By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Contributor
WWE 205 Live
Live from Orlando, Florida at Amway Center
Streamed August 21, 2020 on WWE Network
Vic Jospeh and Drew Gulak checked in on commentary from the ThunderDome.
McGuire’s Musings: So, what do we think of ThunderDome? We all had high hopes, right? How it works in the 205 Live environment is … something. Actually, it highlights one of the most charming things about 205 Live, which is that it’s positioned to be an afterthought after Smackdown each Friday night. Yet considering how the show gets the same production values as Smackdown – and in this case, ThunderDome – the whole thing makes for a “let’s root for these guys” feel.
1. Drake Maverick vs. Tehuti Miles. And there can’t be a more “let’s root for these guys” person than Drake Maverick, who looked way too angry to be featured on The Show After The Show. Still, as both Vic and Drew pointed out, he was the former general manager of this thing, so his presence needs to feel like it’s worth something … right?
McGuire’s Musings: All glibness aside, Miles looked good with his entrance. There’s both a confidence and a charisma about him that makes his arrogance not just feel honest, but relevant.
As Maverick and Miles locked up, Gulak noted how both had similar hairstyles, which wasn’t entirely false. After pushing into the corner, Miles tripped Maverick before walking over him to grab his comb. Perfect in its own way.
Maverick fired up after a few slaps, and it wasn’t long after Miles went to comb his hair for the fourth time that Maverick hit him with a dropkick through the bottom ropes. To add insult to insult, Maverick started to mess Miles’s hair up, reaffirming that this story is more about hair than it is headlocks, even as the camerawork became a bit shoddy.
The first cover came after Miles threw Maverick into the ring post on the apron and got him inside for a two-count. “I didn’t think Drake had it in him to go as far as he did,” Gulak noted about Maverick while referring to the cruiserweight title tournament that earned Maverick a spot on the roster.
After a couple near falls and a back slide, Maverick landed an elbow from the top rope, reminding everyone how distracting the ThunderDome screens can be. The sloppiest moment came after a series of grappling holds that didn’t quite work and Maverick took a clothesline as Miles pushed his cocky attitude more and more … and more and more.
After gaining just a tad of momentum, Maverick nearly missed a senton before landing another elbow. It wasn’t long until Maverick gabbed Miles by the hair for The Underdog to land the win. “He reminds me of a young Spike Dudley,” Gulak saw of Maverick, and I’ve never felt more sorry for a guy who’s worked harder in his life.
Drake Maverick defeated Tehuti Miles in 7:48.
McGuire’s Musing: Ouch. A few sloppy moments notwithstanding, I thought both Maverick and Miles excelled in getting across who they are. That’s important, because to be fair, on a night like this, when WWE is attempting to unveil “the most revolutionary thing in the history of the business,” they might have known that foreign eyeballs might be on the program. Even if they weren’t, it was good to see both wrestlers work as hard as they did. I was hoping for more out of Maverick, but Miles seems to be coming along quite well, even if the gimmick is annoying (because it’s supposed to be).
We got an ad for both T-shirts and Takeover XXX, which, if you didn’t already know by the end of tonight’s programming, is Saturday night.
McGuire’s Musings: Remember when NXT was the coolest thing on TV? Wow, times have changed.
2. Jake Atlas vs. Tony Nese. I’m sorry, but Nese’s theme just doesn’t work without a live crowd. Speaking of the crowd, the noise actually helps these guys, as the typical 205 crowd isn’t all that lively. Here, though, it at least kind of feels like people are paying attention.
The bell rang and it wasn’t long before Atlas got in the same kind of offense that he got in last week against Ariya Daivari. Some headlocks, some chops, some elbows and you pretty much know what you have.
As the two worked out of the corner, Nese exhibited a few jumping-jacks to taunt his opponent. Atlas countered only a handful of seconds later, capping it off with a cartwheel and a shoulder block. He then landed a few nice-sounding chops on Nese in the corner.
Atlas hit a huracanrana out of the corner for a one-count. From there, the wrestlers moved into a headlock and a crucifix landed a two-count on Nese. A quick belly-to-back saw Nese on the offensive once again. Some punches and a shoulder block later, the heel went into a headlock on Atlas. It was here where the camera crew thought they could zoom out and remind everyone what ThunderDome is. Thanks.
Nese tried a suplex on Atlas before throwing him into the ropes and landing a vicious kick to the head. “Kiss your teeth goodbye, Jake Atlas,” Gulak said on commentary, and it was hard not to believe him. Atlas countered with some punches and after that, he was thrown sternum-first into the turnbuckle, making Bret Hart proud. There was then an attempt at a pin that seemed to confuse everybody in the ring.
A springboard blockbuster earned Atlas a near-fall and during that, Joseph pushed how much of an upset Atlas winning would be. Gulak agreed. The two traded chops and punches before Nese threw Atlas over the top rope. Chasing him outside, Nese threw Atlas back in the ring before saying something to Gulak, showing his confidence.
But whoops. Atlas grabbed Nese – while he was talking, of course – through the ropes, rolling him up for the win.
Jake Atlas defeated Tony Nese in 11:35.
Afterwards, Nese attacked Atlas, landing a running knee that knocked his opponent out. “This brand is crap without Tony Nese,” Nese shouted into the camera to end the show. “The 205 Live roster is garbage without Tony Nese.”
McGuire’s Musings: Nese actually looked good in the loss, and because Atlas needed the win, I feel like everyone came away from this in a positive light. It’s funny to think about what exactly constitutes a “205 Live original,” because outside of Nese these days, it’s hard to come up with more than three names. In all, this was an updated episode of 205 Live that was served well by the arena and even – gasp! – ThunderDome. Maverick looked good in the win while Miles continued to show how much charisma he has. Atlas, meanwhile, picked up a win that gives him a little bit of credibility moving forward while Nese, as one of the “205 Live Originals,” didn’t lose anything in defeat. Nobody loses. Including ThunderDome.