WWE 205 Live
13th March 2018
Commentators: Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness
It’s getting serious now, grapple fans. Semi-final action in the Cruiserweight title tournament awaits, as Roderick Strong and Cedric Alexander tussle for a place in the final and a spot on the WrestleMania 34 pre-show in New Orleans (come on, you don’t think they’re getting on the main card, do you?).
Last week’s results are re-capped, as Drew Gulak submitted Mark Andrews with the dragon sleeper to advance to the semi-finals and Mustafa Ali downed Buddy Murphy to join the final four.
Vic and Nigel join us from ringside and I think I’ve heard the word ‘WrestleMania’ 5-10 times already! We go straight to the ring for tag-team action.
Akira Tozawa & Hideo Itami vs Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik (w/Kalisto)
Both teams have won squash matches in recent weeks; it should be fun watching them in a competitive encounter. Akira and Hideo debuted as a tandem last week, and I already feel they need a name. Any suggestions, Doomers?
Tozawa and Dorado kick us off and Lince gets the better of an early grapple exchange. They both trade arm drags and pin fall attempts before re-setting after each going for a dropkick. A lovely dropkick from Dorado and he tags in Metalik. Itami comes in and Metalik gets the upper hand with a springboard backflip into an arm drag takeover, tags Dorado back in and they hit a double dropkick. Some nice sequences so far in this one. Armbar locked in from Lince and it’s all lucha. Itami comes back into it with a knee to the bread-basket and tags Tozawa back in. Akira with some knife-edge chops, and the Orientals are now in control. Quick tags and double teaming from Tozawa and Itami; they’ve cut the ring in half. Kalisto is trying to wake up the ringsiders with some ‘Lucha!’ chants, but he’s fighting an uphill battle. These post-SmackDown tapings will never really do these boys any justice.
Metalik is back in and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Itami. Overhand chop and a superkick to the jaw as it’s all Metalik now. Dorado takes flight to the outside with a suicide dive on Tozawa, getting more height by spring boarding off Metalik’s back. Metalik goes up top, walks the ropes and goes for a double axe. Itami gets out of dodge though and Gran hurts his leg on landing. Itami takes full advantage by hitting a sloppy looking stunner out of a dragon sleeper for the 1-2-3 at 8:08.
Match rating: C+ Fun tag match while it lasted. I hope that isn’t all we’ll see of these two teams against each other as it was just starting to heat up when they went to the finish. The stunner Itami finished with looked particularly awkward; not sure if it was Metalik struggling to take it or not, but that was the only weak looking spot in an otherwise crisp, enjoyable contest. I hope to see a re-match with these four; with another 5-10 minutes they could tear the house down.
Itami and Dorado exchange some heated words post-match and are held apart by Tozawa and Kalisto respectively. Good stuff, a return match could be imminent.
A video package on Roderick Strong, with some footage thrown in from his excellent intro vignettes from his time in nXt, complete with some fresh backstage comments from Roddy and footage of his in-ring endeavours.
An ad for next Monday’s Raw, with Alexa Bliss set to tangle with Asuka, Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy going at it at the Hardy Compound and Brock Lesnar is advertised (I bet my house on another no-show). Nice to see them actually advertise stuff in advance; who knows, more people might watch the show!
Drake Maverick joins us at ringside for colour commentary as the goons at the booth tell us what a great job he’s done so far. What, like when he fluffed his lines during last week’s weigh-in?
Jack Gallagher vs Murphy Myers
Gallagher amusingly stares out the jobber early on. Seriously, ‘Gentleman’ Jack is just as much fun as a heel than a face. Whatever role he’s given to do, he always makes the most of it. Fireman’s carry into a top rope clothesline from Jack and he hits a running forearm. Drake jabbers away at ringside and, with his particularly strong northern English accent, subtitles should probably be provided for the American viewers. The jobber gets some brief offense and goes for a baseball slide, but Gallagher catches him between the apron and the edge of the ring and unloads with some rights, lefts and kicks. Back inside and Jack hits a devastating headbutt; shades of Zinedine Zidane. And that’s enough for the easy win at 2:39.
Match rating: D+ I’d never normally go much higher than a D for a squash, but this gets an extra + as Gallagher is so damn entertaining and the jobber got almost no offense at all.
Maverick leaves the announce booth; not sure what he contributed out there, to be honest.
Video package on Cedric Alexander, including footage from his awesome Cruiserweight Classic final defeat to Kota Ibushi.
Alexander and Strong are warming up backstage, as their match is NEXT.
