By Anish Vishwakoti, ProWrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Taped October 16, 2018 in Washington, D.C. at Capital One Arena
The show tonight started with a recap of the big events that have affected the cruiserweight division in the past few weeks. Drake Maverick talked about Buddy Murphy winning the title at Super Showdown and Mike and Maria Kanellis arriving on 205 Live.
Anish’s Thoughts: The promo maybe ran a little longer than it could have and was a little confusing as Maverick described the Fatal 5-Way main event like it was a series of singles matches before mentioning that it was a five way. Either way, not the worst way to get the viewers ready for the show.
1. Drew Gulak (w/Jack Gallagher) vs. Akira Tozawa. Being filmed before Smackdown again, 205 Live had the advantage of a hot crowd, especially so considering it was Smackdown 1000. Tozawa took advantage and got the crowd into the match with his screaming immediately. The two went back and forth trying to gain initial control, with Tozawa initially keeping Gulak at bay with some stomps and chops, and even a quick submission attempt. Gulak eventually derailed Tozawa by catching him mid-cross body attempt and started wearing Tozawa down.
Tozawa slipped out of a Gory clutch by Gulak tried to take back control, although Gulak caught him in a nice looking rolling powerbomb reversal. Gulak kept using some devious means such as fish-hooking Tozawa’s nose and even biting Tozawa’s ear Mike Tyson style to try and hurt him. Tozawa almost got going after a spinning kick, and a missile dropkick combo, with even the crowd willing him on. But after hitting a suicide dive on Gulak and Gallagher, Gallagher interfered in the match and pulled him off the top rope before beating him down. This resulted in a DQ win for Tozawa.
Akira Tozawa defeated Drew Gulak via DQ.
Brian Kendrick ran down to the ring to make the save, locking in the Captain’s Hook on Gallagher for a second. As Gulak and Gallagher walked away in pain, Kendrick helped Tozawa up and even offered to shake his hand. While the crowd wasn’t raucous for Kendrick, it could be the start of a face run for the veteran…
Anish’s Thoughts: Not a complicated match at all. While it wasn’t hard to sit through, it didn’t ever really get kicked into the next gear. Tozawa and Gulak can obviously do much better work, but it was clear that this match was a warm up and a necessary step to continue the story between Gulak and Gallagher and Kendrick and Tozawa.
We saw a couple of quick backstage promos. The first of which was between Buddy Murphy and Drake Maverick, with the GM congratulating the champion and Murphy saying that if it wasn’t for his weight problems, he would have been champion already… We also saw Mike and Maria Kanellis cutting a selfie promo, with the key being Maria calling Mike ‘The Opportunist,’ which I guess will be his gimmick going forward, especially since he has been referencing this name on his social media…
After the break, we came back to a promo by Hideo Itami in Japanese. It was pretty basic stuff, he said that last time, he hurt Ali and that Ali had the chance to leave it at that and save himself from further suffering. He said that this time, Ali’s challenge will only be met with defeat. They then cut to a promo by Ali, probably the most unique on the show as it was clearly filmed by Ali in the vain of the promos that he had been putting out on his social media accounts in recent months. Ali said that he and Itami had been on this road for too long, and hyper up their Falls Count Anywhere matchup next week.
3. Tony Nese vs. Lio Rush vs. Cedric Alexander vs. TJP vs. Gran Metalik in a Fatal 5-Way to determine the No. 1 contender to the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Obviously, five-way matches don’t usually have the cleanest starts, and this one was no different. Most of the competitors cleared out, letting Rush and Alexander go at it in the ring. The two exchanged arm drags, cartwheels and head scissors maneuvers, really getting the crowd hotter as they went on.
Rush talked trash any time he wasn’t moving, and goaded Alexander outside the ring into a clothesline by Nese. Metalik then went at it with Rush, using a number of springboard maneuvers to keep Rush down. Nese then threw Metalik out and continued to fight Rush, leaving Lio with a lot of ring time at the start of this match. TJP then snuck into the ring and caught Metalik managed to block a top rope attempt from Rush and hit a Lumbar Check. Alexander was too slow to capitalize however, as Nese rolled him up from behind and got the pinfall victory.
Tony Nese won a five-way to become the number one contender to the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Anish’s Thoughts: Very up and down match for sure. While there were certainly some pretty amazing spots peppered throughout the match, it didn’t have the same flow that many of the 205 Live matches have had. Although the crowd was extremely hot for Rush, this might played into the slightly flat nature of the match as after the start, Rush didn’t get a whole heap of time in the match to himself.
The story that I liked most during this match was the one between TJP and Metalik, who essentially took all the time in their parts of the match to continue TJP’s raid of the Luchador masks. Being that the storyline between Alexander and Nese is only in it’s beginning stages, it does make sense that the crowd weren’t wholly into it. That being said, this match could have been planned out to better highlight Nese and Alexander’s rivalry.
The reaction from the crowd said one thing and that’s how popular Rush is on 205 Live. The commentators did a good job highlighting the other aspects of the story, but I don’t think they did Rush justice, really only talking about him in relation to his gig as a manager on Raw.
Overall, this episode of 205 Live fell a little flat. The opening match never got the chance to get me super into it, and the main event had an odd rhythm to it, although not due to lack of effort from the wrestlers. 205 Live was consistent with its storytelling however, and I’m definitely not turned off by this episode, and am eager to see the follow through from a few of the storylines. All in all, I hope 205 picks up again next week, and the advertised match between Ali and Itami definitely gives me some expectation for it.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest former NWA Champion Nick Aldis.