SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
AUGUST 7, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY GREG PARKS, PWTORCH COLUMNIST
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson
– WWE Open.
– Drake Maverick was backstage, and he plugged tonight’s show. Lince Dorado & Kalisto face Buddy Murphy & Tony Nese in the first match. In the main event, it’s Mustafa Ali vs. Hideo Itami. As Maverick narrated the latest happenings between the two, a video package showed what he described.
Parks’s Take: A nice set-up for the show, giving meaning to each match taking place. Maverick showed a lot of excitement in describing tonight’s lineup, which resonates with the audience.
– 205 Live Open.
– After the camera panned the crowd inside the Amway Center, the announcers were shown on-camera discussing Drew Gulak challenging for Cedric Alexander’s Cruiserweight Title at Summerslam. We’ll hear from both men tonight. They also talked about Ali vs. Itami.
(1) KALISTO & LINCE DORADO vs. TONY NESE & BUDDY MURPHY
Gran Metalik accompanied Kalisto and Dorado to the ring. Joseph noted that Dorado has a cast on his thumb, dealing with torn ligaments there. The heels isolated Dorado to start. Faceplant ‘rana by Kalisto for a two-count. A few fans participated in “Lucha” chants, spurred on by the babyfaces. Nese interjected himself as the illegal man, allowing the heels to take over. He tagged in, slowing down the fast-paced Kalisto. Metalik used the noisemakers to try to get the crowd into it. Murphy and Nese cut off the ring, keeping Kalisto away from his corner and away from a tag.
Parks’s Take: Joseph noted Kalisto was trying to use the encouragement of the WWE Universe to come back. Based on the audience in the arena, if that’s the case, he’s got no shot.
At the seven-minute mark, Kalisto was able to fight off both Nese and Murphy and was in position to make a tag until Nese pulled Dorado off the apron. Kalisto rolled through a double-suplex attempt, and kicked Nese into Murphy, allowing him to make the tag to Dorado. Dorado took out both of his opponents, and registered a two-count on Nese. Murphy broke up a pin about a minute later. He then decked Kalisto. Double Golden Rewind by Dorado. He and Kalisto both dove over the top and took out Nese and Murphy. All four found themselves in the ring, but Murphy dumped Dorado. He was low-bridged out by Kalisto. Murphy tripped up Kalisto, who got distracted, and rolled up by Nese for the pinfall (with Nese using a handful of tights).
WINNERS: Nese and Murphy, at 10:35.
Parks’s Take: A good match, but the cold crowd is a killer. WWE has gone this long with 205 Live taping after Smackdown, so I don’t sense a move to fix this issue forthcoming
– They went to the announcers at ringside, who showed a Tweet by Ali of him in his hospital bed, though there was no explanation of what was ailing him.
– Maverick checked on Ali in the locker room. Maverick seemed concerned about the need for Ali to “slow it down,” but Ali assured Maverick he’s good to go.
– Hideo Itami was preparing for his match backstage. He spoke Japanese, then translated, saying Ali should’ve shown him respect.
Parks’s Take: Itami seems a little one-dimensional with the constant desire for respect as the only real character trait he seems to have.
– A Summerslam commercial aired, focusing on Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns. Joseph then plugged that 205 Live is presented by Cricket Wireless.
– A video package aired on Noam Dar and his recent comeback from injury. He also took issue with TJP’s attempts to re-injure him.
Parks’s Take: Nice to give Dar this air time, but I didn’t think he came across all that well in the sit-down setting.
(2) NOAM DAR vs. SEAN MALUTA
Watson hyped up Dar’s weight room work during his comeback, saying he looks the best he’s ever looked. Maluta missed a kick to the head, but elbowed Dar in the knee in which he tore his meniscus. Dar ducked a cross-body attempt by Maluta. TJP was shown watching on a monitor backstage, seemingly unimpressed. Running shin strike to the face by Dar, which got him the victory.
WINNER: Dar, at 2:23.
Parks’s Take: Good way to get Dar a convincing win, but also show that his knee will be a target for opponents going forward.
– The announcers pitched it to clips of Alexander vs. The Brian Kendrick from last week.
