SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
JUNE 19, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips and Percy Watson
-The show began with a video recap of the events that led up to the main event triple threat match tonight between Mustafa Ali, Buddy Murphy, and Hideo Itami.
-From there, the show open ran and the announce team welcomed the audience to the show. Phillips explained the absence of the usual 205 Live announcing duo and then hyped the triple threat match later in the evening. From there, Drew Gulak’s music played and the first match of the evening was on deck.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I’ve come to enjoy Vic Joseph on commentary for this brand. He seems to get a little better each night out and understands his role within the cruiserweight framework. That said, it’ll be interesting to hear a mainstream WWE voice in Phillips call this show.
(1) DREW GULAK vs. LINCE DORADO
Gulak got a quiet but negative reaction from the audience and was flanked by The Brian Kendrick. As he made the walk, video highlights of last week’s six man tag aired. Dorado hit the ring next with the rest of the Lucha House Party. Again, they walked to the ring with their gimmick robo-dog, Penelope, which was plastered with Drew Gulak’s face on it. As they walked to the ring, a selfie promo aired in which they mocked Gulak, Gallagher, and Kendrick for losing last week.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Overall, I like the Lucha House Party. They connect with the audience and are consistently winners within the 205 Live framework. Why introduce this comedy involving Penelope. It’s juvenile and distracts from the sports-like nature of the brand that has proved to be successful.
The match began with both men tying up in the middle of the ring. Instantly, Gulak took Dorado to the mat and locked in a deep head lock. Dorado proceeded to battle out, but Gulak countered with and standing arm lock which he followed with a stiff shoulder tackle. As this happened, Phillips and Watson debated exactly why Gulak hated the Lucha House Party so much. Back in the ring, Gulak continued to own the match with a northern lights suplex that he followed with a pin. Out of the pin, Dorado attempted to secure momentum in the match be going for the quick pin via roll-ups. Each time, Gulak kicked out and was immediatley back on the offensive after he did. Gulak hit some stiff chops before Dorado fired up and shifted momentum to his favor with a springboard moonsault. After that, he attempted a rope walk move, but Gulak pushed him off and onto the outside mats.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Gulak has a rawness to his in-ring work that is hard to look away from. There is absolutely nothing flashy about it and on paper he’d be a guy you work to avoid like the plague. That said, you can’t help but watch and be entertained.
From there, Gulak tossed Dorado back into the ring and kept the beating going. He stomped Dorado in the corner and then lifted him up for more punches. Instead, Dorado connected with a flurry of strikes before Gulak pushed him through the ropes and onto the outside floor again. Gulak then rolled out of the ring to engage him again and proceeded to yell at Dorado about Penelope.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The audience really bought into Dorado within his strikes. Their reaction wasn’t just lucha chants either. It seemed genuine.
After yelling, Gulak threw Dorado back into the ring and covered for a two count. Out of the pin attempt, Gulak locked in a sleeper hold which caused the audience to do the lucha chant. Eventually, Dorado escaped and then hit the ropes for a move, but ran head first into Gulak. At that point, both men were down on the mat as the referee started his count. When the referee hit five, both men were on their feet and Dorado took over control with running dropkicks and a spinning heel kick. From there, Dorado kicked Gulak in the back of the neck and then leaped off the top rope for a cross body. After the move, Dorado went for the cover, but Gulak kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Dorado landed the springboard stunner and tried to get the pin again, but Kendrick put his foot on the ropes. Then, the referee got distracted by the complaining Lucha House Party which allowed Kendrick to nail Dorado by pulling him shoulder first into the ring rope. Gulak then used that to his advantage and locked in the Gu-Lock to which Dorado tapped out almost immediatley.
WINNER: Gulak via submission at 8:03
Heydorn’s Analysis: Nothing special here, but still a good match overall. Gulak dominated most of the match and left most of the comedy at home which suits him infinitely better. By cheating to win, its almost assured that this feud between these entities will still be continuing.
