4/3 Moore’s WWE 205 Live Review: Drake Maverick’s sales pitch for WrestleMania and the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match, Buddy Murphy vs. Kalisto, Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa vs. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik


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

WWE 205 Live on The WWE Network
Aired Live Nashville, Tennessee at the Bridgestone Arena

This week’s 205 Live teaser focused on the encounters on this upcoming episode which included Lucha House Party vs. Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa as well as Buddy Murphy vs. Kalisto. The end of the teaser teased hype for the Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali match at WrestleMania. The 205 Live intro theme played…

Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness checked in on commentary. Joseph talked about how it was his and Nigel’s first WrestleMania along with Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander making their first WrestleMania. Akira Tozawa and Hideo Itami came out first followed by the Lucha House Party duo of Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik…

1. Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa vs. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik. Itami and Metalik started off the match with some ground game. Itami dominated and toyed around with Metalik. Itami yelled at everyone to respect him. He’s still acting like a jerk (which is great!). Itami went in front of Dorado to taunt him and attempt to punk him out. When Itami went back to Metalik, Metalik caught him with a superkick to initiate an offensive sequence. Dorado tagged in and the duo landed tandem offense on Itami with quick tags. Itami escaped a Metalik suplex to tag in Tozawa who kicked Metalik out of the air.

Tozawa went for his PK and Senton combo but Metalik got a crucifix pin attempt in. Tozawa blocked a jumping back elbow with a precision dropkick. Tozawa tagged in Itami. Itami hit a Fisherman Suplex on Metalik. Itami continued to try to get his taunts in against Dorado. Tozawa tagged in and hit his signature fakeout punch on Dorado. After Itami tagged in he mocked Kalisto’s Lucha Thing in the face of Dorado. Dorado landed a few loud strikes on the body of Itami. Itami came back with a few stiff kicks to the body of Dorado. Dorado landed a dropkick on Itami which allowed him to get Dorado for the hot tag. Dorado and Itami had a strong style strike battle which got Nigel excited.

Dorado hit Itami with a spinning heel kick and lionsault. Itami yelled at Dorado to respect him and missed a backfist. Dorado successfully landed some strikes and then hit an ugly looking Lethal Injection on Itami. It’s supposed to be a cutter but he hit it like a stunner this time. Dorado hit Itami with a flip dive. Tozawa hit Dorado with his nice-looking Tope Suicida. Nigel said that Gran Metalik is arguably the best high flyer in the world and he didn’t disappoint by landing a Corkscrew Tope Con Plancha on everyone outside. That caused Nigel to yell “yeah!”.

John’s Thoughts: Nigel is so good when he really gets into a match. For longtime viewers of his ROH and TNA work, it’s cool to see him get excited for the stiff style of fighting because it plays into how he used to beat people up. As for Metalik, this guy is so smooth in the air. I’ve compared him to Mistico, just without the botching and bad attitude.

Metalik took Itami into the ring and tagged in Dorado. Itami kicked out of a pin attempt by Dorado. Metalik tagged in and went for the Metalik Driver (Michinoku Driver). Itami disrespected Metalik by almost ripping off his mask to escape the hold. This caused Lince Dorado to illegally run in. All four men brawled in the ring which caused the referee to call this match off.

Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa vs. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik ended in a no contest in 7:27.

Nigel noted that a Luchador’s mask is sacrosanct (I like that word. I’m adding it to my mental dictionary right now). Dorado and Metalik dominated their opponents. Itami laid in a cheap shot on Dorado with a chop block. The Japanese team stood tall as Itami yelled “Respect me!” Itami continued to act like a dick while taunting Lucha House Party and the fans…

John’s Thoughts: This was some good continuation of a storyline on 205 Live and Hideo Itami’s best night character-wise on 205 Live so far. I probably made that statement about Itami the last time we saw him but evolution and development leads to supersession by default. Itami was doing some of his best work in NXT when he was being an A-Hole to everybody for no reason but the added hypocrite aspect only adds to his persona. It’s also interesting seeing his dynamic with charismatic babyface Akira Tozawa. On the other side, remember when Dorado and Metalik were the babyface Tony Nese and Drew Gulak (a.k.a. enhancement guys)? Dorado in particular has really stood out as a positive since Paul Levesque changed 205 Live for the better.

