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Smark Hen-XT (2/14/18): Reunited


The women took the center stage in NXT TV's Valentine's Day episode, as Ember Moon put her NXT Women's Championship on the line against Shayna Baszler in a rematch from TakeOver: Philadelphia.

There was no love lost during the 10-something minutes between Shayna and Ember. It was what it was: a (not-quite) match to put the Pirate Princess, Kairi Sane, into the title picture. But it doesn't mean it was no good; it was short but sweet and filled with psychology and callbacks to their TakeOver match.


Compared to Shayna, Ember's character work still needs some improvements, but I'm liking where this is headed. An Ember Moon protecting "her" women's division from people like Shayna and upholding the code of honor and respect are good focal points of what she's all about. They can also further tell the story of Ember being too reckless at times, just to prove that she is on top of the women's food chain.

Kairi being inserted into the title picture is going to be an interesting one as well. The inevitable Mae Young Classic finals rematch between her and Shayna will be great, and I'm curious as to how the Creative will book a babyface vs. babyface match with her and Ember if or when the time comes.


*****
Rest of the show:
  • Pete Dunne def. Roderick Strong to successfully defend the WWE UK Championship: Have I mentioned before how these two men are really good at this wrestling thing?

It was a pleasant surprise to open this week's episode with a title match, and Roddy and Pete gave the crowd an appetizer that can actually stand on its own as the main course.

There were no nail-biting false finishes in this, and to be quite honest, a title change isn't really expected whether you read spoilers or not. But this is still excellent, hard-hitting stuff from two guys who could physically hurt your body just by watching their matches.

Pete worked on Roddy's hand early on, and it quickly paid off in the end because Roddy was losing his grip on his hand when he tried to apply his backbreakers. You see, I learned that from the commentary that added so much... psychology, if you will, to the match.

I can sincerely say that Roddy deserves to have gold around his waist in the future because he is one of the most consistently solid guys in between the ropes, but I understand that not everyone gets to be champion. Hey, I can dream, right?

As for the UK title scene, I feel that it needs a bit more thrill from its challengers since after, well, Pete's defense against Tyler Bate from weeks ago. Sure, his title defenses are some really good stuff, but I guess we need a bit more depth in that division.

  • Aleister Black wants the NXT title: Aleister clearly made his interest for the NXT title after getting a win over Adam Cole in a physical match at TakeOver. Except SAnitY's Killian Dain wants a shot at the title, too.

A feud built around the main gold is a tale as old as time and it will always work, but what made this more effective is the seeds were actually planted ahead of time. Black and Dain were both involved at the Fatal Four-Way match from months ago, and they were built as forces to reckon with in the last few weeks.

I can honestly say that I marked out hard in this segment and I cannot wait for them to show off their stuff.

*****

This episode was a bit on the meh side, but it still continues to build for something much bigger as TakeOver: New Orleans comes closer. Next week is a must-watch with the career-versus-title match between Johnny Gargano and Andrade "Cien" Almas, but for this week, this gets a B.



*****
Ardelle Costuna works for a news organization somewhere along Timog Avenue whenever she's not watching wrestling. A renewed fan, she only knew of Shawn Michaels' (her wrestling first love) retirement just two years ago. She's currently drowning in a lot of shows she missed, but she's loving every minute of it. You can catch her crying over some damn good wrestling and swooning over Kenny Omega at @ardellelledra.

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