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    Friday, June 3, 2016

    Smark Hen-XT (6/1/16): The End is Nigh

    A week before TakeOver: The End, Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe face each other before their historic cage match for the NXT title. We’ll also look to next week’s card and make our predictions.

    Prediction Time

    Let’s go through the announced matches and ask the big questions going into TakeOver.

    • Shinsuke Nakamura vs Austin Aries: So who’s going to turn heel? At this point, that will be the biggest question in the mind of everyone. Both guys have shown that they have been great villains in the past, and it would really add more depth to the roster if one turns. I wouldn’t be surprised if Aries is the one to do it, as he’s the more natural heel between the two, and Nakamura is over as fuck that it’ll need something so insanely evil to get people to turn against him. I believe Nakamura’s going over, but this match could steal the show.

    • Tye Dillinger vs Andrade “Cien” Almas: Is Almas worth the hype? The man formerly called La Sombra is finally debuting at TakeOver: The End against the Perfect 10. It says a lot that the powers that be are giving the former luchador the opportunity to debut at a live special. I would have thought that they would save him for the Cruiserweight Classic, but it makes sense to start giving him exposure before that to get the hype train rolling. If only they announced this match properly on TV. Almas is going to win, but he has to be wary so he doesn’t end up being outshined by the always entertaining Dillinger.

    • The Revival vs American Alpha (c) for the NXT Tag Team Championship: Which tag team will top these two? The Revival and American Alpha might be the best tag teams in the WWE in recent history. Both have great chemistry to back up their in-ring talent. I can’t help but think that the careers of these four men will be defined by this feud, and that this will be a match-up that we’ll see a lot of in the future. Next week, though, we’ll have Chad Gable and Jason Jordan retaining their titles.

    • Nia Jax vs Asuka (c) for the NXT Women’s Championship: Will Nia Jax step up? That’s the most important question coming into this match. We know what Asuka’s bringing—pain and suffering to her opponents, if you have to ask—but Jax’s body of work has been inconsistent in the past. Which one will show up next week, the green wrestler trying to figure out her role, or the destroyer who’ll use her size to dominate her opponent? With that in mind, I think the Empress of Tomorrow should retain the women’s belt, if only because Jax isn’t ready yet. She’ll get her time with the title, but it won’t be next week.

    • Finn Bálor vs Samoa Joe (c) for the NXT Championship: Will they deliver? Facing each other in the first ever cage match in NXT history, Bálor and Joe will have to top their three earlier bouts, and that’s a tough task. Their TakeOver: Dallas match was a great match that was topped only by an insanely entertaining match that can only happen once in a blue moon. That being said, the stipulation can add more drama to the match. We know Joe can work inside the cage, but Bálor’s also shown the ability to adapt to whatever kind of match he’s in—just look at his ladder match at TakeOver: Brooklyn. Joe will retain his title, though, if only to free up Bálor to finally go run with his Club buddies on the main roster.

    That’s the card for next week’s TakeOver special. It’s a really solid card anchored by a main event we know is just going to be good, and bulked up with an exciting first time matchup and a promising debut. I’m not sure if the title is some foreshadowing of a restructuring within the brand—because if it is, they’re going to break something special here. I’m hoping this is just the end of the Bálor-Joe feud, but with the whole brand split business, it might signify a change, either in the roster, or how they do their work. It’s an interesting time to be a fan of the brand.

    The Rest of the Show:

    Tye Dillinger def. Buddy Murphy

    • The Perfect 10 picked up the win with a Fireman’s Carry Neckbreaker.

    • As Corey Graves put it, Murphy might have lost his girlfriend, he might have lost his tag team partner, but he did get his first name back. I’m worried about him, though. He looks as generic as they come, so trying to stand out will be tough for him. He’ll need to do something to break away from the Dubstep Cowboys and really shine. Might I suggest dropping the first name again? A first name like “Buddy” isn’t all that threatening. Maybe give him more of a character outside of being part of a team?

    • Tye Dillinger is an odd beast. He’s pretty over, he can safely straddle the line between face and heel, and he’s good; and yet Murphy has more of a story than he does. Dillinger is one push away from being a true superstar. C’mon, NXT, if anyone deserves it, it’s this guy.

    Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe Interview

    • I loved this segment because this has been the most we’ve had in terms of telling a story in this feud in a long time. When they’re not busy beating the living shit out of each other, actually having them talking about why this title match is important and talking about their history is making me care for this match more than anything else.

    • They really dug deep with the history between the two in this interview. There was a lot of references to their work before NXT, and they’ve meshed it well with their history while working for the yellow brand. They’ve brought it back to what started this all—that Joe felt slighted that Bálor wouldn’t stand up for him after the former answering the latter’s call to be his partner in the Dusty Classic. Bálor rebutted by saying that the guy who attacked him wasn’t the friend he called for help. This is why we should care about this match. More than anything, this is about two guys who felt betrayed by each other.

    • Joe was great on the mic. He sounded like he really did have legitimate grievances against his opponent, whereas Bálor was too focused on taking back the title rather than ending this beef with Joe. That being said, this is still the former champ’s best work on the mic; it was just not as focused as it could have been. Joe just outshined him with every exchange.

    Austin Aries def. Elias Samson

    • A-Double locked in the Last Chancery to get the submission victory.

    • Austin Aries better damn turn heel next Wednesday. He’s just so much better at it, and his promo after the match proved it. Let him be the dirty heel he can be and greatness will follow.

    • The match itself was meh, as are most Elias Samson matches. He’s a black hole that sucks out all the fun. At this point, I’m not sure who I’m more annoyed about this, Samson for having no charisma, or Creative for not booking around this obvious flaw.

    Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano def. The Revival

    • The CWC-bound duo won the match after Gargano rolled up Dawson. The former champs beat down the winners after the match, and American Alpha came in for the save.

    • The promo that set up this match was not good. It wasn’t too bad; it just felt generic. Mic work isn’t a strong suit for either team, but they really need to work on it.

    • This was a weird match to book. You had two teams who need momentum: one because of the CWC, the other because they were a week away from challenging for the tag titles. I think Creative got it right though. Giving Gargano and Ciampa the win puts them at 3-0 in three straight weeks of action (which is weird for NXT to begin with), and Dash and Dawson looked brutal in their post match beatdown.

    • Gotta love those Stereo German Suplexes from Jordan and Gable. Shit, that’s pretty.

    Nia Jax and Asuka Contract Signing

    • Nia Jax has the same problem as Charlotte in that they’re monotonous on the mic. I get what they’re saying, but since they say it in such a bland tone, it comes across as uninteresting. Hell, Asuka, who’s not a natural English speaker, did better work on the mic, especially with her screaming at Jax in Japanese. Charlotte grew into her role and her voice now sort of fits her, and I’m hoping Jax does so as well.

    • I loved Jax countering Asuka’s head kick by picking her up and giving her a powerbomb, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of Asuka being presented as a mortal woman. She’s an ass-kicking machine, and even at her lowest—when she got jumped by Emma in a previous feud—she still looked strong because she had the opportunity to push right back. Seeing her laid out with no opportunity to bounce back before the big match made her look weak.


    We got a lot of talking segments in this episode, and it was inconsistent at best. The action was good though, and the build up to the title matches were great. They had very little time to build up TakeOver: The End, but they made do with what they had and filled up it up with interesting matches. NXT has never failed to deliver on their live specials, and The End is not going to buck the trend. This episode gets a C+.

    Excited for next week? Do you agree with our predictions? 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 (6/1/16): The End is Nigh Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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