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WWE 205 LIVE
MAY 1, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson
-The show began with a recap hype video for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between Kalisto and Cedric Alexander at the Greatest Royal Rumble.
Heydorn’s Analysis: WWE is so tone deaf in hyping this show as much as they have. Unreal.
-After the video ran, the show open hit and Vic, Nigel, and Percy welcomed the audience into the show. On commentary, Joseph called 205 Live the most exciting hour of television and then further recapped the Greatest Royal Rumble. From there, McGuinness told the crowd that Buddy Murphy had made weight and would be returning tonight. The announce team also highlighted that Kalisto and Drew Gulak would face off tonight in a rematch from their encounter in last week’s gauntlet match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This brand does a great job of recapping the top stories ahead of the show. They are concise and to the point, but give solid background that plants seeds for storyline development.
(1) AKIRA TOZAWA & HIDEO ITAMI vs. THE BRIAN KENDRICK & JACK GALLAGHER
Tozawa and Itami hit the ring first to a very small reaction from the Montreal crowd. As they walked down the ramp, Nigel and Vic recapped Tozawa and Itami’s loss to the Lucha House party a few weeks ago. In the ring, Tozawa got a small war chant started before his opponents were announced. From there, Kendrick and Gallagher came out to a similar non-response from the audience.
The match began with Tozawa and Gallagher. Gallagher attempted to throw some left hooks early, but Tozawa one upped him and chopped him in the chest, before stomping him the corner. After, he hit Gallagher with a knee to the face which he followed with a senton bomb.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I don’t say this often, but Tozawa looked really good here. He was fired up and crisp with his offense and it gave him some life. In turn, the crowd responded to him in a way that isn’t seen regularly.
Out of the senton, Gallagher ran to tag in Kendrick and Tozawa did the same thing with Itami. From there, Itami and Kendrick chain wrestled a bit and exchanged holds before Itami took control with a forearm to the face of Kendrick. The announce team played up the history between the two when Itami broke Kendrick’s orbital bone. The two then proceeded to exchange vicious strikes to the face. Again, Itami got the upper hand and proceeded to tag in Tozawa. Once in the ring, Tozawa kept up where he left off and hit a flurry of offense on Kendrick including a flying dropkick.
Heydorn’s Analysis: More good work from Tozawa here. He got the crowd firmly on his side. Does he have some relation to Montreal or something? It’s like watching a new guy out there. He should still cool it with the war chant, but he must have ate something special today because he’s clicking.
After getting distracted by Gallagher at ringside, Kendrick connected with a hard kick to Tozawa’s face which prompted his team to take over control of the match. Out of the kick, Kendrick tagged Gallagher into the match and Gallagher proceeded to punish Tozawa with a few submission holds and well placed strikes. From there, Gallagher tagged in Kendrick who kept all momentum for his team with a chin lock submission. Eventually, Tozawa was able to break free and make the hot tag to Itami. Itami connected with his patented strikes and then tossed Kendrick into the top rope. From there, Itami jumped off the top rope for a high risk clothesline and after connecting, he covered for a two count. Out of the pin attempt, Itami hit his running corner dropkick. After, Tozawa made a blind tag into the match and then hit a suicide dive on both Gallagher and Kendrick who had rolled to the outside of the ring. The finish saw more miscommunication between Itami and Tozawa. Tozawa battled for his life and finally got Gallagher down to the mat with a hurricanrana. From there, he climbed to the top rope for his senton finisher, but Itami hit the ropes to knock him off. This gave Gallagher the opening to hit his headbutt and cover Tozawa for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Kendrick and Gallagher at 8:09
-After the match, Itami and Tozawa confronted each other and Itami shoved Tozawa to the mat. After Itami left the ring, Tozawa shook his head and looked confused.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Pretty good match. Itami and Kendrick have some nice chemistry together and clearly have unfinished business given how hard the announce team sold their history. Tozawa and Itami just became partners so its a bit early to be planting seeds for them to split up. That said, its early in the story, so there is time for more pieces of it to shake out.
