SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
OCTOBER 10, 2017 LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
GRAND RAPIDS, MI
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness
– The show opened with a video package detailing the events between Enzo Amore, Kalisto, and Kurt Angle from last night’s Monday Night Raw that led to Kalisto becoming the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The video package makes me double down on my confusion regarding the title switch. Enzo Amore as champion, for better or worse, made 205 Live interesting to watch. WWE finally had a point of interest to base the show around and they tossed it out the window.
– Vic and Nigel welcomed the audience to the show by giving a quick recap of SmackDown Live and then promoting the upcoming first appearance of Kalisto as the new champion. They then threw the broadcast to Renee Young in the ring who introduced the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Kalisto. Kalisto came out to another tempered reaction at first. By the time he got to the ring, the crowd was working the lucha chants. The chant was the only element that connected Kalisto with the audience.
– Kalisto said that for the first time on 205 there is a luchador as champion and that being champion is a dream come true for him. He said it was an honor to win the title on Eddie Guerrero’s birthday because he was his idol. Kalisto said that just like Eddie, he will bring honor and respect to the title unlike Enzo Amore. As Enzo’s name was said, Enzo’s music hit and he came out to the ramp with Daivari behind him. Amore did his full entrance intro from the top of the ramp and the crowd sung along with each line.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Enzo should have cared a little more about losing the title here. He did his intro as if he never even was champion. On that note, if Enzo wants to truly be a heel he needs to drop the intro. The audience likes it too much and it will make it hard for him to achieve regular heat if he keeps it up.
– Enzo said that he was not out there to crash Kalisto’s celebration party, but that he is the life of every party and calls Kalisto “Tostito” again. He said that while Kalisto is champion, 205 Live is still the “Zo” show. He said he put 205 on his back and that he is the godfather of the cruiserweight division because he main evented Raw three weeks in a row. He called himself a Don and said that that he puts food on the table for the other “loserweights”. Enzo said that regardless of the match outcome last night, he had the match won and Mustafa Ali cost him the title. He said like Eddie, Kalisto had to lie, cheat, and steal to win the title and called Kalisto a hypocrite. Kalisto then called out Enzo for his own hypocrisy by bringing up the fact that Enzo won the title with a low blow. Enzo then chimed back in and started to talk about Kalisto’s looks. Enzo said that he made the title sexy and that he is full of money but the only green Kalisto will touch is guacamole. Enzo then finally said at TLC he will take the championship back. As he finished saying that, Daivari and Enzo attacked Kalisto. Mustafa Ali came out to even the odds and him and Kalisto cleared the ring. The segment ended with Kalisto leading the crowd in a lucha chant.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Enzo’s promo fell a bit flat. He took too long to get to where he needed to go and it made the segment drag on. He had all the pieces, he just needed to consolidate and connect them better than he did.
(1) TJP vs. RICH SWANN – 2 OUT OF 3 FALLS MATCH
Swann entered the ring first to a decent response from the crowd. Folks in the front row were dancing and actually seemed a bit interested in seeing him. In the middle of his entrance, Nigel and Vic played a promo video highlighting the events of the past few weeks that led to this match. Swann then hopped on the mic and said that this match that TJP asked for came with a price. He said that the price is their friendship. Swann said that after he wins there will be no handshakes, hugs, or forgiveness. TJP came to the ring next with a more heelish entrance. As TJP walked to the ring, Swann dove on top of him and the two brawled at ringside. The ref stopped the brawl and checked on Swann to make sure he could still compete. He then rang the bell for the match to officially begin. TJP immediately kept up the attack by tossing Swann into the barriers outside the ring and the ring post. TJP then threw Swann back into the ring and stalked him with submissions including his knee bar finish. While in the hold Swann bridged into a pin attempt and got the quick 1,2,3 on TJP
FIRST FALL WINNER: Rich Swann at 2:43
After the fall, TJP argued with the ref and then went back on the attack. He beat Swann down with very deliberate stiff kicks, chops, and punches. After a body slam, TJP attempted a moonsault, but Swann rolled out of the way. The two then had a very nice rope run spot that ended with TJP connecting with a drop kick. Swann then was on the defensive again and connected with his own drop kick. It didn’t phase TJP who clocked Swann with a clothesline before locking in a rear chin lock. Nigel commented on how it was a mistake for TJP to not go for any pins throughout this dominance. Swann worked to get out with elbows to the stomach and then took TJP down with a flying cross body. Swann then monkey flipped over TJP, but TJP countered into his Texas Cloverleaf submission hold. Swann writhed in pain but made it to the bottom rope. TJP picked Swann up from the mat and viciously whipped him chest first into the ring post. He then went for another whip but it was countered by Swann. The two then worked a nice spot where TJP countered a tiger driver into a piledriver, but only received a two count.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Awesome spot. To this point, the match was very well paced with both guys working crisp.
After some back and forth offense after the big move, Swann connected with a tiger driver but only received a two count. TJP rolled to the corner where Swann hit a standing hurricanrana and received another two count. They both went back and forth again until they each connected with a double clothesline which knocked them both out. They then struggled to make it to their feet before Swann finally got up first. Once they were up, both exchanged strikes before TJP hit a slingshot dropkick to Swann on the outside of the ring. TJP then tossed Swann back in and attempted a springboard dropkick which was countered by a roundhouse kick by Swann for a two count. The crowd began chanting this is awesome. Swann tried to further capitalize by going to the top rope but TJP intercepted it and locked in his knee bar submission. Swann tried hard to reach the ropes and he did after a significant amount of time in the hold. This got some cheers from the crowd. TJP appeared very frustrated and went for a quick pin, but only received a two count. Out of the pin Swann hit a Michinoku Driver and then a cartwheel roundhouse 450 splash. He then went for a pin but TJP kicked out at two. Swann then went to the top rope and hit his Phoenix Splash for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Rich Swann in two straight falls at 10:16
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was a really nice match. Both guys were very crisp and clean throughout the entire thing. I was surprised by Swann getting such a decisive victory. That said, it was nice to see a 2 out of 3 falls match booked not within its standard formula of each guy getting at least one fall. To me, this is what the cruiserweight matches need to be like. This was well paced and they looked like cruiserweights. I’d go out of my way to watch this one.
