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Smark Hen-XT (8/16/17): Before We Were Roodely Interrupted



Hello everyone, it's ya boy Ro taking over for a swamped Jocs for this week's edition of Smark Hen-XT.

This week's main event is the much-awaited showdown between Roderick Strong and Drew McIntyre for Strong's right to face whoever's NXT Champion after Takeover: Brooklyn III.  The match is wonderful, especially the frantic and brutal last few minutes right before Bobby Roode comes in and derails the whole thing. Strong and Drewie Mac (brotherbrother) have some excellent chemistry as two bruiser types (I could watch Roddy throw backbreakers and Drew beat him up all day) but I would like a do-over with a small tweak. You see, Strong was working as the pseudo-heel, dominating McIntyre for most of it, and that doesn't make any sense at all considering Drew has a huge size advantage. 



Strong still works best as the plucky underdog suddenly breaking backs from underneath, and we only saw a glimpse of that in the final act. Drew is defending his opportunity at the title and his potential reign, and he's bigger, so it only makes sense that he should be the one applying all the pressure on the guy chasing a shot.

Anyway, since Roode interrupted the match and hit Roddy first, that should mean Roddy wins via DQ and gets the shot anyway, even though no result was announced. This is NXT though, so expect them to address it in the right time. This also makes Bobby (BobbyBobbyBobbay) look pretty dumb in securing another shot at his title, but he's an arrogant, irrational heel, so that's fine.

But this whole thing is hiding a bigger problem. For some reason, NXT General Manager William Regal is forever bound to book singles matches for the title, probably because he's secretly trying to make the brand the WWE version of New Japan Pro Wrestling. (What did you think he booked Liger for?)

This, to me, had always been the weirdest part of NXT writing. While that's a noble vision to go for—being as good as NJPW in creating legendary singles feuds—they're just not there yet. As long as they're not there, they need to capitalize and maximize on all the indy stars they've been hoarding. Why couldn't this title match be a triple threat? It's not like Strong doesn't make sense being in this match; in fact, he makes it even more must-see considering he's been Roode's main nemesis for the past couple of months. Drew just won the contendership. It seems like they're so set on the long-term that they're passing up short-term opportunities right in front of them that would also build their future.

I'll be watching this match on Sunday (local time), but I know for sure that I'd be even more interested if the guy they were trying to get in it were actually part of it.

*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • Asuka/Ember Moon contract signing: Yo... Ember Moon talks weird. She's trying to be larger than life and dramatic but it comes off like an aspiring teenage wrestler trying to find her voice. Tell her to keep her intensity low-key instead of trying to balloon it, it'll sell better. Meanwhile, I wish we got at least one heavy English line from Asuka.
  • Street Profits def. the team of Lars Sullivan and Chris Silvio: I AM ALL HERE FOR THIS. Two Street Profits matches in a row actually betrays how shallow the NXT tag division is but these two are entertaining enough. Montez Ford is gonna be a star one day. The Lars Sullivan story is hilarious, and it's actually a subtle way of writing a gray tweener character—he doesn't want to keep kicking his teammates' sorry asses, but he's being left with no choice. You can't tell if he's a face or a heel, because we've all been saddled with the urge to beat up an associate dragging our asses down at least once in our lives. Keep Lars this way, but also have a long-term arc planned for his character. As Regal said, that was his last shot at a tag match.

  • Ruby Riot def. Billie Kay (with Peyton Royce): It was there. The Iconic Duo beefing with Ruby Riot just because she has tattoos isn't really compelling, and Billie Kay still isn't good.



*****

It was a relatively quiet episode of NXT, with the main event being good but not really great. Only the tag team segment was the other thing worth any buzz, so this week gets a B-. (Also, Jocs, man you're harsh.)

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

Photo from WWE.com and @WWENXT on Twitter


*****


Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul. He likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account.

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