5/22 Moore’s WWE 205 Live TV Review: Hideo Itami vs. Akira Tozawa, Drew Gulak vs. Gran Metalik, Cedric Alexander interview

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

WWE 205 Live
Aired Live on May 22, 2018 from Worcester, Massachusetts at the DCU Center

This week’s 205 Live Intro teaser was the exact same video package shown from a few weeks ago about Hideo Itami. It included clips of Paige, Triple H, Big E, and other sound bites of wrestlers talking about how legendary Hideo Itami is (based off of his reputation from Pro Wrestling Noah/Ring of Honor). It was a good package and it hyped the Hideo Itami vs. Akira Tozawa match advertised for this episode. The 205 Live theme aired…

Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in on commentary. Joseph mentioned his contractually obligated line of calling 205 Live “The most exciting hour in television”. Vic Joseph hyped up Cedric Alexander vs. Buddy Murphy for the Cruiserweight Championship next week in Cedric’s home state of North Carolina. After that, Drew Gulak made his entrance. They cut to a Drew Gulak twitter promo where he talked about how he was going to beat another member of Lucha House Party. Gulak said when he grounds every high-flying cruiserweight on 205 Live he will prove without a shadow of a doubt that you can flip and dive all you want but when you step in the ring against Drew Gulak, you will tap out…

John’s Thoughts: It looks like Gulak has taken the Mustafa Ali approach to producing promos and props for also having someone else hold the camera. More bonus points for the video not having any wind interference that make the various selfie promos by other wrestlers sound low budget. As for the actual promo, it was well done and Gulak is establishing himself as 205 Live’s best all-around wrestler with credibility, a mission statement and clear modus operandi. Not to mention, he’s doing a good job staying serious.

1. Drew Gulak vs. Gran Metalik (w/Kalisto and Lince Dorado). The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher joined the commentary team. Kalisto is still on his infinite sugar rush. Kalisto is also wearing a new Lucha House Party shirt that is reminiscent of the Kid and Play House Party movie. Thumbs up to the Asian Referee guy! (API’s represent!!!). Gulak and Metalik started off the match with ground chain wrestling. Both men made it to a vertical base where Metalik dominated with his agility and Lucha Libre. Gulak retreated to ringside and reentered the ring to stop a Tope attempt. Metalik hit a springboard front dropkick on Gulak for a two count.

Gulak gained control by crotching Metalik on the top rope and stomping on him as he was stuck in the Tree of Woe. Metalik recovered at ringside as Dorado and Kalisto tried to fire him up with their noisemakers. Gulak hit an innovative armbar kneebar combination. Gulak maintained control with an armbar into a grounded chickenwing. Jack Gallagher talked about how he didn’t like masks. Metalik blocked Gulak with his boot and hit a spinning bulldog on him. Metalik turned a baseball slide reversal into a nice Asai Moonsault to the outside.

Metalik hit Gulak with a very high slingshot splash for a nearfall. Gulak grounded Metalik with strikes leading up to a discus clothesline for a nearfall of his own. Metalik caught Gulak with a boot and performed a smooth tightrope into a springboard dropkick. Kendrick and Gallagher argued that Metalik could have walked over and done the dropkick (good line). Metalik and Gulak traded pin attempts during a Metalik victory roll attempt. Metalik went for the Lionsault but Gulak got his boots up for the block. Gulak locked in and grapevined the Gu-Lock Dragon Sleeper for the submission victory. Gulak unintentionally was pulling off the mask of Metalik.

Drew Gulak defeated Gran Metalik via submission in 8:12.

Nigel McGuinness noted that Gulak is living up to his words. Watson pointed out that Gulak defeated two of the three House Party members (Kalisto and Gran Metalik). Kendrick and Gallagher gave Gulak a standing ovation while Gulak gave them a bow.

John’s Thoughts: A solid match and another good win for Drew Gulak. The two main brands should take a lesson from this show and NXT in that forced parity is not the way to go. You have to build stars with credibility and 205 Live is doing it here with Drew Gulak.

