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    Tuesday, May 22, 2018

    Smark Hen-XT (5/16/18): Disputed

    I usually reserve this part of the column at the very end, but please indulge me, if you may: NXT this week was good, and the six-man tag main event even made it so much better.

    WWE U.K. Champion Pete Dunne teamed up with the BritAm Brawlers (that's Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch to you) and gave the little shits with the bling that are the Undisputed ERA (North American Champion Adam Cole, and NXT Tag Team Champs Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong) a fun beating. With that much talent sharing the same ring, it's a crime to even expect anything less.

    What made this six-man tag great was the impeccable chemistry that all guys had with one another (give me Burch vs. O'Reilly, stat). Sure, the ERA was the much more solid team coming in—with the relative newcomer to the group in Roddy causing a malfunction at the junction, as Mauro Ranallo puts it—but Peter and the BritAm Brawlers shared the same desire of smacking the ERA in their faces, which made them a better team this time.

    My sons, the Undisputed ERA, have always been good at being little shits, but man, Kyle and Roddy sure are talented jerks; they're great. It's also satisfying to see that Oney and Burch are finally—finally—getting the opportunities they deserve and that the crowd loves them because they have always been good between the ropes. With Burch pinning O'Reilly for the win, they just became legitimate threats to the champions.

    While the match itself was loads of fun, the only thing I didn't like was the BritAm Brawlers' tandem finisher, which was an assisted wheelbarrow DDT. I expected something with more impact coming from a hard-hitting duo like them. But that aside, as much as I love the douchebags of the ERA, give the titles to Oney and Burch, you cowards.

    Rest of the show
    • Candice LeRae confronts Tommaso Ciampa, who entered using Johnny Gargano's music. Wow. What a &^%$er. With Gargano's (kayfabe) absence, Tommy Entertainment has been maximizing this opportunity to tell his side of the story, just like how Johnny had solo mic time when Ciampa was down with a knee injury.
    While the Psycho Killer definitely killed it in this segment, Candice still is the weakest link in this feud in terms of mic work, but her gestures and facial expressions are getting better. Nonetheless, the best part was definitely when Mrs. Wrestling smacked the microphone from Ciampa's hands and did not back down from a potential fight. Again, give us Candice vs. Tommaso, you cowards!!!

    • Lacey Evans def. Brandi Lauren, who was also known as Ava Storie in Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling. Lacey could have made quick work of Brandi, but she toyed with her a bit more and showed off some flashy moves from her arsenal, such as the beautiful moonsault that could have already given her a win. She instead finished her off with a right hand she calls the "Women's Right." LOL. An angry Kairi Sane attacked her after the match and I'm here for an angry Pirate Princess.
    • Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet ends in a no contest after Lars Sullivan ran them down. Man, what a letdown this was, and it was for all the good reasons. It seems that NXT knows their audience so much, because there's nothing quite like interrupting a really good match gaining steam to earn heel heat. This was only five minutes long, but it was enough to give us a taste of what Dream vs. Ricochet is going to be. Both guys are going to be champions regardless of who's winning the feud obviously, but I'm definitely living for this angle. Their common goal of taking down Lars Sullivan in a handicap match next week is just going to make their whole program more interesting.
    • Kona Reeves def. Raul Mendoza: Remember what I said about Raul Mendoza last time? He's in the same role again this week, but it's with "The Finest" Kona Reeves. *eyerolls* It's people like Kona who remind me that NXT is still the developmental brand, regardless of the excellent product it has been churning out. With that said, he looked more fluid this time. I'm not sure if it's because he's paired with Mendoza, whose job is to make others look good. But I'm an optimistic person so I'd like to think that he's really improving. On the other hand, It's a shame that Mendoza is stuck in his role though, because he's been really good with the wrestling.

    More Black-and-Yellow Banter:
    • I'm not sure if taking advice from Nikki Cross is a good idea, but if I were Dakota Kai, I'll take it, anyway. I'm all for Nikki taking the eccentric-street-lady-but-wise-old-woman role in this angle, who will make Dakota realize that she definitely can stand up to Shayna Baszler.
    • Heavy Machinery bumped into TM61 in a backstage segment, where the Aussie duo gloated over their win against the Street Profits. Heavy Machinery wasn't happy with that so they challenged them to a match next week. I feel like they turned TM61 heel (despite the really good babyface setup and everything) because they saw that they weren't getting any big reactions, and it's a shame; but a heel TM61 seems pretty interesting.

    This week's episode was filled with good wrestling and segments to build up to more great wrestling and segments. NXT is back, baybee. A-.

    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 (5/16/18): Disputed Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ardelle Costuna
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