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WWE 205 LIVE
MAY 29, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson
-The show kicked off with a recap video that detailed the build to tonight’s WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between Cedric Alexander and Buddy Murphy.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Another great video package to start the show. It setup the main event championship match as a big deal and presented both guys as premiere stars of the 205 Live brand.
-After the video aired, the show open ran and Nigel, Vic, and Percy welcomed the audience to the program. They highlighted and plugged the main event and then introduced the first match of the evening. Vic Joseph promoted that this is the first time since October of 2017 that the cruiserweight championship would be defended on a 205 Live.
(1) THE BRIAN KENDRICK & JACK GALLAGHER vs. KALISTO & LINCE DORADO
Kendrick and Gallagher entered the ring first to a small reaction from the audience. As they walked out, the announce team welcomed Drew Gulak as their guest. He was asked who he thought would win the championship match later and he did not give a definitive answer.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Gulak is tremendous on commentary. He’s slimy and annoying, but strangely able to progress the 205 Live brand at the same time.
Kalisto and Dorado walked out next and got a nice reaction of Lucha chants. As they walked to the ring, a backstage promo aired from the Lucha House Party. They said they would win their match. Before the bell rang, Drew Gulak handed the announce team “literature” on how he’d make a better 205 Live.
The match began with Dorado and Kendrick tying up and Kendrick crushing Dorado with a shoulder tackle. As this happened, Gulak ran down why he hated Lucha House Party so much. Back in the ring, Dorado halted Kendrick’s offense with his own and tagged Kalisto into the match. Kalisto hit a nice dropkick and then immediatley tagged Dorado back into the match. Upon entering, he hit a top rope forearm attack that sent Kendrick crashing to the mat. From there, Kendrick hit the ropes and Gallagher made a blind tag. Before Dorado saw it, Gallagher crushed him with a strike and gained the upper hand for his team. Gallagher worked to connect with some submission holds, but Dorado thwarted that plan by rolling him up for a two count pin attempt. After the pin, Kalisto was tagged into the match and he instantly nailed Gallagher with a spring board clothesline. Eventually, The Brian Kendrick tagged himself into the match and hit Kalisto from behind to control the match. From there, the team of Kendrick and Gallagher tagged in and out of the match to keep Kalisto controlled and in their corner.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really nice usage of the blind tag here. Both times the heels tagged into the match they did so blindly. I’d furrow my brow if it was done for no reason, but the psychology of this match was predicated on those spots. Well done and something that I don’t think I’ve seen before.
On commentary, Gulak maintained his disrespect of Lucha House Party. Back in the ring, Kendrick was still fully in control of the match and had a shoulder submission locked in on Kalisto. After escaping, Kalisto back body dropped Kendrick over the top rope and then was able to make the hot tag to Dorado.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Wow. Based on the crowd reaction during the match, I didn’t think these guys had the audience in any tangible way. This hot tag said otherwise. It got a nice pop and Dorado’s offense out of it mirrored the crowd’s excitement.
Dorado cleaned house and nailed Kendrick with a springboard drop kick. After, he hit Kendrick with his springboard stunner which sent Kendrick to the outside. Dorado followed and nailed Kendrick with a suicide dive. With Kendrick down, Lince Dorado scaled the ring post to attempt his shooting star press. From behind, Drew Gulak knocked him off his perch which allowed Kendrick to lock in his Captain’s Hook submission. Soon after it was applied, Lince Dorado tapped out.
WINNER: Kendrick & Gallagher via submission at 7:11
-After the match, Drew Gulak shook hands with both Kendrick and Gallagher as the Lucha House Party looked on from inside the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Nice little match. A to B outside of the interesting heel tags at the beginning, but effective in setting up this Gulak vs. Lucha House Party feud. They’ve done a nice job in establishing that. Now, they need to give the audience a reason as to why Gulak is getting along so well with Kendrick and Gallagher. Nigel attempted to by referencing Gulak’s literature, but there needs to be more.
