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Smark Hen-XT (8/21/19): Riddle Me This, Killian


I've previously talked about Matt Riddle's apparent removal from the main event scene in passing. This week, however, Riddle's supposed burial takes center stage as he ate a loss from the returning Killian Dain. I'm still unsure whether this was a part of the story they're telling or if the rumors of him being punished are true.



This string of beatdowns is noticeable because Riddle had always been portrayed as a cut above the rest. He was made to look strong even while losing and racked up wins against the top stars—he even defeated Kassius Ohno with a one-hit knockout in his first TakeOver match.

His push may be attributed to the timing of his debut—a time when the main roster was picking up NXT's best. It left the impression that Riddle was the next big name to climb to the ranks. Prior to this feud, he already had his sights set on Adam Cole, which would've been made him a contender since Cole held the NXT Championship.

This is why seeing him on the losing side baffles me. The timing does make it seem like his comments regarding Goldberg (and the other legends) have affected his status. But then again, would WWE really go the extra mile just to punish him? Would they really risk burying a character they've invested a lot in just to teach him a lesson?



The most logical explanation I see is that it makes Killian Dain's return to the brand more impactful. Dain had just started to gain traction when SanitY was suddenly put on SmackDown Live—a draft that saw them being used sporadically in the brand. So he really hasn't been given an opportunity to shine as a singles star.

Setting up the feud this way puts Dain in a position of power. The initial monster squashes have already built him as a force to be reckoned with. Riddle can still get a big babyface boost if he wins since he's being portrayed as an underdog in this rivalry. In the end, both could come out as bigger players in the revamped NXT.

With the move to the USA Network and the oversaturation of the main roster, more big names have started to pop up in the brand. The aforementioned Killian Dain, along with Tyler Breeze and Fandango, are just some of the names who've returned to the Black and Yellow Brand to add star power. Not to mention, up-and-comers like Jordan Myles, Damian Priest, and KUSHIDA are also moving up the card.



Establishing the pecking order is necessary, especially now that they have a two-hour show to fill. This storyline is a good way to put a focus on the characters involved and should lift both Riddle's and Dain's statuses.

Grade: B

Not-So-Full Sails

  • It's good to see Shane Thorne find himself an interesting plot. He hasn't really done much since Nick Miller's departure. Will he play a role similar to Kassius Ohno's or will this see him raise his stock to get a push?
  • Likewise, it's always nice seeing the NXT Breakouts get TV time. This week, it's Bronson Reed who gets exposure.
  • The Dominik Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee feud may be hard to get behind now because... how long has it been since they last interacted?
  • I know these episodes are taped but why couldn't we get Jordan Myles vs. Adam Cole on the debut show instead?
What are your thoughts on Matt Riddle's standing in NXT? Are you happy with how Killian Dain's return to NXT is being treated? Sound off 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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