– A selfie promo from Alexander was shown, from the seats in the arena before the show. He said Gulak showed last week that he knows he can’t beat Alexander one-on-one. He challenged Jack Gallagher to a match next week on 205 Live.
– Gulak responded from behind a podium backstage, flanked by Gallagher and Kendrick. Gulak accepted Cedric’s challenge for Gallagher. He said Alexander is more flash than substance. Gulak claimed to want to create a better 205 Live. He rebutted Alexander, saying he doens’t need anyone to do his dirty work, and claimed Alexander will tap out at Summerslam.
– A commercial aired for NXT tomorrow night, featuring Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano.
– McGuinnes thanked Flo Rida for “Sweet Sensation,” the theme song for Summerslam.
– The announcers reacted to the promos that aired prior to the break, then a graphic was shown for Alexander vs. Gallagher next week.
– Also next week: Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa.
(3) Mustafa Ali vs. Hideo Itami
Neither man was able to gain an early advantage, with Ali avoiding a running kick in the corner from Itami. Another kick missed, and Ali responded with a dropkick. Joseph said the winner of this could be in line for a title match post-Summerslam.
Parks’s Take: It’s simple, but a nice touch to give stakes for this match so that fans can fully invest. Wins should mean something, and climbing the ladder should be what each match is about, in addition to whatever feud is being featured (in this case, the matter of respect). And WWE isn’t bound by anything because Joseph only speculated because the winner “could” get a title shot off of the win.
Ali with two high-risk maneuvers that paid off, but Itami kicked out after a one-count on the second. Ali seemed to pause, favoring his lower back. That allowed Itami to get back into it. Itami laid in hard kicks to the torso of Ali at ringside. Itami broke the ref’s ten-count. As the two men fought on the apron, Itami dropkicked Ali, who fell backward into the ring post and to the floor. Ali’s lower back had turned red in one spot. Watson said he didn’t believe Ali was 100%. Back in the ring, Itami continued his assault. Ali worked his way back to a vertical base, but a well-timed knee-lift by Itami put him horizontal again. A few desperation forearms by Ali, but they didn’t get him anywhere. Surprise crucifix pin attempt for two by Ali. Itami nearly turned Ali inside-out with a kick to the face.
Parks’s Take: The kick showed some light, but Ali’s sell masked it for the most part.
Ali was able to create separation with kicks, and a rolling X-Factor garnered him a near-fall. Superkick to the back of the head by Ali, then a spinning back-fist by Itami, and both men fell down at the same time. Falcon Arrow by Itami for two just past the 12:00 mark of the contest. Sit-out powerbomb by Ali for two. Itami pulled Ali face-first into the middle turnbuckle. Itami was bleeding from the mouth at this point. He overhead tossed Ali into the buckle. Ali kicked out of two covers. The ref hadn’t gone for his gloves despite the blood. Itami tried to dropkick Ali’s head into the ring steps, but Ali moved. Springboard tornado DDT on the outside by Ali. He dragged Itami to the ring and tossed him in. Ali set up for the 054 but lost his balance and couldn’t seem to regain it. It continued the story of him not being 100%. Corner dropicks by Itami with Ali in the Tree of Woe, three in all. A cover, and a win for Itami.
WINNER: Itami, at 16:31.
Parks’s Take: Itami just seems like a shell out there, desperately shouting “respect me!” in lieu of having an actual character. It doesn’t look like the confidence he seemed to lose in NXT has come all the way back. It’s nice that he’s at least out there being able to show off his wrestling skills, which fit right in with others in this division. Ali is a really underrated babyface.
– Replays of some of the key moves of the match were shown. Ali tried to leave the ring, but seemed to collapse throat-first over the bottom rope. The ref called for more assistance. He asked Ali what year it was. Drake Maverick also came to the ring and demanded some help come to the ring for Ali. He seemed to be panicking more than the refs. A prone Ali still hadn’t gotten up, though he was conscious, as the show went off the air.
Parks’s Take: I’m not sure where they’re going with the Ali storyline, but it should help Itami that he exacerbated whatever is ailing Ali. Maverick continues to do well in the role of babyface General Manager.
Greg Parks hosts the “Wrestling Night in America” Livecast every Sunday night on PWTorchlivecast.com. Read additional columns from him at PWTorchVIP.com. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to email@example.com.