By John Moore
WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Live December 5, 2017 in San Diego, California at Valley View Casino Center
The intro teaser recapping the Cruiserweights on Raw was shown followed by the 205 theme. Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness checked in on commentary where Joseph had to say his contractually obligated line of 205 Live being “the most exciting hour in television”. McGuinness hyped up Tony Nese vs. Rich Swann as a preview for next week’s Drew Gulak vs. Rich Swann match set for Raw. They also advertised Gran Metalik vs. The Brian Kendrick for later in this episode…
Drew Gulak entered the ring for a promo where he asked the crowd “how are you doing?”. Gulak used the Enzo Amore dynamic mic and said Enzo is his mentor. Gulak said Enzo named Gulak the conductor of the “Zo Train” while Enzo is gone on “international business”. Drew said you can call this “The Drew Train”. He then yelled “Drew Drew” in the tune of “choo choo”. Drew said he’s going to beat Rich Swann to get an opportunity at the Cruiserweight Championship. The crowd tried to overpower his promo with boos. Drew then did his usual hype the PowerPoint Presentation. Cedric Alexander interrupted this week’s PowerPoint. Gulak said his PowerPoint was about to reveal that strong leaders delegate. He then said he delegated his scheduled match to another Zo Train member who has been a little “s-o-f-t” recently…
1. Cedric Alexander vs. Noam Dar (w/ Drew Gulak). Drew Gulak joined the commentary table. Dar cowered to the corner to create some separation. Dar fought out of a back suplex. Alexander initiated his signature offense on Dar while also taunting Drew Gulak. Gulak talked about how tough Alexander was due to him being the biggest Cruiserweight size-wise. Alexander chopped down Dar with a kick. Dar retreated to convene with Gulak.
Dar dodged a plancha and set up Alexander to be hit with a front kick to the gut. Dar took up time doing joint manipulation. Drew Gulak talked about how great the air quality is in San Diego compared to Los Angeles (he’s right with that one, and LA’s my hometown so I know). Dar put the boots to Alexander with assistance from the ropes. Alexander ended Dar’s momentum with a back elbow. Alexander landed his signature springboard clothesline on Dar. Dar escaped a Lumbar Check attempt and tripped up Alexander with a low kick. Noam Dar went for a high risk move which caused Gulak to go irate and distract him due to Gulak hating high flying. Gulak and Dar argued. Alexander set up and hit the Lumbar Check for the win.
Cedric Alexander defeated Noam Dar via pinfall in 5:42.
Vic Joseph pointed out that Drew Gulak might have cost Dar the win by recapping the spot where Gulak forced Dar off the top rope. Vic Joseph then hyped up the “1 ever Live Tour” of 205 Live. Joseph talked about how tickets are going on sale Friday. Joseph talked about how it’s a totally different experience seeing 205 Live in person…
John’s Thoughts: It’s a shame that both Alexander and Dar have proven on WWE TV that they can get their characters over with the crowd, especially Dar with his dirty jock gimmick, now they are just in a meaningless match. This is what I fear is about to happen to Drew Gulak sooner or later even though Gulak has been the lone non-Neville heel that has any sort of steam behind them. Dar had that steam at one point but creative just neglected him like the rest of the undercard heels on the roster (minus Kendrick who they seem to protect as far as win-loss record). They might be turning Dar face soon, but that’s not what 205 Live needs. The babyfaces win all of the time with no resistance and with Neville gone they even beat up Enzo all of the time.
Mustafa Ali, Akira Tozawa, and Rich Swann were backstage talking about how exciting 205 Live live events are, like they were a couple of bad actors in a bad infomercial. The trio talked about how bad Gulak is compared to Enzo. Swann then did a twirl and called Dasha a mamacita. Swann wanted to be two-time cruiserweight champion. Swann said, “Drew cannot handle this”. Swann said the Zo train will continue to make fools of themselves. Swann then got the cheap pop by quoting Ron Burgundy in saying to Stay Classy San Diego… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Can we get Talking Smack back? I don’t blame Ali for acting bad because he was told by uninspired writers to spew out that awful skit. We’ve seen Ali deliver better lines in the past. Ugh. 205 Live. Even Rich Swann has something missing in this uninspired show. It’s not that he loses all of the time too, I think he wins too much. He’s a babyface. Therefore, his wins mean nothing on this show because all non-Neville heels suck.
A WWE Week ad aired which advertised the “Broadcast Debut” of NXT as well as Tribute to the Troops. The Brian Kendrick made his entrance. They showed a WWE.com interview where Kendrick talked about how hard he works compared to Kalisto who was just given a title shot with no effort. Gallagher said Kalisto was out touring with Raw internationally and how they think Kalisto needs to stay gone. They showed an inset promo where Gran Metalik talks about how when Kalisto gets knocked down, he always gets back up. Metalik then talked about treating Gallagher like a piñata by hitting him with the umbrella…
2. The Brian Kendrick (w/Jack Gallagher) vs. Gran Metalik. Metalik did several flips all around the ring. Kendrick retreated to the ropes after Metalik landed a tightrope armdrag. Metalik showed off his ring presence by running all over the ropes. Gallagher took the bullet for Kendrick during a Metalik Tope Suicida. Kendrick and Metalik brawled outside. Metalik went into the crowd and did a cool huracanrana over the barricade to the ringside. This woke up the crowd. Gallagher tripped off Metalik off of the Metalik springboard.
Kendrick dominated Metalik with methodical strikes and stretches. Metalik went for a victory roll to no success. Metalik then tried a schoolboy. Metalik then tried a bodyscissors pin. Kendrick gave Metalik an elbow to end the pin attempts. Metalik blocked sliced bread. Kendrick recovered and threw Metalik into the ringpost. Kendrick took Metalik in the center of the ring to lock the Captain’s Hook. Metalik passed out.
