SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
DECEMBER 19, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness
-The broadcast began with video highlights of last night’s cruiserweight action on Monday Night Raw where Cedric Alexander became the number one contender to the WWE Cruiserweight championship after beating Drew Gulak.
-After the highlight package, the show open ran and Vic Joseph welcomed the audience to the program. He and Nigel McGuinness quickly recapped the events of SmackDown Live and then promoted the matches for tonight’s show which included the official 205 Live debut of Hideo Itami and a rematch between Cedric Alexander and Drew Gulak. They then hyped the Hideo Itami debut even more by discussing him teaming with Finn Balor on Raw this week.
(1) KALISTO & GRAN METALIK vs. THE BRIAN KENDRICK & JACK GALLAGHER
Kalisto and Metalik came out to the ring first. Kalisto received the typical lucha chants as his reaction, but Metalik received nothing as usual. As they made their way to the ring, a recap video aired of Kalisto and Metalik clearing the ring of Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick last week on the show. Kendrick and Gallagher hit the ring next and cut a promo on their way. Kendrick started by running down Gran Metalik and saying that they didn’t have a problem with him until he stuck his nose in their business. Gallagher picked up from there and told Metalik to ask Kalisto what happens to people who get involved in their business. He said that he hopes its worth it in the end. From there, Gallagher and Kendrick entered the ring for the match to begin.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I liked this promo a lot. It was short but sweet. Kendrick and Gallagher gave a viable reason for being so obsessed with taking down Kalisto and Metalik and it setup the match well. Nothing flashy to see with this but it was very effective.
The match started out between Kendrick and Kalisto. Both traded wristlocks back and forth before Kendrick was able to use his size and strength advantage to take Kalisto down to the mat. Kalisto was down on the mat for just a few seconds before he escaped. After that, the two exchanged a nice series of strikes that included, punches, kicks, and chops. In the end, Kalisto got the upper hand with his kicks and hit a hurricanrana on Kendrick before tagging in Gran Metalik. Metalik kept up the momentum and quickly hit a walk rope high cross body on Kendrick. He went for the cover but got a two count. After this, Kendrick was able to secure a tag to Gallagher. It didn’t matter as Gran Metalik hit a top rope dropkick on both of them that sent them flying to the outside of the ring. From there, Kalisto and Metalik hit a tandem pair of suicide flips onto their opponents on the outside of the ring. From there, Metalik went back to the top rope again but was kicked off by Gallagher. Metalik ended up straddling the turnbuckle and began to sell his knee being injured. Gallagher smelled blood in the water and locked in a series of submission moves before tagging in Kendrick. Kendrick kept up the assault and also taunted Kalisto who was waiting to get into the match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The in-ring quality of the match was good thus far as was the psychology of Metalik selling his knee injury. A drastic element was missing though as Kalisto was virtually emotionless in his corner as Metalik was taking his beating. He clapped his hands a few times, but wasn’t doing anything significant to show the audience how much he wanted in the match. They are working the knee to build to the hot tag and Kalisto doesn’t seem to care whether he gets tagged in or not. This will hurt later in the match.
From there, Kendrick continued to work the leg of Gran Metalik with various submission holds and strikes to it. Metalik then attempted to escape and was successful until Kendrick hit a back body drop on him. Kendrick went for the pin but got a two count. After, he tagged in Gallagher who continued to work the leg as well. He hit a few quick submission holds and then tagged in Kendrick once again. Kendrick made sure to keep Metalik in his corner and lifted him up to the top rope. Kendrick climbed up after him and as he did Metalik made him slip. With both out of it, Metalik hit a jumping bulldog off the top rope on Gallagher. With both men down, Metalik slowly crawled to Kalisto but couldn’t get there until he gave Gallagher one last kick. Once he did, he tagged Kalisto in to virtually no pop.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Just awful work from Kalisto. There was no pop for the hot tag and it was entirely Kalisto’s fault due to the fact that he sold nothing and showed nothing the entire time he was on the outside.
Kalisto proceeded to go crazy on offense with basement-ranas, dropkicks, and dragon roll’s on both opponents. Eventually he hit the SDS on Gallagher and went for the pin but it was broken up by Kendrick who was not the legal man. From there, Kendrick kept beating up Kalisto which led to a DQ.
-After the match, Gallagher and Kendrick beat down Kalisto and Metalik once again. Kendrick drove Kalisto into the ring post shoulder first and then furthered the damage to Gran Metalik’s knee by smashing it with the steel steps.
