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Smark Hen-XT (11/13/19): Slowly Descending Into Madness


Every week, we're pitting AEW Dynamite and NXT against each other because they're direct competitors. This is why every match, every segment, and every appearance counts. The stakes are just too high that one wrong move can spell disaster for one show, while a right one can mean a leap towards success for the other.

This week felt like NXT lacked the oomph that it needed to blow AEW out of the water. Not only that, but it feels like portions of the episode were missteps that didn't really add value to the show or to the upcoming PPVs which will showcase the brand. I'm going to talk about the good things first before casually sliding over the stuff which didn't matter much to me.


Arrogant Finn Bálor is a treat to watch. To see him berate Johnny Gargano and also set his sights on Matt Riddle is interesting. I would've loved to see Finn vs. Johnny, however, maybe NXT realized that there's more money to be made in saving that for a WrestleMania-weekend TakeOver. By the looks of it, we're getting Finn vs. Riddle instead, which isn't really a bad consolation in my opinion.

The Bálor/Riddle segment led to an appearance by The Undisputed ERA. Riddle found himself at the center of the ring surrounded by the ERA boys, which again led to appearances by Tommaso Ciampa and Keith Lee. This seamless nature of things is what makes me love watching the stories unfold.


I'm also glad that Lee is getting off on the right foot once again as he was the focus of this segment. He tried to bait Adam Cole into a match, which then diverted into a non-title match against NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong. Lee looked really strong so it'll help build his character up once again. Meanwhile, Strong was the perfect opponent because of their recent history.

All of this ended with Dominik Dijakovic coming out for the save during an all-out brawl between the WarGames competitors. It's probably just me, but I just thought this made zero sense. I had already wondered why they held off from adding Dijakovic from the start. Maybe they'll be able to come up with a better narrative than me, but this part really made me wonder why they only did it now.


This wasn't NXT's best night as it felt lacking. I didn't really appreciate the other matches as well because with NXT being involved in two big PPVs, filler matches like Xia Li vs. Aliyah and Isaiah Scott vs. Bronson Reed felt like real filler material. It's not that they were complete wastes. They were just lacking any reaction from me. Plus, Aliyah is possibly injured after that stiff kick.

If not for the Angel Garza vs. Lio Rush match and the Io Shirai vs. Mia Yim match, I would've given this show a C or a C-. The matches mentioned were really PPV-quality so the episode was somewhat saved. Still, the show felt like a sad rollercoaster ride that had some memorable moments but couldn't quite go into overdrive.

Grade: C+

Match to Watch: Angel Garza vs. Lio Rush (c) for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship

Not-So-Full Sails:

  • Bayley made her appearance to remind everybody that it's not only WarGames that Shayna has to worry about.
  • My previous statement also effectively (albeit unofficially) makes NXT the best brand in WWE. They're part of two consecutive PPVs. They're the real MVPs.
  • What if Team Ciampa's fourth man is... Johnny Gargano? I know it's a stretch, but #DIY would garner a really solid reaction.
  • Kay Lee Ray being added to the Shayna Baszler's Wargames team was a surprise addition. No seeds were planted for this. However, it does make sense because they're both champions.
  • On this note, could Mia Yim be kicked out for losing the advantage match? Could we then see Toni Storm make her way to the Ripley team? It's a wild guess but it's still possible at this point. 
Who won this week's edition of the #WednesdayNightWars? Is NXT biting off more than they can chew with TakeOver: WarGames and Survivor Series? Did you like the new additions to both WarGames matches? Hit us up 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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