SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
APRIL 17, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph and Percy Watson
-The show began with a promo hype video featuring the feud between Hideo Itami & Akira Tozawa and Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This feud still feels a bit too “mid card” for a dramatic hype video of this nature. That said, its WWE and of course it was very well done. I’m glad this show has a solid mid card program going, but it doesn’t have to be more than that. This video tried a little too hard.
-From there, the show open ran and the announce team welcomed the audience to the program. Joseph quickly ran down the events of SmackDown Live and then recapped the devastation caused by Buddy Murphy at last week’s championship celebration for Cedric Alexander. Joseph said that Drake Maverick would address that situation later in the show. Watson then hyped the main event tornado tag team match pitting Itami and Tozawa against Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado.
(1) MUSTAFA ALI vs. ARIYA DAIVARI
Ali hit the ring first and was fully decked out in his WrestleMania entrance gear. The crowd popped small for him but did seem to enjoy the flashy attire. Then, backstage Ariya Daivari was interviewed ahead of his entrance. He said that Mustafa Ali had a big opportunity at WrestleMania and failed. He said that last week Ali was pathetic in asking for a rematch and that he would prove to the world that he belongs in the back of the line. Daivari then made his entrance to a cricket-like reaction from the crowd.
The match began with Daivari tackling Ali into the corner and connecting with punches. Immediatley, Ali fired back and hit his own strikes which he followed with a hurricanrana. After, he went for a quick cover, but just got a two count. After the pin attempt, Ali went to the top rope, but Daivari stopped him and connected with a back breaker off the top rope. The announcers played up that Daivari was working to ground Ali and his offense mirrored that strategy.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I enjoyed the incredible straight forward nature of the commentary team putting over the psychology of grounding Ali as a strategy for Daivari in the match. It wasn’t subtle at all, but it was effective in helping to tell the story of what was happening in the ring.
From there, Daivari did everything he could to keep Ali on the mat. He worked Ali’s lower back with back breakers and forearms to the back and added in regular cover attempts along the way. Eventually, out of a pin attempt, Daivari locked in a bear hug submission. Out of that, Ali was able to escape and utilized his speed and agility to gain momentum. He chopped Daivari to the chest and then attempted a rolling face buster but was countered by Daivari with a sidekick to the face. After, Daivari covered, but only received a two count. Out of the pin, Daivari yelled at Ali and then whipped him off the ropes. Daivari lifted Ali into the air, but was drop kicked in the middle of the ring. This sent Daivari rolling to the outside and Ali followed. From there, Ali ran at his opponent but was sidewalk slammed on the outside mats.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Brutal bump on the part of Ali. Talk about dedication to the craft. This match did not need that bump, but for better or worse, him taking it got quite the reaction from the audience.
After the move, Daivari immediatley rolled Ali back into the ring and then scaled the top rope for a splash. He connected and then covered for a two count. Out of the pin, Daivari continued his offensive assault with a vicious clothesline and again followed with a pin attempt, but only got a count of two. With Ali gasping for air, the crowd cheered, and Daivari lifted him to the top rope. Daivari attempted a back body drop from the top rope, but Ali countered with a back flip. This caused Daivari to the fall to the mat and Ali immediatley ran back to the top rope to capitalize. From there, he hit the 054 on a prone Daivari and covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ali at 7:35
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match. Ali continues to look like a star for the brand and Daivari helped make him look strong with the story they told. A win on all accounts.
-After the match, Vic Joseph cued up a hype video detailing the events of last week with Buddy Murphy during Cedric Alexander’s championship celebration.
