By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
WWE 205 Live Hits
Cedric Alexander vs. Mike Kanellis: This might have been Mike Kanellis’s best match in WWE, but that’s not a hard feat given Cedric Alexander’s track record of having stellar main events. You know it was a good match when Nigel McGuinness gets giddy on commentary. This match went close to 20 minutes and they managed to make Mike Kanellis look strong in the loss. I really liked the cute false finish of Cedric lifting the shoulder barely at the last minute to fool Mike Kanellis into thinking he got the pinfall. Was that WWE trying to subtly say that their referees are better than NFL referees? Probably not, but they were in New Orleans. What I continue to find odd is the booking of Mike Kanellis. When he showed up on 205 Live it looked like they were trying to recreate The Kingdom tag team with TJ Perkins filling in for Matt Taven. Then they abruptly ended their push after about two weeks and then put Mike on this losing streak against former cruiserweight champions. My educated hunch is that Mike’s on his way out, but if that isn’t the case are they trying to tell a long-term story with him? What has me perplexed a bit is the commentators were really laying it on thick with Mike’s losing streak making me think they have some sort of program planned for him, but maybe it’s just an attention to detail that Paul Levesque is stressing on the headset.
Ariya Daivari vs. Johnny Lyons: While he did go for cheap heat in his pre-match promo, I understand doing so because 205 Live crowds are a tough, exhausted crowd. On top of that, if I were a Saints fan, the botched call would piss me off too (but since I’m an alumni to UC Berkeley, I gotta support mah homeboys CJ Anderson and Jared Goff). Anyway, it’s been cool seeing Daivari develop into an entertaining wrestler over the past four months or so. Daivari’s really good on the microphone and he’s not coming off as an inferior version of his brother’s “rich Persian” gimmick. Him being Hideo Itami’s mouthpiece really allowed him to shine in that department. In the match he had on 205 Live, Daivari is showing that he’s wrestling a completely different style built around aggressive striking. One more accolade to this segment goes to Johnny Lyons for doing a good job looking like poor local enhancement guy (he also looked like a smaller, caucasian Yoshi Tatsu).
Humberto Carrillo vs. TJP: A good match and good change of pace for Carrillo who got to work against a submission-based wrestler as opposed to having the usual high-flyer vs. high-flyer match. After a subpar debut on 205 Live against Buddy Murphy, Carrillo has bounced back well in recent outings, showing the world why he’s so hyped up in NXT. They’re also really pushing his relationship with Hector Garza. TJP was good, but I do feel bad for the guy since he’s much improved on the mic. He even has the “beard of sorrow” (or in his case a goatee of sorrow?) that talented wrestlers get when they are off TV for long stretches and look depressed. I can’t say I’m too excited over the inevitable feud between Drew Gulak and Carrillo, but WWE seems to be taking a different approach with Gulak and Gallagher sucking up to WWE’s new “sensation” as opposed to the approach we’ve seen many times on 205 Live (all involving Lucha House Party) where the heel disrespects Lucha Libre. Maybe WWE does a better job with Hispanic wrestlers when they’re unmasked and Triple H may have made the right decision in also unmasking Carrillo.
Tony Nese: The promo wasn’t anything special, but it didn’t suck and it was a nice change of pace to see Nese get to give his thoughts on a successful win to a feud. After two years of 205 Live, I don’t think Nese has won one feud so hopefully this leads to bigger and better things for him.
WWE 205 Live Misses
Buddy Murphy: The promo was delivered well, but a continual criticism I have of Murphy during his time as 205 Live Champion is that he’s a heel that doesn’t do much on the mic to make you hate him. He’s also starting to get a bit repetitive in saying the same “you can’t stop the unstoppable” promo every week with slight variations to match the context of the situation he’s in. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a huge upgrade on the mic over Cedric Alexander, who struggled in that department, but at least the writers did a good job presenting Cedric. Murphy’s presentation is just a tad bit off. Criticisms aside, at least the guy is one of the best overall in-ring storytellers in WWE.
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