WWE 205 Live
26th June 2018
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson
Good grief, grapple fans; Drake Maverick opens the show by telling us that tonight is all about OPPORTUNITY. He’s certainly been drinking his WWE Corporate Kool Aid. Tonight should certainly be interesting as we’ve got one half of The Juice Brothers, Tony Nese, going one-on-one with Akira Tozawa, Lio Rush debuts (likely in a squash match) and The Lucha House Party clash with Drew Gulak, ‘Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick in six-man elimination action. Let’s get to it!
Vic and Nigel are back after taking a break to call the action at the WWE U.K. Tournament. To say they weren’t missed is an understatement.
Akira Tozawa vs Tony Nese
Nese tells us there’s eight reasons why he’s going to win tonight, as he shows off his 8-pack. I highly doubt he achieved that by natural means. Tozawa tries to rally the crowd early. Nese answers by flexing his muscles. They trade blows early and Akira gets the better of things with a straight right hand before stomping away in the corner. Tony comes back with a combination of strikes and goes for a sunset flip. Akira rolls through however, striking with a boot to the chest and a senton splash. Tony bails to the outside to recover. Tozawa tries to keep the momentum going with a cross body from the apron, only for Tony to catch him on his shoulders and drop him face first onto the ring apron. Charging back elbow from Nese who is now firmly in control. They’re back in the ring and Nese works a chinlock. Springboard moonsault from Nese gets two. Torture rack from Tony; shades of Lex Luger. Tozawa punches out of it, but tastes a hard knife edge chop. Hurracanrana takeover from Akira and a modified Shining Wizard. Nese goes to the floor but Akira follows him straight out with a tope through the ropes. Akira rolls Tony back in, goes up top and connects with a beautiful dropkick for a near fall. Vic Joseph references the “training” that Nese does with Buddy Murphy. I’m a sure a nudge, nudge, wink, wink was in order there. Akira goes up top again, but Tony stops him and brings him back down to the mat with a gutbuster. Stiff forearm from Nese makes Tozawa thankful for his gumshield; that could have knocked a tooth out otherwise. Tozawa manages to flip out of a back suplex attempt and downs Nese with a boot to the face. Akira goes to the top once again but gets stopped in his tracks by an uppercut, which sends his gumshield flying. Both guys are jockeying for position on the top turnbuckle and Akira sends Tony crashing to the mat with a front suplex. Senton splash from the top wins it for Tozawa at 7:37.
Match rating: C Serviceable match to put Tozawa over, although it was essentially one notch above a squash. The future looks bright for Akira, but it’s hard to see any upward mobility on the brand for Nese. His look doesn’t fit the show anyway and he’s hardly been on a role of late. Probably worth moving him over to NXT or perhaps into a tag-team on Raw or SmackDown.
Highlights shown from last week’s triple threat main event, in which Hideo Itami bested Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy.
Maverick is playing on his phone backstage. Cedric Alexander interrupts his Facebook surfing and asks when his next title match is. Drake doesn’t have an answer, so Cedric pushes for a match with Itami, as he earned it following his big victory last week. Maverick says he’ll consider it (he needs to watch more Vince; “take it under advisement” is a much flashier way of putting it).
Ad for the 2-day U.K. tournament network-exclusive show. I considered reviewing this, but 5 hours or so of footage sounds a lot to sit through when the World Cup is also on. Is there an appetite among you readers for a review of this? Let me know, otherwise I’ll be giving it a definite pass.
Lio Rush vs Dewey James
Rush sure looks much shorter than I expected; that’s what trick camerawork can do in his vignettes. The jobber looks like he’d fit right in with the Wyatt Family, complete with mullet and beard that both need immediate grooming. Rush takes his time removing his jewellery, making me long for a Razor Ramon impression, “If something happens to this chain, man, something’s gonna happen to you!” But I digress. He really makes a meal of taking off his watch; the ref should probably put some kind of count on him. Slap from Rush to start. Some criss-cross action early and Lio strikes with a boot to the midsection. Roll-through and a kick to the side of the face from Rush who sustains his offence. Lio goes up top and hits a beautiful Frog Splash, coined ‘The Final Hour’ by the announcers, for the easy win at 1:52.
Match rating: D Little action (I swear half the match time was Rush taking off his jewellery) but good character work to establish the newcomer. Lio brings a heck of a lot of athleticism to the table and with the right seasoning he could go a long way. Promising debut. Not sure about the ring name though. Where’s Chris Jericho to call him Rio Lush??
Dasha, looking even hotter than normal, interviews Lio in the post-match. Rush declares himself, the 23 year old piece of gold, the future of the cruiserweight division. He bemoans everyone else’s lack of style and finesse, while calling himself the man of the hour. He showed more charisma here than champion, Cedric Alexander, has shown in over a year.
