By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
WWE 205 Live Hits
Drew Gulak vs. The Brian Kendrick: A really good match that the crowd crapped all over (again, I don’t blame them fully, WWE should be taping this before Smackdown). A lot of things really clicked involving this match when you take the restless crowd out of the equation. It was smart of WWE to add the added story of Kendrick being on a quest for his first WrestleMania despite him being in WWE for a fairly long and prominent run. While I credit Gulak for adopting more of a Minoru Suzuki persona, in-ring he more so reflects Zack Sabre Jr. with very clean transitions between submissions. It’s not for everyone and apparently not for this crowd, but I thought it was good and the commentators provided the right amount of energy. Kendrick was good at providing lots of movement and energy. They also gave Kendrick the Pass-out finish which might mean they are going to do bigger and better babyface things with him? One thing we know, is Kendrick’s WrestleMania journey is done, but kudos to WWE for setting up two good WrestleMania quests on this episode involving Kendrick and Nese (in the opener).
Tony Nese vs. Kalisto: A solid match with a fairly slow middle portion. Part of what made it slow was the dead crowd. I can’t blame the crowd on this show, since they’re exhausted from the prior Smackdown, but I can’t help avoid getting bad “Impact Zone” vibes from some 205 Live matches these days. Anyway, good match, but what I really thought was a Hit was cutting to Buddy Murphy’s exaggerated celebration for his workout partner winning the match. I thought of it myself, but I like Aiden English talking about how Murphy’s exaggerating might be him overcompensating for concern over facing a legitimate physical threat in Nese. I still feel that Nese is not the greatest person to sell WrestleMania buys, but at least they are doing a decent job coming up with a potential storyline thread.
WWE 205 Live Misses
The crowd: Again, a minor Miss because this miss is not directed towards the crowd, it’s directed towards WWE for holding 205 Live after Smackdown. Maybe a Miss should go to the pocket of fans chanting “this is boring” during the good main event (but even then I can’t fully blame them, why should they care about Brian Kendrick other than he’s creepily clean shaven now?). The crowds were a lot better when Mixed Match Challenge was in the restless spot. WWE should consider two options here, dissolve 205 Live into their other rosters (losing two wrestlers currently makes that easier) or tape 205 Live before Smackdown. Why does it have to be “live”?
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and former WWE Smackdown lead writer Alex Greenfield discussing the NXT call-ups, Stephanie McMahon’s past contributions to WWE creative, the growth of MLW, and much more.