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Smark Hen-XT (5/3/19): Back To NXT's Future


This episode marked the official debut of Japanese wrestling sensation KUSHIDA. His first official NXT match was with the "returning" Kassius Ohno who has recently been playing the role of the unofficial gatekeeper for the newcomers. Ohno may have lost this match, but it's always great to see him mix it up with the up-and-coming and newly signed Superstars of the brand.

Now the match itself wasn't anything special, however, it did give us a sweet preview of what is to come regarding the future of KUSHIDA and what the influx of new talents could possibly achieve in NXT. Specifically, newly hired Superstars who've made names for themselves outside of WWE.


Maybe KUSHIDA was a big enough star that they allowed him to keep his full gimmick. Honestly, a Back To The Future-esque gimmick sounds silly on paper and it would probably only work in Japan or in another company where quirky gimmicks are the norm, but to watch and hear the Mauro Ranallo acknowledge the name of his finish (Hoverboard Lock) and for WWE to let him keep his entrance gear is quite interesting to say the least. Has WWE accepted the fact that there are stars outside of the company who could benefit from keeping the name and branding they built when they worked elsewhere?

You can say it was the reverse for KENTA (formerly Hideo Itami) where he had to change his name. Sure, it wasn't that much of a big deal at the time, but after seeing Itami struggle in the roster, one has to wonder if the rebranding (apart from the injuries) played a part in his lack of a push. Can you imagine if Shinsuke Nakamura came in with a different gimmick altogether?



Nonetheless, with the way the brand is losing talents left and right to the main roster, some big names are really needed to hold the fort at Full Sail and I believe KUSHIDA could be one of those stars if he is handled properly. I just hope they don't bury him like they did for the previous main roster call-ups when that time comes.

Apart from the KUSHIDA debut, there wasn't really much to look forward to in this show. A six-man tag team match between the Forgotten Sons and Humberto Carillo, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch plus a Dijakovic win against Mansoor isn't really anything special so it's a pretty normal show all in all.

Grade: B-

Not So Full Sails

  • That springboard from Humberto Carillo caught serious air. I loved the way he did it because he looked cool doing so.
  • The Forgotten Sons' tag team offense is rough and brutal. Some are quite original and fit them well. It's just a shame they don't elicit that much of a reaction from the crowd.
  • I'm enjoying Velveteen Dream's random couch appearances. It's certainly different and brings something unique to the table.
Are you looking forward to seeing more of KUSHIDA? What do you think about the Undisputed ERA's subtle break-up teases? Who would you like to see come to NXT soon? 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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