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    Friday, January 6, 2017

    Smark Hen-XT (1/4/17): Thunder from Down Under

    Hey guys! I’m back just in time for for NXT’s first episode of 2017. Like last week’s show though, we’re getting another extended episode featuring the Melbourne stop of the brand’s tour early in December.

    Like Stan last week, I’m a fan of this move by NXT. Outside of spoiling the main event a couple of weeks before, this was a pretty fun show. It featured solid matches, and the relaxed feel of the set-up was refreshing change of pace from the mini-RAW vibes of a regular weekly show.

    However, the main event between NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe in a steel cage felt like a rehash. We knew what was going to happen—we’ve seen the finish a few weeks back. Yes, it did fill up a lot of the gaps in the “match”—actually the highlight reel we saw—and it’s a lot of fun to see a game Samoa Joe work a match. That being said, it sort of sucks that I feel like it’s a missable match when this is supposed to end the program. Joe/Nakamura was one of the top feuds of NXT, and for it to go out with a whimper and not a bang is disappointing. Still, it’s a new year, and we’re heading into a exciting new title program between Nakamura and Bobby Roode. There’s plenty to look forward to in the coming months.


    The Rest of the Show:

    • The Revival def. Tino Sabatelli and Riddick Moss: I’ve missed The Revival work. It’s been a couple of month since their epic match against #DIY at TakeOver: Toronto, and I’m happy to see them back to their antics. They’re probably the best tag team in the world, and with their time down at NXT winding down, it’s exciting to think that they’ll start working a well-deserved main roster run. Sabatelli and Moss still have a lot to prove, but working with guys like Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder will only help them improve.

    • Tye Dillinger and Buddy Murphy def. Bobby Roode and Elias Samson: It’s nice to see Murphy getting a shot at working babyface in his hometown. He’s a solid, but not spectacular worker, who’s held a championship in NXT. He’s been wasting away, but this might be a nice reboot to his career if the brand do decide to give him a shot now. Samson was serviceable in this match, but mostly because he didn’t have to be in the ring for so long. Teaming with Roode, who completely overshadows him, helped hide his deficiencies. We know what Roode and Dillinger bring to the table, and seeing them continue their feud, even in short bursts, is great. They have great chemistry, and it’ll just taste sweeter when the Perfect 10 finally goes over the Glorious one in the future.

    • Ember Moon def. Billie Kay and Liv Morgan in a triple threat match: I’m starting to get bored with Moon. Yeah, she’s a hell of an athlete and ring worker, but without any real character (aside from “werewolf ninja lady”), it’s hard to get invested in her. Kay and Morgan have been in a feud with each other for a long time now, and it’s helped them both. It can only be an up for Moon to start getting involved with the other women in the division.

    • #DIY def. TM-61 to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship: For the second week in a row, #DIY pulls out a great title defense against hometown favorites (this time against Nick Miller and Shane Thorne), and the crowd can’t even jeer at them. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa have grown from underdog indy darlings to credible, confident champions in a short time, and it’s a pleasure seeing them bring out the best of their opponents. TM-61 did carry their weight as well and worked their best NXT match to date. While there might be a queue to the title with The Revival and The Authors of Pain lining up for the next title shots, the Aussie duo can find themselves in another title match soon if they continue improving.


    It’s been great to take a break from Full Sail these past few weeks, but NXT has to get down to business starting next week. With TakeOver: San Antonio just a few short weeks away and a card to fill up, stories have to be told and matches have to be booked. That being said, the past few weeks have given a lot of people who aren’t getting much screen time on the show some opportunities to shine, and we were treated to solid matches all throughout. This episode gets a B.

    Thoughts on this week's episode? 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 (1/4/17): Thunder from Down Under Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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