Vic Joseph cut to a Buddy Murphy video package where Murphy talked about training harder than anybody including Cedric Alexander. Murphy said he was going to be an opponent that Cedric has never seen before. Murphy ended his promo by saying “you can’t stop the unstoppable”. Heading into the break, Akira Tozawa was shown psyching himself up in preparation for his match against Hideo Itami… [C]

TJP made his entrance. Joseph cut to a TJP tweet where TJP talked about how he wasn’t being used on 205 Live often while asking Paige for a spot on Smackdown. TJP’s opponent is local enhancement wrestler “Christopher Guy”…

John’s Thoughts: Is WWE putting effort into these jobber names? The last enhancement guy was Keith Clayball and this week we got a guy who is actually named “guy”. I’m getting a small kick out of this.

2. TJP vs. Christopher Guy. TJP toyed around with Guy with some chain holds. Perkins hit Guy with the Pentagon Jr. arm break spot. Perkins continued to easily toss around the guy. Perkins hit a front to back suplex into a slingshot senton. The camera cut to Drake Maverick watching the match on a monitor. Nigel McGuinness noted that Maverick was shaking his head in disapproval of TJP’s performance or maybe even Perkins’ request to move to smackdown. Perkins hit Guy with a Curb Stomp (real version) on the mat. Perkins hit Guy with the Detonation Kick for the victory.

TJP defeated Christopher Guy via pinfall in 2:31.

John’s Thoughts: Perkins still needs character rehabilitation, but I like that it looks like they might be heading in some sort of direction with him. The guy wrestles like a main eventer. It’s just his personality that has been all over the place in a negative way. His win over the enhancement guy was nice but it would be cool if he starts reestablishing that kneebar again like they did such a good job of in the Cruiserweight Classic. He also needs some credible wins since he’s in Tony Nese territory as far as win-loss record against the 205 regulars is concerned.

Dasha Fuentes interviewed TJP about his tweet. Perkins said he wasn’t only the first Cruiserweight Champion, but he’s also the best Cruiserweight Champion. TJP said he is the best technical wrestler in the world. He said he single handedly revived Cruiserweight Wrestling and carried the division on his back. Perkins said if “that” (squash matches) is the type of competition that Drake Maverick thinks TJ deserves then it’s crystal clear what management in 205 Live thinks of him.

John’s Thoughts: There we go. Not the greatest promo in the world, but that might be the best promo that TJ Perkins has cut in his entire on-air career. No joke. He seemed to be speaking in more of his voice rather than trying to “portray a character”. It reminded me of a promo I heard from independent wrestler Jack Evans when he first was booked to turn heel (which I was told was inspired by Steve Corino). I know it’s one promo, but I hope he tries this out for a while. My dream encounter would be a Perkins vs. Spud match, but that’s not likely, but maybe we can get a GM Spud and Perkins feud out of this without the match.

The commentators were talking about the recent Raw European tour where there was a lot of hype given to the Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander matches. They then cut to an interview between Vic Joseph and Cedric Alexander. Joseph talked about going way back with Cedric Alexander before WWE (Vic Joseph was the former Play-by-play commentator of House of Hardcore). Joseph wanted Cedric’s thoughts on being champion. Cedric said he deals with pressure all of the time and a hard day is just another day in the office. Joseph wanted to know how hard it is going to be wrestling in front of his family next week. Alexander said he thinks the opposite and that his family would make it easier to defend the championship. Joseph brought up how Murphy sees himself as bigger, stronger, and a harder worker than Cedric.

Cedric said people forget that Cedric has a similar situation as Murphy and he had to cut weight just to make it to WWE (true story). Cedric said he understands the hours or cardio and gallons of water. Cedric said he knows that cutting weight can drain stamina and through experience Cedric will exploit that out of Murphy. Joseph questioned Cedric’s confidence and pointed out that everyone on the roster has fallen to Murphy. Cedric said 205 Live has “young lions” who are talent like Gran Metalik, Kalisto, Drew Gulak, etc. Alexander said there is a reason that he’s different, he’s well rounded, and can do it all. Alexander said he’ll remind Murphy of that and that this is the “Age of Alexander”… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Not a bad segment with Vic Joseph standing out in a good way as a backstage interviewer. I’ve been applauding this from Joseph in NXT while decrying his commentary (this was back in the Neville and Enzo days). Thankfully, Joseph has turned into a very good babyface commentator and is still a good interviewer who has a bit of that “Renee Young-like” interview engagement in him. He framed next week’s match well and Cedric delivered good answers for the most part. That last “Age of Alexander” line kinda ruined the promo though as it made it sound very scripted and corporate.

