7/17 Moore’s WWE 205 Live Review: Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa, TJP vs. Noam Dar

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

WWE 205 Live
Live July 17, 2018 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania at the Mohegan Sun Arena

This week’s 205 Live started of with its usual Cold Open where Drake Maverick provided promos to hype Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa and TJP vs. Noam Dar. The 205 Live intro theme aired with Lio Rush clips added to the intro video…

John’s Thoughts: Small little thing, but it looks like WWE has caught on to the same thing I’ve been hyping up. Drake Maverick is really good at selling matches with his promos and they are essentially having him do that in concentrated fashion in the teaser. Hopefully down the road they find a way to have him utilize this on the main shows (or as a competing wrestler)…

Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in on commentary. TJP made his entrance to start off the show and he had a microphone with him. TJ was acting condescending in regards to Drake Maverick rewarding him with a rematch against Noam Dar. Perkins did his usual thing of purposely mispronouncing the town’s name for cheap heat by calling this town “Wilkes-Boring”. Perkins also wondered if people in the crowd really mention that they are from Wilkes-Barre, or if they are really from Philadelphia. TJP said that Noam Dar looked great after coming off an injury and he’s going to make this match look a lot more handsome as opposed to if he wrestled someone from this town he was in…

John’s Thoughts: I agree with TJP in regards to people not identifying with their hometown, at least in regards to people from SoCal. It’s like when people say they’re from Los Angeles and they’re actually in Anaheim or Carson (just like the Angels or Chargers). Anyway, I continue to point out that TJP has found his identity on the mic and I wouldn’t mind seeing him say what he says he wants to do which is to “Graduate” to the heavyweight division, a la New Japan.

1. TJP vs. Noam Dar. Dar started off the match like his return match and teased winning in 30 seconds again but TJP rolled outside to prevent that. Dar dominated at ringside too. Dar hit TJP with a side slam in the ring for a nearfall. TJP did some parkour dodges against the ropes to turn the tide. TJP transitioned to technical chain wrestling. Dar reversed into a crossface and Perkins got a rope break. TJP hit a drop toehold on Dar and hit Dar with a wrecking ball dropkick. As Perkins was dominating, Drake Maverick was shown watching the match on a monitor (while standing at a 90 degree angle). Perkins hit Dar with a slingshot Senton Bomb.

TJP moved from a Fisherman Suplex into a modified Rings of Saturn. Dar broke up the move with a rope break. Dar gave Perkins some right hands but Perkins had the stronger right hand. TJP hit Noam Dar with the Pentagon Jr arm breaker move. Perkins hit Dar with a front and back suplex combo. Perkins chickenwing’d the arm of Dar. Dar reversed into a rollup attempt. Dar dodged a Perkins crossbody to get a window of opportunity. Dar used a running enzuigiri to trip up TJP off the top rope. Dar followed up with a European Uppercut combination. Dar hit Perkins with a release back suplex for a nearfall. Nigel noted that Dar was hurt on the right knee.

Dar blocked a detonation kick attempt and then hit Perkins with a leg sweep. Dar hit Perkins with a Northern Lariat for a nearfall. Vic Joseph also noticed that Dar was selling the knees. Perkins dodged Dar’s finisher and surprised the limping Dar with a rollup. Dar blocked another Detonation Kick and got whipped into the second rope. TJP missed a wrecking ball kick and Dar responded with a dropkick to send Perkins to ringside. TJP whipped Dar into the barricade. TJP gave a clean roundhouse to the knee of Noam Dar which Noam Dar continued to sell. Dar tried to separate himself from Perkins and remove the kneepad. Perkins gave Dar a chop block to focus on the injured knee of Dar.

Drake Maverick was shown watching the match and shaking his head in disappointment. TJP gave Dar a single leg Boston Crab with the ropes as fulcrum to add more pain to Dar’s injured leg. TJP locked in the kneebar on Dar. Dar had to tap out.

TJP defeated Noam Dar via submission in 10:36

TJP held on just a bit longer after the bell until Charles Robinson forced him to break the hold. Vic Joseph talked about how TJP was truly ready with more preparation time. The replays recapped the moments where TJP would work on the injured leg of Noam Dar.

