The 205 Live Report Card (7/31/18): Contracts and Chants

After months of being in the shadows, we found out this week that 205 Live is headed back to the bright lights. On the SummerSlam pre-show at about noon, Cedric Alexander will defend his Cruiserweight title opposite Drew Gulak. First though, the champion will take on Gulak’s pal and peer: The Brian Kendrick. Other than that, I have no earthly idea what’s happening but what does that matter? This is 205 pal, land of the flips and home of the thigh slap…let’s rock and roll.

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 things started with a recap of last week’s main event and more importantly, Drew Gulak’s heroic triumph. Beautiful, I could watch this all day long.

Kalisto

Opening bout time now as my escape from this match sadly comes to an end, with Kalisto finally settling the score opposite Tony Nese. From the first bell, Kalisto was overpowered and this led to domination for Nese as the masked man did nothing but sell. The commentary team informed us at this juncture that Nese and Buddy (who’s watching along backstage) feel that the House Party lads don’t look superstars. Fair.

Eventually, Kalisto’s comeback arrived but it was rather brief as Nese floored him just moments after a big springboard cross-body. After sustaining some more damage, Kalisto avoided Nese’s moonsault and spiked him for 2. He then looked for Salida Del Sol but Nese countered again. Now frustrated though, Nese then walked himself directly into Salida Del Sol as Kalisto got the win. Post-match, Buddy Murphy arrived to confront Kalisto, preventing the little fellow from running away. He then looked to murder Kalisto but Lince made the save and a double-superkick left Buddy floored.

As for the match, it was fine. For Kalisto specifically, he sold for 90% of this match in order to protect Nese and that limits how much I can say here. He sold well enough though and I really have no complaints. Decent match but nothing more.

Grade: B-

Tony Nese

As I’ve already mentioned, this match was pretty much all Nese from start to finish. With the finish not going his way, a clear effort was made to protect him via the actual content bell to bell. I did enjoy elements of it too, with his power being established immediately as well as some rough house tactics in the corner too. His speed was prevalent early too, dynamically flooring Kalisto and going to work on the outside.

There was some stalling in the heat segment but that was mostly overshadowed by Nese’s impressive striking and power offense. Overall, I’d say that Nese was good here and as was intended, looked strong in defeat. Whilst this match was nothing I’ll be going back to re-watch, it did effectively progress this recent conflict and that was the real key.

Grade: B

The Brock Lesnar of 205 Live?!

Contract signing time now as we make the SummerSlam match official. Cedric initially halted Gulak’s attempt at trash talk here, signing the contract right away and handing it over. Drew continued regardless, claiming that Alexander has been absent whilst the workhorses built the purple brand up. He even called him “The Brock Lesnar of 205 Live.” In response, Cedric promised “a world of hurt” for Kendrick as Gulak left.

This was a fun little talking segment that didn't overstay its welcome and more than that, felt fitting for the ‘sport-style presentation’ of this show. Gulak obviously did most of the talking here and unsurprisingly, he did it well.

Grade: B

Lio Rush

Showcase match time now as Lio Rush is HERE TO COLLECT. He’s got a microphone in hand too and says that though people are angry about him not giving Tozawa a rematch, he’s a commodity and that in Ricky Martinez, he’s found a far better opponent anyway. He calls Martinez the real deal, and he’d indeed have some early success too before Rush’s speed took control. A big suicide dive followed and a wacky kick too before Rush closed the show via Final Hour. Well, that was quick.

Post-match, the aforementioned Tozawa arrived and hit the ring but Rush bailed. Hmmm, I sense that these two men will be wrestling again soon. Just a hunch.

Grade: B+

The Brian Kendrick vs. Cedric Alexander

Main event time pal as some grappling exchanges got us started. We reached a stalemate early until Alexander’s speed took control, flurrying before landing a few big chops, and a beautiful dropkick too. This brought out Drew Gulak though, distracting Cedric enough for Kendrick to hide under the ring…yep. To be fair, he swiftly cut Alexander off from there, yanking him into the apron and launching him into the steps. The veteran was now in control, going to work as the crowd chanted “this is boring.”

A fiery back and forth of strikes picked things up a little until Kendrick chucked Cedric into the corner but Alexander continued to rally, throwing Brian to the floor and hitting a big dive that looked like pure agony. He followed up with a salvo of strikes too, rocking Kendrick and hitting his big clothesline for 2. Kendrick did manage to avoid the Lumbar Check but couldn't capitalize, getting rocked by a big elbow as well as the Neuralyzer.

Brian rolled to the apron though, smartly pulling Cedric to the floor. He then caught the Captain’s Hook out of nowhere and for all of Alexander’s selling efforts, this crowd just didn't care even if both men desperately tried to inject some drama. Cedric indeed made it to the ropes and then evaded an attempt to re-apply the hold, instead hitting a big rasslin move for 2. A final strike exchange came next with Kendrick rocking Alexander via superkick before the champ hit Lumbar Check out of nowhere for the win.

The finish looked great here and Cedric stared right at Gulak after scoring the victory. Eventually though, that only allowed Gallagher to attack, flooring Alexander with a violent head-butt. However, as the heels looked to add insult to injury, Maverick stopped them in their tracks and threatened to take away Gulak’s title opportunity. The heels scurried away in response but they’d inflicted some damage in the process. This was an objectively good match but considering the constant uphill battle with these crowds, it felt a little too basic considering 205’s branding of ‘excitement’.

A well-worked match? Undeniably but any different than what’s seen on RAW and SmackDown? Not particularly no. To reiterate, that’s not a big criticism but it did make for a main event even more lacking in crowd engagement than usual. Moreover, you didn't have to be a Report Card master to know the finish here, and that never helps the intrigue either. Nonetheless, I liked this match even if it probably wasn't an ideal advert for 205 Live in general.

Grade: B-

Final Thoughts

Whilst this was certainly not a bad show, it was very much an unremarkable one by the brand’s own high standards. Neither the opener nor the main event quite reached that next level and with only a Lio Rush showcase featured elsewhere, that made for a somewhat underwhelming show. On the other hand, the inevitable Alexander/Gallagher match will likely deliver in a big way, and I’d look for an increase in Buddy’s involvement opposite the Lucha’s to improve things too. Basically, this was a show that neatly furthered things without threatening to make any real impact. That’s about it.

Grade: B-

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