KELLER INTERVIEWS ROB VAN DAM FOR FIRST TIME...
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WWE 205 LIVE
AUGUST 21, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson
-The show opened with the usual 205 Live video package featuring Drake Maverick. In the video, Maverick praised Cedric Alexander and Drew Gulak for their performance at Summerslam before highlighting tonight’s matches. Those matches included Noam Dar vs. TJP and a tag team main event between the team of Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik against Tony Nese and Buddy Murphy in a Tornado Tag Team Match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Interesting that Maverick praised Drew Gulak in this video. He was the clear heel in the feud and it tells me a story between them could be on the horizon sooner than later.
-From there, the show open ran and the announce team welcomed the audience to the program. They ran down the events of Summerslam weekend and hyped the ending of SmackDown Live before welcoming Wale to the announce booth. They asked him what he thought about New Day winning the tag team championships before cuing the first match of the night.
(1) TJP vs. NOAM DAR
TJP’s music hit first and it was a brand new entrance theme. The gist of the music was the exact same, but had some added edge. TJP got almost zero response from the crowd, but cut a promo on his way to the ring. He said that his match against Noam Dar would be short and he was happy for that so he could get back to his favorite city in the world, LA.
Heydorn’s Analysis: He attempted to try and get the crowd to bite on the notion that he was talking about Brooklyn, but they absolutely didn’t take the bait. Such is life in the cruiserweight division right now. This type of trolling would have killed it on Raw last night.
From there, TJP said that he was the best technical wrestler in the game. The audience booed this a little and as they did, TJP said that it was “close your eyes time” because nobody would be able to handle watching the beating he was about to give Dar.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Nice ending to that promo. TJP conveyed a sense of dominance that was mean spirited in nature. That type of talk will get him over quicker than making jokes and trolling about home cities.
Dar walked out next and got a small response as well. As he made his entrance. Wale called Dar “his guy” and explained to the world how dedicated he was in his rehab from injury. Once Dar got to the ring, the bell rang and the match began. Both men tied up to start and shortly after they did, Dar backed TJP into the corner. Eventually, the ref pulled Dar off and backed him away from the corner. Right after, they went for a tie up again, but TJP rolled out of the ring to some boos from the crowed. While he was out there, he picked up the microphone again and said he wanted to introduce his special guest of the evening. TJP then pointed at Wale and mocked him. As he did, Dar drop kicked TJP through the ropes and proceeded to beat him up around the ringside area.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Man, that was a confusing interaction between TJP and Wale. First off, nobody knows why Wale is out there anyway. Then, to have TJP confront him and tease friendship just seemed to cute to work in front of a crowd that is already wondering why they should care. This is a good example of WWE trying to smash 10 pounds of you know what into a five pound bag.
Dar tossed TJP into the stairs before back suplexing him onto the ring apron. Dar then rolled TJP into the ring and continued his offense to keep momentum. From there, Dar hit TJP with another dropkick that sent TJP flying out of the ring. Dar followed and kept up the attack on the outside before rolling TJP back into the ring again. As Dar bent over to get back in the ring, TJP draped his neck over the ropes. This gave TJP the upper hand and he took full advantage. He connected with a variety of uppercuts and strikes before dropped Dar to the mat for a leg submission hold. As he did this, TJP pointed at Wale to gloat.
Heydorn’s Analysis: More pointless TJP vs. Wale nonsense and nobody’s buying it.
Eventually, TJP broke the hold himself and body slammed Dar to the mat. He then attempted a flipping senton, but Dar countered by getting his knees up. After the counter, both men exchanged punches and strikes in the ring. TJP ended the exchange after he caught Dar’s leg and took him to the mat with a corkscrew. Dar was quick to recover from that corkscrew though and took back the momentum of the match by connecting with stiff European uppercuts. He followed that with a dropkick of his own and then went for a cover, but TJP kicked out. Out of the pin and out of nowhere, TJP locked in his Knee Bar submission. Dar writhed in pain, but eventually made it to the ropes to cause a break. From there, TJP stomped on Dar with kicks before attempting another submission hold within the ropes. As he tried, Dar battled out of it and was able to connect with his finishing Supernova Kick to TJP’s face. Dar then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win as Wale cheered him on.
WINNER: Dar at 8:50
Heydorn’s Analysis: This one was a rough go, but Dar and TJP had the deck stacked against them. These guys can have a great match together. In this instance, Wale’s prescense caused the commentary team to focus on him instead of the match. In addition, TJP payed more attention to Wale than he did to Noam Dar. It all made for a convoluted mess and didn’t work on any level.
-After the match, Dar high-fived Wale and Wale left the announcer booth. Then, the regular announce team cued up highlights from the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between Cedric Alexander and Drew Gulak at Summerslam.
-When the video ended, a Drew Gulak promo aired. Gulak was sitting in an empty arena and said that at Summerslam, Cedric Alexander was outclassed and outmatched. Gulak said that Alexander didn’t prove anything with his win and that he was still the best cruiserweight in the WWE. Gulak said that Alexander just got lucky and that if he cared about his legacy as champion, he would give him a rematch.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well done. Gulak laid a foundation of heelish miscalculations and build his rematch argument on top of it. Just classic pro wrestling booking done right.
