In an ideal world, a feud’s blow-off match comes with great anticipation and fanfare. If it’s really done well, you may even sense a genuine desperation to see the tale’s hero prevail. The beauty of the blow-off though is that there’s two sides to this metaphorical coin. Sure that shiny side is impressive, a rarely seen magic that was once the difference between a wrestling promotion succeeding or failing. On the other hand, it can also be the last time you’ll ever have to see tiresome rivals wrestle each other before they finally move onto something else.
This week on 205 Live, The Lucha House Party wrestles Gulak, Kendrick and Gallagher one last time…you can decide which side of the coin that this match falls on for you.
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.
We get tonight’s broadcast started with a Drake Maverick intro as he runs through tonight’s somewhat underwhelming line-up.
To the ring now as Akira Tozawa takes on Tony Nese. As usual, Tozawa got the crowd going here with some AHHH cries and quickly floored Nese with his trademark fake-out punch. After being stunned by some Nese strikes, Tozawa fired back again too, hitting a kick/senton combo. However, his attempt at a cross-body off the apron was halted and Nese took control. As you’d expect, Tozawa sold well throughout this portion and eventually created some space before making a comeback, rallying with a shining wizard and the suicide dive to the floor.
A big dropkick off the top came next and Tozawa headed back up on two occasions but was cut off both times. On the 2nd counter though, Tozawa fought off a superplex attempt and hit his big senton for the win. Nice little match here that Tozawa sold for much of. Nonetheless, he’s undeniably excellent even when not overly under the spotlight.
Raging lunatic Buddy Murphy was here with Tony this week but he didn't follow him to the ring which was a tremendous clue that Nese was losing. Back on topic, my enjoyment of Nese continues to be inconsistent as I swing from being impressed by his immense athleticism to very quickly finding myself uninterested in what comes in-between. Either way, I did enjoy his cut-off here as he caught Tozawa on the outside and slammed him on the apron. He then took control in center ring and hit a tremendous moonsault for 2 before grabbing a torture rack.
Again, all of this sounds awesome and to be fair, it looked great too. I guess my general issue is just the overall vibe of Nese. His aggression seemingly lacks an authenticity or urgency to me. Not that he’s bad in control at all, it just feels a little lifeless to me. Nonetheless, I’m always a proponent of gut-busters and Nese hit a very nice one here. Finally, he did show some extra intensity down the stretch, literally removing Tozawa’s mouthpiece with an uppercut. He does have to start winning matches though, otherwise the Buddy alliance is already rendered rather pointless.
Following this, we got a recap of Hideo Itami’s win in last week’s triple threat. This led to a backstage segment involving Cedric Alexander and Drake Maverick. The champ says that Hideo should be the #1 contender and whilst hesitant, Drake says that he’ll consider it.
Time for “205’s biggest debut ever” now as Lio Rush takes on the interestingly named Dewey James. Look, Rush is a very small man but “LIO” chants quickly emerged here nonetheless. Rush very much established himself as the villain though, slowly taking off his jewelry even after the bell had rung. Once ready, Rush slapped James in the face before sprinting around him and landing a kick to the face. This brought more chants in response as Lio sent James to the floor with a pretty awesome handstand kick.
One more kick followed in center ring and Rush then headed up top to hit a big frog splash for the quick win. Post-match, Lio Rush spoke in a short interview and said that’s he’s the man of the hour which means it’s his time, and that 205 Live is “gonna feel that rush”. Tremendous showing for Lio not just athletically but also as a character. He’s a great addition to this roster even if I’m still unsure of the eventual match layouts we’ll see when he meets some of the bigger babyfaces.
I feel like heat-heavy matches would look kind of silly but we’ll see.
Back to Cedric now who’s being interviewed about his intriguing support of Itami’s title cause. He explained that as the face of 205 Live, he can’t turn down challengers and speaking of such, Itami suddenly emerged. They immediately pushed each other back and forth, forcing Maverick and some back up to split them up. I sense that this eventual match will be tremendous fun, that’s my only real take.
