WWE 205 LIVE
OCTOBER 31, 2017
LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness
– The show started with a video package that recapped the Drew Gulak/Akira Tozawa feud throughout the past couple weeks. The video highlighted Drewtopia and what Gulak did to Tozawa to render his war chant useless. It ended with Tozawa’s return to 205 Live on last week’s show.
– After the show open, Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness welcomed everyone to the program. They built up that it was a Halloween show and promoted the matches for the evening including Rich Swann vs. The Brian Kendrick, Cedric Alexander’s big decision, and a fright night fatal four-way match as the main event.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A fright night fatal four-way? Why does this match need to be called that? I get that it’s Halloween but that name is so cheesy and the concept is awful. We are supposed to buy the danger of a match that features pumpkins? C’mon, WWE.
(1) DREW GULAK vs. AKIRA TOZAWA
Drew Gulak made his way to the ring first with his no chants sign. There was little to no response for the Drewtopia leader. Gulak grabbed the mic for a promo and the crowd then began chanting “no chants”. Gulak said that the audience clearly likes the war chant of Tozawa. Because of that, he said that tonight he was going to destroy the chant forever. Gulak then went into a rant about Halloween and how he could make Halloween better. He then presented a powerpoint presentation that detailed “Drew Gulak’s Plan For A Better Halloween”. Just like every week, Nigel McGuinness was thrilled by this turn of events. Slide number one was “no candy”. Gulak said that was an obvious change and then ripped on the kids in the crowd for not needing more candy. He said the only thing scary on Halloween is a root canal. Slide number two was “no trick or treating”. He said that we should have evolved past trick or treating and that it was very similar to chanting which he hates. Slide number three was interrupted by Akira Tozawa who came down to the ring for the match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Gulak destroying Halloween was actually well done and got some nice heat. As I’ve said for weeks, I like the Drewtopia gimmick and Gulak showed today that he can successfully take it in different directions.
Tozawa got a decent pop mainly because he stopped the presentation. Tozawa was aggressive early in the match with early chops and a head scissors takedown. The crowd did the war chant for Tozawa as he kept control with kicks and a knee drop to the face. Tozawa then rolled Gulak to the corner for many stomps to the chest. Gulak rolled out of the ring to escape the onslaught. Tozawa appeared to attempt a high risk move on Gulak while he was on the outside but didn’t because Gulak walked away. Once Gulak got back in the ring, Tozawa and him both exchanged right hands back and forth. Tozawa got the upper hand again but his offense was finally cut short when Gulak hit an elbow to the throat. This was the injured throat that Tozawa missed time for because of Gulak. Gulak kept up the pressure with clotheslines, kicks, and a body slam. He went for a cover, but only received a two count. The audience did the Tozawa war chant again to cheer on Tozawa to escape a chin lock by Gulak. Gulak made it a point to work the throat and neck to keep within their story. Tozawa finally did escape the move and hit Gulak with a drop driver. With Gulak down, Tozawa went to the top rope for his finish. Gulak rolled out of the ring, but Tozawa hit a suicide dive instead. He then rolled Gulak back in the ring for a pinfall, but only got the two count. The announcers sold Tozawa’s throat injury as did Tozawa himself.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Glad that they constructed this match around the psychology of Tozawa’s throat injury. It tied together the entire story from start to finish and made sense.
Tozawa looked to maintain control of the match by attempting to hit a suplex on Gulak. He couldn’t get Gulak up for it and Gulak then countered with a chop to the throat. Gulak went for a pin, but only got the two count. Out of the pin, Tozawa nailed a drop kick before heading to the top rope. From there, Tozawa hit his tope rope bombsault finisher for the 1,2,3 victory. After the match, Tozawa celebrated in the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I liked the psychology of the match revolving around the Tozawa injury. That is about it though. The entire thing was paced very slow and in my opinion the wrong guy one. Gulak clearly is the bigger draw at this point for the show. His gimmick is more over and him coming out on top in the match, while not the happy ending, would have given that gimmick some credibility.
