By John Moore
WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Aired live from Norfolk, Virginia at the Norfolk Scope
The intro teaser focused on Drew Gulak and his “Drewtopia” campaign/PowerPoint. They showed the war between Drew and Akira Tozawa…
The 205 intro theme played. Vic Joseph checked in on commentary and said this was going to be the “spookiest” edition of 205 Live (lord help us!). Nigel McGuinness was also on commentary. Joseph said his obligatory line of the show being the “most exciting hour in television”. Nigel advertised Rich Swann vs. The Brian Kendrick as well as the “Fright Night Fatal 4-Way”. Joseph told us the ring would be surrounded by Halloween Tricks or Treats. The match graphics even had spider webs in it.
John’s Thoughts: Ugh… This show! And the Halloween thing exacerbates the sucky-ness of this show. Plus, they make Joseph, Cole, and Graves say that dumb mandatory “exciting hour” line which reminds me of when Vince McMahon called the bad NXT Game Show “The next evolution in television”. This show is the “most [nihilist] hour in television.”
Drew Gulak started the show for once instead of appearing after the opening match. Gulak brought his lawn sign and got a mic for a promo. He introduced himself and asked, “where my Gul-s at?” (play on the word ghouls). The crowd booed like they heard a bad joke, which they did. Drew mocked the crowd for liking Akira Tozawa’s “ah” chant. The crowd showered him in “ah” chants. He talked about putting an end to Akira Tozawa soon. He brought his attention to Halloween. Drew talked about how Halloween was created by “the machine”. Drew brought up his plan for a better Halloween in the form of his “POWERPOINT PRESENTATION!!!”. He had a picture of a pumpkin with his face in it. Slide 1 out of 47 was “No Candy” which drew a respectable amount of heat. Drew blamed high fructose corn syrup on getting people hyped up to do high spots and on how it gives root canals. Drew recommended sweet potatoes as an alternative. The next slide was no “trick or treating”. Drew said “Trick or Treat” is a chant. Akira Tozawa interrupted Drew’s slide number 3…
John’s Thoughts: Even though he’s hanging too much on that one time a Microsoft employee acknowledged his gimmick, Gulak is doing a nice job with the anti-high spots gimmick and has sorta become the “anti-fun” guy. I get a kick out of Drew’s act and it looks like crowds do as well.
1. Drew Gulak vs. Akira Tozawa. Tozawa started off with a running boot and strikes. Tozawa took down Gulak with a head scissors takedown. Gulak tried to use a running sunset flip but Tozawa countered and hit Drew with a running senton. Tozawa put the boots to Drew in the corner. Drew sidestepped a suicide dive from Tozawa to recover. Gulak snuck in a kick and chop on Tozawa. Tozawa caught Drew with a feint fakeout elbow. Gulak caught Tozawa with an elbow. Tozawa sold throat pain. Joseph pointed this out in relation to Drew putting Tozawa (kayfabe) in the shelf due to a vocal cord injury.
Drew hit Tozawa with a lariat to the throat. Drew focused his attack on the throat of Tozawa. The crowd tried to rally Tozawa with “ah” chants. Drew locked in a half camel clutch into a chinbar to target the throat. Tozawa led another “ah” chant and hulked up. Tozawa caught Gulak with a body scissors and Saito Suplex. Gulak rolled away from Tozawa’s finishing Senton by rolling outside. Tozawa followed that by hitting a nice sailing Suicide Dive (a good one that reminded me of how Horizontal El Hijo Del Fantasma can do his). Gulak kicked out of a pin attempt which led to Tozawa selling throat pain again. They showed replays of how clean Tozawa’s suicide dive was.
Gulak did a throat chop to Tozawa and rollup for a two count. Tozawa caught Gulak with a spinning jumping roundhouse. Tozawa hit Gulak with his finisher, the diving senton, for the win.
Akira Tozawa defeated Drew Gulak via pinfall in 5:56.
