8/14 Moore’s WWE 205 Live TV Review: Cedric Alexander vs. Jack Gallagher in a non-title match, Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa, Mustafa Ali storyline medical update

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

WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Live from Greenville, South Carolina at the Bon Secours Wellness Center

205 Live started off with it’s usual cold open of Drake Maverick running through the advertised matches and feuds on this week’s episode. The 205 Live theme aired…

Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in on commentary. Joseph hyped Cedric Alexander’s Summerslam (preshow) match…

Lio Rush made his entrance and cut a promo before his upcoming match. Rush went for the cheap heat by calling the city of Greenville garbage and the State an embarrassment. Rush said they were lucky for being able to watch the 23-year-old piece of gold, man of the hour, and the man who’s here to collect. Rush hyped up Akira Tozawa as one of the best cruiserweights in the world and a former Cruiserweight champion, but he’s not as good as the best, Li-O-5 Live. Rush said Tozawa will feel the rush…

1. Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa. Rush tried to start the match like he usually does by taking his time taking off his jewelry. Tozawa didn’t relent and pummeled Rush. Rush used his quickness to elude the quick strikes of Tozawa. Rush tried to run circles around Tozawa but Tozawa caught him with a huracanrana. Rush cowered to the ropes and yelled “I have to take my jewelry off!!!”. Rush tried to use his watch as a distraction but Tozawa caught it and tossed it back as a distraction to hit Rush with a spinning roundhouse. Rush walked up the ramp, but Tozawa kept in pursuit. Rush kept Tozawa at bay with a handstand kick.

Tozawa dodged a baseball slide and hit Rush with his fake-out punch. Tozawa hit Rush with a missile dropkick for a nearfall. Rush pushed Tozawa into the ringpost to hit Tozawa with a succeeding back suplex. Rush worked on Tozawa with ground moves. Rush ran circles around Tozawa. Tozawa reversed a sunset flip with a PK but Rush reversed the senton with double knees. Rush worked on Tozawa with the ground game again. Tozawa blocked a running Rush with a boot. Quick dodges ensued with Tozawa sending Rush outside and hitting Rush with his signature flying suicide dive.

Tozawa turned a headscissors into an octopus hold. Joseph was pushing on commentary that Rush has never been in this position on 205 Live. Rush escaped and hit a quick spinning roundhouse on Tozawa. Tozawa dodged a Final Hour attempt with a palm strike. Tozawa called to the crowd but Rush blocked a Superplex attempt. Rush tripped off Tozawa and hit Tozawa with the Final Hour for the victory.

Lio Rush defeated Akira Tozawa via pinfall in 7:52.

John’s Thoughts: Lio Rush reminds me a bit of the Impact Wrestling version of the Ethan Carter III (EC3) character where he’s a coward who prefers shortcuts due to feeling entitled, but when push comes to shove they can win clean if need be (they even live in the same kayfabe NXT penthouse for some reason). Rush has had a great run so far on 205 in the ring and on the mic and this was a fun match. On the other side, what do they do with Akira Tozawa who either loses all the time these days or is in a squash match holding pattern. He’s in a similar position as Kassius Ohno but I feel like Tozawa should mean more. Maybe a heel turn, but that’s tough due to the guy being an easy-pop fan favorite.

Vic Joseph moved on to a Drew Gulak training vignette where Gulak was shown preparing at the WWE Performance Center. Drew Gulak talked about being a leader. He talked about how Cedric Alexander hasn’t faced anyone like him. Gulak said he won’t only be representing himself but he’ll be representing a generation of wrestlers by setting an example for others. Gulak said Cedric Alexander will tap out to the Gu-Lock and Gulak will become the new Cruiserweight Champion. Jack Gallagher was shown hanging out with Drew Gulak and Brian Kendrick doing elbow practice in preparation for his match against Cedric Alexander… [c]

Vic Joseph cut to a highlight of last week’s Hideo Itami vs. Mustafa Ali match where Itami hit Ali with three consecutive hesitation dropkicks after Ali showed (kayfabe) concussion symptoms. They also showed Ali collapsing and taking an impact test from the referees. Kayla Braxton (not Dasha Fuentes) asked Drake Maverick for an update on the health of Mustafa Ali. Drake Maverick said that Mustafa Ali is suffering from “severe exhaustion” after diagnosis from the medical staff. Maverick said he blames himself a bit for Ali’s state. Maverick gave Ali credit for working himself hard and being the heart of 205 Live. Maverick noted that every man has his limits and he’s making the decision that Mustafa Ali is banned from competing on 205 Live until Drake Maverick decides that Ali is 100%…

John’s Thoughts: While the “exhaustion” line is a bit tacky, I understand that WWE won’t outright use the words “Concussion” or “CTE” on television. So, if they really want to tell a deep and intricate storyline here involving concussions then I’m sympathetic to them being rhetorical to skirt their taboo words.

