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WWE 205 LIVE
NOVEMBER 14, 2017 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness
– There wasn’t a video package to start the show detailing the cruiserweight events from last night’s Monday Night Raw which typically is par for the course for 205 Live.
– Instead, immediately after the show open, Kalisto was shown backstage. He proceed to cut a promo saying that it was his birthday and he was going to celebrate by beating down Enzo’s right hand man, Drew Gulak. He then said his party would continue to Survivor Series where he would regain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
– After the promo, Enzo Amore and Drew Gulak appeared backstage. Amore said that the Zo Train is done if he loses his cruiserweight championship on Sunday. He said it’s all on Gulak and that he needs Gulak to do whatever it takes to make a difference tonight when he faces Kalisto one on one. Gulak then said it only takes one man to make a difference and that man would be him. Amore then looked down at a birthday cake that he bought for Kalisto and said tonight would be a birthday he won’t forget.
– The show then went to Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness at ringside who welcomed everyone to the broadcast, highlighted the major events of SmackDown Live, and promoted the featured segments for 205 Live including Kalisto’s birthday celebration and the main event match between Kalisto and Drew Gulak.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Honestly, going into tonight’s show I hated the Kalisto birthday theme. It brought back flashbacks of the incredibly dreadful Halloween themed episode a few weeks back. With low expectations, I actually liked how both Kalisto and Enzo wove the birthday theme into their promos. It gave them something to build around and we as the audience weren’t getting to beat to death with it.
(1) THE BRIAN KENDRICK & JACK GALLAGHER vs. RICH SWANN & CEDRIC ALEXANDER – TORNADO TAG TEAM MATCH
As Gallagher walked to the ring, a recorded video promo aired with Kendrick and Gallagher telling their opponents that bad choices come with cruel consequences. Swann came out first for his team to a small reaction from the audience and cut a promo saying that they are in the hometown of his partner. He then proceeded to introduce Cedric Alexander. For being a hometown guy, Alexander got a nice pop but not as big as usual hometown favorites. All four competitors started the match by brawling. The action immediately spilled outside where both Swann and Alexander were tossed into the barricade and ring apron respectively. Alexander got some offense back by connecting with some vicious chops on Kendrick. As he was going for more chops, Gallagher clocked him with a dropkick that sent him flying over the top of the announcer table area. Swann attempted to avenge his partner but was met with a two on one attack by Kendrick and Gallagher. Kendrick rolled Swann into the ring and got a two count. From there, both Gallagher and Kendrick proceeded to lay a beating on Swann. Swann had glimpses of offense but was kept down by the two on one advantage that Kendrick and Gallagher had which was allowed by the tornado rules.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Going into this match, the announcers did not clearly let the audience know that the match would be contested under tornado rules until the two on one attack began. Because of this, the two on one attack was a bit confusing at first. That said, it did get some good heat and Swann sold it brilliantly. It worked very well to build up drama in the match. It would have gone over even better had the audience knew the tornado rules stipulation before it started.
The Swann beating continued for a good amount of time with Kendrick and Gallagher hitting vicious punches and kicks repeatedly. They gloated to the audience which attracted some decent heat from the crowd. Alexander finally woke up on the outside and stumbled into the ring to stop the offense and the two on one advantage. After some quick kicks and high speed moves while running the ropes Alexander got the momentum for his team. He hit both opponents with hurricanranas and then connected with a really great flipping slam on Gallagher. This gave Swann and Alexander the upper hand until Alexander went for a top rope move but was countered by a head butt to the chest from Gallagher. Gallagher went for the cover but Alexander kicked out at two. From there, both Kendrick and Gallagher locked in their submission holds at the same time on Swann and Alexander. Both were in the holds for a very long time and as Alexander was about to tap, Swann stopped his hand from hitting the mat. Because of that, Alexander was able to escape and then saved Swann.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This spot does not work without great selling. If the sell job isn’t perfect, the spot looks tacky and is ineffective. Alexander and Swann sold it perfectly and because of it the crowd cheered as Swann stopped Alexander from tapping out. These four had the audience from this point forward.
After the save, the offense still was in the hands of Gallagher and Kendrick. Gallagher hit another vicious dropkick and Kendrick hit Sliced Bread #2 on Alexander. Kendrick went for a cover, but Swann made the save again to prevent a three count. Swann found some energy after the pin attempt and took on both Kendrick and Gallagher at the same time. He hit both with kicks and attempted pins on each but only got two counts.
Heydorn’s Analysis: It was fun to see Swann take both opponents on as he had been beat down by them together earlier in the match. I appreciated how they wove that psychology into the match as it went on.
