By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Aired Live February 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California at Staples Center
The 205 Live intro teaser focused on last week’s matches and was narrated by an epic narrator guy. There was also epic trailer music playing during the teaser. The teaser also contained soundbites from Cedric Alexander and TJP. The 205 Live intro theme aired…
Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness checked in from the commentary table. Joseph talked about how the quarterfinals of the Cruiserweight Championship tournament was happening in the City of Angels at the Staples Center. Cedric Alexander made his entrance to a favorable reaction (light due to it being 205 Live). An Alexander selfie promo aired. Cedric said TJP could try to get in his head but TJ wasn’t going to play him on his path to WrestleMania.
Dasha Fuentes interviewed TJP. TJP complained about being forced to compete in a tournament for a title opportunity due to being the first Cruiserweight Champion. TJP said champions rise to the top and he’s going to become the new Cruiserweight Champion. Los Angeles native, and fellow Lakers fan, TJ P[erkins] made his entrance to the ring with a trimmed version of his entrance music. He also had a new video wall. Perkins did the LA hand sign on his way to the ring…
John’s Thoughts: By the way, I was thinking of attending this show being an LA native, but note that I currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area. That said, Go Dodgers! Go Lakers! Go Rams! The Angels don’t count. Anyways, the reason I didn’t attend was I’m going to be a bit busy in the month of March with live wrestling shows so I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. As for this episode, the brackets did surprise me a bit, but I’m still going with Alexander and Strong being the obvious people going through.
1. Cedric Alexander vs. TJP in a second round WWE Cruiserweight Championship tournament match. The hometown homeboy TJP got a huge reaction from Staples. Alexander and Perkins traded quick waistlocks. Alexander deadlifted Perkins and planted him with a power bomb. The crowd tried to hulk up Perkins in an Alexander headlock. Perkins slipped out and hit a headscissors takedown into his signature dab. Alexander did a kip up from the prone position. Alexander showed superior technique in the subsequent chain wrestling sequence.
Alexander used the soles of his feet to pull away the arm of Perkins. Perkins tried to escape but Alexander was focused on his arm yank move. Perkins converted the position to a Texas Cloverleaf. Perkins tried to block the rope break with an STF. Cedric tried for a rollup. Perkins had an impressive brake to a whip by using his feet to stop it. Alexander picked up the pace and send Perkins outside with a dropkick. Perkins converted a headscissors into an armbar. Perkins then converted the move to a sideway surfboard. Alexander got the rope break.
Alexander and Perkins traded snapmares with Perkins coming out on top with a stomp after it. Perkins locked in an armtrap chinlock. Perkins used a tiger feint kick to block a whip. Perkins then used a legtrap into a head stomp. Perkins went for a surfboard pin for a two count. Perkins hit Alexander with a slingshot swanton. Alexander escaped a triangle headlock. TJ came back with a flying forearm. Perkins locked Alexander in a half octopus hold. Alexander used elbows to fight out and cane at Perkins with an elbow smash. Alexander turned a Perkins back suplex into his own crossbody. Alexander had a forearm rally and hit his signature back elbow.
Alexander got a nearfall off the Neuralyzer kick. Alexander hit Perkins with an enziguri and springboard paydirt for another nearfall. Perkins lifted Alexander into a double underhook gutbuster for his own nearfall. Perkins called for a Detonation Kick but Alexander slipped through. Perkins caught Alexander running with a basement dropkick to Alexander’s knee. Perkins missed a wrecking ball kick and ate a back hook kick. Alexander hit Perkins with a Tope Con Hilo while also selling knee pain.
Alexander and Perkins traded fatigued strikes. Alexander went for another Neuralyzer kick but Perkins caught it into his signature kneebar. Perkins rolled up Alexander and made sure the referee’s view was obstructed so he can grab the tights. Alexander kicked out at two. Perkins hit Alexander with a CQC combo. Alexander came back with a uppercut. Both men took each other down with a lariat. Perkins caught Alexander with a flying forearm smash. Perkins got a victory roll but rolled into a kneebar. Perkins controlled Alexander like he was wrestling an alligator. Alexander managed to get the bottom rope for the break.
