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    Friday, July 23, 2021

    Smark Hen-XT (7/21/21): Joe's Bizarre Adventure

    Samoa Joe has dominated NXT's screens ever since his return a few weeks back. It felt like he was never gone as he effortlessly inserted himself into a lot of skits and angles. However, this week might be different. Joe's supposed management role may soon be transitioning to an in-ring one as his exchanges with Karrion Kross may end up being settled in the ring.

    I can agree that it makes sense for Joe to face (and eventually defeat) Kross for the NXT Championship. One, Kross's RAW debut may have set him on a collision course with Jeff Hardy. That said, dropping the title may be smart. Two, Joe was a beast when he was a part of the brand. Similar to Finn Balor's NXT excursion, Joe can regain his edge by having another run with the gold. Third, It sort of makes sense to have them face off—with all this teasing going on.

    Joe's sick promo skills haven't dwindled one bit—as evidenced from the opening and closing of the show. Even William Regal showed a lot of intensity during the opening that I actually miss seeing the Englishman get so involved like this. In a way, Joe can carve a similar path like Balor—having heavy matches on TakeOvers while doing mostly promos and appearances on a semi-weekly basis. I think NXT being able to shuffle the roster without needing to use everybody may end up in his favor.

    The main event had Raquel Gonzalez face off against Xia Li. I think we all knew this was going to end with Gonzalez retaining although the shocking part of this was the mid-match stoppage due to what looked like an injury. While Li probably had low chances of winning this one, I'd say her being a part of the main event match proves that she's a bankable star now. While I don't see her and her cohorts having a main roster run yet, Li could very well be involved in bigger storylines now.

    Meanwhile, with Gonzalez retaining, there really is only one way to go. A Dakota Kai face-off and turn is one that I'd been clamoring for and if this reign does not end up in that direction, I'd be very disappointed. I don't even care who wins between them, just have them break it off. Kai can be a monster heel if she turns on her partner. 

    In other matches, I'm surprised they actually had the Diamond Mine vs. KUSHIDA/Bobby Fish match this week considering the brand has a penchant for skipping smaller storylines regularly. This may be a sign that Diamond Mine could be a bigger part of the black-and-gold within the foreseeable future. It was a good match between former stablemates Fish and Roderick Strong although this may be far from over with how it ended. Besides, Hideki Suzuki still hasn't made his in-ring debut. He's bound to join the fray at some point, right?

    Now, I hate bagging on the Superstars because I know how difficult the stunts they perform are, but, was it just me or did Franky Monet look uncomfortable? Some moves looked sluggish though I can understand that she's more of a "power"-based competitor. Still, I didn't enjoy the match she had because of the apparent struggle. I'd say she probably has to fix those little weird ticks and hesitations she sometimes has because the uneasiness is totally detectable. Otherwise, she actually looks like a formidable warrior that can easily break the smaller women.

    Seeing Kyle O'Reilly square off against Austin Theory made me scratch my head a little. These were two talented men and they did have one hell of a match. However, I do ask, what was this for? Yes, I saw the skit. Kyle was in a "fighting mood." It felt a little tacked on. What's his character nowadays? I'm not even sure I understand what he is right now. If he's not careful, he might actually end up in the same boat as Dolph Ziggler—a solid worker more known for making other Superstars look good.

    As for Hit Row vs. Legado Del Fantasma? It's a little different. Yes, I asked myself why as well. However, at the back of my mind, I said, sure, what the hell. It didn't even matter to me who were the faces or the heels. This week's promo battle between them was fire. I'm actually looking forward to what matches these two stables may come up with. As I said in the previous article, if this ends up in WarGames, then that would be something I'd love to see.

    Odyssey Jones is a beast. It seems this year's Breakout Tournament may be the year of the strongmen. And while Cagesideseats may have gotten in trouble for the Mark Henry comparison, it's hard to disregard that fact especially when they had the man wear a singlet similar to Mark's Nation of Domination attire. One thing I can guarantee is, Jones seems more agile and faster than the World's Strongest Man so that's already something that sets him apart. With the direction this tournament is taking, it may not be far off that we see a "battle of the big men" scenario towards the finals and that may seem like an interesting prospect.

    Similar to the last few weeks, there's not much I can say about LA Knight and Cameron Grimes. While the fun aspect of it is still there, the novelty is still on thin ice because of how repetitive the butler gimmick is becoming. One thing that I liked here was how Drake Maverick actually won a match. Although he ended up becoming another prop for this Knight/Grimes feud so that's really a shame.

    Honestly, I still think there's too much going on within the brand (I didn't even discuss MSK, Bronson Reed, or even Johnny Gargano), but I think they did a better job of showing cohesion this time around. They followed up with a lot of what happened from last week so I didn't have a hard time catching up. It could still use a little work, but I think the show was more fun to watch this week.

    Show Grade: B

    Match to Watch: Austin Theory vs. Kyle O'Reilly

    Not-So-Full Sails:

    • Mandy Rose on the table reminded me of Stacy Keibler's WCW days. Wowza!
    • I really want to see Kyle O'Reilly succeed and be more than the guy who's a talented Superstar. Sure, he's broken out of the "stable/tag team" nutshell, but by this point, he's just picking random fights. Also, NO, I don't want him near Adam Cole. That has to stop.
    • Those Xia Li skits are really well produced. I dig it.
    • Good call on skipping the Mariachi Madness Musical. I don't want the brand to dumb down Legado Del Fantasma.
    • I miss Most Wanted Treasures but seeing Top Dolla on NXT feels better. He's easily the best mouthpiece in the group.
    • As a '90s kid, after I saw Andre Chase, I just thought to myself... uh, Tom Green? Is that you? And what the hell were you wearing?
    • Having Samoa Joe mention Karrion Kross's visit to RAW was a witty line. It was smart of them to add that line.
    Should Karrion Kross stay on NXT or continue his RAW excursion? Do you have any picks for the Breakout Tournament yet? 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 (7/21/21): Joe's Bizarre Adventure Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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