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    Friday, February 19, 2016

    Smark Hen-XT (2/17/16): Unanswered Question

    This week, controversy once again reigns as Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe faced each other for the right to face Finn Bálor for the NXT Championship.

    So, who is the Number 1 contender?

    Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe faced each other in singles competition for the first time in NXT TV and we got what you’d expect when two of the best NXT has to offer meet each other: a great main event. One, though, that is marred with controversy.

    It started off pretty even, as the Samoan Submission Machine used his strength advantage while the Likeable One used his wits and agility to vie for control. Joe’s stiff striking turned the tide to his favor, but Zayn—never one to back down—fought back as hard as he can. After wiggling his way out of the Muscle Buster, the former NXT Champion hit the Helluva Kick only to have both his shoulders down as well when he pinned Joe. This forced referee Drake Wuertz to call this match a draw.

    There are three things I’d love to point out in this match. First, man, the balls to go with this booking has to be applauded. It’s not gonna be popular, but it does give Creative a reason to give us another match between these two guys. I have to wonder, though, did they know that another Wednesday night wrestling show decided to go a similar route? Granted, it probably was just coincidence, but it sure as well fuels comparisons between the two excellent products.

    Second, while both guys gave us their best, we can’t forget the third man in the ring, Drake Wuertz. He has to be one of the most assertive referees I’ve seen in the WWE. Maybe it’s because he’s a former wrestler, but I’ve noticed that in most of the matches he works, he really gets physical with his refereeing. But the finish has to be his best work to date. It takes a lot of guts to stand up to authority and stand your ground. When he discussed his decision with NXT General Manager William Regal, he had this calm assertiveness in his delivery. He couldn’t give Regal a Number 1 contender because, in his eyes, it’s a draw. Compared to referee Danilo Anfibio’s reaction to the initial triple threat match (where he was just saying “I don’t know”), Wuertz looked like a boss.

    Lastly, with the Number 1 contendership still in limbo, what’s next for NXT Champion Finn Bálor? I understand Bálor’s pretty much absent during NXT episodes aside from the short backstage interviews and the occasional non-title matches, but at some point it’s going to get tiring. I’m more invested in two guys who aren’t champion right now. At this point, the only reason I’m excited to see the NXT Championship match at TakeOver: Dallas is that whoever goes against the Demon would have gone through hell just to get there.

    So we’ll probably get another match between Zayn and Joe, and just that thought alone is exciting. If this match was any indication, it’s gonna be another slobberknocker. I’m just hoping we finally get an answer for the question we’ve been asking for the past six weeks: who’s the Number 1 contender?

    The rest of the show:

    Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady, and American Alpha def. NXT Tag Team Champions Dash & Dawson and Blake & Murphy (w/ Alexa Bliss)

    • The babyface quartet picked up a win after nailing Dawson with the Grand Amplitude and the Rocket Launcher.

    • Not sure why Dawson ate the pin here. You’d think either Blake or Murphy would be the one to get pinned to protect the champs. Then again, if American Alpha is the future of the division, why didn’t they get the win for their team? Why give Enzo the pin?

    • The four teams in the match, together with the Hype Bros and Vaudevillains, make for a tag team division that’s six—actually more like five and a half—deep since they are all talented and ready to go at any given time. That’s a division that can cover for a miserable one in the main roster on its own. Now tell me why they couldn’t find an opponent for the New Day at Fastlane.

    Asuka def. Deonna Purrazzo

    • The most dangerous woman in pro-wrestling destroyed Purrazzo after a series of stiff blows and a kick to the head.

    • Again, I’m surprised with NXT’s comfort level with giving unsigned talents mic time and interactions with top talents. That being said, with Purrazzo having recently received a tryout, the Jersey native should fit in nicely with the rest of the women of NXT. It could be ages before she gets into the title picture, but she can help bolster a division in need of future stars.

    • Nothing new with Asuka, and that’s not a terrible thing. At this point, she’s competing with Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe to figure out who can deliver the most entertaining squash match. That is how dominant she is already.

    Tye Dillinger def. Alex Riley

    • The Perfect 10 rolled up A-Ry to get the win.

    • Either Riley is a hobo now (and if that's the case, he’s out-hoboing Elias Samson), or he’s trying to look like Triple H if Based Haitch was allergic to showers. Anyway, I’m thankful for the commentary team actually trying to explain the new A-Ry. Blaming Kevin Owens for making Riley snap is a great nod to continuity.

    • There are two things that make Tye Dillinger work as a comedic face. First, the “Perfect 10” gimmick is simple and actually funny. The cartwheel in the middle of the match, the hand gestures, and the victory lap are over as fuck and actually makes me laugh. Second, he can actually go in the ring. The problem with a lot of comedy faces is that they’re never given a chance to show that they can wrestle, and wrestle well. With NXT giving him a chance to work, Dillinger can show people that he’s not all about the ridiculous 10 chants. I’m not saying the gimmick would work in the main roster, but maybe he’s one of those guys who doesn’t need the to be on the main roster.


    Another episode in the books and we’re nowhere closer to getting Bálor’s dance partner at Dallas. No worries, we did get one hell of a main event and a pretty decent undercard. Asuka was once again on point and the Tag Team division showcased some of its best talent. The finish, while controversial, is enough reason to generate interest. This show gets a B+.

    What did you think of the main event's finish? Who do you want to see face the NXT champ? Let us know in the comments section!

    Photos from WWE.com


    Jocs Boncodin (@caboncodin) is a Managing Editor of Smark Henry. He answers tweets by day and watches wrestling by night. An aspiring writer, Jocs spends most of his idle time fantasy booking angles and overthinking wrestling storylines. A big fan of the WWE, his introduction to the local online wrestling community Smark Gilas-Pilipinas has opened his eyes to the wonders of puroresu and lucha libre. He currently handles Smark Hen-XT, smarkhenry.ph's weekly NXT review.

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    Item Reviewed: Smark Hen-XT (2/17/16): Unanswered Question Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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