WWE 205 LIVE
JUNE 12, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson
-The show began with another recap video featuring 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick. The video highlighted last week’s actions by Hideo Itami in which he interuppted the main event by decimating both Mustafa Ali and his opponent, Buddy Murphy which caused a no contest. Maverick said that a main event concluding in a no contest is unacceptable and he warned other 205 Live stars that interrupting matches would not be tolerated. He then suspended Itami for tonight’s show. From there, Maverick ran down the show’s upcoming matches.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I like this style of a show open. It positions Maverick as the true authority figure which is a positive. That said, the negative is that he continues to talk like an announcer instead of the GM. I think they can easily make a few tweaks in order to still utilize this open style while allowing Maverick to be in character. Maybe he’s in an office, or in a press conference of some kind. Anything that takes away that announcer feel would be a step in the right direction.
-From there, the show open ran and Vic, Nigel, and Percy welcomed the audience to the program. The recapped the news broken by Maverick in the opening video and then discussed what they would do to Hideo Itami if they were in charge of the show. They then introduced the first match of the evening.
(1) LUCHA HOUSE PARTY vs. DREW GULAK, THE BRIAN KENDRICK, & JACK GALLAGHER
Lucha House Party hit the ring first and before the three men walked down the ramp, Kalisto walked backstage to get their new mascot, Penelope Gulak. It was a pinata dog with Drew Gulak’s face on it. As they walked the dog down the ramp, Nigel called Penelope a disgrace and an embarrassment.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ugh, this is too much of an ode to the old 205 Live. Reminds me of the dreaded Halloween episode. The show is better without attempts like this to be funny.
The show then cut backstage where Gulak, Kendrick, and Gallagher were standing by ahead of their entrance. They were asked why there were teaming up together and Kendrick chimed in and said that the Lucha House Party has staked a claim as the top tag team in 205 Live. He then said for them to achieve their goals, they need to go through them. Gallagher then said that the Lucha House Party had enjoyed a numbers advantage for far too long and now they have a true formidable opponent. From there, Drew Gulak spoke up and said that his vision for 205 Live isn’t a fiesta, but a breeding ground for great submission artists. Before heading to the ring Gulak said if they step to him, they will tap out.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good promo. I like the premise of the question that was asked as the reason for these guys pairing up and siding with each other had never been brought up until this point. The responses by each man made the promo that much better as they all were logical answers rooted in stories and events that had happened. Well done.
Back in the ring, the Lucha House Party was doing the lucha chant in the ring with the crowd as Drew Gulak’s music hit. Gulak’s entire team walked out with him to a very small response from the crowd.
From there, the bell rang and Kalisto started the match against Jack Gallagher. They tied up in the middle of the ring before Gallagher immediatley took Kalisto down to attempt a submission. He struggled to lock anything significant in which allowed Kalisto to escape with an arm drag. After he did, he did the lucha chant in Gallagher’s face. Out of the chant, Kalisto punched Gallagher and then tagged in Lince Dorado. Dorado attempted to keep momentum on Gallagher, but he failed when Gallagher tagged Kendrick into the match. When he entered Dorado hit a few moves and a drop kick before tagging Gran Metalik. Metalik hit a running splash off the top rope as soon as he got in and followed that with a hurricanrana and a dropkick. After, he tagged Dorado back into the match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good pace to start the match off. The heel team set up the Lucha House Party as the premier team of the division. Smart to build the match around them showing that right out of the gate.
