SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
JULY 3, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson
-The show began with the typical opening video montage hosted by Drake Maverick that recapped the events of last week including showdowns between Hideo Itami and Cedric Alexander. In this video, Maverick said that he put his personal feelings aside and granted Itami and cruiserweight championship match against Alexander next week. From there, Maverick hyped the no DQ main event between Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander while addressing the growing pain that TJP has become.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Boy, they sure hid some big news within this montage. Itami vs. Alexander for the championship is the logical next step for both guys. The match should be tremendous and even though the outcome is predictable with Alexander coming out on top, beating Itami is a big step in solidifying him as 205 Live’s top star.
-After the montage, the show open ran and the announce team welcomed the audience to the show. From there, they broke down the title match announcement by Drake Maverick and hyped the rest of the show before introducing the first match which featured TJP.
(1) TJP vs. NOAM DAR
TJP hit the ring first to a nominal reaction from the audience. He sauntered to the ring with a mic in his hand and said that Drake Maverick guaranteed that he’d get competition in his match tonight. From there though, TJP pointed out that the match obviously wasn’t the main event, not for the cruiserweight championship, and taking place in “Yamaha” Nebraska. He then called Nebraska a dump which got a ton of boos from the audience. TJP then said he’d give his incompetent GM a chance, but that he expects the competition that he promised. He finished by cuing up his opponent for an introduction.
Heydorn’s Analysis: You don’t see true heel heat too often on this show, but TJP got it here. Props to him. For the last few week’s, this character has taken off in a big way which has made TJP watchable and interesting. He laid a nice foundation for a surprise babyface to get a good reaction, hopefully the mystery opponent fits the bill.
As TJP waited in the ring, Noam Dar’s music hit to a very small reaction from the audience.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Even as a returning 205 Live star, Dar got crickets here. Not a great opponent for the build TJP gave.
As Dar walked to the ring, TJP had a bit of a concerned look on his face, but ultimately shrugged him off. Seeing this, Dar got in TJP’s face as the bell rang. From there, the match began with Noam Dar taking TJP to the mat with kicks and strikes. After he did, Dar pulled his entrance gear off and then decimated TJP with a spinning kick to the face. Dar then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Dar at :29
-After the match, Drake Maverick was shown clapping backstage as Dar celebrated in the ring. Nigel proclaimed that TJP was under prepared for this specific and the other announcers argued against him before Vic Joseph cued up a promo video for Ali vs. Murphy.
Heydorn’s Analysis: That outcome was a big surprise and the wrong choice in my eyes. What TJP had been doing with this gimmick in tandem with Drake Maverick was working. It got him more over than ever before and week to week he built up equity as a viable top act on the brand. To keep that train running, TJP needed to keep winning as winning was the essence of the new gimmick. Losing now takes some steam away from him. Plus, they cashed in this newly built equity for Noam Dar? A bit of a head scratcher …
-After the promo video, Buddy Murphy was shown warming up backstage. He then turned toward the camera and said the has proven to the world that no other cruiserweight in the world is like him. He called himself the juggernaut of the division and that if it wasn’t for Ali, he’d be the cruiserweight champion. He finished by saying that with the no DQ stipulation, he planned on leaving Ali in a hospital bed before turning his attention to the title.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Like the words a lot here. Murphy looked intense and sounded direct with his mission. That said, the execution with the random camera shot was a bit off putting.
-A commercial aired for Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley at Extreme Rules.
-Out of the commercial break, TJP was shown walking backstage before being interuppted for an interview. Instead of obliging, he walked out the door of the arena with an annoyed look on his face.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I’m glad this story is continuing, but they still cashed in the TJP chips too early.
(2) AKIRA TOZAWA vs. JASON STRIKE
Tozawa hit the ring to a small reaction that picked up once he began his war chant. Strike was already in the ring as Tozawa made his entrance. While he did, the announce team plugged next week’s championship match between Cedric Alexander and Hideo Itami. Right as the match was about to begin, Lio Rush’s music hit and Rush slowly walked to the ring.
The match then began with Rush watching from the outside of the ring. Out of the gate, Tozawa connected with a standing hurricanrana before clocking Strike with a straight left jab to the face. From there, Tozawa nailed strike with a kick to the chest which he followed with running senton bomb. Then, Tozawa lifted Strike up, but Strike connected with a knee to the face. Strike then worked to keep his momentum with a handful of almost irrelevant offense, but it was squashed by a running Shining Wizard from Tozawa. After, Tozawa climbed to the top rope for his top rope senton and connected with it before covering for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Tozawa at 2:08
Heydorn’s Analysis: Standard squash match, but effective in clearly planting a seed for something between Tozawa and Rush. This is how and where squash matches can work very well.
