WWE 205 LIVE
MAY 15, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson
-The show opened with a video package in which 205 Live General Manager, Drake Maverick ran down the matches of the evening which pit WWE’s UK division against WWE’s cruiserweights. Maverick announced a fatal four-way match between TJP, Kalisto, Kenny Williams, and Tyler Bate along with a six-man tag team match with Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali, and Flash Morgan Webster vs. James Drake, Joseph Connors, and Drew Gulak. Maverick then said that both divisions will be going head to head as the video completed.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Alright, so its not truly head to head since UK stars are teaming with cruiserweight, but close enough? It’s nitpicking, but the wording is strange and doesn’t need to be.
-From there, the show open ran and Vic, Nigel, and Percy welcomed the audience to the program. They also highlighted the UK stars vs. the cruiserweights as well. Nigel then ran through the tale of the tape on some of the new UK stars on the show.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I like the announce team running through these new guys. First, it gives off a natural sports-like feel, but it also gives the audience a quick snapshot lesson into who will be populating their screens on the program. Smart move.
(1) TYLER BATE vs. TJP vs. KALISTO vs. KENNY WILLIAMS
Bate was out first and got a nice response from the UK crowd. As he walked to the ring a selfie video aired in which he recapped his disdain for TJP due to TJP cheating to beat him in the cruiserweight championship tournament. Kenny Williams hit the ring next to a very tempered reaction. As Williams walked to the ring, his selfie video aired in which he said that his goal was to be the best of the world. Kalisto finished off the entrances and got his usual reaction of lucha chants.
The match began with Bate running at TJP to try and extract some revenge from their last match together. TJP scurried out of the ring in response and Williams, Kalisto, and Bate were left to do battle. As Bate hit the ropes though, TJP grabbed his foot and pulled him out of the ring. From there, TJP connected with a stiff strike which sent Bate down to the mat. From there, TJP ran back into the ring and mixed it up with Kalisto. Kalisto connected with a few offensive maneuvers before TJP took over momentum with a variety of submission holds including a half Boston crab.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really nice setup on the TJP/Bate stuff. It’s nice to see that they went back into history and use it to their advantage. The 15 second selfie promo by Bate discussing this history set a hook for the match that they’re now exploiting. Good stuff.
After Kalisto and TJP battled to the top rope, Kenny Williams knocked TJP off with a move that sent them both to the outside of the ring. This left Kalisto alone up top and he jumped off and connected with a senton on Williams. From there, TJP headed back to the ring, but Bate was waiting. Bate connected with a flurry of moves and then connected with his airplane spin on TJP. Kalisto and Williams tried to stop it, but Bate used TJP to hit them instead.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, spoke a little too soon. The setup between Bate and TJP was perfect, but I thought they cashed in on it too quick. Bate and TJP should have held off and milked their moment for more to get a larger reaction.
After the airplane spin, Kenny Williams took advantage of a prone Bate and got momentum in the match. From there, TJP got involved and locked Williams into an inverted figure-four submission. Bate then ran into the ring to interrupt and was followed by Kalisto. TJP responded by putting all three in submission holds at the very same time. Eventually, Kalisto drop kicked TJP which caused him to break all holds. This gave Kalisto the momentum and he capitalized with a hurricanrana on Williams. Kalisto then went to the top rope, but TJP followed. On his way up, Bate shoved TJP off and met Kalisto up top instead. Then down below, Williams and TJP got back in the mix with TJP power bombing Williams and Bate as they gave Kalisto a top rope vertical suplex. After the big move, Kenny Williams was the first to his feet and he connected with suicide dives through the ring ropes on his opponents. From there, Bate hit an over the top rope dive on Williams and TJP before Kalisto connected with his over the top rope splash on all three.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Williams doesn’t really have a character of any kind so it’s hard to fully get behind the guy. That said, he is crisp and looks to be very fluent in the ring.
Back in the ring, Williams hit Kalisto with a tornado DDT and then went for the cover, but it was broken up by Tyler Bate. Out of the pin attempt, the four engaged in a very fast paced back and forth with counters and moves. After that spot, Kenny Williams went for a springboard move, but Tyler Bate destroyed him with a forearm to the face. From there, TJP attempted his Detonator Kick, but it was countered by Bate who hit the ropes for his patented lariat. Then, Bate connected with the Tyler Driver 97 for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Bate at 10:33
Heydorn’s Analysis: Overall, this was a fun match. The stakes weren’t high, but it was a nice cruiserweight style match to kick off the show. I thought Tyler Bate would have gotten a bit of a larger response, but it was still louder than most crowd reactions on 205 Live.
-After the match, Tyler Bate posed in the ring as Nigel praised him. Vic Joseph then cued up a recap video detailing the recent history involving Cedric Alexander, Drake Maverick, and Buddy Murphy. The video featured Murphy talking about his history in the WWE and claimed that he would be the next cruiserweight champion. After the video, Nigel announced that in two weeks Murphy would get his shot at the championship on 205 Live from Alexander’s home state.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This video as very well done and timed perfectly ahead of the championship match announcement. Murphy’s comments were delivered in a credible way and he looked like a viable challenger. Overall, the project of Buddy Murphy on this show has been a rousing success. This guy was dead in the water and on 205 Live, he became something. Murphy has delivered in his matches, but production work like this video helped get him to where he is.
-A commercial aired for Camp WWE on the WWE Network and was followed by a commercial for Money In The Bank.
-Out of the commercial break, Vic Joseph announced that Hideo Itami would take on Akira Tozawa next week.
