5/1 Moore’s WWE 205 Live Review: Drew Gulak vs. Kalisto, Buddy Murphy returns, Akira Tozawa and Hideo Itami vs. The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher

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

WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Aired live from Montreal, Quebec at the Bell Centre

This week’s intro teaser focused on the Cedric Alexander vs. Kalisto title match at the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi. The teaser also added clips that focused on Buddy Murphy not making weight to pull him from title contention. After the highlights, the 205 Live intro theme aired…

Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in on commentary. Joseph said his contractually obligated line of calling 205 Live “The most exciting hour on television”. The commentators hyped Buddy Murphy making weight this week and will return to action on 205 Live. Watson hyped Drew Gulak vs. Kalisto which was a rematch from the last part of the Gauntlet Match from last week…

1. Akira Tozawa and Hideo Itami vs. The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher. Tozawa and Gallagher started off the match . Tozawa landed his fun little fakeout punch on Gallagher and then went on to stomp a mudhole into Gallagher at the behest of the crowd. Tozawa hit his signature front kick to senton combo on Gallagher. Gallagher hit a jawbreaker on Tozawa. Itami and Kendrick tagged in and Nigel noted how this was a rematch from Itami injuring the orbital bone of Kendrick (on Christmas of last year). Kendrick got an armbar on Itami. Itami used a drop toehold to reverse into a headlock. Both men traded chain wrestling.

Itami stood his ground and dared Kendrick to forearm him in the neck. Kendrick and Itami traded in an old school Strong Style forearm sequence. Kendrick won the sequence with three really sharp chops. Kendrick followed up with boots. Itami turned the tables with a Dragon Screw Legwhip. Tozawa tagged in and yelled with a few of his battle cries. Tozawa hit a missile dropkick on Kendrick for a nearfall. Tozawa fended off Gallagher but was caught by a superkick from Kendrick. Gallagher tagged in and started to work on Tozawa. After some methodical offense, Kendrick tagged in for a body stretch on Tozawa.

Tozawa hulked up with the help of the crowd. Tozawa snuck under the legs of Kendrick to tag in Itami. Itami landed some roundhouse kicks on Kendrick. Itami hit a boot and draping tornado DDT on Kendrick. Itami hit a flying clothesline for a nearfall. Itami used a backfist combo to set up his hesitation dropkick. Itami tried to hit his unnamed finisher but Kendrick escaped. Tozawa tagged in and went out at Kendrick and Gallagher with a Tope Suicida. Tozawa converted a huracanrana into a octopus hold on Kendrick. Gallagher broke it up. Tozawa fought off both men and put Gallagher in position for his finisher. Hideo Itami “accidently” crotched Tozawa off the top rope. Gallagher hit Tozawa with a standing headbutt to pick up the win.

Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick defeated Akira Tozawa and Hideo Itami via pinfall in 8:09.

The camera stuck on Itami and Tozawa in the ring where Itami stood over the hurt Tozawa. Itami shoved Tozawa away and to the ground which drew boos. Tozawa’s face sold shock by his Kohai disrespecting him. The crowd chanted “disrespect” (clever). During the replay, Nigel and Percy noted that it was Itami that cost his team the contest…

John’s Thoughts: A few good individual performances here and the right team went over. As damaged as the heels were on this show prior to the reboot, Kendrick and Gallagher had to win to make sense. Itami went back to playing babyface for the most part and did a great job not holding back in the match. His series of roundhouse kicks and the strong style battle with Kendrick stood out. Kendrick has had two solid performances since returning from injury too. Gallagher seems to be wasted here in this tag team because the guy’s great in the ring and on the mic yet he fades into the background when teamed with Kendrick. I noted that Itami played babyface, but they are obviously building to a heel turn (I thought he’s been acting heelish recently anyway). Let’s see what Tozawa and Itami can do down the road.