McGuinness gave Perkins some credit for targeting the injury of Alexander. Alexander hit another one of his signature elbows. Perkins made Alexander dazed with an impressive Rolling Sobat. Alexander slipped out of a Detonation kick and hit the Lumbar Check for the win.
Cedric Alexander defeated TJP via pinfall in 17:22 to advance in the WWE Cruiserweight Championship tournament.
After the replays the cameras had a wide shot of Alexander looking at the WrestleMania sign. Joseph asked if we were one step closer to the “Age of Alexander”… [C]
John’s Thoughts: When I looked at my stopwatch for the timing I was a bit surprised. 17-plus minutes. That’s main event workrate and sometimes (as we see most of the time during WWE Raw) going over 12 minutes could lead to lull periods. The reason I was surprised at the timing was Alexander and Perkins telling an intricate enough story in the ring that it seemed like the match breezed through. Good work by both men and the tournament continues to mix up the finishes so we aren’t seeing the same formula match after match. That was a huge problem during the Vince McMahon managed 205 Live. Alexander going over wasn’t a surprise as he seems like the “chosen one” for a while and I’d be surprised if he didn’t make it to WrestleMania.
The commercials hyped up Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler for the next day’s NXT show. The camera then showed a shot of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar statue in front of Staples Center. Vic Joseph cut to a WWE.Com clip of Drake Maverick telling the viewers about his “vision” for 205 Live. Maverick talked about how 205 Live has some of the best athletes in the world and this roster just needs someone to point them in the right direction. Maverick said that you’ve been living under a rock if you didn’t know his vision because the past few weeks is what he wants from 205 Live, the best cruiserweight competition in the world. The show cut to Nigel McGuinness going over the tournament brackets. He focused on Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy for next week.
Mustafa Ali was shown in the same sit-down interview set that he did an introspective interview a few weeks ago after his stellar match against Cedric Alexander (during the Enzo Amore firing week). Ali said last week he had a fight of his life. Ali said Jack Gallagher made a point of making Ali experience pains he never felt before. Ali said despite the pain, his eyes saw the WrestleMania sign which inspired him to fight and claw hold on just a little bit longer to win. Ali said he has to face the bigger, stronger, and faster Buddy Murphy. Ali said Buddy’s a bad dude but “Buddy, You’re not bad enough to break me”.
Buddy Murphy was shown walking out into a parking lot (I think he was in Canada since the truck next to him said “Toronto”). He wore an NXT tracksuit and was interviewed by an off-camera interviewer about going against Mustafa Ali. Murphy said if Ali thinks the match against Gallagher was brutal then he has another thing coming when it comes to Buddy Murphy and Murphy will make it to WrestleMania. Murphy left the interviewer with a wink. Kalisto was shown getting pumped up while Roderick Strong was taping up his fists… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Man, Mustafa Ali is quickly rising up the ranks in WWE as one hell of a sympathetic figure (which is tough in a company that also includes Johnny Gargano). The guy may be in the top three in the company when it comes to selling and the guy is a good natural promo. His relatability and passion reminds me a bit of Drew Galloway and how he grew as a sympathetic figure.
Kalisto made his entrance wearing a mask that looked like a watermelon…
John’s Thoughts: If Kalisto teamed up with El Dragon Azteca Jr, would they be called the Lucha Watermelons? I kid, I kid, and I’m stealing fellow Dot Net Staffer Will Pruett’s Dragon Azteca joke again. It’s not just the Watermelon color scheme, but I’m a bigger fan of the Drago looking mask because that one gave him a cooler identity and looked badass.
