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    Friday, May 28, 2021

    Smark Hen-XT (5/25/21): Sign of the Kross

    It's my second week back reviewing NXT, and I think I enjoyed this week better than the last show. This is not to say that Bronson Reed's title win didn't mean anything. Rather, the main event for this episode had such big names that it towers so much compared to the aforementioned Steel Cage match for the NXT North American title. That, or maybe I'm just less invested in Johnny Gargano's antics nowadays.

    So about that main event, Karrion Kross and Finn Bálor had another brutal bout that seriously worried me—Finn not being a stranger to injuries and all. The match was so stiff that you'd think Finn's actual job was to be a human crash test dummy. Not that I think he doesn't do his well, but if this continues, he's going to end up becoming Dolph Ziggler II—with how good he sells and carries his opponents and makes them look good.

    It's safe to assume that this will be the end of Bálor-Kross, but what could be next for both men? There are rumors that The Prince may be making his way back to RAW, and, honestly, while I don't think there's anything more to achieve for him in the Black-and-Gold Brand, another main event run might spell disaster for him with how badly he was booked last time. The silver lining here is he might actually get a good shot if he does return—especially since people are quick to forget that he was actually the first Universal Champion.

    For Kross, there's a lot of competition in NXT. Pete Dunne, Kyle O'Reilly, and maybe even Tommaso Ciampa could be names that the Superstar could defend the Championship against. Santos Escobar could also be another name that Kross comes back to because they have history. There'll be many choices on how to book the NXT Champion, and I think whichever direction they pursue will make for interesting stories down the line.

    As for my favorite part of the show, the Million Dollar Face-Off just came to a head. In a shocking turn of events, Cameron Grimes may have just turned face. An even bigger surprise was LA Knight's involvement in the angle. It seems we'll be getting Knight vs. Grimes in the coming weeks—with Ted DiBiase possibly managing Knight. The rumors that the Million Dollar Championship might be making its return could add another layer to this feud that could help bring it to the top. Knight is a reliable name with tons of upside; while Grimes has always been entertaining yet has never really broken through the upper midcard due to being partly a comedy act. This could be the angle that takes both men to the moon (pun intended).

    In other parts of the show, we had the return of Bobby Fish in-ring, albeit in a losing capacity to Pete Dunne. Poor Bobby. I thought Roderick Strong would be the loser in the Undisputed Era break-up, but it seems Fish could be the one on the blunt end of things. I might be cynical, but I think it's going to be a tough hill to climb for Fish.

    Mercedes Martinez also had a squash match against Zayda Ramier this week. I'm not sure putting Martinez in a match against the returning Tian Sha would be good, but maybe it's a placeholder until something comes up. Likewise, I don't see what Franky Monet is doing story-wise (or what she's supposed to be), but her in-ring work says that she will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. I suppose these women's matches are there to help build the women's division once again for suitable challengers against Raquel Gonzalez.

    Lastly, Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart is a tag team that still doesn't make sense to me, but I suppose it's being set up such that one of them will eventually challenge NXT Women's Champion Raquel Gonzalez. I do, however, think this could lead to a Fatal 4-Way match at a future TakeOver. This makes the most sense, but doing so would also alienate the NXT Women's Tag Team Championship scene. There aren't really many teams on this brand to warrant other challengers (yet), so it's a little confusing for me.

    It may be a long time until worthy challengers can be built for the Women's division (although I think at some point, Dakota Kai could serve as a future foil to Raquel). The NXT Championship scene looks unpredictable yet interesting, and new names might be pushed to the main event scene soon with how they're treating the secondary storylines on the show.

    Show Grade: B

    Match to Watch: Finn Balor vs. Karrion Kross (c) for the NXT Championship

    Not-So-Full Sails:

    • Cora Jade's look reminds me so much of Paige mixed with a little Emma. While she lost her match, I'm actually looking forward to seeing more of her in the future.
    • While the Grimes/Knight feud might help make Grimes. I think it will end up pushing Knight into the main event scene right afterward.
    • Santos Escobar vs. Bronson Reed doesn't really interest me much, although I'm curious if it's another stepping stone for Escobar (as with the Cruiserweight Championship).
    Do you want to see Finn return to RAW or SmackDown? Who could Karrion Kross's next challenger be? Are you also enjoying Ted DiBiase's involvement with Cameron Grimes and LA Knight? Hit us up in the comments section below.

    Photos and videos from WWE


    Miguel “The Migz” Llado is your resident Young Rock reviewer here at the Smark Henry offices. A lover of music, wrestling, videogames, and food, he lives his life tweeting his mind off (@the_migz), Instagramming random food items and locations (@tha_migz), and streaming videogames on Twitch (@the_migz). At the same time, he pursues his musical career via his YouTube channel (Migz Llado) and courtesy of his band, The Mox (TheMoxGarageRock). You can also add him on PSN (MigzLlado) to show your WWE 2K (or any PS4) skills.
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    Item Reviewed: Smark Hen-XT (5/25/21): Sign of the Kross Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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