The 205 Live Report Card (9/11/18): Opening Match Murphy?

Last week, 205 Live’s format was seemingly altered slightly. Seven days later, and it seems that this trend is set to continue, with a very traditional tag match booked for our opening bout of the evening. New format or old format though, one thing never changes: Main Event Murphy. ‘The Aussie Action Hero’ has a proven track record of closing match magic and I’m delighted to say that this week, his dance partner just happens to be one of earth’s finest masked men. Let’s rock and roll pal.

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.

Following this, we are treated to some analysis from our delightful announce team as…oh hang on a second, it seems there’s been a technical error of some sort…Buddy Murphy’s music is playing about 40 minutes before it’s supposed to. How embarrassing!

Buddy Murphy vs. Gran Metalik

Hang on, what’s going on right now? Buddy is actually here and so is Mr Metalik…have I missed the first half of this show or something? Well, it seems Hunter and co must’ve made an error in editing…I guess I’ll just review it as it appears. To the action now, and some grappling exchanges got things started as two valiant females unleashed ‘Buddy Murphy’ chants in a resolute response to the silence.

In-ring, Murphy and Metalik were doing the whole ‘it’s a stalemate pal’ gimmick initially, but Metalik’s speed then came to the fore until Buddy evaded him on the outside and unleashed a big forearm. He then began to launch the masked man into the barricade before getting distracted and allowing Metalik to seize with a massive moonsault from the top rope to the floor. Murphy again cut him off soon enough though, driving Metalik’s head into the ring-post and taking control, grabbing a hold like all the great villains that have come before him.

He then placed his man on the top rope and began to think superplex until Metalik fought free, hitting a sunset powerbomb of his own. A big comeback followed too, including some springboard action as well as a couple of big strikes too. A superkick then stopped Murphy in his tracks but as Metalik looked to double up on his moonsaults, Buddy cut him off and soon turned the tide, catching his foe with a spectacular sit-out powerbomb for 2.

With both men worn, a big strike exchange broke out and Metalik came out on top, scoring a massive lariat and following up with The Metalik Driver for 2. Metailk’s knee then failed him though and Buddy took advantage, hitting a knee to the brain as well as Murphy’s Law for the win. Post-match, Buddy grabbed a microphone and said that you can’t stop the unstoppable which is why at Super Show Down, he’s becoming the new champion.

As I’ve said before, the opening match is historically a little more restricted and whilst that was likely still the case here, this is probably the strongest match I’ve personally reviewed in this particular category. Overall, it’s not on the level of Murphy’s finest 205 work but this was still a very engaging, and enjoyable opening match regardless.

Grade: B+

Up next, we got a recap of the recent Mustafa Ali/Hideo Itami angle as well as a backstage segment with Ali and Cedric Alexander. Mustafa said that he wishes he was the one teaming with Alexander tonight but his actual partner Tozawa then did some intense wackiness instead. Akira and Cedric then shouted ‘AH’ at each other.

Mustafa Ali vs. Michael Thompson

Showcase match time now as Mustafa Ali makes his in-ring return. First though, Hideo Itami arrived with a microphone in hand and to ‘WHAT’ chants, initially spoke in Japanese. In English, he then explained that he’s here to watch Ali’s match and that he hopes Mustafa is feeling better. This was very nice of Hideo, even if I concede that the evil laugher made it all seem slightly less polite. As for the match itself, Ali immediately got the upper hand with some chops and followed up with a dropkick too, next hitting his facebuster thingy before being cut off briefly by Thompson.

A superkick got Ali back on top immediately anyway, and a tornado DDT set up the 054 for the win. Throughout the match, Mustafa had been staring back at Itami and continued to do so after the match. This was a simple, effective return.

Grade: B-

Backstage again now as Drake Maverick called Gulak and Gallagher into his office. They assured him that there would be no unnecessary chaos, and Gallagher mentioned something about AOP. Wow, are they coming to 205 Live too?? Man, they must’ve really dropped some weight…good for them!

Before we head to the apparent main event, we find out about one of next week’s marquee matches: Lio Rush vs. Noam Dar. We then got two short selfie promos and I must say, both of these were actually quite good. In a minute or two, they neatly established their character clash and conflict. Great stuff.

Drew Gulak & Gentleman Jack Gallagher vs. Akira Tozawa & Cedric Alexander

Whilst I'm still certain that this is actually the opener, let's break things down regardless. Gulak and Alexander got things started here, until Cedric quickly convinced Drew that this wasn't in his best interest, tagging in Jack instead. After some joint manipulation stalled him slightly, Alexander went to work either way, landing a dropkick before bringing in Tozawa for a double fake-out punch. A jab to Gulak followed too and Tozawa ran through some of his signature offense, even applying the octopus hold on the submission expert. A blind tag allowed the heels to turn the tide though, catching Tozawa’s double crossbody attempt and landing a slam to set up the heat.

They went right to work too, focusing on the ribs initially before roughing him up with some strikes also. This portion of the match included some standard heel content and was pretty fun to be fair, including a decent range of offense as well as the unsurprising shenanigans in-between. With Gulak focused on Cedric, Tozawa messily countered a powerbomb into a DDT and this somehow looked tremendous, making way for the hot tag. On cue, Gallagher run right into a flurry of Cedric offense and after Jack avoided Lumbar Check, Alexander hit Spanish Fly but Gulak broke up the pin.

With Alexander distracted, Gallagher seized, flooring the champ and forcing Tozawa to break up the fall. Some tremendous tandem offense came next but Alexander stayed alive, kicking out at 2 and fighting off the double suplex attempt too. This allowed Tozawa to come in and with Gulak and Cedric taking each other out, he run wild on Gallagher, even hitting his big dive to the floor. As he looked for the senton though, Gulak pulled Gallagher out of the way and Jack then returned the favor, battering Cedric after he’d jumped on top of Drew.

With Alexander floored on the outside, Gallagher dropped Tozawa with a headbutt and brought Drew in to close the show via Gu-Lock. This result seemingly left Percy distraught but regardless of that, this match was tremendously well-worked and entertained me personally from start to finish. Granted, it may not have been in the idealistic 205 style from start to finish but that’s not always a criticism in my view.

Either way, Drake Maverick announced that next week, Gulak will indeed get a rematch with Alexander in what I’d imagine will be the final chapter of this particular story.

Grade: B+

Final Thoughts

Since I’ve started reviewing this show, I’ve often found myself unsure of its sustainability. Booking an insane singles match every week is probably rather tough but this particular show felt different to me. The opening match was tremendous fun but left content on the table, and the main event felt far more traditional in its storyline impact. The two key matches were actually just small pieces of bigger narratives and that’s an approach that in the long-term, could probably help this product’s direction.

Now don’t get me wrong, it won’t always lead to must-see action but in the case of this particular episode, it did create a far more complete episode than most of its predecessors. Overall, this felt like a very positive step in my view.

Grade: B+

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