205 Live – 27th February 2018

WWE 205 Live

27th February 2018

Los Angeles, California

Commentators: Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness

It’s time for the quarter-finals, grapple fans.  This week should be a real treat as we’ve got 205 Live stalwarts TJP and Cedric Alexander going one-on-one and an interesting clash of styles with Roderick Strong taking on Kalisto.  I’m pumped up and ready for some cruiserweighting.  Let’s get to it!

Last week’s results are recapped, as Buddy Murphy bested Ariya Davairi and Mustafa Ali fought through the pain to down ‘Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher in the last of the first-round matches.

Following the intro video, Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness and the damn WrestleMania sign welcome us to another night of action.  They recap the brackets before Cedric comes down to the squared circle to get the action underway.

Cruiserweight Title Tournament, quarter-final match

Cedric Alexander vs TJ Perkins

Cedric cuts a pre-match selfi promo.  He’s going to WrestleMania, don’t you know (and John Cena isn’t, apparently).  TJP gets an interview with an actual camera and interviewer, Dasha.  The perks of being the inaugural cruiserweight champion, I suppose.  The bell’s gone and the ringsiders are chanting “TJP!”, a far better face reaction than he ever got before his heel turn.  Waistlocks, headlocks and some criss-crossing to start before Cedric lands a powerbomb.  TJP gets a headscissor takedown and a dab for good measure.  Some more chain wrestling with some wristlocks, hammerlocks and escapes; good technical wrestling in the early going.  TJP locks in something resembling a sharpshooter.  Looks sloppy, but still better than The Rock’s version.  Picture-perfect dropkick sends TJP to the outside.  Cedric looks for a dive but Perkins is straight back in and surprises him with a hurracanrana takeover.  TJP on sustained offence with a series of snapmare takeovers and a hammerlock into a reverse chinlock.  Indian deathlock from TJP, with a surfboard rollup for a near fall; cool move right there.  TJP has already impressed me more watching him for five minutes as a heel than he did during his entire run as top babyface on the show.  The face/heel dynamic between these two has been solid in the early going and bodes well for later in the contest.

It’s all TJP as he cuts off an attempted Cedric comeback with a back elbow.  Perkins tries to apply an Octopus stretch but can’t get it totally locked in.  Cedric comes back with some strikes and a springboard flatliner for a near fall.  Alexander wastes time pointing at the Cruiserweight Title belt at ringside, leaving him prey to a gutbuster from TJP.  Both guys jockey for a suplex and re-set, before they take it to the outside and Cedric hits a somersault plancha.  Back in the squared circle and Alexander gets caught in a knee bar, and he’s a long way from the ropes.  Cedric escapes but TJP gets a rollup with a hook of the tights for a very near fall.  TJP goes to work on the weakened knee of Alexander, but both guys are down following a double clothesline.

McGuinness tells us his strategy would be to lie in wait, play possum and “waffle him in the head”.  Not quite as good as the late Bobby Heenan’s plan to waffle his adversary backstage with a tyre iron.  TJP close to getting the submission with another knee bar, but Alexander gets to the ropes.  Back elbow from Cedric but TJP hits back with a spinning kick to the noggin.  Both men look fatigued and trade strikes mid-ring.  TJP gets Cedric up in a fireman’s carry, but Alexander slips out the back door and connects with the Lumbar Check for the 1-2-3 at 17:21.

Match rating: B-  Hard one to rate.  The match flew by, but at the same time it felt like they were holding back and the finish seemed to come out of nowhere.  An extra ten minutes and a ramping up of the pace would have seen this move into ‘great match’ territory, but as it stands I’ve seen much better from both guys; I’d call it a mild disappointment.  The finish was never in much doubt as Cedric seems a higher priority at the minute, but TJP is re-energised as a heel and he’ll recover from this loss pretty quickly.

We get an ad for nXt tomorrow night, with Shayna Baszler taking on Kairi Sane.

Drake Maverick jabbers away backstage about his vision for 205 Live.  Nothing to write home about, and I don’t really see what this guy offers as G.M.  Surely he’d be of much more value as a heel wrestler on the brand.  Is there a reason he’s not in the ring?  Seems a waste of a U.S. visa to just have him cutting generic, authority figure promos.

Mustafa Ali hypes his quarter-final match next week against Buddy Murphy.  Next up, Buddy has a few words for Mustafa.  Generic mike work from both; should be a decent match.

Roderick Strong (my favourite for the whole thing) is doing some last-minute stretching for his quarter-final match against Kalisto, which is NEXT.

Cruiserweight title tournament, quarter-final match

Roderick Strong vs Kalisto

We’re shown an Instagram post from Kalisto hyping up this match; there was so much text in it he probably should have Tweeted instead.  Speaking of which, a Tweet from Roddy is shown on the screen.  1-0 to Strong in terms of effective social media usage.  They trade wristlocks to start and Strong gets the better of it; a mat-based match would certainly favour Roddy.  Cedric is watching on the monitor backstage; he’ll be facing the winner of this one in a fortnight.  Backbreaker from Strong as McGuinness tells us he’s the “Messiah of the Backbreaker”; not the best nickname I’ve ever heard.  The action goes to the outside and Kalisto sends Strong crashing into the barricade with a hurracanrana.  Strong comes back with a suplex on the table, but of course at 175lbs, Kalisto isn’t big enough to actually break the furniture, so he just bounces off it.  Back in the ring and Roddy is on sustained offence; looks like he’s playing heel here.  Gutbuster from Strong, before taunting Kalisto with some mock ‘lucha’ chanting of his own.  Beautiful dropkick from Roderick; shades of Doug Furnas.  Kalisto back into it with a springboard, spinning shoulderblock, followed by a basement-rana for a near fall.

Kalisto tries to rally the fans with a ‘lucha’ chant, but they’re not really buying it; must have been a gruelling episode of SmackDown earlier.  Roderick back on top with a running forearm and an Olympic slam for a two count.  Strong goes for a tigerbomb, but Kalisto turns it into a rollup for a near fall and we re-set;  Strong has had at least 75% of this match, but the luchadore is hanging in there.  They jockey for position up on the top and Kalisto hits something resembling a powerslam down to the mat.  Strong’s nursing his right shoulder and Kalisto takes over with some striking offence, before tasting a devastating knee to the face and the End of Heartache for the pin at 11:39; Roderick advances!

Match rating: B- Decent match as my favourite for the tournament advances to the semi-finals.  Another bout where it felt like they were just getting going and then went into the finish.  Strong vs Cedric in the semi-final in two weeks should be one to look forward to.

Overall rating: B-  A bit disappointing this week, and puzzlingly so.  Both matches felt like they could have gone longer, and at 45mins in length, the show was about 10 minutes shorter than usual.  Why not give both matches 5 more minutes?  And on a cruiserweight themed show, in a tournament for a cruiserweight title, I thought the high-flying particularly lacked this week.  With guys like Kalisto and Cedric out there, you’d have thought they’d have played to their strengths a little more and gone for some flashier offence.  Grumblings aside, this was a serviceable enough 45 minutes of wrestling and a definite improvement on the ‘Enzo Era’.