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    Monday, December 18, 2017

    Smark Hen-XT (12/13/17): Baybay and Black

    As we move an inch closer to TakeOver: Philadelphia, the battle to be part of the Fatal-four way number one contender’s match for the NXT title continues with Adam Cole (baybay!) and Aleister Black.

    Cole made his debut a few months ago in Brooklyn with his intentions clear: the NXT championship. But before he gets his hands on it though, he has to go through the enigmatic Black. Both men are undefeated, but obviously, only one will join Killian Dain and Johnny Gargano.

    This week’s episode was also a historical one for the yellow brand, as they made their national TV debut on the USA Network. WWE had a slightly different TV version, but for us overseas fans, we were blessed to have the much better Network version.

    Rest of the show:

    -Andrade “Cien” Almas (with Zelina Vega) def. Fabian Aichner in a non-title match: Yo, that Fabian Aichner guy always delivers the goods! The first few minutes of the match already made me go “holy shit”. It’s safe to say that Aichner took the NXT Champion by surprise with his springboard plancha to the outside (!!) and a tornado DDT from the top rope (!!!) which Almas sold perfectly.

    Aichner’s momentum didn’t last long when Zelina Vega distracted the referee a bit and it gave more time for Almas to regroup. The Champion sent Aichner to the steel steps and gave his patented Hammerlock DDT in the ring for the win.

    This was a fun opening match that set the tone for the rest of the episode. While Aichner was on the losing end of this match, he once again looked strong in defeat as he showed his arsenal.

    On the commentary, Nigel McGuinness called Almas’ Hammerlock DDT the Cien Dolores de Cabeza, which literally means “100 Headaches”. It's a cool name. I hope they call it that from now on.

    -Authors of Pain def. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch: Lorcan and Burch smacked the heck out of AOP early in the match, but the former tag team champions were just too much for the hard-hitting duo. After a Death Valley Driver on Lorcan, the Authors of Pain took a devastating win with a stereo Super Collider on him and Burch and a Last Chapter on Lorcan for good measure.

    One of my favorite things in NXT is quick matches with decisive victories, but the one on the losing end still going out strong. The Brit-Am brawlers (as Mauro Ranallo called them on commentary) still looked great in defeat, but they badly need some direction at this point. It will be painful for me to see them as glorified jobbers because gosh darn, these two men can wreak havoc on NXT’s tag team scene.

    -WWE Network version: Ember Moon def. Peyton Royce (with Billie Kay): It’s kind of a shame that this match wasn’t shown on TV (a segment on Ember Moon’s road to the title was aired after the Almas-Aichner match). It wasn’t an excellent match--it was actually OK--but I guess it would have done favors to more women on the roster if this made it on the TV version.


    Ember and Peyton had counters for each other’s counters in this match, which made it fun to watch, but Billie Kay’s antics on ringside made it more enjoyable. Billie attacked Ember with a brutal Shades of Kay boot after the match with Peyton joining in. Nikki Cross was great (as always) as she made the save, cleaned house, and eyed the title before leaving.

    It should be noted that Billie seemed to be fiercer than usual when she made the attack on Ember Moon. Is she frustrated that Peyton wasn’t able to do the job again? Is she sick of taking the backseat from Peyton? Whatever her reasons are, I’m certain that we’ll be seeing more of her in the future.

    -Aleister Black def. Adam Cole (baybay!) for a spot in the Fatal-4 way no.1 contender’s match: This was an excellent main event that I kind of wished went longer. But hey, TakeOver, Black vs. Cole II, huh? Huh?

    Anyway, I liked how this match played off on Cole’s overconfidence and Black’s zen-like calmness. The two-thirds of the Undisputed Era, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, were banned at ringside, so Cole assured them that he had this before he walked to the ring.

    Cole was trash talking and getting under Black’s skin right from the get-go. But whenever Cole was just doing his thing minus the trash talking, he can actually get in a lot of offense.

    But Adam Cole chose to trash talk instead. After a bicycle knee that took him down, Cole still had the guts to ask Black “What do you got?” and Black answered with a Black Mass for him to qualify for the Fatal-four way. 

    It might not seem productive for Cole to lose on a televised match right after getting the win at WarGames, but this further justifies that he needs his cohorts to seal the deal. The right man also won in Black. I mean, he HAS to have a shot at the title at some point.

    This was good and all, but can I have my Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black rematch please?


    It was also announced this week that the Mae Young Classic runner-up and MMA veteran Shayna Baszler is headed to NXT (!!).

    While last week’s main event was better, every match in this week’s show was good in their own right. Another great show from top to bottom, so I’ll give them an A.

    Photos from WWE.com

    Ardelle Costuna works at a news organization somewhere along EDSA whenever she's not watching wrestling. As someone who just recently turned to Japanese wrestling (full-time ish), she is a sucker for no-sold German suplexes, kick-outs at one-count, and whatever the hell Tetsuya Naito is doing right now. Send her your (joshi) puroresu match recommendations and watch her swoon over Kenny Omega, and Jake Lee at @ardellelledra.
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    Item Reviewed: Smark Hen-XT (12/13/17): Baybay and Black Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ardelle Costuna
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