Vic Joseph recapped a few weeks ago where Buddy Murphy hit Cedric Alexander with Murphy’s Law during his championship celebration. Nigel McGuinness hyped up the return of Buddy Murphy for after the commercial… [C]

Drew Gulak cut a promo from the locker room. Gulak said Kalisto is a “2nd place” type person. Gulak noted that Kalisto squeaked by him barely last week with flipping, flopping, and flying. Gulak said that isn’t going to work tonight because Gulak is 100% for their one-on-one match. Gulak said the moment Kalisto steps through the ropes is the moment that all is over. Gulak said he needs to prove to the universe that high flying is not how you obtain victory in “a better 205 Live”. Gulak said when you step to him you will tap out…

John’s Thoughts: Gulak has been delivering on the promo end. Not only that, but the setting that he cut the promo in was something we don’t usually see in WWE often. He cut a promo in a locker room, a natural place where athletes would be. It was not in one of those campy red or blue backdrop stages that we see on Raw and Smackdown. Raw and Smackdown comes off as a variety show or play sometimes. 205 Live and NXT come off as “universes”…

Buddy Murphy made his entrance. It was also time for the weekly Buddy Murphy weigh in. Of course, they didn’t show us the zeroed-out scale (It’s tough to say he’s not 220-ish when they just used the weight thing as a way to write him out of a show that we can all assume he had travel issues with). This week Buddy Murphy weighs 204 pounds. Murphy kept ignoring Drake Maverick who tried to be formal and give him a handshake. Murphy said he wants his title match…

2. Buddy Murphy vs. Liam Louie. Enhancement Wrestler Liam Louie looked intense. Sadly, he had no chance. Murphy stomped a mudhole into Louie. A “let’s go jobber” chant ensued as Murphy tossed around the enhancement guy. Louie managed to sneak in a forearm for some cheers. Murphy gave Louie triple power bombs which knocked out the enhancement guy. Murphy had the match won but Murphy stepped back to inflict more pain. The referee called the match anyway because Louie didn’t respond.

Buddy Murphy defeated Liam Louie via ref stoppage in 1:45.

Cedric Alexander made his entrance as Murphy was headed up the ramp. The two men brawled with Cedric getting the upper hand. Murphy retreated to the back with Cedric remaining in pursuit. Kalisto was doing some core workouts as he and the Lucha House Party guys continued to show off Kalisto’s sugar rush demeanor… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Good to see Murphy back and good to see that even though he’s acting more heelish, his in-ring intensity is still intact. I bring that up because of how his in-ring was boring crowds on the live event circuit (I was a part of this crowd at one point). What I did like from Murphy’s live event work was his heel promos. I don’t want to see him go as over the top as he did, but he does speak well and has good bad guy facial expressions. The post-match stuff was fine, but hopefully we see some sort of varied angle play it’s way out other than Cedric just being pissed that some guy crashed his paint-by-numbers celebration.

The commercial hyped Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong for the next day’s NXT show. Vic Joseph hyped “breaking news” for next week with The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher vs. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik. Dasha Fuentes interviewed Cedric Alexander. Alexander said Murphy made his statement a few weeks ago but unlike Murphy Alexander made a statement tonight without attacking from behind. Alexander said that if Murphy wants what Alexander has, then he knows where to find Alexander…

Kalisto made his highly energetic entrance. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik swung their wooden noisemakers around. Kalisto entered the ring by himself as Metalik and Dorado headed to the pack. They cut to a selfie promo by Kalisto who had Metalik and Dorado with him. Kalisto talked about how things didn’t go his way in Saudi Arabia. Kalisto said with his homies Dorado and Metalik with him he was able to pick himself up. Kalisto said tonight Drew Gulak won’t be ready for the “Lucha House Party Bay-beeeeee”. The sugar rush ensued as Kalisto did his lucha things while Metalik and Dorado did their noisemaker things. Drew Gulak made his entrance wearing his sexy-time boxer robe. I joke about the silk robe, but Drew did come out looking serious and confident…

John’s Thoughts: Kalisto has always been dorky, but now he’s “embracing the dork” and showing some decent work on the microphone. He’s not talking about Rey Mysterio or Eddie Guerrero these days and it’s an improvement. The best part is, he and the other two lucharores look like they are having fun. I get a chuckle out of Kalisto always seeming like he’s in a sugar rush. I wonder how he’ll be if he ever discovered energy drinks. Oh my.

