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Smark Hen-XT (9/18/19): TV Did Not Kill The Network Star


They say the first match is just as important as the last one in the card. NXT kicked off this historic night by highlighting the Women's Division in a Fatal Four-Way match involving Candice LeRae, Bianca Belair, Mia Yim, and Io Shirai. This wasn't any other match as well. The winner would get a chance to fight Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women's Championship.


I've said recently that NXT's Women's Division needs to recover from its glory days. With this match, they might just be on the right path once again. While it didn't give me the same chills I had when the Four Horsewomen of NXT all faced off from years back, I did get the vibe that these ladies were going to be one of the focal points of this new era of NXT TV. Not to mention, Candice LeRae might be a household name soon if she successfully dethrones the champ.

The top of the first of hour (which was also the main event on the USA Network) was probably the most important match of the night for me. Roderick Strong has finally captured the NXT North American Championship to fulfill the prophecy of the long-awaited Undisputed Golden Era. Strong deserves this championship run and the ERA deserve to be the focus of this era (no pun intended).


While it did come at the expense of Velveteen Dream, I'm sure he can recover and move on to better things. Dream can either go for the top prize against Cole or move to the main roster shows (not that it's a choice I would have him make.) He's already a star in his own right so he doesn't really need the gold anymore.

The true main event was actually dissatisfying for my tastes. Mind you, it wasn't part of the TV debut, rather, it was on the WWE Network⁠—this is the current set-up NXT has until the eventual integration of all two hours on the USA Network.


Killian Dain vs. Matt Riddle ended in a no-contest, which, for me, was a cop-out finish. However, the massive brawl that ensued really helped build up this notion that they're two bad-asses that could turn the whole brand upside down. This was how I originally envisioned the Keith Lee/Dominik Dijakovic encounters which is sad because I lost interest in that one but I'm all game for how this one ends.

I'd have to say, I hope this all leads to some overbooked WarGames event which could possibly encompass all the non-main roster brands—NXT, NXT UK, and 205 Live. Imagine seeing Imperium teaming up with Killian Dain while Matt Riddle forms his own team? That would be fun to watch.



The show wasn't completely special like a PPV, but it did its job in introducing all the major players in the NXT Universe. We now have a faint idea of who will be the stars of this brand and what's going to happen in the next few weeks. Plus, it did produce a lot of cameos from the other smaller brands which was a definite positive.

Grade: A-

Not-So-Full Sails

  • What's with that crazy Cameron Grimes outfit? Plus, that squash came out of nowhere. I wonder where this takes Grimes.
  • As expected, Pete Dunne got a quick match. Looks like NXT UK's former champion really might be a pillar of this new TV slot.
  • A WALTER vs. KUSHIDA match. Who wants it? *raises hand*
  • With the online buzz that 205 Live will slowly be absorbed into NXT programming, would Imperium's appearance also lead to speculation that NXT UK's stars could appear regularly?
  • Lio Rush's appearance came out of nowhere but he's a welcome addition. I'd rather see him here than just some silly mouthpiece in Bobby Lashley's corner.
Are you happy with this first episode of NXT on the USA Network? Did you think they put the focus on the best Superstars to carry the brand? Are you glad the Undisputed Golden Era is upon us? 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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