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    Thursday, June 24, 2021

    Smark Hen-XT (6/22/21): Diamonds Are Forever

    's second week with Samoa Joe (or The Samoa Joe Show as I now call it) continued with many mentions of the Samoan Submission Machine throughout the episode. His re-introduction to the Black and Gold Brand really impacted how the storylines seemed to play out. Adam Cole seemed to be the biggest person of interest when it came to Joe, as he looks to be building a case against GM William Regal's new enforcer. Only time will tell if Joe will finally make his in-ring return, although they can always tiptoe around that idea by introducing other people into the mix—perhaps even moving to War Games with Team Joe vs. Team Cole in the future.

    The biggest takeaway from this week was the Diamond Mine stable. What came as an epilogue to KUSHIDA vs. Kyle O'Reilly's first clash on NXT became a much-discussed topic on the brand. It looks like we'll be getting Roderick Strong vs. KUSHIDA for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship—a smart choice since the other title scenes are crowded at the moment. I think Creative could easily include O'Reilly into the mix because I feel things between him and Roddy are far from over. Plus, he now has a win over KUSHIDA, so that's an awesome three-way just waiting to happen.

    I'm not sure what the plan is for the other group members, but I can't help but compare their look to Imperium—which isn't a bad reference at all. However, I need to see both Tyler Rust and the debuting Hideki Suzuki in action before fully understanding what they're trying to portray. I've heard good things about Suzuki, so I'm very much intrigued with his deal. Malcolm Bivens makes sense as the group's manager since he'd already been managing Rust in the past. It also helps the group because promos aren't really Strong's strong point (pun intended) while also allowing Suzuki to avoid mic time—assuming he's not comfortable speaking in English.

    As for the NXT Women's Tag Team Championships, I'm very confused by the decision to include Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai into the mix. Granted that there's not a lot of women's tag teams on NXT right now, I suppose they can easily use the probable tag team title shot as a way to have Raquel and Dakota turn on each other and transition towards a one-on-one title feud. 

    At this point, the NXT women's tag team division isn't very deep, which leads me to ask: Was it a mistake to add another set of Tag Team Championships into the mix, considering they couldn't even use the other Women's Tag Team Championships properly on TV? (Editor's note: No. Having more titles means wrestlers have more things to fight over.)

    Meanwhile, The Way vs. Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan is a storyline that surprisingly moved forward. Both teams are leaning on the heel side of the roster, so perhaps a turn will come in the future for one of them. It's that, or maybe NXT is just exploring the shades of gray by having no specific alignment for both. I guess you could say the same about the Timothy Thatcher/Tommaso Ciampa tag team that's currently set to collide with MSK. Both the tag champs and their next challengers are technically babyfaces, so maybe they're throwing the alignment chart out of the window. Honestly, I'm not attached to either rivalry, but it at least gives Dunne and Lorcan something to do while Danny Burch is injured. 

    In other matches, Franky Monet had an impressive showing against Elektra Lopez, and Hit Row steamrolled through Ever-Rise. These were mostly filler matches to help build momentum for the winners, although Isaiah "Swerve" Scott teased a confrontation against NXT North American Champion Bronson Reed, which could be interesting down the road.

    I'd say NXT struck gold with the Samoa Joe enforcer storyline, but they really have to relieve the roster a bit. There are too many people on this brand doing God knows what. I don't even remember seeing the Tian Sha storyline this week. There are so many stories to tell with so little time. I honestly don't want the brand to turn into an overbooked mess, but it could end up that way if they continue towards this path. I can't wait for the WWE Draft to happen this year to fix this concern, but so far, NXT isn't doing too bad.

    Show Grade: B+

    Match to Watch: Kyle O'Reilly vs. KUSHIDA 

    Not-So-Full Sails:

    • Cameron Grimes and LA Knight is one of the more popular feuds on the brand right now. Why didn't they get more screen time this week?
    • Ever-Rise is the new Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. I just hope they don't stay in that spot for the rest of their careers.
    • Okay. Hit Row might be growing on me a bit. Just a bit.
    • I wonder what will happen to Bobby Fish? I know Kyle's busy with the singles push, but maybe, just maybe, we can see reDRagon vs. Diamond Mine. KUSHIDA can join that team, too, for some three-on-three action.
    • 19 years since the Ruthless Aggression era, and we got that Carmelo Hayes introduction. He's wrong. I'm not getting that same energy. But there's something interesting about this guy. I'd love to see more of his matches in the coming weeks.
    What did you think of Diamond Mine? Now that Roddy's back, could Marina Shafir not be far away? How did you like NXT this week? 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) while 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 (6/22/21): Diamonds Are Forever Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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