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    Friday, February 26, 2016

    Smark Hen-XT (2/24/16): Delusions of Grandeur

    This week on NXT, Bay-mella looks to exact vengeance on the upstart duo of Eva Marie and Nia Jax. Also on deck, proof that Chad Gable is a wizard.

    An Exercise in Patience

    It’s pretty much clear at this point that any match involving Eva Marie is a tough watch. Seeing her try to wrestle is painful at times, and I’ve had to do it a number of times now. So watching a match where she got beat up almost every time she entered the ring is strangely gratifying.

    That’s the story of the main event. Eva Marie, in her arrogance, tried to wrestle, failed miserably, and had to get her tag team partner to bail her out. Bayley and Carmella tried to take advantage of the less experienced Eva Marie, but Nia Jax was effective as the enforcer, coming in at opportune times to dish out punishment on the face team. All Red Everything got the pin after her partner delivered two gigantic leg drops on a helpless Carmella.

    You can really see NXT’s writers and bookers working hard every time Eva Marie has a match. Trying to figure out how to put her in a match and try to hide her weaknesses would be an impossible task on paper, but they’ve worked it out over these past couple of months. The secret is not to hide the fact that she isn’t a wrestler; it’s to highlight it and play it out as part of the gimmick. She’s delusional, a model trying to play wrestler and thinking she’s succeeding, when everything about her was manufactured to benefit her. Creative turned her overwhelmingly negative aspect into a positive and with it, they’ve got a heel with nuclear heat to play the occasional foil to their exceedingly over faces.

    That being said, I’m not hoping for another Eva Marie match anytime soon. As much hard work as Creative has put into it, my eyes hurt and my heart sinks every time I see her walk down the ramp for a match, even if she’s only there to get punched in the face a bajillion times.

    The rest of the show:

    American Alpha def. Blake & Murphy (w/ Alexa Bliss)

    • Chad Gable and Jason Jordan nailed the Grand Amplitude alley-oop back suplex to get another win against the former tag champions.

    • I once described Gable as a “wizard” in the ring as a metaphor. I now have proof that it is true in the literal sense. The only way to explain this is witchcraft and sorcery:

    • Corey Graves and Tom Phillips were on point during the whole match. The way they explained both teams’ motivations was simple but effective. Describing American Alpha as having a family-like bond makes them more sympathetic faces. Differentiating Murphy as the short-fused, intense guy while Blake as being more of a showboat gave more character to the former tag champs more than anything since teaming up with Bliss.

    • At this point, the question isn’t if American Alpha is going to be NXT Tag Team Champion, it’s how long they’re going to hold the belts. Winning them is an inevitability, and the faster we get to it, the better.

    Apollo Crews def. Christopher Girard

    • Crews got back on the W column by pinning the debuting Girard after a spin-out toss powerbomb.

    • I like what I saw from Girard. His mannerisms are over the top and he’s vicious in his striking. I want to see what else he can bring to the table. I’m also secretly hoping for a three-man team of Girard, Aiden English, and Cesaro as angry bald men with stiff uppercuts.

    • Crews is in a weird position in the hierarchy of NXT. He’s lost to Finn Bálor and Baron Corbin already, Sami Zayn figures to remain on top of the card, and a couple of big names are coming into the brand. It’ll be a struggle to for him to remain relevant as established players are staying put on top of the card.

    Tommaso Ciampa def. Bull Dempsey

    • The Sicilian Psychopath got the submission victory after locking in the leader of Bull-fit with a bridging armbar

    • As far as comedy matches go, this was pretty good. It wasn’t too stupidly funny, but it played to both guys’ characters well. Ciampa’s straight man act worked well with Dempsey’s camp.

    • Another thing funny about this match? One guy doesn’t have a contract with NXT anymore, and the other one still doesn’t have one. I love irony.


    This episode was mediocre at best, peaking early with the opening match, only to lose my attention as the hour passed by. Not a good thing. The problem isn’t consistently delivering on good matches—most of the show was decent to solid—but it’s in making people invested in these characters and putting them in meaningful stories. That’s lacking with NXT’s messy midcard. Without any reason to invest on the guys outside the main event scene, people are quickly going to lose interest in them. And with that, this episode gets a measly C+.

    Thoughts on the episode? Let us know in the comments section!

    Photos 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 (2/24/16): Delusions of Grandeur Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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