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Smark Hen-XT (9/25/19): For The Empire


This week marks the final transitional episode of NXT's two-hour format. Having one hour air on the USA Network and the other hour on the WWE Network is a weird set-up even as a temporary one. It does have its positives, such as having one main-event caliber match to close out each hournot that I think they'll stop having hourly top-tier matches come next week.

The change to two hours actually reminds me of classic primetime wrestling shows of old such as Monday Night RAW (the 90's version) and WCW Monday Nitro in which each show had the proper pacing to make each story unfold properly. It also helps that it allows mini-segments to come in without us viewers feeling like they're rushing on time. Just look at that opening shot of The Undisputed ERA as an example. It would've felt like a waste of time on a one-hour show, however, here, it feels like a good transitional part now.



The same goes for the matches as well. Two hours of wrestling allows for not only more wrestling time but also, more TV time for everybody in the roster. In the old NXT, we wouldn't have seen Cameron Grimes for two consecutive weeks. Now, it feels like they're really giving him a solid push by showcasing him for the second straight week.

Three matches come to mind when talking about this week's episode because they really took the time to focus on them. I hope this becomes a standard on the reviews wherein I can actually discuss more than just one bout on the card.


First on the plate is the continuation of the Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic feud, which is starting to take shape again. Maybe I was too harsh during their last bouts but now, I'm slowly getting into it because they were just so enjoyable to watch. Maybe Dijakovic was right in telling Kenny Omega to tune in. This was definitely worth it.

Next up is the first hour's main event, which is the (possible) culmination of Matt Riddle and Killian Dain's feud. As expected, it was another banger. However, this time, there was a clear winner and his name is Matt Riddle. Oddly enough, while the action was very reminiscent of their previous all-out encounters all over the arena, the match ended via submission. Maybe this was done to allow Riddle to get a decisive win, but I would've loved to see a knockout finish after all those hardcore weapon shots.


Finally, the battle between Imperium and KUSHIDA (plus some mystery partners) was the episode's actual main event. Breezango was an unlikely team to tag with KUSHIDA but I'm not really complaining because I do like them. I still wish they'd take their act more seriously but we'll have to wait and see if their comedic roots help them garner wins in NXT.

As expected, the match was a great clash of styles. Imperium brought their technical prowess while KUSHIDA and Breezango used their quick-fire moves to keep their opponents at bay. I was surprisingly entertained because I'd never enjoyed Marcel Barthel's and Fabian Aichner's matches before.



KUSHIDA and Breezango picked up the victory but I really feel this is far from over because we got a closing shot of Imperium leader WALTER taking out the Japanese Superstar. Could we really be heading into an NXT TakeOver: WarGames with Imperium against a KUSHIDA-led team? We'll have to wait for next week for this story to continue.

In closing, this new two-hour show format benefits a lot of the up-and-coming Superstars on the roster and really helps establish the who's who of the Black-and-Yellow Brand. We know for a fact that next week's stacked card will be pretty interesting not only because it'll be facing off against AEW Dynamite's first TV episode but also because we'll be having three championship matches.

Grade: A-

P.S. Starting today, I'll be picking one match on each episode that you shouldn't miss with little or no explanation.

Match To Watch: Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain

Not-So-Full Sails

  • I'm still not a fan of the name Dijakovic. It doesn't roll off the tongue as easily as I would like to.
  • Dakota Kai is back and she's got a new look on her with her blonde locks. Kayden Carter (formerly Lacey Lane) and Taynara (minus the Conti) have new names as well.
  • It's been more than a year and I still think the Brit-Am Bruisers haven't achieved anything special as a team.
  • What does Ever-Rise even mean?
Are you looking forward to next week's jam-packed NXT episode? Are you for #TeamNXT or #TeamAEW? 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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