Vic Joseph noted that the advertised Mark Andrews vs. Drew Gulak match got postponed til next week. They cut to Drew Gulak cutting a promo. Gulak noted that the match was postponed due to his request. Gulak said people are insinuating that this is Gulak trying mind games. Gulak said he believes in a better 205 Live and only wants Mark Andrews at 100% after a grueling bout against Tony Nese. Gulak said he wants no excuses when he annihilates Andrews. Gulak said he could make a very detailed PowerPoint Presentation on why he is going to hold a man against his will in a Dragon Sleeper, which he calls the Gu Lock. Gulak said he only needs one slide which said, “Because I could”. Gulak said he is the best submission specialist in WWE. Gulak said if you step against him you will tap out.

The show cut to a Mark Andrews selfie promo. Andrews said he flew half way across the world to come to WWE to prove a point just like Andrews. Andrews said it’s not about high flying vs. Submissions, it’s Mark Andrews vs. Drew Gulak. Andrews said next week Drew Gulak is going to wish he never underestimated the underdog and will never disrespect Andrews again. Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness recapped the segment and advertised Buddy Murphy vs. Kalisto for later in this episode… [C]

John’s Thoughts: I really liked that promo from Gulak and it reminded me of when Eric Young first moved away from “Showtime” EY into the “world class maniac” character he plays today. What I liked about it was the attention to detail of not being a character retcon, but rather a character evolution that showed the natural progression from an undercard comedy gimmick into a serious upper-card wrestler. He’s still doing the PowerPoint and the “Better 205” thing but it’s not for jest this time but rather for taunts and to stay true to himself.

Ugh. Tony Nese made his unnecessarily long and inaudible entrance where he counts his abs and says a promo that you can’t hear. The commentators cut to Tony Nese doing resistance band workouts while Drake Maverick gave him a pep talk. Drake Maverick wanted Tony Nese to get back on the horse after a loss. Maverick said Nese has to go out there tonight to remind everyone why he is the premier athlete. His opponent got no televised entrance, so I’m assuming he’s an enhancement wrestler. His name was Jonathan Pierce…

2. Tony Nese vs. Jonathan Pierce. Pierce pulled a Nese by trying to show off his biceps to Nese. Nese locked up and manhandled Pierce. Pierce cowered into the corner for a rope break and got some cheap shots on Nese. Nese showed off his agility by dodging all of Pierce’s shots. Nese hit Pierce with a hi-low combination. Pierce tried to walk away but Nese ran at Pierce and used his forearm like a battering ram. Nese hit a triangle lionsault on Pierce. Pierce managed to get a little bit of a window but Nese hit Pierce with a palm strike. Nese punted Pierce in the air and hit him with a gutbuster. Nese hit the Running Nese on Pierce for the win.

Tony Nese defeated Jonathan Pierce via pinfall in 2:56.

John’s Thoughts: Nese is doing a great job at reworking his in-ring style after the 205 reboot. Nese used to be boring and formulaic with chinlocks and muscle flexing. He’s supposed to be the Premier Athlete but he came off as the Premier Meathead. WWE should have treated Nese the same way Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground treat Brian Cage, as a dominating athlete. That could work as a heel. WWE’s finally getting it right with Nese, but I think it would be even better if he either changes the look or the theme music because his current gimmick is an artifact of the bad version of 205 Live. Props to that Jonathan Pierce guy though. He stood out as a good enhancement guy.

Kalisto was shown backstage checking on Dorado’s leg which was damaged from the chop block. Kalisto ran into Buddy Murphy who told Kalisto that it wasn’t personal but he came to 205 Live to become Cruiserweight Champion. Murphy said Kalisto stands in his way tonight. Murphy said not to worry because he’ll make it quick so he can continue to check up on Dorado…

John’s Thoughts: Around the end of last year, I was so happy to review a 25-minute episode of 205 Live because this show sucked and I wanted out as quick as possible. Now they might not have enough time because they are using the NXT method of maximum time efficiency. It would maybe take up too much time, but there was this really good Kalisto Documentary that they aired on YouTube, which did a good job of making Kalisto out to be more than the geeky Lucha Thing guy. I’ll post that video below.

