WWE 205 Live
3rd April 2018
Commentators: Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness
It’s the go-home show for the WrestleMania pre-show, grapple fans! We’ve got Mark Andrews taking on Drew Gulak, more hype for Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali’s championship opportunity (#WWEcorporatespeak) this Sunday and lots more. Let’s get to it!
Hype video for tonight’s show and we should be in for a treat; we’ve also got Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa taking on Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik as well as Buddy Murphy tangling with Kalisto. Should be a hot night of cruiserweight action.
Hideo Itami & Akira Tozawa vs Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik
No Kalisto at ringside this week, as he’s in action later tonight. Although let’s not rule out the possibility he’s been rumbled for not having a manager’s license. Itami and Metalik start us off and Hideo takes over on the mat in the early going. Within seconds the muppets at the booth are talking about Reigns and Lesnar at WrestleMania; I don’t mind hype, but could they at least make it about the brand I’m watching? Stiff kicks from Itami to the chest of Metalik. Gran comes back with a superkick, a twisting bulldog and a dropkick from the top for the first near fall of the contest. Dorado is tagged in and the Luchadores combine with a double hiplock. Tozawa in with a flurry of offense, but he misses a senton splash and gets rolled up by Metalik for a two count. The Orientals take control and work over Metalik as Vic and Nigel start waffling on about Styles vs Nakamura. Itami with a knee to the bread-basket of Gran, before taunting Dorado, who is stood on the apron, with some lucha poses. Metalik comes back with a dropkick and tags in Dorado. Lince and Hideo trade strikes and Dorado gets the better of things with a spinning heel kick and a springboard moonsault. Overhand chops from Lince and an impressive springboard stunner sends Itami to the outside. Somersault plancha to the outside from Dorado on Itami. Tozawa joins the fun and takes out Lince with a tope through the ropes. Metalik doesn’t want to be left out and takes out everyone with a corkscrew plancha over the top.
Metalik and Itami re-set in the ring and this match looks like it could go either way. Itami tries to unmask Metalik, but Lince breaks it up. I could just imagine the late Bobby Heenan telling us Metalik wears the mask to hide how ugly he is. All four guys are brawling mid-ring and the ref throws it out for a double DQ at 7:25.
Match rating: C Decent action, lousy finish. Seriously, they’d all been brawling for no more than about 2 or 3 seconds before the ref threw it out. There wasn’t even a 5-count put on them. I don’t mind a ref getting frustrated and calling for the bell because he’s lost control, but try and actually lose control of the action first. The brawling continues and the Orientals beat the Luchadores down, as another ref jumps in to try and maintain some law and order. This rivalry looks like it’ll carry on. This feud either needs a cage match to settle it, or just the appointment of a more competent referee. Either way, we haven’t seen the last of these four.
Drew Gulak cuts a promo backstage and tells us his bout with Mark Andrews has been postponed to next week. This, he informs us, is to give Mark Andrews more rest time from his match last week against Tony Nese before he annihilates him. Gulak preaches about his submission skills, including a one-slide Powerpoint presentation (containing the words ‘Because I could’, for those that are interested).
Mark Andrews with a selfi-promo and he says nothing of note.
Siv’s Take: probably unintentional presentation here, but Andrews looked like he had no business feuding with Gulak. Drew wore a nice suit, gave us a one-slide Powerpoint presentation and had a cameraman. Andrews on the other hand was wearing his street-clothes, hadn’t had a shave in months and was doing the filming himself. In other words, one guy looked like a big deal, the other resembled a tramp. The late Bobby Heenan, in his autobiography ‘Bobby The Brain’, drives home the point about how wrestlers should look like stars that are well paid and live a good life; in other words, they should look like a big deal. Andrews looked anything but.
Tony Nese vs Jonathan Pierce
Tony seems even more ripped than last week, if that’s possible, rather like he’s stumbled upon a cupboard full of old IcoPro stock at WWE HQ. After an early lock up, the jobber (Pierce, I must clarify, for those that don’t consider Nese much higher than enhancement talent) flexes his muscles and lets out a ‘wooo!’. Brief offence from Pierce, but Tony soon takes over with a flurry of strikes. Pierce tries to take a countout, but Nese runs out after him and waffles him with a forearm. Back inside and a moonsault from Nese. Gutbuster from Tony and he finishes the jobber with a knee to the face in the corner at 2:56.
Match rating: D+ Fun squash, although the jobber managed to show more personality than the featured talent. Pierce showed some good fire and character; hopefully this wasn’t a one-time deal for him. Nese showcased some strong offense, but his physique isn’t really becoming of the 205 Live environment. I’d rather see him on the main roster somewhere.
