The 205 Live Report Card (10/3/18): Tradition and Change

With Super Show-Down just days away, 205 Live is in a rather unique spot. Due to a whole range of factors, the Cruiserweight Title match actually feels like an important part of Saturday’s show and right or wrong, that’s a rather rare occurrence. Considering this, it’ll be interesting to see how 205 approaches this go-home show of sorts. Either way, we do have two matches booked as usual, with TJP vs. Kalisto as well as Akira Tozawa vs. Gentleman Jack Gallagher. Let’s rock and roll 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.

Akira Tozawa vs. Gentleman Jack Gallagher

Opening match time lads and it should be noted that Gulak and Kendrick are accompanying Mr Gallagher here. To the action as some technical rasslin exchanges got us started and unsurprisingly, it was all very nice. Tozawa then just kicked Jack in the face though, making things much better and continuing the flurry of strikes too, eventually sending Gallagher to the floor with his fake-out punch. However, a Kendrick distraction allowed Gulak to interfere, with Jack quickly taking control and roughing Tozawa up before grabbing a hold.

Either way, Tozawa eventually made a comeback and it came with quite immense energy, flooring Gallagher and heading up top for his big senton. In response, Jack rolled to the floor but ate a big dive for his troubles. The missile dropkick came next and the Octopus Hold too but Gallagher fired back, powering out and applying a wacky submission move. Tozawa made it to the ropes though and before his next move, Gallagher found himself distracted by the crowd. He paid the price too, with Tozawa pushing him off and hitting his senton finish for the win.

I generally enjoy both of these guys and this match was certainly a strong opener. Their styles gel well and I’d personally like to see this match in a more spotlight role some time. As was though, it was enjoyable nonetheless. Post-match, an irate Gulak reintroduced his PowerPoint presentation, singling out The Brian Kendrick and calling him a weak link before claiming he’d lost his edge. Kendrick responded by punching first, getting rid of Gulak and applying the Captain’s Hook on Gallagher before Drew broke the hold.

From there, Gallagher and Gulak went to work with a nasty attack, leaving Kendrick laying in what was a quite tremendous angle. I genuinely didn't see this coming but it makes me appreciate last week’s squash even more. That’s a neat layer to this angle and at this point, I’m legit interested in babyface Kendrick.

Grade: B-

We now move to a video package preview of Saturday’s big title match. This was very traditional and featured lots of running, clanging and banging. It even closed with the head to head shot from last week, good old fashioned rasslin pal. In all seriousness, I’m legit excited for this match and it actually feels important. Very refreshing.

Following this, Drake Maverick spoke about Ali and Itami’s most recent match before ominously previewing their next. Oh and by the way, next week’s show will feature a Lio Rush open challenge. Tremendous.

Kalisto vs. TJP

On paper, this looks like a weaker main event choice than usual but nonetheless, I’ll approach things with an open mind. Some neat grappling exchanges got us started here and a little one-upmanship also, but Kalisto soon took control of things, flurrying big and taunting throughout too. However, the heel’s silly antics soon cost him, with TJP cutting him off and going to work. This specifically involved targeting Kalisto’s back, initially on the outside and then once the action returned to the ring too.

TJP was suddenly so dominant in fact that he took the time to help his foe, tearing off the totally useless part of his mask. This inexplicably upset Kalisto though, and he began to scream in agony whilst TJP got some payback for all of that early lucha smugness. After fighting out of a hold, Kalisto looked set to make his comeback but TJP halted things, scoring a tremendous Russian leg sweep off the middle rope. This led to more work on Kalisto’s back and honestly, TJP’s heat segment here was quite delightful. He was aggressive, arrogant and pretty irritating too…perfection.

It wasn't all deliberate either, with TJP mixing in the odd moment of flashiness before again grabbing a hold. Kalisto’s comeback would be delayed once more, but as TJP found himself distracted by the crowd, Kalisto fired back. His comeback followed and was pretty strong before culminating in a big false finish. TJP soon returned the favor though, stunning Kalisto with a big kick before being cut off himself, allowing the lucha lad to hit some insane ‘victory bomb’ gimmick off the top.

At that point, Kalisto looked to close the show but TJP avoided Salida Del Sol and applied his kneebar. This made for a tremendous false finish and quite a battle too, with Kalisto eventually making the ropes after selling with all his heart. Frustrated, TJP focused on Kalisto’s mask, tearing a hole in it as Lince Dorado made his way down to the ring. TJP responded to this by punching Lince in the face but as he turned around, Kalisto scored the quick roll-up win. Incensed, TJP tore Kalisto’s mask off anyway, quickly scurrying to safety.

Whilst maybe not among the elite 205 Live main events, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this match. Kalisto is a good babyface in-ring but personally, TJP was the highlight for me here. This was his finest heel showing yet and he kept me engaged throughout, eventually resulting in an incredibly well-worked match. Tremendous job by both though and hopefully, a match with Metalik is next for the mischievous mask thief.

Grade: B+

Final Thoughts

With just a 43 minute run-time, this episode is basically faultless. With a solid opener that resulted in a big angle, a little video package action and a super strong main event too, this 205 Live pretty much ticked all the boxes. My only critique is a minimal one really, and that’s the fact that whilst I loved the main event here, it wasn't absurd enough to make this a ‘perfect’ episode. TJP/Kalisto was very good but in the grand scheme, wasn't quite on the level of its strongest peers. If that’s my only take though, it’s fair to say that this was a quite excellent little show.

Grade: A

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