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Smark Hen-XT (4/24/19): The Disputed ERA


During the past year or so, most people seem to have forgotten that Roderick Strong was a seasoned singles competitor due to his association with The Undisputed ERA. Relegated to mostly tag team action and stable promos, his match with Johnny Gargano on this week's NXT episode showed us why he's still a force to be reckoned with and not just another cog in the machine.


The Messiah of the Backbreaker went out alone to play off the previous story of not being on good terms with stablemate Adam Cole although I don't think anybody expected him or his teammates to just turn their backs on each other as early as this week. This did give Roddy a chance to showcase his unique offensive style without the crutch of having the ERA interfere early on as an unfair advantage.

The level playing field wouldn't last long as Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O'Reilly would run down the ramp during the closing minutes to come to their teammate's aid, which would in turn also bring out Matt Riddle for the save. Riddle took out Fish and O'Reilly, while Cole (inadvertently) continued the break-up tease by kicking Strong and hand Johnny Wrestling to pick up the victory.



While I'd love to see Strong and Cole go one-on-one in an eventual Gargano/Ciampa-like feud, I'd like to point out that prior to being part of the ERA, Strong was in somewhat of a limbo state, failing to gain much traction on the roster. Sure, he was out there having good matches, but other than that, the ERA gave him his first taste of gold so I'm somewhat iffy if I want to see CFO (Cole, Fish, and O'Reilly) without him. On the other hand, if done right, they could go (as I mentioned) the Gargano/Ciampa route and form a blood feud that could be the focus of the brand.

But with NXT's changing landscape, and the way pre-built Superstars have been appearing here and there, it might be hard to focus on a single story on the brand. We've got names like KUSHIDA, Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, Velveteen Dream, Shayna Baszler and a lot more who bring high value and also need pushes that they so rightfully deserve. When you factor in that this doesn't even involve any championships, there's the possibility that this will gain little screen time.


Wherever they run with this, I personally hope that they keep the Undisputed ERA bonded. They've got a unique thing going on as they're the only 4-man stable in WWE right now. They've got the numbers advantage and to not capitalize on that would be a mistake. They can always highlight the individuals like they did in this episode but the team should stay strong because it hasn't run its course yet—not to me, at least.

Grade: B

Not-So-Full-Sails

  • I was rather underwhelmed that Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch were the ones to save Humberto Carillo. Maybe I'm just not feeling the two nor the Forgotten Sons.
  • I know that's just the way he is but, was Matt Riddle high when they shot the exchange with Adam Cole? Nevertheless, Cole vs. Riddle is something I'm interested in seeing in the future.
  • Aliyah/Vanessa Borne's entrance music is something I'd probably hear from a TV series intro–It's catchy and I like it. Humberto Carillo's music is also surprisingly a banger.
  • Kacy Catanzaro looked a little awkward in the tag bout but she has shown promise in her previous performances so maybe chalk this one up to experience as she and Candice LeRae did get the win.
  • Is everybody hyped for KUSHIDA's debut next week? Also, Kassius Ohno is apparently back.
  • So who are the War Raiders? Where's Erik and Ivar? I'm kidding. Though, continuity-wise, it feels weird yet satisfying that we're reverting to this better name than the silly main roster Viking Experience Raiders. This may be the last time we ever hear the name "War Raiders" on TV.
  • I've always enjoyed Montez Ford's offense. This episode was no different. Do add that I was surprised with his lifting strength when he lifted Hanson Ivar.
Did you enjoy this week's episode of NXT? Are you ready to see Roderick Strong leave the Undisputed ERA? Are you hyped for next week's episode? Hit us up in the comments section below.

Photos and videos from WWE

*****

Miguel “The Migz” Llado is your supposed style icon and NXT reviewer at the Smark Henry offices. A lover of everything music, wrestling, videogames, and food, he lives his life tweeting his mind off (@the_migz) and ‘gramming random food items and locations (@tha_migz) as he sets on his journey to completely do things spontaneously. You can also add him on PSN (MigzLlado) to show your WWE2K19 (or any PS4) skills. When not being a smark, he lives his life being (and trying to be) an awesome architect, musician extraordinaire and armchair fantasy booker.

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