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    Friday, April 1, 2016

    Smark Hen-XT (3/30/16): Texas Rising

    On this go-home edition of Smark Hen-XT, we look at the card for TakeOver: Dallas and make our predictions.

    Prediction Time

    Unlike my previous TakeOver previews, I’ll be doing something a bit different with this one: I’ll be framing each of my predictions through a question. I’ll still be saying who I think will win, but more importantly, I’ll be pointing out some things you can consider when making your own predictions. Let’s get right to it.

    • Apollo Crews vs Elias Samson

      Question: Why should you care?

      This, honestly, screams throwaway filler match. With very little story and even less hype, it’d be easy to treat this as your bathroom break. That being said, at least one of these guys has the makings of a star. Crews, with all his freakish athleticism, is just a few tweaks away from being a major player in NXT. He just lacks the nuances in his gimmicks and that makes him flat and one-dimensional now. With all the new signees, it’s understandable that he got lost in the shuffle, but with the right packaging, he can easily find his way to the top. On the other hand, I don’t like the Drifter and I see very little value in him, unless he goes full on batshit crazy. Expect Crews to come up on top and start making his way back to the main event scene.

    • Austin Aries vs Baron Corbin

      Question: Will Corbin ever get to the top of the card?

      Creative want us to think of Baron Corbin as a future top heel in an NXT dominated by indy darlings. He’s owning the role of arrogant, WWE-manufactured superstar, but he just can’t seem to find his way to the top of the card. Having him face another indy standout in the form of the debuting Austin Aries seems more like a bad idea than a good one. While yes, he’'ll be working with another great vet who can make him look strong, he’s locked into a match where nobody expects him to win. It’s highly unlikely they’re going to book Aries to lose on his debut, with so much fanfare surrounding him. If this continues, Corbin's going to become one of those guys with so much potential and so little to show for it. Aries goes over in this match, and he'll probably be screamed at to return to, I don’t know, NWA or something.

    • The Revival (c) vs American Alpha for the NXT Tag Team Championship

      Question: Which team is the division’s top dog?

      At this point, everyone who’s been following NXT knows that Jason Jordan and—more importantly—Chad Gable get pro-wrestling. American Alpha is a team of competent athletes who also understand the need to entertain. They exude confidence and charisma in the ring and out of it. Not to be outdone, though, are the tag champs The Revival. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder’s moniker fits them perfectly; they’re a throwback to old-school tag specialists. There’s nothing glamorous about their style, but it sure is effective at hurting people. Both teams are great and are capable of holding down a division filled with potential, but only one team’s coming out of Dallas as NXT Tag Team Champions. I’m predicting American Alpha taking their first taste at gold.

    • Bayley (c) vs Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship

      Question: Who do you cheer for?

      It’s seldom you actually get two faces going at it for the title. Add the fact that these two women are incredibly over, and it becomes a pain to decide who you want to back. Bayley’s the kind of champion you can market the hell out of. She’s attractive, affable, and really talented. Her fan-base spreads across most demographics, from young kids looking for a hero, to adults who just wants to see pure joy in the world. Asuka, however, is the best wrestler in the division in terms of in ring talent. No one is more technically sound than she is. She’s a purist’s dream champion, and the NXT universe is full of people like that. So who do you put over? I’m thinking Asuka wins this bout, if only for the fact that Bayley can then follow her fellow horsewomen to the main roster and spread Hug Life to the WWE universe. Asuka can reign over NXT's women's division as the dominant beast she is. One thing for sure though, this could be your match of the night.

    • Shinsuke Nakamura vs Sami Zayn

      Question: Will Triple H’s gamble pay off again?

      Admit it, these two guys are arguably Paul Levesque’s greatest gambles. He already risked a lot when he gave us an unmasked Rami Sebei, and that paid off when Sami Zayn transformed into the biggest babyface in the yellow brand. Now he’s taking another risk by bringing in the biggest star in Japan and making him perform in the WWE. They’ve pushed the Nakamura acquisition as a big deal, and TakeOver: Dallas is the first step of proving his place in the WWE jungle. But between his age and his recent injuries, you have to be wary of how he’s going to perform in the long run. He’s going to get all the support he can from Based Haitch, but at the end of the day, it’s still up to the King of Strong Style to show the WWE universe that he’s the real deal.

      This will be a great match, but I’m not sure if Nakamura’s expected to tone down his style, if that’s even possible. Fellow Japanese stars Hideo Itami and Asuka have transitioned to the "WWE-style" at different rates, so there isn’t a real measure we can use to predict that. I’m expecting the debuting Nakamura picking up the win over the exiting Zayn, but it might not end up being the mind-blowing match some people want it to be. I say temper your expectations.

    • Finn Bálor (c) vs Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship

      Question: Should Bálor turn heel at TakeOver:Dallas?

      I’ve been wanting the NXT champ to turn heel for the longest time. The reason is simple: I think it’ll add more depth to Bálor’s bland gimmick. He’s been showing more intensity in his work in the ring when he’s not wearing the war paint, but it feels a little too late. Now—with the impending arrival of his Bullet Club cohorts—everybody expects him to turn heel at Dallas. Here’s the thing, though. If Bulletproof/Bálor Club/whatever they plan on calling the team does debut on TakeOver, then Bálor has to win. If he loses after he turns heel, it hurts the faction’s credibility. It would make more sense in the long run to let the Demon lose clean as a face then turn him heel afterwards.

      What about Joe? We already know what to expect from him, and having him win the title gives NXT a great champion that can help put over the brand’s next big face. Samoa Joe is leaving Dallas your NXT Champion.


    That’s it for my predictions. TakeOver: Dallas is once again poised to steal people’s attention with a stacked card filled with interesting matches. If history repeats itself, the main roster is going to have to work hard to make sure WrestleMania doesn’t get overshadowed.

    Share us your predictions by dropping us a comment below!

    Smark Henry, together with out friends from Wingman and Philippine Wrestling Revolution, will be hosting a live NXT TakeOver: Dallas viewing party tomorrow at Wingman U.P. Town Center. Show starts at 10 am and admission is free! We'd be glad to see you guys come over and enjoy it with us!

    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 (3/30/16): Texas Rising Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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