1/23 Moore’s WWE 205 Live Review: Daniel Bryan’s announcement regarding the future of 205 Live, Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander, Jack Gallagher vs. Hideo Itami

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

WWE 205 Live
Aired live from Washington, D.C. at the Capital One Arena

205 Live opened up with Daniel Bryan standing in front of the backstage flat screen TV. Daniel Bryan said Enzo Amore has abdicated his position as Cruiserweight Champion and will no longer be a part of 205 Live. Bryan said he’s making the announcement due to his close affiliation to 205 Live in working close with the Cruiserweight Classic which led to 205 Live. Daniel Bryan said next week a 205 Live General Manager will be named and his or her first action would be to address the vacant Cruiserweight Championship situation. Bryan said this new GM will help this brand get the direction it needs… (now if only they did this from a creative team perspective)

John’s Thoughts: Rockstar Spud? That’s who I’d pick. He can do everything Enzo can just with the added in ring and selling ability. Plus, I’d bring him in as a heel GM. As tired as the concept of a heel authority figure can be, Spud has proven himself strong at that position as Dixie Carter’s stooge and 205 Live needs heels that mean something. Enzo leaving brings the active roster back down to 11 or so wrestlers? and three of those heels got beat up by Goldust single handedly.

The 205 Live intro theme played. Enzo Amore was scrubbed away from the intro theme video and replaced with more Noam Dar clips (for some reason Rich Swann got replaced with Noam Dar clips too). Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness talked about the excitement behind the new GM announcement. Nigel and Vic hyped up the card of this episode…

Kalisto was the first out to the ramp. Kalisto came out to his Lucha Dragon theme but he did change things up by wearing his Drago-esque mask (which I’m a proponent of him utilizing). Kalisto’s trios partners were the other luchadores on the roster, Gran Metalik and the returning Lince Dorado…

1. Kalisto, Gran Metalik, and Lince Dorado vs. TJP, Ariya Daivari, and Tony Nese. Tony Nese still does his unnecessarily long-ass entrance where you can’t hear what he’s saying and supposedly he’s doing muscle puns. Nigel and Vic speculated over possible GMs. Perkins dominated the initial chain wrestling over Lince Dorado. Perkins included a dab in the wrestling. Dorado turned the tide after an armdrag and mocked TJP’s dabbing. Dorado hit Perkins with a standing moonsault. Dorado tried to play isolation but Perkins powered to Tony Nese to tag him in. Metalik tagged in as Nese and Metalik picked up the pace.

An armdrag sent Nese outside. Nese intercepted Metalik’s tope with a running elbow in the center of the ring. Daivari tagged in and whipped Metalik. Metalik stopped on a dime and walked the ropes to show off his ring presence. Kalisto tagged in and hit Daivari with a slingshot senton. Kalisto caught Daivari with a feint kick and high flying cross body block. Kalisto caught Daivari with a high hook kick. Nese distracted Kalisto which allowed Daivari to shove Kalisto to the outside.

Perkins tagged in and played isolation with Kalisto. McGuinness pointed out that TJP has picked up a few high profile loses on this show since returning from an extended injury leave. Perkins hit a front back suplex combo on Kalisto for the nearfall. Joseph speculated that the loses might be getting in the head of Perkins. Tony Nese tagged in to continue to cut the ring in half from Kalisto. The heels traded quick tags and restholds. Kalisto managed to get strikes in as Daivari was distracted by Kalisto’s partners. Kalisto tagged in Lince Dorado for the hot tag after hitting Daivari with an enziguri. Dorado took down Perkins with some Lucha Libre moves.

Daivari hit Perkins with a legdrop and a moonsault. The heels broke up the subsequent pin. Kalisto and Metalik took out Daivari and Nese with stereo Tope Con Hilos. Perkins dodged a Shooting Star Press (which McGuinness accidently called a 450). Dorado shoved his way out of a detonation kick sending Perkins into Nese. Perkins ranted at Nese to get in the corner which distracted him enough for Lince Dorado to surprise him with a Lethal Injection for the victory.

Kalisto, Gran Metalik, and Lince Dorado defeated TJP, Ariya Daivari, and Tony Nese via pinfall in 9:12.

