WWE 205 Live
8th May 2018
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson
Has it already been a week since we last touched base on 205 Live, grapple fans? I’d say “time flies when you’re having fun”, but 3 ½ hours of Backlash and two nights of Money in the Bank qualifying matches certainly wasn’t that. Let’s hope that some cruiserweight action can be an otherwise bright spot amongst the consistently questionable content WWE has been churning out lately. Let’s get to it!
Nice hype video to start, as tonight we’ll see Dorado/Metalik vs Gallagher/Kendrick, Buddy Murphy vs Mustafa Ali and Tony Nese is in action too. The three numpties welcome us from ringside and away we go!
Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado w/Kalisto vs Jack Gallagher & The Brian Kendrick
‘The Gentlemen with a plan’ are fresh off a win over Tozawa & Itami last week; can they gather more MOMENTUM this week? Both teams are out and the ref is about to call for the bell, when Drew Gulak’s music unexpectedly hits. He smugly makes his way to the ringside area dressed in a suit and joins the commentary team. Somehow I don’t think he’ll be too impressed by the aerial delinquency of the Luchas. Dorado and Gallagher kick us off and, before we know it, Kalisto is up on the apron to join Lince and Gran in the usual, low-IQ ‘lucha!’ chanting. Jack works a headlock in the early going, only for Lince to counter with a head-scissor. Jack tries a handstand out of it, but Dorado spanks him in the ass. More ‘lucha!’ garbage from Dorado as Kalisto is waving some maraca-type flags at ringside; the sound from those could get annoying real quick. Think vuvuzelas at the 2010 South Africa World Cup. Both guys trade roll-ups as Drew correctly notes, “this is silly.” Metalik gets tagged in. Lince and Gallagher botch a drop-toe-hold before Gran hits a springboard dropkick for a near fall. Metalik misses with a springboard moonsault, before downing Gallagher with a back-body-drop. Pretty sloppy stuff in this match so far; you’d be forgiven for thinking these guys had been on the tequila backstage. Gallagher goes to the outside, as does Kendrick as he tries to attack Gran but gets dumped over the top. Somersault plancha to the outside from Metalik on Gentleman Jack. Back in the ring and Kendrick takes over on Metalik with some forearms to the face. Gallagher is back in as he and Brian have cut the ring in half. Finger-breaker locked in from Jack. Kendrick is back in with some ineffective looking stomps that look like they wouldn’t hurt my grandmother. Metalik fights back and gets the hot tag to Dorado. Lince comes in with a springboard crossbody on Brian before connecting with a basement rana. Springboard stunner from Dorado, but the pin attempt is broken up by Gallagher. Sliced bread from Kendrick on Dorado, but this time Metalik is in to break the ref’s count. All four are going at it in the ring and the Luchas send the ‘Gentlemen with a plan’ to the outside with superkicks. They follow them out with suicide dives through the ropes as the pace is picking up. Back inside and Dorado hits a shooting star press on Jack and that’s good for the win at 7:49.
Match rating: C- Big disappointment here considering the talent involved. Too much sloppiness in the early going; it picked up a bit towards the end but not enough to make it a recommended match or anything.
Mustafa Ali with a selfi-promo on a train track. Isn’t that a little dangerous? Looks more like something from a ‘dumb ways to die’ video. Good stuff from Ali here, as he’s easily the most relatable babyface on 205 Live.
Tony Nese wishes Buddy Murphy good luck in the locker room, before Dasha pops in for an interview. Murphy hopes the champ, Cedric Alexander, is watching the action tonight.
Ad for episode 3 ‘Something else to wrestle’ with Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson, as they discuss all things Ted DiBiase.
Tony Nese vs Keith Clayball
Nese looks more like Chris Masters v2.0 every week. McGuinness tells us Clayball is “very dangerous”. Isn’t the job of the colour announcer to put over the star in the squash match, not the jobber? It’s all Nese as he downs the jobber with a series of kicks. He gets Keith in the tree of woe and stomps away. Hard back elbow from Nese. Clayball to the outside, but Tony comes out and decks him with a forearm. Back inside and a running knee to the corner wins it for Nese at 3:03.
Match rating: D- Nothing to see here. I’m less impressed by Nese after this than I was before the bell rang. This had no business being on a cruiserweight-themed show. Nese flexes his muscles in the post-match. If I want to watch that nonsense, Scott Steiner is on Impact.
Hype video for Hideo Itami. HHH, Paige and Big E all put him over. Cole calls 37-year-old Itami a “young up-and-comer” (shades of Gorilla Monsoon and Carlos Colon). They re-cap him turning on Akira Tozawa last week.
