By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Aired live on February 19, 2019 from New Orleans, Louisiana at Smoothie King Center
205 Live general manager Drake Maverick noted that Buddy Murphy successfully defended the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Akira Tozawa at Elimination Chamber. Maverick announced that there will be an eight-man, single elimination tournament starting next week to determine who will challenge Murphy at WrestleMania. Maverick said the matches on this week’s show take on extra importance as the wrestlers get a chance to make a final case for why deserve a spot in the tournament. Maverick announced the matches that would take place on this show…
The 205 Live opening aired… The broadcast team was Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Aiden English… Ring entrances for the opening match took place…
1. Humberto Carrillo vs. TJP. McGuinness said Carillo is a little Antonio Banderas and a little Don Quixote. “But he’s all Humberto,” English said in a breathy voice. Jack Gallagher and Drew Gulak walked to ringside early in the match as the broadcast team spoke about Gulak’s attempt to recruit Carrillo.
Carrillo performed a nice cross body block off the top rope for a two count. Carrillo went for a springboard move, but TJP slammed him down and targeted his left arm. English assumed TJP was bitter with Carrillo showing up and potentially taking his spot. TJP tied up Carrillo in the tree of woe and dropkicked him.
Carrillo came back with a spin kick and TJP rolled to ringside. Carrillo performed a corkscrew flip dive. A short time later, Carrillo performed a handspring into a moonsault for a two count. TJP came back with an STF. Carrillo made it to the ropes in front of Gulak and Gallagher, who encouraged him. Carrillo performed a missile dropkick then performed his finisher and scored the pin…
Humberto Carrillo defeated TJP.
After the match, Gulak and Gallagher entered the ring and applauded Carrillo. They hoisted him up onto their shoulders. Carrillo looked confused at first, then played to the crowd when he was on their shoulders.
Powell’s POV: A good opening match. I’m filling in for Anish V this week and this is admittedly my first time watching the show in a while. I like the way TJP’s look has evolved along with his in-ring style. Carrillo has long term upside.
The broadcast team spoke at ringside and set up a Tony Nese pre-taped promo. Nese said he finally proved to Noam Dar that he’s the better man. He said that when he was beating him to a pulp he realized that 205 Live is his for the taking. He said it’s just a matter of believing in himself. He said whatever mental block was holding him back was smashed down. He said he will win the tournament and win the championship at WrestleMania…
Backstage, Maria told Mike Kanellis that she believes in him. The backstage interviewer showed up and noted that Mike has had a tough time getting wins on 205 Live, and asked if it was wise to face someone at the level of Cedric Alexander. Maria took the mic and spoke about how Mike has been in the business for 16 years and has been successful all over the world. She asked if Braxton thinks her husband has taken the easy way out to get to where he is. Maria said Mike would take out the soul of 205 Live and prove why he is the most dangerous man… [C]
Powell’s POV: Maria is still a terrific talker. It’s disappointing that Mike and Maria’s run in WWE hasn’t gone well because they both have more to offer.
The broadcast team recapped the announcement of DX entering the WWE Hall of Fame…
Ariya Daivari made his entrance with a mic. He said the fans would witness the beginning of the Daivari dinero destruction of the cruiserweight division. He said he would beat his opponent so bad that nobody could try to sue the referee for the wrong call. Daivari said that unlike the New Orleans Saints, he’s actually going to his company’s Super Bowl…
2. Ariya Daivari vs. Johnny Lyons. Daivari performed a hammerlock lariat. Daivari stood up Lyons and applied the Million Dollar Dream/Cobra Clutch for the win…
Ariya Daivari defeated Johnny Lyons.
Powell’s POV: Daivari plays the heel role well. He was aggressive in the squash win and did a nice job on the mic.
Buddy Murphy cut a promo inside the locker room. He said Drake Maverick is trying to give him the challengers he wants. He spoke of beating Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander, and winning a Triple Threat at the Royal Rumble, and then Tozawa at the Elimination Chamber. He said he spoke to Maverick about the tournament that will determine his challenger at WrestleMania. Murphy said he’s the greatest cruiserweight of all-time and questioned who wants to face him on the grandest stage of them all… [C] Ring entrances for the main event took place. Footage aired of Alexander beating Mustafa Ali at WrestleMania, which was also held in New Orleans..
Powell’s POV: A strong, confident champion’s promo. It’s been very cool to see Murphy go from his tag team role in NXT to really clicking as the cruiserweight champion. Meanwhile, the Mike & Maria music needs to go. It’s a holdover from their brief Smackdown run and it doesn’t seem to fit what they are doing with the couple now.
3. Mike Kanellis (w/Maria Kanellis) vs. Cedric Alexander. Alexander went for a springboard move and Kanellis blasted him with a punch. Kanellis barked that he’s the best in the world. Alexander came back and then went for a springboard. He acted like he slipped and sold right knee pain. Kanellis tried to take advantage, but Alexander caught him with a superkick.
Alexander went for a Lumbar Check, but his knee gave out. Kanellis threw a superkick and a Michinoku Driver slam for a good near fall. Kanellis bled a bit from the mouth. Kanellis performed a backpack stunner for another two count. Alexander battled back and got a couple of two counts of his own. Both wrestlers ended up on the apron and both men threw simultaneous kicks.
Kanellis performed a spinebuster on the ramp that Alexande sold perfectly by crying out in agony. Kanellis returned to the ring and was willing to take the count-out win, but Alexander returned. Kanellis put Alexander in a Boston Crab. Alexander teased tapping before reaching the ropes to break it. Alexander dumped Kanellis to ringside and then performed a flip dive onto him. Alexander rolled Mike back inside the ring and then Maria blocked his path to buy her husband time.
Alexander returned to the ring and took a superkick from Mike, who followed up with a neckbreaker style move and covered Alexander. “He’s done it!” McGuinness yelled twice. Maria entered the ring and hugged Mike. The referee said it was only a two count. A replay showed Alexander got his shoulder up. The match continued and Alexander performed a Lumbar Check for the win…
Cedric Alexander defeated Mike Kanellis.
Drake Maverick was shown backstage and spoke about what a difficult it was to select the eight men in the tournament. He said he carefully considered recent performances and past accomplishments. Maverick announced that next week’s quarterfinal matches will be Kalisto vs. Tony Nese, and Brian Kenderick vs. Drew Gulak…
Powell’s POV: A good match with a really good false finish that McGuinness assisted greatly with his excited call. They showed it from multiple angles afterward and the referee did hit the mat a third time, but he immediately clarified that it was only a two count, and all of this was clearly intentional. I like that Kanellis comes off as more frustrated and angry by his losing ways than comedic like Curt Hawkins has done at times. They could easily flip the switch on Kanellis and make him a player in the division.
As someone who hasn’t watched the show in a while, I enjoyed what I saw. I can’t say that it convinced me that I need to watch on a weekly basis, but that’s mostly due to the full plate of other pro wrestling programming that I follow. The in-ring action is solid and the storylines feel basic and easy to catch up on (or follow as I do via Anish V’s reports). And in some ways that’s a positive, but the show seems to lack a real hook beyond the in-ring action. In fairness, they are in a tough spot, because it’s tough to do a big storylines in front of disinterested crowds that attend tapings to see Smackdown rather than 205 Live.
I loved the way McGuinness sold the false finish, and I was also impressed by most of what I heard from Aiden English on color commentary. I’m not big on three-man booths, but 205 Live has a good one. I will share more of my impressions on my first viewing of the show in a while when I fill in for Anish on the 205 Live audio review that is available exclusively to Dot Net Members every Wednesday.
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