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    Thursday, July 1, 2021

    Smark Hen-XT (6/29/21): Now You Know

    It looks like we'll be seeing Bronson Reed on the main roster soon. No, it's not yet confirmed. However, if this week's main event tells you something, it's that NXT might have gotten the North American Championship off him for a reason. And if rumors of him having a tryout match on the main roster are to be believed, then the ending of this week's episode shows that things might really be headed that way.

    I highly doubt that it's just because of Hit Row's (specifically Isaiah "Swerve" Scott's) push. In what felt like a very random title defense on this week's show, the shocking ending really did feel like something's up in the Black and Gold Brand, and Scott was at the right place at the right time. I thought other Superstars deserved the championship more, but perhaps things are looking up for this group, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.

    Last week, I mentioned how confusing the NXT women's division has become and how I felt about the chase for the tag team titles. This week's episode gave us an attempt to fix that. But I didn't like how the contending tag teams were all pairs I don't want to see challenging The Way. 

    My editor graciously explained why Moon/Blackheart deserved another shot at the championships. They were screwed out of the titles. But we just saw Ember Moon match up against Raquel Gonzalez at NXT TakeOver: In Your House in a losing effort. I had figured Raquel and Ember would at least continue their championship rivalry while inserting Shotzi and Dakota Kai into that mix instead of vying for an NXT Tag Team Championship match. Still, I feel that, logically, Io Shirai and Zoey Stark were the best picks to win this match. Shirai and Candice LeRae have a lot of history, plus this opportunity can also help catapult Stark into a better position on the card.

    It seems we're also getting Karrion Kross and Johnny Gargano in the coming weeks. Personally, I'm not a fan of Johnny getting any more championship matches—especially with how many championships and championship opportunities he's had. The silver lining here is, at least, we get to see Kross totally demolish Gargano. However, like Bronson Reed, the rumors of Kross possibly debuting on the main roster might result in Johnny Wrestling getting another run with the NXT Championship.

    Good on NXT for following up Diamond Mine's strong debut last week. While Asher Hale felt like cannon fodder for Roderick Strong, I'm glad that they showcased how different Strong is going to be moving forward. His new moveset differs slightly from how he used to perform—now finishing with a submission move. I do hate how short Malcolm Bivens's post-match promo was. I was really expecting to hear more from the mouthpiece, but maybe they're getting a slow burn.

    Perhaps the best part of the show was the Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly face-off. I know I've mentioned how tiring it is to see the same faces in feuds. However, this segment did feel special with the inclusion of our good ol' enforcer, Samoa Joe. I'm not going to sugarcoat how much I enjoy Joe's new role in NXT. He totally is that extra sauce for these stale match-ups. If only we can start having Joe in-ring, even for a special referee or enforcer role, that would sweeten the deal even more.

    Now, I don't really care much about the Xia Li/Mercedes Martinez feud; but hot damn, those Tian Sha skits—along with the cinematic Xia Li entrances—are really engaging. It felt like I was watching a Kung Fu movie (or even those old WMAC Masters episodes). Sadly, Martinez had been diagnosed with a concussion after the match—possibly due to that solid roundhouse kick—so there's the slight chance this rivalry may be halted for now.

    Overall, this week's NXT was not a bad show per se, but nothing special for my tastes—even with the big title change in the main event. This does, however, give bearing to the rumors of future call-ups, so we might want to keep an eye on where some of the rumored names (Karrion Kross, Scarlett, Bronson Reed) will end up. Their standing in the brand might change next week, and that's possibly something to look forward to. 

    Show Grade: B

    Match to Watch: Ari Sterling vs. Cameron Grimes

    Not-So-Full Sails:

    • While I've said how much I enjoy the Tian Sha skits, Boa looks like he isn't comfortable doing the talking. There's always room for improvement, I suppose.
    • MSK vs. Timothy Thatcher/Tommaso Ciampa is a young vs. old feud that I find uninteresting.
    • Sarray looks so cute. When she asked William Regal for a match against Toni Storm, I just felt like she was a kid asking her parent for a gift or a pasalubong.
    • Samoa Joe is really milking his new role. How many times did we see him in this episode?
    • Isaiah "Swerve" Scott's entrance pose at the corner of the ring with Hit Row dancing behind him looks silly as hell but also looks like something I'd see from a TikTok video.
    • The Cameron Grimes vs. Ari Sterling match was entertaining. However, is it just me, or is the Grimes/LA Knight feud starting to slope downwards?
    • If Bronson Reed does join RAW or SmackDown, perhaps he can fill the void that the athletic big man Keith Lee has left since he mysteriously got taken off TV.
    • Give me Samoa Joe vs. Karrion Kross. I can wait. Give me what I want!
    Who do you think will get called up to the main roster? Are you excited for the Great American Bash? Did you enjoy 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 (6/29/21): Now You Know Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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