WWE 205 LIVE
JANUARY 16, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness
-The show began with the show open video right away and not the typical recap package from Monday Night Raw. Vic Joseph then welcomed the audience to the program. He and Nigel McGuinness quickly recapped the events of SmackDown Live and then promoted the main event segment of tonight’s show which was a special interview between Goldust and Cedric Alexander.
(1) TJP vs. GRAN METALIK
TJP came out to the ring first to his usual tepid response. As he made his entrance, a recap video was shown that highlighted last week’s events of him losing to Gran Metalik and then tearing up the announcer area of 205 Live. The announcers played up his frustration throughout the recap. Gran Metalik came out next to a mini pop from the audience. TJP started the match off with a shoulder tackle on Metalik. From the get go, TJP was aggressive and tossed Metalik into the ring post after the shoulder tackle. From there, he locked in a wristlock but Metalik countered out of it with elbows. They then went into a nice sequence of flying arm drags. Metalik got the upper hand in the end with a stiff punch that sent TJP to the outside. Metalik capitalized further by connecting with a flying moonsault from the ring post onto TJP on the outside. Metalik then rolled TJP back in for a cover and got a two count. After the pin attempt, Metalik worked to keep momentum, but as he went for a flying elbow, TJP countered with a dropkick to his back. From here it was all TJP. He hit Metalik with a fury of offense including elbows to the skull and a rear chin lock. The crowd clapped to help Metalik get out of the hold and he did. After, Metalik attempted a splash in the corner, but TJP moved which sent him flying into the ring post again. The two then exchanged offense and Metalik got the momentum back with a springboard cross body. He went for the cover but only got a two count. After the cover attempt he hit a flying drop kick and then a springboard elbow. Metalik covered again for another two count.
Heydorn’s Analysis: In a “first” for 205 Live, the audience popped at Gran Metalik’s in-ring moves. If you watched the CWC, you know that Metalik has a very nice offensive arsenal, but it has yet to be fully seen on 205 Live. Metalik showed some in this match and the crowd liked it. Not only did he hit the moves, but he hit them and connected them in a fast paced way that was very cruiserweight-esque.
After the failed pin attempt, Metalik went for a Metalik Driver which was countered by TJP. TJP then hit a spring board forearm that knocked Metalik to the mat. TJP went to capitalize but was rolled up for a pin that got Metalik the 1,2,3.
-After the match, Metalik celebrated in the ring as TJP walked away furiously frustrated.
WINNER: Metalik at 5:19
Heydorn’s Analysis: Solid match and Metalik’s best yet on 205 Live. TJP lost the match, but clearly the focus is on him and his losing streak. I like the story so far. TJP is playing his role well and showing the correct emotions. They can take this in a lot of directions and with TJP playing the part so well, any of those directions will work.
-A commercial aired for the Royal Rumble live in two weeks on the WWE Network.
-After the commercial, TJP was shown destroying the backstage area. He then was interviewed and was asked if he was crying. He said “no” and then walked away. Nigel said that he understood TJP’s frustration.
Heydorn’s Analysis: More positive progression for TJP and this story. Again, TJP is playing his part well and its connecting. That said, the line about him crying is a bit cheesy. I like the story and the execution, but they need to make sure they keep it realistic.
-Nigel and Vic then recapped the events of last week involving Hideo Itami and Jack Gallagher.
-Then, a backstage segment aired in which Jack Gallagher said he’s been tortured by the sound of The Brian Kendrick’s skull cracking because of Hideo Itami. He said that in his attempts at revenge he’s been tortured and worst of all he’s been tortured in his underestimation of Hideo. Gallagher then said that although Kendrick’s future is uncertain, his teachings live on with him. He said that he’s the man with the plan now and the plan is simple. He said that any piece of armor is indestructible until you prod it and poke it. He said that everyone has their secrets and whether Itami’s are family or friends, he promises to discover them. Gallagher then threatened Itami by saying that an attack would come and it would come from the sky, ground, side, or directly in the face. He then said that Itami would rue the day that he came to 205 Live.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was a focused promo from Jack Gallagher. He stated his issues with Itami and let him know exactly what he was going to do about them. In doing so he added a flare of his character and brought it all together. It was concise but it worked because it progressed his story with Itami in a way that was clear. As viewers, we know what to expect and can look forward to further interactions between the two.
-A commercial aired for WWE Shop on WWE.com
-After the commercial aired, Cedric Alexander’s music hit and he actually received a nice pop. His biggest yet by far. Alexander then motioned to the back to bring out Goldust and the two walked to the ring together. As they made their way to the ring, Joseph promoted the WWE Cruiserweight title match at the Royal Rumble between Cedric Alexander and Enzo Amore.
-In the ring with the crowd chanting Goldust, Goldust got on the mic and said that lives are measured by opportunity. He said that some may say his friendship with Alexander is peculiar, but he knows star power when he sees it. He told Cedric that he is a star on the cusp of a golden opportunity. He said that at the Royal Rumble, it will be time to roll film on a new champion. Alexander then said that he was right and that he has the biggest opportunity of his career in front of him in two weeks. Goldust then said that Cedric is the DiCaprio to his Scorsese.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I just can’t handle this Goldust/Alexander friendship. Is it even a friendship? They’ve been on the same page (out of nowhere) for a mere three weeks. I know the crowd cheered him, but Goldust drives this story down instead of bringing it up. That’s not effective around the main title of the show and not good when trying to build the show as a viable brand of WWE.
