The 205 Live Report Card (5/29/18): A Cruiserweight Classic

We are just a week removed from the 205 Live Report Card’s debut and it’s fair to say that thus far, it’s been a rousing success. To the surprise of many, my general hatred for all things excitement was muted as I proudly praised everything seen and had a great time doing so. Well, this week the hits just keep on coming as in a major 205 main event, Cedric Alexander defends his Cruiserweight crown against Buddy Murphy. No shenanigans here, I’m just very excited to watch this match and with that in mind, let’s get things started.

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. 

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We get things started as you’d expect, with a big-time video package about tonight’s main event. This gave the whole thing even more importance and so did the fact that this was 205 Live’s first title match since October…wow.

The Gentlemen with a Plan

Our first match of the night brings us some tag team action as Kendrick and Gallagher take on Lince Dorado and Kalisto. Our friend and hero Drew Gulak is on commentary and just like me, he has a big smile on his face. Whilst on this topic, I must compliment Nigel McGuinness who in a delightful heel touch, already had one of Gulak’s pamphlets in his pocket. Tremendous. Either way, now to the match, Kendrick immediately grounded Dorado but Lince quickly rallied nonetheless, flurrying to take control.

Kendrick was on the receiving end of some wacky tag team offense but a quick tag allowed Gallagher to regain momentum. From there Jack briefly went to work, putting a hold on Lince to slow the pace. He soon brought Kalisto in though who ran wild to mild excitement. The heels’ grip on things quickly returned either way, with a blind tag allowing Kendrick to jump Kalisto from behind before isolating him along with Gallagher.

This was good, even if not exactly gripping stuff, but Kalisto eventually fought free and made the tag. With Kendrick soon taken out, Gallagher distracted the referee and suddenly fed up of the whole thing, Gulak yanked Dorado from the top rope. Kendrick seized, snatching the Pirate’s Hook to score the win. Solid showing for a team that I sense in the right scenario, can probably put on something quite spectacular.

Grade: B-

Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado & Kalisto)

Oh dear. Last week I survived a Lucha House Party showing but sadly, it seems that Hunter is tempting fate once again. Before the action, we got a short promo here in which all three men shouted at me…disgusting. Nonetheless, the babyfaces’ initial shine was neat, with Dorado showing off some flashy offense before the duo also used some cool tandem offense. Dorado was soon cut off but the real heat came on Kalisto who all things considered, sold decently.

Lince’s eventual hot tag was rather wacky and included offense that ranged from comical to impressive, ideal really. The big dive was a strong way to cap that comeback off though and overall, this was a fine performance in a mostly unremarkable match. It did further this recent conflict though, and that’s one that thankfully contains Gulak who at the commentary desk, was the star of this match. The Lucha lads were decent nonetheless.

Grade: B-

Following this we got a recap of last week’s tremendous main event between Akira Tozawa and Hideo Itami and after that, some short clips of different Cruiserweights predicting tonight’s main event result.

Before we could get to that main event though, Drake Maverick spoke of his excitement for the match whilst also dismissing TJP’s recent frustrations.

WWE Cruiserweight Title

Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander (C)

Good lord, it’s already on? Well, this is about to get some serious time friends so get your seatbelts on. I’m delighted to say that just from the pre-match introductions, it was clear that this home-state crowd would very much be behind Alexander here and rightfully so. Regardless, we went straight into some back and forth grappling exchanges. The first of these allowed an element of the story to be quickly established as initially, Murphy overpowered Cedric more than once.

They then did the wrestle to a face-off thing which basically asks people to clap. On this occasion, they clapped. Both guys continued to be a step ahead of the other, countering their foe’s offense without either ever gaining an advantage. This really isn’t my thing and is a little too theatrical for me personally but the people were loving it here and considering that, who cares about my take right?!

You do, you care about my take….that’s how you should’ve just answered my question. Congrats to those of you that passed this test, your efforts are appreciated.

Nonetheless, Cedric eventually got the upper hand, flooring Buddy with a beautiful dropkick before being tackled into the corner. Cedric then created some space and took advantage, scoring with an assault of big kicks. “Let’s Go Cedric” chants followed and the people were very much with this match thus far. As Alexander basked in the glory though, Murphy pulled his foot out on the announce table before slamming him onto the apron.

