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    Friday, May 20, 2016

    Smark Hen-XT (5/18/16): Beauty and the Beast

    On this episode, Nia Jax and Bayley battle each other in the main event. Also on deck, Austin Aries and a partner of his choosing face off with former NXT Tag Team Champions Blake & Murphy.

    Payback's a Bitch

    The main event featured Bayley and Nia Jax in a rematch of their TakeOver: London affair. While this one might not have been for the women’s title, you can still see this one had title implications.

    Bayley came out fighting, only to be beaten down by the dominant Jax. This became the story of the match, and they told it so well. Take note, this is the same story they ran back in December, but better. Jax showed how much she’s improved since then; she’s more confident and fluid in the ring now. With an expanded move set—featuring a modified Cobra Clutch and an impressive spinebuster—and much needed experience on her side, she’s becoming a credible threat to anyone she faces.

    The Hugster, on the other hand, put over another potentially game changing talent and looked great doing so. Bayley’s reached the point where the outcome of her matches doesn’t hurt her. She can take a pin and it won’t matter, because people will still love her. She’s pretty much the elder statesman of the division and her job right now—post-title reign and before her call up—will be to legitimize future contenders and put them over, which she did so quite well in her previous matches. She made Nia Jax look like a star in their match, and that can only help the division.

    Even the referee knew that shit's painful.
    This match wasn’t strictly better than their NXT Women’s Championship match in London, but this was pretty good. This was the match Nia Jax needed to solidify her place at the front of the line, while taking out Bayley from the title picture for the time being. Jax will be a great first challenger for NXT Women’s Champion Asuka, and she’s shaping up to be one hell of a hurdle to overcome for our Empress.

    The Rest of the Show:

    Austin Aries and Shinsuke Nakamura def. Blake & Murphy (w/ Alexa Bliss)

    • The short opener featured A-Double and Swagsuke dominating the former NXT Tag Team Champions. Nakamura picked up the win for his team with the Kinshasa.

    • The actions itself was okay, but it was the interactions in the match, though, that were gold. The finish saw Nakamura ignoring Aries’ call for a tag and took care of business himself. Nakamura looked more cocky than confident—and those who’ve followed his work in NJPW would remember that he’s pretty much an ego-driven heel for most of his run—and Aries appeared bitter about not getting his chops in, when this was supposed to be his showcase. In a way, both guys have that same self-centered egos underneath their babyface exterior, and this is a great avenue to explore a heel turn, or at least a more nuanced character, for either of them.

    • On the other end of the side the ring, we saw Blake, Murphy, and Alexa break up. First, it was Alexa walking out of her boys, just looking tired of their failures. Then it was Blake shaking his head as he walked away from his partner, as if Murphy was to be blamed for their losses. That left Murphy just confused about what the fuck was going on.

    Carmella def. Peyton Royce

    • The Princess of Staten Island locked in her Inverted Triangle Choke on the young Aussie to pick up the submission win.

    • This was another showcase match for the now-solo Carmella. I get what they’re trying to do with her—they’re essentially trying to fit her into the Bayley mold—but I can see this failing badly. This doesn’t quite feel as organic as Bayley’s rise was, and soon enough, the NXT Universe will realize that. That could lead to serious trouble. I understand the need to build a top babyface for the Women’s division, but it doesn’t have to be another Bayley. Maybe they need an ass-kicking face for the division. You know, like their champion.

    • What’s up with the flower, Royce? I know Corey Graves tried to explain this a Poison Ivy-esque schtick, but she’ll need to explain herself at some point.

    Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa def. Danny Burch and Rob Ryzin

    Hopefully this causes Ryzin to forget his last name.
    • The Cruiserweight Classic bound duo got the pinfall after a Superkick-Running Knee Smash maneuver squashed Ryzin’s head in.

    • Gargano and Ciampa showed some really great chemistry here, but that’s no surprise seeing as they’ve been doing this in NXT for a while now. Gargano as the hot tag was an odd choice as usually the bigger, more intimidating man fills that role, but it worked out quite well with his fast-paced style.

    • With the CWC coming soon, it’d be interesting to see how they’ll book Ciampa and Gargano in the coming weeks. These two guys are going to be centerpieces in the Classic, whether they win it or not, and building them up would help get more hype in for the event.


    NXT delivered on a solid but short opener and a quality main event, but the rest of the card wasn’t quite up to par. With TakeOver: Revenge less than three weeks away, NXT has a bit more catching up to do to build the event up, and this was a step in the right direction. The opener teased tension between Nakamura and Aries, and a match between former partners Murphy and Blake would make sense in the future. The main event clearly showed that no one can stop Nia Jax as she marches towards an NXT Women’s title match. This was a solid B+ for me.

    Should Nia Jax get the next title shot? Thoughts on Aries and Nakamura?  Let us know and drop us a comment.

    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 (5/18/16): Beauty and the Beast Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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