Swann then went to the top rope for a Phoenix Splash but Kendrick countered. Gallagher and Kendrick together climbed to the top rope and tossed Swann off. Swann took a sick flipping bump that looked very painful. Kendrick went for the pin, but another two count was received. Kendrick then was standing in the middle of the ring as Alexander climbed back in and the two went face to face. Alexander hit a flying elbow and then Kendrick returned the favor with a superkick. Alexander worked to get the advantage with an elbow to the head and as he hit it, Gallagher hit the ring and took out Alexander’s knees. Alexander made his way to the corner and Gallagher charged at him for his running dropkick, but was stopped in his tracks by a superkick from Swann out of nowhere. Gallagher rolled to the outside of the ring where Swann continued the offense and hit him with a flying DDT through ropes. Inside the ring, Alexander hit a Neuralizer and his Lumbar Check finishing maneuver for the 1,2,3 victory.
WINNER: Alexander & Swann at 10:58
Heydorn’s Analysis: I enjoyed this match a lot. It’s what these cruiserweight matches need to be like more often. There was lots of action and some really unique maneuvers between both teams. They should have announced that the match would be contested under tornado rules before it started. That said, the tornado rules made for a fun environment and one of the more entertaining matches on 205 Live in a while.
– The broadcast headed to the backstage area again with Enzo’s birthday cake for Kalisto front and center. While the cake was shown, Vic and Nigel promoted that the main event was still to come between Kalisto and Drew Gulak
– The show then went to a commercial that promoted this weekend’s NXT War Games event.
(2) ARIYA DAIVARI vs. MUSTAFA ALI
Daivari walked out first and cut a promo on the way to the ring. He said that 205 Live might as well be cancelled if Kalisto wins the title on Sunday. He said that since Enzo has been champion, everyone on 205 Live has become more valuable and richer. He said that Kalisto as champion has no value and then ripped on the Charlotte fans. The promo was interrupted by Mustafa Ali. Ali walked down and said that Daivari had his head too far up Enzo’s backside. Then, he said with all jokes aside that whether Daivari supports Enzo or Kalisto, they are both cruiserweights and they have the same goal of making 205 Live reach its full potential. He then said he needs to tell Daivari something important and proceeded to say that Daivari looks stupid. From there, the action started with Ali quickly tossing Daivari to the outside of the ring and putting on his entrance jacket. Ali tossed Daivari into the corner and then hit a couple high impact dropkicks and a top rope splash. From there, Ali hit some chops to the chest. He ran to keep the momentum but was countered by Daivari. Ali attempted a springboard move to gain momentum again, but Daivari pushed him off the rope to the outside mats. Daivari went to the outside to toss Ali back in the ring. After he did, Daivari focused all his attention on the legs of Ali so he would be grounded. After the leg work, Daivari kept up the offense with a running bulldog on Ali. After the bulldog, Daivari locked in a Japanese straight jacket submission hold. The crowd clapped for Ali as he attempted to escape the hold. Eventually, Ali countered into a crucifix pin, but Daivari kicked out at two. After the kick out, Daivari nailed a spinebuster and went for another pinfall but only received a two count. After that, he went to the top rope and attempted a flying elbow drop. Ali moved out of the way and then picked up momentum once again. He hit running dropkicks and a side step pele kick before hitting a jumping tornado DDT. He then went for the cover but only received a two count. From there, Ali went for a superkick but it was countered by Daivari into a driving sidewalk slam. Daivari then went to the top rope and hit his Persian Lion splash for a two count. Daivari was frustrated that he didn’t finish the match with that move. Still, Daivari looked to capitalize off his finisher and lifted Ali onto his shoulders for a move. Ali slid off and lifted Daivari to the top rope and connected with a top rope hurricanrana. After that, Ali nailed his 054 inverted splash from the top rope for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ali at 7:13
Heydorn’s Analysis: Decent little match but that’s about it. Ali is very good in the ring, but needs to show his character more. The promo he cut at the beginning of the match was bland, uninteresting, and poorly delivered. If he is going to take strides on this show he has to grow that part of his game.
– Backstage Kalisto and Tozawa were shown in the locker room area. Tozawa wished Kalisto a happy birthday and then said he must beat Drew Gulak.
– A commercial aired highlighting the Goldberg WWE 24 episode that debuted on the WWE Network last night after Monday Night Raw.
– After the commercial, Nigel and Vic discussed Survivor Series and questioned Kalisto’s strategy in taking a match just days before his cruiserweight title match against Enzo Amore at Survivor Series.
– Enzo Amore’s music hit and him and Gulak made their way to the ring. Enzo did his full entrance which the crowd seemed to really enjoy.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Enzo received a really nice pop from the audience here. He looked like the star of the show and the crowd reacted for him in that way. For that reason, he needs to hold on to that cruiserweight title after Survivor Series.
