Well, aside from the brand’s general manager becoming a literal pee joke, I’d say that 205 Live has had a pretty good week. Survivor Series was a rousing success, with Buddy Murphy and Mustafa Ali awaking a muted live crowd and via sheer violence and absurdity, even sparking ‘205’ chants. Seriously though, their PPV match was a tremendous showcase of this division and in an ideal world, that kind of positioning will become the norm going forward. Either way, that’s the future and this is the now, so considering that, let’s rock and roll with this week’s show.
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.
No Drake teeth in tonight’s intro, with the focus instead being on Sunday’s aforementioned Cruiserweight Title match. Yes, it ruled, I appreciate the reminder.
We begin the actual show with Buddy Murphy, who has a microphone in hand. This felt like a smart way to capitalize on any new viewers, much better than just running a regular TV like it’s a 1994 Monday Night RAW anyway. Back to Buddy regardless, as he welcomes the crowd to his 205 Live before asking if they really believed that Ali would beat him. Either way, it means nothing to him as “you can’t stop the unstoppable.” Tony Nese is here too.
Tony Nese vs. Noam Dar
Mr Nese isn’t here alone either, taking on Noam Dar who first, cut a brief selfie promo about splitting his time between 205 and NXT UK. In-ring, Nese’s power was key early, encouraging him to flex until Dar snatched a standing armbar to take control. He then celebrated his own success, making a fool of Nese and violently dropkicking him off the apron. Dar’s follow-up was halted though, finding himself distracted by Buddy as Nese took control, scoring a big gut-buster on the floor. Nese continued to dictate things also, running Dar over before grabbing a hold.
At this point, Buddy Murphy began to shout in Vic Joseph’s face, proclaiming this he and Tony’s division. Nese remained in control in the meantime, working Dar over as Buddy attacked the live crowd…my god pal, calm it down a bit please. At this point, Dar evaded Nese, flooring him with a kick to the shin, and unleashing some strikes as well as a Northern Lights Suplex for 2. Nese fired back immediately, scoring some strikes and powering out of Dar’s guillotine choke before missing the springboard moonsault himself.
Dar seized, reapplying the guillotine until Tony powered free again, this time much more dramatically for a big false finish. Dar fired back once more but as the referee checked on Nese, Murphy yanked Noam’s leg and while he ate a kick for his troubles, it allowed Nese to take over, landing a massive forearm and closing the show via Running Nese. Post-match, Buddy got some payback of his own, kicking Dar to the floor for banter’s sake.
I must say, this is my favorite 205 Live opening match in quite some time. I thought these guys gelled to produce an engaging affair, while mostly avoiding a formulaic structure along the way. Really strong performances from both here, two performers that are seemingly in the midst of very solid 2018 runs.
Time for some words from Mustafa Ali next, as he concedes to feeling hurt both physically and mentally. He then explained that he’s embracing this moment, and using it as a motivation for his next comeback. Genuinely interested to see where this character goes next.
Elsewhere, Drake is warning the referee of potential shenanigans in this week’s main event. Cedric Alexander then entered, discussing his return to the win column before Maverick booked him and Ali vs. Nese and Murphy for next week’s main event. ALL HAIL.
Akira Tozawa and Brian Kendrick vs. Local Lads
SHOWCASE CITY PAL but first, we see Gulak and Gallagher watching on before they also ran down their rivals in a brief interview. It seems their new name is The Submission Commission...very nice. In-ring, Kendrick immediately grounded things, bringing in Tozawa for some tandem offense before he went to work with strikes. The whole point of this little match of course was to highlight this unit’s increasing chemistry but it also spotlighted some struggles, as the opponents had a little success until Tozawa’s hot tag turned the tide.
The end soon arrived, with Kendrick hitting a very scary Sliced Bread to set up Tozawa’s senton finish. This was the rasslin equivalent of a boxing prospect losing rounds to a journeyman before scoring a late KO…entertaining but my god pal, very scary. They had a tremendous time celebrating this win either way, and to that I say, fair play.
Grade: ASR (All Squashes Rule)
Off backstage again now as Dasha interrupted Buddy and his Buddy for an impromptu interview. Murphy immediately made a joke about the elusive 205 tag titles and in doing so, gave me an article subtitle for free. Nese then mugged Ms Fuentes off…very sad.
By the way, Hideo Itami is back next week too. Sounds like a fun show pal.
Before we head to this week’s main event, I got yet another sighting of this brand new WWF Network ad, in which Alexa Bliss seemingly emerges as a Christmas gift of some sort. Just wanted to take this opportunity to make it clear that while I very much enjoy opening socks on Christmas day, this rather novel gift does sound appealing to me so if anyone can help in that regard, the DM’s are always open.
(Please don’t just send me standee links, this ad quite clearly features an emoting, 3D version. Thanks in advance.)
Gran Metalik vs. TJP
With that serious business out of the way, let’s get this main event started but first, Maria Kanellis is here with a masked Mike by the masked TJP’s side. Now granted, the masks are slightly disrespectful but in fairness, they’re allowed numbers on their side when the lucha lads deal almost exclusively in trios. That’s just simple justice. Nonetheless, the emerging brawl was broke up and Drake ejected everyone to the back, allowing the scheduled match to commence. Metalik immediately flurried, sending TJP to the floor and following him there too, scoring a huge dive to set a tremendous pace.
He continued the assault too, running wild on his rocked foe before being caught in a sharpshooter out of nowhere. TJP was on top now, hitting a dive of his own while still clutching his ankle in quite concerning fashion. Nonetheless, his work in control continues to be tremendous: intense, sharp and vicious…love it. Soon enough, he slowed things down though, grabbing a hold before Metalik fought to his feet and made a comeback, forcing TJP to respond with a wacky rasslin maneuver that absolutely definitely went as planned.
He then applied a cool submission, encouraging the people to get behind Metalik as he punched his way free and grabbed the bottom rope. Metalik then came back yet again, scoring a big kick before TJP blocked his moonsault and hit a powerbomb for 2. He couldn't follow-up though, with Metalik making a wild comeback until TJP’s clutch of his mask turned the tide. The apron was no safe spot for the mask thief though, with Metalik coming out of nowhere to hit a hurricanrana to the floor.
The Metalik Driver came next, but the attempted elbow drop was blocked, with TJP grabbing an armbar before smoothly transitioning to the kneebar. Metalik indeed made it to the bottom rope though, protecting Penelope with a chop and rolling TJP up for the quick win. In response, the lucha fellows came out to celebrate but the sounds of a hysterical Maria quickly halted things, allowing Mike to come from behind with a steel chair, laying out all three masked men in the process. It was all a ploy you see, poor Drake had been fooled yet again. Either way, we go off the air with the heels standing tall.
This was a solid main event that was certainly enjoyable while failing to ever really reach the next level. In truth, it felt like exactly what it was: just another chapter in a steadily progressing programme. Good match nonetheless.
Considering the hype hopefully built on Sunday, this show was a mixed back in my view. Using Buddy in the opening segment felt smart but while I enjoyed the main event, this seemed like the perfect chance to follow up with yet another outstanding main event. Honestly, last week’s Alexander/Rush bout would’ve been an ideal fit but I understand the realistic limitations and even with that critique, this show still featured two very strong, well-worked matches. Overall, a good show that only falls somewhat short due to 205’s very high standards.