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Smark Hen-XT (1/29/20): BROOOOOOOOOO!


We're one week removed from Worlds Collide and the Royal Rumble but there seems to be little acknowledgment from those PPVs on this week's episode. This is very uncharacteristic (and somewhat of a missed opportunity) considering that a few things stuck out from those PPVs that would've benefited the NXT Universe.

Things like Shayna Baszler almost winning the Royal Rumble match, Matt Riddle being eliminated early on, Bianca Belair (and Shayna) setting a record for most eliminations in the Women's Rumble and Keith Lee holding his own against Brock Lesnar were not even mentioned, which is ridiculous because those were big feats on their own. Instead, the card went on like the two PPVs were (almost) non-existent, which is a little weird for me.



With that in mind, it's time to move on to the meat of the show.

This week's focus was the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. As I've said over the past few weeks, the pairing of Riddle and Pete Dunne was a surprise hit and they continued their innovative partnership in this bout. The Grizzled Young Veterans were also entertaining in their own right and I'm glad they were able to showcase their unique skillset in this tournament.

The Bro-serweights won the tournament, which is a delight, however, something does stick out like a sore thumb. As our Editor-At-Large Stan Sy pointed out during one of our discussions at the Smark Henry offices, how can the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic claim that they're elevating or honoring tag teams when the majority of winners have been makeshift teams?



Three out of the five winners were main-eventers that worked together to defeat established teams (well, except the first iteration of this tournament). Yes, the Grizzled Young Veterans received that main event rub from facing off against two big names in the NXT Universe, however, they still lost. They won't be carrying the tag team torch (or cup).

The Bros, on the other hand, will be facing The Undisputed ERA again—this time, as a tag team, rather than AS singles competitors (as they did months before). Again, I just feel this is a wasted opportunity and a cop-out way to keep Riddle and Dunne in the main event. Yes, I would've probably enjoyed the GYV against the Undisputed ERA because it will feel fresh and it has never happened in NXT's history.



Moving forward, a lot of the matches on the card weren't really that attention-worthy in my head.

We had Finn Bálor start a feud with Trent Seven (and Tyler Bate by extension) that was teased after Worlds Collide—I believe this is the only mention of that PPV on the show. It was okay, but I felt it was just a waste because they could've done this better. Why do I somehow sense that Seven is always the bait when it comes to Bate feuds? He's a solid wrestler in his own right but I think he can be a star on his own as well.


The same goes for Dakota Kai/Tegan Nox. They finally went ahead with the rivalry and did something with it after weeks of seemingly putting it on the bench. This is a little sad for me because, by this time, is anybody still interested? It's been over a month since that initial confrontation at TakeOver: WarGames 2019 and the heat may have died down by now.

Meanwhile, it looks like Keith Lee will likely feud with both Damian Priest and Dominik Dijakovic in the foreseeable future. Shotzi Blackheart seems to be getting a solid push in the brand as well (I'm amazed that they did a tank entrance for her). Chelsea Green is likely headed in the reverse direction as she hasn't won a match since debuting. The Robert Stone Brand may be headed off to a rough start but somehow, I'm interested to see how this develops.


The show took on a weird direction, however, as I said, the real focus was on the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals. It was an okay episode, but it did leave a lot of questions and had me scratching my head at times. Watch it, if only just for the tag team finals.

Grade: B
Match to Watch: Broserweights (Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake)


Not-So-Full Sails:

  • No Shayna Baszler. No Rhea Ripley. No Bianca Belair. Seriously? Where were these wonderful ladies?
  • I'm a fan of The Undisputed ERA. I also enjoy Tommaso Ciampa's work. This week? I didn't feel that backstage angle they did. It might be just me but I felt meh about it.
  • What's up with signing contracts in blood? I'm looking at you, Ciampa and Bray Wyatt.
Did you agree with the decision to crown the Bro-serweights as the winner of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic? Is Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte a match you would like to see happen at WrestleMania? Are The Undisputed ERA's championship belts in danger at TakeOver: Portland? Hit us up in the comments section below.

Photos and videos from WWE

*****

Miguel “The Migz” Llado is your master NXT reviewer at the Smark Henry offices. A lover of music, wrestling, videogames, and food, he lives his life tweeting his mind off (@the_migz) and ‘gramming random food items and locations (@tha_migz) while he pursues his musical career courtesy of his band The Mox (TheMoxPinoyGarageRock). 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 as an awesome architect, musician extraordinaire and armchair fantasy booker.

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