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    Sunday, May 13, 2018

    Smark Hen-XT (5/9/18): Was It Worth It?

    Alright, okay, I'm back (again) and more determined to go on with this column, thanks to this man who has been fueling my hatred every week.
    Two weeks ago, The Devil personified, Tommaso Ciampa, once again attempted to cripple his former tag team partner Johnny Gargano, and this fumed Kassius Ohno, setting up this week's main event.

    This was an emotionally-loaded match because I just felt Ohno's anger through the screen. He was disappointed in Ciampa, and he was mad (he wasn't bouncing to his music when he made his entrance!). He didn't waste any time and he immediately rained on Ciampa with big boots and stiff slaps to the face. This was a brawl. The Knockout Artist was determined to teach Ciampa a lesson.

    While Ohno was literally the bigger man here, Ciampa was younger and slimier, so he eventually picked up the win. But man did he receive a beating from Ohno.

    I mentioned before how I want Ohno to eventually be an NXT Champion (because come on, he really, truly, deserves a title run), but I have come to terms with his role on the current roster. The locker room veteran who everyone should face before getting a much higher spot on the card ain't so bad of a role after all.

    As for Ciampa, oh there's nothing new. Jeer-embracing, no-entrance-theme Tommaso Ciampa is still excellent at what he does. He's so good that it's disrespectful to him and his work if you chant his name or cheer him on. Tapping out to Gargano's STF with his knee brace seemed to psychologically scar him that it looks like he'll be doing it to other people to cope; and it is great.

    Now to answer the question both men raised during their match, was the main event worth it? For Tommy Entertainment's heel work, coupled with both guys' wrestling skills, it very much was.

    Rest of the show:

    • (A sock-less?) Ricochet attempts a beeline to the NXT Championship, but the Velveteen Dream says "no, no, no, no, no": YAAAAAAAAAASS this feud will be everything: great verbal exchanges, excellent matches, and a lot of abs. We've kind of seen this coming, actually. Months ago, Velveteen Dream (shoot?) sent a now-deleted tweet lashing out on "indy" stars taking spots in WWE. He was briefly feuding with Tyler Bate at the time (who's also a star in the British indie scene), but people were thinking that he ~may~ have been referring to the then-freshly signed Ricochet, who we all know made his name in the indies and all over the world.
    We already know this (and I've said it like I'm a broken record), but the Dream is just so good. He can come out wearing pajamas in front of the Full Sail crowd, and he can still command like he's the Velveteen Dream. On the other hand, Ricochet might be one of the best workers right now, but his promos are... how do I say this... not a walk in the park to listen to. But there's a reason why they have promo classes at the PC so he's still going to be a much better talker. It wasn't all that bad though; he brilliantly rolled with the Full Sail faithful who heckled him about not wearing any socks.
    • EC3 def. Raul Mendoza: There's nothing much here, except the Top One Percenter showed off his overflowing personality, and promised to win a lot of matches and all the championships to re-brand the show as NX3. His opponent was the perfect guy for the role. The former Cruiserweight Classic competitor is a solid hand during these moments when guys like EC3 need to be highlighted more.
    Going back to EC3, he really is a star. Singing his theme while walking down the ramp? Singing his theme in front of a fan's camera? It was the douchebag version of Bret Hart giving his sunglasses to a kid (as he accurately puts it) and it really works for him. Give him someone to feud with already!

    • Dakota Kai def. Vanessa Borne via her new rolling lungblower finisher that could actually kill someone IRL. I always note Vanessa Borne's improvements every time she comes out because they may be slow and steady, but these are improvements nonetheless. I love how wide open the title scene is on the women's side because we get to see more of them in action, but obviously, there are three women who are currently in the running to be Shayna Baszler's next challenger: Kairi Sane, Dakota Kai, and Nikki Cross (!!)
    I'm all aboard on the Dakota and Shayna program. How they juxtapose Dakota dominating her opponent and how she suddenly scours in fear whenever Shayna comes out to terrorize her is great. I cannot wait for Shayna's comeuppance when the day comes. Dakota can definitely kick asses, but she doesn't know it yet. Maybe old and new friends can help her with it?

    • War Raiders def. Heavy Machinery: I enjoyed this hoss fight, but it was a measly one-sided battle that surely didn't do Heavy Machinery any favors. It wasn't a squash, though, because they dominated the brawl at the start of the match. However, it eventually became favorable for the Raiders. To be honest, I don't really care much for Heavy Machinery, but they don't deserve to lose in just two minutes. It's a shame that this could have been a much better hoss fight that we could have enjoyed more.

    Some Black-and-Yellow Brooding:
    • A really quick backstage segment between the BritAm Brawlers and WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne was all they needed to explain why they have to team up against Undisputed ERA. Their reason was very basic: it's because they all hate the ERA.
    • THEY FINALLY HAVE SOMETHING FOR DANNY BURCH AND ONEY LORCAN YAAAAS. Here's to hoping that this leads to a tag team title match for the two.
    • A recap video of last week's match between the Street Profits and TM61 was shown, followed by a Profits hype video where they talked about going after the tag titles. I like Dawkins and Ford a lot, but I don't know why they didn't address TM61 this week after the Aussie team beat them through questionable means.
    EC3, Ciampa and Ohno's main event, Dakota Kai (possibly?) finding an ally in Nikki Cross, and the exchange between Dream and Ricochet are the only good things for this week. The other two squash matches didn't really do anything for me. It's still more than a month away from TakeOver: Chicago, and they are slowly but surely laying down the bricks. This week gets a B.

    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 (5/9/18): Was It Worth It? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ardelle Costuna
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