By Anish Vishwakoti, ProWrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Taped November 6, 2018 in Manchester, England at Manchester Arena
Drake Maverick in his pre-taped promo hyped up the upcoming WWE Cruiserweight Title match at Survivor Series and set up the tag team match between Lucha House Party and TJP and Mike Kanellis. Maverick also talked about the style clash between Buddy Murphy and Mark Andrews for later in the show…
1. Kalisto and Lince Dorado vs. TJP and Mike Kanellis. TJP and Kalisto started the match off in the ring with TJP almost immediately trying to take the Luchador’s mask off. What was also interesting was the commentators saying that they spoke with Rey Mysterio and that he had some comments deriding TJP, perhaps teasing that Mysterio will be part of 205 Live in the future.
Kalisto hit TJP with a snapmare and hit a splash onto TJP from Dorado’s shoulders to force TJP to tag out. They promptly whipped Kanellis out of the ring and showed off for the crowd. It was very apparent that this rivalry hadn’t really taken hold in the UK as all the crowd were doing was chanting “Nigel” repeatedly for Nigel McGuinness commentating at ringside. Dorado and Kanellis exchanged dropkicks and lockups for a while until TJP struck Dorado from the apron and took control.
The two heels tagged in-and-out quickly and used a variety of wear down moves on Dorado. The story of this match so far has really been Manchester vs. Nigel McGuinness rather than the men in the match. Kanellis and TJP never managed to capture the crowd’s attention with their typical heelish maneuvers and didn’t think to try a different strategy and really let the crowd have their own fun. Even Kalisto’s noisemaker from the tag rope didn’t catch the crowd’s fancy.
Once Kalisto got the tag from Dorado he walloped TJP with a corkscrew splash and his common flurry of offense, however after a distraction from Maria Kanellis, Mike took advantage. Kanellis wore down Kalisto with a waist lock and some elbows, but Kalisto managed to reverse it into a Wheelbarrow DDT that was rather impressive. This allowed Dorado to tag in and do damage to both TJP and Kanellis. He hit a dropkick to the legal TJP and a flapjack to the rushing Kanellis, Dorado hit TJP with a series of three moonsaults to draw the first real reaction from the crowd.
This got a two count as Kanellis broke it up and LHP followed up with a double springboard stunner and simultaneous moonsaults to the outside onto their opponents. TJP attempted a kneebar on Dorado in the ring, but Kalisto broke it up and wiped out Kanellis on the outside. TJP attempted to rally by ripping off Dorado’s mask, but turned to face a dancing Dorado who rolled him up for the pin.
Kalisto and Lince Dorado defeated TJP and Mike Kanellis.
Anish’s Thoughts: If this match took place in front of your average American crowd, it would have been a solid and serviceable opener. However, wrestling is such a dynamic art form that you really can’t take the same product to every crowd and WWE really suffered here. The crowd really overpowered this match and even though the wrestling was fine and the antics of both teams were entertaining, they were too busy trying to interact with Englishman, Nigel McGuinness that the atmosphere of the match was that it seemed like an afterthought. Maybe this does WWE a favor as the heels can essentially walk away from loss without it being remembered.
A pre-taped video aired from the Performance Center where Lio Rush interrupted a training session with Cedric Alexander and Steve Corino, taunting the champion. It definitely did well to highlight Rush’s obnoxious character, definitely interesting that WWE have been ramping up their use of Performance Center angles, i.e. Charlotte and Becky, Shayna Baszler and Who attacked Alistair Black.
2. Lio Rush vs. Josh Morrell. Rush started the match by talking trash about Morrell, who seemed to have some support from the crowd. Morrell honestly got a bigger reaction than the entire opening match. Morrell got in the opening offense, catching a cocky Rush by surprise with a few armdrags and a moonsault kick. However, Rush knocked him off the top rope and tossed him into the barricade to retake control. Rush then stomped on Morrell in the ring and whipped him into the bottom buckle. Rush then quickly hit the ‘Final Hour’ frog splash to pin Morrell.
Lio Rush defeated Josh Morrell.
Anish’s Thoughts: A quick match, that didn’t do anything for anybody. I don’t think Lio Rush needs to be doing squash matches it doesn’t really allow him to showcase his athleticism and heelish character that much, especially if the local competitor gets some offense on him.
