1/9 Moore’s 205 Live Review: Tony Nese vs. Cedric Alexander, TJP vs. Gran Metalik, Jack Gallagher calls out Hideo Itami again

By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Aired live from Birmingham, Alabama at Legacy Arena

205 Live started off with a recap package on the prior night’s Enzo Amore vs. Cedric Alexander match on Raw. The recap had background music and spotlighted that the match was one sided on the end of Cedric Alexander. The highlight package’s tone shifted when focusing on Enzo selling an ankle injury. The 205 Live intro theme played…

Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness checked in on commentary. Joseph promised an update on Enzo Amore’s ankle and eye injury. Nigel hyped up Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese…

John’s Sarcasm: Oh joy…    [fill in the blank] vs. Tony Nese

The Mega Man 2 sounding theme played as TJ P[erkins] made his entrance. TJ acted cocky which Nigel pointed out. His opponent was 205 Live’s resident enhancement babyface, Gran Metalik. Gran Metalik was dessed in all black, sorta like a ninja with a tank top. A skit aired from earlier today. Metalik and Kalisto were talking in Spanish. TJP walked in and called them “muchachos” purposely in the most American voice possible. Perkins gloated about defeating Metalik and 30 other wrestlers at the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. Metalik shruged it off and told Perkins Bienveniedos, welcome back. Kalisto asked Perkins not to live in the past. Perkins acted a bit peeved and nervous. Perkins said he’s not living in the past, Kalisto and Matalik are just trying to catch up to the original TJP…

1. TJP vs. Gran Metalik. Metalik started the match off by showing off his agility. Metalik landed the first move with an armbar takedown and La Magistral pin attempt. Kalisto was shown watching the match backstage while shadow boxing in support of his friend. Metalik went for a baseball slide but Perkins sidestepped and started ground offense. Metalik dodged being whipped into the steps with a senton bomb landing and he cleared the stairs again for a huracanrana. Metalik went high risk but was crotched on the top rope by Perkins.

Perkins gave Metalik a hesitation dropkick as Metalik was stuck in the Tree of Woe. Perkins continued to work at a methodical pace. Nigel said it was a bit odd that Perkins wasn’t targeting the injured leg of Metalik given Perkins’ submission style. Perkins hit Metalik with a body slam and slingshot senton bomb. The crowd was getting restless during Perkins’ heat sequence. Metalik escaped a back surfboard and went for a rollup. Perkins came back with a Suplex and a failed pin attempt. Perkins locked in a hammerlock and chinlock combo. Nigel and Joseph talked about Perkins using less technique and more aggression. Metalik slithered to the top of the LED turnbuckle and hit Perkins with a Sunset Flip bomb.

Metalik caught Perkins with a superkick and a sling blade bulldog. Metalik got a nearfall. Perkins escaped a fireman carry by trying to pull of the new mask of Metalik. Metalik went for a lethal injection but was caught with a dropkick midair. Perkins got a nearfall off a double gutbuster. Metalik caught Perkins with an enziguri and hit Perkins with a tightrope elbow drop. Metalik hit the Metalik Driver for the win.

Gran Metalik defeated TJP via pinfall in 9:04.

Joseph called this a huge win for Metalik. Kalisto joined Metalik in the ring for some reason to celebrate…

John’s Thoughts: Not the best TJP match. That’s been his weakness in-ring. He can have a great match like last week or that TV match against Shinsuke Nakamura from early 2017; but he also interjects random boring matches in there. This was a nine minute match that should have been five minutes because there were three rest holds too many (as evidenced by the crowd getting restless). I would like to think that this win will lead for something with Metalik and Perkins but seeing is believing on that one. To recount one positive, I like that Perkins did a better job emoting his heel character in the pre-match skit, dialing back the Swaggy P Nick Young act for a more organic one.

