The 205 Live Report Card (11/7/18): The Champ is Here!

It feels like the WWF have been in my beautiful country for years already but after two nights of hot rasslin action, it’s time to take match ball. We are in Manchester this week as with the world (you and I) watching, 205 Live goes international. In all seriousness, I’m relatively excited tonight as for the first time since Super Show-Down, the WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy is in action. This is very good news for me, good enough in fact that I’ll ignore Buddy’s opponent as well as the location of which this is taking place. 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.

(Just a note outside of your usual gimmick programming: at Survivor Series: Buddy is defending his title opposite Mustafa Ali…all hail).

TJP & Mike Kanellis vs. The Lucha House Party (Kalisto and Lince Dorado)

Opening match time now, and this one was set up last week as The Lucha House Party take on TJP and Kanellis, their recently aligned rivals. First though, its promo time as Kalisto and Lince spoke to Penelope whilst delving into their love for games. To the ring now, as wild chants emerged for Kanellis while TJP looked to remove Kalisto’s mask. The little lad flurried in response, bringing in Lince for some cool tandem offense. This had TJP scurrying to his corner, bringing in Kanellis for minimal success himself.

The live crowd here is seemingly jeering with disinterest, it’s odd and frankly, quite irritating. Nonetheless, Lince kept the masked men in control until TJP floored him, scoring a cheap shot from the apron. It’s at this point that I must pause the episode, literally enraged by the crowd’s constant chanting of ‘Nigel’….oh my, unbearable. Meanwhile in Gotham, the heat was on, as Kanellis and TJP isolated Lince with some grounded offense. However, Dorado soon evaded TJP, making the hot tag as Kalisto run wild on both men.

Kanellis made a blind tag though, pulling Kalisto out to hit a sweet Russian leg sweep into the barricade. Back in ring, Kanellis continued to control things until Kalisto turned the tide, hitting a counter DDT and bringing in Dorado for a big comeback. This culminated in a trio of moonsaults but Kanellis broke the fall, only setting him and TJP up for a double golden rewind instead. Somewhat stereo moonsaults came next but as the action returned to the ring, TJP made a counter, applying the knee-bar before Kalisto broke things up.

He then removed Kanellis too, leaving just TJP and Lince as the mask thief stole Dorado’s mask. However, Lince actually had a backup mask on and he quickly took advantage, catching a roll-up on the shocked TJP and giving his team the win. Post-match, Maria calmed her team as they argued among themselves, I’ve enjoyed her presentation on 205 thus far. As for the match itself, it was fine but I’m going to be totally honest in saying that the crowd legitimately hurt it for me. Nonetheless, this was a solid tag outing even if in my view, it failed to really reach the next level.

Grade: C+

It was at this point that we headed to the performance center, with Steve Corino teaching Cedric Alexander all about the mechanics of the industry. Lio Rush was wildly entertained by this, commenting on Cedric’s training before baiting him into a ‘marquee match’ with Lio himself. The ’23 year old piece of gold’ rules.

Lio Rush vs. Josh Morrell

After some early grappling exchanges went his foe’s way, Rush found himself floored by an enzuigiri before turning the tide with a big kick of his own, sending Morrell to the floor. Rush then launched Morrell into the barricade and continued to dominate in-ring too, battering Morrell in the corner. The Final Hour followed, and that was that. Lovely squash, I really enjoy the spiteful element of Rush’s in-ring performance.

Post-match, Rush grabbed a microphone and talked about Cedric’s recent losing streak as well as his return to the PC. Lio then made it clear that no one works harder than him and next week, ‘The Age of Alexander’ meets its final hour. Tremendous promo here and in this five minutes, Rush showed why he’s such a tremendous asset to the Cruiserweight division.

Grade: A

If there’s one thing the WWF are proud of, it’s their initial UK Title Tournament video packages. We see Mark Andrews’ feature here and I can only admire their pride regarding this content.

Before we head to the main event though, it’s time for a brief Mustafa Ali promo about his pursuit of the gold since WrestleMania. Oh and one more thing: next week’s show will also feature Gallagher and Gulak vs. Kendrick and Tozawa…very nice.

Buddy Murphy vs. Mark Andrews

Doesn't look like this one will be going super long but nonetheless, I’m genuinely excited to see Murphy back in action. First though, we got a short Buddy promo in which he discussed fairy-tales and such. In-ring, Murphy immediately cornered Andrews, taking control and grounding his foe right off the bat. Andrews fought to his feet though, unsuccessfully looking to return the favor before finally flooring Murphy himself. Some chops came next but as we all know, Buddy is immune to such things and he continued his momentum, muscling Andrews to the floor before the little welsh fellow used his speed for an advantage.

He then made a big dive over the top, hitting an awesome hurricanrana after being caught in mid-air. Back in-ring though, Murphy immediately turned the tide, throwing Andrews into the corner and emphatically launching him across the ring too. I must say that Andrews was a quite tremendous babyface here, selling with a lovely mix of fire and fear as Murphy slowly worked him over. This included Buddy grabbing a hold before unleashing some violent elbows, and this whole thing ruled excluding the crowd’s saddening disinterest.

Nonetheless, Andrews fired back out of nowhere, scoring a reverse rana before following up with a massive suicide dive. This sent Murphy flying over the announce table and Andrews wouldn't stop his attack either, hunting Buddy down with strikes and using the steps as his ramp for a wacky flip maneuver. As he looked to follow up though, Murphy caught him but Andrews rolled through, hitting a double stomp and standing moonsault for 2. With Andrews looking to close the show, Nigel and co were emphasizing the gravity of this opportunity for him. Stakes, simple but effective.

Nonetheless, a big strike exchange came next, with Andrews coming out on top before being caught and violently power-bombed for his troubles. At this point, the live crowd suddenly began to pretend that they’d been watching all along, applauding politely as Andrews scored STUN DOG MILLIONAIRE out of nowhere. As he headed up top for the shooting star press though, Buddy got his knees up and quickly closed the show, hitting a vicious knee as well as Murphy’s Law for the win.

While probably on the lower end of Buddy’s bangers, this was still a very well-worked match with some neat storytelling elements along the way. My only two gripes have nothing to do with performance honestly, and instead were about this flat crowd as well as the somewhat short match length. With an engaged audience and some more time, I sense this could’ve been quite special. Very good match nonetheless.

Grade: B

Final Thoughts

By 205 Live’s very high standards, this show was relatively underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing bad featured here, but it failed to match its usual heights too, going without anything particularly must-see. The opener was solid and the main event genuinely very good also, but neither will stand out among 205’s best and considering this brand’s consistency, that immediately puts it on the weaker side. Either way, another enjoyable episode here and a main event certainly worth your time.

Grade: B

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