In life, there are very few things I love:
Alicia Keys’ vocals, JJ Redick’s shooting form and finally, the very underused babyface turn fake-out promo that Alexa Bliss absolutely, definitely never fooled you with.
Oh, and tournaments, think that was my point here. Yep, definitely was, 205 Live is doing a tournament and I’m excited. Why? Because it’s one of the four things I love…4th on that list but still, it made the cut at least.
Anyway, let’s rock and roll pal. All hail.
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.
Kalisto vs. Tony Nese
Right into our first tournament matchup here as Kalisto takes on Tony Nese. First though, Kalisto briefly discussed his WrestleMania experience in a pre-taped promo. To the action now as Nese’s power put him in control early, forcing his foe to the mat and wearing him down while Buddy Murphy watched on backstage. In-ring, Kalisto quickly fired back, using some acrobatics to gain momentum and then sending Nese to the floor with a sharp kick to the head. He followed him there too, landing a big dive and following up with a springboard cross-body for 2.
Insanity came next, with matrix evasive action taking center stage until Nese simply back body dropped Kalisto on the floor. He then used the barricade to his advantage as well, launching Kalisto around before returning him to the ring. It was there that Kalisto soon turned the tide, making a comeback that culminated in a basement rana for 2. The action then headed up top, with Nese stopping Kalisto in his tracks and then German suplexing his foe from the middle rope. Nese’s follow-up 450 missed though, with Kalisto seizing by hitting a 450 splash of his own.
Nonetheless, Nese got his foot on the bottom rope but Kalisto continued to flurry, landing another sharp strike for 2. A superkick came next but Nese then reset things, using his legs to launch Kalisto over his head. With the action back at square one, Kalisto looked to score a quick win but was soon caught and as a result, thrown into the corner with a violent German suplex. The Running Kneese came next and that was all she wrote. This result left the champ overjoyed, even encouraging people to celebrate around him.
The continued development of Tony Nese is probably my favorite element of this show right now. In-ring, he gets better every week and the character is steadily evolving too. Kalisto proved an ideal opponent here and this was an explosive offensive showcase that I thoroughly enjoyed. Tremendous start to the tournament pal, great work.
Off backstage now as Gentleman Jack Gallagher critiques Humberto Carrillo’s performance from last week. Jack explained the power of the wrist-lock and then told Carrillo to simply watch Gulak’s performance tonight.
Following that, we got a recap of last week’s main event before heading to Drake Maverick’s office as Mike and Maria pleaded their case. Drake refused this but complimented Mike’s performance, telling him that he’ll be in “a match” next week. Maria seemingly misunderstood this news.
Drew Gulak vs. The Brian Kendrick
Main event time now and a feeling out process got this one started, with the former friends exchanging positions before inevitably reaching a stalemate. It was Gulak that then began to take control though, steadily getting the better of things and landing a German suplex to almost close the show early. A submission hold followed that and then a lariat for 2 as well. Gulak was really dominating things here, working Kendrick over until Brian fired back with a pair of arm-drags and then applying the arm-bar too.
Drew quickly countered though, regaining control as the crowd unleashed a “this is boring” chant. Wow, this didn’t surprise me but was still pretty disappointing as honestly, I’d loved every minute of this match so far. More on that later though as in-ring, Kendrick rallied, flurrying with strikes as well as a back body drop for 2. A leg trapped German came in response and then another lariat also, putting Gulak back on top as he went to work with stomps.
He countered Sliced Bread #2 also, thinking Gu-Lock but instead having it countered as Kendrick applied Captain’s Hook. A fishhook forced Drew free though, allowing him to hit a powerbomb for 2. With both men fatigued, Kendrick briefly rallied but Gulak countered, applying the Gu-Lock to swiftly close the show.
Well, the crowd was borderline angry at the end here, but I’m not going to overanalyze that as it’s simply a result of the hand these rasslers are dealt. As someone invested in both characters though, this match was thoroughly enjoyable and built perfectly. The actual execution was brilliant and its pacing was very much my cup of tea. My only ‘complaint’ is that even if the crowd didn’t, I personally wanted more. The final chapter felt a little rushed in my view.
Even still, I very much enjoyed this match.
Post-match, we are told about next week’s two tournament matches. Cedric Alexander will take on Akira Tozawa and Humberto Carrillo will face ONEY LORCAN….OH MY GOD ALL HAIL.
This was obviously an important episode for the 205 Live brand and frankly, I felt it delivered. Two contrasting but for me, equally enjoyable tournament matches that filled an episode that only took up 44 minutes of my time. Can’t argue with that, just a very worthwhile rasslin investment. Roll on next week and the arrival of King Oney. Very excited.
Grade: Yep, You Guessed It....B+