-Vic Joseph cued up highlights from last week’s main event between Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa. They then showed pictures of Hideo Itami gloating about his victory.
-Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander were shown warming up in their locker rooms backstage.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Clips like these are really easy to pull off and they do a great job of conveying a big fight feel.
-A commercial for Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey aired and was followed by a commercial for next week’s Monday Night Raw.
-Out of the break, Vic Joseph called the main event, the biggest match in 205 Live history. From there, selfie videos aired from Mustafa Ali and Tony Nese in which they predicted who would win the championship later in the night. Ali put his money on Alexander and Nese said that Murphy would win.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Again, a well placed piece of production work to give the main event a big fight feel.
-After the selfie videos, Drake Maverick was interviewed backstage and said that he was very excited for the main event. He said he’d be on the edge of his seat. Then, Maverick was asked about the negative tweets from TJP. Maverick said that you get ahead on 205 Live by proving it in the ring and not on social media. Maverick then said that whoever wins the championship match tonight would have his full backing.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Not Maverick’s best promo of all time. He sidestepped the TJP question which seemed like an error, but then put over the title match in a big way. He continues to be a great on screen advocate for the 205 Live brand.
(2) BUDDY MURPHY vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER – WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
Murphy hit the ring first to a very small reaction. He slowly walked down the ramp as Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness put him over strong on commentary. Nigel then outlined how each man could win this match and said that Murphy had the advantage because of his size. Cedric Alexander came out next to a really big 205 Live level response from his hometown audience. Joseph said that his family was in the crowd cheering him on.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Nice response for Alexander. I know its his hometown, but the bigger response makes the match infinitely more important. It also gives Alexander and Murphy a nice base to work from as the start the match.
Official introductions were made and Murphy got loads of heat ahead of Alexander’s big hometown reaction. From there, the bell rang and the match was on. Murphy attempted to shake Alexander’s hand out of the gate, but then pulled it away as the crowd chanted “Alex-Ander.” Both men then tied up in the middle of the ring and Murphy took Alexander down. Alexander was quick to get back to his feet and proceeded to attempt a quick pin on Murphy. Murphy kicked out and then tried his own pin attempt. Like Murphy, Alexander kicked out and the two then stared each other down in the middle of the ring. After the stare down, but men attempted hurricanranas on the other, but both countered them. They then tied up again and Alexander got the upper hand with a hurricanrana that sent Murphy to the outside. Cedric then went for a suicide dive, but then bounced off the ropes as Murphy rolled back into the ring. With both men staring each other down again, Alexander shook his head as the crowd cheered.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Beautiful opening sequence. Both guys flowed around that ring and were crisp with one another. The moves were flashy, but were done in a manner in which it still felt like the guys were fighting.
After that stare down, the action picked up. Alexander connected with some strikes that sent Murphy to the outside of the ring. From there, Cedric connected with a suicide dive that sent Murphy over the announce table. Alexander played to the crowd while standing on the table which proved to be a mistake as Murphy swiped his legs out from under him which sent Alexander crashing onto the table. Murphy capitalized by suplexing Alexander on the ring apron. He then rolled Alexander back into the ring and crushed him with a series of brutal kicks. After the kicks, Murphy covered Alexander, but Cedric kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Murphy whipped Alexander into the corner and continued his assault. Murphy targeted the lower back of Alexander and Nigel said the damage to it would prevent him from hitting the Lumbar Check.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Psychology? Check. Selling? Check. Murphy setup the story of the match nicely with his attack on Alexander’s back and the announce team did their job in further that story on commentary. On the flip side, Alexander sold it perfectly. His facial expressions while being struck in the back were priceless.