When he entered the match, he hit a vertical suplex on Kendrick which prompted Kendrick to roll toward his corner. Because of that, he tagged Gulak into the match. Eventually, the match spilled to the outside and the Lucha House Party capitalized by launching Dorado over the top rope together for a moonsault on all three of their opponents. After, Dorado tossed Gulak back into the ring and made a cover, but got a two count. Out of the pin, Kalisto and Gallagher tangled in the ring before Gallagher got the upperhand after Kendrick interfered by knocking Kalisto off of the top rope. This gave Gallagher the time to tag Kendrick and Kendrick kept momentum in the match by beating Kalisto with strikes to the neck and shoulder. From there, Kendrick tagged Gulak into the ring and Gulak paraded Kalisto around on his shoulder before slamming him to the mat. After, he made the cover, but Kalisto kicked out at two.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Nothing like a good old fashion heel beat down in a tag match right? Something about this exact part of a match screams pro wrestling to me. Gulak, Kendrick, and Gallagher are hitting on all the right notes to shine Kalisto up as best as possible. Solid work that should pay off in the end.
Out of the pin, Gulak locked in a chin lock as the crowd started the lucha chant again. Kalisto eventually escaped the hold and made the tag to his partner, but the referee never saw it because he was distracted by Kendrick. This allowed Gulak to make the tag to Gallagher who continued the assault on Kalisto with an abdominal stretch. After the stretch, Gallagher slammed Kalisto to the mat and mocked his lucha chant which the crowd booed. He then tagged Kendrick back into the match and he proceed to crush Kalisto with the big boot.
Heydorn’s Analysis: If you’ve read my reports in the past, you know I occasionally have gripes with Kalisto’s lazy selling. He isn’t that same guy tonight. His effort is strong and he’s able to properly able to convey how much pain he’s in. This sell job has made the entire match better. The heels look stronger and the hot tag will be even hotter.
After the boot, Kendrick attempted a pin, but Kalisto kicked out. From there, Kendrick tagged Gulak back into the match and he put Kalisto into a submission that focused pain and pressure on Kalisto’s shoulder and knee. Little by little, Kalisto got closer and closer to making the tag, but each time he was beat back down by his opponents. Eventually, Kalisto was able to land a tornado DDT from the top rope which gave him the separation he needed. Finally, he made the tag to Metalik who hit the match hard with a dazzling display of moves including a top rope drop kick and a springboard clothesline. After, he tagged Lince Dorado into the match and they did a nice springboard double team spot on Gallagher. Out of that move, Gallagher was able to roll near his corner and Drew Gulak tagged himself back in. After some back and forth with Dorado, Gulak crushed him with a clothesline which he followed by attempting the Gu-Lock. Dorado got free, but Gulak maintained control with a pin attempt. Dorado kicked out at two and the ref realized that Gulak tried to cheat by grabbing the refs. Out of the pin, Gulak tagged Kendrick into the ring. As soon as he entered, he knocked Dorado’s partners off the apron so Dorado couldn’t make the tag. From there, the match really broke down. Each competitor was in the ring and Dorado connected with a double springboard stunner. After, Metalik and Kalisto hit stereo dives on Gallagher and Gulak. Dorado then attempted a dive of his own, but Kendrick countered and put him in the Captain’s Hook submission. Dorado writhed in pain and then was able to torque his body in order to pin Kendrick while grabbing the tights for a quick 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Lucha House Part at 15:15
-After the match, the Lucha House Party celebrated with the audience and did lucha chants as the heel team looked on and the announcers debated the ethics in which Dorado won the match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Fun match that had some nice psychology, but I disagree with the finish. Lucha House Party are your typical run of the mill babyfaces. Why have them cheat to win? Their style shouldn’t have to cheat. Period. The pulling of the tights is an age old heel move. I know Gulak attempted to use that trick earlier in the match, but babyfaces like the LHP need to be above tricks like that.
-The announcers continued to discuss Hideo Itami and then cued up a selfie video from Itami himself. In it, he spoke Japanese at the beginning and then addressed Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy. He said that they didn’t deserve to be in the main event and don’t deserve to be champion. From there, Itami said that he would become the next champion and that he would force everyone to respect him.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Definitely short, but definitely sweet. This was exactly what was needed. Itami gave his irrational reason for doing what he did last week and then called for everyone to respect him. What’s more heel than that? Well done.