-The announce team then recapped the events of Cedric Alexander’s title celebration party after WrestleMania in which Buddy Murphy attacked Alexander from behind.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Buddy Murphy looks like a really big deal because of these videos. We’ll see if it translates within his match, but job well done for WWE either way.
-A commercial aired for WWE Backlash this Sunday on the WWE Network
-After the commercial, Drew Gulak was shown getting ready backstage. He then addressed the camera and said that he wasn’t surprised that Kalisto squandered his chance at the cruiserweight championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble. He said that he barely made it past him in the gauntlet match and only did so because of his high flying. From there, he said that the second Kalisto steps through the ropes tonight, it would be over. Gulak finished by staring a hole in the camera and saying that if Kalisto steps to him, he would tap out.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Alright, I liked the promo, but hated the shot. Was the camera just filming Gulak getting dressed for no reason? I’m not a big stickler on this issue, but this was too blatant.
(2) BUDDY MURPHY vs. LIAM LOUIE
Murphy hit the ring first by slowly sauntering down the ramp. His reaction wasn’t huge at all, but the man himself appeared confident and looked his part. As he made his walk, Murphy’s weigh-in was shown in which he made weight and then demanded a title match from 205 Live GM, Drake Maverick.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The weigh-ins continue to give a nice sports like feel to the show.
Murphy’s opponent was already in the ring and the match began with Murphy stomping Louie in the corner. The crowd proceeded to chant “let’s go jobber” as Murphy connected with a vertical suplex before hitting more stomps on Louie’s chest. From there, Murphy slapped Louie in the face. Louie then caught Murphy with a knee to the face which really angered Murphy. To retaliate, he connected with a series of four powerbombs on Louie and then refused to pin him. This forced the ref to stop the match because Louie couldn’t defend himself.
WINNER: Murphy via TKO at 1:48
-After the match, Cedric Alexander’s music hit and the champion walked down the ramp to confront Murphy. Alexander immediatley rushed him and the two brawled before Murphy ran away to the backstage area.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was an excellent use of the squash match. Murphy looked fantastic as a heel and got heat on the helpless jobber. The crowd may have been mocking the match with their chant of “jobber” but at the very least it shows that Murphy is generating some sort of sympathy on his babyface opponents. Alexander confronting Murphy after the match is some nice consistent story progression which presumably will lead to a match between the two at Backlash.
-A commercial for this week’s NXT aired featuring Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong. Then a commercial aired for the Something Else To Wrestle with Bruce Prichard podcast on the WWE Network.
-Out of the commercial, breaking news hit the desk of the announcers that said next week The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher would face the team of Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik in tag team action.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Kendrick and Gallagher appear to be getting a little bit of a push here. They have nice chemistry and if cruiserweight tag belts do get introduced, these guys are very logical inaugural champions.
-Backstage, Cedric Alexander was interviewed and said that Buddy Murphy made a statement a few weeks ago and he just made his. Alexander said that the difference was that Alexander made his statement face to face and didn’t attack from behind like a coward. He then said that if Murphy wants a shot at him, he knows where to find him.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was short, but was one of Alexander’s better promos. That’s not saying much, but it was a classic good guy promo and it worked.
(3) KALISTO vs. DREW GULAK
Kalisto came out first and the crowd quickly participated in the lucha chants. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik walked out on the ramp with him, but then wished him luck and went back through the curtain. As Kalisto warmed up the ring, a Kalisto promo aired in which he said that Saudi Arabia was an amazing time. He said that his title match didn’t go the way he wanted, but that Drew Gulak would be no match for his lucha house party.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ehh. You’d think he’d be more upset about losing his title match right?