-After the match, Tozawa stared at Rush for a few seconds before celebrating in the ring. Rush then got on the mic and called Tozawa’s performance incredible. He said he was a fan and called Tozawa “extremely good” before saying he could understand why he was a former champion. Rush then changed his tune and asked what Tozawa has done since winning the championship. He then proceeded to dress Tozawa down and told him he should be embarrassed by what his career became after he lost the title. He said that Tozawa waited around for opportunities which is the opposite of him. He then challenged Tozawa to a match and told him to feel the rush. Tozawa then smiled before his music hit.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Great mic work by Lio Rush. You can tell right away that he is in touch with who is character is. Probably because it’s a lot like the actual Lio Rush. Characters that begin with the real person and end with the volume being turned up are more effective because they come across as real. Rush exudes this and is a perfect example of that fact. Watching him, I get the sense that he looks at talks the exact same way out of character as he does while in character. It’s a great skill to possess and will quickly be something that will separate him from the rest of the pack on this brand.
-Mustafa Ali was shown backstage and sung the praises of Buddy Murphy’s strength before calling him a bad dude. He said that in a no DQ match, Murphy is more dangerous than ever before. Ali then stood up and said that while others run from danger, he likes to run right at it. He then finished by saying that in his match he’ll prove that the juggernaut is just human.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Again, I don’t like the random camera shot, but I like the verbiage. Ali came across as the fighting babyface while also putting over Murphy as a dominant force. Wrestling booking 101 folks. Great stuff.
-A commercial aired for the Something Else To Wrestle podcast on the WWE Network.
-Out of the break, Cedric Alexander cut a selfie promo and said that Hideo Itami was walking around the locker room saying he was owed the championship. He then said that he worked hard to earn his championship and that in their match, he will add the Itami legend to his legacy.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Not much to dissect there, but props to WWE for giving the match as much of a back story as possible leading into next week.
(3) MUSTAFA ALI vs. BUDDY MURPHY
Ali came out first in his standard light gear to a small reaction from the crowd. Murphy walked out next to a few audible boos and as he tried to climb into the ring, Ali decked him in the face which sent him crashing to the outside mats. Ali then climbed the top rope and nailed a 450 splash onto Murphy who was on the floor. From there, Ali tossed Murphy into the barricade before throwing him back into the ring for the match to begin.
Heydorn’s Analysis: When do we start calling Mustafa Ali the most athletically gifted star on the WWE roster. He’s flawless in there. Smart start to the match. It mirrored the aggression of a no DQ match and also the aggressive attitudes of both men for where they are in the feud.
The ref then rang the bell which prompted Ali to attack Murphy and knock him out of the ring. As Ali followed him out, Murphy stopped him and tossed him into the announce area. The two then exchanged stiff shots and battled around the ringside area. They proceeded to chop each other to pieces which seemed to hook the crowd.
Heydorn’s Analysis: These chops were brutal but extremely effective in hooking the crowd. The noise they made forced the audience to pay attention.
After the chops, Ali took over and tossed Murphy into the crowd. He then followed that with a flying cross body onto Murphy as the audience cheered him on. After, Ali tried to drag Murphy back to the ring area, but Murphy countered with a swift kick to Ali’s ribs. Murphy then brought Ali back into the ring area and as Ali walked the guardrail for a jumping clotheslines, Murphy caught him and threw him onto the steel ring ramp.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Ouch. That one is going to leave a mark. I’m not a fan of huge bumps for no reason. If there was ever a time to do one though, this was it. The spot continued the aggressive pace and build off of the foundation that they setup right out of the gate.
Right after, Murphy crushed Ali with a snap suplex onto the the same steel ramp. From there, Murphy rolled Ali back into the ring for a cover, but Ali kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Murphy locked in a rear chin lock submission. As soon as he locked it in, the audience clapped to will Ali’s escape. Ali then attempted a few escapes, but each time, Murphy caught him and brought him back down to the mat. Eventually, Ali broke the hold with chin buster, but Murphy responded with a stiff kick to Ali’s spine. After, Murphy whipped Ali into the ring post before smiling at him and taunting him with slaps to the face. After the slaps, Murphy picked Ali apart with targeted strikes and kicks before mocking him to the audience. Out of the strikes, Murphy tried another cover, but again, Ali kicked out at two. Immediately after the pin attempt, Murphy lifted Ali to his feet and then broke him down with blows to his lower back. He followed those with a high back body drop on Ali to further drive damage to that lower back.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Awesome selling by Ali. He regularly sells well in his matches, but it’s really effective tonight within the no DQ stipulation. The guy truly looks like he is in pain. Murphy capitalizes by getting the heat he desires while Ali collects sympathy. Well done.