-Drake Maverick was shown checking his phone backstage as Buddy Murphy walked into the shot. Maverick thanked him for coming and then was about to address Murphy, but Murphy interuppted him. He said that unless Maverick was going to put him into a match with Hideo Itami, they had nothing to discuss and he wasn’t going to listen. Murphy then said that if Maverick was good at his job he would have made the match immediatley. He finished by saying that unless he has a match with Itami, he won’t be wrestling. From there, Maverick said Mustafa Ali had requested the same thing. He said that he wouldn’t be making either match because emotions were running to high and he didn’t want another 205 Live main event to be spoiled. Maverick then told Murphy that in the future he expects stars to come and see him with a request and not an ultimatum. He then assured Murphy that everyone would get what they want when he says so.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I loved this promo. It had a lot of balls being juggled around and in the end, the segment caught them all. Murphy addressed the Itami situation, but did so in a heelish way by giving Maverick the ultimatum. That contrasted will with Mustafa Ali requesting the exact same thing, but fighting later in the night instead. In addition, Maverick really came across as a strong figure and an alpha on the show. A home run on all accounts and the promo really did a nice job of tying together loose pieces from the fallout of last week.
-A commercial aired for Money In The Bank on Sunday.
-After the commercial, a selfie promo from Mustafa Ali aired. He said that he was close to stopping the unstoppable last week before his match was interuppted by Hideo Itami. He said it was a rough pill to swallow, but that when you get put down you get back up. He then said that he would get back up in his match against Tony Nese. Ali finished by saying he hopes Hideo and Buddy would both be watching.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Another nice piece of work from Ali. It was direct and also contrasted his attitude about the Itami run in with Murphy’s. In addition, Ali worked in his overall narrative and story arch which is winning the cruiserweight championship.
(2) AKIRA TOZAWA vs. STEVE IRVING
After the selfie promo, Tozawa walked out to the ring and tried to get his war chant going as he did. Per the norm, the audience reacted very quietly and were hesitant to engage with him. Irving was already waiting in the ring as Tozawa climbed in. The match started with Tozawa crushing Irving with chops before hitting him in the face with a left jab. From there, Tozawa stomped Irving in the corner and then crashed down on top of him with a running senton. After that move, Irving got some quick kicks in before he whipped Tozawa into the corner. After, Irving used his own chops which hurt Tozawa, but wasn’t enough to ground him. Eventually, Tozawa connected with a missile dropkick and an enziguri before landing the top rope senton finish. He then covered Irving for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Tozawa at 2:28
Heydorn’s Analysis: Squash city. This is becoming the spot for that on this show. Again, it was used well tonight. The announcers framed the win as Tozawa getting some swagger back which is the exact purpose of these. More please.
-After the match, the announce team gushed about 205 Live’s newest superstar and then cued up a video for Lio Rush.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This promo video was excellent. Rush sounded great and delivered everything in a very believable way. I like the verbiage of him not being included in either cruiserweight tournament as it sets a foundation for him on the show before his debut. Rush came off as a star here and because of it, his debut should make a considerable impact on the show moving forward.
-When the video ended, Tony Nese was shown doing a triceps workout in his locker room. Then he stopped and addressed the camera. He said that Mustafa Ali made a huge mistake in accepting his challenge. Nese then said in their match, he’ll make a statement at Ali’s expense.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was strange. Not that the words were bad, but the shot was awkward. Why was the camera filming Nese? Just strange all around as is most stuff Nese does these days.
-A commercial aired for NXT Takeover: Chicago.
-Out of the commercial, TJP did a selfie video and complained about not being featured in a top 205 Live match. He then reminded Drake Maverick that he carried 205 Live on his back and that Maverick would end up looking at him as the one that got away.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I’m not a big fan of selfie promos, but this is a good way to use them. Clearly, TJP didn’t have room on the show tonight, but this video allowed him to keep up consistency with his story in a matter of 10 seconds. Now, next week he can continue to build off of it and the audience will remember what exactly he’s talking about.