Ad for nXt tomorrow night as Kassius Ohno takes on Tommaso Ciampa.
Ad for Camp WWE, Season 2. At only 5 episodes in length, I just assumed Season 1 got cancelled cos it was crap. The footage used in this hype package suggests they’ve somehow made this cartoon even more unbearable.
Drake Maverick and Cedric Alexander have a conflab backstage. They hype next week’s 205 Live episode in London, where the 205 grapplers will be clashing with workers from the U.K. division. Drake also puts over the Sussex Arms pub in Paddington. I’ve been there myself; it’s worth a visit.
Buddy Murphy vs Mustafa Ali
They show highlights of two months ago, where Ali eliminated Murphy from the cruiserweight title tournament, the catalyst for Buddy’s subsequent heel turn. Murphy tries for the aggressive start but falls prey to a hard knife-edge chop from Mustafa. Early cat and mouse stuff as Ali evades Buddy’s offensive. Mustafa escapes a powerbomb attempt and hits another chop. Hurracanrana from Ali sends Murphy to the outside. The Australian grappler gets on the apron but is sent back on the floor with a dropkick. Baseball slide from Ali sends Buddy crashing into the announce table. Murphy strikes back with a vertical suplex on the floor. Back in the ring and Buddy downs Mustafa with a hard Irish whip into the corner. Another Irish whip and a high-back-body drop from the Aussie heel. Rear chinlock from Buddy as a small ‘let’s go, Ali!’ chant breaks out among the ringsiders. Ali flips out of a belly-to-back suplex attempt before both guys crisscross and take each other out with crossbody attempts. The fans are pretty dead for this; symptomatic of WWE’s over-indulgence with quantity of content over quality. Mustafa takes control with a dropkick and a succession of elbows before going out to the apron and going through the roll-through X-Factor. Murphy has it scouted and locks Ali in a sleeper. Ali gets out of it and locks in a sleeper of his own. Murphy powers out and escapes with a cannonball into the corner.
Murphy taunts Ali and connects with some boots to the face before Mustafa strikes back with a hard forearm. More forearms from Ali, who sends Murphy onto the apron before connecting with a tornado DDT, bringing Buddy back into the ring. Ali lifts Buddy up to the top turnbuckle and tries for a superplex. Murphy counters and sends Ali crashing down to the mat face-first before striking with a boot to the face. Hard knee to the jaw from the Aussie. Murphy has Mustafa up in a Canadian backbreaker but spins him round and brings him crashing back down to the mat with a DDT for a near fall. Triple powerbomb from Murphy and the ref is checking Ali is okay to continue. Why wouldn’t Buddy just go for the cover?! Ali is telling the official he’s good to carry on. Murphy goes for another powerbomb, only for Ali to counter with a big-time X-Factor for a two count; I’d have been happy with that as the finish. They roll out onto the apron and Ali lifts Murphy up to the top turnbuckle. Ali looks set to go for a hurracanrana down to the floor, but moonsaults down instead, impressively landing on his feet. Murphy dives down but straight into a superkick, which wakes up the crowd. Back in the ring and Ali goes for a 450 splash on the arm (which was a feature spot in his tournament win over Buddy) but misses. Ali seemed to hurt his arm on impact with the mat and Murphy goes to work on it. Tornado DDT attempt from Mustafa but Murphy catches him into a hammerlock before sending him crashing shoulder first into the ringpost. Murphy’s Law wins it at 15:50.
Match rating: C+ Solid action here, but the lack of any kind of crowd heat really took me out of it. This show going on at the end of the WWE television week continues to do it no favours. Murphy is being built as the top heel for a programme with champion, Cedric Alexander, but Ali is the real star of the show these days. The sooner they get the title on him the better.
Overall show rating: C- One of the more skippable episodes of 205 Live in a while. A lot of the problems of this show were on display this week:
- Dead crowd
- Dull formula (tag opener, squash match, main event)
- Musclebound goons being featured on a cruiserweight show
- Ring-work not being different enough from Raw or SD
Seriously, what is the point of this show meant to be right now? What is its identity? Who is it meant to appeal to? Cedric Alexander is the champion and allegedly the centerpiece, but he barely wrestles on TV. And when we do see him he’s rattling off generic, uninteresting babyface scripting and showing the personality of a goldfish.
The good news is next week’s show from London, featuring workers from the U.K. division should be a welcome change of pace and ought to bring some much-needed energy and urgency to proceedings. But once the show is back on American soil it could seriously do with a re-focus on what the 205 brand is meant to represent.