WWE 205 Live
22nd May 2018
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson
We’re back on U.S. soil, grapple fans, as 205 Live gets back to its regular routine. Can any of the usual suspects build some momentum? Will any of the exhausted, post-SmackDown viewers care? Let’s find out!
I must begin by apologising for the lateness of this post. I sat down late this morning, all energised and ready to go, before foolishly accepting my laptop’s suggestion to restart. It then commenced to install a new Windows 10 update that took the best part of two and a half hours, by which point it was time for a KFC lunch. So here we are, well over 12 hours removed from the 205 Live broadcast; sorry for my tardiness!
The show opens with a hype video for tonight’s showdown between Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa as THE ORIENTALS EXPLODE!!
Drew Gulak vs Gran Metalik
Gulak is on a crusade to rid 205 Live of high-flyers and, in a pre-match promo, he explains he’ll make them all tap out. He’s starting tonight with the Lucha Party. Metalik is out to some new Latino music, but that goon, Kalisto, still does the moronic Lucha chanting and gesticulating anyway. Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick come out to join us for colour commentary. Not that either of them add much colour, as they’re both in desperate need of time on a sunbed. Some nice mat-work early as they trade headlocks. Metalik picks up the pace with an armdrag takeover and a dropkick, sending Drew bailing to the outside for respite. Gran goes for a baseball slide but Gulak has it scouted and slides back in. Springboard dropkick back into the squared circle from Metalik gets two. Metalik goes up top but gets crotched and caught in the tree-of-woe, with Gulak stomping away. Kalisto and Lince Dorado continue to shake the maraca flags at ringside, which is already doing my head in. Drew has Metalik tied up in a combination of both an arm and a leg grapevine, before re-focusing with an armbar. Metalik back into it with a headscissor takeover and a superkick, as Gallagher amusingly calls him ‘Gran Metallica’ from the booth, praising him for his first album but saying he then got too commercail. Bulldog from Metalik before he walks the ropes and hits a flying dropkick for a near fall. Overhand slap to the face from Gran before connecting with an Asai Moonsault to the outside. Gran rolls Drew back in and connects with a springboard splash for a two count. Gulak hits back with a vicious clothesline for a near fall of his own. Metalik recovers in the corner, where Gulak tries to strike with a charging blow. Gran has it scouted and kicks Gulak down into the corner, before climbing to the top rope of the next corner along. The fans suspect a Van Daminator attempt, but Gran trots along the top rope several paces and connects with a dropkick, making it 50% Van Daminator; pretty cool spot. They go through a series of very contrived looking reversals, culminating in a victory roll from Metalik that gets two. They were slow with some transitions there and noticeably waiting for the other to hit cues, which exposes the biz a bit much for my liking. Metalik downs Gulak with a back elbow and goes for a Lionsault, but Drew catches him with a boot to the face. Dragon Sleeper (a.k.a. GuLock) from Gulak gets the submission, and almost unmasks Metalik for good measure at 8:13.
Match rating: C+ Enjoyable action for the most part, with Gulak’s ground-game overcoming the traditional Lucha aerial approach. I’d go higher but for some sloppiness towards the end. Some fun commentary from Gallagher and Kendrick, who both stand to applaud Gulak after the match, and I smell a six-man tag with all these guys at some point in the very near future.
Footage of Buddy Murphy working out hard in readiness for his Championship opportunity (#wwecorporatespeak) next week. He was doing a fairly intensive looking workout regime and looked as ripped as I’ve ever seen him; they might as well have shown him injecting himself in the ass too.
Ad for nXt tomorrow night, where Velveteen Dream and Ricochet team up to take on Lars Sullivan in a handicap match.
TJ Perkins vs Christopher Guy
We get shown a pre-match Tweet from Perkins, where he’s trying to pimp himself to Paige for a place on the SmackDown Live roster. If he wants to turn babyface and work on his chinlocks, I know a spot that’s now vacant. TJP works a wristlock and then dabs. Spinning arm-breaker from Perkins as he goes to work on the shoulder. Perkins gets Guy in the shoulder and lifts his foot high to choke him; shades of Kevin Nash (from a Vanilla Midget, no less). Guy comes back with a dropkick and a sunset flip, but Perkins rolls through and nails him with a dropkick to the face. Detonation Kick from TJP wins the squash at 2:38.
Match rating: D Squash is as squash does – not much to see here. Dasha interviews TJP post-match about his Tweet regarding SD Live. Perkins puts himself over and disses Drake Maverick, without really saying much of relevance. McGuinness translates this weak promo for us from the booth, explaining that TJP wants better challenges than this week’s jobber, or he’s off. I’d welcome Perkins on SmackDown Live. His heel character is coming along nicely and it feels like he’s done all he can on 205 Live.