Vic Joseph pointed out in the replay the contrast between the two teams in that the luchadores had perfect communication while Perkins’s miscommunication cost his team the match. Perkins cut another one of his temper tantrums in the middle of the ring and yelled in the face of Tony Nese and Daivari. Daivari just looked confused. Nese shoved down and yelled at Perkins that Perkins cost the team the match not Nese or Daivari. Perkins continue to rant in the center of the ring while acting like a petulant child which drew some boos…

The show cut to a Drew Gulak promo. Drew Gulak talked about who he wants to see as GM of 205 Live. Gulak said he wants someone who supports his campaign for a better 205 Live. Drew then cut his usual promo about no flying, diving, and wanting a Drewtopia… [C]

John’s Thoughts: I’m very impressed by the luchador trios team and if this show didn’t exist (which it shouldn’t) they would stand out on the main roster as long as Vince McMahon doesn’t turn them into a racial stereotype (which WWE has done in the past with ethnic minorities). As I said in my transcript, I’m a huge fan of Kalisto using the Lucha Underground Drago-like look. Now he has to go back to using that new EDM type theme. As for TJP, they’re telling a story, which is a positive. I’m still not confident it leads anywhere given the history of this show but at least Perkins is drawing good heat for the time being. One new fear I have is that this petulant child character reminds me of the character Christian Cage played when he teamed up with Diamond Dallas Page back in the day which wasn’t all that great. Maybe Perkins just needs a little bit of DDP Yoga. Bang?

As Hideo Itami made his entrance WWE gave him an inset promo where he talked about how injuring The Brian Kendrick was an accident that happens regularly to people that fight. Itami said the injury wasn’t on purpose on his part. Itami said he respects Kendrick but not Gallagher…

2. “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher vs. Hideo Itami. Itami dominated the early part of the match with strikes. Gallagher had to resort to the rope break. Gallagher snuck in a kick and locked in a headlock. Itami turned the tide with strikes. Gallagher would utilize the ring environment to gain an upper hand over Itami. Gallagher rained down right hands over Itami. Gallagher then initiated his joint manipulation with an arm trap. Joseph noted that Gallagher’s joint manipulation focused on Itami’s surgically repaired shoulder. The crowd chanted “Boring” during the joint manipulation.

John’s Thoughts: The crowd isn’t chanting “Boring” to the joint manipulation sequence, nor doubting Gallagher’s ability since when Pete Dunne or Marty Scurll do similar spots people boo out of disgust and sympathy for the babyface. People chant boring at 205 Live because this show is boring and a huge contributor of the boringness is the damaged credibility of the heels.

Itami went into an armtrap back hammerlock which he innovated into a pinning situation. McGuinness called Gallagher a man of his own heart for using that move. Gallagher continued with the joint twists while also playing for heat. Itami escaped and hit a snap suplex on Gallagher. Itami sold the shoulder while initiating some of his signature offense. Gallagher dodged a backfist and went for a backslide. Itami recovered and hit a hesitation dropkick on Gallagher in the corner. Itami turned a Dragon Sleeper into a modified version of Gail Kim’s Eat Defeat where he used the knee instead of the foot. This ended up being Itami’s new finisher since it picked up the win?

Hideo Itami defeated Jack Gallagher via pinfall in 5:23.

Nigel McGuinness pointed out that Hideo Itami is finding different ways to beat his opponents because in his last match with Gallagher he used the Rings of Saturn to pick up the submission win. McGuinness called this new move a modified GTS…

John’s Thoughts: Well, to me the move looked more like a modified Eat Defeat. Eat Da Knee? Anyway, the match was pretty formula and it was hurt by Gallagher’s lack of credibility which all heels on this show suffer from. I don’t get why they moved away from focusing on Gallagher’s legit MMA background which led to this vicious transformation and instead he’s a vanilla wrestler who cuts good promos (a la Bray Wyatt). Not through his fault, creative is letting him down. As for the finish, I hope he goes back to the drawing board with that because the finisher didn’t look great at first glance. I hope they don’t fully ban the GTS since they can turn it into a rare finisher like how AJ Styles rarely uses the Spiral Tap or how Neville started to rarely use the Red Arrow. If the GTS is gone for now, can he take back another one of his other finishers like the Daniel Bryan/Drew Galloway Claymore Kick?

