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Smark Hen-XT (10/2/19): Man of the Hour


I'm starting to get the hang of this new NXT. Similar to last week, they started and ended with a bang while putting filler matches with big names in the middle. I'm just a little disappointed that the momentum fell a little flat this week because, as I said in a previous review, I was expecting that all major storylines and titles would be showcased weekly.

This wasn't the case as we didn't really get any major follow-up to Finn Balor's debut, and who the next challenger for Adam Cole's NXT Championship would be—although it was implied that Tommaso Ciampa was gunning for him through a post-match angle. Sure, we had short vignettes for Balor, but somehow it doesn't feel as big of a deal because he wasn't physically present.


Talking about the matches, our surprise for the night involves Lio Rush becoming the new NXT Cruiserweight Champion. It might be too soon for Rush to be put in this spot after disappearing from the main roster, but my take is the new NXT along with its assimilation of 205 Live need a new guy to be the face of that division. You may or may not like Rush, but at least it's fresh. The dude's talented as hell so I'm not complaining despite his rumored backstage behavior.

Roderick Strong faced off against Isaiah "Swerve" Scott in this week's Undisputed ERA segment. I remember declaring that the ERA would be the show's focus so I'm glad they're at least doing that. Roddy and Velveteen Dream are still feuding while their segment seamlessly transitioned into the previously mentioned angle with Ciampa.


Rhea Ripley, Cameron Grimes, and Bianca Belair all got their semi-weekly build-up. I'm especially surprised at how hard they're pushing Grimes. Apart from his loss against Jordan Myles, he's won almost every match he's in. That, and he seems to be getting more screen time than his contemporaries. Ripley and Belair, on the other hand, are seemingly headed into a collision for the right to dethrone NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler.

Lastly, the main event involving WALTER and KUSHIDA was good. It wasn't a show-stealer for me but it deserved to close off the night. I'm just unhappy they skipped a week to follow-up this feud. It does take away from the momentum when you have to wait an extra week to find out what happens to the rivalry. Still, I'm glad that it was WALTER who KUSHIDA suffered his first loss to.


If they're going to continue the old model of NXT highlighting a different set of storylines every week instead of telling a continuous cohesive story weekly, they're going to have a tough time beating AEW. It used to work before because they had such little time, but growing the show to two hours means they have the time to showcase, focus and build the stories properly. I've never seen RAW or SmackDown Live continue storylines every other week, so why should NXT do it that way?

Grade: B
Match to Watch: Lio Rush vs. Drew Gulak (c) for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship

Not-So-Full Sails

  • Breezango's entrance was fun. It wasn't too comedic but still fun enough that I can take them seriously.
  • Ever-Rise is the new jobber team on the block. The Brit-Am Brawlers are (probably) now above somebody on the pile.
  • This is not a totally NXT episode-related statement: With the Forgotten Sons being a heavy focus last year, why are they missing from the recently announced WWE 2K20 roster? Well, Jaxson Ryker's there at least.
  • Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic will face each other again next week? Again?

Who won this week's #WednesdayNightWar? Are you still excited for another Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic match? 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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