Gulak hit the ring next and did so in a very serious fashion. Not much of a response for Gulak from the audience. The match began with the audience chanting “power point” at Drew Gulak. From there, Kalisto and Gulak tied up and Gulak instantly took Kalisto down. As he did this, Nigel put over just how dominant Gulak was in last week’s gauntlet match. Eventually, Kalisto escaped the holds and then led the crowd in a lucha chant. From there, the two tied up again and again Gulak took Kalisto down to the mat. On the mat, Gulak stretched Kalisto and attempted a quick pin attempt, before Kalisto kicked out at two.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Gulak sells his submissions really well. He doesn’t just sit in the hold, but he actively uses his facial expressions and body movements to convey the fact that he is trying to hurt his opponents. It gives his matches a sense of realism.
Out of the pin, Gulak locked in a sleeper hold which Kalisto countered into a headlock of his own. Then, Kalisto flipped around to officially break from Gulak. The two then tied up again, but Kalisto met the same result which was a Gulak submission hold. This time, the damage was being done to his knee. From there, Kalisto escaped the hold and then tried to take the momentum back with a top rope corkscrew arm drag. He then connected with kicks which sent Gulak to the outside of the ring. Kalisto worked to capitalize with an over the top rope dive, but Gulak moved out of the way which caused Kalisto’s knee to tweak upon hitting the ground. From there, Gulak tossed Kalisto back into the ring and kept up his vicious submission assault with a Luri Stretch.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Kalisto is doing a wonderful job selling Gulak’s submission holds. The pain he’s conveying is making his fire up attempts that much more exciting and dramatic.
During the match, Vic Joseph announced more breaking news from Drake Maverick which was that next week, Buddy Murphy would take on Mustafa Ali. Back in the ring, Gulak was still on offense and whipped Kalisto forcefully into the ropes. He then hit a clothesline and attempted a cover for a two count. Out of the pin, Kalisto attempted to pick up his pace, but Gulak squashed it with a thunderous clothesline. He followed with a pin, but Kalisto kicked out a two. After the pin attempt, Gulak angrily tried to take Kalisto mask off. It backfired as Kalisto kicked him to the outside of the ring. He then hit a drop kick which he followed with a slingshot arm drag over the top rope. Kalisto then hit a suicide dive before rolling Gulak back into the ring. From there, Kalisto connected with a spring board cross body which sent Gulak to the outside of the ring. He followed that with a 450 splash over the top rope.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The mask removal spot was a smart way to get Kalisto some offense. He spent the better part of half the match selling for Gulak and being injured, but the mask removal allowed him to hit a new gear and get to another level without undermining the selling he did earlier. WWE regularly tells us how important the mask is for its luchadors and Kalisto used that story and meaning to his advantage to gain momentum. Well done.
After the 450, Kalisto rolled Gulak back into the ring and tried for a pinfall, but Gulak kicked out a two. Out of the pin, Kalisto attempted the SDS, but Gulak countered with a two count pin attempt. Both Gulak and Kalisto were slow to get to their feet, but Kalisto got there first. Gulak wasn’t too far behind and the two proceeded to exchange a flurry of punches which led to Kalisto connecting with the Basement-Rana. From there, he attempted the SDS again, but Gulak countered it into the Gu-Lock. Kalisto held on for a short time, but then was forced to tap out.
WINNER: Gulak via submission at 12:45
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good match. I enjoyed all the psychology within it and Drew Gulak continues to perform at a high level. I thought it was silly for Kalisto to get the win over Drew Gulak last week, but as it turns out the victory was a means to an end rather than a true push for Kalisto. Gulak got his win back here and did so in dominant fashion. All the pieces are back where they belong.
-After the match, the Lucha House Party hit the ring to check on their teammate as Gulak looked on. From there, the show faded to black.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a pretty standard A to B show for 205 Live. The in-ring work was at a B level and overall there was minimal storyline development. With Backlash on Sunday, it appeared as if WWE was going to hotshot the Murphy vs. Alexander title match, but after the news of next week’s main event between Murphy and Mustafa Ali, it appears that isn’t the case. This is a smart move as this feud still needs to grow some legs. The foundation for it was setup nicely tonight, but the build isn’t completed quite yet.
OVERALL GRADE: C
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 4/24 WWE 205 Live Report: A number one contender gauntlet match featuring Mustafa Ali, Drew Gulak, and more