The 205 Live Report Card (9/4/18): Refreshing the Format

Last week, I was very emotional. After watching Buddy Murphy steal another show, I leaped upon my soapbox.

"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." - Joseph James Hulbert, 2018.

Well friends, I guess Hunter's interns are still reading.

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.

Gran Metalik vs. Tony Nese

Our opening match here is linked to last week’s aforementioned main event. First though, Tony Nese refused an interview and Buddy took advantage, cutting a brief promo about Super Show-Down. To the action now, and Nese overpowered Metalik early before they reached an athletic stalemate just moments later. They then traded signature offense with Metalik coming out on top, sending Nese to the floor but soon being cut off on the apron regardless. Nese was in control now, launching Metalik into the barricade and going to work in center ring as the announcers analyzed his strengths and weaknesses.

Eventually though, some taunting from Nese allowed Metalik back into things, hitting a sharp DDT counter to turn the tide. His comeback came next and wasn't without error until Nese kicked him out of the air, mid-springboard in fact. Either way, Metalik fired back immediately, taking Nese off the apron with a terrifying hurricanrana. A moonsault attempt followed but Nese got his feet up, leaving both men floored on the outside. The action made it back in-ring before 10 but Nese returned it to the outside, hitting a massive dive as well as a 450 splash for 2.

Wow, Nese’s athleticism really is a sight to behold at times. Nonetheless, Running Nese was halted by a superkick and the Metalik Driver followed. Nese kicked out and then cut Metalik off on the top rope, but the masked man sent him back to the mat, hitting a huge hurricanrana and the rope walk elbow drop for the win. Post-match, the other lucha lads arrived to celebrate. Without an advertised main event, this match quite obviously got a little more freedom than most openers and both guys delivered, putting on a rather engaging affair.

By the year’s close, this isn’t a match that’ll stand out from the 205 pack but it was enjoyable nonetheless and neatly spotlighted the exciting offense of both men. Good stuff.

Grade: B

Following this, we got a recap of Mustafa Ali’s return last week. We then moved backstage to see footage of Maverick talking to a referee. I must say, it really is refreshing to see a general manager so pure in his ideology. This is a man with genuine morality and that’s a beautiful thing. He’s not some slimy businessman looking for any job available, even those that demand him to dress like a fool as he stands alongside a random, preliminary tag team.

Either way, Mustafa Ali himself soon arrived and made some joke about something that must’ve happened on RAW. Regardless, the conclusion was that Mustafa won’t step foot in a 205 Live ring again until he says so.

Noam Dar vs. Bryan Kelly

Showcase match time pal, as the Scottish Supernova takes on Brilliant Bryan Kelly. First though, Lio Rush arrived and looked tremendous in doing so. He joined commentary, and proceeded to complain about his admittedly confusing lack of bookings. In ring, Dar beat up Kelly whilst Percy attempted to take Rush to task. Meanwhile, Kelly had cut Dar off in center ring but Noam fired right back, making his comeback and getting the win after staring at Rush. The match was irrelevant here but Rush came across like an absolute star regardless.

Grade: C

Backstage again, and Maverick stopped Alexander on his way to the ring, asking him to keep it professional.

Speaking of professionalism, I’ll have none next week because Buddy Murphy is rasslin Gran Metalik. All hail.

As promised, Cedric Alexander is here now and I hope Drake has a backup plan as we are only half way through this show. Either way, the champ says that he’s a man of few words, immediately calling Gulak out. Drew didn't arrived, with TJP showing up instead. He says that he’s impatient, and is happy to beat Alexander right now for a future title opportunity. He then struggled to enter the ring but got there in the end and at that point, Maverick indeed showed up. After lying about this being a “marquee matchup,” Drake booked the bout for right now.

Cedric Alexander vs. TJP

Our impromptu main event was a grappling match early but Cedric soon upped the ante, hitting the Neuralizer and a big dive to the floor. TJP quickly fired back though, dropping Alexander with a DDT on the apron and applying the Octopus Stretch in center ring. Cedric countered, snatching the Stretch Muffler and following up with a beautiful dropkick too. Alexander was super aggressive here, following TJP to the floor and walking into his traps, with ‘The Cruisergreat’ smartly applying a hold between the ropes. Cedric immediately rebounded either way, hitting the Flatliner for 2.

TJP had indeed damaged the arm though, and Alexander was still selling it too. Speaking of such, TJP soon refocused on the arm, yanking it violently and taking control. Alexander was being worked over here but fired back with his springboard clothesline, an ill-advised move considering the circumstances. A big boot kept him in control regardless, and a wacky suplex thing seemingly killed TJP until he kicked out at 2 instead. He fought off the Lumbar Check too, snatching the double wrist-lock and forcing Alexander to power free.

An attempt at another springboard clothesline was also countered, with TJP catching the armbar before swiftly transitioning to his patented knee-bar. Even if to minimal response, Cedric was selling this for all his life, eventually making the ropes after a brief struggle. A strike exchange came next but TJP again used his grappling, applying the armbar until in transition, Cedric launched him up to hit Lumbar Check for the win. Post-match, Gulak finally arrived, accepting Alexander’s match request after all. Instead, Gallagher jumped Cedric from behind and Gulak seized, applying the Gu-Lock before Maverick shouted him away.

I appreciated the shift in format here and this off the cuff main event was not only refreshing but also effective in the creative options it presented. The work itself was good, and both guys used some unique offense to help produce a strong main event that felt different to its predecessors. Not a ‘great match’ but a very good one nonetheless.

Grade: B

Final Thoughts

In the four months I’ve spent covering this show, the format has rarely changed. It’s a fine opener, a squash and basically, the show’s quality rests solely on the quality of its advertised main event. This week’s show felt a little more fluid in that sense, with different moving pieces allowing for a fresh feel even if at core, the show’s style remained basically unchanged. Moreover, whilst this approach didn't allow for a truly standout affair, it did result in two highly enjoyable encounters that both brought their own unique flavor. A good show that in some ways, is hopefully a sign of things to come.

Grade: B

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