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    Saturday, November 18, 2017

    Smark Hen-XT (11/15/17): TakeOver: WarGames Predictions

    War is at our doorsteps with TakeOver: WarGames just around the corner. And you know what that means: PREDICTION TIME. Let’s go through the card and see what’s in store for us Sunday morning, Manila time.

    • Lars Sullivan vs. Kassius Ohno: Why this match is on the main card rather than the WWE United Kingdom Championship match between Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano, I do not know, and honestly, it’s utter BS. Pushing that aside, NXT is clearly high on Sullivan, and pairing him with a great veteran like Ohno is a good stepping stone for Full Sail’s newest monster. No doubt, Sullivan’s going over here, but the true test will be in if he has a good outing. With Ohno probably calling most of the action here, Sullivan’s only job here is to show up and be the monster he is.

    • Aleister Black vs. the Velveteen Dream: Real talk: I’ve not made a secret of my love of this angle. Oddly, I feel like this will be the match that disappoints me the most. I know Black will be good—he just might be the best striker in the game right now—but it’s Dream that I’m worried about. The DC native has so much potential, but at this point, his in-ring work needs to catch-up with his character work. He’ll need to showcase his selling and athleticism to the fullest in this match for it to be good. Black wins here.

    • Peyton Royce vs. Kairi Sane vs. Ember Moon vs. Nikki Cross in a Fatal-4-Way match for the NXT Women’s Championship: I’m incredibly torn here. All four women have a legitimate claim to win here. Sane’s won the Mae Young Classic, Moon was so close to dethroning Asuka twice, Cross is easily one of the most over women in the roster, and Royce is the best heel in the division. I’m going with my gut here and say that Royce should win here. I like what the Aussie brings to the table in terms of crisp wrestling and great character work, and her partnership with Billie Kay makes for some interesting storylines for the division moving forward.

    • Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas for the NXT Championship: This should be a fun match. Drew’s second stint for the WWE has been great, and he’s owning the role of badass fighting champion. El Lodi Ídolo has been great these past few months, and his partnership with Zelina Vega has done wonders for his career. Expect shenanigans from Cien and his business associate—we might even see Vega getting physical once again—but McIntyre’s retaining here.

    • The Undisputed ERA vs. SAnitY vs. The Authors of Pain and Roderick Strong in a WarGames match: As historic as this main event promises to be, it has much going against it. This isn’t your grandaddy’s WarGames; those matches were a product of a different time. The change in the format alone might turn off some of the older hardcore viewers (also of note: Triple H, in a conference call, said that the cage won’t have a roof.) Factor in WWE’s poor record at handling PG violence and this could easily end up as disappointing. On the other hand, the novelty and nostalgia factor have gotten people talking about the match and the Network special, and if Hell in a Cell was anything to go by, WWE’s learning how to be creative and find the limits of a PG rating. I have faith that NXT’s Creative team can pull this off. Also, the Undisputed ERA wins here, because of course they’'re winning here. The faction is NXT's biggest signing this year, and they won't lose their first TakeOver match.

    I’m pretty hyped up for TakeOver: WarGames. NXT has done a fine job of building up most of the card, and many of the matches are genuinely interesting. The historic nature and the amount of talent involved in the WarGames match make it must-watch, while the NXT Women’s Championship Fatal-4-Way promises to be an intriguing match that can go so many different ways. Black/Dream have been built up beautifully, and McIntyre/Almas has a real chance of being a sleeper match of the night.


    The Rest of the Show:

    • The Street Profits def. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss: This match was meh. I think the biggest problem with this match was that Montez Ford wasn’t given the chance to show off his stuff. That’s pretty much the only reason to watch a Street Profits match, and we didn’t even get that. Boo.

    • Lars Sullivan def. Raul Mendoza: Sullivan destroying people will never be not fun for me. It’s not at the same level as the joy I feel when I watch Braun Strowman do the same thing, but it’s getting there. The best part of the segment was Lars straight up laughing at Kassius Ohno, who ran out after the match. If only NXT actually spent more time building up their match for TakeOver rather than throwing it in the mix haphazardly.

    • Ember Moon def. Mercedes Martinez: More of this, please. Martinez was one of the stars of the MYC, and I’d love to see her stick around. Ember Moon brought her A-game here and made a strong case to be the favorite to win the title at TakeOver. Also, good lord, Moon’s suicide dive was boss.

    • NXT Champion Drew McIntyre and Andrade “Cien” Almas face off: For the second time in a row, Almas and Zelina Vega stood tall over the champ, and it looked so right. Again, I highly doubt Almas is walking out TakeOver as champion, but he’s done a great job at rehabbing his image. As long he’s booked as strong as he has been, even in defeat, there’s no stopping our Lodi. McIntyre’s promo was fine (the “I am the bloody mountain!” line was great), and he sold the beating well. It did get me a bit more excited for the title match at TakeOver, which is the point of the segment.


    As far as go-home shows are concerned, this week’s episode did a good job. Sullivan and Ohno finally interacted with each other, Moon looked great coming into the Fatal-4-Way match, and the NXT Championship match got a bit more exciting with this week’s closing segment. I’m honestly very excited about TakeOver, and this episode actually helped get me even more hyped about the Network special. This episode gets a B.

    Do you agree with our predictions? Let us know your thoughts 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 (11/15/17): TakeOver: WarGames Predictions Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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