WINNER: Kalisto & Metalik at 8:54 via disqualification
Heydorn’s Analysis: The in-ring work within this match was good. It was fast paced and well executed. Kalisto really ruined it. The crowd should have been more invested in the hot tag and would have been had Kalisto done his job to build it up. Metalik did that in the ring. I felt his pain and if it was supplemented with any emotion from Kalisto it would have gotten over better. That aside, I loved the aftermath to this match. Kendrick and Gallagher looked like dangerous heels which the show desperately needs to offset the comedy heel work of Gulak and Daivari.
-Backstage, Enzo Amore was talking to Daivari and Drew Gulak. He said that tonight was supposed to be a celebration but now he has to lay down the law instead. He berated both Gulak and Daivari. Gulak chimed in and said that losing to Cedric Alexander was totally his fault and that tonight he would beat him. Enzo wasn’t convinced but Gulak said he would ground Cedric for good. Gulak said that tonight a better 205 Live would begin in earnest as he will annihilate Cedric Alexander. Amore then went to Daivari and said that if he wants to stay on the Zo Train, he should show some passion.
-Before heading to commercial, Joseph plugged the upcoming debut of Hideo Itami
-A commercial aired that promoted this week’s NXT episode featuring two championship matches
-After the commercial, Joseph highlighted the WWE’s Youtube channel.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Why? Why is the WWE so obsessed with promoting these things? There is no doubt that 20 million subscribers is impressive, but I don’t get why they pat themselves on their back so much for it on their broadcasts.
(2) HIDEO ITAMI vs. COLIN DELANEY
Itami made his way to the ring first and got a decent pop by 205 Live standards from the audience. As Itami made his way to the ring, the announcers plugged how excited they and others inside the WWE are for the debut. The match began with Nigel putting over Itami’s striking and in the ring Itami kicked things off right away with those very strikes. He unleashed a fury of kicks and then yelled for his opponent to respect him. From there he hit chops on Delaney before tossing him into the corner. Itami then hit a tornado neck drape on the tope rope before connecting with a top rope dropkick. After that, he lifted Delaney up and struck him back down with a kick. He then hit a running dropkick in the corner. From there Itami called for the GTS finish. The crowd chanted for CM Punk as he delivered it and got the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Itami at 1:50
Heydorn’s Analysis: There just was not any heat for this match. The announcers tried and did a good job to tell Itami’s story, but the crowd reaction just wasn’t there tonight. This is disappointing. Yes, it’s only the first week for Itami on the show, but he didn’t make a good impression. The crowd chanting for CM Punk during the big GTS finish was even more disappointing. The WWE needs to find a way to limit that or it will haunt Itami forever. They tempered that chant by simply not allowing him to do that move that much in NXT. That strategy would have served him well tonight. It’s only night one, but tonight didn’t make me feel like something big is on our hands with Hideo Itami. Just more of the same.
-After the match, a recap video was shown of last week’s happenings between Enzo Amore, the Zo Train, and their former member, Tony Nese.
-After the video, Enzo Amore was interviewed. He said that last week he promised the Zo Train a learning experience and he delivered on his word. Amore was interrupted by Alexander. Amore said that mr. second chance wanted to have a word with first place. Alexander laughed him off and told Enzo that there is only one word to describe him and walked off. The shot then went back to Enzo who said that he was right, “champion.”
Heydorn’s Analysis: I don’t like Enzo closing the promo that way because it pulls the babyface heat off of Alexander. Had Enzo been upset with Alexander essentially calling him SAWFT, the crowd may have popped more to Alexander’s side which is the goal. Enzo pretty much no sold it which does nothing to build Alexander up. After all, he needs as much promo help that he can get.
-A commercial aired promoting total divas and John Cena on Monday Night Raw next week.
-After the commercials aired, Enzo Amore’s music hit and walked to the ring with Drew Gulak. Amore received a nice pop as usual and he did the full entrance which got the crowd on his feet.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Still, Amore is the most over guy on the show. He looks and acts like a major star.
-In the ring, Amore did his dance to a crowd chanting and singing his name. Amore then gave the mic to Gulak and told him to shut them up. Gulak yelled no chanting and then thanked Amore. He said that tonight is the time for action. He said that you can’t be taught how to be a G or a stud, but his friend Enzo taught him when it’s time for action. Gulak then yelled that he will destroy Alexander and show why nobody messes with the Zo Train. Alexander made his way out to the ring next to a non-reaction as usual.
