WWE 205 Live
17th July 2018
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson
Tonight sees Lio Rush’s first main event on 205 Live, grapple fans, as he tussles with Akira Tozawa. Also in action are TJ Perkins and Noam Dar in a rematch of their clash two weeks ago. Let’s get to it!
Worth noting that in the opening video, Drake Maverick claims that last week “Hideo Itami put in the type of performance that made him a legend in Japan”; what a whopper. It was a good match, but let’s not get carried away.
The muppets at the booth debate whether Lio Rush deserves his featured match slot tonight. McGuinness absurdly states, “you don’t get a main event slot because you deserve it!”. Whilst sounding daft on the surface, that fits in quite nicely with modern-day WWE logic.
TJ Perkins vs Noam Dar
Two weeks ago saw Dar return as a surprise challenger for Perkins and subsequently squashed him in about 30 seconds; shades of Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg. TJP comes out with a mike and mocks the ‘Wilkes-Boring’ faithful on his way to the ring. Perkins, the self-proclaimed ‘cruisergreat’ promises to “turn Noam’s return story into a return sentence”. Dar’s music hits and he somehow gets even less of a reaction than he did upon his return a fortnight ago. TJP tries to jump Noam from the bell, but gets taken out by a legsweep. They go to the outside early and it’s all Dar with a succession of strikes. Back in the ring and Dar hits a side slam for a two count. No reaction for any of this, it must be noted. They jostle over rollup attempts before TJP attempts a cross arm breaker, but can’t lock it in. Springboard dropkick from Perkins as he enjoys some sustained offense. TJP chokes Dar in the corner, whilst GM Drake Maverick looks on backstage. Scoop slam from Perkins, followed by a senton splash for a near fall. Northern Lights with a bridge from Perkins, before he floats through into a top wristlock. It’s been all Perkins for some time as the crowd couldn’t seem to care less.
Dar comes back with a succession of forearms and gets two off a backslide. TJP back in control as he goes to work on the arm. Snap suplex, followed by a belly-to-back suplex from Perkins for another near fall. Small package from Dar gets two and they re-set. Perkins misses a cross-body, giving Noam an opening to build some offense. Headbutt to the gut and an uppercut from the Scotsman. Northern Lights release from Dar. Leg trip from Noam, followed by a clothesline to the back of the head. TJP wants the detonation kick, but Dar escapes, before dropkicking Perkins to the outside. They tussle on the ring apron and Dar goes for a suplex. Perkins blocks it, jumps to the floor and downs Noam with a kick to the knee (surgically repaired, as the announcers continually remind us). Back in the ring TJP connects with a chopblock. Perkins applies a single leg boston crab, but he locks it in from the ring apron, so the ref puts a count on him. Back in the middle of the ring and Perkins has a knee bar locked in. And that happens to be good for the submission win at 10:36.
Match rating: D+ This one really didn’t click. I get the story they were going for, as Perkins worked the surgically repaired knee and it was good for the tapout, but this was distinctly underwhelming stuff and played in front of a very uninterested crowd. Whilst it was a nice chance of pace to kick off the show with a competitive match going longer than 10 minutes, the action itself was a disappointment.
A recap of last week’s main event as our Cruiserweight Champion, Cedric The Sports Entertainer (sorry, Cedric Alexander) successfully defended the strap (sorry, championship) against Hideo Itami. WWE’s production work continues to be superb, as their highlight package made a *** match look ****1/4.
Pretty lame ad for SummerSlam, focussed on the many meaningless catchphrases of the main roster.
Drew Gulak (w/The Brian Kendrick & ‘Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher) vs Danny Garcia
I immediately chuckle at the idea that Drew needs this much back-up at ringside for a squash match. Gulak nearly decapitates the jobber with a clothesline from the bell and almost kills him with a belly-to-back suplex. GuLock gets the very quick win at 0:28.
