11/14 Moore’s WWE 205 Live Review: Kalisto’s birthday episode, Kalisto vs. Drew Gulak, Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann vs. Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher in a Tornado Tag Team Match, Mustafa Ali vs. Ariya Daivari

By John Moore

WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Aired Live November 15, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina at Spectrum Center

The 205 Live Intro theme played. An overly-excited Kalisto was shown in front of a purple backdrop where he was talking about how it was his cumpleanos (birthday). Kalisto giggled and hopped. He said he was going to celebrate his birthday by beating down Enzo’s right hand man. “Mr. Captain Underpants” Drew Gulak. Kalisto talked about shutting down the Zo show on Sunday and becoming the new cruiserweight champion.

They cut to the locker room where there was a giant cake. Drew Gulak stared at it and wondered if the flower was made with fondant. Enzo Amore talked about how if he loses the title the Zo train is done. Enzo enticed Drew Gulak with future success if Enzo is still champion. Enzo told Drew Gulak to make a difference. Enzo said kapish. Drew said “I do kapish”. Enzo said he wants Kalisto to have an unforgettable birthday. Enzo licked some icing off of the cake he bought for Kalisto…

John’s Thoughts: Who’s the genius who came up with building a show around Kalisto’s birthday? Why don’t other non-champion wrestlers get birthday episodes? Weird. It doesn’t help that Kalisto is still extra giddy and hopping around like a rabbit. It looks like Enzo is being dragged down too after being allowed to show off his strengths. At least a few of Drew Gulak’s lines were funny.

Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness checked in on commentary. They hyped up Drew Gulak vs. Kalisto. Joseph talked about Mustafa Ali vs. Ariya Daivari for later in the show. The Brian Kendrick came out followed by Jack Gallagher who has his new heel entrance theme as opposed to his old theme. They showed a Kendrick and Gallagher inset promo. Gallagher talked about choosing a new way of life as opposed to being called a clown like Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann. Gallagher called the fans “ignorant masses”. Kendrick said Alexander and Swann are going to find out that with bad choices comes bad consequences. Rich Swann came out by himself and handled the introduction for the hometown guy, Cedric Alexander, who is from Charlotte, North Carolina. Vic Joseph noted that this wasn’t a regular match and instead it was a tornado tag…

1. The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher vs. Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander in a tornado tag match. Little Naitch Charles Robinson was the referee. Cedric took on Kendrick while Swann took on Gallagher. The heels tried to retreat but the babyfaces maintained control on the outside. Kendrick managed to get a few shots in until Cedric Alexander took down Kendrick with a forearm. Gallagher came out of nowhere with a surprise dropkick which sent Alexander flying into Vic Joseph. Madness ensued.

Kendrick and Gallagher double teamed Swann in the middle of the ring. The heels pushed Alexander out of the way. Swann tried to get some hope with a few strikes but Gallagher came back with the ground and pound. Kendrick and Gallagher tried to get a few quick pin attempts on Gallagher. Alexander entered the ring for the hot [not]tag spot where he hit his signature flipping offense. Alexander hit Gallagher with a standing Spanish Fly. Kendrick broke up the subsequent pin attempt.

Alexander did a drop toehold on Kendrick Gallagher took the bullet for Kendrick as Cedric was flying. McGuinness pointed out that Gallagher took the worst of it since it was a failed version of his signature headbutt. Kendrick locked in the Captain’s Hook while Gallagher locked Swann in a armbar. Both men were held down in the center of the ring. Cedric Alexander faded away but Swann got his hand under Cedric’s to break up Robinson’s call. Kendrick and Gallagher went on to go for a double submission on Swann. Cedric broke things up.

Gallagher hit Alexander with his signature hesitation dropkick with Kendrick following up with Sliced Bread #2. Swann broke up that pin. Swann fought off Kendrick and Gallagher with a strong kick and punch. Swann then hit a guillotine legdrop on both men. Swann was crotched off the top rope by Kendrick. Cedric came in for the electric chair. Kendrick fought out and went back to staggering Swann. Kendrick and Gallagher tossed Swann off the top rope. Swann kicked out of the pin attempt. Alexander tossed away Gallagher and caught Kendrick with a roundhouse. Kendrick escaped the lumbar check and hit a superkick on Alexander. Alexander came back with a back elbow.

Gallagher dropkicked the knee of Alexander. Joseph pointed out that Cedric was injured most of this year with a knee injury. Swann blocked Gallagher’s hesitation dropkick with a back-hook kick. Swann then converted a suicide dive into a tornado DDT on the outside. Alexander hit Kendrick with a spinning wheel kick and lumbar check for the victory.

Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann defeated The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher via pinfall in 10:54.

