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Smark Hen-XT (7/24/19): Priest Be With You


Damian Priest is getting a strong push in NXT and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

It's not because he lost to Matt Riddle during his initial and only appearance as Punishment Martinez. It isn't because he gives me the "generic big man who hits hard" vibes. It isn't even because of how I feel about his finisher. There are about two things that bother me with this push that I'd like to talk about right now.


First off, this push feels like Dominik Dijakovic's original run prior to his injury. I remember when Dijakovic would steamroll over competition only to run into a face-off set-up with another hard-hitting up-and-coming Superstar. This was how Dijakovic and Keith Lee ended up in a feud that was abruptly put on hold. This is also how Priest's run has been so far⁠—only in a condensed version⁠—eventually facing off with the same man, Keith Lee. It's another case of "The Irresistible Force" versus "The Immovable Object."

Speaking of Lee, he's the second reason I worry. See, he just lost to Priest in their match this week. If you haven't already noticed, Lee's in a bit of a downward spiral at the moment. In fact, he's hasn't really done anything noteworthy in a span of almost a year. Now, he's being fed to Priest, which isn't too bad but still not desirable for someone who had shown promise before.



This is not to say that Lee hasn't been impressive. Watch his match on this episode. Heck, watch a bunch of his matches prior to this one. He's a talented Superstar with a lot of upside so it's a bit of a mystery why his position on the roster isn't a little elevated. You may chalk it up to bad luck but I feel they could've thrown Lee a bone.

Lee's happy-go-lucky attitude isn't helping his case either. He reminds me more of Tracy Morgan—not just because of his looks—due to his laughing, joking, and smiling and chumming around. It also gives him less credibility when you can't take him seriously. At this rate, I could make a comparison right now and say he's becoming Bull Dempsey 2.0. Huge, strong, and athletic but much more entertaining than Bull.


The parallels don't even end there and that's why I'm a little worried. If Lee represents Dempsey, then I can see Priest representing RAW mainstay Baron Corbin. Priest can be tagged as a leaner, meaner, and better Corbin. And if these two are parallels to the Dempsey/Corbin feud, do remember how that turned out⁠—with Corbin getting a solid push and Dempsey slowly fading into obscurity.

If Lee's luck doesn't change anytime soon, then it's not far off that we see him being relegated to being a jobber or, worse, getting released from the company. It should interesting to see how Lee will bounce back from this string of bad luck and regain his footing. It's also worth noting that this is a big rub for Priest and that it probably won't be far off until we see him challenging for the NXT North American Championship.

Grade: B+

Not So Full Sails

  • Jordan Myles' smiling schtick reminds me so much of Apollo Crews' facial expressions. In this case, I feel it's a little detrimental because it might be hard to take him seriously if he overdoes it. Actually, thinking about it, Myles, Crews, King Booker, and even pre-Hall of Pain Mark Henry were characters who smiled a lot. I wonder why this is the case?
  • Bianca Belair continues to climb up the ranks again by defeating Xia Li. However, It may be a little late for this. I'd love to see her mix it up on the main roster instead.
  • While it was a commendable effort, Roderick Strong's mic skills just didn't do it for me. The gap was really noticeable, especially after Velveteen Dream's effortless promo.
  • Remember "Evil" Emma? These are the vibes I got when I saw Io Shirai. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because I also enjoyed Emma's shift to a more serious side before and I am feeling the same for Shirai.
  • Adam Cole is golden on the mic. If the Street Profits can show up on RAW just to cut promos, wouldn't it be smart to see Cole (and the Undisputed ERA) wreak some havoc on SmackDown Live?

Are you disappointed with Keith Lee's position in the card? Did you enjoy Io Shirai's first match as a heel? Are you excited to see Pete Dunne mix it up with the rest of the NXT roster? 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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