Buddy Murphy made his entrance. Nigel noted that Murphy is muscular and used to be known as “NXT’s best kept secret” (No. It wasn’t a secret. Things were just so bad down for him on NXT to the point where you would have sworn that he got released). Kalisto wore his Watermelon looking mask (again, I’m stealing Will Pruett’s Dragon Azteca joke. At least Kalisto looks like a Dragon)…

3. Buddy Murphy vs. Kalisto. Nigel McGuinness noted that Kalisto’s mind might not be fully here due to Lince Dorado being injured. Murphy held on to Kalisto like a Rottweiler with a headlock. Murphy managed to stalemate Kalisto with power vs. speed. In the weekly Buddy Murphy weigh-in update of the week, Buddy Murphy weighed in at just under 205 according to Vic Joseph. Murphy dominated Kalisto with a wristlock leading to some joint manipulation. Kalisto escaped. Murphy went for a huracanrana but Kalisto used a handstand to land on his feet unscathed. Murphy returned the favor by blocking a Kalisto huracanrana with a cartwheel for another stalemate standoff.

Kalisto escaped a tope by running away. Murphy blocked an armdrag with his core strength. Kalisto adjusted and hit a huracanrana on Murphy. Kalisto hit Murphy with a top rope corkscrew armdrag. Kalisto tried to go for the Suicide Dive but had to pull back because Murphy rushed the ring for another stalemate standoff. A “2-0-5” chant ensued. Kalisto tried to taunt Murphy with his Lucha Thing as the crowd joined in. Murphy manhandled Kalisto by tossing him in the corner and stomping a mudhole into Kalisto. Murphy’s dominance caused a pocket of fans to chant for Murphy as Murphy used a core stretch on Kalisto. Kalisto ran into the ropes and locked in a sleeper.

Murphy escaped the sleeper by ramming Kalisto into the top turnbuckle. Kalisto set up Murphy with an enzuigiri and seated senton. Kalisto planted Murphy with an impressive Tornado DDT with some extra torque for a nearfall. Kalisto and Murphy brawled on the apron. Murphy hit a nasty looking, yet impressive, suplex on the corner of the apron, all the way to the floor. Nigel noted the double damage from falling on the apron and floor. Kalisto kicked out of the subsequent pin. Murphy continued to dominate Kalisto in the ring with his power. Kalisto surprised Murphy with a nice slicing spinning wheel kick. Nigel McGuinness swore that he saw teeth flying.

Murphy used an electric chair slam to block a reverse huracanrana. Kalisto didn’t relent and hit Murphy with a flip dive. Kalisto hit Murphy with a snug Frankendriver. Kalisto earned a close nearfall. Murphy recovered in the corner and surprised Kalisto with a high-flying monkey flip which Nigel McGuinness sold big time at ringside. Kalisto beat the nine count at nine. Kalisto hit Murphy with some rapid-fire punches. Murphy used a block and CQC combo on Kalisto to fend off Kalisto. Kalisto came back with a boot and huracanrana. Murphy used his core to block the rana and hit a power bomb on Kalisto. Murphy sold shock after two nearfalls. In an unprecedented 205 Live moment, the crowd gave Murphy and Kalisto a standing ovation.

John’s Thoughts: It’s storytelling moments like this as to why some people are hoping that Paul Levesque takes over booking from Vince McMahon soon. 2-0-F’n-5 Live got an F’n standing ovation. My F’n word.

Nigel McGuinness yelled “what an atmosphere!!!” (Take That Impact Zone!!!). A “Fight Forever” chant ensued. kalisto fought Murphy off the top rope. Murphy blocked a sunset flip but Kalisto tripped Murphy into the top turnbuckle and hit him with a Listo Kick. Kalisto then hit Murphy with a Code Red for a nearfall. The standing ovation continued with a “This is awesome” chant. Kalisto brought the crowd together with his Lucha Thing. Murphy blocked the Salida Del Sol. Murphy struggled to hit Kalisto with Murphy’s Law but managed to hit an ugly version of it (which was great) to pick up the win.

