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Smark Hen-XT (1/8/20): When Worlds (Slightly) Collide


NXT has bounced back from last week's disappointing episode by giving us yet another fully loaded show with lots of big matches and hot storylines. I appreciate how they did NXT vs. NXT UK as early as this show because everything feels so fresh. Honestly, I could get used to this setup.



The show opened with a confrontation involving the biggest female Superstars on the NXT and NXT UK rosters. Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley's interaction was a callback to their history dating back to the Mae Young Classic and NXT UK and it set up what could be a champion vs. champion match at Worlds Collide. However, the nostalgia was cut short when four other women would storm the ring.

NXT UK Women's Champion Kay Lee Ray, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, and Candice LeRae all stormed the ring to set-up a solid six-woman tag team match that also showed hints of things to come. We got some tension between Io Shirai and Bianca Belair, which could lead to a small feud. As for the NXT Women's Championship, it looks like Candice LeRae is interested in Ripley's gold as well as she promptly stared at the title after their team won the match.

I like the idea of teasing Storm vs. Ripley III and I can see it happening at a future PPV, however, with this match (and having the NXT UK ladies involve themselves on Wednesday nights), we might be seeing an overcrowded female roster on the brand. The smart move might be to move a few names to Mondays or Fridays. Maybe Io Shirai and Bianca Belair can do so along with a heavily rumored Shayna Baszler call-up.



We also got a champion vs. champion match in the form of the Gallus vs. The Undisputed ERA bout as part of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. I have little words for this match not because it wasn't good (it was really great), but I'd prefer you watch this one so you can appreciate the great tag team psychology both teams exhibited. Both teams have so much to offer that I feel it would be a disservice to tell you what happened.

The main event featured a Fatal 4-Way match involving Keith Lee, Damian Priest, Dominik Dijakovic, and Cameron Grimes. I like this matchup. It's just heavy brawling with a heavy mix of athleticism involved. Even Cameron Grimes who was slightly smaller than the other participants felt right at home.



Lee left with the win by using the Spirit Bomb on Grimes, however, all four of these men have a lot of upside on the roster. Lee will be challenging Roderick Strong for the NXT North American Championship soon, and while I don't think he'll be able to defeat the champion, I think he can use this as a stepping stone for his future main roster debut.

Dijakovic and Priest also looked great together. From their performances in the main event, things are looking good and I predict that a feud between the two could happen in the future. I just hope Dijakovic wins it if it happens. I'd hate to see him lose another big man feud. Look at where his feud with Lee got the Limitless One. That could have been Dijakovic.

In other matches, Imperium (who I predict will reach the finals) moved on to the next round of Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic by defeating The Forgotten Sons. Austin Theory got the victory over Joaquin Wilde.

Mia Yim won against Kayden Carter and also set up Chelsea Green's official NXT debut. We also got an angle involving Finn Bálor and Johnny Gargano. Plus, a Tommaso Ciampa vignette was there to hype his feud with Adam Cole.



I enjoyed a lot of the content this week. It felt like NXT found its footing once again and have set up some good matches for future storylines and introduced some up-and-comers as well. I really hope they continue this trend in the coming weeks and months, although I hope they consider shuffling the rosters a bit. It's really starting to get crowded at this point

GRADE: A

MATCH TO WATCH: Gallus vs. The Undisputed ERA

Not-So-Full Sails:

  • Time Splitters! KUSHIDA's partner was revealed to be Alex Shelley and as a fan of Shelley's past work, I'm glad he was the mystery partner. 
  • With that said, I don't see them going to the finals. I'm not even sure if Shelley is officially signed to the company or this is just a one-off deal. 
  • I still believe the tournament will end up having Imperium vs. The Undisputed ERA. I also feel the Time Splitters will have a score to settle with Imperium because of KUSHIDA's past troubles against them. Maybe a small angle between the two teams might go down. 
  • Chelsea Green's debut felt mild. The crowd had little to no reaction at all. However, I am looking forward to this new faction involving Robert Stone (formerly Robbie E of Impact Wrestling).

Who's your early pick to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic this year? Are you excited to see Alex Shelley in action? 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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