The Brian Kendrick defeated Gran Metalik via submission in 5:48.
Joseph tried to put over the Gallagher quote of a cruel winding coming in. They then cut to that out-of-nowhere segment where Nia Jax was hitting on Enzo Amore. They showed a tweet from Enzo where he talked about “ALL” girls wanting to be with the champion…
John’s Thoughts: Of all the babyfaces that win all of the time, Metalik is treated like an enhancement talent. WWE treated Metalik’s mini better than him when El Torito used to beat up Drew Galloway and Jinder Mahal on a weekly basis. Not to mention, Metalik usually only loses to Kendrick or Gulak because no other heels win. Moving to Kendrick, I like that WWE is at least protecting one guy even though they completely dropped the ball with what should have been a dominate duo with him and Gallagher. They just kept having Gallagher lose after the duo cut some good backstage promos/vignettes. My fantasy booking would say that this leads to Kalisto turning to a Drago-like (from Lucha Underground) heel. My gut tells me that sadly they are just building up Kendrick to job to Hideo because Kendrick is the designated enhancement wrestler for Japanese “sensations” (they built him up in the past to lose to Akira Tozawa and Tajiri with the exact same storylines).
Drew Gulak talked with the Zo Train cannon fodder brigade backstage. Gulak said he had the microphone of leadership. Gulak then made the same Justice League comparison that he did last week where he said Enzo is Superman and Gulak is Batman. Gulak said Nese is Aquaman while Dar is the Flash. Gulak said Daivari is Wonder Woman. Daivari asked why he was Wonder Woman. Drew said Daivari is a “fierce warrior with a great sense of fashion”. Daivari then continued this gimmick he’s been doing where he hides a stack of bills in his jacket. Gulak tried to rally the troops behind Nese… [C]
Vic Joseph hyped up Machine Gun Kelly for the Tribute of the Troops. A Hideo Itami “coming soon” vignette aired. Joseph cut to a graphic that showed the Cruiserweights reacting to Hideo Itami via twitter which included an overly poetic tweet from Mustafa Ali which sounded like he was either quoting an anime or trying to channel Walt Whitman. Nigel talked about his experience against Hideo. Tony Nese and Drew Gulak made their entrance where Nese did his long and inaudible entrance routine.
3. Rich Swann (w/Cedric Alexander) vs. Tony Nese (w/Drew Gulak). Nese started off the match like he usually does by showing off his bicep. Nese dominated the early part of the match in traditional WWE-style template. Swann hit a huracanrana on Nese. There was a stalemate sequence. Nese hit a leg sweep on Swann to send Swann outside. Nese showed off his amazing agility in doing cartwheels and dodges to avoid Swann’s offense. Swann managed to land a kick and Phoenix Senton on Nese. Nese managed to turn the momentum back in his favor. The two men brawled in the ring.
Nese kicked Swann in the head to get a two count. Nese slowed things down with a body scissors submission. Swann tried to escape by putting Nese on his shoulders. Nese fought back with a bridge. Nese took down Swann with a running forearm. Nese put Swann in the tree of woe. Gulak pulled Swann’s hair while Referee Rudy Charles was distracted. Nese hit Swann with his signature ab bicycle crunches. Swann managed to come back with a few kicks. Swann hit Nese with a standing frankensteiner. Nese blocked a Tiger Bomb but Swann countered into a rollup. Nese hit a pumphandle Michinoku Driver on Swann. Nese and Swann had a fun kick exchange with Swann coming out on top. Rich Swann hit the Phoenix Splash for the win.
Rich Swann defeated Tony Nese via pinfall in 8:00.
Nigel talked about how the Zo Train has two losses on this night. Gulak blared the megaphone alarm to summon Noam Dar and Ariya Daivari to ringside to surround the ring Shield-style. Because the heels are all goobs, Swann and Alexander easily dispatched of the 205 Job Squad after Akira Tozawa and Mustafa Ali showed up…
John’s Thoughts: Match quality wise, that was a fun match to watch, especially when they both got to kick exchanges. Nese is another of those heels who should be presented as a powerhouse and instead is presented as a nerd who may or may not like to get beat up. I’ve also never truly understood why 205 Live presents Rich Swann as a monster babyface when his look and backstory screams underdog babyface. That ending also continues to emphasize my point throughout this episode that everyone with the exception of Brian Kendrick is a loser heel and even with Kendrick it just seems like they are building him up to lose to Hideo Itami. I hope Itami comes in and kicks the head off of Cedric Alexander so that Hideo can be the great heel that he was becoming in NXT. Plus, Cedric is the only person right now that has babyface sympathy from the crowd.
As I say every week, this show needs to hit the reset button and be assigned a separate creative team. It is really in cruise control. When Neville was on the show, it still seemed like the creative team phoned it in for 75 percent of the show but at least the Neville segments were inspired. They were doing fine by Enzo the first month or so when he was demoted to this show, but right now he’s even blending in after they exhausted his promos. It also hurts that Enzo cannot deliver the weekly main events that Neville could. I’m not saying they have to bring back Neville, this show needs change top to bottom and the heels need to not look like goobs. If I were WWE, I’d up my investment a bit and bring in another king-like character in Prince Puma/Ricochet. Ricochet showed in about two months in Season 3 that he can alter his style to be less high flying and more heelish.
This show is still not worth watching for storyline content. Gulak’s been the one bright spot but his clips you can catch on YouTube rather than waste your time with this chore of a show. Some week’s we get a great standout match like the Kendrick vs. Gallagher match from a few weeks ago or when they pull out the multi person elimination. Everything else is trading wins and losses between babyfaces and heels that mean nothing in the larger scope. I’ll have more thoughts to say in my 205 Live All-Access Audio Review later today.