3. Kalisto vs. Drew Gulak. Gulak dominated the chain wrestling at the beginning and even gave Kalisto some bitch slaps to the back of his head. Did Gulak just call Kalisto a “pollo”? Kalisto escaped a full nelson with a cartwheel. Gulak stepped back for a reset while Kalisto did his lucha thing. Gulak grounded Kalisto with a single arm takedown into a wristlock. Kalisto tried to cartwheel away again, but Gulak twisted the wrist into an armbar and hammerlock combination. Gulak maintained control with a side headlock takedown.

Nigel McGuinness noted that Drew Gulak was trained by Skayde (I looked him up online, and he’s a veteran at Chikara Pro Wrestling) in Lucha Libre and that Skayde also trained Lince Dorado. Kalisto tried to do some of his signature spots but Gulak just stepped aside to avoid wasting energy. Gulak caught Kalisto with a strong gut punch. Kalisto blocked a dragon screw but Gulak locked in a modified half crab to control Kalisto in the center of the ring. Kalisto flipped away but Gulak remained in striking control.

Kalisto caught Gulak with a kick and corkscrew armdrag. Kalisto hit Gulak with a huracanrana. Kalisot messed up on a corkscrew plancha which Gulak and the announcers tried to sell as Kalisto landing on Gulak’s knee (If it was on purpose, it didn’t look great). Gulak put the methodical boots to Kalisto. Gulak then put on a deep Gory Special stretch on Kalisto with Kalisto bending deep. Gulak converted the move into a package Boston Crab. Gulak had body control but Kalisto struggled enough to get to the rope. Vic Joseph cut in by advertising Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy for next week.

Gulak remained in control. Gulak locked in a bow and arrow stretch. Kalisto fought out of a modified stretch muffler. Kalisto tried to chop down the tree with kicks but Gulak responded with a simple powerful forearm. Gulak unhooked and tried to pull off the mask of Kalisto. Kalisto fought off Gulak and rehooked the mask. Kalisto was serious and sent Gulak outside with rapid strikes. Kalisto hit Gulak with a springboard plancha into an armdrag. Kalisto didn’t do his lucha thing and remained in pursuit with a huracanrana.

Kalisto went for a pin attempt after a crossbody. Kalisto sent Gulak outside and hit an innovative knee springboard into a seated 450 senton. Kalisto did his lucha thing to call for the Salida Del Sol but Gulak reversed it into a sunset flip for a nearfall. Kalisto got a victory roll into a solid nearfall. A “this is awesome” chant ensued during the brief respite. Kalisto and Gulak traded stiff strikes. Kalisot hit Gulak with a frankendriver. Kalisto went for a moonsault but was caught out of the air into the Gu-Lock. Gulak grapevined the move and got the tapout win.

Drew Gulak defeated Kalisto via pinfall in 12:45.

Vic Joseph noted that Gulak was trying to impress Drake Maverick by defeating a former Cruiserweight Champion. Highlights from the match were shown to close out the show…

John’s Thoughts: Another impressive performance by both men. Kalisto really has shined since the reboot of the show and is even getting better the more chances he gets to perform. I want to see more of a serious Kalisto and he showed something when he had that nice burst of anger after the mask rip attempt. Drew Gulak has been the success story of the entire timeline of 205 Live because he grows every single week. Gulak was boring as hell on the indies. On 205 he started off as an entertaining comedy character and now he’s the “wrestling machine” of 205. His in-ring has improved dramatically and he reminds me of Zack Sabre Jr. with the body manipulation. What I like from Gulak and Sabre these days is that both men have gotten more practical than cute in their submissions these days with some added aggressive strikes.

This wasn’t the greatest show in the world or anything, but it was a good episode of 205 Live. This episode definitely seemed like an episode in an episodic series. As I say with NXT, every segment and match serves a purpose. They need to work on their promo packages and video packages. I like the sports-like approach, but even sports has press conferences and guerilla-style interviews. More interviews like the Drew Gulak interview from this episode would be great. Maybe even some of the Mustafa Ali cinematic-style promos too? I’ll be by later today with my WWE 205 Live Audio Review for the Dot Net Members.

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