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    Friday, December 22, 2017

    Smark Hen-XT (12/20/17): Triple Treat

    Oh you know, Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate just delivered another classic match for the UK Championship, no big deal.

    But really, this week's episode was an early Christmas gift for all the followers of the yellow brand, because we didn't only get an excellent main event, but we also got two other really good matches, with one of them ending with new champions!

    Thank you, based NXT.

    The rest of the show:

    -The Undisputed Era (Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish) def. SAnitY (Eric Young and Killian Dain) to become new NXT Tag Team Champions: Nothing quite like opening a show with a title change, huh. And boy, this was so much fun to watch.

    Who knew that O'Reilly and Fish can actually make a really good heel tag team? Their cockiness may be a notch lower compared to their buddy Adam Cole, but
    they were obnoxious. Fish was the louder one between the two, pandering to the cheers of the crowd while they were being introduced ("Come on, give it to me!"), and mocking Dain while he had him in a sleeper hold ("I got him!").

    They used typical heel underhanded attacks to get the advantage over the tag team champions. While there were shenanigans, O'Reilly and Fish were still perceived as a threat with their strikes and submission holds that they did to hold EY on their corner for a while.

    EY had a really good hot tag spot at one point that switched the momentum on their side, but this being an Undisputed Era match, Adam Cole had to be involved at some point. To even the numbers, Nikki Cross came out of nowhere and beat the crap out of Cole (!!!) in what may just be one of my most favorite spots of the year.

    It didn't take long before Nikki was removed by the officials. Cole was left at ringside so he tried to get involved again, but Dain caught him. Cole pushed Dain to the ring post that took him out long enough for O'Reilly and Fish to take care of EY for the 1-2-3.

    The former reDRagon was bound to win the titles at some point. This was a pleasant surprise for the Full Sail faithfuls, as title changes don't happen that often on NXT TV. Some gold around their waist also further solidifies the future of the Undisputed Era on NXT, and it will be interesting to see them defend the titles.

    -Lars Sullivan def. Roderick Strong to qualify for the Fatal-4 way number one contender's match: This was Roddy versus the world indeed, as Mauro Ranallo put it on commentary, because Roddy has to go through his biggest challenge to date (literally and figuratively) in the imposing Lars Sullivan.

    And impose he did. This was a classic David-versus-Goliath match where you'd want David to win so badly (I did). Roddy started chopping down the tree early with forearm strikes but Sullivan was just too big and too strong for him. Roddy was being tossed around like a ragdoll at one point in the match, but he kept on coming back, putting him down with an Olympic slam, and then a superplex from the top rope, but it only got a one count (!!!). A pop-up powerslam and his patented Freak Accident earned Sullivan the last spot for the Fatal-four way next week.

    Personally, this match further solidified Roddy as one of NXT's top babyfaces. But most importantly, it's a joy to see how Sullivan rose up the ranks, from demolishing tag team partners to working with veterans like Roddy and Kassius Ohno, and now a step closer for an NXT Championship opportunity.

    -Pete Dunne def. Tyler Bate to defend the WWE UK Championship: So uh, Tyler and Pete, they seem to be really good at this wrestling thing, I guess.

    They built this up as a rubber match between the two, since Bate won the UK title at the finals of the UK Tournament, and then Pete winning at TakeOver: Chicago. Both went all out and pulled out all the stops to be a step ahead from the other.

    I don't even know where to begin in this match, to be honest. Everyone should just go see this.

    Tyler and Pete indeed hurt each other in this match. While there were airplane spins and joint manipulations from both men, it's the smallest things that stood out for me in this. At one point when Dunne was able to counter a Tyler Driver '97 to a triangle, Bate attempted to escape from it with a deadlift powerbomb, but Dunne was able to hold on. Instead of doing another powerbomb, he catapulted Dunne in between the ropes. Of course.

    Bate also delivered the right jab of all the right jabs to Dunne, but he failed to capitalize on it because his finger was hurt too badly after Dunne dislocated it. I'm ashamed to admit that I only got to appreciate Tyler's selling in this match. He sold his fingers like they were going to fall off, but in a seemingly subdued manner.

    In the closing moments of the match, the Tyler Driver '97-spiral tap combo wasn't enough to put down the champion, and Bate once again falls to the Bitter End.

    For sure, this isn't the last time we'll see these two men face each other. Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne are meant to fight forever, but this was a great way to close a year with a lot of superb trilogies in pro wrestling.

    I have said this a bunch of times now, but the UK lads definitely deserve more with Tyler and Pete at the forefront of the division. More people need to see their stuff. They need to face more opponents, heck not only on NXT, but also on the main roster.

    This was quite a way for NXT to wish everyone a happy holidays. This gets another A from me.

    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 @ardellelledra.
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    Item Reviewed: Smark Hen-XT (12/20/17): Triple Treat Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ardelle Costuna
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