By Anish Vishwakoti, ProWrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Taped November 20, 2018 at Los Angles, California at Staples Center
The show started with a recap of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy. Murphy had some words to say over the replay of the title match, saying that the bad guy always win and that he is the biggest bad guy in the division, and that he is willing to go to hell and back for the title.
Anish’s Thoughts: A nice emphasis on how important this title is to Murphy, definitely makes me care about the title more.
Murphy opened the live show up with a quick promo, he welcomed the crowd to ‘his’ 205 Live and derided the crowd’s belief in Ali. He said that their opinion means nothing and that he is unstoppable. As he stood on the ramp, Tony Nese, who the announcers referred to continually as Murphy’s “best friend,” made his entrance. Noam Dar followed, and we got into the action. A pre-taped promo in selfie form aired that was by all means boring and made him seem very uninterested…
1. Noam Dar vs. Tony Nese. Nese got the first shots in, hitting Dar with a shoulder block and taking the time to show off his abs. Dar countered by using his speed to draw Nese into a trip and then spun Nese around in an Unprettier clutch. Dar kicked Nese onto and then off the apron to the outside, however didn’t manage to capitalize as he was distracted by Murphy on the outside.
Nese used this distraction to slot Dar onto the ‘hardest part of the ring,’ and then follow up with a running cross chop. Nese then slowed the match down even more, grabbing Dar between his legs in a body scissors hold, all the while Murphy taunted the announcers outside the ring. Dar fought to his feet, but Nese kneed him back down. Dar did manage to mount a counter however, as he knocked Nese off the top rope as the heel attempted a flying maneuver. Dar followed up with a nice looking northern lights suplex, but it was only enough for two.
Dar attempted a guillotine a number of times, putting Nese on the backfoot, but Nese eventually threw Dar off with a northern lights suplex. As Dar tried to build some space, he and Nese went back and forth with quick strikes, but Dar never got more than a two count. Dar finally tried for his Nova Roller finishing move, but Murphy distracted him once more, allowing Nese to suplex him into the bottom buckle and follow up with the running knee in the corner to pick up the win.
Tony Nese defeated Noam Dar
Anish’s Thoughts: This match was definitely better than I expected it to be, especially after that abysmal promo that Dar had cut before the match, which really set my expectations low and did not give me a reason to be invested in this match. Nese and Dar didn’t have a barn-burner here but the story was simply enough to follow and there were some spots in the match where I though Dar might have picked up an upset. It kept me guessing at least and was a serviceable way to build this unit of Murphy and Nese.
We next saw a backstage promo by Ali, where he thanked Murphy for the pain he put on him. Ali stated that now he knows exactly what he needs to do in order to become WWE Cruiserweight Champion and that he will come back stronger. Not a bad way to reframe Ali’s motivation after a clean loss to the Champion in a competitive match…
We saw Drake Maverick backstage next, talking with a referee saying that he didn’t want anything to go wrong in tonight’s main event between TJP and Gran Metalik, no doubt signaling that something will go wrong. Cedric Alexander then entered and Maverick set up a tag match featuring Alexander and Mustafa Ali against Nese and Murphy for next week…
2. Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa vs. Two Local Wrestlers. Tozawa and Kendrick came out, as we saw Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher cut a promo backstage saying that Tozawa and Kendrick are no real tag team. Gulak also dropped the name ‘Submission Commission’ for himself and Gallagher, very purposely, hinting that they may be called this in the future.
The tag match itself went rather quickly, with Tozawa and Kendrick taking the two local competitors to town and working together like a team. They executed a number of tag team moves against the local competitors and eventually got the victory after Kendrick hit a slightly botched Sliced Bread No. 2 and Tozawa followed up with a top rope senton. After the match, Tozawa got Kendrick to jump in on the “Aaah!” chants with him.
Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa defeated Local Competitors.
