1/9 WWE 205 Live Report: Best show in a month includes Cedric vs. Nese, TJP vs. Gran Metalik, plus Itami

By Zack Heydorn, PWTorch contributor


WWE 205 LIVE
JANUARY 9, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
BIRMINGHAM, AL
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 which included Cedric Alexander challenging Enzo Amore for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. This included highlights of Amore injuring his ankle in the match due to an over the top rope move by Alexander.

Heydorn’s Analysis: The vibe of this recap video was serious in nature which made the match seem big and the angles within it important. Very effective.

-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 Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese.

(1) TJP vs. GRAN METALIK

TJP came out the ring first. His entrance was more heelish than usual which worked well out of the gate. Gran Metalik entered the ring next and got a very tepid response. As he made his way to the ring, a video from earlier in the day aired which saw TJP talk trash backstage to Metalik and his friend Kalisto. TJP bragged about winning the CWC and both Kalisto and Metalik welcomed him back. They told TJP he was living in the past and that lots of things have changed within their division since the CWC. TJP laughed and then said he beat 30 other superstars in the CWC and that nobody can handle “The Original” TJP.

Heydorn’s Analysis: I guess TJP’s new name is “The Original”? How original? It’s a lame name, but it does work well for the heel character that TJP is working to portray. At the very least, that gimmick gives him something to play off of which is more than he had last week.

The match started off with a quick attack by TJP. It included many flips and kicks before Metalik took him down with an arm drag. Metalik then connected with a dropkick to the face. From there, Metalik whipped TJP into the corner and attempted a splash. TJP moved out of the way which sent Metalik crashing into the turnbuckle. After that, Metalik clocked TJP with a fist that sent him to the outside. He went for a high risk move, but TJP dodged it with ease. Metalik gained the momentum after that with a hurricanrana and a very cool flipping move on the steps. Metalik tossed TJP back in the ring and went to the top rope for a high risk move. TJP countered by pushing Metalik off. This gave TJP the momentum. He hit Metalik with a series of elbows, dropkicks, and finally locked in a sleeper hold after attempting a pin fall. Eventually, Metalik escaped the hold and whipped TJP into the ropes. TJP was able to jump off of them and connect with a spinning springboard forearm. TJP went for the cover after but only received a two count. After the pin attempt, TJP hit an Eddie Guerrero-esque somersault from the outside of the ring and went for another two count cover. TJP looked visually frustrated after Metalik kicked out and proceeded to lock in a surfboard-like submission.

Heydorn’s Analysis: The audience was into this match at this point and clapping for Metalik to gain the upper hand. Metalik had drummed up some nice sympathy and TJP sold that well which caused the audience to buy in a little. Metalik did a great job selling the beat down, but TJP’s facial expressions while giving it are what turned the crowd and made them fully invest.

Metalik escaped the hold and then went for a rollup pin on TJP. There was a kickout at two by TJP who then quickly got the momentum back in the match with a suplex. After the suplex, he went back to the submissions with a rear naked chinlock on Metalik. As Metalik was about to escape, TJP whipped him very aggressively into the ropes. From there, TJP hoisted Metalik to the top rope and Metalik countered with a top rope super power bomb. Both opponents were slow to get up with TJP getting up first and Metalik delivering a swift kick to the face for his troubles. Metalik then capitalized and hit more offense before TJP countered with a double gut buster. TJP picked up Metalik after and attempted a move, but Metalik countered this time with a kick to the face. He then climbed the top rope and connected with an elbow drop. He didn’t cover but hit a Metalik Driver instead. Then he covered for the 1,2,3 win.

After the match, Kalisto came out to the ring and celebrated with Metalik. As they walked away, TJP looked dejected and then yelled at the crowd from inside the ring. After that, he destroyed the announce table and repeatedly yelled “do you think this is funny” to the audience.

WINNER: Metalik at 9:04

Heydorn’s Analysis: I don’t believe anyone thought what TJP did during or after the match was funny at all so it really made no sense for him to yell that. That said, TJP got some tremendous heat during his breakdown. TJP has a quality that has turned the fans off to him since he won the CWC. With this type of angle, it appears that the WWE is tapping into that quality to draw the heat that folks are naturally feeling. It worked. The match itself was good as well with Metalik doing some nice quick moves and TJP countering that style with an aggressive heelish attack.