The immediate intensity switch from Murphy here was simply immaculate. The heat was now on boys and girls. He went straight to work too, throwing some vile kicks to Alexander’s spine. Cedric’s back was now Buddy’s focus, brutally launching Cedric into the corner twice. The champion sold this excellently, he was constantly desperate to fight back whilst still portraying the sheer agony with everything he had. The excellent work of both men was validated by the crowd’s response too, as they didn’t lose interest throughout, instead only becoming more engrossed by the minute.

More kicks directly to the back followed before Murphy shifted to a rear chin-lock with his knee driving into Alexander’s spine. He then just began to forearm Cedric in the kidney until Alexander fired back with some strikes of his own, stunning Buddy and flurrying before being dropped by the challenger’s leg lariat. This allowed Murphy to continue his work on the spine but Alexander earned some reprieve, scoring with a massive superkick that left both men floored. Eventually, a big forearm exchange came next and after neatly laying the foundations, this had now become tremendous drama all round.

Cedric came out on top of the strike battle and then hit his always tremendous dive to the floor. With a hot crowd for 205 Live, the production crew grabbed this opportunity with both hands, shooting multiple individual fans as they went insane. Not even going to lie, this got me even more fired up. Back to the action and Cedric’s big springboard clothesline came next as the crowd roared with “THIS IS AWESOME” chants. Murphy soon turned things around though, kicking Alexander to the floor before hitting a dive of his own that had me audibly screaming at 3:42 am.

Buddy then headed up top but Cedric evaded and hit a rasslin manoeuvre for a tremendous false finish that the crowd genuinely popped for. He then looked for the Lumbar Check but his back prevented it long enough for Murphy to recover, and turn it around with a couple big kicks as well as his running suplex for another 2 count. This brought big Cedric chants and rightly so. Murphy then followed Alexander to the apron and looked for a suplex but Cedric kicked free, hitting an insane flat-liner on the apron.

Just as you’d expect, Buddy took this the only way he knows how: by spiking his brain into the canvas violently. This was a wild spot but the match then breathed as both men sold, eventually scrambling back inside at the count of 9. Murphy was seemingly exhausted though and with one big forearm, he was down again. As Alexander went for the *checks notes* Neuralizer though, Buddy caught him and transitioned into that awesome DDT that he apparently does now. Both men then staggered in opposing corners, visibly weakened.

Murphy called Cedric on regardless, and both men began to brawl in an exhilarating sequence that culminated in Buddy dropping Alexander with a vicious knee to the brain. Cedric managed to kick out again and as Murphy looked for his finish, Alexander rolled through for a quick roll-up. Buddy escaped though and hit a power-bomb as well as another huge strike but once again, Alexander somehow survived. Cedric then heroically rallied, scoring two outrageous Neuralizers as well as the Lumbar Check to retain his title.

Wow, where to start. I’m speaking on excitement here but to me, this felt like a pivotal match for 205 Live. Through a combination of the build-up, the relatively invested crowd and the skill of both men, this match delivered in astonishing fashion. It was a simply absorbing affair, genuinely gripping from start to finish. Some great character stuff was the perfect icing on a cake that at its core, was filled to the brim with athletic and technical brilliance.

On instinct, I’d have thought Buddy was the ideal winner here but in hindsight, this was a key moment for Cedric and provided he gets the belt eventually, this only helped Murphy long-term. For Alexander, this was a standout showing that captured what he’s capable of when playing pure babyface, a role rather difficult but one that Cedric nailed nonetheless. As a match, this elevated the title dramatically in my view and left me feeling genuinely thrilled by what I’d just seen. Honestly, this was one of my favorite matches in recent memory, simply magnificent.

Grade: A*

Final Thoughts

This was a one match show and on this occasion, I mean that as a massive compliment. Other than the solid opening tag, this whole broadcast was built on the title match and considering what they achieved, rightly so. It’s irrelevant that this show hinged on one match because that match delivered so extraordinarily that this show is impossible for me to critique. For 205 Live, this is the level that considering their product, I imagine they’ll forever strive for. It felt important and exceeded all the hype, leaving what I hope will be lasting memories in my mind.

To conclude, big thumbs up for allowing two elite talents to go out there and make magic. Great to see.

Grade: A*

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