WWE 205 Live
27th March 2018
Commentators: Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness
No tournament matches this week, grapple fans, as Cedric Alexander vs Mustafa Ali is all set for WrestleMania. We do have a fatal 4 way scheduled for this broadcast, and goodness knows what else, so let’s get right to it!
The participants for tonight’s fatal 4 way match are showcased in a hype video; Akira Tozawa, Kalisto, TJ Perkins and Buddy Murphy. You’d strongly suspect that the winner of this thing will be high up the pecking order for a Cruiserweight Title shot post-WrestleMania.
As we’re welcomed live to Pittsburgh (isn’t this where Bret once said they’d stick the hose?), Vic gets the words “WrestleMania” and “opportunity” right in there twice each in his opening monologue. Is there somebody in his headset, or is he just like a well-trained lapdog? Drake Maverick joins us at ringside to offer us his expertise as we go to the ring for the opener.
Mark Andrews vs Tony Nese
Nese talks some trash on his way down the aisle and he looks pretty ripped. Did he make the weight for this match? I wouldn’t mind seeing one of those backstage weigh-in segments with the doctors. Takedown early from Nese and he flexes his muscles. Some criss-crossing mid-ring and Andrews takes advantage with a textbook armdrag takeover into an armbar. They trade strikes, Nese goes for a sunset flip, but Andrews flips out of it and hits a dropkick to the chest. Hurracanrana takeover sends Nese to the outside. Andrews thinks about a dive but Tony slides straight back in and knocks him to the mat with a back elbow. High impact Irish whip from Nese and he locks in a body-scissors. Waistlock now from Nese as the commentators jabber away about the Alexander/Ali match at WrestleMania. And speaking of events at the booth, Drake Maverick has offered absolutely nothing of note thus far. Enziguiri from Andrews, followed by a 619 to the midsection; shades of Rey Mysterio. Moonsault from Andrews. Nese catches him midair but Mark turns it into a tornado DDT. Nice spot there. Nese gets a breather on the outside but Andrews takes him out with an Asai moonsault. Back inside and Nese gets a two off a gutbuster. Another near fall for Tony as he turns Mark inside out with a stiff clothesline. Back on the outside and Nese downs Andrews with a devastating forearm to the sternum. Nese slides Andrews back inside as he senses the chance to finish him. Moonsault attempt from Tony misses. Andrews is fired up and hits a barrage of overhand chops and forearms. Flying enziguiri from Mark before a roll-through into a double stomp gets two. Nese has Andrews up for a pump handle powerslam but Andrews reverses into a Stunner (Stundog Millionaire to be exact). Mark takes to the top and hits a picture-perfect shooting star press for the pin at 11:19.
Match rating: B Surprisingly strong match to kick us off this week. I feared Nese’s fairly generic looking moveset and overly-muscular physique might prove limitations, but their styles gelled really well and there were some particularly smooth sequences. The drama built and built, with some fun false finishes and, ultimately, Andrews was put over strong. A good advert for 205 Live here.
Andrews wants another shot at Drew Gulak following his tournament elimination, and pleads his case to Maverick at the announce table. Drake books it for next week, so IT’S ON!
Dasha seeks Gulak’s thoughts backstage. Drew puts himself over as the best submission wrestler on 205 Live, and I’m looking forward to his bout with Andrews next week already.
A hype video for Kurt Angle/Ronda Rousey vs HHH/Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania. Perhaps both teams should have just entered Mix Match Challenge instead?
A sit-down with Drake Maverick, Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali to hype their Cruiserweight Title (sorry; Championship) tournament match (my bad; opportunity) at WrestleMania. Ali calls Cedric out as a choke-artist. Alexander says “he’ll stomp out ‘the heart’ of 205 Live” to become champion. Rock/Austin before WrestleMania X-7 this wasn’t. Ali came across as the more genuine, reciting his scripted dialogue more naturally and with more conviction. Alexander continues to come across as the generic, bland babyface. I credit the writers for trying this approach, but it only highlighted that Ali is the far more interesting of the two, with bucket loads more star potential.
Hideo Itami is getting Akira Tozawa pumped backstage for his impending fatal 4 way match. More fire on display from Itami in this short segment than in any of his own in-ring showings this year.
Ad for nXt tomorrow night as we have the semi-finals of the Dusty Classic tag-tournament to look forward to, with The Authors of Pain tangling with The Street Prophets and Sanity meet the exciting new team of Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong.
Ad for next week’s Raw, the go-home edition for WrestleMania. Finn Balor goes one-on-one with Seth Rollins, Angle/Rousy and HHH/Steph will have an in-ring face off and John Cena still awaits an answer from The Undertaker.
