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Smark Hen-XT (7/12/17): Go Big or Go Home


I love hoss fights.

There’s something special when you pit a couple of big guys against each other. It takes me back to the time when everything about wrestling was just larger than life. Yes, the tastes of most wrestling fans have moved towards more athletic and technical contests, but exhibitions of strength and power still have a place in modern wrestling. It’s still a spectacle when see guys like Heavy Machinery and the Authors of Pain go out and try to out-muscle each other. It might not have been the big money match people were looking for, nor was this as great as the previous weeks’ title matches, but I enjoyed this week’s main event.


AoP might have broken a bit of sweat, but nobody really expected them to lose here. It’s a bit weird to see them as the “more experienced” tag team now, considering they’ve debuted just over a year ago, but their experience working with great ring workers helped them improve leaps and bounds. Their spots looked more polished, and they had solid tag team psychology (isolate an opponent, timely tags and interferences). I might have been hesitant when AoP started bulldozing their way to the title, but they’re finally looking like great centerpieces to build the division around.

To be honest, the loss here doesn’t hurt Heavy Machinery. The challengers looked good for parts of the match, especially when Dozovic was inside the ring. He’s obviously the more entertaining half of the team, and giving him the big spots was smart. Nothing against Tucker Knight, but goddamn, Dozovic’s intensity and frenetic energy is so eye-catching. Bouncing back from this shouldn’t be too hard. NXT’s tag team division is pretty shallow at the moment, so it’ll be easy for Heavy Machinery to pick up momentum again.


Speaking of the tag team division, it looks like SAnitY’s going to be next in line for Paul Ellering's boys. I really like this call. Any combination of Killian Dain, Alexander Wolfe, and Eric Young would be great dance partners for Akam and Rezar. I’d kill to see Dain (probably the best hoss worker in NXT right now) work against AoP. The heel-heel dynamic might throw off some people, but we have weeks left before TakeOver: Brooklyn III, so there’s time to build a story here.

*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • Aleister Black def. Bobby Fish: I question the decision to have Fish debut against Black. We know everyone’s high on Black, so it felt like they’re just feeding him the former ROH and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion here. Yes, Black looks strong when he wins against solid opponents, but this match felt like a wasted debut for Fish. That said, it wasn’t all bad. It was honestly better than the other matches from a technical standpoint. Fish is a great worker with a hard-hitting but smooth technical style that’ll make for good matches, and he’s a great pickup for NXT. It just feels like this match shouldn’t have happened to begin with.

  • Vanessa Borne def. Jayme Hayche: Good lord this was all kinds of bad. If this was your introduction to the Mae Young Classic, then you won’t be excited for it. Thankfully, there are better talent in the tournament, and it’ll surely be better than this trainwreck here.

  • Johnny Gargano returned: Wow, this was underwhelming. After a betrayal, you expect the offended party to come out with fire, but Gargano undersold the emotional impact here. By focusing on his future rather than his past with Tommaso Ciampa, it puts a damper on what could be the hottest feud in NXT. What could’ve been a great moment that gives Gargano’s character arc a direction ended up highlighting how he’s stuck in neutral without Ciampa.


*****

It looks like NXT tired itself out after two great episodes and gave us a middling one this week. For an episode featuring a debut, a return, and a title match, it felt disappointing. It’s a let down considering the past few weeks have been must watch television. The episode 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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