Speaking of such, next week will be part 4 of the Mustafa Ali/Buddy Murphy cinematic universe. Better yet, it’ll be NO DQ….well lads, it’s been nice knowing these two men but next week promises to be very, very scary. Pray for them friends, I know I will be.
6-Man Elimination Tag
The Lucha House Party vs. Gulak and the Gentlemen with a Plan
Though I may have entered this one with some trepidation, Nigel has called already Penelope Gulak a disgrace which has instantly cheered me right up. To the action now as the lucha lads immediately sent the heels off the apron and hit a big dive each to leave all three of their foes floored. We then moved in-ring with the babyfaces using quick tags to further their early momentum. In seconds, Metalik seemingly had Jack beat with a big ropewalk splash but Kendrick broke the fall at 2.9.
Metalik briefly continued to flurry regardless, but Gulak soon cut him off and allowed Gallagher to halt his dive with a headbutt, scoring the match’s first elimination. Wow, I’ve often felt as though this feud was just an elaborate rib on me and Metalik being the first masked man eliminated only strengthens my growing conspiracy. Nonetheless, Kendrick and Lince squared off next as Dorado run wild, hitting a big crossbody for 2 before being cut off on the top rope as the heels took control.
At one point during this heat segment, poor Lince’s mask fell off and he scurried to the outside in response. Thankfully, his mask was quickly reapplied, neatly allowing the heels to go back to work, grounding him some more. Kendrick specifically focused on Lince’s arm here which encouraged Nigel to show Vic how such a hold feels…what a delight Mr McGuinness really is on this show. Either way, they continued to rough Dorado up and illegally used the numbers advantage that as Nigel rightly pointed out, they had earned by pinning Metalik.
Out of nowhere though, Lince dragged things back in the lucha’s favour, eliminating Kendrick with a sudden Golden Rewind. This understandably stunned Gulak and Gallagher for a moment but Jack quickly continued the heat even with the numbers now evened up. There was some pretty nasty stuff from the heels here and in response, the people began to clap for a potential Kalisto hot tag. Just in time, Lince soon fought free too, creating a double down and looking set to make the tag until a returning Kendrick yanked Kalisto off the apron, allow Lince’s elimination via the Gu-Lock.
This was tremendous heel work and left just Kalisto who immediately rallied, forcing Gallagher to keep Gulak alive by breaking a pin. Jack then pulled Kalisto to the floor and went to work on the outside. Incredibly, loud “CHEATER” chants suddenly emerged and this heat quite visibly thrilled the heels as they continued to dominate Kalisto. However, he eventually countered a double team attempt, kicking Gulak off whilst hitting Salida Del Sol to eliminate Gallagher. It’s now officially down to just Kalisto and Gulak…let’s go pal!
Desperate to take out his anger, Kalisto immediately jumped on Gulak with some kicks and a big dive to the floor. The springboard crossbody followed for a huge false finish that Gulak absolutely maximized, bringing some real drama here down the stretch. He then pushed Kalisto’s Salida Del Sol attempt off and hit a big lariat for 2. One final Salida Del Sol try came next but Drew yanked Kalisto’s mask and snatched the GU-LOCK to secure the win. Drew was so overjoyed in fact that he even threw Penelope into the crowd, and rightly so too!
Personally, I’ve struggled to get invested in this feud but I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed this blow-off match. Elimination tags feel rather rare at this point and this one was smartly put together without being at all over-reliant on flashy sequences. This really was a very strong main event and I look forward to seeing what these gentlemen do next…some more than others though of course.
Any episode of 205 Live that doesn't feature Mustafa Ali or Buddy Murphy is bound to underwhelm slightly but nonetheless, I have to concede that this week’s main event over delivered for me greatly. Couple that with Lio Rush’s tremendous debut and I think it’s fair to say that this was a strong episode of the little lad brand. Nese/Tozawa was solid too and best of all, next week’s show is already set to be a standout one with a main event that promises to be nothing short of extraordinary. See you all then gang…well actually, I hope to see you all tomorrow for the NXT Report Card but whatever, no need to be rude about it.