The camera stuck on Perkins for an extended period post-match as he told the crowd to shut up. Perkins threw a tantrum on the announce table by tossing around the paperwork and tablets. Perkins threw an armchair threw the air. The tantrum drew more boos. Perkins continued to toss around stuff until referee Charles Robinson got in between him and the ring to send him to the back. Nigel said TJP acted like a petulant child…

John’s Thoughts: Well, that was something we don’t see on 205 often. A little bit of character development and I got a little bit of what I wanted in this segment, but it’s still wait and see given how bad this show has been for so long. Perkins did a great job getting legit heat from the crowd and not “go away” heat. If he can keep this up, Perkins can be a strong candidate for filling in the void that Neville left once he left the show. Perkins also has to do more heel-style matches like last week.

Vic Joseph wondered how Enzo Amore feels about Nia Jax teaming up with Apollo Crews. The recapped the Nia/Enzo backstage segment from last night as well as showing Enzo getting his stiches. Cut to Dasha Fuentes, who interviewed Enzo Amore. Enzo told Dasha to call him “the realest champ”. Enzo gave an injury update. He said his ankle was feeble and eye was like a baseball. Enzo talked about going to a tatoo parlor for some reason. This led to him talking about Ford and saying he was built ford tough. Enzo said he’s not cleared to wrestle and he said Cedric Alexander was lucky. Suddenly Tony Nese walked into the interview. Nese said the Zo train knocked some sense into him and he begged to get back in “the Zo train”. Nese said he demands to be the first in line when Enzo isn’t around. Nese said he was going to prove himself by beating Cedric Alexander…

John’s Thoughts: One step forward, two steps back with Tony Nese. See why I’m not confident in the writers doing anything with Perkins? Gallagher’s heel turn is another example.

Speak of the Devil, Jack Gallagher made his entrance as Vic Joseph talked about Gallagher being the only cruiserweight in last year’s Royal Rumble Match. Nigel and Joseph recapped Hideo Itami putting Brian Kendrick on the shelf for three months with a Go 2 Sleep. They also recapped Gallagher’s steel pipe attack on Hideo from last week by talking over still shots. Gallagher talked about how Hideo Itami was licking his wounds and not here. Gallagher said Hideo has bruised ribs but they will recover unlike Kendrick who has a cracked skull. Gallagher said the scales of justice aren’t even.

Gallagher said Hideo Itami will find no sanctuary and he wants to ruin Itami’s life. Gallagher was going to talk about torture. Hideo Itami walked out selling no injuries which Joseph pointed out. Gallagher had a look of shock. Itami had the upper hand and took down Gallagher with a running boot. Itami blocked the umbrella shot and put the umbrella under his boot. Itami built up and went for a baseball swing on Gallagher but Gallagher rolled away and bailed in the crowd. Itami’s theme played as Gallagher yelled at Itami from the crowd.

John’s Thoughts: As an LA guy myself, I wonder if Itami was paying tribute to legendary Japanese Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo? Good promo work by Gallagher who’s getting more of a chance to shine with Kendrick out. Not 100% sold on this feud yet because I’m not sure where it’s going. At the same time, more avenues will lead to Gallagher coming out of this looking weak like most 205 Live heels.

Mike Rome interviewed Cedric Alexander. Alexander said he was disappointed at not winning the title but he said he knows a title shot rematch is coming his way. Goldust walked into the locker room. Goldust said he’s Cedric’s friend and doesn’t want Cedric to be taken advantage of. Goldust talked about how Tony Nese is trying to impress Enzo and that Enzo is appearing at ringside. Cedric said if Enzo gets involved he will get two broken ankles. Goldust acted like goofy Goldust. Goldust said Cedric is his champ… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Not sure why Goldust is a 205 Live mainstay now. He even wrestled on this show. Are they building towards a Goldust and Cedric Alexander program because I don’t think that would be the worst thing in the world with Goldust going back to that promising throwback heel character and Cedric needing some sort of character development. I would roll my eyes a bit at Cedric essentially taking the place of Ron Killings in this feud.