They cut backstage to an Akira Tozawa selfie camera promo. Tozawa talked about how he’d make a good boss/GM. Tozawa told a random guy backstage “you’re fired”. Tozawa then did the Vince McMahon strut… [C]

Cedric Alexander cut a selfie promo himself in the form of an inset promo talking about how he expected to get a title shot at the Royal Rumble but now those plans have changed with the Enzo situation. Alexander talked about 2018 marking the beginning of the Age of Alexander.

3. Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali. Ali and Alexander shared a handshake to start the match with respect. The early part of the match was a feeling out process by both wrestlers which included an agility stalemate. Alexander used a handstand to stand up during an Ali huracanrana prompting him to do the Mutombo finger wag. Both men started to turn up the aggression after the initial sequence. Alexander imitated his signature headscissors to dropkick sequence. Nigel noted that the entire match so far has been fairly even, like watching a mirror match.

Alexander and Ali traded control with an armbar. Ali caught Alexander going for a springboard but Alexander swatted a flying Ali midair sending his head flying into the apron. Ali sold this like he got whiplash but in the replay you you could see that he executed a successful martial arts front bump. Ali sold that like a champ. Alexander trapped Ali in a straightjacket hold in the center of the ring. Ali fought back with a stiff forearm which Alexander returned the favor with a rising palm strike.

Ali flipped away causing Alexander to send himself into the second rope. Ali hit the brakes and slipped to the outside to catch Alexander with a feint kick. Ali hit Alexander with a rolling X Factor. Ali caught Alexander with a shoryuken. Alexander blocked a tornado DDT with his core strength. Alexander used a drop toehold to send Ali’s head into the second rope. Alexander got a nearfall after a springboard Paydirt. Ali had some fight in him as he started a strong style sequence with Alexander. Alexander won the exchange with his signature back elbow.

Alexander unhooked Ali’s hand from his tights with a hook kick. Ali caught Alexander with a spinning heel kick which caused heavy stagger on Alexander. Ali and Alexander then took each other out with a standing Spanish Fly. Ali reversed a Lumbar Check into a crossbody. Alexander caught Ali with a feint kick. Ali tripped Alexander off the top rope and caught Alexander with a tornado DDT which led to a great nearfall that popped the crowd. In a rare 205 Live moment, the crowd chanted “this is awesome”. Ali went for the inverted 450 but Alexander rolled away causing Ali to eat dirt. Alexander hit the handspring roundhouse and Lumbar Check to pick up the win.

Cedric Alexander defeated Mustafa Ali via pinfall in 11:52.

The show closed after the commentators recapped the match highlights…

John’s Thoughts: That was a really good match and it may have been the best 205 Live main event we’ve had since Neville went MIA. I was afraid that I was impressed relative to the terrible shows we were getting but I was affirmed in my praise with the “This is Awesome” chant. I dislike the formula “this is awesome” chant but on this show it means something because since Neville left all the crowds have been chanting is “boring”, “this is boring” and “delete” in that they want this show deleted from all space and time. What was fresh about this match was that it wasn’t all about high flying. Mustafa Ali in particular several times in this match stood out with great sell jobs. The most notable sell jobs were of him masking the front bumps. Alexander was inspired on his end too so this was a recipe for good business.

This match also had the benefit of being between two babyfaces as the only people on this show that mean anything are the babyfaces because all the heels suck (which was put on display when they called the heels on this show simply “The Zo Train”). To be completely honest, the Enzo Amore firing may be a blessing in disguise and trust me I’m not committing a post hoc or ad hominem Fallacy with that hypothesis because the crowd reaction to a quality match backs up my ethos. Go out of your way to watch the main event of this show. I can’t believe I’m legit recommending something of it’s own merits on 20 F’n 5 Live. I’ll be back later today with my Members Exclusive Audio Review where I will also give a little bit of my thoughts on the Enzo Amore situation.

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