There was a wrestler already in the ring for the usual mid-show enhancement match. His opponent was Hideo Itami. Hideo Itami cut a selfie promo from the stairwell where he spoke in Japanese to start off. Itami said he ended Mustafa Ali and stopped the heart of 205 Live…

2. Hideo Itami vs. Trent Newman. Itami dominated Newman early on with precision strikes. Itami also yelled for respect again. This allowed Newman to get a few shots in but he couldn’t roll up Itami and instead ate a slap to the head. Itami ran through Newman with a running lariat. Itami hit Newman with a CQC combo. Itami had the visual pinfall and instead decided to lift up Newman into a Falcon Arrow. Itami had another visual pinfall but lifted up Newman for more punishment. Itami pummeled Newman with stiff roundhouse kicks in the corner. Itami then hit Newman with a series of hesitation dropkicks on Newman until he collapsed to the ground. Referee Mike Chioda blocked a third dropkick attempt and called the match via technical knockout.

Hideo Itami defeated Trent Newman via Technical Knockout in 2:43

Itami gloated a bit. Itami left but then reentered the ring to inflict more pain on Newman with his unnamed finisher (still not a fan of this move even though he made it look better tonight. The hesitation dropkicks or the Falcon Arrow are better finishers). Nigel noted that people have been saying that Itami isn’t living up to his billing but is finally hitting his stride (Via coincidence, Nigel always seems to think the same way I do)…

John’s Thoughts: I’m fine with the GTS being banned in WWE as long as they allow Hideo Itami to remain unleashed. I’m loving Itami’s return to form in the past few week’s. He’s ruthless, brutal, and bringing a level of legitimacy to the ring via his kickboxing background. I was afraid for Itami most of 2018 when he noticeably toned down his style to basic pro wrestling 101. to the point where he was being carried to good matches by Tozawa, Strong, and Alexander. Now Itami’s doing the carrying and I hope this sticks (so as long as nobody gets injured).

Vic Joseph cut to Cedric Alexander’s training vignette. Cedric talked about training harder than any match before. Alexander talked about how dangerous the Gu-Lock is. Alexander said Gallagher and Kendrick flanking Gulak make Gulak more dangerous. Scenes of Alexander doing weight and agility training were shown. They showed a recap of Jack Gallagher beating up Alexander post-match. Alexander talked about being ready as he was shown pumping iron. Alexander said he’s undefeated in 2018 and no man has touched him in the ring. Alexander said his soul bleeds 205. Alexander said no man on this roster is dedicated more than him. Alexander said that Drew Gulak will have to show him and only try to lock in the Gu-Lock. Alexander said it’s all over when Alexander hits the Lumbar Check and it will all be over which means the Age of Alexander will continue… [c]

John’s Thoughts: A really good series of vignettes between both 205 main eventers with Alexander cutting the 2nd best promo of his career (second behind the one he cut right after he beat Roderick Strong). Here’s hoping they do more vignettes like this for Alexander to hide his weaknesses on the microphone because he sounds more natural and intense with the edits and post production.

Like Kurt Angle, Drake Maverick was shown texting on his phone. He had a meeting with Tony Nese and Buddy Murphy who walked into the scene. Maverick congratulated Nese and Murphy for picking up a pinfall win on Lucha House Party. Maverick then pulled back and noted that Murphy helped Nese pick up the win illegally. Drake Maverick booked Nese and Murphy vs. Lucha House Party in a tornado tag next week. Murphy and Nese looked pleased at this booking…

Vic Joseph announced that next week 205 Live will also have Noam Dar vs. TJP in the rubber match of their short feud…

3. Cedric Alexander vs. Jack Gallagher in a non-title match. Gallagher was by himself to start the match. Gallagher also stalled for separation. After the stalling sequence, both men traded quick pin attempts. Alexander turned one pin into a fireman carry. Gallagher escaped and did his signature handstand in the corner. Alexander caught Gallagher with a head-scissors takedown and dropkick. Gallagher crawled under the ring and blindsided Alexander from behind. Gallagher hit a few Muay Thai clinch moves on Alexander. Alexander sent Gallagher outside and hit a dropkick to the outside on Gallagher.

