This is a very simple intro to write. I’m here, Oney is here and less importantly, you’re here too. Tournaments rule, I spoke about this (as well as Alicia Keys’ vocals) last week. What more do you want to know pal?! It’s 205, it’s Live and I’m fired up about it my god.
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.
Before heading to the ring, it was first time for a video package about Oney Lorcan’s ability to adapt. What he means by this is that no matter who you are, Oney will uppercut your face off. That’s tactics for you, everyone’s different. In response, Carrillo had a short promo of his own, briefly talking about keeping the WrestleMania dream alive.
Oney Lorcan vs. Humberto Carrillo
To the ring now as after exchanging holds early, Carrillo soon gained control, flurrying with some of his usual offense and avoiding Lorcan’s outbursts too. Oney soon exploded though, becoming fired up and unleashing a salvo of wild strikes. A suplex on the outside came next and Lorcan looked for a count-out win as backstage, Gulak and Gallagher watched on while wearing shirts featuring nothing but Humberto’s face. All hail. Now in control, Oney continued to score with strikes, landing more violent chops as well as a sudden European uppercut for 2.
He then grabbed a hold and to their credit, the crowd somewhat rooted Carrillo to his feet. From there, a brief exchange of strikes commenced but Lorcan came out on top, continuing to dominate things until a flurry of kicks turned the tide. A big dive came next, with Carrillo then landing a wacky moonsault in center ring. A 2nd dive soon followed as well but Oney quickly responded, landing a vicious European uppercut as both men fought to the apron.
An exchange of strikes put Lorcan in control and he seized, landing a fisherman suplex on the apron as brief ‘ONEY’ chants commenced. Even still, Humberto kicked out and then almost caught a quick roll-up as well. A superkick then put him firmly in control, rocking Lorcan and following up with some admitted messiness that culminated in a sit-out powerbomb for 2. With the Submission Commission rooting him on backstage, Carrillo naively headed up top next though and he quickly paid the price.
Lorcan got his feet up, landed a vicious lariat and closed the show, landing his half and half suplex for the win. Like all of Carrillo’s matches so far, this one took a while to hook me. Early on, I didn’t feel the lay-out spotlighted Lorcan’s strengths particularly well but once the pace picked up, Oney was rolling. While I’m still not sure that Humberto was the ideal first opponent for Lorcan, the final product was an exciting one, especially down the stretch. Good match with a surprising but smart finish.
Post-match, we see Gulak storming off while elsewhere, Mike Kanellis’ confusion came to the fore. After asking about his promised match on this week’s show, Mike and Maria were stunned to find out that their opponent will be a “local competitor.” This is supposedly due to Mike’s win/loss record but Maria cut Maverick off, warning him not to patronize them.
Colby Corino vs. Mike Kanellis
Mike is facing a totally unfamiliar name and face here but before the bell could even ring, Kanellis jumped Corino, exploding with strikes. Enraged, Mike continued his assault too, next landing a brutal lariat as well as his Reverse DDT finish. This one is a no contest pal.
Grade: ASR (All Squashes Rule)
Tony Nese is talking to his selfie camera next, promising to overcome a challenge that he’s struggled with before: beating Drew Gulak. Wow, I think he’s actually winning this thing…all hail.
Elsewhere, Cedric Alexander is sitting alone in a purple room. It was here that he cut a very effective promo about reclaiming his Cruiserweight Title. This worked and felt very believable, an athlete that behind the pride, is still somewhat questioning himself.
Akira Tozawa vs. Cedric Alexander
Main event time pal and a handshake got this one underway, with the pair quickly exchanging holds from there. A not so smooth back and forth came next, trading moves until Tozawa took control. Cedric soon cut him off though, violently targeting his foe’s midsection and then following him to the outside. Alexander unleashed some chops from there and continued his targeting in-ring. Cedric was very serious here and considering his pre-match promo, that makes a lot of sense.
Either way, Alexander then blocked Tozawa’s senton as well, getting his knees up and as a result, damaging Akira’s midsection even more. Cedric then kicked Tozawa to the outside and used the apron to continue his attack. Akira eventually fought free though, creating some space and unleashing chops as well as his fake-out punch also. The hurricanrana came next and then Tozawa’s famed dive too. He headed up top from there, landing his missile dropkick for 2.
The German suplex was Tozawa’s next focus but his injury had slowed him slightly so instead, he simply had to settle for the Octopus Stretch. Alexander powered free though, slamming Akira to the mat and then landing his springboard facebuster thingy for 2. A brutal, mouthpiece removing exchange of strikes then reset things, with Tozawa constantly avoiding Lumbar Check while in the process, landing a massive counter DDT. An inverted rana off the middle rope came next but Alexander somehow kicked out nonetheless while in the meantime, “205” chants commenced.
As both men fought to their feet, Tozawa suddenly caught the Octopus Stretch again but after an immense struggle, Cedric powered free only to eat a German suplex for his troubles. The senton was Tozawa’s next intention but his injury had slowed him, allowing Alexander to hook his leg and hit Lumbar Check for the win.
This match was delightful. Cedric was more serious than ever, purposely limiting the flashier part of his offense and instead working a physical, hard-hitting style that worked brilliantly with Tozawa. All of his work on the mid-section made sense and due to Tozawa’s immense selling, it proved important too. This was a lengthy match that had me hooked from start to finish, really effective pacing and their work built neatly to the climax. Excellent work from two of this brand’s best. Loved it.
Post-match, Cedric and Tozawa shared an embrace and I absolutely, definitely didn’t cry in response. All hail.
When the crowd is even somewhat engaged, this show becomes an even better watch. It’s simple, easy to follow and exciting while not overstaying it’s welcome along the way. The tournament has allowed the show to thrive in its best form too: the sports style approach that really sets this show apart within the WWE landscape. It’s just a great investment of your time and frankly, that’s been the case for over a year at this point too.