John’s Thoughts: A good heel (but clean) win for TJP. While there is a bit of parity here, I like that the purpose of the parity is to tell a story rather than to fill time. TJP has been great on the mic and in the ring recently and I wouldn’t mind seeing him on NXT where he can be a top star or even as a dominant force in the Intercontinental or U.S. Title scene. We already know that Perkins can have a main event quality match with Nakamura so that’s not out of the question. Anyway good match. Dar needs to reestablish a character for himself now that he’s babyface. Maybe they want to move him to Smackdown when Smackdown moves to “Fooooooooooxxxxxx”.

Vic Joseph talked about Cedric Alexander’s biggest test as champion was Hideo Itami. A highlight video aired of last week’s Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami match. After the recap, Lio Rush was shown doing duckwalk training in the locker room in preparation for his match against Akira Tozawa… [C]

A Mustafa Ali vignette aired which included clips of his match against Buddy Murphy. Ali talked about how he took on the Jauggernaut. Ali mentioned how he isn’t just one man who fights for himself, he’s a man who fights for a million others. Ali said he’ll continue that fight until he becomes Cruiserweight Champion…

John’s Thoughts: Mustafa Ali was back to good form in that promo. He gets a bit too scripted and hammy at times. I would recommend that Ali speak with Drew McIntyre on how to cut an inspired babyface promo. Ali and McIntyre have a really similar style of babyface promo, but McIntyre was always a master of walking that fine line between an inspired promo and a hokey promo.

Drew Gulak made his entrance next flanked by Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick. Jack Gallagher wore a full suit. This week’s mid-show enhancement talent was Danny Garcia….

2. Drew Gulak (w/The Brian Kendrick, Jack Gallagher) vs. Danny Garcia. The commentators talked about how Drew Gulak made all of the Lucha House Party members tap out. Gulak ran right through Garcia. Gulak then drove the back of Garcia’s neck into the mat with a back suplex (that looked nasty). Gulak locked in the Gu-Lock. The referee had to stop the match since Garcia was knocked out.

Drew Gulak defeated Danny Garcia via ref stoppage in 0:27.

After the match, Drew Gulak talked about how he’s “not one for the Rock and Roll” but he agrees with Mick Jagger’s point about how you can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes you get what you need. Gulak said the 205 Live Universe has had a year of unworthy champions and now they’ll get the champion they need, Drew Gulak. Gulak said that Danny Garcia represents Cedric Alexander to him because when Alexander steps in the ring with him, he will tap out.

John’s Thoughts: That was a treat and it’s nice to see Drew Gulak go back to the awesome aggressive form he had prior to the feud with Lucha House Party. I can accept Kendrick and Gallagher as stooges as long as they don’t drag down the credibility that Gulak has built over the past year. Though it is hard to see Kendrick not as an Alpha and Gallagher does deserve to be at a higher spot on the card. I wonder, is WWE building up Drew Gulak as the heir apparent to Cedric Alexander’s title?

A recap aired of Tony Nese vs. Kalisto from last week which ended in DQ due to Buddy Murphy attacking Kalisto. Dasha Fuentes interviewed Tony Nese and Buddy Murphy. Buddy Murphy said he doesn’t like to lose and the Lucha guys were in the wrong place and at the wrong time last week due to Murphy just losing to Alexander. Nese and Murphy agreed that Tony Nese could beat Kalisto, a former Cruiserweight Champion. Tony Nese challenged Kalisto to a one-on-one match with the rest of Lucha House Party and Buddy Murphy in the back… [c]

Lio Rush made his entrance for the main event match…

3. Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa. Rush acknowleged that the crowd loves Tozawa as the crowd did the “ah” chants. Rush teased Tozawa by pulling back on Test of Strength attempts. Nigel McGuinness compared Lio Rush’s amateur wrestling ability to Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin, and Brock Lesnar (that’s some high shoot fighting comparisons). Rush used the fake test of strength to bait in Tozawa for the side headlock. Rush then ran circles around Tozawa like he was Sonic the Hedgehog in Smash Bros.

Rush surprised Tozawa with a huracanrana. Rush then struck the tranquilo pose on the top rope. Rush ran a lap around and inside of the ring to avoid Tozawa. Tozawa reversed a Sunset Flip into his signature PK into a running senton. Tozawa mocked Rush with his own Tranquilo pose. Rush lost his cool a bit and was dominated by Tozawa with some chops. Rush caught Tozawa on the apron and hit Tozawa with a double foot from the handstand. Rush yelled to the ref to count out Tozawa while he also bragged about being the “man of the hour”. Tozawa beat the ten count.