Joseph and McGuinness talked about all of the high impact moves that Kendrick and Gallagher executed. Joseph called this a “homecoming” for Cedric Alexander. They then cut to Kalisto’s birthday cake. Joseph said he hopes it is Red Velvet… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Color me surprised. That was one hell of a tag team match and something we don’t usually see on the dull 205 Live undercard. That match would have stood out on a WWE PPV or even an NXT Takeover. The reason I bring up NXT is because Swann and Alexander finally showed some good chemistry and reminded me of Team DIY (Tommasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano) with how fluid they’ve become. Kendrick is a tag team specialist who looked inspired. Gallagher is just pure talented as a wrestler and entertainer. Good match. Two criticisms though. One, why did we get Super Swann tonight? He wasn’t selling any of the high impact stuff. Two, Kendrick and Gallagher are presented as losers. This team had so much potential as a heel stable that runs roughshod over the entire cruiserweight division and instead they can’t even dispatch their first challenge.

Ariya Daivari made his entrance wearing his “Daivari Dinero” attire. Daivari said tonight may be the last episode of the Zo show. Daivari said 205 Live won’t be cancelled if Kalisto wins the title. Daivari said “it might as well be [cancelled]” (well… Isn’t that how this show is already?). Daivari talked about how Enzo Amore has improved the quality of life for all of the wrestlers on 205 Live and has made the wrestlers wealthier. Daivari mocked Kalisto for the notion of being an “honorable champion”. Daivari talked about money going in pockets. Daivari then spoke in his native language.

Mustafa Ali made his entrance with a microphone. Ali said no one in the crowd speaks Farsi (I’m going to assume at least one person does). Ali said he’s going to translate to the good people of Charlotte. Ali said Daivari said his head is stuck so much up Enzo’s backside that it doesn’t taste like birthday cake. Daivari started to rant in Farsi. Ali said that no matter if you support Kalisto or Enzo they are all cruiserweights who are here to make sure 205 Live reaches it’s potential. Ali then said that Daivari looks stupid.

John’s Thoughts: Nice promo exchange. The material they had to dictate was mediocre at best but both men did well on the microphone. They’ve reset Daivari’s character so many times with him being a carbon copy of Shawn Daivari, loser heel, and lover of the Olympics (?). As “Daivari Dinero” he seems to have more confidence on the microphone. I forget that Mustafa Ali can speak sometimes but he isn’t half bad in his own right. Ali comes off as well spoken and actually gets the crowd to pay attention to what he has to say.

2. Ariya Daivari vs. Mustafa Ali. Ali pulled off Daivari’s jacket and chain and put it on hismelf to mock Daivari. Ali then tossed the clothes on Daivari. Ali did some flips to show off. He then hit a high crossbody on Daivari. Ali caught Daivari with a palm to the face. Ali went for a springboard but was pushed to the ground by Daivari. Daivari put the boots to Ali. Ali countered with forearms. Daivari came back with a short-arm into a bulldog. Daivari locked in a straightjacket hold. Ali countered into a crucifix pin attempt.

There was some minor back and forth. Daivari hit a spinebuster on Ali for a nearfall. Daivari went for a twisting elbow drop but Ali rolled out of the way. Nigel pointed out that Ali’s back injury might be encumbering him. Nigel said that back pain can put a halt to the inverted 450. Ali came back with some shoves. Ali did a kip up. Ali stopped on a dime and nailed Daivari with a tornado DDT. Daivari slammed Ali to the mat and hit the Magic Carpet [less] ride. on Ali to lead to a two count. Ali fought out of the fireman carry. Daivari blocked Ali with a boot. Ali met Daivari on the top rope and hit a frankensteiner on him. Ali then hit Daivari with the inverted 450 for the win.

Mustafa Ali defeated Ariya Daivari via pinfall in 7:17.

They showed a slow motion replay of Ali’s impressive inverted 450. Kalisto was shown stretching backstage looking lie an ode to El Dragon Azteca Jr. His gear makes him look like a watermelon. Akira Tozawa walked in saying “ha ha ha ha Happy Birthday”. Tozawa said Kalisto can beat Gulak and Tozawa walked away doing Kalisto’s lucha thing… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Another solid match for the night. The writing and booking of the show is still horrible but the talent is really shining through. Even Nigel McGuinness who usually phones-in his call of this call, for good reason, is telling a good story on the headset. If only they assign some solid writers to this show who care about what they are writing/booking. Back to Ali, there’s something there. He’s a good talker in the limited talk time given and one of the top athletes that WWE has.