Kalisto vs Akira Tozawa vs TJ Perkins vs Buddy Murphy
Kalisto out first, as Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado are conspicuous by their absence. Perhaps they’ve finally been busted for not possessing manager’s licenses? Buddy still looking ripped (he allegedly weighs 203lbs, so McGuinness informs us); I think he’s being going to the same gym as Tony Nese. Kalisto and Tozawa go at it early, continuing the beef between the Luchas and the Orientals. Kalisto with a somersault plancha to the floor on Tozawa as it’s all action early on. Murphy and TJP go at it mid-ring. Spinning headscissors from Perkins, but then he gets sent to the outside by a flying headscissors from Murphy. Kalisto sends Buddy to the outside too, as the Luchadore and Akira are then going at it in the squared circle. Senton splash from Tozawa. Murphy and TJP back in and Perkins is trying to bargain with Murphy. They appear to go for a double-suplex on Kalisto, but Perkins predictably turns on Buddy and stomps away on him in the corner. Never trust a gamer; I mean, you probably wouldn’t trust TJP on Call of Duty, so why would it be any different in the ring? Perkins with an Indian deathlock on Tozawa while simultaneously applying an abdominal stretch on Kalisto mid-ring; very innovative stuff. Kalisto elbows out and hits a succession of chops on TJP, each one sending Perkins down to the mat, thus increasing the pressure on the Indian deathlock on Tozawa. This culminates on TJP blocking a chop and hitting a Northern lights suplex with a bridge on Kalisto for a pin attempt, as Tozawa writhes in agony, still in the Indian deathlock. It all breaks up as TJP kicks Kalisto to the outside, Tozawa slips to the floor selling the leg and Murphy is back in. Murphy on top of Perkins with some high impact offense and he sends TJP through the ropes and to the outside. All four guys are outside and Buddy is cleaning house. Not for long though as Kalisto and Tozawa send him crashing into the barricade with a double hiptoss. Perkins, Kalisto and Tozawa are back inside. More innovation from TJP as he gets has Akira in a Gory Stretch and, at the same time, gets Kalisto in a reverse Boston Crab and then pulls his arms up into a surfboard-like manoeuvre (anyone know the name of the move? Answers in comments please!).
Tozawa causes the escape, but then TJP locks him into a cloverleaf. Murphy is back in and breaks it up with a kick to the jaw. Kalisto with a big-time tornado DDT on Buddy. Enziguiri from Akira on Kalisto as all four men are down and out. Tozawa and TJP are back up first. Akira sends Perkins to the outside and takes him out with a crazy looking Tope through the middle ropes. Kalisto takes both guys down on the outside with a springboard corkscrew somersault. Murphy then adds to the insanity with a somersault plancha, wiping out all three adversaries. Back in the ring, TJP gets Kalisto locked in a bow-and-arrow. Murphy slides in and tries to steel a pin on Buddy, but Tokawa breaks it all up with a double stomp off the top on Kalisto. More excellent innovation from all four guys, as just describing some of this action is testing my literary skills. All four men are down and this is anyone’s match. Murphy and Tozawa are back up. Stiff chops from Akira and a hard right hand to the face. Buddy fires back with some strikes, stomps and a wicked kneelift. Murphy goes for a back suplex on Kalisto. The Luchadore flips out of it, but straight into a German suplex attempt from TJP. Kalisto then flips out of that (using Murphy’s body to springboard himself) into the Salida del Sol, but Tozawa sends him out under the bottom rope with a dropkick and tries to steal the pin, however Kalisto is straight back in to stop the pin attempt; breath-taking sequence of action there. Kalisto and Tozawa are beefing and yelling at each other mid-ring and trade forearms. Murphy then dumps them both to the outside before finding himself locked in the kneebar from TJP. Both Kalisto and Tozawa put aside their differences at ringside and pull Perkins off of Buddy, before Murphy takes them both out with a corkscrew plancha. Buddy is back in and TJP rolls him up for another close near fall. Perkins goes for a springboard forearm, but dives straight into the Murphy’s Law (pump handle into death valley driver) for the pin in 13:38.
Match rating: A Fantastic main event this week, with tons of innovative offense from all four, complete with all sorts of sequences I’ve never seen before. Everyone came out of this looking good. Murphy is in a strong position for a title shot post-WrestleMania, the Luchadores/Orientals feud marches on and TJP was hanging in there right until the end.
Overall rating: A I went into this week worried this show might lack focus, with no more tournament matches scheduled for 205 Live itself, and they went and presented arguably the best episode of 205 Live since the Enzo Era (and far superior to any show during his run, for that matter). Andrews vs Nese was a strong opener, Andrews/Gulak was furthered, the main event was something else, the Luchas and Orientals are clearly not finished with each other and Alexander/Ali got more WrestleMania hype with their sit-down interview. And all that got accomplished in 45 minutes that flew by. If you want to know what 205 Live is all about, this episode would be an ideal place to start.