Speaking of Cedric, he is interviewed backstage by Renee Young (a rare 205 Live appearance from her, clearly because Dasha was in the ring already. Some more logical editing of the show could have negated the need to use her here) and almost gets into a skirmish with Hideo Itami, before officials break it up.
Ad for Miz and Mrs. This makes Holy Foley look like Breaking Bad.
IT’S BOOKED: next week we’ve got Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy squaring off in a no-DQ match.
Six-man elimination tag match
Kalisto, Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado vs Drew Gulak, ‘Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher & The Brian Kendrick
The Luchas come out with Penelope Gulak, the piñata, and it keeps falling over as they wheel it down the ramp. McGuinness amusingly quips, “she’s had too much corona.” That is without question his most valuable contribution at the booth in at least the last six months. The Luchas jump the heels before the bell as they all hit dives to the outside, to the delight of the ringsiders. Once the match is underway, the Luchas stay on top with some quick tags as they work over Gallagher. Metalik hits a splash from the top for the first near fall of the contest. Superkick from Gran and a reverse swingblade. Metalik looks to go aerial again, but Gulak grabs hold of his foot. After kicking Drew away, Metalik jumps straight into a headbutt from Gallagher and is pinned.
Gran Metalik is eliminated at 1:16.
Dorado squares off with Kendrick as the Luchas are down to two. A succession of dropkicks gives Lince the advantage and he connects with a hurracanana takeover. Crossbody from the top gets a two for Dorado. Lince goes up top again, but is distracted by Gallagher. Kendrick meets Dorado upstairs and sends him down to the mat with a backdrop. Brian dithers around for a moment and then goes back down for a cover, as if he’d forgotten a spot, for a two count. Drew gets tagged in and has Lince in a chinlock. Gulak pulls Lince’s mask off and Dorado rolls to the outside. The camera avoids showing him, suggesting it might have been a mistake. Kalisto helps Lince put the mask back in. For those interested in Dorado’s looks, we never got a good shot of his face but he does shave his head. Dorado is back inside and gets a two count from a small package. Gallagher is tagged in and works an armbar. Vic tells us the heels want to promote “a more pure style of sports entertainment” which sounds ridiculous and is perhaps an oxymoron. Kendrick is in as the heels continue to work the left arm of Lince. Gulak and Jack work over Dorado in the corner while Brian has the ref distracted; good, old school tag action. Shoulder barges in the corner from Kendrick. He sends Dorado into the ropes, where Lince pulls out the springboard stunner (the handspring into the ropes acts as a dropkick, sending Jack off the apron and to the outside) to send Kendrick packing.
The Brian Kendrick is eliminated at 6:42.
We’re level again as it’s two-on-two. Jack is back in and drops Lince with a scoop slam for a near fall. Tag to Drew, who goes back to the armbar. Gallagher is back in as the heels have cut the ring in half. Lince almost gets a hot tag following an enziguiri to Gallagher, but Drew stops him in his tracks. Step through spinning heel kick from Lince and he gets even closer to the tag, only for Kendrick, who has only recently been eliminated, to knock Kalisto off the apron. Drew strikes with the GuLock and Lince cries uncle.
Lince Dorado is eliminated at 9:55.
Kalisto is up against it now, as Gulak and Gallagher have the numbers advantage. Springboard twisting shoulder tackle on Drew as Kalisto is in like a house on fire. Basement rana from the masked man almost gets the pin, but Gallagher breaks it up. Gallagher tags in, pulls Kalisto to the outside and rams him back first into the ring apron. Back inside the squared circle and Jack tags Drew back in. Bodyslam into the ropes as the heels have the momentum. Jack is back in but Kalisto is on the comeback trail. A headscissor takeover sends Drew crashing through the ropes and to the outside. Solida Del Sol is enough to see off Gallagher.
‘Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher is eliminated at 12:40.
And now we come down to the main protagonist and antagonist in this lengthy rivalry; Kalisto and Drew Gulak. A concerned look on the face of Gulak from ringside. Drew re-enters the ring but is knocked straight back to the outside by a dropkick. Baseball slide further debilitates Gulak, before Kalisto connects with a springboard somersault plancha. The masked man rolls Drew back inside and hits a springboard crossbody for a close near fall. Solida Del Sol attempt is blocked by Gulak, who then hits a wicked discus lariat for a two count. Kalisto goes for Solida Del Sol again, but Drew grabs him by the mask and forces him down into the GuLock for the submission win.
Kalisto is eliminated at 16:31.
Match rating: B Enjoyable action throughout, but the whole thing felt like it was missing something, particularly as it was a feud-ending contest. Maybe tornado rules would have been more appropriate.
Overall show rating: C+ Decent, but skippable episode of 205 Live. Rush’s debut was good and the main event wasn’t especially bad, but one of the weaker instalments of the show in quite some time.