By Anish Vishwakoti, ProWrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Aired live on January 29, 2019 from Phoenix, Arizona at Talking Stick Resort Arena
205 Live began with Drake Maverick recapping Buddy Murphy’s victory at the Royal Rumble and set up two matches for tonight without hesitation. Firstly, he set up Kalisto vs. Mike Kanellis and then the main event of Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami. Aiden English is back on commentary for the second week alongside Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness…
1. Kalisto vs. Mike Kanellis. Maria Kanellis hopped on commentary before the match started and throughout the match was propping up her husband. Kalisto and Kanellis started the match trading strikes with Kalisto using his speed to get the advantage, forcing Kanellis to the outside and hitting him with a knee based springboard tope before rolling Kanellis in the ring to strike further. Kanellis didn’t take long to turn the tables however, using his strength to control Kalisto.
As Kanellis tossed Kalisto in and around the ring, the focus of the match was decidedly Maria Kanellis on commentary. Herself and Aiden English traded barbs back and forth quite entertainingly. English questioned what the Kanellis’s have done in WWE, to which Maria nicely quipped back asking English what he had done that has led him here with his “big boy commentary pants on”
Mike Kanellis at one point rammed Kalisto into the guardrail and then back into the ring to attempt a pin but only got a two count. Kalisto hit Kanellis with an up-kick from the ground and built enough space to head to the top rope and execute a seated senton on Kanellis, followed up by a basement huracanrana for a two count.
With Kalisto fatigued, Kanellis was able to counter the Luchador’s attempted Salida Del Sol and his follow up suicide dive by directing him right into the barricade in mid air. With Kalisto seemingly out, Kanellis rolled Kalisto into the ring but almost got caught out with a small package. Kalisto attempted to surprise Kanellis again with a Head Scissors DDT, but this only got a two count and left both men on the floor.
Kanellis tried to build space by heading to the top rope, but Kalisto followed him up there with a kick to the face and attempted an Avalanche Spanish Fly. Kanellis countered though and caught Kalisto with an Avalanche Side Effect. There was a bit of a dud here as this could have been a nice near fall, but Kanellis didn’t move with enough urgency so the crowd didn’t buy it and barely reacted at Kalisto’s kickout.
Kanellis then hit Kalisto with three Suplexes in series (although not a Three Amigos,) and then moved Kalisto to the top rope and hit him with a weird looking Backpack Sitout Jawbreaker. This also looked like a near fall, but Kalisto got his foot on the ropes. Kanellis tried to follow up with a Powerbomb, but Kalisto countered into a Sunset Flip and a Roll Up to pin Kanellis for the victory.
Kalisto defeated Mike Kanellis by pinfall.
Anish’s Thoughts: This match was good, although nothing too great or surprising. If anything, I’ll give the crowd credit for staying into it and reacting to Kalisto’s big win at he end, but I don’t think either Kanellis or Kalisto moved with real urgency until the match was over. There were a few spots in there that could have really gotten the crowd on their feet, but instead fell flat. Overall, I’ve seen other matches with other superstars and even with these two guys.
After the match we saw a few promos by a few of 205 Live’s superstars, including Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher who seemed to be promoting some sort of campaign gimmick where they advertised themselves to the roster as manager’s I guess…?
Ariya Daivari also cut a promo with Hideo Itami saying that the loss in the multi man match at the Rumble doesn’t count because multi man matches don’t take skill. Hideo Itami also said in Japanese: “Tozawa, today your end is near.”
Once we came back from break we saw footage from backstage where Tony Nese accosted Noam Dar in the parking lot and had to be pulled away from him by officials. Kayla Braxton gave the news that Tony Nese has been indefinitely suspended. Buddy Murphy then cut a promo saying that he has beaten every challenge put in front of him and would do the same to the next challenge
2. Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami. Tozawa started the match with his signature yells to get the crowd hyped up. Daivari took some time to advise his client and once they got into it they both started the match with some quick kicks, but weren’t able to land clean. Tozawa finally got first blood by rattling Itami with a drop-kick and a snapmare followed by a standing senton.
Tozawa continued to yell and got Itami up so that they could exchange chops. Tozawa feigned a big punch which Itami guarded for, but this was a ploy so that Tozawa could place a short jab on his jaw. Tozawa attempted to take advantage with a quick senton bomb, but Itami got out the way and tried to strike. Tozawa caught him and hit a scoop slam to try for another big senton, but this time Itami got the knees up, forcing Tozawa to roll out the ring.
Daivari stopped Kendrick from helping Tozawa up, allowing Itami to ram his face against the ring post and then roll him into the ring. Itami took his time in the ring, stomping on Tozawa and smacking him with a few quick kicks. Itami then whipped Tozawa from corner to corner, although Tozawa got out of dodge and to the middle rope. This didn’t give him any reprieve however as Itami just went to the apron himself and kicked Tozawa senseless onto the middle rope. Itami followed up by hitting Tozawa with a knee drop while hung on the rope from the top turnbuckle and then worked on him with a chin lock.
Itami controlled the match for a while and went back to a chin lock again and again interspersed knees and kicks for good measure. Brian Kendrick at ringside urged the crowd to hype up Tozawa who used the support to rally and catch Itami in a spider submission maneuver for a second, although Itami reversed it into a Sidewalk Slam.
Itami got cocky however and took too much time to follow up, allowing Tozawa to hit him with a Shining Wizard. With Itami a little loopy, Tozawa pushed him out of the ring and rushed him with a suicide dive. This only got Tozawa a two count and when he tried to hit Itami with a German Suplex, Itami elbowed his way out and lured Tozawa into the corner w here he hit his facelock hotshot.
Itami then rammed Tozawa with a cross body and went for a pin but only got a two count. Itami picked Tozawa up and tried to hit him with a quick set of punches but Tozawa countered and tripped Itami into the turnbuckle where he hit him with a Shining Wizard to the back of the head. Tozawa tried to follow up with a top rope move but Daivari distracted him, allowing Itami to break Tozawa’s momentum and execute a discuss clothesline followed by a Falcon Arrow, although only for a two count.
Itami took his time getting up and taunting Tozawa and tried to set up for his finisher, but Tozawa rolled out and hit a spinning enzuigiri. With Itami down, Kendrick tried to rally the crowd on the outside but Daivari knocked him down, which distracted Tozawa.
Itami tried to take advantage, but Tozawa dodged a dropkick attempt which caught Daivari instead. Tozawa swept in and racked Itami with a German Suplex and went straight up to the top rope to hit his senton bomb finisher and got the three count victory.
Akira Tozawa defeated Hideo Itami by pinfall.
After the match, Daivari helped Itami to his feet but in a shock move turned on him and hit him with a strong clothesline. I guess their alliance is done and Daivari has turned heel on a heel..? This makes Daivari look strong for sure, but I can’t help but think that Itami doesn’t come off the best, especially after two straight pinfall losses that were essentially clean…
Anish’s Thoughts: This match was fun, if simple. Both men went to work on each other and even though there weren’t a bunch of crazy spots in the match, every move was done with purpose and to keep the story moving forward. Overall, this was a so-so show, but it wasn’t hard to watch by any means. The short runtime and focus on the matches certainly helps and above all else the wrestling was good.
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