-From there, Vic and Nigel discussed how Enzo would feel about having to watch Nia Jax wrestle in the Mix Match Challenge next week and then cued up the video from Raw In which Jax checked up on him while he was tended to by doctors after his championship match. Vic said that Amore received six stiches.

-From there, Enzo Amore was interviewed backstage. He asked that Dasha refer to him as the realest champ and said that his ankle was feeble after the Raw injury. He then said that his eye was not good either. From there he said that he is built ford tough though. He said that he would be defending the title tonight except that the doctors wouldn’t let him. As he finished that up, Tony Nese came into the shot and said that Enzo’s Zo Train was successful in beating sense into him. He said he wanted back in the Zo Train and that he would be first in line and not a crony. Nese then said that he would beat down Cedric Alexander in their main event match.

-A backstage commercial aired for the upcoming WWE Mix Match Challenge on Facebook Watch.

-After the commercial, Jack Gallagher made his entrance and as he did a highlight video of Hideo Itami destroying The Brian Kendrick’s face was shown. Then Nigel recapped Gallagher’s pipe beat down of Itami last week on the show. In the ring, Gallagher grabbed a mic and said that Itami was not at the building to gain revenge. Gallagher said not to worry and that he’ll be ready when Itami comes back. Gallagher said that the scales of justice are not even when comparing what Itami did to Kendrick and what he did to Itami. Gallagher said he needed to do more to make it fair and that his purpose on 205 Live now is to destroy Hideo Itami. Itami’s music then did hit and he walked out to the ring.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Nice pop for Itami here but what? It made no sense to try to trick the audience by saying Hideo Itami wasn’t at the building, but then having him walk to the ring two minutes later. The thought process there is needlessly too cute. Wrestlers cut promos on each other and get interrupted by each other all the time. This was a perfect moment to do that standard promo. There was no need to manipulate it further.

Itami walked with a sense of purpose to the ring and then brawled with Gallagher when he got there. He connected with a boot to the face on Gallagher and then blocked Gallagher’s attempt to hit him with his umbrella. Gallagher begged for forgiveness but Itami kicked him in the chest. He then picked up the umbrella and attempted to hit Gallagher with it. Gallagher rolled out of the ring and Itami stood tall with the umbrella in hand.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Outside of the pointless element of trying to convince the audience that Itami wasn’t going to be there, the segment worked well. Itami showed nice fire when he attacked and Gallagher countered that well by being a scared heel. This is a good program and the first real “blood” feud that 205 Live has had. The payoff should be excellent and both guys will be in title positions after it’s all said and done.

-Backstage, Cedric Alexander was interviewed. He said that he wishes he was the cruiserweight champion but that he’s far from disappointed. He said he’s motivated and that he’ll be ready for his rematch when Enzo is ready to go. As he finished, Goldust came on screen and said that Alexander had an awesome interview. He said he wants to be sure that his friend isn’t getting taken advantage of. Goldust said that Enzo can talk his way out of everything and that he needs to be careful because Enzo would be at ringside for the main event. Alexander said that he’s ready and then threatened Enzo by saying one injured ankle is better than two.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Please get Goldust off of this show. Period.

-A commercial aired for Raw 25 in two weeks

-Enzo Amore’s music hit and he came out limping to a nice pop from the audience. He cut his typical intro promo which the crowd sung along with and loved. He then introduced Tony Nese who he called Tony “Freaking” Abs.

