out of each other’s mouths was brilliant. Itami losing his shit and delivering the GTS three consecutive times on Lorcan was a great way to get heat. Kassius Ohno making the save was great storytelling as well; their acting was on point. The budding feud between Ohno and Itami will be brilliant.

  • Killian Dain def. No Way Jose: First off, I’m digging the “Controlled Chaos” mix Dain came out to. It’s called “Beast of Belfast,” and it’s some RPG boss fight level jam. That said, this was an extended squash to make Dain look strong. The Beast of Belfast is an athletic big man with a bright future, but with SAnitY pretty much directionless right now, it’ll be hard to see how he’s going to break out and shine. Here’s hoping a new theme might be a sign of a good singles push.


*****

This was another good week from NXT. They’re planting the seeds of two possible good feuds in Roode/Strong and Ohno/Itami, and we had mostly good segments. Seeing big guys like Sullivan and Dain being given some highlight matches is always a plus for me (go hosses!). The brand’s been one of the more consistently good shows these past few months, and I don’t see this ending any time soon. 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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