Match rating: C THIS IS A SQUASH! I’m no fan of jobbers getting offense, and this was exactly what an enhancement match should be; Drew aggressively slaughtered him in under 30 seconds. Brilliant stuff.
Gulak gets on the mike post-match and quotes Mick Jagger (“you can’t always get what you want”, etc) and bigs himself up for a championship opportunity (#wwecorporatespeak) in the future.
Re-cap of last week’s bout between Kalisto and Tony Nese, which led to beef between The Juice Brothers (Nese and Buddy Murphy) and Lucha House Party.
Dasha subsequently interviews The Juice Brothers backstage as they drive home their new-found hatred of their masked adversaries. Nese suggests that he and Kalisto tangle again next week, but with everyone else barred from ringside.
Akira Tozawa is warming up backstage, as his clash with Lio Rush is NEXT!
Ad for ‘Miz And Mrs’ which I confidently predict that, much like Raw and SmackDown, will not be in the running for any Emmy awards next year.
Lio Rush vs Akira Tozawa
Rush exudes more charisma just walking to the ring than most of the WWE roster could only dream of having. Seriously, this guy could be money. Stalling in the early going as they repetitively tease locking up. Lio works a headlock and keeps the advantage going with a hurracanrana takeover. Rush taunts Tozawa by lounging on the top rope in the corner. Rush bails to the outside, so Akira chases him around the ringside area. Back inside, Tozawa rolls through a sunset flip attempt and dropkicks his foe in the face. Senton splash from the Japanese grappler, who then lounges in the corner himself. Knife edge chops from Akira, as Rush sells them like a champ. Handspring dropkick from Rush knocks Akira from the apron and to the floor. Tozawa beats the count at 8, but back inside he falls victim to a flurry of right hands and stomps from the ’23 year old piece of gold’. Vertical suplex from Lio gets only a one count. Both men trade forearms mid-ring, before Rush downs Tozawa once more with a back elbow smash.
Lio works a chinlock on the mat, which would be a lot more tolerable if Randy Orton hadn’t returned to action. Tozawa fights out of it and both men trade forearms again. Hard knife edge chops from Akira. The Japanese star connects with a devastating right to the jaw and knocks Lio to the outside with a spin kick to the side of the head. Akira follows his man out with a suicide dive through the ropes. Back inside, Tozawa comes off the top with a dropkick for a near fall. Both men are back to a vertical base and Lio strikes with a slap to the face. This angers Tozawa enough for him to spit out his gum shield and he folds Rush up like an accordion with a German release suplex. Tozawa goes up top, probably having a senton splash in mind, but Lio rolls to the outside. Akira follows him and almost gets thrown into the steps, but blocks it. Back in the ring, Lio tastes a boot to the gut and Tozawa goes back up to the top turnbuckle. Rush takes his feet out from under him, sending Tozawa crashing back to the mat, leaving Lio to hit a big-time frog splash for the pin at 11:03.
Match rating: C Reasonable feature match for Rush, but he clearly needs a lot more seasoning. Plenty of stalling in the early going and everything they did seemed fairly choreographed. As the pace quickened towards the end they didn’t always seem on the same page, but Tozawa is a smart choice of opponent to help Rush navigate the waters early in his WWE career.
Cedric Alexander is talking with Drake Maverick backstage, asking who might be his next number one contender. Drake books a fatal four-way match for next week, with TJ Perkins, Mustafa Ali, Drew Gulak and Hideo Itami, with the winner getting a shot at the title at a yet to be determined date (probably the SummerSlam pre-show).
Overall show rating: D+ Nothing technically wrong here, but one of the least compelling and news-worthy episodes of 205 Live in quite some time. The lack of Buddy Murphy, Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander and Kalisto in action hurt this week, as they’ve helped to essentially carry the brand for several months. An easy enough 45 minutes of pro wrestling, but not really worth going out of your way to see, particularly in a week that’s had this match content already.