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Smark Hen-XT (11/1/17): Let the Games Begin


Finally, it’s back. After almost two decades, WWE is bringing back WarGames. True, the name of the TakeOver might have given it away, but seeing this announcement still brought a feeling of excitement for me. The match is one of Dusty Rhodes’s lasting legacies in pro wrestling and having NXT be the ones to bring it back feels right. You know if there’s a brand who can pull this off with the respect it deserves, it’s NXT—especially given Dusty’s history with the brand.


That said, there are some questions surrounding the booking. WWE.com did a great job at refreshing everyone with the rules, even if the rules they posted are different from the original ones. Those familiar with the original WarGames format are probably scratching their heads. Shark cages? Timed team entries? It’d be interesting, but I can see it causing issues with NXT’s more hardcore fanbase who we know aren’t shy about voicing their displeasure. If the changes in the format start causing some confusion, expect Houston to be loud.


Another question would be how they’ll explain the team of Roderick Strong and the Authors of Pain. I understand Strong not joining the Undisputed ERA—they’re dicks to everyone—but how he’ll fit in with the bruising hoss team is up in the air. Again, there’s something interesting going on here, but I don’t know if I can buy into the team. Are they tied together by their shared dislike of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly? Maybe it helps that both have history with SAnitY. Also an interesting note: Paul Ellering was on the first WarGames match. How does his experience play into this? NXT has a couple of weeks left before TakeOver, so I hope they can provide me more explanation on how this team will come together.

All in all, there’s plenty to be excited about the return of WarGames, but the execution will need to be tight for it to work. I’m confident enough in NXT’s Creative team and the talent involved in the match that they can pull this off, but a lot needs to be on point for this to be a successful return to a novel wrestling match.

*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • Nikki Cross def. Taynara Conti: Cross dominating Conti in short fashion was a good way to close this small feud. Conti’s an interesting prospect with a great look, but she’s a year away from being a year away. The match was not Cross’s best, and there were some miscues that show a lack of chemistry between both women, but that’s expected. Conti’s extremely green, and there are few who can match up to Cross’s brawling style. It was mercifully short, and Conti got enough in to not look like a pushover, but there was no doubt Cross would go over.

  • Fabian Aichner def. Johnny Gargano: Aichner is legit. The man’s combination of strength and athleticism was on full display here, especially with a dance partner like Gargano who can make anyone look good. Speaking of Johnny Wrestling, his angle continued with another loss, but he’s still one of the best workers in the brand. At this point, I hope Tommaso Ciampa finally returns. I hate seeing Gargano lose.

  • NXT Championship Match Contract Signing: Man, NXT’s really doing some good stuff with contract signing segments. Having Andrade “Cien” Almas jump Drew McIntyre from behind was a good throwback to Drew McIntyre’s challenge to our new Lodi to ask him for the match face to face. It’s an easy way to get heel heat, and it highlighted Cien’s aggression and Zelina Vega’s cunning. Sticking the contract on Drew with Vega’s gum was a pretty boss move to end the segment as well.

  • The NXT Tag Team Championship match between SAnitY and the Authors of Pain ended in a no-contest: Honestly, this was all set-up for the major announcement to close the show, but it was a fun match for what it’s worth. It wasn’t as exciting as their previous encounter at TakeOver: Brooklyn III, but it was easy enough to show how good the chemistry between the two teams is. Alexander Wolfe remains one of the most interesting characters on NXT with his wild man appeal. Eric Young was solid as ever—his selling was spot on and he’s really showing great chemistry with Wolfe. Akam and Rezar continued to show their growth as ring workers, and how can I not love talented hosses? The match was thrown out when the Undisputed ERA got involved, and that got Regal to come out with the announcement. It’s not NXT’s best main event, but it did the job well to set up the bombshell.


*****

TakeOver: WarGames is over two weeks away, and with the main event finally set, I’m really excited for the WWE Network special. The rest of the card’s slowly filling up, and there were some good segments this week to build towards the show. Cross got a good win that should help her gain some momentum to the big NXT Women’s Championship match. The NXT Championship match was set in stone with a good contract segment. This episode gets an A-.

Excited for the return of WarGames? Let us know in the comments section.


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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