By Anish Vishwakoti, ProWrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Aired live on March 19, 2019 from Indianapolis, Indiana at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
The show started off with a recap of the No. 1 contender tournament for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match at WrestleMania. 205 Live general manager Drake Maverick described the paths of Cedric Alexander and Tony Nese to get to the finals. Maverick hyped up that finals matchup and included promos from Alexander and Nese, who each spoke about their desire to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, which really made this episode of 205 feel like it has been built up to be important… The broadcast team was Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Aiden English…
Mike and Maria Kanellis came out to the ring and Maria cut a promo. She called her husband the greatest wrestler in the world. She derided the reaction of the crowd and did a good job of getting them to boo. She also called Maverick rude as well, but said that her husband would prove Maverick wrong. Akira Tozawas music hit, and he came out to have a match with Kanellis…
1. Mike Kanellis (w/Maria Kanellis) vs. Akira Tozawa. The match started off with a lockup and Tozawa attempting to take Kanellis’s back. Tozawa tripped Kanellis, but Kanellis got to the ropes and forced the referee to grant him some space. Kanellis didn’t go back to grappling quickly, he hit Tozawa with some kicks before Irish-whipping him and attempting a roll up, but Tozawa rolled right out and hit Kanellis with an early senton and then tossed him out of the ring.
Tozawa rallied with the crowd and ran to the far ropes to go for a tope, but Kanellis slid into the ring ang hit Tozawa with a superkick. Kanellis then tossed Tozawa into the corner and stomped on him and calculatedly caught Tozawa with a standing suplex followed by some elbow strikes to the top of Tozawa’s skull.
With Tozawa slowed down, Kanellis hit continued to hit him with elbows and kicks before locking in a chin lock. Tozawa nestled out however and caught Kanellis with a hurricanrana to turn the tides. Kanellis didn’t have an answer and Tozawa was able to get to the top rope and hit a missile dropkick on him. Kanellis didn’t allow himself to be pinned, and got to his feet but Tozawa chased him down and locked in a running octopus stretch.
Kanellis looked like he was going to submit for a second, but Maria started yelling from ringside and forced her husband to find it within himself to reverse the stretch into a sidewalk slam. Both men lumbered to their feet and laid into each other with chops, Tozawa caught Kanellis off guard with a jab and tried to chase Kanellis with a running maneuver, but Kanellis lifted Tozawa into the air and hit a spinebuster.
Kanellis then tried to go to the top rope himself, but Tozawa got him with a pump kick to stun him. Tozawa attempted a super huracanrana, but Kanellis caught Tozawa and hit Tozawa with a big super Michinoku driver. Kanellis went for the cover, but Tozawa kicked out. Kanellis looked frustrated and looked to his wife for advice, after consulting with her he picked Tozawa up and attempted his neckbreaker finisher.
Tozawa reversed and hit Kanellis with an enzuigiri, with Kanellis down Tozawa headed to the top rope but got distracted by Maria who climbed up to the apron. Tozawa went to the opposite turnbuckle to get away from her, but the time taken allowed Mike to get to his senses, roll away, catch Tozawa with his reverse Cross-Rhodes Neckbreaker finisher and get the pinfall victory.
Mike Kanellis defeated Akira Tozawa by pinfall.
Anish’s Thoughts: Fun match. This wasn’t anything amazing but I’m glad Mike Kanellis finally got some momentum and it’s not like it hurt Tozawa too much. I feel that we’ll see much more direct involvement from Maria from this point onwards, maybe even to the levels of ‘Kingdom’ Maria from ROH and NJPW in the past. Overall, it doesn’t do anything revolutionary, but it was effective.
We went backstage to see Cedric Alexander exchanging barbs with Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese. All three men went back and forth, with Murphy talking about all the times he beat Cedric Alexander, and said that he would beat Alexander at Wrestlemania 35 again. Alexander pointed out that Murphy assumed that Nese would lose today, planting some seeds of strife in their friendship…
2. Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese in the tournament finals to become No. 1 contender to the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Alexander and Nese locked up with Nese gaining the advantage due to his strength. Alexander was able to use his athleticism to flip out of the initial arm locks that Nese attempted, leaving them at a stalemate with neither men able to secure a consistent grip on the other.
Nese and Alexander exchanged arm drags and takeovers, with Nese focusing on Alexander’s arm for the initial part of this match. Nese and Alexander also exchanged quick roll up attempts, although neither got the pin. Finally, Alexander got some air and hit Nese with a cross body, but Nese didn’t get off track and pushed Alexander off and quickly locked in the arm drag again.
Nese at one point attempted a back suplex, this allowed Alexander to reverse and catch Nese with a standing dropkick to knock him to the floor. Alexander attempted a cover, but barely got the two count before following up with some chops. With the chops it was clear there had been some damage done to Alexander’s arm up until this point. Alexander then locked in a headlock with Nese on the ground and wrenched him about. However, Nese was able to get to his feet, forcing Alexander to hit the ropes, from where Nese was able to trip Alexander and attempt a moonsault.
