By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Aired Live in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse
The 205 intro teaser trailer recapped last week’s quarter finals matches which were won by Drew Gulak and Mustafa Ali. Roderick Strong and Cedric Alexander were interviewed on this week’s intro. Cedric said that no body on 205 Live is hotter than him and he’ll solidify that fact by becoming Cruiserweight Champion. Roderick said nothing was given to him and no one ever picks him as a favorite. Roderick said he earns everything every step of the way. The 205 Live intro theme aired…
Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness checked in on commentary. Joseph did not say his contractually obligated weekly line. Joseph noted that this week’s episode has direct WrestleMania stakes with the winner of the main event getting into the WrestleMania Cruiserweight Championship match.
1. Akira Tozawa and Hideo Itami vs. “Lucha House Party” Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado (w/Kalisto). Dorado and Tozawa started off the match. “Ah” chants overwhelmed the “Lucha” chants. Dorado gained momentum with a shoulder block. Tozawa was allowed to get his shots in after some armdrags. The two men then had an indie stalemate sequence. Dorado hit a nice front flip dropkick which allowed Dorado to tag in Metalik.
John’s Thoughts: Seriously, when I hear the trio name “Lucha House Party”, I can’t help but picture Kid n’ Play wearing Lucha Masks.
Gran Metalik used his agility to toy with Hideo Itami. Dorado tagged in and hit Itami with a standing moonsault. Dorado hit Itami with a huracanrana. Nigel said he thinks Hideo Itami looks a step off (no kidding. I have the same thought). Itami managed to ground the high-flying Dorado with a roundhouse and then a running boot. Tozawa tagged in and had some fun by doing a fakeout punch on Dorado. Tozawa then stomped a mudhole into Dorado. Itami tagged in and continued his team’s momentum.
John’s Thoughts: Trust me, I’m being a bit hard on Itami’s for a reason. He was doing some of his best work in WWE at the tail end of his NXT run and was doing good work when they brought him in 205 initially. I might be reaching on this but ever since the Brian Kendrick injury, Itami regressed to early NXT Itami, whom Triple H noted was “holding back”. Itami also seems nervous which he exhibits when he panders to the crowd. He’s not doing bad work by any means, but he’s not doing his transcendent KENTA work that made him such a legend.
Tozawa tagged in, let out a yell, and hit a flying missile dropkick on Dorado. Kalisto managed to get some of the kids to chant “Lucha”. Tozawa and Dorado had a chop battle. Tozawa and Dorado took each other out with a boot. Itami and Metalik tagged in with Metalik’s tag being on the hot side. Metalik hit Itami with a loud slap and thrust kick. Dorado used Metalik’s back like a trampoline as he launched high into the air to hit Tozawa at ringside with a very high-flying strike. Metalik went for a double stomp but tweaked his legs. This allowed Itami to hit his new finisher (a shortarm Pele Kick?) for the win.
Akira Tozawa and Hideo Itami defeated Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado via pinfall in 8:10
The replay showed that Dorado got a ton of air off Metalik’s back. They also showed a better angle of Itami’s new finisher. Itami was posing over the prone body of Metalik. Dorado shoved Itami and argued with Itami for disrespecting Metalik. Kalisto and Tozawa tagged in and calmed their tag partners in their native languages.
John’s Thoughts: I liked the post-match angle, if only because Hideo Itami got to go back to being an angry dude. Maybe he does need a heel turn? The match was really fun, especially the Lucha guys. Lince Dorado in particular has been doing the best work as of late of the three and continues to innovate by using moves like using Metalik’s body like a trampoline. The ending was a bit odd and the lack of crowd reaction hurt it even more. Another thing Itami might want to go back to the drawing board on is a finisher if he can’t use the GTS. Or find a way to make this variation on the Eat Defeat look a bit more devastating.
Vic Joseph went back to talking about the Cruiserweight Tournament as the bracket graphic flashed on the screen. A Roderick Strong vignette aired where he talked about his life in WWE. They showed clips of Strong’s trailer park and the news article that talked about how Roderick’s mother shot his father with a gun. Strong talked about the hardships he’s faced and how he is trying to make the most out of an opportunity. Roderick said he likes how he can adapt to the style of his opponents and is ready for anyone. Strong said he wants to cement his legacy at WrestleMania. Roderick said you’re looking at the next Cruiserweight Champion. The graphic of the main event showed on the screen as Nigel noted that this is the biggest match of Roderick’s career… [C]
Xavier Woods’ old singles wrestler theme played and it looks like they’re giving it to Drake Maverick. Drake Maverick joined the commentary table for the upcoming enhancement match. Jack Gallagher’s opponent was enhancement wrestler Murphy Myers…
John’s Thoughts: Ahhhh… They missed an opportunity here. They should have had a match with Buddy Murphy vs. Jobber Murphy in the battle of the Murphy’s.