-After the match, Drake Maverick was shown talking to a referee backstage. He said that he did not want to see a repeat of what happened a few weeks back. He also said that there must be a winner. From there, Maverick was interuppted by Hideo Itami. Itami said hello and Maverick said that if he has future issues to be a man and walk into his office and let him know what they are. He then said that he doesn’t want any more 205 Live main events ruined. Itami said no problem as long as Maverick shows him respect and Maverick responded by saying that respect is a two way street. Maverick then said that Itami has what he wants and is in the main event. He finished by telling Itami to make the best of it and Itami responded by saying “I will.”
Heydorn’s Analysis: I’m really enjoying these backstage segments with Maverick. The writing is utilizing Maverick to get over storylines and it works because he is credible as the leader of the brand. Really effective stuff.
-Buddy Murphy was shown warming up backstage alongside Tony Nese.
-A commercial aired for the upcoming WWE UK Championship Tournament coming up on Monday. This was followed with a WWE Shop commercial.
(2) TJP vs. LOCAL JOBBER
TJP’s music blared into the arena speakers and was met with zero reaction. On his walk to the ring, TJP cut a promo and complained that his talents were being wasted. He called Drake Maverick the worst GM in WWE and said that he should be featured in main event matches every single week. TJP then complained more about the jobber he was set to face. He said that he’s embarrassed by his opponent and doesn’t even want to put him on his record. As TJP got into the ring, he asked his opponent if he was really ready to get in the ring with him. As TJP continued to dress him down, the jobber punched him in the face. TJP looked shocked and then locked in his knee bar almost instantaneously. The jobber then immediatley tapped out. From there, TJP let the hold go and yelled to the crowd that he deserved better before walking away.
WINNER: No contest
Heydorn’s Analysis: This segment worked really well to make TJP look very heelish and the crowd reacted to it in a big way with clear boos and cheers. Overall, I’m enjoying where this is heading. It gives TJP something significant to do and at some point you have to think Maverick will respond. That’s when the real fun will start.
-After the “match,” Mustafa Ali was shown warming up backstage before Cedric Alexander came into the shot to wish him good luck.
-A commercial aired for WWE 24: The Hardy’s Woken. That was followed by a commercial for next week’s Intercontinental Championship match between Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler.
-Out of the commercial break, the announce team highlighted that Drake Maverick officially signed Lio Rush and that he would be debuting next week.
(3) MUSTAFA ALI vs. HIDEO ITAMI vs. BUDDY MURPHY
Ali hit the ring first and received a nice reaction on the 205 Live reaction scale. Murphy was out next and got a next to nothing response. As Murphy walked to the ring, Phillips talked about how much he got to know Murphy in NXT and tried to relay how hard it’s been for him throughout his career. As he climbed into the ring, Murphy chirped at Ali before Itami’s music hit. Like Murphy, not much of a response for Itami.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Both Ali and Murphy subtly showcased their rivalry by bickering back and forth ahead of the match. It’s a small detail, but the consistency of that just buttons the entire show up a bit. Plus, it makes the Ali/Murphy story seem more important.
After the bell rang, the match began with all three competitors feeling each other out in the middle of the ring. From there, Itami smiled and rolled out of the ring. He was followed by Murphy who proceeded to beat him down. Then, Mustafa Ali crushed both of his opponents with an over the top rope dive. Out of that move, Ali tossed Itami back into the ring and stomped him in the corner. Seeing this, Murphy climbed back in the ring and pulled Ali away so that he could continue the stomping. This led to a full fledged battle between Murphy and Ali which included strikes and a back body drop from Ali to Murphy which landed Murphy on the floor. Then, Ali tried a second dive onto Murphy, but was stopped in his tracks by a clothesline from Itami. After, Itami locked in a sleeper hold which he followed with a boot to Murphy and a two count cover on Ali.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Man, Mustafa Ali is incredible with how he can take those clotheslines. The impact he conveys with they way he sells them is fantastic.