Buddy Murphy defeated Kalisto via pinfall in 14:48.

Vic Joseph said his obligatory Vince McMahon line of saying “this is what [205 Live] is all about”. Highlights form the match were shown. Murphy celebrated on the turnbuckle that it was his division…

John’s Thoughts: That was one hell of a match with a nice storyline progression throughout. Nashville might just be an anomaly. Either that or 205 Live is really starting to click with these characters coming to light and in-ring storytelling. Kalisto gained a lot here by pulling back on the Lucha Things and being more serious. The best piece of nuance from him was when he would sell excitement and disappointment after specific moves. Buddy Murphy continues to impress as 205’s Golden Boy. Murphy is showing amazing effort, intensity, and adaptability.

The show cut to Drake Maverick in the sit-down interview set. He congratulated Buddy Murphy and went on to give an introspective overview of 205 Live the past few months. Maverick thanked the WWE Universe for their support and for the 16 wrestlers that stepped up. Maverick talked about how Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander are about to wrestle in front of 70,000 and their families at WrestleMania. Maverick urged the viewers to watch the WWE Network on Sunday wherever you are. Maverick talked about how WrestleMania is the showcase of immortals. Maverick said you’ll see Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey’s debut, Daniel Bryan’s return. Maverick said the match everyone is going to be talking about is Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander. Maverick said after seeing that, as a viewer you can now say “I was there” and that will be your WrestleMania moment when you see a new Cruiserweight Champion crowned…

Vic Joseph advertised some hype for the Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali match after the commercial… [C]

John’s Thoughts: There’s the Rockstar Spud promos that I got to know and love and you got to see one of them too. I’ve compared Spud to Paul Heyman, not in their style, but their ability to cut a promo to sell a match and/or PPV. Spud (Maverick) cut a show selling promo while putting over 205 Live strong. Ironic enough, the TNA X Division was homogeneous crap and it was the Spud promos that made them worth watching because of his passion. That promo he cut might have been some of the best go-home hype amongst all of the WWE shows and he put over everything.

Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness were excited about calling the Cruiserweight title match on Sunday. Nigel talked about how his and Joseph’s dreams were coming true. Joseph cut to a Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander video package which chronicled the 205 Live reboot and Cruiserweight Tournament. Cedric Alexander talked about being the on the hottest run in 205 Live. Clips were shown of the tournament. Mustafa Ali talked about how he’s never been on a PPV and his first PPV is WrestleMania. Cedric Alexander talked about wanting to join the linage of past [WCW] Cruiserweight Champions like Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, and Dean Malenko.

Clips from WCW were shown of those men winning the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Mustafa Ali said Cedric Alexander is the “soul” of 205 Live and naturally souls leave the body (well damn). Ali said what’s not leaving his body is his “heart”. Alexander said the problem with using your heart is that you forget to lose your brain. Ali said this is two men who have been fighting for this their entire life, two warriors walking in the ring for the Cruiserweight Championship. Alexander talked about how both men want to steal the show and leave champion. Ali said he’s going to give Alexander a fight. Alexander said unfortunately for him, the winner is going to be Cedric. The copyright signature flashed on the screen as 205 Live closed…

John’s Thoughts: A very good video package that chronicled all the major points of the Cruiserweight Tournament while also delivering some powerful final lines for the Cruiserweight Championship match. The part about souls leaving the body got to me in a positive way. Cedric also did a better job when he didn’t have to deliver a live promo.

Overall, this was yet another strong 205 Live show which served it’s purpose in both moving along the existing storylines. Nothing was a waste of time on this show when the old 205 Live’s hallmark was Waste-of-time. The former Rockstar Spud sold some PPVs and they made a good final push for the WrestleMania match. I’d say that all-in-all, you should go out of your way to see it. I’ll be by later today for the Dot Net Members with my Audio Review of the show if you would like to hear my further thoughts on this episode.

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