Balloons were set up at ringside along with the birthday cake that Enzo Amore bought for Kalisto. Enzo Amore made his entrance. Drew Gulak was behind him with his no chants lawn sign. Enzo did his entrance routine and the crowd participated and cheered him. Enzo said it was a special day because it is Kalisto’s birthday. Enzo said as a benevolant G he went out of his way to make sure Kalisto feels appreciated on his special day. Enzo said it’s a party. Gulak said it’s a a commemoration. Enzo then said they have a cuppa party flavas and a cuppa noise make-as in the tone of his “cuppa haters” line. Enzo said they have “Zero presents”.

Enzo said the present they were giving Kalisto was a beating given by “Gaba” Gulak. Gulak said “How are you doing?” intentionally in the dorkiest and whitest way possible with a thumbs up. Enzo told Gulak to do that never again. Enzo said after Kalisto gets his beatdown by GabaGulak he’s going to serve Kalisto some cake. Kalisto said after Kalisto loses on Sunday he can get his mouth through his mask because that’s what people do when depressed. Enzo said Kalisto can do that or Enzo can force feed it through his throat. Kalisto then made his entrance and did his Lucha Thing.

John’s Thoughts: Enzo’s starting to get long winded with his jokes. He’s still good at delivering at least. The best part here was Drew Gulak. Ever since he shaved away the boring Tom Green beard which in turn translated to boring rest hold wrestling, he has evolved into quite the personality. He was “Political Drew Gulak” and today he was funny as “Dorky white guy” Gulak.

3. Kalisto vs. Drew Gulak. Gulak dominated early on with some chain wrestling leading to a chinlock. Kalisto tried to counter with chain wrestling of his own. Gulak tuned a wristlock into a body slam. Gulak chopped the chest of Kalisto. Kalisto hit Gulak with a huracanrana and took him down with a kick. Enzo tried to distract Kalisto. Kalisto was distracted which allowed Drew Gulak to punch Kalisto in the kidney. Kalisto escaped being thrown into the cake. Gulak stomped on Kalisto’s hand and then locked in a chinlock on Kalisto.

Gulak beat up Kalisto as Enzo did trash talking on the outside. The crowd comically sung the Happy Birthday song to a beat up Kalisto. Gulak body slammed Kalisto into the top rope to lead to a two count. Gulak tried to body slam Kalisto into the cake but Kalisto escaped. Gulak quickly slammed Kalisto on the apron. Gulak then locked in a surfboard on Kalisto. Kalisto flipped out and hit a boot to the face of Gulak. Kalisto hit Gulak with a corkscrew shoulder block on Gulak. Gulak ran through Kalisto and went for an axe handle. Kalisto dodged and hit Gulak with a frankendriver. Kalisto did his Lucha thing and gave Gulak a suicide dive. Enzo tripped Kalisto off the apron when the referee wasn’t looking. Gulak tried to stylistically sing Happy Birthday to Kalisto. Kalisto hit an SDS out of nowhere for the win.

Kalisto defeated Drew Gulak via pinfall in 8:00.

Enzo quickly ran into the ring to pummel Kalisto. Enzo put the boots to Kalisto in the corner. The crowd chanted “we want cake”. Kalisto managed to fend off Gulak and Enzo with kicks. Kalisto yelled “I’ll GIVE YOU CAAAAKE!!!”. Gulak saved Enzo from being thrown into cake. Kalisto kicked Enzo and hit a nice high spinning wheel kick on Kalisto. Enzo escaped up the ramp and Greg Hamilton announced Kalisto as the winner of the match. Kalisto quickly ran to the back to chase after Enzo. Vic Joseph then hyped up the unnecessarily long “Two Hour” kickoff show which features Enzo Amore vs. Kalisto. Enzo was interviewed by Dasha Fuentes. Dasha said Kalisto is going to have a happy birthday after all. Enzo said there is no cake for Dasha. Somehow the cake teleported backstage. Enzo also wondered if the flower was made out of fondant. Kalisto shoved Enzo into the cake. Kalisto then said “You want some cake! Feliz Cumpleaños a mi” which translates to “Happy birthday to me”. Kalisto then grabbed some clumps of cake and threw it on Enzo. 205 closed with Enzo lying on the ground covered in Kalisto cake.

John’s Thoughts: The match was nothing to write home about. It was fine. It was better than your usual Enzo Amore main event. The best part was we didn’t get any real birthday cake gimmicks in the actual match which is what I feared after that Mustafa Ali twix match from two weeks ago. Overall, this was a better than usual show with an opening match that I wholeheartedly recommend watching. The talent shined through the crap-writing tonight. Hopefully WWE someday decides to assign an actual creative team behind this show someday as opposed to leaving this show running on cruise control. I’ll have more thoughts in a little bit in my all-access audio review of the show later today.


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