Well, it seems that we find ourselves in this awkward position once again. It’s the final TV before a Cruiserweight Title match on PPV, and I’m still not sure if this is considered a go-home show or not. Oh well, I suppose there’s more important things to ponder…for example: The Colons’ inevitable Survivor Series win, Tamina’s road to redemption or even more fittingly, Shane McMahon’s best in the world status.
Either way, back to less relevant things now and I must say, this week’s 205 Live main event looks rather enticing to me. Lio Rush is great. Cedric Alexander is great. Lio Rush keeps winning. Cedric Alexander keeps losing. This is a very easy sell for me, I’m genuinely invested. With that established, 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.
Drew Gulak & Gentleman Jack Gallagher vs. Akira Tozawa & Brian Kendrick
After a relatively lengthy build, we’ve finally arrived at the big tag match here but first, it’s time for a short interview in which both Kendrick and Tozawa ignored the question about their past. In-ring, Gulak opted against starting but Kendrick went to work on Gallagher nonetheless, quickly bringing in Tozawa as the babyfaces took control. Tozawa’s fake out punch came before long too, flooring Gallagher before tagging Kendrick in for some tandem offense. Gallagher soon turned the tide though, cutting Kendrick off, and making way for Gulak who walked into an onslaught himself.
He weathered the storm though, and with some heel shenanigans, Gulak and Gallagher quickly halted Kendrick’s momentum. They isolated him from there, grounding things with a nice layer of aggression too. Either way, the hot tag arrived soon enough as Tozawa run wild with a salvo of kicks before hitting his massive dive to the outside. Tozawa’s missile dropkick landed too, continuing his success, and even applying the octopus hold until Gallagher used Kendrick’s body to break the hold. Unaware of what happened, Tozawa was angered by this and paid the price, getting caught by a quick roll-up as Gallagher removed Kendrick in the meantime.
I really like all four of these men, but this match really didn't do much for me. It was very formulaic and honestly, felt more like a placeholder to progress the angle without giving too much away. That’s fine, but I hope that the next part of this programme is a little more creative as we all know what these guys are capable of.
Off to the very serious weigh in for Sunday’s match now an….what’s that? Why do they weigh in half a week before the first bell you ask? Corruption, that’s why, disgraceful I know. Speaking of such, Buddy came in at 204lbs here, a whole 22 pounds heavier than his challenger. Frankly, this farce shouldn't even be sanctioned if I’m being honest. On the bright-side, the face-off here was much more believable, resulting in pushing and shoving as Adam Pearce was forced to get very fired up.
As a follow up, Dasha Fuentes interviewed Murphy, as the champ explained that he’s willing to go to hell and back for his title. Bit much mate, you’d be better off just gaining weight and trying again as a Heavyweight.
Kalisto and Lince Dorado vs. Mike Karma and Kraig Keesaman
Everyone’s favorite RAW team is here now as we enter squash match city for a moment. Some taunting wackiness got us started before Lince went to work, flurrying big and after hitting a big superkick, bringing in Kalisto for some tandem offense. They then removed the other partner, isolating their singlet foe and closing the show with a whole range of acrobatics. Very nice, very brief squash. Imagine liking long rasslin matches when you can watch content like this instead…tremendous.
Grade: ASR (All Squashes Rule)
Speaking of joyous occasions, Vic Joseph passionately exploded in response to the lucha lads’ victory, calling Nigel out as though they’d just won the tag team titles. No need to get emotional mate. Either way, Maria Kanellis showed up on the big screen for some trash talk, citing Metalik’s absence as the only reason she’s allowing their party to continue. She also then announced that next week, TJP will be welcoming the masked fellow back on-board. Lovely.
Before we head to our main event, Cedric Alexander greets us with a short promo about the importance of tonight’s match as well as why his legacy matters in general. Simple but effective, solid delivery.
Lio Rush vs. Cedric Alexander
With that out of the way, it’s indeed main event time as the crowd goes back and forth on the topic of whether or not Lio Rush sucks. In-ring, there’s a feeling out process early, with Alexander initially taking control before both men reached an acrobatic stalemate. Lio responded to this by hitting an ankle pick and slapping Cedric in the face. This only furthered his grip on things, flurrying until Cedric returned the favor, landing a dropkick that legitimately frightened me before following up with some chops too.
A superkick turned the tide though and Lio then hit a big dive, originally looking for a count-out win and then upping the aggression with a ruthless attack on the outside. After using the steps, Rush once again hoped for a count-out victory, but Cedric made it back in only to eat some more strikes for his troubles. With Alexander grounded, Lio grabbed a hold while being generally nasty, staying on top with some strikes after Cedric had briefly fought to his feet.
Cedric eventually made Rush pay for his taunting though, scoring with some massive strikes and making a big comeback that culminated in the neuralizer. Rush’s evasive tactics didn't help him here, with Alexander being a step ahead and even hitting the flat-liner for 2. After seemingly looking for an out, Lio baited Alexander into a combination of kicks, and then hit his wacky unprettier gimmick for another false finish. Lio was wonderful here, selling the frustration after Cedric’s kick-out, and getting ruthless with strikes until Alexander fired back with a vicious shot of his own.
A wild exchange followed and after coming out on top of some Spanish Fly wackiness, Lio headed up top for the Final Hour. Cedric avoided, unsuccessfully looking for the Lumbar Check as Rush awesomely countered even if in admittedly delayed fashion. He then followed up with a little more greatness but walked into Spanish Fly himself, next falling victim to a spectacular looking Lumbar Check to end his unbeaten record. Well, compared to 205’s other matches on this level, this one stands out to me as being quite unique.
Action wise, it was good but outside of the final few minutes, pretty simple and believe it or not, this was a match instead built on subtlety and character. Cedric was quite visibly doubting himself, wrestling with a desperation as his spirit took the confidence out of Rush, removing his arrogance with each and every kick-out. Just a great pro wrestling match and one that’s much less genre specific than its peers. Instead, this featured a range of different elements and that made it quite special within the 205 landscape.
We go off the air with Mustafa Ali’s final words before Sunday, as he informs Buddy that he’ll be joining him on his trip to hell and back…oh no, these men are going to destroy each other aren't they? Thigh slaps and bloody mouths await.
Well, through 30 minutes this episode did very little for me but with a fresh matchup, Cedric and Lio put on an encounter that genuinely gripped me from start to finish. As I always say, this show’s success is built on must-watch matches regardless of investment, and while I’m unsure if this was a great example of that, I do think it’s a refreshing change of pace and one that ideally, could leave a new viewer wanting more. The great main event led the way here, really strong stuff.