-From there, Cedric Alexander was shown warming up backstage before Mustafa Ali walked into the shot. The two exchanged pleasantries and then Alexander asked Ali if he was ready. Ali said he was born ready and as the two began to go over strategy, they were interuppted by Flash Morgan Webster. Alexander welcomed him to 205 Live and Flash welcomed them to the UK.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Wish they would have done a little more with Flash here. He’s such an interesting character and only showed a smidgen of that within this segment. More to come perhaps, but a missed opportunity nonetheless.
-After the backstage segment, Drake Maverick’s music hit and the 205 Live General Manager walked down to the announce table to join in on commentary.
(2) CEDRIC ALEXANDER, MUSTAFA ALI, & FLASH MORGAN WEBSTER vs. JAMES DRAKE, JOSEPH CONNORS, & DREW GULAK
Alexander, Ali, and Webster hit the ring at the same time to Cedric’s music and as they did, Maverick discussed the upcoming cruiserweight championship match between Murphy and Alexander in two weeks. Maverick said that he made the match in two weeks time so Murphy could prepare and so he could promote the match effectively.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Maverick is incredible at outlining and conveying logic within everything he does. In 2018 WWE, that isn’t necessarily a given. Props to him and he continues to be a fresh face on the 205 Live brand.
Drake, Connors, and Gulak were interviewed backstage ahead of their entrance. They said that the three of them would take great pleasure in tearing their opponents apart. Gulak then specifically chimed in and said that he had put the team through rigorous team building activities throughout the day. From there, Gulak said with their victory they would put everyone in the UK and in the cruiserweight division on notice.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Funny line by Gulak on the team building activities, but not overly funny so as to take away from his submission shtick. Again, Gulak walked that fine line and made it work.
From there, Gulak’s music hit and his team walked to the ring to a very small response. The match began with Maverick discussing Drew Gulak and how he’d become an ego maniac since Maverick lit a fire under him upon his arrival to the show. In the ring, Connors and Alexander started things off and the two exchanged wrist locks, before Alexander worked his way into a one count pin attempt. Immediatley out of the pin, Connors maneuvered Alexander into the corner and destroyed him with six vicious strikes in a row. From there, Alexander struck back with a dropkick to the jaw and followed that with his springboard hurricanrana. After, Alexander tagged Flash into the ring and he dominated the match. Connors then tagged in Drake who quickly tagged in Gulak. With Gulak in the ring, he appeared to gain some momentum, but was then crushed with a hurricanrana from Webster. Out of that, Gulak tagged Connors into the match, but the momentum still was on the side of Webster. With it, Webster tagged Mustafa Ali into the match and Ali proceeded to connect with some fast paced offense. With the heels on the ropes, Drew Gulak circled his team to rally the troops before going back into action.
Heydorn’s Analysis: For a good chunk of early part of the match, Maverick was spewing some really nice commentary about the 205 Live brand, how he finds talent, and what the future of the show would be. He was like an NFL GM talking about his team. Really great stuff which not all talents could pull off. Maverick has a credibility to talk this way because he was presented this way from the start. It’s paying dividends now and will continue to in the future.
When they locked up again, the heels got advantage on Ali after Drake connected with a heel-ish low blow. The next part of the match saw Ali attempt to to tag in his teammates. The heels did a great job of cutting of the ring to build heat and build to a tag. Eventually, Ali got the tag to Webster, but this time Webster couldn’t change his team’s fortunes. Webster was immediatley neutralized by Drake busted Webster open inadvertently with stiff strikes. From there, Drake locked in a sleeper hold.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The babyfaces have shined bright thus far. Much of the match is constructed on them getting their spots in and the heels flying about to sell.
From there, Webster escaped and connected with a hurricanrana from the second rope. This gave Webster enough time to make the tag to Ali who hit the ring with loads of fire. He hit Connors with his rolling face buster and then lifted Connors to the top rope. On top, Ali saw Drake coming and back flipped off. He then dodged Drake and hit a top rope hurricanrana on Connors who proceeded to nail Drake. Ali then went for the cover on Connors, but Connors kicked out at two.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Fun spot. Like most weeks since 205 Live’s re-launch, Ali owns the ring with the time he has.
Eventually, Ali lost his momentum, but was able to tag in Cedric Alexander who got it back. Alexander connected with his springboard dropkick before getting destroyed by Drake. From there, all six superstars hit big moves on each other which left them all laying in the ring as the crowd cheered. Notable moves was Alexander’s Neuralizer and Ali’s kick to the face. The finish saw Drew Gulak and Cedric Alexander exchange offense in the middle of the ring after Drake, Connors, and Flash were fighting on the outside after another suicide dive from Flash. Alexander went for the Neuralizer again on Gulak, but Gulak countered it into the ankle lock submission. Alexander rolled his way out of it and sent Gulak crashing into the turnbuckle. From there, Ali was tagged into the match and he connected with his second rope tornado DDT before hitting the 054 for win.
WINNER: Alexander, Ali, & Webster at 12:40
Heydorn’s Analysis: Alexander’s selling in the angle lock was not effective at all. It seemed as if he may start to laugh during it and was so over the top that it wasn’t very believable. He appeared to be more surprised that he was in the hold than in pain because of it. Outside of that, this was a standard A to B match that worked. The faces got their moves in and the heels made them look good in doing so.
-The show closed with Ali and his team celebrating in the ring and Vic promoting the big WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander in two weeks.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This show falls into a special category of 205 Live shows as it featured the involvement of the UK division. It made for a fun and unique night, but storylines weren’t moved forward or addressed at all outside of the commentary team and some hype videos. That said, the in-ring action was good and the matches were enjoyable. Nothing wrong with having a show like that from time to time.
OVERALL GRADE – B-
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 5/8 WWE 205 Live Report: Buddy Murphy vs. Mustafa Ali, Lucha House Party vs. Kendrick and Gallagher, and more