It’s a new era for 205 Live and with that, a new era here at the Report Card offices too. With Triple H’s outlaw promotion now officially in my rear view mirror, the little lads are my main priority…for better or worse. Now granted, 205 Live isn’t perfect. It’s no longer ‘live’ and its number one contender may not even be 205 but nonetheless, this show is actually quite good. I mean don’t get me wrong, no one is watching it but for those of us that are, its rock and roll pal. Let’s get to it.
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.
Noam Dar vs. Lio Rush
After its cancellation last week, the Lio Rush/Noam Dar match is finally here and before the first bell had even rung, Rush slapped Dar and scurried away, effectively evading his foe until Noam cut him off. Dar was briefly in control from there, dictating the action until Rush’s handstand kick sent him to the floor. He followed up too, hitting a springboard moonsault to the outside and maintaining the upper hand. Rush’s focus eventually shifted to Dar’s repaired knee also, wearing Dar down until the Scotsman fired back with a few strikes of his own.
His comeback came next, stringing together some offense including a northern lights suplex for 2. In response, “Lio” chants emerged, forcing Noam to simply nod his head…my god. Either way, Dar caught one of Rush’s kicks, applying the ankle lock right away. Lio rolled out but Noam stayed in control, suplexing him into the corner for yet another near-fall. One final strike onslaught came next but Rush quickly returned the favor, landing a couple of crisp kicks to set up the Final Hour for the win.
This was an engaging match built more on personality than the traditional WWF good and evil layout. Rush’s character is in a unique spot in that sense but it worked here, creating a dynamic affair that served its purpose with minimal lulls along the way.
Off to Drake Maverick’s office now for a brief face to face segment between Cedric Alexander and Buddy Murphy. This was fine but failed to really capture the imagination, simply hitting the standard points instead. There’s a story to tell here, but I think it’d be better told through a snazzy video package that allows the talent to talk more than act. These two aren't larger than life characters but they can certainly be themselves in a different format, it’s just a matter of mixing things up.
The Brian Kendrick vs. Local Lad
Some bloke is in the ring and Brian Kendrick is rasslin him. The man with a plan kicked him in the face and then applied the Captain’s Hook too, scoring an immediate win. Oh, Gulak and Gallagher are also here by the way and post-match, Drew murdered this poor fellow to cap off a simply delightful segment of jobber destruction.
Off to Mustafa Ali’s office now as he delves into the definition of insanity. He concluded that he calls it being the light in the dark. Poetic pal.
TJP is in selfie mode next and he’s wearing a Lucha mask too. He discussed his past a little before making it clear that he doesn't care about tradition! Next week he’ll wrestle Kalisto whilst Akira Tozawa is also IN ACTION, taking on Jack Gallagher.
Mustafa Ali vs. Hideo Itami
The main event time now as Mustafa Ali finally gets a shot at redemption. Itami was bailing out early though, delaying the action and even running away at one juncture until Ali tracked him down and unleashed some chops. He then went into some of his signature offense back in center ring, scoring an early advantage before Itami slung him head-first into the post. He then yanked Ali off the apron and onto the floor, demanding the crowd respect him along the way.
In control, Itami grabbed a hold and excluding a brief Ali flurry, began to dominate with a wonderfully smug aggression. A DDT kept Itami in control too, allowing him to then grab another hold. At this point, he began to actively look for a win, applying the single-leg Boston Crab and using every nasty tactic in the book before Ali finally grabbed the bottom rope. A boot to the face continued the onslaught though, violently sending Ali to the floor and unleashing some kicks on the outside too.
More demands for respect came next and a suplex on the floor also, forcing Ali to beat the count before continuing his attack on the inside. Ali fired back though, making a comeback that culminated in a massive dive to the outside. Itami again began to scurry at this point but Ali tracked him down before opting for an ill-advised backwards leap into thin air. Hideo responded as any man would, by kicking him in the brain. Ali avoided the bottom rope dropkick though, scoring his tornado DDT and heading up top for the 054.
Itami cut him off, hitting the falcon arrow for 2 before some insane ugliness turned the tide, with Ali diving onto Itami in a rather painful looking high spot. Ali wouldn't relent from there either, following up with an 054 on the apron as the crowd lost its mind. Frustratingly though, that was the end of the match, as we got a double count-out in a finish that frankly, made sense. This was a strong main event with neat storytelling based on their past match but I must say, I had some gripes.
For all of his immense selling and babyface fire, I do wish that Ali’s offense felt more suited to that presentation. A little more grit and a slightly less flash would be ideal for me personally. He remains tremendous though and even if I find Itami’s pacing a little flat at times, his heel work is strong and these two are a good clash personality wise. This is a cool programme and whilst I think their best work is yet to come, this was an enjoyable effort for sure.
Last week’s 205 Live main event set a hard standard to follow but nonetheless, this was another strong showing for the Cruiserweight division. At only 43 minutes, this episode featured a fun opener and a very good main event, leaving very little to complain about overall. There was nothing quite elite enough to catapult this into the next level but if that’s the only critique, I think it’s fair to say that this was a rather strong outing.