Vic Joseph conducts a shoddy sit-down interview with Cedric ‘Charisma Vacuum’ Alexander. Lousy, insincere stuff here and it’s worth noting that Joseph looked as out of his depth and phony as Alexander. Bad script, poor delivery; needless to say, Alexander is exceedingly better in the ring than on the microphone.
Ad for Money In The Bank. This includes highlights of previous wins and cash-ins, which are so overwhelming in number that it simply reinforces how played out the gimmick is now.
Ad for Total Bellas. Credit to John Cena and Nikki Bella for their respective performances during their ‘break-up’. Probably the greatest work since Montreal.
Hideo Itami vs Akira Tozawa
Dasha interviews Tozawa backstage and he shows some good fire and emotion. He spoke good, clear English and didn’t resort to any silly clichés; refreshing work. Both guys start by decking each other with boots to the face and trading forearms and right hands.
Siv’s Take: Just the right way to start a grudge match. One of my biggest pet-peeves is when a rivalry gets personal, the bell rings and they go and start with a collar-and-elbow tie-up just like any other match. Good work from these two seasoned pros.
Both guys try rollups and avoid kick attempts as the crowd appreciate their early efforts. McGuinness gives us some nice background info, giving us each guy’s debut year (Itami 2000 (sounds like a computer!), Tozawa 2005 for those interested) and even namedrops Kenta Kobashi for good measure. They trade knife-edge chops, eliciting some ‘Wooo!’ chants from the fans. They keep the chops coming and Tozawak’s chest is looking pretty red. Akira has Hideo down in the corner and stomps away. Senton splash from Tozawa gets two. Bodyslam from Akira and he applies a chinlock (perhaps he’s after that vacancy on SmackDown?). Itami escapes with a jawbreaker. More knife edge chops from Tozawa. Hideo comes back with some boots to the midsection and a kneedrop to the back of Tozawa’s neck. Itami starts beefing with the ringsiders, yelling “respect me!”. Neckbreaker from Itami only gets one. They fight to the outside and Itami tosses Tozawa shoulder-first into the barricade. Itami rolls Tozawa back into the squared circle and locks in a chinlock of his own. Akira elbows out, and goes for a double axe from the middle turnbuckle, but Hideo catches him with a boot to the midsection. Hideo talks trash to his opponent (“respect me!”, to be exact) before downing Akira with a knee to the bread-basket.
Stiff kick to the back as Itami has slowed the pace down. Another knee to the midsection from Hideo, followed by some kneedrops as he’s in firm control. Hideo continues to taunt the crowd, which would no doubt have raised the ire of the late Gorilla Monsoon (“he’s wasting valuable time!”). DDT from Itami and he applies another chinlock. Hideo goes for a third knee to the midsection, but Tozawa rolls through into a rollup for a near fall. Hurracanrana takeover from Akira followed by a running knee to the face. Tozawa goes up top, but Hideo rolls to the outside before Akira can strike. Tozawa gives him little respite however as he comes flying off the ring apron with a somersault cannonball. Back in the ring and Tozawa hits a flying dropkick for a near fall. Itami strikes back with a tornado DDT into a clothesline on the top rope, before going aerial himself with a flying clothesline for a two count. Hideo downs Akira with some overhand strikes and tries to apply the Rings of Saturn. Tozawa escapes and almost steels the win with an inside cradle. A boot to the side of the head from Tozawa downs Hideo. Akira goes up top, but Hideo is back up and they jockey for position on the top turnbuckle. Itami takes Tozawa crashing down to the mat with a Falcon Arrow for a very near fall. Hideo misses a charge into the corner and Tozawa locks in the Octopus stretch. Itami gets out and slides to the outside, only to be taken out by a wicked suicide dive through the ropes from Akira as the pace has quickened immensely. Back inside and Tozawa misses with a senton splash attempt from the top. Hideo takes full advantage with a basement dropkick into the corner. A second basement dropkick from Hideo has Akira almost out of it. A knee strike from Itami is good for the pin at 15:18.
Match rating: A- Excellent main event this week as they gave them plenty of time to build the drama. They varied the pace nicely and gave both guys time to shine, making this one of the best 205 Live main events in quite a while. I’ve seen better from Itami in person, but that was back in 2009 with far less mileage on the clock. He’s working a little slower and smarter these days. While he’s a trifle over-the-hill, he can still bring the goods, as he showed here.
Overall show rating: B It’s all about the main event this week, as both Itami and Tozawa brought it. Although Itami’s win was conclusive enough to suggest this might be a one-shot deal, I’d love to see a re-match. Next week should be interesting, as we’ll have Cedric vs Buddy for the title. And hopefully no more Windows 10 updates for me for a while, so I’ll be posting back at the usual, earlier time!