Rush said he came to collect as he put the methodical boots to Tozawa. Rush beat up on Tozawa while cutting a promo off-mic. Rush gave Tozawa a brainbuster for a nearfall. Tozawa hulked up and traded forearms with Rush. Rush grounded Tozawa with a running axe handle. Tozawa used the “ah” chant to hulk up again from the grounded headlock. Tozawa and Rush traded right hands. Tozawa dominated Rush causing Rush to beg for mercy for Tozawa to stop. This was a ploy that Tozawa didn’t buy because Tozawa went for a straight right. Rush quickly dodged it like he was in Matrix bullet time. Rush then hit Tozawa with a standing Superman Punch combo.

Tozawa caught Rush’s leg and caused him to flip. Tozawa caught Rush with a right jab. Rush dodged a spinning roundhouse from Tozawa. Tozawa followed through and landed the roundhouse. Tozawa then hit what I like to call the second best Suicide Dive in all of pro wrestling (I will still argue that the best Suicide Dive in Wrestling goes to El Hijo Del Fantasma). Tozawa got a nearfall after a missile dropkick. Tozawa caught Rush’s kick and Rush slapped Tozawa in the face. Tozawa no-sold the slap, spat out his mouthguard, and hit Rush with a Saito Suplex (Rest in piece Masa). This put Rush in position for Tozawa’s Senton finisher. Rush rolled out of the ring. RUsh ducked next to the LED to block Tozawa’s Tope.

Rush whipped Tozawa into the steps but Tozawa blocked it. Tozawa hit Rush with a front kick to set up Rush for his finisher again. Rush recovered and quickly yanked Tozawa’s leg off the top rope. Rush hit Tozawa with The Final Hour (Five Star Frog Splash) for the victory.

Lio Rush defeated Akira Tozawa via pinfall in 9:00.

Rush stood up in his usual braggadocious nature. The replay showed a nice slow-down version of Rush’s finisher which showed Rush get a good leapfrog and height off the frog splash…

Drake Maverick and Cedric Alexander were shown backstage. Alexander said he was told that he’ll get a new opponent soon for a title defense. Drake Maverick said he was judging each person on their body of work to come up with title contender. Drake Maverick announced Hideo Itami vs. TJP vs. Drew Gulak vs. Mustafa Ali in a number one contenders match. Alexander liked that and he shook Maverick’s hand to close the show…

John’s Thoughts: A really fun match that elevated both wrestlers. Tozawa has been taking a lot of loses recently but he looked really good in this encounter having one of his better matches in recent memory. Lio Rush is a great high flying heel. I know who he reminds me of. He’s a younger version of Jack Evans in how he has a babyface moveset yet plays the heel character well by using his talent as something to brag about. Random side note, I wouldn’t mind seeing WWE bringing in Jack Evans to 205 Live because the guy deserves a WWE main roster run to show the general public why so many fans and wrestlers talk highly of Evans. Anyway, I digress, this was a good match and it’ll be cool to see if they either come back to this or move on from here. I would move on, if only to get Tozawa on the winning end somehow. I wouldn’t mind seeing that thing TJP mentioned a few weeks ago about cruiserweights “graduating” to heavyweight so that they can shuffle out and shuffle in new talent to the main roster and the 205 roster.

A good episode of 205 Live and one of the better overall shows in recent memory. 205 Live has had great buzz-worthy matches over the past few months but some of the feuds were a bit lacking in character chemistry. It looks like they are shuffling up the deck a bit and a few of these new feuds are really intriguing. Even the mini feuds are fun like the TJP and Noam Dar one. This episode also set up two very strong contenders for the cruiserweight title. They didn’t mention if this was for a match at Summerslam. Based off recent work, I’d say it’s a coin flip between TJP and Drew Gulak. Drew Gulak has that stronger “Body of work” to bring up what Drake Maverick mentioned, but TJP is deserving of something meaningful after improving immensely on the mic. If it were my choice, I’d roll the dice on TJP for the PPV match. That’s it, I’ll be by later today with my member’s exclusive audio review.

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