Anish’s Thoughts: This match was obviously there to build up Tozawa and Kendrick again, showing that they can work together. However, it lingered a little longer than I would have liked and probably would have made more of an impact if Tozawa and Kendrick won with more gusto.
Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese were interviewed backstage. Murphy made a joke about cruiserweight tag team titles, and said that he and Nese are a shoe-in to beat Alexander and Ali because he has beaten them both on his own.
3. Gran Metalik (w/Lince Dorado, Kalisto) vs. TJP (w/Mike Kanellis). TJP and Kanellis came out wearing the masks that they stole in recent weeks from LHP. As LHP attempted to rush the ramp and start a brawl, Drake Maverick ran out with referees to separate them and send everyone except TJP and Metalik to the locker room. Gran Metalik got the better of TJP to start with, catching him off guard with a dropkick and then a reverse slingblade to the former cruiserweight champion.
As Metalik attempted a dropkick from the middle rope, TJP caught him in a sharpshooter (which Nigel McGuinness insisted was a scorpion deathlock.) This allowed TJP to start wearing Metalik down, TJP used a slingshot senton to target Metalik’s gut, and then hit a series of Suplexes to continue the assault on Metalik’s mid-section. TJP attempted a powerbomb, but Metalik rolled out and hit TJP with a couple of arm drags. TJP stayed on the offensive however, and just barely caught Metalik with the dodon, gutbuster.
The commentators brought up that if TJP beat Metalik here, he would have a clean sweep of singles victory over LHP. TJP seemed like his offensive strategy was all over the place as he then caught Metalik in a leg lock. Metalik managed to turn the tides as TJP went for a dive, and while he attempted a superplex on TJP was thrown off and had to settle for a dropkick. Metalik attempted to follow up with a Moonsault, but TJP got his feet up and retaliated with a powerbomb for a two count.
TJP then attempted a swanton, but Metalik rolled out and the two ducked and dodged each other’s strikes. Metalik was able to pop off a rolling senton of his own to a standing TJP, but couldn’t follow up as TJP hit a wrecking ball dropkick to come back. Metalik then found a burst of energy to hit an impressive huracanrana to the outside. Metalik then hit TJP with the Metalik driver in the middle of the ring, but then attempted a diving elbow, which TJP caught and reversed into a kneebar. Metalik got to the ropes and broke it up, prompting TJP to attempt to steal LHP’s pinatas, which were in the corner. This gave Metalik the window to roll up TJP for the victory.
Gran Metalik defeated TJP.
After the match, Maria Kanellis ran out onto the ramp screaming, “How could you?” at Drake Maverick, giving her husband and TJP the jump on LHP. Mike Kanellis walloped LHP with a chair, and the heels made their exit, as Drake Maverick and some referees tended to LHP…
Anish’s Thoughts: This match was all over the place and not in a good way. While there was a cool huracanrana spot there by Metalik, the rest of the match was extremely disconnected, and it didn’t seem like either man really got a good story going. TJP wasn’t consistently working on a part of Metalik, making him seem like an ineffective heel, meanwhile Metalik’s work wasn’t the most crisp and a few spots looked very rough during the match. I guess it’s good for LHP, who have the numbers advantage, to pick up one singles victory over the heels, but this was a weird step in this feud, especially since Mike Kanellis just cut their victory short so soon after.
Speaking of Kanellis, there is still no clear reason as to why he or Maria are involved in this. I thought WWE would take this opportunity after the cruiserweight title match to give this feud some direction, but now more than ever it seems like they are going into each week blind when it comes to LHP.
Overall, this show was rather dull. I wish they would’ve switched up the match order and had Nese and Dar main event because at least that match was mildly entertaining. This definitely rang of typical 205 where the cruiserweight title and its storylines really hold the show together, and while we may get some good matches from other feuds, the show still has some holes in it that drag down it’s quality week to week. Since next week will feature the top title contenders, I am looking forward to that, but it also preemptively has me dreading the show two weeks from now, which will likely feature some inconsistent storytelling like today.
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