The 205 Live Report Card (10/31/18): Contendership Conflicts

It’s not live, but these men are probably 205 and frankly, I’m excited about it. Cruiserweight chaos is a constant in my life at this point, and even if naysayers rightly claim this format is dead, I sense I may me mildly entertaining this week. Speaking of good looking blokes, Tony Nese is in the main event tonight as he seeks #1 contendership opposite the always fired up Mustafa Ali. That should be fun and if it isn’t, who cares? I’ll be having fun anyway. Hope you do too pal.

DISCLAIMER: this show is in many ways, designed for my distaste. Take all critiques with a grain of salt as frankly, they are almost all misplaced and many even come with a disgusting bias. On the bright side, if I enjoy this programme, it bodes very well for your own enjoyment. In that sense, it’s ideal.

Drake Maverick welcomed us and run through this week’s show. His teeth looked white.

Gentleman Jack Gallagher vs. The Brian Kendrick

We’ve got a grudge match in this week’s opener as former tag partners collide, with Gentleman Jack Gallagher taking on The Brian Kendrick. Mr Gulak is here on commentary too, wishing everyone a Happy Halloween as Kendrick fired up with some early strikes. He followed a scurrying Gallagher too, chasing him to the outside until a Gulak distraction got him cut off for his troubles. Jack went right to work from there, using the apron before taking control of things in-ring, specifically targeting Kendrick’s back along the way.

Gulak and Percy were bickering here but Gallagher was all business, intensely working Kendrick over as the people began to get behind him. Gallagher was doing a little of everything, using sharp wrestling moves as well as quite nasty strikes, but Kendrick soon began to wave Gallagher on, very much getting the crowd’s support as his comeback commenced. A strike exchange came in the midst of that but Kendrick remained on top, eventually snatching the Captain’s Hook as Gallagher barely managed to get his foot on the bottom rope.

Gallagher then turned the tide, catching a rear naked choke out of nowhere and forcing Kendrick to make the bottom rope himself. A super-kick then got Kendrick back on top, flooring Gallagher and encouraging Gulak to interfere. Before he could though, Tozawa halted him, landing a big kick on the outside as Kendrick closed the show via Sliced Bread #2. Lovely little match here and as I said last week, I dig this wacky Kendrick/Tozawa alliance. My only complaint is that I wish this got more time as frankly, I loved everything they did.

Grade: B

Off to Drake Maverick’s office now, as AOP’s mate spoke with Cedric Alexander about his owed title rematch. Drake says that Cedric will get that match but only when he’s deemed ready, pointing to Alexander’s current 3 match losing streak. This is the start of Cedric’s frustrations of course and honestly, that’s an angle that I’m eagerly anticipating.

Gran Metalik vs. Local Lad

Back to the ring next as Gran Metalik takes on an unnamed enhancement talent. First though, we got a brief promo from Metalik in which he apparently called TJP a coward. Following this, Percy told a flagrant lie about attending Lucha House parties, and the thought of this made me grin briefly for no reason at all. We are told that TJP declined this match too but in-ring, Metalik immediately took control and headed up top to score the quick win.

As he celebrated though, TJP attacked from behind, stealing Metalik’s mask as Percy cried ‘NO’ with terror in his voice. Kalisto and Lince made the save but TJP had already scurried to safety…guys, this TJP heel run is sneaky great, think you should know that. Squash matches and lucha flips…interesting combo pal.

Grade: C

Buddy Murphy is here again, and he’s having a whirl of a time with Tony Nese before being interrupted. He announces that next week in Manchester, he’ll be working a NXT UK star!!! Oh wow, consider me fired up guys, the possibilities are endless!!! Oh never mind, he’s just working Mark Andrews. Either way, Buddy refused to answer the question about a potential Nese win.

Mr and Mrs Kanellis are up next for some interview time, but Maria quickly took the microphone from Ms Fuentes, asking Mike how it feels to be the greatest Cruiserweight on 205 Live. TJP then interrupted the interview, welcoming Mike before Maria told him to shut up. Mrs Kanellis makes it clear that she’s aware that TJP is simply hunting for protection, but she’s fine with this and together, they head off to “talk business.”

I enjoyed this as it swiftly positioned Maria as smart and by the way, I’d just like to congratulate Mrs Kanellis on her Evolution appearance. It was a great show in general to be honest! I especially enjoyed the opener, featuring Mickie James who I thought performed miraculously. Speaking of such, I hope you’ve read my BRAND NEW Mickie James feature!!!!!!!! Man, I almost forgot to mention that…totally wasn't my intention all along…nope, not at all. Read and share pal.

Mustafa Ali vs. Tony Nese

Time to crown a new number one contender now, as Mustafa Ali takes on Tony Nese. ‘The Premier Athlete’ immediately bullied Ali into the corner, taking control and going after his bandaged ribs. Nese’s power forced Mustafa to evade early before firing back, sending Tony to the floor with a hurricanrana. His big dive was caught though, with Nese rolling through to land a dope fall-away slam on the ramp. Nese then took things back to center ring, continuing to work over Ali’s back and grounding things, before using a salvo of knees to maintain control.

Ali eventually countered though, catching a couple quick roll-ups before his DDT attempt was turned into a Foxy-esque Northern Lights Suplex. He grabbed a hold from there, continuing to dominate with a range of offense. Nese’s arrogance soon cost him though, with Ali yanking his leg out to turn the tide. Some punches followed, with Ali firing up until Nese briefly took control once again. However, Ali avoided the springboard moonsault, coming back with a massive sit-out power-bomb. He was on fire from there, scoring big with a flurry that culminated in a quite frightening dive to the floor.

The crossbody came next but Ali’s rib injury prevented him from covering immediately, a lovely little touch that highlights the best kind of selling. You see, the heat segment actually mattered, great right? Either way, a massive strike exchange followed and resulted in about 192 kicks from Ali, creating a fabulous false finish before Nese halted plans for the 054. Ali countered Nese himself though, quickly scoring his DDT out of nowhere. Nese kicked out again, then cutting Ali off on the top rope, and scoring an immense Malenko-style gut-buster off the middle rope.

Frustrated, Nese unleashed some vicious strikes and even began to tear away Ali’s bandages. He was kicking Ali in the ribs along the way too, but was briefly distracted by the referee, allowing Ali to score a quick roll-up win out of nowhere. This was undeniably a very good match. Ali sold well and Nese continues to be quite tremendous in control but for whatever reason, this failed to reach the next gear for me. Neither man’s best work but a strong main event nonetheless.

Grade: B+

Post-match, Nese seemingly looked set to continue his attack when Cedric Alexander suddenly arrived to make the save. As Nese bailed, Cedric helped Ali to his feet and for one moment, almost looked set to hit a Lumbar Check as the crowd quite dramatically gasped. That reaction may not have been authentic but who cares, it came across great on TV and for this product, that’s what matters. Regardless, Alexander instead just helped Ali up as Buddy Murphy arrived. The champ initially looked as though he wanted to fight but opted against it, simply raising his belt high as we went off the air.

Final Thoughts

In a vacuum, this wasn't the strongest episode of 205 Live but considering the closing segment, it felt like an important one. It featured two enjoyable matches but more than that, this week’s show did a neat job of progressing a main event angle which on the surface, features almost identical conflicts between friends. The title matters most and it looks likely that over the coming weeks, its importance will sever personal ties in quite dramatic fashion. Its’s a simple story but I must say that thus far, I’m finding its subtlety to be rather effective.

Grade: B

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