The 205 Live Report Card (8/28/18): Rivalries Renewed

The hottest hour in rasslin (sometimes) is here again and thankfully, there’s good reason to be very excited about it. As I mentioned, last week was a special edition and I’m startled to say that it wasn't even a one-off. Why? Because Buddy Murphy is rasslin again which can only mean one thing, mass Twitter praise, immense gif production and most importantly, moments of genuine fear as we ponder whether or not Buddy has lost his neck. This week he’s facing another masked man but who cares? It’s Buddy, 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.

Mason Madden Recalls Injuring Himself And Omos While Doing Rolls At The Performance Center

Drake Maverick welcomed us and run through this week’s show. His teeth looked white.

The Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa

Last week, Akira Tozawa’s match was stopped before it could start, with Gulak, Gallagher and Kendrick assaulting him to allow for their protest. Considering that, this week an old feud gets a new chapter as Tozawa once again takes on Kendrick, one on one. First though, Kendrick is here to cut a short promo with Gallagher by his side. They bury Toronto and Tozawa…fair. To the action now, and Kendrick bailed out early but Tozawa followed him to the floor, and dropped both Kendrick and Gallagher with a single punch each.

Tozawa continued to flurry in center ring, unleashing his signature offense on Kendrick until a Gallagher interference allowed for a cut off. Kendrick then went to work on the floor, roughing Tozawa up before grabbing a hold back in-ring. ‘The Man with a Plan’ rarely rests here and legitimately works the hold but it didn't last long regardless, as he next grabbed the Captain’s Hook before Tozawa scurried to the ropes. Akira’s comeback soon followed too, including a big dive to the floor as well as a sudden onslaught on Kendrick’s leg.

My god, every time a babyface works a limb, a report card writer weeps in joy. Tozawa was super aggressive here, mercilessly staying on top and quickly closing the show afterwards, hitting his big senton for the win. Wow, this was an emphatic victory for Tozawa and they seemingly represented it as a shift in approach too. As for the match, it was pretty good but honestly, more of a character piece than an athletic showcase.

Grade: C+

Following this, we got a recap of last week’s main event as well as a short promo from Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese. Buddy explained that Kalisto is actually bad, and Tony claimed that ‘The Juggernaut is back.’ He admittedly said this rather cautiously though.  

Hideo Itami vs. Michael Blaise​​​​​​​

Showcase match time pal but first, we get a short selfie promo in which Itami laughed about Mustafa’s recent struggles. As the bell rung, Itami immediately run across the ring, flooring Blaise with a big boot and following up with some more strikes too. Blaise did fire back with some kicks of his own, though a big lariat put an end to that but Itami refused to do the same for the match, delaying the pin-fall just like last time and instead opting to score some massive dropkicks in the corner.

Eventually though, Mustafa Ali arrived and hit the ring as Itami bailed through the crowd. This was a fine little segment, and I do thoroughly enjoy Itami as a heel. Overall though, it was obviously nothing must-see and to be fair, I don’t think it was ever intended to be.

Grade: B

Before we move to the main event, it’s time for a recap of last week’s Gulak/Alexander segment. We also get a brief Cedric promo in which he announced that next week, he’ll call Drew out so they can finish what they started. Cool, they’ll actually be rasslin each other tomorrow night in London though so thankfully, I don’t have to wait too long. Speaking of such, I’ll be doing a report card for that show…yes, 3 report cards in 2 days. Yep, that’s a thing I’m doing...yep.

Buddy Murphy vs. Kalisto​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

t’s time pal and I must say, I absolutely love that this is being called a “highly anticipated rematch” when part one hasn't been mentioned once since it first happened. All hail. Both men are accompanied by their pals here and as random ‘Buddy Murphy’ chants commence, the Aussie overpowered Kalisto early. Some ‘LUCHA’ shouting came back in response, but Buddy quickly returned to the power game and maintained control. Some wacky rope walking then scared the life out of me, but Kalisto came out on top regardless, hitting a dive onto both Nese and Murphy.

This led to all 5 men coming face to face which allowed Buddy to seize, flooring Kalisto as the others left center ring. Kalisto fired back though, sending Murphy to the floor and landing a kick before his dive attempt was caught, directly into a simply insane suplex. This led to more pushing and shoving from those at ringside, which rightly resulted in Metalik and Dorado being sent to the back. Good officiating pal. Even better, Buddy and Tony were immensely smug here and Nigel too, great stuff.

Now in control, Murphy unleashed some kicks to the spine as Vic pointed out that this rivalry goes all the way back to NXT, when Blake and Murphy won the tag titles off of the Lucha Dragons…my god. Meanwhile, Kalisto grabbed a sleeper hold but was quickly thrown off, eating a knee for his troubles. Buddy was talking to a fan at this point and whilst that rules, Kalisto used it as a chance to create some space. As he looked to take advantage though, Nese swept his leg out in a flashback to last week.

This meant that he was now removed from ringside too, and it was now well and truly 1-on-1. That gave Kalisto the perfect chance for his comeback and it arrived right away, even with some adjustments along the way. Buddy had some dope counters here, but Kalisto eventually hit two obscene rana's, both of which Murphy opted to take directly on his brain. Kalisto’s Salida Del Sol attempt was countered but that didn't stop him from landing an insane superkick, allowing for another false finish as this match began to really shift through the gears.

As they fought to the apron, Buddy violently launched Kalisto onto the announce table and then began to batter Kalisto on the floor. He even broke the count here before landing a KO knee that only heightened the crowd’s excitement. Buddy was initially happy with the count-out win this time but opted against it at 9, getting flipped over the barricade for his troubles. Friends, this is now officially insane. Cowardly heel Kalisto was much happier with a count-out win, but Buddy got in at 9, eating another spike rana for 2.

Massive ‘This is Awesome’ chants came in response and my god, rightly so. Regardless, a sit-out powerbomb turned the tide for Buddy but it was still only 2 as ‘205’ chants emerged. As Murphy looked for his finish, Kalisto caught a quick roll-up but then run into a massive knee as finally, Murphy’s Law closed the show. Wow, this has to be one of my favorite 205 main events of all time. It had immaculate athleticism, genuine drama and moreover, hooked the crowd to a level rarely seen on this show.

Just a staggering match, thrilling from start to finish. Kalisto was great here and I don’t want to undersell the part he played but goodness gracious good balls of fire, Buddy Murphy is currently on a unique run of sheer excellence. It’s painfully obvious to me that he should be winning this title in Melbourne too, that’s a moment he genuinely deserves and that’s an overused phrase in something as silly as pro rasslin.

Grade: A*

Final Thoughts

With a solid first 30 minutes, this show laid the foundations for the main event and thankfully, it delivered in a big way. With a slightly more impactful opener, this would have easily been the best 205 Live I’d have ever reviewed but as is, it remains one of the stronger ones regardless. That main event was must-see on any scale either way and that’s what really matters: producing elite in-ring action that stands above its fellow WWE programming. Just a remarkable match to cap off a thoroughly enjoyable 50 minutes. Great job.

Grade: A

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