(3) DREW GULAK vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
Both guys circled each other in the ring before Gulak aggressively went for a tie-up. The tie ups went back and forth for a while with each gaining a slight upper hand at times. Gulak then got the initial momentum but pounding on Alexander in the corner with stomps and chops. Alexander tagged him back with a forearm strike and the two began to exchange punches. Gulak then hit a suplex followed by a two count pin attempt. Gulak had the momentum from there. He attacked Alexander’s knee to deliver on his promise to ground him. While this was happening, Amore was yelling insults and instructions from the outside.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I like this version of Drew Gulak. He was intense and extremely aggressive with this attacks. It’s important to show a serious side to his character and he is effectively doing that here.
From there, Gulak kept up the attack on Alexander’s knee with special submission holds, head-butts, and strikes to the face. Alexander broke out of the hold and countered a Gulak head-butt before bouncing off the ropes for his hurricanrana. Alexander was on the attack next. He beat Gulak into the corner and was separated by the referee. Gulak cheated and got the upper hand again with a hit to Alexander while his back was turned with the ref. Gulak capitalized by beating Alexander down more outside of the ring with chops and a face first slam into the ring post. Enzo was happy with this turn of events and the crowd was chanting “delete”. Eventually, Gulak rolled Alexander back into the ring and instead of going for a pin attempt he locked in a sleeper hold. He kept the hold for a while and as Alexander tried to escape, Gulak slammed him back down and went for a pin but just got a two count. After the failed pin, he locked in another submission hold to the shoulder of Alexander. The crowd was chanting boring at this point in the match. The chant was quiet but it was there. As the chants started to end, Alexander got free and went on the offensive. He swung the momentum to his side by hitting running dropkicks and a flipping kick on Gulak who was on the outside of the ring. From there, he tossed Gulak back inside the ring and then connected with a springboard clothesline. After, he went for a pin attempt and got a two count. Alexander then attempted a Lumbar Check which Gulak counted into a two count pin attempt. Alexander kicked out and then countered into his own pin. They each exchanged a few pin attempts after before Gulak destroyed Alexander with a lariat clothesline. He went for another pin but only got a two count. Amore worked to get Gulak going and actually got cheers for him when he was pounding on the mat. Then, out of nowhere, Alexander hit a unique sidewalk slam on Gulak that yielded a two count. Out of the pin, Gulak countered Alexander and locked in his ankle lock submission. From there, he kept the ankle lock and also locked in a cross face submission. Alexander sold well and crawled to the bottom rope. He tried to reach it, but just couldn’t quite get there. Eventually he did and the ref made Gulak break the hold.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Enzo was basically acting like a babyface manager on the outside of the ring during this sequence. Kalisto could learn a couple things. The important minor detail is that he’s a heel? Why is he pounding on the mat? Wrestling fans are conditioned to clap along with that. Heels don’t do that and I’m sure Enzo will get scolded backstage for doing this. It made no sense and hurt the psychology of the match.
After the ref made Gulak release the hold, Alexander crushed Gulak with an enziguri. He then lifted Gulak to the top rope for a high impact move, but Gulak knocked him off. Gulak was up on the top all alone which he isn’t comfortable with and hesitated to capitalize on the fallen Alexander. Because of that he was pulled off by Cedric and maneuvered directly into a Lumbar Check for the 1,2,3 victory.
-Immediately after the match, Amore stared at Alexander before tending to Gulak on the outside. Amore then went back to the ring and tried to taunt Alexander. Alexander was distracted and then Daivari hit the ring to try and beat him up from behind. Alexander took care of business and hit the Lumbar Check on Daivari to end the threat.
WINNER: Alexander at 11:52
-The show went off the air with Amore, Gulak, and Daivari stumbling to the back and Cedric Alexander standing tall in the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This match was good overall and it did its job of building up Cedric Alexander as a real threat to Amore’s title. That said, Enzo needs to do more to eliminate cheers for him.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I enjoyed this show quite a bit. The Kendrick-Kalisto feud and Amore-Alexander were heated up properly and effectively. Both are better and well positioned coming out of the show. The Hideo Itami debut was lackluster at best. He won his squash match which was fine, but the crowd reaction wasn’t there for him. I’m concerned about that and it will be something to track in the coming weeks.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 12/12 WWE 205 Live Report: Enzo vs. Nese, Daivari vs. Cedric, Gulak promo goes off tracks, Gallagher vs. Kalisto