– After the match, Joseph cued up a recap video of Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher giving Cedric Alexander an ultimatum last week to join them.
– After the video, Rich Swann and Cedric Alexander were shown backstage. Alexander said that he couldn’t believe what Kendrick and Gallagher said last week and that he would never join them. Cedric said Swann can’t let them run him down by calling him a clown though. To combat that, Cedric said they should just give them a clown and then handed Swann a clown nose.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Huh? I don’t like where this seems to be heading…
– A backstage pre-taped interview was shown with Mustafa Ali. He discussed trick or treating in Chicago and said that he learned a valuable lesson while trick or treating. “Always get your candy”
Heydorn’s Analysis: Again. Huh? Seriously? This was a terrible promo that made absolutely no sense and there was no mention of the match. We all know its Halloween. If they have to address it with pointless and corny references, just don’t do it at all.
– Out of the commercial break, Vic and Nigel cued a video of the 205 Live segment with Enzo Amore last night on Raw in which Amore laid out Kalisto in the middle of the ring.
– News broke from the announce team that at Survivor Series, Enzo would defend his title once again against Kalisto.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This seemed to be where they were heading after last week’s shady championship match. Personally, I think this feud needs to end. Enzo is doing a nice job as champion and bringing the division extra attention that it otherwise wouldn’t get. He needs a stronger babyface to face off with to make his reign stronger and more interesting.
(2) THE BRIAN KENDRICK vs. RICH SWANN
Kendrick came out first to a tempered reaction along with Jack Gallagher. Rich Swann hit the ring next, but instead of dancing he came out with Cedric Alexander dressed as clowns. The crowd had absolutely no reaction to this.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was just too silly. Swann and Alexander have had a nice and serious feud going for the past month. This undercuts that. The announcers did focus on the fact that Gallagher and Kendrick had called Swann a clown, but that doesn’t mean he should dress up as one.
The bell rang and Swann began the match in the clown suit. Kendrick yelled at Swann to stop clowning around and to take the match seriously. Kendrick then went in for a test of strength, but Swann played games and kept moving his hands away from Kendrick’s. The crowd laughed a bit as Swann then put Kendrick in a brief submission and danced while doing so. Kendrick escaped and Swann danced in his face. This prompted Kendrick to get angry and attack Swann. He got a few kicks in before Swann side stepped one and sent Kendrick into the inner ring post. Swann kept momentum as he whipped Kendrick around the ring and continued dancing and taunting him. Kendrick was angered again and ran at Swann who then connected with a hurricanrana. The two then had a nice rope run spot in which Swann hit a dive and a dropkick on Kendrick. Swann then went to the outside of the ring because he was distracted by Jack Gallagher. As he confronted Gallagher, Kendrick kicked Swann in the face and gained the upper hand. He hit a suplex on Swann and followed it with a pin attempt, but only received a two count. Kendrick yelled and mocked Swann asking him if he thought he was funny. He then slammed Swann’s face and chest into the ring post. Joseph continually said that Kendrick tried to teach Swann a lesson with his attack. From there Kendrick kept all offensive momentum and really slowed the pace of the match down. He locked in a choke hold which prompted the audience to clap to motivate Swann to escape. Swann did and hit a huge clothesline series before kicking Kendrick in the lungs. Swann then ran at Kendrick who kicked him to the middle of the ring from a corner. Kendrick went to the top rope, but Swann ran over and connected with a top rope hurricanrana. Swann then attempted a double underhook suplex, but Kendrick countered. Before Kendrick attempted a move after the counter Swann hit him with an dropkick. He covered Kendrick, but only got a two count. Out of the pin attempt, the two exchanged strikes and went back and forth before Kendrick hit an overhead suplex for a two count. After that, Kendrick locked in his submission, but Swann’s feet were in the ropes. After breaking the hold, he carried Swann to the corner and lifted him to the top rope. On the turnbuckle, both exchanged punches before Kendrick hit a butterfly superplex off the top rope. He covered Swann, but Swann kicked out at two.