(3) MUSTAFA ALI vs. TONY NESE
Ali walked out first and got the largest reaction of the night (it was still small). As he walked to the ring, the announce team continued the Ali narrative and hyped just how much Ali wants to become champion. Nese hit the ring next and did his typical off mic promo while counting his eight abs. Nese then pointed to the back and Buddy Murphy walked out to accompany him for the match.
The match almost started, but Buddy Murphy climbed into the ring and taunted Ali. This prompted Cedric Alexander’s music to play and the WWE Cruiserweight Champion walked out to even the odds.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, Ali had the largest pop of the night until Alexander came out. Really nice reaction for Alexander that WWE has to be happy about. It’s taken a while, but he seems to be turning a corner in terms of how over he is.
From there, the ref proceeded to clear the ring of the madness and then rang the bell. Both men tied up immediatley and Nese quickly got the momentum by shoving Ali into the corner. He then decked Ali with strikes before launching him up in the air for a back body drop. After, Nese posed as the crowed booed. Because of the pose, Ali got time to recover and he responded by connecting with a dropkick and spinning heel kick that sent Nese to the outside. Ali followed, but then was confronted by Murphy. Because of the distraction, Nese took advantage and pounded him with a punch to the face. After, the tossed Ali into the ring post as Murphy yelled at him. From there, Nese rolled Ali into the ring for a cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Nese continued the beating with strikes before locking in a leg scissor submission.
Heydorn’s Analysis: It’s impossible not to love Mustafa Ali during performances like these. The way he sells is so likable and he can get the crowd on his side in seconds because of it. The audience doesn’t back or engage with anyone else’s matches like they do for Ali’s.
Eventually, Ali escaped the hold and connected with a rolling X-Factor. After, he attempted a pin, but Nese kicked out at two. After the pin, Ali connected with his own chops before nailing Nese with an elbow. From there, Ali attempted a tornado DDT, but Nese countered. Out of the corner, they hit a double clothesline on each other which left both men down on the mat. The audience cheered for Ali to get to his feet, but Nese beat him to the punch. They both then climbed to the top rope and Nese pushed Ali off. Somehow, Ali landed on his feet, but Nese was right there to crush him with a lariat. After, Nese nailed Ali with his pump handle driver and covered, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Ali landed a superkick on Nese and then climbed to the top rope for his 054 finish. Again, he was distracted by Murphy which prompted him to hit an over the top rope moonsault on him. From there, Alexander got involved and the two of them brawled to the backstage area.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Big pop on the 205 Live scale for Alexander getting involved in the match. Clearly, he is gaining new fans each week. That said, he is a bit of a fourth wheel when it comes to the Murphy/Ali/Itami story.
Back in the ring, Nese covered Ali after smashing him into the turnbuckle, but Ali kicked out. When the pin attempt was over Nese yelled that he was better than Ali and then ran at him for a knee strike. Ali moved out of the way and then connected with a tornado DDT. That set Ali up perfectly to hit his 054 which he did for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ali at 10:08
-After the match, Ali celebrated in the ring and then grabbed the microphone. He addressed Drake Maverick directly and told Maverick to make the match that he, Buddy, and Itami want. A triple threat next week. From there, the show faded to black.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Another good main event match. This didn’t have the flashy nature of Murphy/Ali from last week, but was a means to an end to get to the triple threat.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Another really logical show. All Raw writers should watch the backstage segment between Buddy Murphy and Drake Maverick. That segment answered questions and did so in a way that makes sense. Cedric Alexander will have to find his place within the the triple threat storyline, but with each man in that match chasing his title, he’ll be easy to fade in and out when needed.
OVERALL GRADE – B
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 6/5 WWE 205 Live Report: Fallout from last week’s championship match, Ali vs. Murphy, and more