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    Friday, August 25, 2017

    Smark Hen-XT (8/23/17): Such a Tease

    I feel like WWE is playing hard to get when it comes to the WWE United Kingdom Championship series. They’d hype their shit up and even crown a champion, but we’re nowhere near a getting the series the division deserve. They’re stuck with sharing a minuscule amount of time on NXT or working the UK independent scene. But the past few TakeOvers have driven this desire home: I want the WWE United Kingdom Championship show, and I want it now.

    Call me a demanding punk, but TakeOver: Chicago gave us one of the best matches of this year between Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne. These are two guys are honestly the future of the business, and they followed it up with months of silence and a dark match in Brooklyn. That is a damn shame.

    It’s easy to get behind the UK division lads. They’re not just good; they’re fresh. They’re offering the WWE Universe a taste of something different. We don’t usually get their caliber of technical grappling from anyone in the company, and giving them the opportunity to showcase it to a larger audience with more regularity can only help the brand grow, and make WWE some money.

    Take the main event tag match between Moustache Mountain (Bate and Trent Seven) against Dunne and Wolfgang. That was a damn fine match for the short time it was given, and they were even able to sneak in some narrative beats, with Wolfgang making it clear that he wants a shot at his partner’s UK Championship. Bate and Seven are great individual wrestlers, but as a team, they’re smooth AF. Dunne is easily one of the best heels in the WWE right now. These are guys you don’t hide away in the indies. You have them under contract—use them!

    I get it, the UK lads have a freedom not present anywhere else in the company. They can show up in PROGRESS and wreak havoc. Dunne just defended his title in ICW. They have mobility, and that’s something rarely anyone gets if you’re under contract with the WWE. But this comes at a price. Without locking them down, you’re not making the most of the potential in this division. You’re taking eyes away from WWE to a certain extent, and unless they’re planning to buy out every UK promotion, WWE isn’t profiting financially in this set-up.

    If the WWE goes all in on these guys, it’s going to be a win-win situation for everyone: the talents get a global platform to perform, the WWE Universe gets a shiny new toy to play with, and WWE plants its flag on a major wrestling market.

    I’m not sure when I’ll see the UK division represented again in a WWE show. I hope it comes soon. But as along as they don’t have their own show, they’re being underutilized, maybe even more than the cruiserweights. Come on, WWE, give us the UK series.


    The Rest of the Show:

    • Lars Sullivan attacked No Way Jose: Yes! A thousand times yes! I don’t hate No Way Jose, but I find him boring. Sullivan, on the other hand, is an interesting beast. Seeing him maul Jose was great, and if this sets up Sullivan’s first singles feud, then it’s a fine stepping stone.

    • Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay) def. Sarah Logan: Royce is clearly the better talent of the Iconic Duo, and it showed here. She’s smooth in the ring, and played her character well. There’s a reason why WWE superstars in the women’s division keep bringing her name up when asked who they want to see called up. I’m not sure if she’s ever getting an opportunity to hold the NXT Women’s Championship, but it’d be a damn shame if she doesn’t.

    • Video Package Galore: Man, WWE really knows how to make video packages, do they? It made a great show look even more exciting. Adam Pennucci and his team deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.


    Honestly, this is a missable episode, but that’s fine. Let NXT bask in the glory of TakeOver: Brooklyn III some more, because they definitely deserve it. If you love the UK division lads as much as I do, you’d definitely want to watch the main event at least, but the all the in-ring action in this episode was fine. The video packages should help you catch up as well if you’ve missed out on TakeOver (on that note, WHY?) This episode gets a B.

    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 (8/23/17): Such a Tease Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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