2. Jack Gallagher vs. Murphy Myers. Gallagher shoved Myers away as a “let’s go Jobber” chant ensued. Gallagher just stared at his opponent and then went to the joint manipulation takedown. Gallagher caught Myers and snake eyed him on the top rope. Gallagher hit Myers with a loud body slam. Gallagher lifted Myers by the wrist and slammed it to the ground. Gallagher dragged Myers by the head and slammed it on the edge of the apron. Myers got to get a bit of a rally in but he ran right into the ring apron and was pummeled by a plethora or strikes from Jack Gallagher. Gallagher defeated Myers with his signature headbutt.
Jack Gallagher defeated Murphy Myers via pinfall in 2:38.
John’s Thoughts: A nice monster squash win for Gallagher and it’s by a guy who doesn’t look like a monster heel. Gallagher does handle business in the ring and is playing the character he should have played after turning as opposed to being the guy who takes losses on behalf of Brian Kendrick. What helps with Gallagher’s deceptive look is that it applies in real life where he is a legit MMA badass.
Vic Joseph cut to a Cedric Alexander vignette where he talked about how this was not the first run he’s had at the Championship. Cedric talked about earning the respect of the fans in his match against Kota Ibushi. Cedric said he’s telling the doubters to just watch and see what he can do. Alexander talked about how he used to be a heavyweight. He said he hits hard, fast, and from different angles. Alexander said he can fly, brawl, technical, and do everything. Alexander said nothing or anyone is going to stop him from getting to WrestleMania. Cedric was getting ready backstage while Roderick was shadow boxing heading into the commercial… [C]
The latest Mustafa Ali Twitter cinematic promo aired. Ali was shown in a dark, narrow hallway with a man slowly approaching him from behind. Ali was cognizant of the approaching person. Ali talked about his past following him. Ali said when he was younger he witnessed a bully shove down his friend and instead of stepping up he stepped back. Ali said he’s experiencing Deja Vu by seeing Mark Andrews get bullied by Drew Gulak with Gulak continue to inflict additional pain on Andrews after the bell. Ali said he has a chance to make things right, to give the bully a taste of his medicine, and a chance to fight back. The hooded man in the back started to run toward the camera and the camera cut off. Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness acted like that ending was normal and went back into their usual commentary…
John’s Thoughts: All it would have taken from Nigel and Vic was just wondering for the safety of Ali. A small thing but it’s better than going business as usual. Anyway, I’m a huge proponent of these Mustafa Ali cinematic promos. It’s different and high quality. Better than those main roster “selfie” promos and even the old Kevin Dunn style interviews. I’ll post it right below just like I did from last week for reference.
I have a chance to step up instead of taking a step back.
I have a chance to make things right.
— Mustafa Ali (@MustafaAliWWE) March 10, 2018
Roderick Strong and Cedric Alexander made their respective entrances. Alexander was dressed in a gold trimmed version of his usual skin-tight jacket (I wonder if this was for his planned tag team with Goldust which they were building to. I’m just guessing he’s wearing it based on his championship aspirations) …
3. Roderick Strong vs. Cedric Alexander for a spot in the WrestleMania Cruiserweight Championship match. Roderick went for an early rollup. Alexander made a bunch of counters to initiate a stalemate. The crowd had dueling chants with the men chanting for Roderick and the children chanting for Cedric. Alexander hit a few of his signature moves to get a nearfall on Strong. Drew Gulak and Mustafa Ali were shown watching the match at a 90-degree angle. Strong looked to have tweaked his knee after a backdrop. Alexander went for his springboard clothesline but was tripped and fell face first into the top turnbuckle. Strong put the boots to Alexander after.
Strong didn’t relent as he continued to stomp a mudhole into Alexander in the corner. Strong hit a side Tiger Suplex on Alexander for a nearfall. Vic Joseph noted that Roderick Strong is wrestling on both NXT and 205 Live. Roderick Strong blocked the neuralyzer with a dropkick. Strong yelled at Alexander “You don’t want it! That boy [in the front row] doesn’t want you to have it!” during a chinlock. Alexander fought his way to his feet and then sent Strong’s neck into the top turnbuckle with an Irish Whip. Alexander sent Strong’s jaw into the second turnbuckle with a drop toehold. Alexander hit Strong with a springboard Paydirt and then a Tope Con Hilo.
