By Anish Vishwakoti, ProWrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
WWE 205 Live on WWE Network
Aired live on June 25, 2019 from Portland, Oregon at Moda Center
The show started off with a recap of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match at Stomping Grounds with Drew Gulak becoming the new champion after pinning Akira Tozawa in what was a great match. We saw a promo by the new champion talking about how a better 205 Live doesn’t deserve his generosity, it deserves his wrath. The main event was announced to be Akira Tozawa vs Tony Nese to determine who would challenge for the title at Extreme Rules… The broadcast team was Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Aiden English…
1. Jack Gallagher vs. Mike Kanellis (w/Maria Kanellis). Gallagher and Kanellis started off by exchanging a wrist lock combination. In what was a pretty funny sequence, Gallagher pretended to pedal a bike upwards while on the ground to kick Kanellis off of him. The two then fought for control by whipping each other across the ring. Eventually Kanellis goaded Gallagher to the outside where he tossed him into the ring post and hit a standing suplex on the floor.
Kanellis then utilized a chin lock in the ring which Gallagher tried to fight out of, however he was only met with a clothesline and a couple of hammer throws into the turnbuckle. Kanellis propped Gallagher onto the top rope and went for a superplex but Gallagher punched him off and went for a dive of his own. Kanellis countered with the feet up and hit a falcon arrow to knock Gallagher down.
The two then traded strikes while standing, with Kanellis winning out after rocking Gallagher with a clothesline. He went for the cover but only got a two count. He attempted to set up for his neckbreaker finisher, but the ref distracted him somehow, still not sure how. Gallagher used this ‘distraction’ to hit a headbutt and fall on top of him for the pinfall victory.
Jack Gallagher defeated Mike Kanellis.
Kanellis walked out of the arena through the crowd after the match, frustrated and leaving his wife behind…
Anish’s Thoughts: After months of hoping WWE actually has a plan for Mike Kanellis, I am convinced he will be winning one match and then losing two every three weeks until the end of time. Actually, I’m done trying to predict what they have planned for Kanellis. The match itself was good, Gallagher won in a way that befits his character so I can’t complain there. Kanellis also lost in a way that has epitomized his stint on 205 Live as well, although if this is really all WWE have for him, then there is much to complain about there.
Tony Nese and Akira Tozawa delivered backstage promos hyping up their number one contenders match…
2. Humberto Carrillo vs. Rob Rollenbeck. Carrillo and Rollenbeck locked up with Carrillo flipping out of a wristlock and then backflipping to avoid a charging Rollenbeck. Carrillo then caught him with a clothesline, a rope rebound arm drag and a two quick kicks to go for the pin. Rollenbeck kicked out at two and tried to fight back, but Carrillo took control with a handspring elbow and a cross body to down Rollenbeck. He then moved to the ropes and hit a springboard dropkick followed by a corkscrew splash to get the pinfall victory.
Humberto Carrillo defeated Rob Rollenbeck by pinfall.
Anish’s Thoughts: A quick match against a local talent to get Carrillo over. As a high flyer this worked, I guess, Carrillo hit some flashy moves to get the pinfall and it didn’t take up too much time so it was fine.
We saw a recap of Ariya Daivari and Oney Lorcan’s recent feud. We them cut to Daivari being interviewed backstage, however this didn’t last long as Lorcan jumped him from behind and beat him like a savage before the referees had to restraining frothing at the mouth to get his hands on Daivari.
We then saw a promo backstage by the Lucha House Party talking about their frustrations with the Bollywood Boys. They then rationalized that they shouldn’t bother with them because they are best tag team in the world the Lucha Bro… House Party.
1. Akira Tozawa vs. Tony Nese in a No. 1 contenders match for a shot at the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Nese started off the match by wrestling Tozawa to the ground. Tozawa countered with a head lock and whipped Nese to the corner, but the former champ backflipped to dodge and countered the follow up shoulder block with a kip up and bumped Tozawa into the corner.
Nese whipped Tozawa across the ring and managed to catch him with a kick to the gut and a roll up. He then went for a standing suplex, but Tozawa countered with a running kick and knocked Nese out of the ring. Tozawa followed him to the outside and hit a brilliant running rolling senton into Nese as he was against the barricade.
Tozawa and Nese both laid out for a few seconds before Tozawa tried to follow up in the ring with a top rope move. Nese caught him with a pele kick to knock him off however and took control, keeping Tozawa slowed with clotheslines and a body scissors.
Tozawa managed to fight out for a second, trying for a fireman’s carry slam, but Nese worked out of it and tried to get back control on Tozawa again. Tozawa went for the fireman’s carry front slam and hit it this time. Nese rolled out of the ring again and got hit by a suicide dive for good measure. Tozawa tossed Nese back into the ring and hit the missile dropkick, but then got a two count.
Nese got to his feet and tried to strike with Tozawa but got caught in an octopus stretch. Nese looked weak for a bit but reversed into a big sidewalk slam to rattle Tozawa. The two went strike for strike on their feet with Nese winning out after a wheel kick and a strike in the corner. Nese then followed up by chasing Tozawa with consecutive moonsaults in and out of the ring. Tozawa wouldn’t stay down and he and Nese exchanged chops.
Eventually, they resorted to grappling, or at least Nese tried to, attempting a pumphandle slam. Tozawa reversed into his spinning kick and went to the top rope. Nese followed him up there, resulting Tozawa attempting a sunset flip. Nese managed to drag him off and try for an Alabama slam, but Tozawa managed to reverse that into a Canadian destroyer to great applause from the crowd.
Tozawa went for the cover but only got the two count and opted to go to the top rope again. Nese rolled out of the way of the Senton bomb. He lifted Tozawa up for another Alabama slam, but the two exchanged roll ups and eventually a one armed powerbomb by Nese. The former champ tried to follow up on that with the running knee wash, but Tozawa reversed it twice, once with a German suplex and once with an attempted spinning kick.
On that second reversal attempt, Nese caught him a belly to pack package piledriver to get the pinfall victory.
Tony Nese defeated Akira Tozawa by pinfall.
Anish’s Thoughts: This match was brilliant, everything a 205 live match should be. Both Nese and Tozawa came out of it looking strong and even though we will be moving on to Nese vs. Gulak I would not mind seeing these to go at it again sometime in the future. Nese and Tozawa pulled out some really interesting moves that we haven’t seen before or in a while on WWE television.
Nese looked like he really had to go to another level and use some new moves in order to beat Tozawa and earn a shot at the title that he was never pinned for. After that match, 205 Live fans will be really sympathetic to Nese as he chases Gulak, which should hopefully make for great TV.
Overall, this show got better as it went. I saw no point to the Kanellis match, while the Carrillo match was a palette cleanser for that really bustling main event. Props to Nese and Tozawa for making this show and having quite possibly the best match anywhere on WWE television this week.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Brian Fritz of the Between The Ropes podcast discussing WWE’s creative and ratings struggles, Bray Wyatt following the Firefly Funhouse, WWE Stomping Grounds, NJPW G1 Opening Night, and ROH’s issues, what would happen if AEW opted to run head-to-head with WWE Raw, and much more.