– Enzo climbed in the ring and danced a bit before he grabbed a microphone. From there he began to cut his promo and said that it was a special day because it was his Survivor Series opponent’s birthday. He said that not only is he giving Kalisto his biggest payday at Survivor Series but that he went out of his way to make sure Kalisto felt special by throwing him a party. Enzo then looked to his left at the party favors he brought to the ring. He said they have everything they could want but don’t have presents. Enzo then said they brainstormed ideas for gifts and would give Kalisto the best gift in the world which is a beat down from Drew Gulak. Enzo said that after Gulak’s beat down, Enzo would serve Kalisto cake. Amore said that the bottom line was that after Sunday Kalisto would need to eat his way back to happiness or Enzo would force feed food down his throat. Kalisto interrupted and headed to the ring for the main event.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This go home promo from Enzo should have been better. He seemed to butcher the end a bit and overall it just fell flat. Gulak standing next to Enzo doesn’t help as he has a nice enough gimmick on his own. Gulak looks like a bad lackey for Amore and his presence with him is unnecessary as it doesn’t give Amore any additional heat. Enzo just doesn’t need him and Gulak doesn’t need to be a lackey at this point.
(3) KALISTO vs. DREW GULAK
Kalisto got a decent pop with the lucha chants especially. Right out of the gate, Gulak controlled the match with a wristlock and a front face lock. Kalisto countered with a takedown, but was immediately hit with a body slam. Enzo then yelled instructions at Gulak from the outside. Gulak listened to Enzo and nailed Kalisto with a chop to the chest. He then threw Kalisto into the ropes and Kalisto bounced off to connect with a head scissors followed by a Listo Kick. This made Gulak roll to the outside where Enzo distracted Kalisto and Gulak kicked him in the face. Gulak yelled that he had an idea and looked at the cake which was sitting at ringside. Kalisto dodged some offense by Gulak before getting chopped again. Gulak kept up the attack and rolled Kalisto back into the ring. He locked in a chin lock as Enzo yelled more instructions. After the chin lock, Gulak covered for a two count. Gulak then lifted Kalisto to the top rope and tossed him off while saying “no top rope”.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was a great spot and I laughed out loud for it. We need more of this type of thing from Gulak.
After the top rope spot, the crowd started singing happy birthday to Kalisto. For a second this helped Kalisto, but Gulak quickly ended it all with a stomp to the chest followed by another two count pin attempt. After the pin attempt, Gulak tossed Kalisto to the outside near the cake once again. Gulak lifted up Kalisto and went for a body slam into the cake. Kalisto countered. From there, Gulak picked Kalisto up for sidewalk slam and executed the move onto the side of the ring apron. Gulak kept up the offense by locking in a surfboard submission. Kalisto broke free relatively quick and hit two more Listo kicks followed by a springboard spinning elbow off the middle rope. He appeared to have the momentum until he ran into a Gulak boot. Gulak worked to get some offense in but Kalisto countered again and was finally able to take advantage of it. He then gained the momentum in the match by hitting a basement hurricanrana. He then went for a suicide dive as the crowd chanted for him. After the move, Kalisto pointed at Amore and said that that move was for him. As Kalisto looked to continue his offense with a jumping springboard move, Enzo swiped his legs out from underneath him and Kalisto went crashing to the apron. Both competitors were down in the ring and staggered to their feet. Gulak got up first and made fun of Kalisto and sang happy birthday in a very condescending way. As he sang, he picked Kalisto up from the mat and Kalisto hit his SDS out of nowhere for the 1,2,3 win.
– After the match, Enzo hit the ring and both him and Gulak beat down Kalisto. This garnered some heat from the crowd at first, but then turned into a “we want cake” chant. The audience didn’t seem to care who went through the cake as long as someone did. As the two walked him over to the cake, Kalisto knocked both down and said he would give the crowd cake. He walked Enzo over to the cake, but Gulak hit Kalisto from behind to stop anything from happening. Gulak then picked Kalisto up and attempted to put him into the cake but it was countered with another stiff kick. After that kick, Kalisto focused his attention on Gulak which allowed Amore to run away. Kalisto then ran to the backstage area after Enzo.
WINNER: Kalisto at 7:56.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ok match at best. I loved the top rope spot with Gulak but nothing else stood out immensely. The crowd was disappointed that nobody went into the cake that was ringside. If one of the competitors would have, the pop would have been big.
– Vic and Nigel heavily promoted Survivor Series and the preshow which is where the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match will take place. After, the broadcast went further into the backstage area where Enzo was interviewed. Amore said tonight was the luckiest birthday Kalisto ever had and then walked over to the nearby birthday cake which had been shown at the top of the show. As he did, Kalisto slammed Enzo’s head into it and yelled “happy birthday to me” as the show went off the air.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, this was a solid final show before the cruiserweight title match this Sunday at Survivor Series. I would have done without the birthday gimmick as it seemed a bit childish. That said, we weren’t totally beat over the head with it like we were for the Halloween episode so it worked. The tag team match between Swann/Alexander and Kendrick/Gallagher is something that I would go out of my way to watch. Other than that, the show is still a one man show. That man is Enzo Amore. He needs to retain the title and then get a viable babyface challenger that isn’t someone defined as a loser like Kalisto.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 11/7 WWE 205 Live Report: Enzo addresses the European Division leading to Enzo vs. Bate match, plus Kalisto vs. Gallagher