Enzo Amore made his entrance selling his injuries. He did his usual speech and the crowd wasn’t as participatory to start but eventually the cheers built up. Enzo built up Tony Nese and called him “Tony Abs”. Nese then did his unnecessarily long ass entrance while cutting his hard to hear his usual promo without a microphone. Cedric Alexander made his entrance to his remixed theme music. It’s the same lyrics but they’ve done some work editing the background music to the vocals…

2. Tony Nese (w/Enzo Amore) vs. Cedric Alexander. Ugh. Tony Nese took steps back and did his usual muscle bragging to start the match. Nese ran through Cedric with the ground and pound. Nese kept asking Enzo for his approval while working Alexander. Cedric got a bit of an advantage but Nese pulled Cedric off the apron and did a wheelbarrow slam onto the hard camera side barricade. Enzo gloated in front of Alexander while Nese had the advantage. Nese went for the chinlock in the ring. In a production botch, the boom microphones were trying to pick up Enzo gloating but they also loudly caught Alexander and Nese calling spots while Alexander was in a chinlock.

Nese locked in a minute long chinlock. Alexander escaped with a jawbreaker. Nese came back with a lariat for a nearfall. Nese continued to slowly work over Alexander as Enzo yelled. Alexander caught Nese with a back elbow and drop toehold in to the second buckle. Alexander kicked Nese off and hit a springboard Paydirt. Alexander then caught Nese with a Tope Con Hilo. Nigel noted that Alexander injured Enzo Amore with the Tope Con Hilo on Raw. Nese tried to win with a schoolboy. Alexander did some impressive dodging to hit his springboard lariat.

Nese went to the ropes for the rope break. Nese then caught Alexander with snake eyes on the top rope. Nese went for a springboard moonsault but Alexander dodged and won a striking battle. Nese caught a flying Alexander and hit him with a gutbuster. Nese and Amore tried to taunt Alexander. Alexander caught Nese with a rising palm. Nese escaped a suplex and then fell wrong on his knee. Alexander sold a knee injury and rolled up Nese for the victory.

Cedric Alexander defeated Tony Nese via pinfall in 9:00.

Enzo was bug eyed as Nese tried to plead his case to Enzo. Alexander told the referee to check on his ankle. Alexander made it to his feet while selling the knee a bit. Alexander then walked around to show that he was faking an injury. Nese tried to plead to Enzo but Enzo yelled at Nese to get out of the ring. Alexander confronted Enzo. Enzo tried to show bravado and he said he was the best in the world. Alexander tripped Enzo and hit Enzo with the Lumbar Check. Joseph and McGuinness recapped the closing minutes of the show…

John’s Thoughts: 75 percent of the match was your usual forgone conclusion Nese match, but the last 25 percent was pretty good and nuance by 205 Live standards. Nese still takes two steps back by reverting a bit to old mundane mannerisms. Cedric at least gained a bit of something with the mind game finish. This still wasn’t enough to heat up this feud with Enzo quite yet. Amore vs. Alexander still seems very mid-card, mostly because Enzo can’t deliver in the ring and tends to burn himself out on the microphone by going through all his material early in his run. Brian Kendrick would be better in this spot and hopefully they build up TJ Perkins to take over this slot soon because Enzo is way out of his league in trying to fill the void left by the talented main eventer in Adrian Neville.

Overall, more of the same from 205 Live. Check out the TJP tantrum if you want to see some nuance on this show but otherwise this show is still missable. This episode had some good things in it like Gallagher getting promo time and TJ Perkins drawing good heel heat, which is rare for a non-Neville heel (Enzo goes for cheers randomly for some reason). The Nese regression and the 50-50 booking has me still apathetic about the situation until this show can show some consistency. To bring up a tangental positive, I did point out early in Nigel’s 205 Live run that he was (rightfully so) phoning it in but in the past month of so Nigel McGuinness has been very engaged and we’ve seen the great Nigel on commentary that we’ve seen in NXT. Vic Joseph as also improved. He’s still not even as good as Rich Brennan or Tom Phillips yet but at least he’s not just a forgettable voice. I’ll have more thoughts in my members’ exclusive audio review later today.

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