Nigel pointed out the extreme height that Tozawa gets off his senton. Tozawa led “ah” chants while selling throat pain. Nigel and Joseph transitioned to a replay of last week’s Kendrick and Gallagher promo…
John’s Thoughts: A really smart match with the right guy going over. Gulak had a chance to get some heat in the Ali feud but they decided to relegate Gulak to a mid-card to undercard comedy role on 205 which he does play well. The best part of the match was the story of Tozawa’s “vocal cord injury”. Tozawa was solid in selling and Drew was good in targeting to cram a compelling match in under six minutes. By the way, all of the graphics on 205 Live got the Halloween treatment.
Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander chatted in the locker room. Cedric mocked the notion of leaving Swann after Kendrick’s thoughts. Swann said he doesn’t care about being called a clown. Alexander said Swann shouldn’t take that abuse. Cedric said if they are going to call Swann a clown, they’ll give them a clown. Alexander handed Swann a clown nose…
Mustafa Ali cut a backstage promo about trick or treating. Ali said he learned a valuable lesson as a kid: “Always get your candy”. (what?)… [C]
Back from the show, they showed a replay of Drew Gulak and Enzo Amore’s promo from the prior night’s Raw. The segment/match ended with Enzo hitting Kalisto with Gail Kim’s Eat Defeat. Joseph hyped Enzo Amore vs. Kalisto for the Cruiserweight Championship….
During the nxt match, Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann came out dressed as clowns. Cedric had clown paint while Swann had a full clown costume.
John’s Thoughts: Random thought. I’m not a huge fan of Kendrick’s modus operandi being the anti-clown-warrior, but one thing that I think would make this feud interesting is if WWE brought up the man who worked as Crazzy Steve in TNA. Steve was a guy who had a lot of success as the Heath Ledger clown and was a part of the innovative Decay faction that got a lot of buzz last year before he signed a developmental deal.
2. Brian Kendrick (w/Jack Gallagher) vs. Rich Swann (w/Cedric Alexander). Kendrick yelled at Swann to show his toughness. Swann mocked Kendrick by ding his Michael Jackson Dance instead of the test of strength. Swann mocked Kendrick with joke moves. Kendrick caught Swann with a running knee. Swann blocked an Irish Whip by letting his giant oversized glove go. Swann poked Kendrick in the eye with the other glove. Swann caught Kendrick with a huracanrana. Kendrick gave Swann forearms. Swann did a few agile dodges and hitting Kendrick with a dropkick.
Gallagher teased hitting Swann with an umbrella but Kendrick caught Swann with a baseball slide. Swann beat the ten count. Kendrick suplexed Swann and got a nearfall. Kendrick mounted a methodical offense on Swann. Swann quickened up the pace with dropkicks. Swann surprised Kendrick on the top rope with a frankensteiner. Kendrick blocked a tiger bomb but not a buzzsaw kick. Kendrick hit a reverse suplex on Swann for a nearfall. Kendrick locked in a Captain’s hook but Swann was positioned under the rope for the rope break. Nigel pointed out that Kendrick utilized the maximum of the allotted four seconds he is allowed.
Kendrick hit a butterfly Superplex on Swann to get a nearfall. Swann got a nearfall off a La Magistral Cradle. Swann hit Kendrick with a flip dive on the outside. Gallagher distracted Swann. Swann blocked a Sliced Bread #2. Swann hit the Phoenix Splash on Kendrick for the win.
Rich Swann defeated The Brian Kendrick via pinfall in 9:37.
The generic circus music played…
John’s Thoughts: Hmmmmm… mixed thoughts here. On the positive side Kendrick and Gallagher are playing solid heels and Swann’s defiant clown act made sense from a storyline perspective. The problem here is twofold. One, Swann didn’t really play up the comedy spots as he should have to be defiant. If say Colt Cabana, Grado, or even Jack Gallagher were in Swann’s position they would have done more comedy to match the story. The other problem is the heels have zero heat. The heels keep losing thus making Kendrick’s mission statement a moot point.
Joseph cut to a Gran Metalik Halloween promo. Metalik had subtitles. He talked about it being the Dia De Los Muertos. Metalik talked about how the spirits of the dead ancestors come to watch him on that day. Metalik said as the Rey of the Ropes he’s is going to pay them tribute… [C]
Generic/stock Halloween music played. The ring was surrounded in pumpkins. It was essentially set up just like Raw’s “Trick or Street Fight” the night before (Lord help us!!!). There’s about 20 minutes left in the show. Ariya Daivari made his entrance wearing the jacket and bling that he’s been wearing as Enzo’s sidekick. Daivari talked about telling everyone a horror story about how 205 Live was disappearing at one point.