-Enzo Amore’s music hit and he interrupted the segment with the full Zo Train including Drew Gulak, Ariya Daivari, and Tony Nese. Enzo got a nice pop from the crowd and did his full entrance promo as he made his way to the ring. He said that Goldust is crazy to call himself Scorsese. He said that if everyone wants to see some Goodfellas, look no further than the Zo Train. Amore said that Goldust deserves an academy award for acting buddy-buddy but the act won’t change the fact that he’s a bigger star than Goldust has ever been and that Cedric Alexander will ever be. He told Cedric not to worry and that he would put a sneaker on his jaw at the Royal Rumble to make him famous. Goldust then said the clown he sees is Enzo Amore on the top of the ramp. Amore then countered by saying that because Goldust isn’t under 205 pounds he should shut his mouth. Goldust then told Amore to come down to the ring and make him. Amore teased going and walked with his Zo Train down to the ring but then said that if Goldust wants to get to the best ever on 205 Live, he’ll have to get through all three members of the Zo Train first. Goldust said to bring it on.
(2) GOLDUST vs. THE ZO TRAIN (DREW GULAK & ARIYA DAIVARI & TONY NESE)
Drew Gulak started things off with Goldust by slapping him in the face. Goldust responded with shoulder tackles and a butt bump to Gulak. Gulak rolled to his corner and tagged in Daivari. Goldust connected with an atomic drop before hitting ten fists to the face of Daivari in the corner. On the 9th punch he punched Tony Nese off of the ring. As he did that, Daivari hit Goldust from behind and then tagged in Gulak again. Gulak then went to work with Goldust firmly supplanted in their corner. He hit punches and kicks before Daivari tagged himself into the match. Daivari maintained Gulak’s offensive striking before Tony Nese tagged himself into the match much to Daivari’s dismay. Daivari and Nese argued and as Nese got in, Goldust rolled him up for a pin but just got a two count. The crowd was firmly behind Goldust throughout this exchange.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The audience was behind Goldust at this point in the match and were chanting for him in a relatively loud fashion. Goldust himself should take responsibility for working to sell the strangeness of the match, but the Zo Train deserves a ton of credit also. They sold well and overly played up their bickering once Nese tagged himself into the match. The over the top bickering brought the crowd back and Goldust was able to utilize them and keep them invested.
After the rollup, Nese clocked Goldust with a flying body tackle and went for a cover. He got a two count. From there, Nese locked in a chinlock of his own as the Zo Train still argued about Nese’s tag. Nese then whipped Goldust into the ropes and went for a running elbow, but Goldust dodged him which sent Nese flying into the ring post. As Nese turned and sold the damage to his face, Goldust hit a spinebuster. Goldust couldn’t muster the strength for a cover and Nese then tagged in Gulak. Gulak entered and Goldust was able to take care of him out of the gate with a series of clotheslines. He then hit his patented kneeling punch to the face which sent Gulak down. He then kept the momentum on his side with a running bulldog. From there, Goldust connected with a powerslam and a cover that Daivari broke up at the count of two. After breaking the pin, Goldust tossed Daivari to the outside of the ring. Immediately after, Tony Nese hit Goldust to the outside and then attempted a flipping moonsault but connected on his partner Daivari instead of his opponent which the crowd seemed to enjoy. With Daivari and Nese down, Amore walked over to them and started screaming and asking them if they were really going to mess this opportunity up. As Amore did this, Cedric Alexander flew from the ring onto him with a suicide dive. Drew Gulak pointed to the outside of the ring and yelled “no diving” at Alexander. As he did this, Goldust came from behind and hit the final cut for the 1,2,3 win.
-After the match, Goldust and Alexander celebrated in the ring as Enzo Amore ripped into his Zo Train for losing the match.
WINNER: Goldust at 3:54
Heydorn’s Analysis: Just a strange match overall. The crowd was invested and excited that Goldust won, but if you drill down they were just cheering a loser main roster wrestler beating up cruiserweights on the cruiserweight show. That doesn’t elevate the show as much as the audience may cheer it. In fact, it does the opposite.
-The show ended with Enzo Amore screaming at the Zo Train for losing their match and Vic Joseph plugging the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between Amore and Cedric Alexander at the Royal Rumble. Joseph also alluded to the fact that Goldust potentially as a match against Amore in his pocket down the line.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a strange episode of 205 Live. It felt shorter than usual, but storylines were still maintained and moved forward. The fact that it felt shorter but worthwhile worked well. Goldust’s involvement with Cedric Alexander is beyond baffling at this point. Hearing Alexander call Goldust his mentor makes me cringe because nothing about Goldust in 2018 should make any wrestler want to have him as a mentor. He’s accepted by fans as a gimmicky, comedic, loser and that is what Alexander is attaching himself to. Alexander needs to stand alone as he goes after the title. I really like the fact that this title match and feud between Amore and Alexander has been built brick by brick over many weeks. The full payoff will be a welcomed one and should finally come at the Royal Rumble.
OVERALL GRADE – C+
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 1/9 WWE 205 Live Report: Best show in a month includes Cedric vs. Nese, TJP vs. Gran Metalik, plus Itami