2. Kalisto vs. Roderick Strong in a second round WWE Cruiserweight Championship tournament match. Strong started off the match with a side hammerlock takedown. Kalisto used a wall-run on the ropes to escape Strong with an armbar. Kalisto used a handstand to pump the brakes and he hit Strong with a huracanrana and legdrop. Kalisto went for a slingshot move but Strong pulled Kalisto into one of his famous backbreakers. Kalisto reversed Strong with a huracanrana and then hit him with a suicide dive. Kalisto did his Lucha Thing at the ringside.
After hitting a dropkick through the bottom rope, Kalisto went for a huracanrana but Strong used his core to block it. Kalisto powered through and hit the huracanrana sending Strong into the timekeeper’s barricade. Strong hit Kalisto with an X-Plex on the announce table. A somewhat loud “2-0-5” chant started…
John’s Thoughts: There you go, LA! A few months ago, that “205” chant would have been a fairy tale given how this show as absolute garbage. There’s a minor victory there that now this show is worth cheering for.
Strong worked on Kalisto with calculated strikes in the ring. The strikes allowed Strong to cleanly hit Kalisto with one of his signature backbreakers. Strong gave Kalisto some kidney punches to set up for the backbreaker. Strong hit Kalisto with a gutbuster. Strong drew some boos by mocking Kalisto’s Lucha thing (Strong Lucha Libre contingent in SoCal given the huge Hispanic population). Kalisto fired up with some strikes but Strong maintained momentum after a dropkick. Strong lifted Kalisto in to the Gory Special. Kalisto fought out with an armdrag. Kalisto managed to barely hit a Frankendriver on Strong.
I think a “Si Se Puede” chant started for Kalisto. Kalisto hit a seated springboard senton and corkscrew forearm smash. Kalisto hit a full Frankendriver on Strong for a two count. Kalisto went for a SDS (which looked more like Sliced Bread #2), but Strong tossed Kalisto into the top rope. Strong used a forearm to setup and hit Kalisto with the Angle Slam. Kalisto escaped the End of Heartache and hit Strong with the Listo Kick. Kalisto rolled up Strong with a Victory Roll which Nigel called a modified Code Red.
Strong put Kalisto on the top rope and hit him with a chop. Strong carried Kalisto to the top rope. The two men fought and staggered each other. Strong went for a body slam but both men slipped off the top rope and the move looked ugly. It was so ugly that Nigel “had no idea what that was”. The replay went on to clarify the move and it looked like Strong was going for a super body slam but Kalisto managed to reverse it into a DDT (the replay really helped). Nigel noted that the ugly landing might have tweaked Strong’s shoulder.
Strong and Kalisto hit each other with precision strikes. Kalisto went for the Salida del Sol but Strong hit Kalisto with a knee, backbreaker, and End of Heartache for the win.
Roderick Strong defeated Kalisto via pinfall in 11:42 to advance in the WWE Cruiserweight Championship tournament.
Strong sold the right shoulder after the match which Nigel noted came from the super body slam attempt. Strong stood on the top rope and signaled that he was going to win the belt. Nigel McGuinness advertised Mark Andrews vs. Drew Gulak and Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy for next week. 205 Live closed…
John’s Thoughts: Another solid storytelling match with two veterans. The two wrestlers provided two distinct styles which added to their tale. Not as epic as the past few weeks of main events, but the match was still very fun. It was interesting to see TJP and Kalisto being the ones cheered huge in the two matches with the usual favorite babyfaces getting lesser reactions. But that’s because Perkins appeals to the Los Angeles demographic while Kalisto appeals to the Hispanic demographic so it’s understandable.
This week’s results were a little bit more predictable given how the viewers have now been acclimated to the players in this tournament. Predictable isn’t bad as the people who when through can tell the best stories. As I said, I was a bit surprised that they put TJP in a position to lose since this bracket/roster is sorely lacking heels. This has me thinking that Drew Gulak (who’s being rebuilt and it not established as a heel) is going to move through to fill in the role as the lone bad guy left. I’ll be by later on today with my members’ exclusive audio review.
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