Heydorn’s Analysis: After Swann kicked out, Vic Joseph said “Kendrick is realizing that Swann isn’t a clown, but a former WWE Cruiserweight Champion”. So why dress him up as a clown then? If the point of Joseph’s commentary is to put over how legitimate Swann is as a former champion, it makes no sense to bring him out in a clown costume in the first place. It ruins what Joseph is saying because the audience can see Swann dressed up.
The crowd was on Swann’s side after this. Kendrick went for his submission but it was blocked. Swann then hit a super kick which sent Kendrick to the outside. He then wiped out Kendrick with a flipping suicide dive to the outside. Swann then tossed Kendrick back in the ring. He went for his phoenix splash but was distracted by Gallagher. Cedric Alexander saw the distraction and promptly took care of Gallagher. Inside the ring, Swann connected with a spinning heel kick, followed by his phoenix splash, and then the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Rich Swann at 9:44.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This match from a match stand point was not bad. What was awful was the clown part. To this point, the feud between these four has made sense and been serious. The clown deal set it back greatly and wasn’t fun to watch. The other awful part was the story. The intriguing aspect to this particular match was the threat made by Kendrick in that Cedric Alexander better choose his allegiance wisely. Throughout the match, there was not even a hint of Alexander getting involved in anyway outside of the finish. Thought they missed an opportunity to showcase some personality for Alexander with that story.
– A backstage interview was shown with Gran Metalik. He said he was going to win his match as a tribute.
– After the commercial, Joseph and Nigel called the upcoming main event the spookiness main event of all time.
– Then the camera panned around the ring and showed all the Halloween gimmicks and weapons for the fright night fatal four-way. These included candy corn kendo sticks, plastic skeletons, pumpkins, and other “treats”.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Eye roll. Again, are we supposed to believe that these guys are in extra danger because of the pumpkins and plastic skeleton weapons around the ring?
(3) ARIYA DAIVARI vs. MUSTAFA ALI vs. TONY NESE vs. GRAN METALIK – Fright Night Fatal Four-Way Match
Daivari hit the ring first and cut a promo as a horror story. He said that 205 Live was cursed. He said that when everyone was scared of Enzo Amore, he opened himself up to the wonder that he is and told him “how you doin”. He said that because of that he has nothing to be afraid of except for spending another night in Virginia. He went on to rip on the city but then was interrupted by Ali. Ali walked to the ring with a pumpkin in hand filled with candy. He handed out the candy to fans at ringside. Nese hit the ring next and yelled to the camera that he was the most frightening thing on 205 Live. He said he didn’t want to wear a costume because he couldn’t cover up his abs.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The Halloween stuff is nauseating at this point. Nese actually cut a decent mini promo as he posed on the ramp. He should have done that with a hot mic as it was probably the best talking I’ve ever seen him do.
Metalik was the last to hit the ring and received a similar non-reaction like all the other competitors. Ali gave Metalik candy before the match. He accepted. Ali then offered to Daivari who also accepted. He then offered to Nese who said no because of his body. He then smacked the candy out of the hands of Ali before the bell rang and all hell broke loose. Ali attacked Nese and then Daivari attacked Ali. Ali cleared the ring and then was face to face with Metalik. As the two babyfaces in the match, the two competed with a series of flips and somersaults and then got cheered by the crowed. The crowd enjoyed that spot.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I enjoyed the back and forth between Metalik and Ali. That is what cruiserweight action is supposed to be. People would tune in to watch more of it.