After the back body drop, Ali worked to battle back with his own punches, but he was beaten down so bad that his punches had nothing on them. Eventually, Ali built some momentum with well timed kicks and a standing dropkick which he followed with additional chops to the chest in the corner. Ali then rocked Murphy with a kick to the face before hitting his rolling X-factor. After, Ali went for the pin, but Murphy kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Ali attempted to pick Murphy up for more offense, but Murphy tossed him out of the ring. The two then continued their battle on the outside of the ring. Murphy then took the momentum back and searched for weapons under the ring before deciding on using the steps. He pushed the steps into the ring and tried to smash Ali’s face into them, but Ali countered and punched Murphy down to the mat. Ali then took apart the announce table for a big move, but was hit in the face by the steps after Murphy did a baseball slide into them. Right after, Murphy launched himself into the air after jumping off the steps and over the ropes to land a flipping senton bomb onto Ali. Out of the move, Murphy rolled Ali back in the ring and covered him for a two count.
Heydorn’s Analysis: And that’s third gear folks. What a move.
After the pin, Murphy placed the steps against the corner of the ring and threw Ali directly into them. From there, Murphy lifted Ali to his knees and taunted him before throwing him into the ring steps again. After, Murphy went for the pin, but Ali kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Murphy tried to throw Ali into the steps a third time, but Ali hit a hurricanrana on Murphy that sent him crashing into the steps instead. Ali then climbed to the top rope for a move, but Murphy countered with a powerbomb that he followed with a suplex. He then covered Ali for another pin attempt, but only got a two count.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Innovative work with the steps and I liked that they used them as a central focus for the no DQ stipulation instead of just brawling randomly around the ring.
After the pin, Murphy maneuvered the stairs again and then repeatedly slammed Ali’s face into it. From there, he placed Ali on top of the stairs before climbing to the top rope. Before he could hit anything, Ali knocked him off and lifted the stairs to a standing position. Ali then climbed the vertical steps and pulled Murphy up to his feet before launching him off of them with a vertical suplex to the mat. The audience cheered like crazy for this move and chanted “holy s**t.”
Heydorn’s Analysis: Whoa. More innovation with the steps within a move and a spot that I truly haven’t seen before. Audience is going crazy for it as well. Amazing stuff.
This move left both men down and unable to make a cover. Eventually, Ali made the crawl to Murphy for a pin, but Murphy rolled out of the ring to avoid it. Ali then followed him, but was then tossed onto the announce table when Murphy saw him coming. Ali then connected with a running Spanish Fly off of the guardrail and onto the announce table.
Heydorn’s Analysis: My goodness. These guys are pulling out all the stops. The Spanish Fly is an impressive move at any time. Off the skinny guardrail and onto the table though? With perfect execution? Just a tremendous spot that gives this match that fifth gear nod that most matches don’t hit.
From there, Ali rolled Murphy back into the ring and as he climbed in himself, Murphy destroyed him with a knee to the face. This caused Ali to get tied up in the ropes which prompted Murphy to crush Ali with three more knees to the face. Ali then shook his head and asked for more. Murphy then pulled Ali out of the ropes and hit him with another knee before covering. Ali kicked out at two. With a shocked look on his face, Murphy grabbed the steps again to prep Ali for Murphy’s Law on top of them. Before he could try the move, Ali jumped onto the steps and planted Murphy with his Tornado DDT off of the steps and onto the canvas. Ali then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Ali at 22:46
Heydorn’s Analysis: What a piece of work from top to bottom. The psychology out of the gate and the adherence to the foundation they set up at the beginning made this match a masterpiece. It was controlled chaos and each move made sense while serving a purpose in the story they told. A must see match. Period.
-After the match, Mustafa Ali stood on the steps and celebrated as Murphy looked on and the show faded to black.
FINAL THOUGHTS: My report for this show could be “go watch Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy” and it would be an accurate report. The match was that good and the show revolved around it. Within these matches together and especially after tonight, Ali and Murphy have made themselves players in the division. For as good as Cedric Alexander is, he isn’t as hot as either of these two and has his work cut out for him next week in his championship match against Hideo Itami.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 6/26 WWE 205 Live Report: Lio Rush debuts, six man tag team elimination match, and more