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    Sunday, March 25, 2018

    Smark Hen-XT (3/21/18): Juanito Lucha!

    This week's episode of NXT TV opened with Tommaso Ciampa once again trying to explain himself to the NXT Universe. Just like his previous attempts, shit rained down on him, and deservedly so. THAT SNAKE.

    But really, all these Ciampa segments are great. He never did a lot, aside from take in all the boos and provoke the crowd (He was able to say a few words this week, though), but these segments are perfect in driving him further down the madness lane. He is frustrated that the people still look for his former tag team partner Johnny Gargano while he's just there all along.

    Ciampa surveying and provoking the crowd as he attempted to leave the building was a really good build-up to the climax: Johnny Gargano's ambush attack on the Psycho Killer!

    I found myself giggling at the whole segment because man, Ciampa is so good at what he does, and when it was revealed that it was Johnny Wrestling who was under that luchador mask, I was just grinning from ear to ear.

    It's amazing how this feud didn't need a lot of face-to-face confrontations, screamfests, shade-throwing, and brawls to build up to their eventual face-off. Heck, Ciampa wasn't around during the majority of the build, and yet this angle remained relevant ever since it kicked off on Takeover: Chicago.

    I cannot wait for how General Manager William Regal will address this bad blood between the former #DIY.

    Rest of the show:
    • WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong def. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch to advance to the second round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: While a Dunne and Strong partnership is something to mark out about, I was personally weirded out with the sudden change while following the NXT tapings, because Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch were supposed to face Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate and Trent Seven). This week's episode revealed that Tyler got injured, forcing him and Trent to drop from the tournament.

      Roddy picking Peter to be his partner for the tournament once again makes a lot of sense. They might not be the best of chums, but he knows they have a common goal of taking down the Undisputed ERA. And what better way to take them down by taking the gold off their waists?

      I love how the Roddy/Peter partnership and chemistry is founded on mutual respect (and breaking of limbs), and it reflected in this excellent match against the hard-hitting duo of Lorcan and Burch. My only complaint is that I want to see more of Lorcan and Burch because they are so much fun to watch and it's a bummer that they seem to have no plans for both of them.

    • Ember Moon def. Aliyah: This didn't do all that much but to hype the title match between the champ Moon and Shayna Baszler, who crashed the commentary booth mid-match. But in terms of in-ring stuff, Aliyah looked more fluid this time.

      The feud for the women's title feels like it's a bit slower compared to other existing angles. Sure, the creative, Ember, and Shayna have done great work in establishing characters and conflict, but it felt stagnant these past few episodes. We still have a couple more weeks before TakeOver so here's to hoping their storyline will find some more heights.
    • NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas attacks and interrupts Raul Mendoza's match to address Aleister Black: The champion isn't playing around anymore. Aleister Black's antics last week seemed to get under Andrade's skin too, as he demanded respect from his challenger. I really like how Almas delivered his promo both in English and Spanish, but I hoped Zelina Vega would have said a few lines here to help the champion drive his point further. Zelina is great at putting El Idolo in his place whenever he becomes too tranquilo, and it will be interesting to watch how she'll manage a fuming mad Almas.

    •  Adam Cole def. Kassius Ohno: Oh, it's Kassius Ohno in a good match. Nothing new here. But really, it was kind of expected from these two to deliver a stellar main event for this week. It also looks like Adam Cole (baybay!) is getting his stride with WWE-style matches too.

      Cole won clean, but not without his typical trash-talking and antics that set him back during the match. And it saddens me how the result wasn't really a surprise. *sigh*


    A video package for a cat named Ricochet also started airing in this week's episode! I wonder if he's any good?

    Anyway, this week's NXT TV was on the meh side. It started off explosively with Johnny Gargano getting back at Tommaso Ciampa for costing his job, but the energy seemed to wane as the show went on. There were good matches in Strong/Dunne vs. Lorcan/Burch and Cole vs. Ohno, though. Next week is a loaded show with GM Regal making an important announcement and Andrade "Cien" Almas and Aleister Black facing off before their TakeOver match. This episode gets a B 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 @aandthejets.
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    Item Reviewed: Smark Hen-XT (3/21/18): Juanito Lucha! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ardelle Costuna
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