By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
205 Live Hits
Cedric Alexander vs. Akira Tozawa: Around a 20 minute match and these two men managed to get the presumably tired crowd to chant “205” and give them a partial standing ovation. I’d say that by itself is a success. Cedric is a pretty mediocre talker, but the guy more than makes up for it by connecting with the crowd with the stories he tells in the ring. There’s a reason why both Vince McMahon (in the prior creative team) and Paul Levensque utilize Alexander as the anchor of 205 Live. Both men got great believable nearfalls and the last five minutes in particular were a spectacle to watch.
Mike Kanellis vs. Colby Corino: I got a kick out of this match being very Ring of Honor. The only thing this match was missing was BJ Whitmer and WWE Producer Steve Corino running out to argue for no real reason. Anyway, technically this wasn’t a match because the bell didn’t ring and the ref ruled it a no contest. It’s ultimately fun to see Mike Bennett in actual storyline. WWE’s investing a lot of 205 Live TV time into Bennett which makes me wonder if they are planning to give him a chance. Mike is doing a great job with his mean streak and hopefully they allow the guy to talk because even though Maria’s a main event talker, Mike’s not far behind in being just as expert a talker as his wife.
No Contest Ruling: A small thing, but it gets a bit annoying watching Impact and WWE matches and having to assume an “apparent” no contest. Paul Levesque shows do a good job paying attention to small details like this.
Oney Lorcan vs. Humberto Carrillo: I’d have to say, the match result surprised me a bit. Lorcan loses more singles matches than he wins and Carrillo is presented as a future sensation (a lot of the things that I said WWE should have done with Kalisto, WWE is doing with Carrillo. WWE must not know how to book masked luchadores therefore they unmasked the hell out of Carrillo to properly book the guy). This was the perfect way to eliminate Carrillo, push Lorcan forward, and forward the storyline of Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher trying to recruit Carrillo. Carrillo lost the gamble on the “high risk” which plays into Gulak’s “no fly zone” mission statement. As for the meat of the match, this was a fun match involving Lorcan’s uncanny ability to hit hard and keep up the pace of a match with intensity. Props to Carrillo for matching Lorcan in the striking game (and not getting a bloody nose from Lorcan’s stiff slaps).
Oney Lorcan Vignette: This is an example of something that’s missing from NXT (and the WWE main roster for that matter). NXT doesn’t have time to air these because they have one hour and a saturated roster. This promo did a good job introducing Oney Lorcan to the 205 audience. Heck, I don’t ever remember Lorcan getting this much time to talk. It was done like a UFC introductory vignette. This promo immediately made Lorcan a possible favorite to make it to WrestleMania (though I think Nese and Alexander make more sense at this point, but all four options for Murphy’s opponent at Mania have detrimental flaws that make it unattractive to put them in the big spot).
Drake Maverick Intro: I know this happens every week, so this is partially a Hit for this practice. I wanted to give the teaser this week a hit in particular because it was a well written one and an example of something WWE can use on their other brands. Shows like Walking Dead or Breaking Bad have a “last time on…” teaser to railroad the viewer towards specific story threads thus avoiding confusion and allow the viewer to use their brain power to absorb and articulate what they are watching. Having Maverick do it in these intros are a good way to do a cinematic teaser in a sports setting. This week’s not only set up this week’s show well, it did a recap of last week’s show as well as advertise next week’s show in the same intro segment.
205 Live Misses
None: Nothing much more I can say other than this was a well utilized hour of wrestling television. The promos were good and the matches told good stories.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Ian Riccaboni discussing his decision to re-sign with Ring of Honor, getting emotionally invested in matches, the March 15 ROH 17th Anniversary show, the G1 Supercard at MSG, and much more.