But it’s not NEXT! Mustafa Ali gives us a selfi-promo where he jabbers on about a bullying story from his school days and relates it to Mark Andrews’ treatment from Drew Gulak. A figure lurks in the shadows during said promo (presumably Gulak himself) and then jumps Ali from behind to end it; that was pretty cool. Quite unfathomably, the commentators completely no-sell it by not even referencing the beat-down from the end of that promo. Poor editing of the show there from the production guys; this segment felt like it was thrown in at the last minute and interrupted the flow of the show.
Cruiserweight title tournament, semi-final match
Roderick Strong vs Cedric Alexander
For about the third time this broadcast, McGuinness tells us both guys are looking for a ‘Cruiserweight championship opportunity’. Well done, Nige, you’re picking up the company jargon well. Collar-and-elbow tie up to start and Roddy controls early with a headlock. Some rope running ensues, with a picture-perfect dropkick from Alexander, as Drew Gulak watches on backstage. Front facelock from Cedric and Mustafa Ali is watching from his dressing room. A bit presumptuous from both Gulak and Ali, no? Shouldn’t they both be watching tapes of each other’s matches instead? Roderick is getting the better of the early going, stomping away in the corner and applying an abdominal stretch on the mat. Cedric battles back up and goes for a springboard back elbow, but meets a dropkick for his troubles. Strong gets a chinlock in and talks trash. Cedric regroups, hits some strikes, sends Roddy crashing into the middle turnbuckle with a drop-toe-hold and hits a stiff kick to the jaw; good offensive sequence. Springboard cutter from Cedric and Roddy goes to the outside. Somersault plancha from Alexander, then they’re back inside and he hits a springboard clothesline for a near fall. Strong with some boots to the face, but he then runs straight into a Michinoku Driver.
Cedric goes for the lumbar check, but Roddy fights out of it. Enziguri from Strong, followed by a backbreaker for a two count. Roderick goes for an Angle Slam, but Alexander reverses into an arm drag and hits the Lumbar Check, but Strong wakes the crowd up as he gets a foot on the rope. Strong crawls out onto the apron and Cedric joins him. They jockey for position, then Roddy hoists him on his shoulders for an Angle Slam and drops him back first on the top turnbuckle; very clever spot, I’ve not seen that one before. Cedric is in agony on the outside and Strong is demanding the ref starts the count. Alexander gets up on the apron to beat the count, goes up to the top turnbuckle but Roddy brings him back in with a big-time superplex. A “this is awesome” chant breaks out; all credit to the two workers for getting that reaction from a fatigued crowd that have sat through a SmackDown episode. Both guys trade strikes mid-ring. Roddy gets the better of it with a high knee to the face and lands the End of Heartache, but this time it’s Cedric that gets his foot on the ropes. “Yes!” chants from the ringsiders. Both combatants are back to their feet and are on rubber leg street. Stiff chop from Strong. Uppercut from Alexander. A flurry of rights from both. Cedric goes for the Lumber Check, Roddy flips out of it. Roll-up from Strong for a very near fall. High knee from Roddy and he goes for a suplex, but Cedric rolls him up for the win at 14:54. Damn it, my favourite for the whole tournament is out!
Match rating: A- Excellent encounter, as the match quality of this tournament takes a sharp upward turn. Neither guy seemed capable of putting the other away, try as they did, so a small package finishing it was smart. They took the crowd with them too, turning a funeral gathering into a wedding party in a 15-minute period; big credit to both guys for that.
A teary-eyed Cedric gets interviewed mid-ring, with “you deserve it!” chants from the ringsiders. Alexander loses the fans a bit though as he waffles on about WrestleMania and not enough about, you know, winning a title.
Overall rating: B+ Really good action this week. An energetic tag match, some ‘Gentleman’ Jack and a fab main event makes me a very happy viewer.
All that said, the obsession with WrestleMania is becoming almost mind-numbingly excruciating. I’ve never heard the word ‘WrestleMania’ uttered so many times in 51 minutes. It makes one want to watch the show with the mute button hit. And that’s a shame, cos Joseph and McGuinness are otherwise solid announcers. Seriously, enough about the obsession with being on the WrestleMania card, at the expense of storylines and more meaningful personal goals, i.e. winning titles. This nonsense is starting to pollute every show the WWE puts out and it’s making me feel like giving WM a miss this year out of protest. But who am I kidding? I’ve not missed a WrestleMania since I started watching WWE in 1992, so I’ll no doubt give them another 7 hours of my life when the times comes…