WWE 205 LIVE
OCTOBER 3, 2017 LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness
– The show opened with a vignette highlighting the Enzo Amore promo from last night on Raw.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The anticipation of this show and the ending of this promo video would be infinitely better if the payoff last night on Raw would have been someone stronger than Kalisto. Gargano, Rey Mysterio, or really anyone else would have been a better choice to drive interest. The video tried hard to make Kalisto a big deal, but it just couldn’t succeed in that regard.
– After the open, Nigel and Vic promoted Hell In A Cell coming up on Sunday and the fact that Kalisto’s first cruiserweight match would be taking place on this show.
– Kalisto’s music hit and after some lucha chants he made his way to the ring to a tempered reaction from the Denver crowd. He then grabbed a mic and began cutting a promo in Spanish. He said that Kurt Angle gave him the opportunity of a lifetime to join 205 Live. He called the cruiserweights the hardest working guys he’s ever met before being interrupted mid-sentence by the WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Enzo Amore. Amore did his opening shtick to a nice reaction of boos. Some cheers were sprinkled in to his reaction but its abundantly clear that he is working heel. Enzo cut down Kalisto by making fun of his clothes saying that he’d be embarrassed to give them to the Salvation Army. He said 205 Live is the “Zo” show and that with success comes the haters. Kalisto stopped Amore and said that he talks to much and had to win the title by cheating. Amore said that winning is winning whether it’s by an inch or by a mile. Enzo said that Kalisto has potential but ever since he lost the United States Championship he’s just been a lucha loser. Amore then called the fans out for being hypocrites. Enzo then went on about Kalisto’s opponent, Ariya Daivari, and introduced him to the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This went on a little too long. Aside from the length, Enzo’s part was very well done and I think he’s tapping into something in the way that he’s presenting himself as 205 Live’s flag bearer. Kalisto is too weak of an opponent though. He can’t hang with Enzo on the mic. That goes a long way in making Enzo look good, but Kalisto comes across as overmatched from a character standpoint. All that said, whether you like Enzo Amore or not, he undeniably brings a bit of legitimacy and loads of charisma to this show. Its needed and its refreshing.
(1) KALISTO vs. ARIYA DAIVARI
After Enzo’s promo, Daivari entered the arena to boos. It was tough to tell whether the boos were due to real heat or an uninterested crowd. The announcers played up the fact that Daivari had been sucking up to Enzo Amore for a couple weeks. As Daivari posed in the ring, Nigel commented on and slightly even praised how Enzo became champion via a cheap shot at No Mercy. The bell rang and Daivari immediately went on the offensive. Kalisto countered with his quickness and kicks. He hit a nice dropkick and followed it up with a beautiful head scissors takedown. Kalisto kept up the momentum with a crafty flipping moonsault from the top rope to the outside of the ring on Daivari after balancing with his knees on the top rope. After the move, the camera cut backstage to Enzo Amore watching the action live on a monitor. Kalisto then tossed Daivari back in the ring. He worked to continue his offense, but it was thwarted when Daivari cheated and used the top rope to hit Kalisto’s head. Daivari was now in complete control. He yelled in a Persian language to the audience who booed loudly in response. Daivari then attempted a powerslam which Kalisto countered. As Kalisto attempted to gain the upper hand he was chopped down again by a swift kick to the face. Daivari then pummeled Kalisto in the corner before locking in a sleeper hold attempt.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good little match so far. Important to note that at this point in the match with Kalisto in the submission hold, the crowd was engaged and actively cheering for him to make his comeback.
The crowd cheered Kalisto on as he eventually escaped the hold and hit his own offense on Daivari via a corkscrew splash from the second rope. Kalisto went for the cover, but Daivari kicked out at 2. Kalisto then hit his patented hurricanrana with Daivari on his knees and received another two count. Kalisto did the lucha chant which the crowd responded to and then began to setup his SDS finisher. Kalisto went for the move but Daivari countered with a massive sidewalk slam. He then went to the top rope and connected with his Persian Top Rope Splash and Kalisto kicked out at two. From there, Daivari picked Kalisto up for a back body drop which Kalisto countered into the SDS for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Kalisto at 4:44 – After the match, Enzo was shown talking trash to the TV as Kalisto celebrated in the ring
Heydorn’s Analysis: The crowd reacted to Kalisto more than I thought they would. They were engaged with Kalisto’s lucha chants and his big offensive moves. From a match standpoint, the outcome was obvious given that it was Kalisto’s debut match and the bout was constructed to highlight what Kalisto can do. It did the job in that regard. That said, I can’t shake the fact that Kalisto is now a centerpiece babyface on this show. It feels out of the blue and that’s because it is.