The main part of this segment was Rush’s post-match promo. Rush dedicated the victory to Alexander, saying that the former champ has been in a slump. Rush said that Alexander took a step down by going back to the PC. The crowd did not stay patient for any of this and yelled ‘boring’ at Rush. Rush tried to remind the crowd that nobody works harder than him. He did get some boos, however the crowd mostly responded to him with English soccer chants, i.e. “Who are ya?” Rush did say that he would be facing Alexander next week so I guess we will see that.
Before the break we saw a typical WWE style promo for Mark Andrews who would be in the main event tonight against Murphy. The contrast between this and Mustafa Ali’s following promo that was in his self-filmed style was very interesting. It’s very apparent why Ali has so many fans as his style of filming gives him his own unique aura that differentiates him from the rest of 205 Live.
3. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy vs. Mark Andrews in a non-title match. Being from Wales and a regular on WWE’s UK expansion programming, Mark Andrews got a relatively big reaction in Manchester. The two started the match playing into the clash between strength and speed that GM Drake Maverick talked about in the pre-match promo and the commentators followed suit, good consistency of storytelling. Murphy muscled Andrews around with a wrist-lock but Andrews used his technique and speed to escape and narrowly miss a standing moonsault on Murphy.
Murphy locked up again and tossed Andrews to the corner, getting a big ‘Ooh!’ from the crowd. What was funny was that whenever the match went into its rest periods, the crowd went right back to chanting for Nigel McGuinness. Andrews did get their attention after he broke Murphy’s momentum with a tope to the outside. The Welshman tried to follow up with a huracanrana, but Murphy used his strength to block it and hit Andrews with snake eyes.
Murphy then hit Andrews with a big elbow to the back to ground him. Andrews attempted to rally, striking at Murphy from the ground, but Murphy shrugged it off and rolled Andrew over with a big hip toss. Murphy continued to break Andrews down with a chin-lock and some elbows to the traps to hurt Andrews’ upper body, but Andrews did not stay down, kicking out repeatedly.
Eventually, as Murphy attempted to hit Andrews with a deadlift German suplex, Andrews almost unseen reversed it into a poisoned Frankensteiner, spiking the Champion. Andrews then layered a series of dives onto Murphy, first one to the outside to send Murphy over the announce table, and then a second to follow him there. With Murphy stunned, Andrews followed tossing him into the barricade and then leaping over the steel steps to hit Murphy with a standing rolling senton.
Andrews rolled Murphy into the ring and attempted a springboard dive, but got caught by Murphy who attempted his finishing maneuver. Andrews however, rolled him up and hit a standing Moonsault followed by a sunset flip, although this sunset flip looked a little botched and only garnered Andrews the two-count.
Andrews made the mistake of trying to strike with Murphy, but the Champion managed to get the better of the exchange. This stunned Andrews enough that the Welshman was unable to pull off a follow up moonsault and instead got hit by a spinning sit-tout powerbomb by Murphy. This only got Murphy the two-count. A frustrated Murphy then picked Andrews up, but hesitated, allowing Andrews to hit his ‘stundog millionaire.’ This set up Murphy for a shooting star press, but Murphy got the knees up and took advantage of a hurt Andrews to execute his ‘Murphy’s Law’ pump-handle Samoan Drop to get the three-count victory.
Buddy Murphy defeated Mark Andrews in a non-title match.
Anish’s Thoughts: This was a fun match that undoubtedly highlighted the skill set of both men. It was also impressive that at least by the end of the match, the crowd had finally stopped chanting Nigel, so at least the two competitors got their attention. I feel that except for maybe the main event, this whole show was far more suited for an American crowd. WWE really had a chance here to put on a fun show for what is usually an exciting crowd, but instead treated this 205 Live like any other, leading to subpar reactions for all the competitors, including the main eventers, who performed in front of a crowd that was conditioned to expect mediocracy.
Although this show was serviceable, it seemed like an overall misstep from WWE. They don’t perform live in front of the UK fans often, and now the lasting image for this live crowd from 205 Live will be a rather unimpressive one. Being that this show was in the UK, they could have loaded it with UK talent, rather than the token appearance of Mark Andrews. All in all, this show was a good one that was dragged down to being mediocre, and while I could blame the fans for this, it does seem disappointing that WWE didn’t even try and do anything special for this foreign tour.
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