Cedric Alexander vs. Buddy Murphy: An Earned Admiration

I don’t think it’s unfair to say that at times, the WWE main roster product can be a little hectic. With so many shows, quality matches often fly under the radar and as the hours stack up, their novelty wears off rather quickly too. However, 205 Live operates by its own set of rules. Existing on the fringes of the main roster landscape, the all-Cruiserweight show moves at an almost throwback pace and at its best, that can consistently result in quite meaningful main event matches. Super Show-Down proved a great example of that, especially with the help of one other key factor of course.

On a show of rematches and repeats, there was something a little different about this past Saturday’s Cruiserweight Title match. To start with, Buddy Murphy found himself in the position of a lifetime. Wrestling in his hometown’s iconic MCG stadium, Murphy was challenging protected champion Cedric Alexander and though the live crowd would inevitably be on the Aussie’s side, it’s his pre-match journey that made this moment all the more special. This wasn't just another match in a lengthy Alexander/Murphy series but instead, the highly anticipated rematch of an encounter that came over four months prior.

More than that though, this was actually the culmination of one of 2018’s most impressive and engaging tales. After sitting out a whole calendar year in NXT, Murphy emerged on 205 Live in the early months of 2018 and immediately thrived, putting on spectacular matches with regularity as his reputation grew by the week. Though some delays were frustrating at times, Melbourne was the perfect place for that momentum to level up and considering their first meeting, Cedric Alexander was quite obviously the perfect opponent too.

As the brand’s revered champion, Cedric Alexander had also experienced an incredible year himself. In fact, before Super Show-Down, Cedric had gone a year without being pinned and since taking the Cruiserweight crown at WrestleMania, he’d been a fitting figurehead, fighting the good fight and being aptly protected along the way. He was a glowing example of the 205 Live format in that sense, not overexposed but instead a celebrated kingpin, a winner that set the standard and represented the ethos behind 205’s acclaimed reset.

More than any of that though, Alexander remains a talent capable of in-ring excellence opposite virtually anyone and stylistically, Murphy was almost a mirror image. These two performers are linked by several similarities: the explosiveness in their movement, the creativity in their offense and most importantly, the absolute passion and emotion that pours through their every action. Add some conflict and a slight personality clash though and then you have a truly perfect match. That once again became clear in Melbourne too, with Murphy scoring an absurd flurry of offense to immediately set the tone.

At that point, the hard part was already done. In a total contrast to their finest work on 205 Live, crowd engagement wasn't a concern this time around as the Australian crowd was already invested, rooting on Buddy as he looked to secure a rapid title win. With the live audience hooked, Alexander and Murphy simply did what they do best, with awe-inspiring exchanges elevating the drama as their elite execution took center stage. The main roster isn’t low on in-ring quality but the crispness of this work was still startling, a shining showcase of 205’s greatest strengths.

One of the match’s most enduring visuals came down the stretch though, with Cedric hitting the Lumbar Check as a deflated disappointment came over the MCG. In a genuine first though, Murphy kicked out and all of that finisher protection paid off in an instant, creating a monumental false finish that popped the live crowd whilst shocking the brand’s more ardent viewer. Moments later and Buddy turned the tide, triumphantly closing the show with his own finish, as his countryman exploded in joy.

In 10 minutes, Cedric Alexander and Buddy Murphy had showcased everything special about the Cruiserweight division and they’d produced a quite gratifying moment along the way. It’s important to remember Alexander’s part in this clash, his journey to the MCG was pivotal too and most importantly, his performance was unsurprisingly excellent also. This genuinely felt like a significant showing for the Cruiserweight division and even if he’s not currently the direct focus, Cedric deserves immense credit for that himself, contributing to the ranks since the initial Cruiserweight Classic that kick-started this whole reboot to begin with.

In this particular moment though, it’s only natural to celebrate the victor. After just one televised match in 2017, Buddy Murphy has spent the last 8 months building a resume that undeniably places him among the absolute elite. Murphy’s 2018 has been legitimately incredible and this past Saturday, all of that hard work came to fruition in totally idealistic fashion. The gravity of that result wasn't only apparent to those in Melbourne either, with fans showing a widespread appreciation for the feat across every social media platform available.

205 Live certainly doesn't have the exposure or reach of its main roster peers but to the show’s passionate audience, Saturday’s title match was a quite profound moment in a landscape not often loaded with emotion or authenticity. That’s not exactly a criticism either, it’s really just a result of so much programming but in a perfect storm of events, Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander were able to produce something totally unique. This was the culmination of their opposing journeys thus far and a gripping one at that, an encounter that at heart, mattered more than everything else surrounding it.

Through hard work and talent, Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander have been two of the absolute leaders of 205 Live’s 2018 resurgence. That process may not have resulted in mass appeal as of yet and maybe it never will, but the brand’s quality is undeniable and these two performers are a big part of why. The live appreciation for Buddy Murphy was quite obvious in Melbourne but realistically, both parts of this dramatic, dangerous dance deserve our admiration. Their spotlight may not be the brightest but their talent shines through regardless and hopefully, that’ll soon lead both them and their brand to a better place.

Even if it doesn't though, this Super Show-Down moment can never be taken from them. It probably wasn't even their best work of 2018 but this was about more than individual match quality and instead, the stirring culmination of all the work that come before it. The next step is unclear but one thing is undeniable, these men didn't just deserve this moment, they’d earned it.

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