Alexander managed to successfully nail Strong with his springboard lariat for a nearfall. Strong caught Alexander with a back elbow and boot. Alexander pulled out a quick Michinoku Driver on Strong for another two count. Strong blocked the Lumbar Check by under hooking the calf of Alexander. Strong went for a backbreaker but Alexander turned it into a crucifix pin attempt. Strong got a nearfall after successfully hitting his signature backbreaker. Alexander blocked the Angle slam with an armdrag and hit the Neuralyzer. Alexander hit the Lumbar Check. Joseph then did the Vince McMahon classic “Alexander’s going to WrestleMania” false finish call. Strong broke up the pin with a rope break.
John’s Thoughts: The modified “we have a new champion” call doesn’t only kill the nearfall for hardcore viewers. By this point, if you hear it three times at least that should be enough to give you a pavlovian response to expect a kickout and kill some of the suspense. That said, if Joseph didn’t kill it it was a great nearfall.
Strong and Alexander brawled to the apron. From the apron, Strong put Alexander in the Argentine backbreaker and then hit a vicious looking Gorilla Press slam into the metal LED ringpost. Ouch. Alexander sold it like he took a gunshot down at ringside. Vic Joseph let out an “oh my God”. Alexander broke up the ten count and fought Strong to the top rope. Strong hit a high Superplex on Alexander for a close nearfall after hooking both legs. A loud “This is Awesome” chant ensued.
Strong and Alexander traded strikes. Strong ducked a hard backfist and hit a tiger knee on Alexander. Strong hit the End of Heartache on Alexander and Alexander returned the favor with a rope break of his own for the great nearfall. A loud “yes” chant ensued. Strong ate a back elbow from Alexander to send Strong weary. Strong and Alexander used each other’s bodies to stand up. Both men then missed strikes due to fatigue. After some intense stares, the two men had a head punch brawl which popped Nigel. Strong did a huge jump to escape the Lumbar Check. Alexander blocked a Stronghold. Strong hit another tiger knee. Alexander managed to get a rollup and then used the leg scissors to hook Strong’s other leg for the surprise victory.
Cedric Alexander defeated Roderick Strong via pinfall in 14:56 to earn a spot in the WrestleMania Cruiserweight Championship match.
Roderick sold frustration and emotion in loss. Alexander’s eyes sold shock. The replays showed some of the nearfalls. After making it to his feet, Strong gave Alexander a nod of acknowledgement and accomplishment. Dasha Fuentes interviewed Alexander in the ring about earning a match at WrestleMania. The crowd applauded and Cedric started to cry. A “you deserve chant” ensued. Cedric said he didn’t deserve it, he earned it. Cedric said this was the single most important match of his life because it took him to WrestleMania. Cedric said he has a four-year-old daughter at home who calls him champion every morning. Cedric told his daughter April that he is going to leave WrestleMania as Cruiserweight Champion.
John’s Thoughts: A great match and most likely the best match you will see this week. It had a great story, great stakes, great everything. Strong makes every match better, which is why I see him as a personal favorite of Paul Levesque. Strong is booked into the most random situations only for the sole purpose of making the match better which he never disappoints. You can see why WWE is so high on Cedric Alexander and the guy put in the performance of his life. Cedric has a similar moveset to a lot of wrestlers and doesn’t stand out that way. His psychology is off the charts and he has shown the ability night after night to earn the crowd’s chants via his in-ring storytelling. It also helped that the guy cut the best promo of his career post-match by invoking the daughter card and the waterworks.
People say the Asian crowds are tough due to their silence, 205 Live crowds are even tougher. Asian crowds are silent out of respect and pop out of respect (I can back up this theory due to my Asian background). 205 Live crowds are silent out of apathy because this show sucked so bad for so long and they are just waiting for their dark main event and to beat the traffic. To earn this crowd’s respect was something. I don’t even like the this is Awesome chant, especially from the Full Sail/indy contingent because it’s more about the fans trying to get themselves over ahead of their entertainment. This was legit and credit to Cedric and Alexander for putting on stellar entertainment. For the sake of science, I would like to see Cedric Alexander attempt to have a main event in the Impact Zone (see: the good Aries vs. Morrison match from last week’s Impact Crossroads Show for how dead that crowd is). Anyway, go out of you way to see this episode, if only for the stellar Takeover-worthy main event. I’ll be by in a bit with my Audio Review for the Dot Net Members.
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