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    Friday, September 15, 2017

    Smark Hen-XT (9/13/17): Undisputed

    The stable of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly now has a name, and the crowd goes mild for it. It appears the newcomers are now being called the Undisputed Era (or Undisputed, depending on your sources). That’s an underwhelming name, and unless an explanation is given (outside of Fish screaming at people they’re undisputed), I’m not a fan.

    That said, the ending to this week’s episode was great in many levels. Having Cole, Fish, and O'Reilly run in after the WWE United Kingdom Championship match did a great job at establishing the Undisputed Era’s unpredictability. They’re a threat to everyone that steps inside the NXT ring. Sure, Wolfgang might be the least over member of the WWE United Kingdom division, but it does solidify the idea that no one is safe from the group's hit and run tactics.

    It also created a link between the UK division and the larger NXT continuity. For nearly eight months, the UK division had existed in its own bubble, and by having guys like British Strong Style and Wolfgang involved in a storyline outside the division, it bridged both universes and opened up many storyline possibilities for the UK-based talents. Imagine Trent Seven and Tyler Bate as Mustache Mountain bolstering the shallow NXT tag team division, or Pete Dunne fucking up everyone. It makes more sense for them to stick around Full Sail now that they can interact with everyone else in the building. Meanwhile, over at RAW, the cruiserweights are still stuck in their own little world.

    The WWE UK Championship match that preceded the run-in was a solid affair as well. It wasn’t Wolfgang and Dunne’s best match—both men’s individual bouts with Tyler Bate were more engaging—but it did highlight much of what I’ve come to enjoy with UK wrestling. The matches between guys from across the pond have done a great job at mixing the highly-technical wrestling of the British scene with the sports-entertainment aspect of WWE. The wrestling was sound, no doubt about it, and the storytelling beats and crowd-popping moments were blended in well. Again, this is becoming the calling card of the WWE UK division, and it’s a great way for the division to stand out and make a niche for itself.

    The arrival of the Undisputed Era and the opening up of the UK division to the larger NXT continuity make for some interesting times ahead for the yellow brand. With a match between reDRagon and Mustache Mountain next week, it should be a blast.


    The Rest of the Show:

    • Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross def. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay: This was a fun opening match. Pushing aside the weirdness of starting a tag team match with one team incomplete, Cross’ involvement in the match just fits her character so well. Seeing her roam around the ring before tagging herself made for some confusing but interesting storytelling. Riot’s look of confusion after everything happened was brilliant as well.

    • Johnny Gargano def. Riddick Moss (w/ Tino Sabbatelli): Gargano’s angle is great. He’s selling the idea that there’s doubt in his abilities well with his acting in the ring. The face he made after Moss forced a rope break after the Gargano Escape was brilliant. That said, it didn’t need to last as long as it did; they could’ve told the same story with less time. We don’t need 10 minutes of Moss dominating anyone.

    • Street Profits def. the Ealy Brothers: Whatever my issues are with the gimmick, there’s no denying that Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford are over as fuck. They’re a charismatic act that brings lots of energy, and that makes them stand out from the mostly serious and dreary tag team division. Ford could be a star in the making, and finding success as a tag team while he continues to hone his craft can only help him.


    This was an action-packed week for NXT, and that’s when the brand shines. With little promo time this week, each match did a great job at advancing each storyline. The interaction between Riot and Cross will probably figure in the chase for a new Women’s Champion, and Street Profits are climbing up the ranks of the tag team division. Gargano’s storyline is becoming more nuanced as we go, and the UK division is finally playing with the larger NXT universe. All in all, this was a solid week for NXT.  This episode gets a B+.

    Thought's on the Undisputed Era's name?  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 (9/13/17): Undisputed Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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