Gallagher shoved Alexander into the ring post to swing the momentum pendulum in his favor. Nigel McGuinness noted that Gallagher moved his focus to attacking the neck of Alexander to soften it up for the Gu-Lock. Gallagher dropkicked the neck of Alexander. Alexander tried to escape the corner, but Gallagher overpowered him and punched the back of Alexander’s neck. Gallagher continued to focus his joint manipulation moves on the neck of Alexander. Gallagher used a straightjacket surfboard to inflict more pain on the neck of Alexander.

Alexander tried to go for several body slams but Gallagher wouldn’t let go of the Cravate. Gallagher yanked on the neck of Alexander in whiplash fashion. Alexander escaped with an Atomic Drop. Alexander went for Three Amigos but Gallagher escaped on the third amigo. Alexander hit Gallagher with a back elbow and neuralizer kick. Cedric Alexander blocked a suplex by continue to club at Alexander’s neck. Alexander fought off Gallagher with a boot and slingshot lariat for a nearfall. Gallagher pulled out a bulldog on Alexander on the second rope and then hit Alexander with a knee drop to the back of Alexander’s neck for a nearfall.

Alexander tried hard to block it but Gallagher locked in the crossface. Alexander escaped by turning the submission into a pin attempt by putting Gallagher’s shoulders on the mat. Gallagher continued to punch at the neck of Alexander. Gallagher reversed a Lumbar Check with a guillotine choke. Alexander escaped the move into a Michinoku Driver. Gallagher surprised Alexander with the Gentleman Dropkick but Alexander broke the pin with a rope break. Gallagher hit Alexander with a deadlift power bomb for a nearfall. Alexander surprised Gallagher with a standing Spanish Fly for the win.

Cedric Alexander defeated Jack Gallagher via pinfall in 14:04.

Brian Kendrick ran to the top of the ramp to blindside Alexander. Alexander fought off both opponents in the ring. Alexander hit Kendrick with a Lumbar Check. Drew Gulak caught Alexander and locked him in the Gu-Lock. Gulak let go when the referees came into play. Gulak took the Cruiserweight title and laid it on the prone body of Gallagher…

John’s Thoughts: The dull and long matches on WWE Raw these days remind me of the old waste-of-time matches that we used to get before Paul Levesque was put in charge of this show. This main event took a Raw trope of having the champion face the cronies in foregone conclusion matches and it made that trope interesting. I liked how the story of the match was that Gallagher wasn’t going for the win but rather to soften up Alexander’s neck for his boss’s finisher. Jack Gallagher also showed that he is much better as a singles wrestler than as a tag team wrestler. If only they give him ore promo time because we know that Gallagher is a stellar talker but ever since the creative shift he’s the only person who the creative shift has an adverse effect on as opposed to a positive one.

I went into this week predicting that Drew Gulak was going to take the title from Alexander on Sunday, but after the video packages and the way the announcers were selling it (by the way great work by Nigel and Percy for their selling work on the mic), I’m going into this match thinking that Alexander comes out on top in a way that also protects Drew Gulak. That’s the reason I thought they were going to put TJP or Buddy Murphy in this spot to be the sacrificial lamb to Alexander at SummerSlam and save Gulak’s win for a bigger stage. Don’t get me wrong, I can see Gulak winning on Sunday, but I think they might be setting up Cedric for a longer-term title reign with either a returning Neville (low chance) or TJP dethroning Cedric at the end of this reign. They might want Alexander to surpass Neville’s title reign which is tough to do since Alexander is only about half way on that. Anyway, I’ll be by later today with my members exclusive audio review.

The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Richard Holliday discussing The Dynasty faction in MLW, MJF's departure, the addition of Gino Medina, training under Paul Roma, and much more. Check out MLW Fusion Saturdays on beIN Sports and on the MLW YouTube Page...

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