John’s Thoughts: Can 205 Live really disappear so these talented individuals can have more meaningful spots on any other WWE show? Like Raw, Smackdown, or NXT?
Daivari talked about how 205 Live is cursed. Daivari said he opened his heart and bank account to Enzo Amore. He said Daivari Dinero has nothing to be afraid of now aside from spending one more night in Virginia. He cut a promo in Iranian and was cut off by Mustafa Ali. Ali threw candy at the crowd.
John’s Thoughts: To pull a positive from the situation. I like Daivari’s new look and it sounds like, so far, that by associating himself with Enzo, Ariya has improved his promo ability.
3. Ariya Daivari vs. Mustafa Ali vs. Tony Nese vs. Gran Metalik in a “Fright Night Fatal Four Way”. Ali tried to start off the match by giving his opponents candy. Metalik accepted. Daivari took it. Nese yelled “I don’t eat candy!”. The match started and madness ensued. Ali and Metalik cleared the ring and showed off some of their agility against each other. Ali blocked an armdrag and Ali landed on his feet after a huracanrana. Nese interjecked himself. Daivari slammed Metalik on the candy table outside. Ali hit Nese with a pumpkin. Ali threatened to shove candy into Nese’s mouth. Daivari ran in for the save. Daivari planted Ali with a spinebuster.
Daivari pulled Metalik off the top rope. Daivari found a random Gran Metalik mask in a bucket of candy. Daivari put on the Metalik mask and mocked Metalik’s lucha moves. Daivari put Ali on the top rope. Ali pushed Daivari off and put the Metalik mask on the plastic Skeleton. Ali threw the skeleto at Daivari and Metalik ran in with a dropkick. Nese and Daivari hit Ali with “Candy Corn Kendo Sticks”. Nese turned himself into a pumpkin catapult by tossing them at Ali like a medicine ball.
Daivari caught a flying Metalik with a kendo stick. Nese pulled out what would usually be a thumbtack bag as Nigel assumed. Ali threw a piece of pumpkin at Nese. Daivari pulled Ali off the apron. Daivari showered Ali with candy. The crowd chanted “we want tables”. Nese accidently gave Daivari a forearm and he fell into a bucket of apples. Ali took a Twix bar and shoved it into Nese’s mouth. Ali went for the pin but Metalik broke it up. (Dammit Metalik!). Metalik and Ali had a chop battle. Metalik hit an innovative twisting reverse facebuster.
Nese pulled Metalik off the top rope. All three men fought on top. A Tower of Power spot happened. Daivari tried to steal the pin to no success on Ali. Daivari cleared a table and brought it in the ring. Metalik threw a pumpkin at Daivari and put him on the table. Nese hit Metalik with the candy kendo stick. Nese was angry when he found out that there was candy corn instead of tacks in the bag. Metalik pushed Nese into the table. Daivari broke up the pin attempt. Ali hit Daivari with a pumpkin pie Ali got a broomstick and did a “broomstick leg drop” for the win. Ali celebrated with the plastic skeleton…
Mustafa Ali defeated Ariya Daivari, Gran Metalik, and Tony Nese via pinfall in 13:00 in a Fright Night Fatal Four-Way.
John’s Thoughts: Yep. That was as bad as we all probably expected! Does Vince McMahon actually watch this show? If so, does that explain why we had to get the obligatory ’70s variety show holiday special match? It was worse than the Heath Slater and Rhyno on Monday’s Raw. At least that one was quick and to the point. Not to mention, Rhyno and Slater have better comedy timing. This one was odd and contrived. This almost seemed like what would have happened if Vince McMahon teamed up with TNA-Era Vince Russo to produce something.
Before that main event, I was actually saying that this show wasn’t too bad. It’s still not worth your time. The Gulak vs. Tozawa match was fine and the storytelling was smart, but there were no real developments either. The heels in the Kendrick and Galllagher thing have no heat. This show wasn’t worth it. I’ll be by later on with my members’ exclusive audio review.