From there, Murphy kept striking Alexander in the back and then locked in a lower back submission hold. The crowd chanted “Cedric” to will the champion on. Alexander almost escaped, but then received a forearm to the lower back for his troubles. Eventually, Alexander connected with strikes of his own in an attempt to gain momentum back. He hit a series of kicks before trying to connect with a spring board clothesline. Instead, Murphy countered with a spinning heel kick to the face. Murphy attempted a pin after the move, but Alexander kicked out at two. Out of the pin attempt, Murphy kept all momentum with a knee to Alexander’s spine. He then went for another one, but Alexander countered with a super kick to Murphy’s face. This left both men on the mat.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Alexander continues to sell brilliantly. The way he is selling the back injury will make the cash-in on that injury stronger and more effective later in the match.
Out of the big move, both men got to their feet at the same time and exchanged stiff strikes in the middle of the ring. Eventually, Alexander caught Murphy’s foot and connected with his spinning back elbow. From there, Alexander hit another strike and then followed that with a flipping dive over the top rope and onto Murphy who had rolled out of the ring. After, Alexander rolled Murphy back into the ring and hit him with a springboard clothesline. He followed that with a pin attempt, but Murphy kicked out at two. As this happened, the entire crowd was chanting “this is awesome.” Out of the pin, Alexander tried another spring board move, but Murphy countered. This sent Alexander out of the ring and Murphy hit his own flipping suicide dive. Immediatley, Murphy rolled Alexander back into the ring and then climbed the top rope. He jumped off, but missed Alexander. In turn, Alexander hit a spinning suplex and covered for a two count. After the pin, Alexander tried for the Lumbar Check, but he couldn’t get Murphy up because of his injured lower back.
Heydorn’s Analysis: And there it is. When Alexander couldn’t quite get Murphy up you felt his pain. Not only because he legitimately was in pain because of the assault that his lower back got, but the mental pain of not being able to hit his move that would secure his victory. This moment was setup and milked throughout the entire match. Well done.
Because he couldn’t get him up, Murphy captialized with a running vertical suplex. He then covered Alexander, but only got a two count. Out of the pin attempt, Murphy stalked Alexander and met him out on the ring apron. He attempted a suplex, but Alexander blocked it with a kick. Cedric then hit Murphy with a Flatliner on the apron which sent both guys crashing to the outside. The referee got to the count of nine before both guys jumped back into the ring. Again, both guys stared each other down and exchanged really stiff strikes. From there, Alexander went for a Neuralizer, but Murphy countered with a DDT. Murphy then covered, but Alexander kicked out at two. Out of the pin, both men stayed down for a long time before each crawled to their respective corners. They then stared each other down again and exchanged a fury of punches and kicks in the middle of the ring. Murphy nailed Alexander with a knee to the face and covered, but again, Alexander kicked out at two. The crowd chanted “this is awesome” again.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Whoa. Those are some stiff shots. Get the ice ready for these guys in the locker room.
After the pin attempt, Murphy went for Murphy’s Law, but Alexander countered with a pin. Murphy kicked out at two, but then hit Alexander with a power bomb immediatley out of the pin. Right after, Murphy taunted Alexander and threw him into the ropes. Alexander bounced off and hit Murphy with his Neuralizer. He then hit the Neuralizer again and followed that with the Lumbar Check before covering for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Alexander at 20:06
Heydorn’s Analysis: Awesome finish to an awesome match. Alexander and Murphy told a really nice story and the crowd got to see their hometown guy win. If this wasn’t the best match in 205 Live history, I’m not sure what is.
-After the match, Cedric celebrated with his hometown crowd as the show faded to black.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Totally a one match show, but that match deserved a show to itself. It was all about Cedric Alexander and Buddy Murphy tonight and they delivered. The build to this match for the last month has been excellent and the build tonight during the show to frame the match as huge was equally as excellent. The match had nice psychology, very crisp action, and a crowd reaction that matched up with their story. Well done on all accounts and probably the best match in 205 Live history.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 5/22 WWE 205 Live Report: Tozawa vs. Itami, final hype for next week’s championship match, and more