Kalisto and Buddy Murphy exchange words backstage, as they’ll face off shortly.
Hype for nXt Takeover: New Orleans this Saturday night. As ever, I’m looking forward to this as much, if not more so, than the main roster pay-per-view.
Buddy Murphy vs Kalisto
Slow start here as they’re feeling each other out, before they explode into life with an exchange of headlocks, headscissors and pin attempts. Murphy works a wristlock and then bends the fingers of his Lucha foe. They exchange headscissor attempts as a small ‘205’ chant emanates from the ringsiders. Kalisto on top with a headscissor takeover and a dropkick. Kalisto gets in Buddy’s face with some ‘Lucha’ chants. Forearm to the ribs from Murphy and he stomps away on the Luchadore in the corner. Abdominal stretch locked in from Buddy, exerting his strength advantage (there’s no way he came in under 205lbs!). Kalisto turns through into a sleeper. The pace picks up again and Kalisto counters a tilt-a-whirl slam from Murphy into a tornado DDT for a near fall. They fight onto the apron and Murphy hits a running release suplex, onto the hardest part of the ring no less. We’re back inside and Buddy hits some forearms to the face. Hard Irish whip into the corner from Murphy, who is in total control as this juncture. Kalisto digs deep though and comes back with a spinning heel kick.
Murphy rolls to the outside for respite but doesn’t achieve it as Kalisto hits him with a somersault plancha. Basement rana from Kalisto gets two. Some ringsiders start a ‘this is awesome chant!’. Now don’t get me wrong, this match has been decent, but if it’s ‘awesome’, then they must have just sat through a particularly horrible episode of SmackDown. They fight around by the commentators and Buddy monkey flips Kalisto onto the announce table in a fun spot. Back in the ring and Kalisto wins a slugfest (seriously?! With Murphy’s physique he should be ashamed) and goes for a hurracanrana from the middle rope. Murphy catches him and downs him with a powerbomb for a near fall. Knee to the jaw from Buddy for another two count. More back and forth action sees Kalisto hit a standing sunset flip for a near fall of his own as the crowd are really getting into it now, with a mixture of ‘205’, ‘fight forever’ and ‘this is awesome’ chants. Kalisto goes for the Solida Del Sol, but Murphy escapes and hits Murphy’s Law for the 1-2-3 at 14:50.
Match rating: B Enjoyable main event from these two. I don’t quite share the same enthusiasm for it as the ringsiders, but credit to the workers for getting the fans invested in their work. Some good back and forth exchanges and Murphy continues to be presented as a star. Kalisto may have tasted defeat, but he played the plucky underdog well and shouldn’t lose out as a result.
Drake Maverick reflects backstage on the success of the tournament and hypes Alexander vs Ali for WrestleMania. He tells us to log-in to the WWE Network ‘extra early’ this weekend, no doubt confirming my ongoing suspicion that the Cruiserweight Title bout will be on the pre-show in New Orleans.
Siv’s Take: Why is Maverick the GM?? He has no history in WWE to pull from whatsoever and to my knowledge there has been no real information given about his wrestling background. I saw the guy compete as Spud on the UK-indie scene back in the mid 2000’s but, to the average fan, he must just look like some ham-n-egger they’ve pulled in off the street, dressed up in a suit, whitened his teeth and told to recite some dodgy scripted dialogue every week. Is there no one else they could stick in this role? What about someone who’s actually wrestled as a cruiserweight in WWE in days past? What’s Jamie Noble up to?
Hype video for Reigns vs Lesnar, including Roman’s outrageous “he’s Vince’s boy!” line. Will they be stupid enough to put this match on last? We’ll find out on Sunday!
Vic segways to a hype video for this Sunday’s Cruiserweight Championship tournament finals match between Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander, describing it as the heart vs the soul of 205 Live. Heart and soul, eh? Shades of SummerSlam 1997. Nice video package here, as they show both guys’ respective progress throughout the tournament, complete with soundbites from them and Drake Maverick. I’m certainly looking forward to the match this weekend, but part of me wishes Drew Gulak had got Ali’s spot. Nothing against Mustafa, but a traditional face/heel dynamic would have been ideal. Should be a hell of a match if they give them ample time though.
Overall rating: C+ Decent go-home show, but hardly must-see. In this overly-bloated week of pro wrestling, with an almost obscene amount of output from WWE, this show is for the 205 Live purists only. That notwithstanding, this was an easy 52 minutes of viewing and, if you do have time in your busy wrestling schedule this week, Kalisto vs Murphy is worth a look.