Out of the pin, Itami viciously kicked Ali in the back as he yelled “respect me” at the crowd. The crowd responded with boos. As the boos reigned down on Itami, he tossed Ali out of the ring, but then was met face to face with Murphy. From there, they both exchanged kicks with each other before exchanging slaps to the face. After the slaps, Itami knee’ed Murphy in the ribs and then continued to kick him in the back. During that exchange, Ali slid back into the ring and connected with his own knee, but was immediatley clotheslined out of his shoes by Murphy. After that move, Murphy decimated Ali with a suplex.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The kicks to the back were really stiff and all three men selling them properly helped to position them as such. It’s a simple piece of psychology, but an effective one.
Out of the suplex, Murphy grabbed Ali by the hair and threw him into Itami who was on the apron. As Murphy bragged, Ali tried to roll him up for a pin, but only got a two count. Right out of the pin, Murphy got his offense back on track with a sleeper hold. The crowd cheered Ali on as he worked to escape and he did due to Itami locking in his own sleeper on Murphy. Murphy then hit a couple elbows to escape, but then was hit with a chin breaker from Ali. Out of that, Ali went for a rolling X-Factor on Murphy, but Murphy countered by tossing him over his head. In mid-air, Ali connected with a flying X-Factor on Itami instead. From there, Ali kept the momentum by hitting a reverse-rana on Murphy and following it with his tornado DDT. Ali then went for a pin, but Murphy kicked out at two.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The crowd is rumbling for everything Ali is doing. In past matches, Ali’s selling is what brought audiences into his matches. This time, it’s his own offense.
Out of the pin attempt, Ali climbed the ropes for his 054, but was followed by Itami. They battled on the ropes before Murphy booted Ali off and connected with a twisting DDT on Itami. This left all three men down in the middle of the ring. They each got to their feet at the same time and all exchanged a flurry of strikes and kicks against one another. Ali finally gained momentum with a corkscrew splash off of the top rope.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Big cheers from the crowd on that sequence. They got that audience in the palm of their hand.
Again, all three men were down on the mat, but this time Ali was the first to get up. In doing so, he connected with a few kicks before being pushed out of the ring by Murphy. Murphy then focused his attention on Itami and clocked him with a knee strike. After, Ali hit a kick that left Murphy planted on top of a fallen Itami. From there, Ali connected with a super 450 on both men. This caused Murphy to roll out of the ring which led to Ali trying to pin Itami, but Murphy broke it up by pulling Ali out of the ring. He then proceeded to beat up Ali around the ringside area before pulling him onto the announce table. Seeing this, Ali countered and then connected with a Spanish Fly off of the announce table.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Wow. That looked like it hurt. Hopefully, they’re both ok, because the audience loved it. The “This Is Awesome,” and “Holy Shit” chants clearly prove that. It wasn’t done without reason though. In the match, Ali and Murphy have been killing each other with stuff and withstanding it. The match needed a big moment like this one so either Ali or Murphy could separate from the other. Smart and effective at the same time.
Ali sold the move as did Murphy, but Ali was the one to climb back into the ring. He climbed in by the corner, but was then crushed by Hideo Itami’s corner dropkick. After, Itami went for the pin, but Ali kicked out at two. From there, Itami frustratingly tried to take the lower ring cushion off and was successful. At that moment, Ali worked to pull him away but was shoved back into the turnbuckle right above the exposed one. Then, Itami ran at Ali again for his corner dropkick and hit it, only this time it caused Ali to nail the metal turnbuckle that Itami exposed. From there, Itami covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Itami at 15:52
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really great match. My guess was that Itami would win this as Cedric Alexander is in need of a future opponent. He looks to have one now. I was surprised that Itami essentially won clean. Sure, he used the exposed ring turnbuckle to do so, but he didn’t officially break any rules due to the no DQ stipulation.
-After the match, Itami celebrated in the ring as the crowd booed him and the show faded to black.
FINAL THOUGHTS: That’s four straight weeks with a “must see” main event. Ali and Murphy have really become the workhorses of this show and because they’re as effective as they are, these shows are starting to click. In addition, Hideo Itami is now a viable challenger to Alexander and by leaving Alexander off the show occasionally, he’s portrayed as a novelty attraction on the brand. Just some smart stuff taking place right now on a high level that’s having a direct impact on this show’s success.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 6/12 WWE 205 Live Report: Big six man tag team match, Ali vs. Nese, Itami fallout, and more