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    Saturday, October 20, 2018

    Smark Hen-XT (10/17/18): B-B-B-B-Back From The Dead

    Aleister Black has finally made his return to NXT, and the man is piiiiiissed. 

    It makes sense that he'd be in a foul mood. He was attacked and put on the sidelines last August, taking him out of the main event of NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV for the NXT Championship. Strangely, he still doesn't know who assaulted him, but I guess it makes a bit of sense if the attack happened in a dark area, where Black was knocked out before he could have a glimpse of who it was.

    Enter Nikki Cross, who's been saying all this time that she knows who it is. NXT has hinted all this time that the Twisted Sister would play a role in revealing the attacker, and reveal she did. I liked this role for Nikki Cross because it's not very often that you have all these Superstars interacting with one another despite having their own storylines to deal with. An underreported story is the fact that you have a female Superstar having a huge role in a major storyline that would typically just have male Superstars involved in it.

    The only problem I have with the way this has all unfolded is that it renders NXT GM William Regal's investigation useless. Regal wasn't even around this week to update us on what he may (or may not) have found out. Yes, there is the possibility that Nikki could have the wrong suspect and then Aleister would be unjustly striking back at someone innocent.

    But this story has gone on for far too long for us to be taken on another wild goose chase like that. With about a month to go before this year's installment of TakeOver: WarGames, it's conceivable that Aleister Black's match at that show will be against his attacker so he can get his revenge. I think it's going to be a fun story moving forward, especially with how livid Aleister looked as the screen faded to black (heh) at the end of the episode. I can't wait to find out who the culprit is. I just wish Regal found out for himself before Nikki Cross snitched to Aleister.

    One thing we did learn this week was that Aleister Black seems to be in the same business as The Undisputed ERA are in now—ruining main events and interfering in people's matches. I guess this means Nikki Cross and Bianca Belair get a third match, where we'll finally get a winner. To be fair, I actually enjoy their chemistry in the ring. But damn, I just want to see a proper ending, okay.

    This week's episode was filled with surprise appearances and returns, which did well to advance the major stories of the show going forward. We're about a month away from TakeOver: WarGames, which means the next few weeks should help those feuds be instrumental in setting the table for that show. For now, though, this episode gets a solid B. I like how not a lot of time was wasted, but I ultimately don't appreciate how Regal's investigation is somewhat useless at this point.

    Not-So-Full Sails

    • Lost in the hype surrounding Black's return was the reemergence of one Bobby Fish! To be fair, it's not like Fish was entirely invisible throughout his injury. He'd still appear during The Undisputed ERA's backstage promos to talk shit about their opponents. But it's nice to have him back as an added element to The Undisputed ERA, which should allow them to take advantage of the Freebird Rule once again. 
    • On a related note, having Fish come back to interfere during the NXT Tag Team Championship Match seems aligned with their modus operandi as a group. That should piss the War Raiders enough to want to obliterate these gits the next chance they get. I don't mind this at all because it makes us more sympathetic to Hanson and Rowe. That way, when they get their next opportunity, they'll have enough support from the crowd to warrant a huge pop when they win the tag titles.
    • Britt Baker made her NXT TV debut this week, and while she isn't signed to WWE yet, I'm hoping that this isn't the last time we'll see her on the WWE Network. I enjoyed her performance at ALL IN last month, and I think she'd make a great addition to the women's division on NXT. That said, her role this week was simple, and that is to be fodder for Shayna Baszler, who is on a mission to scare Kairi Sane as we roll towards WWE Evolution.
    • All the best in your future endeavors, Tian Bin and Rocky. We hardly knew ye. But thanks for making the Brit-Am Brawlers look good upon their in-ring return.
    • I hope Regal's announcement next week concerns his investigation and a logical WarGames match, where the teamups actually make sense. I still remember how awkward it was to see Roderick Strong with AOP in that match last year.
    Image from WWE


    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.

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    Item Reviewed: Smark Hen-XT (10/17/18): B-B-B-B-Back From The Dead Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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