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    Friday, July 21, 2017

    Smark Hen-XT (7/19/17): Cut the Fat Off

    Remember when NXT was considered the most indy brand WWE puts on television? Remove the unnecessary drama of RAW and just focus on in-ring competition, and you had NXT at its best. While the main roster might be catching up with this formula (maybe aside from the occasional overtly telenovela-esque but still entertaining “illegitimate son” angles), the yellow brand’s still better at doing more with less.

    Ember Moon and Ruby Riot both want a shot at Asuka, so let’s have a match to see who’s ready to face the NXT Women’s Champion. Simple, right? Both women are talented enough in the ring, but by giving them a simple story to anchor their match, it makes much more sense for them to start knocking each other out. Moon’s still one of the best workers in the company with her mix of agility and strength. She’ll fly with the best of them, but she’ll throw a mean right hook as well. Riot’s punk rock aesthetic meshes well with the frantic energy she has in the ring. It might not look polished, but her moves look effective. Plus, she sold everything in that last minute of the match like a boss. Moon might have won here, and in all likelihood one step closer to a rematch with Asuka; but both women looked strong at the end of the match.

    Killian Dain and Drew McIntyre are two tough motherfuckers, and they both want the NXT Championship. Again, this is a very simple story to tell. By officially calling this a #1 Contender’s match (something Moon/Riot should also have been, but technicalities), you give some context to the violence. It makes more sense for Dain to bust out a Vader Bomb, or brush off McIntyre’s finishers because there’s a title shot on the line, and that helps SAnitY with their goal of taking over the brand. McIntyre’s whole gimmick is about gunning for the title, and putting him in a #1 Contender’s match makes sense with his character. He might not have been as dominant as in his previous matches, but he looked great overcoming a beast of a man on his way to a date with Bobby Roode.

    NXT works best when they’re very efficient with their storytelling. It doesn’t need 20 minutes of promo time to explain things when most their top guys can do more with a match. With only an hour to play with, they’re honestly a better show when they don’t overthink everything and instead focus on the matches.


    The Rest of the Show:

    • Oney Lorcan def. Danny Burch: Whoever thought of putting Burch and Lorcan together for a match deserves a raise. We got a five-minute slugfest that decided to eschew technique and just go for broke with every punch. Burch bleeding the hard way might have been an accident, but added to the appeal of the match. Lorcan won this round, but it’s clear both men aren’t done with each other. I, for one, am excited to see more of this.

    • No Way Jose def. Cezar Bononi: Well, everything can’t be perfect now. Jose picked up the win in a squash match, and that was boring stuff. The post match beatdown by Almas on Bononi was nice—good job on them for keeping up with continuity. I like the idea of giving Almas a manager who can hide his weakness on the mic, but I’m confused about why they haven’t introduced Thea Trinidad properly. I’m also not entirely sure I’m excited about a Jose/Almas feud.


    This week’s episode was great. Most of the matches were wildly entertaining and well worked. Plus, everything made sense. Most of the matches had simple but effective stories that helped accentuate, not drown, the action in the ring. Even the Jose/Bononi/Almas segment was serviceable when it furthered Almas’s story. This episode gets an A.

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

    Photo 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 (7/19/17): Cut the Fat Off Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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