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    Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Smark Hen-XT (7/11/18): Never Disputed Ever

    Apologies once again for missing another column last week. Life has been hitting me like a cannonball lately. So before we begin, I'd like to thank everyone for staying with me through this glorious, crazy, black-and-yellow roller coaster ride that is NXT. There's just so much great wrestling right now, and I'm honestly having difficulty catching up with it (I mean, you've read my bio below). But I assure you—or unfortunately, however you'd like to look at it haha—that we'll still see each other around. For the meantime, I'm going to step down from this column for a while and ensure that you guys are going to be consistently smarky with someone else.

    Anyway, enough with the long-ass introduction and farewell...

    This week's main event saw Undisputed ERA reclaim the NXT Tag Team Championships from the white-hot Moustache Mountain in OH MY GOD THAT WAS THE BEST NXT TV MATCH I HAVE EVER SEEN. *insert so many crying emojis here*

    It's been long established that the Undisputed ERA has just so much chemistry with British Strong Style, and that was no different in this match with two-thirds of BSS in Trent Seven and Tyler Bate. While the ERA are such cool heels that they get cheered no matter what they do, Roderick Strong and Kyle O'Reilly reminded us that "Yeah, sure, cheer for us all you want, but we're good at this thing and we know it, so we'll rip Trent Seven's leg off of his knee."

    It was a long stretch of Seven struggling to stand and tag Bate in, but whenever he'd get closer, Kyle and Roddy sure would smell the blood like sharks, and immediately jump in to cut if off. The entire build to Tyler's hot tag was so great that I heaved a very loud sigh of relief on my screen as soon as he finally tagged in.

    It got to a point where it was so uncomfortable, it just baited me into thinking as soon as Tyler tagged in that he can actually win on his own. But knowing this is the ruthless Undisputed ERA, of course he couldn't, so when Seven got the chance, he tagged himself in, and Kyle was just relentless.

    The finish saw O'Reilly just brutally attempting to cripple Trent Seven, but the elder Seven just wouldn't give up, so Tyler had no choice but to throw in the towel. Undisputed ERA may have had a field day with their nuanced, dirty victories under their belts, but there is nothing like the the ERA winning with their sheer skill and ruthlessness. I'd like to think that we haven't seen the last of this matchup.

    I have also said it before, but just please indulge me: God, the Undisputed ERA are so good. Trent Seven and Tyler Bate are so good. Despite their association with Pete Dunne, Moustache Mountain are set as babyfaces to the NXT Universe for life.

    It's been five days since NXT's last episode. Go watch this now.

    Rest of the show:
    • WWE North American Champion Adam Cole def. Danny Burch in a non-title match: No matter how hard you wanted the "Brit" in BritAm Brawlers to win, he isn't going to get one here. Aside from the aforementioned Moustache Mountain, Danny Burch is one example that the hard-hitting, never-say-die babyface is still very much alive and well in the industry. Man, I just wished people reacted more to Burch.
    The match was good in setting up the pace for the entire show, and just as I mentioned, Burch played his part well. So is the cocky, overwhelmingly self-confident Adam Cole who kept on talking to Burch (and to himself) to psych himself up. It also served as the final page in the Undisputed ERA/BritAm Brawlers chapter, so maybe the ERA is now moving on to Moustache Mountain.

    • Candice LeRae confronts Shayna Baszler: HELL YES THIS IS THE CANDICE I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR! After Shayna's scathing comments about the NXT women's division last week where she called out Bianca Belair, Dakota Kai, Kairi Sane, and Candice LeRae (who she said should just go home and mind her husband), Mrs. Wrestling went face-to-face with the Queen of Spades for the first time since the quarterfinals of last year's Mae Young Classic and slapped the taste out of the champion's mouth. HECK YEAH! Between this and Candice's match against Lacey Evans some two weeks ago, it seems that Creative wants her to be as far from the Gargano/Ciampa brouhaha as possible and she definitely is on her way to the top of the NXT women's food chain.
    But Candice is obviously perturbed with how the locker room sees her as "just Mrs. Gargano" so it's going to be interesting how they will go about this. Are the comments going to fire her up to prove everyone wrong, or will those get inside her head and snap like Johnny Gargano?
    • Kairi Sane def. Vanessa Borne: Nice little 10-ish minute match from the women that served its purpose of building up Kairi to be a legitimate contender for the title, as well as showcase Borne's improvement. The Pirate Princess' win will surely make her white-hot for the number one contender's Fatal Four-way match next week (with Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, and Nikki Cross), but a Kairi win is already expected, to be honest. I have said it every time Vanessa Borne appears on NXT TV, but she really is steadily improving whenever she is given TV time. I'm glad that even the commentators have noticed it because they sure did put her over. They explained that she has been putting all the work in the Performance Center, and while her win-loss record sucks right now, she has added valuable knowledge every time she gets in the ring with NXT's best. Vanessa is no Bianca Belair, but she'll be great.
    • NXT Champion Aleister Black gets jumped by Tommaso Ciampa: Man, I don't know why they keep on doing this to Aleister. Before TakeOver: Chicago, Lars Sullivan had him lying down the entire time, and this time, it's Tommaso Ciampa? He obviously isn't a plucky-underdog champion; he's a fighting one, for Pete's sake, who's ready to strap his boots to take on anyone who issues the challenge. Maybe the simplest explanation is that Ciampa is a lowlife son of a gun who will take all the opportunities to one-up his opponent.
    Aside from the Ciampa/Black interaction, it's also important to point out that Johnny Gargano has been acting increasingly weird these past few weeks. Last week, he lashed out on poor EC3 after he lost to Ciampa at TakeOver: Chicago, and EC3 didn't even have anything to do with him! In this episode, he tried to warn Aleister about Ciampa being champion, and that he should not allow it to happen. Aleister brushed him off and said that he should clean his side of the fence.

    I'm here for Gargano losing it little by little every week until we reach the Black/Ciampa match for the NXT title in two weeks.

    For some reason, NXT was able to do a lot of things without feeling like it was overwhelming. The women's division now has more depth, the Undisputed ERA looked strong AF, and the title scene is more interesting as it also forwarded Ciampa and Gargano. Oh and how can we forget about the U.K. scene with that kind of performance from the Moustache Mountain? Yay for an A for this week's episode.

    Photo 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 @aandthejets.
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    Item Reviewed: Smark Hen-XT (7/11/18): Never Disputed Ever Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ardelle Costuna
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