(2) TONY NESE vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER

Nese came out to the ring and cut his typical off mic promo at the top of the ramp. He pledged himself to Enzo and said that his win tonight would be dedicated to the Zo Train and to Enzo Amore. Alexander came out next to his typical small crowd reaction. The two began the match with Nese posing his muscles in front of Amore. This drew decent heat from the audience. They locked up to kick things off and Nese got the early upper hand before Alexander hit a kick to the face. Nese then tossed Alexander off the ropes and mounted him with punches to the face. Throughout that, Nese said it was all for Enzo who looked on. Nese tossed Alexander into the corner and Alexander hit the turnbuckle and ferociously bounced off to hit a clothesline and a dropkick. Alexander went for a suicide dive but Nese blocked it and slammed him into the floor barrier. From there he beat Alexander down on the outside before rolling him back in the ring for a cover. He received a one count and then locked in a chinlock.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Fun open to the match. Everything is fast paced and cruiserweight-like. Good stuff.

Alexander used punches to get out of the hold and worked to gain momentum with a running clothesline, but Nese connected with one first. Nese covered, but only got a two count. From there he stomped Alexander numerous times with Enzo yelling at him to finish the job. Nese continued the assault with Alexander getting virtually no offense in. Then Nese whipped Alexander into the turnbuckle and followed up with a running splash. Alexander dodged the splash and then hit a dropkick on Nese which sent his face into the ropes. From there he hit a kick on Nese which he then transitioned into a Flatliner. This sent Nese out of the ring and Alexander hit him with a flipping suicide dive. He then quickly ran to get Nese and rolled him back into the ring. He attempted a pin, but just got a two count. After the pin attempt, Alexander attempted a Lumbar Check which Nese countered into a pin too. Alexander kicked out a two and then proceeded to roll to the outside for a springboard clothesline. He connected and then got a two count pin.

Heydorn’s Analysis: The audience was very much into that sequence and seemed into the match as well. Both guys were hitting on all cylinders and the big moves built into the match were getting big reactions.

After the pin, Nese bated Alexander and slammed him into the ropes. With Alexander down Nese went for a moonsault but Alexander moved out the way. Alexander then went for the Neuralizer which Nese countered into a knee drop to the sternum. Nese covered and Alexander kicked out at two. Both guys were down in the ring until Nese got to his feet first. Enzo was yelling at Nese as Nese slapped Alexander in the head. Alexander responded with a slap to the face. They then each exchanged strikes before Nese lifted Alexander up for his finisher. Alexander countered, but when he landed he appeared to twist his ankle. The ref checked on him and as Nese went over to continue the attack, Alexander rolled him up and got the 1,2,3 win.

-Right after the pin, Alexander sold his knee injury quite a bit. Nese turned to Amore and begged for his forgiveness. After, Alexander taunted Amore and moved around on his knee as if nothing was wrong. Amore then kicked Nese out of the ring and went face to face with Alexander. He asked Alexander if he though it all was a joke. Amore taunted Alexander and said that he’s the best in the world. From there, Alexander kicked Amore twice in his bad leg and then hit him with the Lumbar Check. After, he picked up the cruiserweight title, looked at it, and placed it under the head of Amore.

WINNER: Alexander at 9:54

Heydorn’s Analysis: I really enjoyed this match. The pacing was incredible and both guys were on their game in terms of execution and selling. The crowd bought in as well. Typically, I don’t like babyfaces using heel tactics to win a match. That said, Alexander is in dire need of a personality. The heel finish allowed him to show that personality a bit. For that reason, it worked but it’s not something that I condone on a regular basis.

-The show went off the air with Alexander celebrating as he walked up the ramp and Amore laying lifeless in the ring

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a very solid episode of 205 Live. The best one in the last month. It progressed a variety of different storylines and also featured it’s two top acts in prominent spots. Enzo Amore was the most over star as usual, but outside of his entrance fiasco which still needs to be removed from the gimmick, he was getting the heat he wanted. On the flip side, Cedric Alexander looked great as well and closed the show strong for the fourth straight week. The main event ending allowed him to showcase more personality and the crowd seems to be slowly coming along with it. In the mid-card, Gallagher and Itami are telling a great story that is different from the one in the main event and both are positioning themselves as future title contenders. They have things lined up well and in a way that makes logical sense. Without another major star on the way, you can’t ask too much more than that.

GRADE: B+


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 1/2 WWE 205 Live Report: Goldust & Cedric vs. Drew & Daivari, Tozawa vs. TJP, Itami vs. Gallagher

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