Nese and Daivari ruined that exchanged and beat up Ali and Metalik. Metalik and Daivari rolled to the outside and Ali and Nese were in the ring. Ali hit Nese with a pumpkin and then tried to shove candy down his throat. Nese rolled out of the ring and Daivari then hit Ali from behind. The two went toe to toe before Daivari hit a vicious sidewalk slam on Ali. Ali rolled out and it was Metalik’s turn to try and get the momentum on Daivari. He was unsuccessful as Daivari connected with some punches. He then went to the outside and grabbed a lucha mask. He mocked Metalik by cartwheeling in the ring. Ali came to after that and fought with Daivari. Ali went to the top rope and Daivari chased him up. Ali then pushed Daivari off which took his mask off. Ali then grabbed a skeleton and threw it at Daivari. Daivari caught it and then was hit with a top rope dropkick by Gran Metalik. Tony Nese then finally came back into the match and brought a kendo stick with him. Ali tried to stop him and did but Nese threw the stick to Daivari who proceeded to beat Ali with it. Nese then got in the ring and the two destroyed Ali together. They hit him with more kendo stick shots and a pumpkin to the face. Nese then did sit-ups as he tossed the pumpkins at Ali who was hanging off the turnbuckle. This got some decent heat from the crowd. From there, Metalik came back into the match and leapt off the top rope. He was hit with a kendo stick shot and then covered for a pin by Nese. Only a two count. Nese and Daivari then ganged up on Metalik like they did on Ali. After Metalik was down Nese went under the ring and grabbed a black bag. This elicited rumbling from the audience. As he was about to reveal what was in the bag, Ali threw pumpkins at him before hitting some stuff kicks. Daivari ended that momentum by knocking Ali to the outside. Daivari then poured candy on Ali and taunted him as the crowd chanted “we want tables”. Ali then countered Daivari’s move and knocked him into an apple bobbing bucket. Nese came out to defend him, but Metalik hit a really nice top rope splash. Metalik then rolled Nese back into the ring where Ali finally successfully shoved candy into Nese’s mouth. While being distracted by the candy, Metalik hit him with a kick to the face and Ali covered him for a pin attempt. Metalik broke up the cover and argued with Ali. The two then fought each other before Nese came back in and got the upper hand. Nese, Ali, and Metalik did a very nice triple powerbomb hurricanrana spot from the top rope. After the move, Daivari worked to capitalize and covered Ali, but he kicked out at two. Daivari was then in control and went to the outside to grab a table. The crowd obviously loved this. He set the table up near one of the corners before he was hit in the chest with a pumpkin by Metalik. He then put Daivari on the table and went to the top rope. Nese broke it up with a kendo stick to the back of Metalik. Nese then poured candy corn from the black bag he got earlier onto the table below a beat up Metalik. The crowd booed at first and then chanted “candy corn”.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I got the feeling that the crowd was really expecting some thumb tacks in that bag. Within the match, the build up for what was in the bag was minimal. That said, wrestling fans are conditioned to think that thumb tacks are in bags like that from under the ring. I don’t know why they would build this disappointment willingly into the match.
After pouring the candy corn onto the table, Tony Nese went for a top rope move on Metalik, but Metalik countered with a back body drop on Nese through the table and candy corn. He went for the cover but it was stopped by Daivari. Right after the cover, Ali threw a pumpkin pie into Daivari’s face. Ali then went to the outside and got a witch broomstick. He then climbed to the top rope and connected with a broomstick leg drop on Daivari from the top rope for the 1,2,3 victory.
WINNER: Mustafa Lie at 12:57.
– The show closed with Ali celebrating in the ring with a skeleton.
Heydorn’s Analysis: There was so much wrong with this match. At best, it was a silly comedy Halloween gimmick match without a purpose. At its worst, these athletic cruiserweights were on television trying to sell a brand by throwing pumpkins at each other like little kids. It wasn’t funny and it wasn’t entertaining overall.
FINAL THOUGHTS: You know how we as wrestling fans complain about certain cheesy and lousy segments on Monday Night Raw? This entire 205 Live show was one big lousy, cheesy segment. It did nothing to further the brand or any of the performers on the brand. This type of show is why 205 Live has the stigma that it does of being below second rate. I truly thought throughout the last month the show was turning a corner. Storylines were serious and there was some buzz with Amore as champion. This set everything back two steps. Halloween certainly drove many of the choices that were made, but there are better ways of incorporating the holiday into the show. The way they did it was beyond awful.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 10/25 WWE 205 Live Report: Enzo defends Cruiserweight Title against Kalisto, Swann & Cedric vs. Dar & Nese, Gulak vs. Metalik