– Nigel and Vic discussed Kalisto’s future on 205 Live pertaining to Enzo Amore and then cued up a promo package for the main event between Cedric Alexander and Jack Gallagher.
– Backstage, Drew Gulak was shown making his way to the ring before the show cut to a commercial for the Susan G Komen breast cancer charity.
– The show returned with Gulak coming out to the ring with this “no chants” sign in hand. Overall, the crowd was pretty dead for him. As Gulak climbed into the ring, Vic made note of his issues with Tozawa and Nigel highlighted pieces of Gulak’s recent powerpoint presentation slides. When he got into the ring, Gulak grabbed a mic for a promo. He discussed how he was a grassroots fellow who began changing 205 Live into a Drewtopia. He said that Tozawa rudely interrupted him last week and because of that, he wasn’t able to complete the remaining 269 slides in his proposal to make 205 Live great. Gulak said that if anyone missed his other slides on that topic, they could be found on the award winning WWE Network. Gulak then said that before his match, he was going to treat the audience to more slides in his powerpoint presentation. The first slide was “no flips”. His next slide was interrupted by his opponent, Mustafa Ali.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Gulak seems to have went all in on this gimmick he is running with. He’s the anti-cruiserweight, cruiserweight. It’s a strange gimmick to be sure, but one that is interesting to see develop because the performer playing the part has embraced it and dove into it 100 percent. The gimmick could have been total nonsense and the fact that its catching on at all is a testament to Gulak and Gulak alone.
(2) DREW GULAK vs. MUSTAFA ALI
Ali interrupted Gulak’s slide and made his way to the ring to a limited reaction. Nigel played up the fact that Ali would definitely break Gulak’s no flipping move with his inverted 450 splash finisher. Before the match could start, Tozawa’s music hit and he planted a chair at the top of the ramp to watch. The bell rang and from the start, Tozawa was in Gulak’s head. The two locked up to kick things off and both chain wrestled for a bit with Gulak continually getting distracted by Tozawa’s war chant on the microphone. Gulak grabbed his “no chants” sign in an effort to calm the crowd down. Obviously that didn’t work. Gulak made his way back into the ring and attacked Ali in the corner. Ali countered by whipping Gulak into the ropes followed by a duck under Gulak’s clothesline which he turned into a flipping moonsault. The moonsault wasn’t a move done on Gulak, but one he simply landed on his own two feet. This really angered Gulak who yelled “no flips”. In his rage, Gulak ran at Ali who hip tossed Gulak and then landed a hurricanrana. Ali then went to the top rope and hit a high cross body. Ali covered for the two count. Nigel played up how distracted Gulak was due to Tozawa’s presence on the ramp. Ali kept up the quick pace but Gulak grounded it with a knee to the face. Gulak made the cover, but Ali kicked out a two. He then locked in a choke and Tozawa picked up the war chant again which infuriated Gulak who took it out on Ali in the ring. Ali used the war chant to his advantage and escaped the hold. They both then exchanged some chops before Ali nailed Gulak with a beautiful dropkick. Ali followed that up with a flipping neckbreaker. He went for the cover, but Gulak kicked out at two. Nigel said that Drewtopia would live forever. As Gulak went for more offense, Tozawa picked up the war chant again which angered Gulak and distracted him. After the distraction, Ali kicked Gulak in the face which set up the inverted 450 splash. Ali hit it cleanly and won the match. Nigel noted that the win should be stricken from the record since it disobeyed the “no flips” rule.
WINNER: Ali at 6:41
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was a pretty creative match from start to finish. Both Tozawa and Ali were breaking two of Gulak’s “proposals” throughout the entire thing with Ali flipping regularly and Tozawa working his war chant. Gulak had incredible facial responses to all of this. It was woven in throughout the entirety of the match which I thought was a nice touch. That said, it was slow and sloppy at times. All in all, even though he took the loss, Gulak’s gimmick was in lights for all to see during this one. Props to him and his push should continue.
– After the match, Tozawa entered the ring with a microphone and once again led the crowd in his war chant. Gulak was lying injured in the ring as his “no chants” rule was being broken in front of him. Tozawa then celebrated with the crowd as his music played.
