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    Friday, June 11, 2021

    Smark Hen-XT (6/8/21): On The Road To In Your House

    We're days away from TakeOver: In Your House 2021 and, as expected, they're not pulling any punches in hyping this up. With such a big main event in the card, I actually wondered why they put the fatal five-way match in this show—considering that it's basically a mid-year PPV. I would've figured they'd do something like this on SummerSlam weekend but here we are with what is expected to be a five-star match between Karrion Kross, Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, Johnny Gargano, and Pete Dunne.

    The truth is, while I don't want to mock the four challengers, Kross's size difference may have been the reason for the said match-up. As much as I love seeing the talented Cole or good old Johnny Wrestling, putting said Superstars in a one-on-one affair with Kross doesn't really make much sense because of how he's been presented in the brand. He's a big bad killer (pun intended) who disposed of Keith Lee and Finn Bálor on separate occasions as he claimed the championship gold. The finale of this episode just showed how he's a force to be dealt with.

    Meanwhile, I'm perplexed about how I should feel towards O'Reilly. The look and the attitude remind me of AEW's Orange Cassidy, but it's Kyle. I love how he's his own character now, but being seemingly close to a different character from another company does make it feel a little weird. For Dunne, I honestly think he should be able to get a one-on-one bout with the champion. I feel (out of the four challengers) that he's the most fitting opponent for someone like Kross. As much as I like Cole and Gargano, I feel they should be relegated to the background and perhaps start preparing for an eventual move to the main roster (though admittedly, Gargano serves well as The Way's padre de familia).

    The highlight of the night would have to be the LA Knight and Cameron Grimes skits (again). Knight does his job well as the most obnoxious heel—even outdoing what Grimes used to do so well—while Grimes plays the sympathetic yet silly babyface. The introduction of the Million Dollar Championship does make the stakes higher between the two, but I do have a little gripe about this feud. When LA Knight first inserted himself into this Ted DiBiase vs. Cameron Grimes storyline, it seemed like DiBiase was already leaning towards him, so I was surprised to see that it wasn't a done deal and that the two men (Knight and Grimes) were still fighting for his approval.

    I'm well intrigued with how the MSK/Bronson Reed vs. Legado Del Fantasma match will play out, but just a little. Deep inside, I want to see Santos Escobar win the NXT North American Championship. However, since the upcoming PPV showdown is for all the championships on hand, I'm less likely to believe this will happen. MSK is extremely entertaining to watch and the titles feel so natural on their shoulders. Besides, I don't really think Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza are ready for that gold. I'm still not as invested in them as I am with Wes Lee and Nash Carter. I have a feeling this match will steal the show this Sunday so that's something I'm really looking forward to.

    I'm still not sure what's going on with NXT's women's division (and the NXT Women's Tag Team Championships) but I can tell you for a fact that Io Shirai's return is very welcome. I'm jumping the gun a little by thinking that WWE is going to put Sarray and Io in a tag team just because they're both Japanese, but I certainly hope this is not the case. They're sort of teasing Poppy/Io vs. The Way (Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell) but I'm not so sure Poppy would do a match—though crazy things have happened this year as with Bad Bunny's WrestleMania match so the possibility is there. Meanwhile, it looks like they're still building Mercedes Martinez up for an eventual Raquel González PPV showdown by feeding her squash matches (and perhaps a short feud with Xia Li too). I'm not yet sold on Mercedes, but maybe there's something to be seen there as she does have that look that WWE seems to like.

    The Austin Theory vs. Oney Lorcan match felt more like a supplementary one so they can push a little tension between Gargano and Dunne, but it was entertaining to watch at least. Theory definitely has the moves and the superstar quality and he annoys the shit out of me in a good way. Meanwhile, the Killian Dain vs. Isaiah "Swerve" Scott match felt like filler material. As much as Dain's partnership with Drake Maverick was entertaining during the first few months, I think it's starting to lose its luster (or maybe they just need better storylines). Ikemen Jiro and August Grey losing to the Grizzled Young Veterans was another filler but I did appreciate seeing Jiro on NXT. I've heard good things in the Smark Henry chat about this guy and I'm looking to see more of him in the future.

    The truth is, I don't get why Timothy Thatcher/Tommaso Ciampa vs. Grizzled Young Veterans and Imperium vs. Breezango have a seemingly lower-tier feud going on. Is it not PPV-worthy enough that it gets television screen time only? I get that NXT likes preparing other storylines in the background so that everything feels fluid, but I don't understand the pay-off for any of the teams mentioned other than TV time. It all feels like a dead-end feud for me so they better work fast to build this well.

    The way it seems, NXT looks like it has an abundance of good Superstars on the roster and not enough TV time to make everybody feel as important as it should be. Meanwhile, the main roster struggles to put other people in the spotlight as they continue to focus on the same people over and over again while failing to elevate people from the background. Honestly, RAW and SmackDown could benefit from adding new people to the mix as well as take a few people from NXT—though they do have to not fall into the habit of not using the people they draft well. I'd love to say that Martinez, Thatcher, Ciampa, Gargano, and a few others could benefit from a move to the mains (as long as they're used properly) but I'm a little skeptical it'll happen as I envision it.

    Show Grade: B

    Match to Watch: Austin Theory vs. Oney Lorcan

    Quick Picks:

    • NXT CHAMPIONSHIP FATAL 5-WAY MATCH: Adam Cole vs. Pete Dunne vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Karrion Kross (c)
      • If Kross doesn't win this, then what was this all for? I stand with a dominant Kross run on the black-and-gold brand. Pick: Karrion Kross
    • NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Ember Moon vs. Raquel González (c)
      • Gonzalez should win this one hands down. I still want to see her and Dakota blow up (like most tag teams with a singles championship do). Pick: Raquel González
      • As I mentioned earlier, while I want Santos Escobar to win, the stipulations of this match would mean that MSK would also have to lose, so, no dice. Pick: Bronson Reed and MSK
      • The only way to go on about this feud would be for Knight to win. This would also help push Grimes into completely babyface territory. Pick: LA Knight 
    • SINGLES MATCH: Mercedes Martinez vs. Xia Li
      • While I've been repeatedly talking about Martinez's push, it would make sense to graduate her from the NXT roster. There's a draft coming soon so, go figure. Pick: Xia Li

    Not-So-Full Sails:

    • I really hate how Austin Theory does The Way's hand gesture. It looks silly.
    • Seeing Dok Hendrix just makes me feel old. Damn.
    • Hit Row vs. MSK/Bronson Reed vs. Legado Del Fantasma could make a good War Games match considering that we don't have the Undisputed Era anymore for that specialty stipulation.
    • Am I the only one not feeling Mercedes Martinez's Air Raid Crash finisher?
    • Triple H really shills those advertisements well into his promos. He sounded like a total nerd while marking out to Poppy but I love it. Those facial expressions were the best.
    • I don't understand why Ikemen Jiro and August Grey are a tag team, but I am loving the Jiro attire.
    • I really hope Dakota Kai turns on Raquel soon. I enjoy seeing her as the lead and not a second.
    Are you excited for TakeOver: In Your House? Who are your picks to win? Who do you think would benefit from a main roster call-up? 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 (6/8/21): On The Road To In Your House Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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