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Smark Hen-XT (10/2/19): Everybody (Balor's Back)


This week was the official start of the #WednesdayNightWars as NXT went head-to-head against AEW Dynamite. While the news has already indicated which show got more viewers, NXT put up an awesome night of wrestling and stories. While they lost the ratings game this time, this isn't really indicative of anything yet, and on a personal level, I believe NXT can bounce back in the weeks to come.


It's a bold move to start the card with the NXT Championship match featuring Adam Cole facing off against Matt Riddle. To start the show with the most coveted prize on the brand is a declaration that the rest of the show will be nothing but spectacular. I'll say it right now, this match is worth your time. I'm sure on a different night, with this on the card, NXT would've shot up the ratings. This was easily a five-star match for me.

I wondered why they pushed through with the match when they already announced that Cole was injured, but looking at it now, it was the perfect set-up to help him retain the title without making Riddle look weak. They might've even established that it was Riddle's fault because he broke Cole's hand the week before.



This win also helped set up two important moments of the night—the return of Finn Balor, and the return of Tommaso Ciampa.

I'm not sure which return was more surprising, but to me, it was Finn's. While we already knew weeks prior that main roster Superstars moving back to the brand would be possible and encouraged, no one really expected Balor to go back. He's a former Universal Champion and Intercontinental Champion, for crying out loud. He's not like previous returnees such as Tyler Breeze or Fandango.

With just four words, he set the tone of the new NXT and also implied that he's also gunning for Adam Cole. "Finn Balor is N-X-T!" he said as he vehemently posed for the crowd. Never have I ever seen an eruption so organic and loud. This was reminiscent of Daniel Bryan's Yes Movement on a smaller scale.


Tommaso Ciampa's return may have been more subtle, but again, like Balor, he made it clear that he's out to get what he feels is rightfully his. His staredown with Cole at the end of the show implied that he was back. He was back to get his precious Goldy.

It looks like I was correct in assuming that the Undisputed ERA will be the focus of the shows moving forward. Incidentally, just as leader Adam Cole started the night, it was also their main event match which ended it.


Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly defeated the Street Profits to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships. Again, while no titles were really expected to change hands on this night, it felt good seeing all four men continue to fulfill the prophecy while establishing their villainy by using heel tactics to retain.

Roderick Strong wasn't scheduled for the night but his presence was more than welcome, especially during the last minutes of the show.


I'll tell you, AEW might have had more viewers, but quality-wise, I think NXT put up the better show this week. That's not to say the whole night was perfect. I felt one or two matches may have been duds, but the surprises and other matches easily helped cover up those mistakes.

Grade: A-

Match to Watch: Matt Riddle vs. Adam Cole (c) for the NXT Championship

Not-So-Full Sails

  • I noticed a lot of new camera angles used during the show. You can really see that they're trying to make this NXT feel like a whole new thing.
  • Io Shirai's apron 619 to Mia Yim is a spot I'd like to see more of. In fact, I'd just love to see more of Shirai to be perfectly honest. Give this woman the championship, please.
  • I think they pulled the trigger too early for Shane Thorne vs. Johnny Gargano. It was good but it was also very bland. The same could be said about Candice LeRae vs. Shayna Baszler.
  • The worst match would have to go to Pete Dunne and Danny Burch although it was used as a primer for the Dunne-Priest feud. Damien Priest vs. Pete Dunne is a feud that I didn't know I wanted to see until now.
  • Considering that NXT is now two hours, I actually thought all storylines would be featured weekly as we move forward. If so, where were Imperium and KUSHIDA?
  • Was Wale really needed? Why do I feel that Montez Ford could've done a better job of hyping the Street Profits up?
Who did you think won the first #WednesdayNightWar? Are you for #TeamNXT or #TeamAEW? Who would you like to see return to NXT next? 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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