-When the video ended, Drake Maverick addressed the audience regarding the Buddy Murphy situation from the backstage area. He said that Murphy’s actions were inexcusable and that he ruined an important moment for 205 Live and the fans. Then Maverick said that Murphy’s performance throughout the last month did merit a title match which he officially granted him at the Greatest Royal Rumble Event in Saudi Arabia. From there, Maverick said that though that was the plan, Murphy did not make the 205 Live weight cut at the weigh-in and cued up a video of that exact weigh-in taking place. In it, Maverick informed Murphy that he missed weight by two pounds. Murphy requested another hour of time to make the cut, but Maverick declined the request and apologized. After the video, Maverick said that Murphy would have to make weight at a later date in order to continue to compete on 205 Live. He then said that Murphy’s loss was someone else’s gain and announced a cruiserweight gauntlet match for next week on 205 Live with the winner going to Saudi Arabia to face Cedric Alexander for the title.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was a really good segment. As usual, Drake Maverick came across as a strong authority figure with a palpable vision of what he wants the brand to be. In addressing the Buddy Murphy situation he was able to weave that vision into his words and actions in a way that was seamless and unforced. The WWE has been setting up Murphy not making weight for weeks. Murphy’s weigh-in routine was a prevalent part of many of his entrances and they are finally using that for storyline reasons. This opens a lot of doors and opportunities. Murphy could interfere in the gauntlet match next week or actually make weight next week for the match. Either way, like last week when he interfered in Maverick’s celebration with Cedric, it further sets up points of dissension between Murphy and his authority figure in Maverick. It’s not an accident that Murphy seems to be ruining Maverick’s vision for 205 Live. This is a tremendous building block in which many stories will stem from in the near future.
-A commercial aired for the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia
(2) JACK GALLAGHER & THE BRIAN KENDRICK vs. VINNIE SCALISE & KEVIN DETIBRESS
Gallagher entered the ring first and was followed by Brian Kendrick. Gallagher got a small reaction, but the crowd popped a little louder for Kendrick. Scalise and Detibress were already in the ring when Kendrick and Gallagher arrived. The match began with Gallagher staring down his opponent and then taking him to the mat with a head lock takedown. From there, Gallagher manipulated the body and then utilized punches before lifting Scalise onto his shoulders and making the tag to Kendrick. From there, he tossed Scalise onto the ropes and Kendrick destroyed him with a boot to the face. After, Kendrick locked in a sleeper hold. From there, Detibress finally tagged in an worked to get some offense but was stopped in his tracks by a Kendrick clothesline. It was all Kendrick and Gallagher from this point on. They dismantled both members of the other team with vicious chops and submissions before Detibress started a mini comeback. Like all of his offense, that was stopped short as Kendrick hooked in the Captains Hook submission to which Detibress tapped out to immediatley.
WINNER: Gallagher and Kendrick at 3:56 via submission
Heydorn’s Analysis: A perfect use of the squash match. Kendrick and Gallagher looked great and should be on to bigger and better things moving forward.
-After the match, Mustafa Ali was shown cooling down backstage and then was interviewed. He said that Buddy Murphy ruined Cedric Alexander’s celebration and that he hopes Murphy eventually does cut weight because he knows Alexander can’t wait to get his hands on him. He then said he has an opportunity and that he won’t let the championship slip through his hands again.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I really like Ali’s promo game. He comes off as genuine which goes a long way in establishing a connection with the crowd. Right now he’s the number two man on the show, but that tide could easily change on a dime at any moment.
-The teams of Dorado/Metalik and Itami/Tozawa were shown warming up backstage.
-A commercial aired for the Something Else To Wrestle show on the WWE Network
-Out of the commercial, Drew Gulak cut a backstage promo. He said that last week he proved that his ground based style prevailed over aerial delinquency.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ha! I love the usage of the “aerial delinquency” line. Just perfect.
From there, he said that he sent the Mark Andrews quest for retribution crashing down. He said it was all done at the hands of the best submission specialist in the WWE. He then warned Tony Nese and said that he is on to bigger and better things in his own quest for 205 Live. He said the next step in that quest is to win the cruiserweight championship and if you step to him, you will tap out.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Another gem from Drew Gulak. He continues to grow within his new character and a run with the title or a long feud over it has to be in the cards at some point this year. He’s primed nicely to work with Cedric Alexander or Mustafa Ali at this point.
(3) LINCE DORADO & GRAN METALIK vs. HIDEO ITAMI & AKIRA TOZAWA
Metalik and Dorado hit the ring first along with Kalisto to a nice response of lucha chants. Kalisto then went backstage. Drake Maverick was on commentary and talked up the gauntlet match next week as the team made their way to the ring. Itami and Tozawa hit the ring next to a mixed reaction with Tozawa’s war chant mixed in. As they walked to the ring, Metalik and Dorado ran up the ramp to meet them and the brawling began.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Perfect way to start the match. This thing was basically billed as a train wreck and starting it out with a brawl is the best way to deliver that.