Alexander rolled out of the way and caught Nese with a snapmare, dropkick combo, however Nese kicked out at two. Alexander lifted Nese up and attempted to strike with him, but Nese got the better of the exchange, smacking Alexander with a gut kick and a spinning heel kick combo. The match bounced back and forth with Alexander tripping Nese as he followed up on the previous kicks, and setting Nese up to be kicked on the apron. However, Nese caught Alexander coming in and tripped him to the outside of the ring. Nese seemed content to get the countout victory, but Alexander made it back in and fell directly into Nese’s stomps and chops.
Nese rattled Alexander with big elbows and kicks to follow up and whipped Alexander to the ropes before connecting with a big cross chop. Nese then grabbed a hold of Alexander’s chin for a chin lock, but when Alexander attempted to fight out had to settle for hitting him with a northern-lights suplex. Nese then stomped on the grounded Alexander and landed a leg drop as well.
Nese locked in another chin-lock and kept Alexander grounded as the crowd chanted ‘Cedric.’ Alexander used this support to get up and muscle Nese to the turnbuckle. With the little space he had, Alexander hit Nese with a snapmare and a dropkick to the face to knock Nese to the ground. Alexander used this time to recuperate and catch Nese with a couple of clotheslines and his handspring neutralizer kick.
Alexander then quickly followed up with his springboard flatliner and attempted a pin, but Nese kicked out at two. Alexander took in the chants of the crowd and attempted a lumbar-check, but Nese rolled under Alexander’s legs and attempted a pump-handle slam. Alexander revered the first attempt, but Nese went right back to it and connected.
Nese attempted a pin, but was unsuccessful prompting some frustration out of Nese. The two got up and battled to the ropes, with Nese managing to kick Alexander hard enough to trap him hanging on the middle rope. Nese capitalized by hitting a springboard moonsault on the rope-hung Alexander, but the subsequent pin attempt only got him a two-count. Alexander rolled to the corner and taunted Nese to attempt his running knee-wash.
Nese ran in and got caught by Alexander who was playing possum and got hit by a Michinoku driver. With Nese down, Alexander went to the apron and attempted a springboard maneuver, but Nese saw him coming and hit a rising palm strike. Now with Alexander hung up on the top rope, Nese followed him and tried to hit a superplex to the outside. Alexander woke up and started trading strikes with Nese however, leading both men to simultaneously fall off the top rope and to the outside.
The crowd chanted ‘205’ as the ref counted to ten. A nice near-double-countout as both men made it into the ring and stared each other down. The two traded more strikes, now standing, with Nese and Alexander even interlocking their legs as they went for simultaneous superkicks.
Anish’s Thoughts: I’ve mever seen that spot before and the whole exchange was unbelievably athletic.
Alexander won the exchanged and superkicked Nese to the corner where he chopped him and propped him up to the top rope. Alexander attempted a superplex, but Nese kicked him to the outside. Nese then connected with a spaceman Moonsault over the top rope before rolling Alexander into the ring and connecting with a 450 splash. Nese covered Alexander, but the former champion kicked out and stayed alive.
In disbelief, Nese rolled Alexander to the bottom turnbuckle and tried for his running knee wash after stomping Alexander’s face in but Alexander caught Nese running in with a Spanish Fly and quickly again with the Lumbar Check, and in an extremely close near-fall, Nese kicked out.
The crowd rained down ‘This is Awesome’ chants as Alexander sat in the corner shocked. Alexander pulled down his kneepads to apparently try for the Lumbar Check again, but Nese countered into a roll up. Alexander rolled out but Nese followed up with a knee that knocked Alexander into the corner. With Alexander prone, Nese hit him with the running knee wash and covered him to get the pinfall victory…
Tony Nese defeated Cedric Alexander by pinfall to win the tournament to earn a WWE Cruiserweight Title match at WrestleMania 35.
After the match ended, Alexander and Nese shook hands and embraced. Buddy Murphy came out to congratulate Nese and they shook hands. Murphy initially seemed like he was going to raise Nese’s hand in felicitations, but as soon as Nese turned his back, Murphy hit his former friend with a knee to knock him to the floor and stand above him with the WWE Cruiserweight Championship to end 205 Live…
Anish’s Thoughts: Awesome match. The crowd was extremely into it as both men told a fantastic story from beginning to end. Alexander got caught by surprise with those last two huge knees and Nese looked like a real star knocking off the former champion. Nese has always looked great in his matches, but this was a star making performance on 205 Live. With the crowd applauding like they were for the Nese and Alexander post match scene, Nese put in a performance here that could certainly lead to getting cheered as we go into Wrestlemania 35, especially with Murphy as such an effective heel. A great show overall that really made a star out of Nese. And with that turn at the end, I think we can safely say that it made a babyface out of him as well.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Fulvio Cecere discussing the 350 Days documentary that included interviews with over 70 pro wrestling legends including Bret Hart, Ted DiBiase, Wendi Richter, Greg Valentine, and Bill Eadie, why pre-ordering the documentary is so helpful, a nugget regarding Fulvio’s run as Lt. Thorne on Battlestar Galactica, and much more.