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    Friday, October 25, 2019

    Smark Hen-XT (10/23/19): Finn Has Got A Gun

    Just for this week, I'm officially claiming that NXT was the better show in the #WednesdayNightWars. While I didn't think the first few matches blew anybody out of the water, they were good TV moments and they helped establish the respective divisions they represented. As the night went on, they built slowly to that epic main event match and that wonderfully executed heel turn which, in the end, made the show so digestible.

    Let's start with the pièce de résistanceNXT just blew this fantasy booker's mind (referring to myself) by doing the perfect heel turn. Say goodbye to your lovable Finn Bálor because he has just embraced his dark side. It literally came out of nowhere as I've been predicting either WarGames or a three-way to come out of this. That means this was a good choice because we, in this internet age, rarely get surprised like that. Besides, Finn has only ever been a babyface in WWE and this gives him new opportunities and rivalries to build.

    By the end of the night, I don't think anybody was talking about Tommaso Ciampa because Bálor literally stole the show in that ending. He even took out a portion of the crowd as he laid waste to Johnny Gargano. And with that turn, it seems we're now moving forward with Ciampa/Cole and Bálor/Gargano, although, a WarGames could still be in the works. We're not even sure if Bálor joined the ERA or if he has his own agenda because of the hand gestures he used—which are reminiscent of his Bullet Club days. We'll have to wait for a few more weeks to find out what all of these mean.

    Now, let's talk about the other parts of the show. I'm really enjoying the newly beefed-up NXT women's division, although I am a little peeved that they sacrificed Bianca Belair's push again in favor of Rhea Ripley. Don't get me wrong, Ripley's very impressive. I just figured they'd hold this off until the next TakeOver. Maybe they're bringing Bianca over to RAW. Maybe they're doing a four-way between these two with Io Shirai and Candice LeRae. Who knows? Who cares how they'll do it? I know it'll be a joy to watch.

    Here's a conundrum. Why build Cameron Grimes as a squash machine only to have him lose his momentum to Matt Riddle? I know Grimes was bound to lose sometime, but couldn't we have done it at a later point instead? Maybe once he's established his dominance and maybe had a few wins over some bigger names? This may have just set up a Grimes/Tyler Bate feud but I kind of wanted the Grimes squash streak to continue before going towards a name-making feud.

    As I expected, the main event featured the continuation of the Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic saga with Roderick Strong serving a supplementary role to both men. While Strong was mostly there to add flavor to the match, the two big men did not fall short of being entertaining as they risked life and limb with every breath-taking move they pulled off. Strong was mostly collateral damage by the time the match ended and it's a miracle he was able to steal this one.

    I've got mixed emotions because, at one point, this three-way bout was more than I could have imagined, however, it feels like there's going to be another Dijakovic/Lee match coming because their feud is still unresolved. Maybe they can take the tag team route and consider joining forces to battle the Undisputed ERA to make things fresher. Either way, I enjoyed the match but wish that they continued the storyline a little differently now.

    In other news, Breezango teamed up with Isaiah "Swerve" Scott to defeat the Forgotten Sons. Angel Garza beat "Gentleman" Jack Gallagher and looks to be eyeing Lio Rush's NXT Cruiserweight Championship. It's also a relief to see that Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox were able to win against the very green MMA Horsewomen (Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke.) It was also cool seeing the Kabuki Warriors appear on this show as this finally fulfills WWE's promise of the Women's Tag Team Championships being featured on all three brands.

    This episode did not fail to deliver in terms of content. It was fun and it felt new. This version of NXT is still getting its sea legs, but as we pass the one month mark, we can see where the developments of this new era are taking the brand. If you asked me a few months back if I thought any of these could happen, I would have only guessed that the Dijakovic/Lee match would push through. Now, I don't really know. And by not knowing, I can say that it's a good thing because I'm entertained by what surprises the NXT Universe might pull off next.

    Grade: A-

    Match to Watch: Dominik Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee vs. Roderick Strong (c) for the NXT North American Championship

    Not-So-Full Sails

    • I know Kai and Nox will probably lose to the Kabuki Warriors but it's better to get that than seeing the MMA Horsewomen challenge for the titles.
    • Speaking of the Horsewomen, Shayna Baszler has been on the bench for quite a bit of time. Maybe they're letting her relax because she's beaten almost every other woman on the roster.
    Who won this week's edition of the #WednesdayNightWars? Did you see that heel turn coming? How excited are you for Gargano vs. Bálor? Sound off in the comments section below.

    Photos and videos from WWE


    Miguel “The Migz” Llado is your supposed style icon and NXT reviewer at the Smark Henry offices. A lover of everything music, wrestling, videogames, and food, he lives his life tweeting his mind off (@the_migz) and ‘gramming random food items and locations (@tha_migz) as he sets on his journey to completely do things spontaneously. You can also add him on PSN (MigzLlado) to show your WWE2K19 (or any PS4) skills. When not being a smark, he lives his life being (and trying to be) an awesome architect, musician extraordinaire and armchair fantasy booker.
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    Item Reviewed: Smark Hen-XT (10/23/19): Finn Has Got A Gun Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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