– Vic promoted that next week, TJP would face Rich Swann once again
– Backstage, The Brian Kendrick cut an interview with Dasha and said he had to cut her off immediately. He said that Jack Gallagher was in the locker room concocting ways to injure and humiliate Cedric Alexander. He then said that he feels bad for Enzo Amore. He said that he felt responsible and ashamed that he attacked Amore when he is the guy waving the 205 Live banner. He said that he’s been there before and understands what Amore is going through. He said that he sides with Amore and that he was sorry for his actions. Kendrick then turned his attention to Cedric Alexander again. He said that he is going to enjoy watching him suffer in his match against Gallagher. As he finished that sentence, Kendrick was attacked by Alexander. Cedric obliterated Kendrick’s ankle and walked away with virtually no remorse.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really dislike how Kendrick is now “siding” with Enzo Amore. One of the most intriguing parts of this storyline was the fact that the entire division was against him. Now, two weeks in, people are having second thoughts? This came off as really inconsistent and detrimental to the main storyline of the show.
(3) JACK GALLAGHER vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
Gallagher made his way to the ring first and received a similar reaction to all of the other wrestlers on the show. Minimal at best. Gallagher played his heel role well with his entrance and has been able to tweak his character successfully now that he is a bad guy. Alexander came out next and stared a hole through Gallagher as he walked to the ring. The match began shortly after Alexander stepped through the ropes as both him and Gallagher immediately threw a flurry of punches at one another. Alexander was the aggressor and snagged the momentum first. The announcers played up that he had waited weeks for his opportunity to get his revenge on Gallagher. Alexander crushed his opponent with dropkicks, hip tosses, and forearm shots before being tossed out of the ring by Gallagher. Cedric quickly tried to dive back in but was clocked with a kick to the face. After that it was all Gallagher who locked in unique submission holds. Gallagher slowed the match down significantly with these moves. After a couple submissions, Gallagher went for a pin but received just a one count. After that attempt, Gallagher lit Alexander up with kicks to the chest. Gallagher wasted no time and locked in a specialized ankle submission move that applied pressure to the knee and ankle. Gallagher attempted another pin, but again received a one count. After that pin, Gallagher maintained control of the match with a chin lock. Cedric attempted a comeback but was nailed with a dropkick from Gallagher who maintained the momentum. Gallagher attempted kicks to stay on the offensive and connected with a few before Alexander caught one and countered with a vicious elbow to the face. Gallagher fell out of the ring and Alexander capitalized by connecting with a suicide dive. After that move, Gallagher tried to runaway but Alexander caught him and connected with a stiff forearm shot before tossing him into the ring steps. Gallagher worked to escape again by hiding under the ring. As Alexander was looking for him, he snuck up from behind and connected with a tomahawk strike. After the strike, Gallagher tossed Cedric back into the ring and pulled his umbrella out and brought it into the ring with him as he followed behind Alexander. As he slid in, the weapon got away from him and Alexander picked it up with a nice grin on his face. The crowd popped a little for this moment as they wanted Cedric to use it. The referee pleaded with him not to. Alexander ignored the ref and crushed Gallagher in the back with it. The ref rang the bell and signaled the win for Gallagher.
WINNER: Jack Gallagher via disqualification at 6:26
– After the match, the crowd chanted “one more time” over and over as Cedric Alexander destroyed Jack Gallagher. The announcers harped on how we all were seeing a different side of Alexander. Here and there, Gallagher got a punch or two in, but it was all Alexander until the refs came out to break up the brawl. The audience responded with chanting “ let them fight” and Cedric obliged with a top rope flying knee strike. Kendrick came out to the ring after that move to help Gallagher who wasn’t moving at ringside. The announcers continued to talk about how Kendrick and Gallagher brought out this new side of Cedric Alexander.
– The show went off the air with Alexander standing tall in the ring staring down Gallagher and Kendrick.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Liked the intensity that Cedric Alexander showed throughout the match. Throughout the show, they continuously played up how long Alexander has waited to get his hands on Gallagher and they tapped into that with the psychology of the match. The brawl to end the show played into that as well and made sense within the overarching story. The finish indicates this feud isn’t over and with Alexander attacking Kendrick earlier in the night, it appears those two will be on a collision course as well.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was not a bad show whatsoever. The in-ring work of all three matches was very solid and while I think the pace needs to be quickened due to it being a cruiserweight show, good stories were told and feuds progressed in a logical fashion. That said, outside of Enzo Amore, the crowd was totally dead. Responses were lukewarm across the board and it made the show less engaging to watch. Back to Enzo. He’s onto something. He is working heel which is refreshing, but his mic style and how he berates his opponent is almost impossible to not watch. Because he brings a special charisma to the show and commands attention, he needs to be the focal point of all future shows on the horizon. WWE needs to stay the course with this storyline. It’s working.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: KELLER’S 205 LIVE REPORT 9/26: Enzo speaks about his beatdown on Raw and solidifies his heel character, Neville addresses attack