Dasha Fuentes interviewed Akira Tozawa before his match. Tozawa said he understands that Hideo is a legend and that Tozawa has always respected Hideo. Tozawa pointed out that Hideo didn’t respect him. Tozawa said that if Hideo didn’t like him as a partner then he really won’t like him as an opponent…

3. Hideo Itami vs. Akira Tozawa. Vic Joseph noted that the miscues in their tag team matches were instigated by Itami. Itami landed some early strikes but after that both men had a stalemate to start off the match. Itami and Tozawa had a strong style chop exchange. Tozawa won the exchange with his signature fakeout punch. Tozawa showboated to the crowd and hit a few of his signature moves to Itami. Itami kicked out of a pin after a Tozawa body slam. Nigel noted that there is a difference in styles with Itami having Kickboxing background while Tozawa utilizes a Junior Heavyweight style. Itami managed to gain control with a few front kicks and a diving knee.

Itami yelled to respect him and told the crowd to “Shut up” when they did the Itami chant. Itami also yelled “show me respect”. Itami hit a fallback neckbreaker. Itami baseball slid Tozawa to the outside. Itami continued to manhandle Tozawa at ringside. Tozawa got a little window of offense but Itami caught Tozawa with a roundhouse as Tozawa dove off the top rope. Itami went back to his methodical offense while also working the crowd for heat. Itami even mocked Tozawa’s “ah” chant. Itami reversed a Tozawa punch into a float-over DDT. Tozawa managed to fire up after a huracanrana and shining wizard on Itami. Tozawa went for his top rope senton but Itami rolled to ringside.

Tozawa caught Itami with a cannonball from the apron to the outside. Tozawa hit a missile dropkick on Itami for a nearfall. Nigel noted that Itami might be regretting not putting away Tozawa earlier while he was working him over. Itami caught Tozawa with a boot and tornado drape DDT. Itami got a nearfall after a top rope clothesline. Itami missed the backfist combo but reversed into the Rings of Saturn. Tozawa escaped before Itami could lock the second arm. Tozawa nailed Itami with Trouble in Paradise. Itami crotched Tozawa off the top rope.

Tozawa escaped a superplex attempt initially but Itami managed to regain control and hit Tozawa with an innovative Super Falcon Arrow. Itami got a nearfall. Itami got another nearfall after a Busaiku Knee. Tozawa reversed another Busaiku Knee attempt into a huracanrana into an Octopus Hold. Itami rolled to ringside to break the hold. Tozawa hit his signature Suicide Dive (which I think is the second best in the business right behind El Hijo Del Fantasma). Tozawa then crash and burned with his finisher. Itami knocked Tozawa loopy with two consecutive hesitation dropkicks. Itami hit his new finisher, the still unnamed shortarm Pele Kick, for the victory.

Hideo Itami defeated Akira Tozawa via pinfall in 15:17.

Itami continued to gloat after the match while Tozawa was knocked out. Itami then refused to have his hand held up by the referee as he wanted to hold his own hands up. Itami gloated to the crowd to close the show…

John’s Thoughts: This was a good match that felt like it could have been better. Hopefully this isn’t the end of this feud and we could maybe get another win for Itami from this feud soon with both men taking it up another level in their next match. Itami is doing a better job at working the crowd. I just hope he tones down the “respect me” lines and tries to mix in a few more phrases. He let loose a bit more in his matches against Kendrick recently, but right here he looked to be reverting to holding back. As for Tozawa, the guy is a great babyface. In this match, he pandered too much to the crowd when I felt like the situation called for him to be more serious. Hopefully if they have another match, he does pull back on the catchphrase and crowd cheerleading.

After last week’s forgettable episode from the UK, 205 Live is back on track with their progressive direction. Last week felt like a house show, like the matches didn’t matter. This week they were back to utilizing every segment to push forward some sort of story. I’ll be by later today with my 205 Live Audio Review for the Dot Net Members.

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