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    Friday, June 23, 2017

    Smark Hen-XT (6/21/17): Slobberknocker

    Add Aleister Black vs Kassius Ohno to your list of great NXT TV matches. It’s a damn surprise we’re getting this on TV; this could've kicked off a TakeOver and it'll be a highlight.

    We know Black and Ohno are two of the best strikers in the company, so it was a no brainer that this match was going to be good. It started a bit slow as both guys traded wrestling chains, but once they decided to throw kicks and punches, we got the hard-hitting match we expected. Ohno was in control for a good portion of the match and even teased some good heeling when he started mocking his opponent and talking some trash. Both men traded stiff punches and boots that look legitimately painful, and the hectic finish was just perfect. Seeing Black nail the Black Mass heel kick to a running Ohno was beautiful.

    This was a star-making match for Aleister Black. This is the first time since his debut that we’ve seen the Dutchman work a match longer than two minutes, and it did a good job at revealing his potential. We’ve never really seen him in trouble, and having him work from the bottom is a great way to flesh out his character in the ring. We’ve seen the calm and collected assassin, but seeing him get rattled by Ohno’s taunts and letting out his aggression shows me that he’s more dangerous than it first seems. Black has main event star written all over him, and the more he develops his character and showcase his storytelling abilities, the quicker he’ll find himself at the top of the card.

    Kassius Ohno is great as NXT’s elder statesman. He’s been around the block before, and seeing him work with the new stars is nice. I loved that he started working as the heel in the middle of the match. He’s still a babyface, but by taunting and talking trash to his opponent—basic heel work, to be honest—he accentuated Black’s babyface gimmick and made everyone look better. It’ll be interesting where Ohno goes from here. He’s good, but he hasn’t won any big matches. The video WWE posted on YouTube post show might tell us there are cracks showing on his honorable façade, and this adds a wrinkle to his program with Hideo Itami.

    NXT knocked one out of the park with this main event. You can’t go wrong with putting two great talents with excellent chemistry together and giving them time. In this match, both guys’ stocks were raised and the fans went home happy. We’re all winners here.


    The Rest of the Show:

    • Ember Moon def. Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay): The time off was a blessing in disguise for Moon. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the time off did well to keep her moves feel fresh. She also looked strong when she fought back from an injury and the two-on-one advantage to pick up the win. Royce carried her part of the match; her storytelling was on-point as always, and she has great chemistry with Moon. It was a good way to kick off the episode.
    • SAnitY def. The Ealy Brothers: Hey, Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe are still around. I like the that it’s those two who’s sticking around as SAnitY’s tag team, as Killian Dain works better as an enforcer and a singles monsters. This was a quick one-sided match that hopefully puts SAnitY on the map in the tag team division. It adds another solid team to the division and gives Young and friends something to gun for.
    • Sonya Deville def. Rachel Evers: This wasn’t all bad. Evers looked pretty generic in the ring, and Deville appeared lost for some moments. But when the Jersey native started moving, she looked good. She brings a good intensity and an interesting look to the women’s division, and if she put it all together and make her gimmick work, I don’t see why she can’t be a future star in the division.
    • Backstage segment between Roderick Strong and NXT Champion Bobby Roode: Oh man, Roode was great here. He was every bit the arrogant, cocky champion NXT needs him to be. From the way he ordered the photographer around, to the verbal jabs he threw at Strong and his family, to challenging Strong to a title match, everything screamed self-important prick. They did a good job at continuing this program with such a short segment.


    NXT bounced back from a mediocre episode last week to deliver a solid show top to bottom. Ember Moon’s back and she looks primed for another title shot. SAnitY gives the shallow tag team division more toys to play with. Deville’s still green, but she shows promise. And we’ve got a homerun in the main event with Black and Ohno delivering the goods in a hard hitting and exciting match. This episode gets an A.

    Thoughts on this week's episode? Let us know by dropping a comment below!

    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 (6/21/17): Slobberknocker Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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