– The show then went backstage to where Enzo Amore was talking strategy with Ariya Daivari. He said both Kalisto and Ali are dirt bags and they are going to win tonight in their tag team match main event.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Amore made some goofy Lion King references here. Ordinarily, I’d say something like that was childish, but for some reason it worked here with a Enzo if you take it for what it is.
– Drew Gulak then showed up and dressed down Kalisto to Enzo. He said that anyone who endorses chanting like Kalisto is a bad person. Gulak then said he is going to make a major difference by winning his match against Tozawa.
(2) AKIRA TOZAWA vs. DREW GULAK
Tozawa made his way to the ring first and Gulak attacked him from behind. Nigel hilariously asked if this attack was part of Drewtopia. Gulak really laid a beating on Tozawa which culminated with him throwing Tozawa into the video board and attacking him with his “no chants” sign. Nigel suggested that Gulak attempted to hit Tozawa in the throat so he wouldn’t be able to chant anymore. The match never could fully get under way due to this attack.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Okay, the attack was good and Gulak looked the part of a dangerous villain while giving it. Tozawa sold the attack well too. That said, is this feud really just about chanting? I like the overall Gulak gimmick, but I think his feuds need more depth aside from “chanting”. It needs to stay in the realm of him wanting to weed out stars that don’t fit in Drewtopia and not get so specific in that he hurt Tozawa in a way that physically stops him from chanting.
– Nigel and Vic brought the audience back from the break and cued up a video showing what went down between Cedric Alexander, Jack Gallagher, and The Brian Kendrick last week on the show. They showed Alexander’s beat down of Gallagher and then tossed the broadcast backstage where Alexander was being interviewed. Alexander said that last week he had a plan just like Kendrick does. He said that he knows exactly who he is and while he doesn’t cheat to get to where he wants to be, he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty either. He said that sooner or later they will retaliate and when they do, he’ll be ready.
(3) MUSTAFA ALI & KALISTO vs. ENZO AMORE & ARIYA DAIVARI
Ali made his way to the ring first to a non-reaction as usual. Kalisto came out next to a similar reaction as his first and worked the lucha chants with the crowd. As that happened, Vic and Nigel promoted the cruiserweight title match between Kalisto and Enzo and TLC. Enzo and Daivari hit the ring next. There was no intro this time for Enzo, but he did pull the mic out to trash talk Ali and Kalisto. After laying into his opponents he did the SAWFT shtick which the crowd ate up and chanted along with.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Shouldn’t Gulak hate on Amore for these “chants” that he does regularly on 205 Live? It’s a small thing, but it does make Gulak look a bit foolish
The bell rang and the match started with Ali and Daivari. Ali tried to tie up with Daivari who cowered in his corner. Eventually, Daivari came out and was able to bring Ali into his corner by cheating. After that he tagged in Enzo who came in and began the offense in the match. Daivari distracted Ali which gave Enzo an even bigger upper hand. After some punches and kicks from Enzo, Ali got the leg up by hitting a nice drop kick. It appeared that Ali had everything in control before Daivari cheated again to knock Ali off of the ropes with a kick to the head. Enzo capitalized and his team controlled the match from there with simple punches, kicks, and distractions. Kalisto was working the crowd to get behind Ali. Enzo then tagged in Daivari who continued the beating. The announcers regularly referenced just how bad Kalisto wanted in the match. Ali made some attempts to make a tag but could never quite get to the corner. Ali sold his pain and desperation perfectly. Daivari then tagged Enzo in and after some showboating he attempted a kick on Ali. Ali caught the kick and countered with a spinning heel kick of his own. Kalisto did lucha chants as both Enzo and Ali crawled to their corners. Ali finally hit the hot tag to Kalisto who ran the table once he hit the ring. He hit his splash, handspring kick, and a hurricanrana from the knees on Daivari. Then he and Ali hit coordinated dives onto Enzo and Daivari who were outside the ring. Kalisto tossed Daivari back in the ring while Enzo wrecked Ali outside of it by throwing him into the ring post. Kalisto was concerned about his partner which distracted him. Daivari attempted a pin because of the distraction, but just received a two count. Out of the pin, Kalisto nailed his SDS on Daivari and covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Kalisto & Mustafa Ali at 11:26.
– After the match, Enzo berated his partner and asked if he really has to do everything himself. Clearly he was upset and working to get additional heat by acting like the loss was not his fault. The show ended there.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A standard but effective match. The entire thing was designed for Kalisto to receive a hot tag and then showcase his offensive abilities. The story is backwards, but they executed that part well.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Tonight was an incredibly bipolar show. The in-ring work within the matches was excellent. Swann and TJP really had a nice match that concluded their story in a logical and entertaining way. The tag team main event was a well wrestled match as well. That said, because of the title change, the main storyline is out of whack. Kalisto as champion just isn’t as gripping as Enzo is with the belt. The show is clearly still being constructed and written with Enzo as the focal point, but because he is a heel now, the show would flow better if he was saying his ridiculous lines and acting in ridiculous ways with the belt around his waist and the division working to get it off him. The story is backwards now because Enzo as a heel is essentially chasing the title. Babyfaces do that. Not heels. Aside from that, Kalisto is just a bland champion and not in the same league as Enzo in terms of how over they each are with the crowd.