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The MMC With Smark Henry: The Empress's Last Stand


Hello all, and welcome to the very last edition of The MMC With Smark Henry (for the year). If anyone's been looking for this, I apologize as last week was pretty stacked, being the WrestleMania go-home week.

Funnily enough, after 11 weeks of the first-ever mixed-gender tag team tournament (which should be a bigger deal than they made it seem), the finals of the Mixed Match Challenge was the only time I felt like the tournament, the prize money, and the competitors ever meant something. For one episode, the presentation felt like an episode of (current) 205 Live or NXT.
Teams and their motivations for picking their respective charities to represent were explained—something I wish every team got so that those who were making early exits didn't feel disposable. Beyond the novelty of intergender teams, the other important point of this tournament were the charities, anyway. If you weren't going to put over teams like Nia Jax and Apollo, couldn't you have at least put over their charities?

And the most important moment of this match: EVEN MORE INTERGENDER WRESTLING! Here's Charlotte making the most out of her father's history with the Miz:


Look at that. Going up from Sasha's dropkick on Bobby Roode last week, the Miz takes a full spear and figure four from Charlotte. Now I'm thinking the whole tournament was a social experiment, conditioning the WWE audience to slowly accept ladies fighting dudes. Granted, the dudes can't hit the ladies back yet, but we'll get there someday I hope.

And knowing what we know about what happened at WrestleMania, Asuka beating Charlotte here is at least one win for the Empress of Tomorrow. It kind of makes Charlotte's successful title defense just a little more sensible, even though there aren't any outright connections between the two matches.

For the tournament as a whole, it ended up being a nice, sometimes underrated diversion from the main shows if you were interested in it at all. It had some moments as good, clean fun, but as an afterthought it was pretty obvious as an afterthought, considering there is a lot of potential in intergender wrestling.

I hope that when WWE relaxes on these things again (and there are some signs of this happening) the next iteration of the Mixed Match Challenge could take it up a notch.

Mixes and Matches

  • For a moment, I was wondering why Big E and Carmella were on comment section duty, until the commentators helpfully pointed out the fact that Carmella was studying these two closely for a potential cash-in.
  • That said, this finals matchup is a good way to give one last boost of promotion for the SmackDown Women's Championship match at WrestleMania. It may be the only reason why the lukewarm Robe Warriors managed to make it this far, but tying it all together is a good move.
  • Beth Phoenix reacts so late to things Cole and Graves say so much that Cole has to step in and clarify between the two.
  • Loving Miz's work, calling back to the forgettable time he was a babyface and Ric Flair was his father figure. I thought I was going to be disappointed that they wouldn't be referencing this, although the commentary team didn't talk much about it.
Photo from WWE

*****

Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry, one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, and is associated with Philippine Wrestling Revolution. 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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