Both teams brawled to ring and with Tozawa and Itami stunned, Metalik and Dorado connected with simultaneous suicide dives. After, Tozawa and Itami were tossed back into the ring and the match officially began. In the official match, Dorado and Metalik maintained momentum with chops to the chest, sailor dives, and other fast paced moves. After, Dorado covered but only received a two count. Eventually, Tozawa got the upper hand with kicks which prompted Itami to run attempt a flying knee strike which he landed. After, Tozawa connected with a senton drop from the top rope onto Metalik and Dorado. Tozawa and Itami then rolled Metalik and Dorado back into the ring for a cover, but they kicked out at two.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Tremendous back and forth action thus far. Both teams have nice chemistry together and it has lived up to the train wreck-like expectations.
Out of the pin, Hideo Itami put on a show by decimating Lince Dorado with calculated and strategic strikes to various body parts. He then whipped Dorado into the corner and Tozawa followed with a flying forearm. Itami then followed him with a flying clothesline and then he tried to cover again, but Dorado kicked out at two. After the pin, Dorado drummed up some energy and started to fight back. That fight was short lived as both Tozawa and Itami locked in unique submission at the same time on both opponents. Metalik broke the hold by falling onto the other guys to break both holds.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Again, Drake Maverick is so impressive on commentary in how he sells his show. This match virtually is meaningless outside of both teams wanting to settle a grudge. Maverick is able to sell pride though with how he talks about the action. He’s great at making the connection between what happens in that ring and getting opportunities from him. That is important because in time, it will give credibility to every single match regardless of whether or not the title is on the line.
After the break, Itami attempted to remove Dorado’s mask, but Dorado fought back enough to keep it on. This caused Itami and Tozawa to both double team Dorado with chops and kicks to the chest. With Dorado down, Itami went to the outside of the ring and slammed Gran Metalik onto the announce table. From there, Itami went back into the ring and continued the double team.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ok, I’m not a fan of Tozawa’s work here. He’s heeling it up big time in the ring within the double team but also working to get the crowd to chant along with his war chant. It’s sending mixed signals and he isn’t over enough either way to do so.
Eventually, Tozawa and Itami whipped Dorado across the ring and Dorado slid to the outside. As that happened, Metalik spring boarded into the air and connected with a flying drop kick on both guys. This changed the momentum of the match. Out of that, Dorado and Metalik hit simultaneous springboard moonsaults which left all four men down for a bit. Itami and Dorado were first up and Dorado was quickly slammed into the steps. Tozawa then dove on Metalik which sent him on top of the announce table. Then, all four superstars climbed to the top rope and Gran Metalik hit a powerbomb on Tozawa and Itami who vertical suplexed Dorado. All the men were down until Dorado and Tozawa slowly got to their feet. They exchanged kicks and hurricanranas before Tozawa climbed the top rope and hit his top rope senton. He covered but the pin was interuppted by Metalik.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This match has been humming at a fever pitch pace. The guys are going a million miles an hour and the audience is loving it.
After the pin, Tozawa and Itami resumed their 2 on 1 beatdown of Dorado. After being whipped into the ropes, Dorado landed his springboard stunner on both and covered both but each kicked out at two. After, the crowd chanted this is awesome as Itami and Dorado clocked each other in the face with chops, slaps, and elbows. After connecting with a running dropkick on Dorado, Itami went for a pin, but it was stopped by Gran Metalik once again. Itami was incensed by this and ran at him to try and remove his mask again. As that was happening, Tozawa came in with a big boot meant for Metalik but it landed on Itami instead. Dorado then drop kicked Tozawa to the mat and both he and Metalik hit their top rope finishers for a simultaneous pin attempt and the 1,2,3 victory.
WINNER: Dorado & Metalik at 15:38
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good match. It was sold as a massive car wreck and that’s exactly what it was. I think WWE got a little ahead of themselves with the dramatic video to open the show, but this was a nice end to well told mid card feud. 205 Live needs good mid level programs like these to supplement the title storyline and more stuff like this fits that bill perfectly.
-After the match, Kalisto ran down to the ring to celebrate along with his team
-The show went off the air with Kalisto, Dorado, and Metalik doing the lucha chant with the audience as a fallen Itami and Tozawa looked on.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Another really solid show for the cruiserweights. They still aren’t getting major audience reactions, but crowds are slowly coming around. Tonight’s show flowed well and ended with the crowd chanting “this is awesome” in the main event. That coupled with storylines flying all around equals a good night.