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    Saturday, August 7, 2021

    Smark Hen-XT (8/3/21): Indi Heat Of The Moment

    Coming into the show, I wasn't sure Dexter Lumis vs. Johnny Gargano could hold my interest. I wasn't even sure if their styles would fit but boy was I wrong. It wasn't the feud per se, because I wasn't as invested in InDex as most people were. The match that these two had was fun to watch. I'd mostly chalk it up to Gargano being Mr. NXT, but credit to Lumis as well for being able to hold a candle to the man.

    One thing that slightly bothered me was the point of the match. It was a "Love Her or Leave Her" stipulation—one where Gargano won. This meant that Indi Hartwell had to avoid Lumis. However, the ending was a bit perplexing as Hartwell went back and jumped on Lumis. Going through the forbidden love trope, you do have to ask what the point of the match was. Did it make it more dramatic? A little. Maybe. But then, that downplays the stakes a little since it was all for naught. The important thing to worry about now would be how to follow up on this betrayal. Perhaps the Garganos vs. Index feud will brew from here.

    There was only a couple of short skits in the NXT Championship picture. However, in the few minutes we got Samoa Joe and Karrion Kross, they were able to keep everything hot. I think the brief and precise nature of their promos and skits are really to their advantage. These short teases will escalate into a solid one-on-one massacre when they face off. Joe was shown as this monster out to put Kross out. Meanwhile, Kross came off as very unhinged. If this doesn't end up with Joe holding the NXT Championship, I'll be very disappointed.

    The last interesting part of the show for me was Dakota Kai speaking out. Kai explained her side of the story. Honestly, I can't help but sympathize with her. I know she's the heel here, but everything she said was totally relatable. It may sound selfish to some, but Raquel Gonzalez really wasn't focused. I've questioned before why their team had to be part of the NXT Women's Tag Team Championship fray. Now, it actually makes sense to me. That was their way to fuel the rivalry. Constant losses for a Kai championship run made a rift between the two. It transitioned very naturally that I'm really looking forward to the match when it happens. Again, as much as Gonzalez was a fun champ, let's give it to Kai soon.

    What's crazy about this week is how the most engaging parts were the non-match ones. I know it's WWE where entertainment is valued more than actual in-ring ability, but somehow, I feel that the roster depth they have could've easily translated into more palatable bouts. This is me thinking out loud, especially since NXT has proven before that it can give out 4-star/5-star matches regularly and still tell the stories they want to tell.

    What else did we get this week? Ridge Holland vs. Ikemen Jiro was an example. Yes, it served to highlight Holland's new partnership with Oney Lorcan and Pete Dunne. But, why the hell is Holland with Oney anyway? Remember they were fighting against each other when Holland got injured. And this is what? Just to show Holland's killer instinct after aligning himself with the two? I'm not a fan.

    Legado Del Fantasma vs. Hit Row was a little bit better—especially as an opening match. Though I honestly thought they should have held off for a week or two, they did a disqualification finish which may have established the alignments of both teams. In no way are these two teams babyfaces, however, Santos Escobar just proved how evil he was—that grill-pulling portion was sick. Hopefully, they can still keep the momentum going until NXT TakeOver: WarGames.

    Lastly, I've mentioned before how Bobby Fish might be getting the short end of the stick with Undisputed ERA's breakup. Losing clean to Roderick Strong on a regular episode is hard proof. I would've understood if he lost via interference at least, but no. Strong winning cleanly means he's really getting a solid push (at least in the cruiserweight division). Sadly, I wished this could've been built up at least to appear on a TakeOver—especially with their rich history. A missed opportunity indeed.

    For what it's worth, this week wasn't bad. But, it also wasn't good by my standards. I still feel a little disjointed by what goes on weekly. Maybe I'm just used to the older days wherein matches and skits flowed smoothly to each other. Or maybe it's a case of seeing matches just because we have a rich roster of Superstars. I think the brand is starting to lack the character development that makes you invested in the show as a whole. Nowadays, it feels like, we're getting rehashes of old things that work (see: Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly) in the hopes that they can catch the same magic they used to.

    Show Grade: B-

    Match to Watch: Dexter Lumis vs. Johnny Gargano

    Not-So-Full Sails

    • Joe Gacy just reminds me of Sami Callahan. It's probably the hair, but his sinister look also adds to that comparison.
    • As much as Robert Stone has been appearing for over a year, what has he actually done aside from being a comedy character?
    • With all this InDex drama going on, where does Austin Theory really fit in The Way?
    • God. Please. No more Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly, please.
    • While the Io Shirai/Zoey Stark was fresh to watch, I'm still not a fan of this team-up. Seeing Io in a casual setting was kind of great though.
    • Cameron Grimes/LA Knight isn't cutting it for me anymore. And why is Ted DiBiase part of it again?
    • This year's NXT Breakout Tournament isn't as engaging to me. Perhaps it's the lack of build-up or introduction to most of the participants? While I'm interested in who might win, the road to get there isn't as entertaining.
    What was your favorite part of the show? How will Indi's betrayal affect The Way? Are you still invested in Cameron Grimes vs. 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) while he pursues his musical career via his YouTube channel (Migz Llado) and courtesy of his band The Mox (TheMoxRocks). 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 (8/3/21): Indi Heat Of The Moment Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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