-After the promo, Drake Maverick was shown backstage. He addressed Drew Gulak’s request and said that while he has a decent track recorder in the 205 Live division and is a viable contender to the title, other members of the division deserves chances at the belt as well. Maverick then said on his brand stars need to earn their opportunities in the ring. He finished by saying that Gulak’s rematch request was denied.
Heydorn’s Analysis: As suspected based on the top of the show video, a story and feud is brewing here between Maverick and Gulak. I couldn’t be happier either. Both men have tremendous personalities and should work great together when the time comes.
-When Maverick’s interview ended, a commercial aired for the Mae Young Classic 2.
(2) AKIRA TOZAWA vs. COLIN DELANEY
Out of the break, Akira Tozawa made his entrance to a small reaction. As he walked down the ramp, some fans in the audience started a Tozawa war chant, but it ended quickly. Once Tozawa got to the ring, the match was set to begin, but was interuppted when The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher attacked Delaney and Tozawa from behind.
WINNER: No contest
The attack was quick and as they kicked both men out of the ring, Drew Gulak demanded a microphone. On it, Gulak said that he tried to be reasonable with his request. He then said that until he is given the rematch he was owed there would be no more peace on 205 Live. Gulak then spoke to Cedric Alexander and said that he wasn’t surprised that he had his “Dad,” Drake Maverick, do his talking for him. Gulak then surmised that Alexander did that because he was scared. From there, Gulak demanded that Alexander walk out to the ring himself to answer his challenge.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I really liked Gulak on the mic here. He left any comedic tendencies at the door and strictly focused on his serious heel character. In doing so, he came across as a top star on the brand.
Soon after, Alexander’s music hit. At the top of the ramp, Alexander said that Gulak was the one that was scared given the fact that he was surrounded by Thing One and Thing Two (Kendrick and Gallagher). From there, he said that if they agree to leave the ring, he’d be happy to walk down and shut him up once and for all. After, Alexander began to walk toward the ring but was held up by Drake Maverick and security. Alexander worked to continue his walk anyway and as he did, Gulak berated him on the microphone. He said that the Age Of Alexander sucked and asked if he was worried that Maverick would put him in time out. As this went down and as Maverick worked to control the situation, the audience chanted “let them fight.” In the end, Drew Gulak said that he knew why Alexander was scared and this prompted Cedric to finally break free from Maverick and run to the ring for an attack. As soon as he got there, Gulak rolled out of the ring and ran away. The segment ended with Alexander’s music playing and him yelling to Gulak that “he is right there.”
Heydorn’s Analysis: Aside from Gulak’s poor Dr. Suess reference, this was incredibly effective. By the end, the audience was loudly chanting “let them fight.” On this brand, that type of reaction is a massive win. Going into the Summerslam match, this story had some heat behind it and this adds to that in a good way. In addition, it positions both men for a second title match sometime in the near future.
-After the segment, both teams in the upcoming main event were shown warming up in the backstage area. Then, a commercial aired for WWE Shop.
(3) GRAN METALIK & LINCE DORADO w/ Kalisto vs. TONY NESE & BUDDY MURPHY
Metalik and Dorado walked out first and as they did, highlights of 205 Live from a couple weeks ago aired to tell the story of how this match came to be. Metalik and Dorado got a very tempered reaction outside of the standard lucha chants. Nese made his way out to the ring next and was followed by Murphy. Once Murphy and Nese got to the ring, the bell rang right away for the match to begin. Right as it started, a brawl broke out between all four men. Quickly, Dorado and Metalik got the upperhand and connected with some innovative offensive moves and synchronized kicks on their opponents. This caused Nese and Murphy to roll out of the ring. From there, Metalik and Dorado followed and all four men brawled around the ringside area. As the brawl ensued, Metalik and Dorado connected with synchronized moonsaults as the audience roared and did the lucha chants.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Those moonsaults were beautiful. Out of the gate, these guys are taking full advantage of the tornado rules and why not? So far, it’s working.
After that double team, the announce team debated which team had more chemistry. Eventually, Nese and Murphy stole control of the match after they smashed Lince Dorado’s neck into the steel ramp. From there, they caught Gran Metalik as he attempted his over the top rope suicide dive and tossed him into the ring barricade. With Metalik out, Nese and Murphy dragged Dorado to the ring and systematically dismantled him with calculated strikes. With Dorado down and out, Nese attempted to rip the cast off of Dorado’s hand.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The gang attack by Murphy and Nese got them some nice 205 Live level heat. They really looked like thugs as they laid their beating in which immediatley cast sympathy on Dorado and Metalik. Smart psychology.
As this went down, Metalik got back into the ring and connected with a springboard dropkick on Nese. He then attempted his rope walk hurricanrana on Murphy, but Buddy countered and slammed him to the mat. Once again, Murphy and Nese were in complete control of the match. This time, Nese held Metalik in place as Murphy picked hi apart with strikes. Nese then connected with a power slam and followed with a cover, but the pin was broken up by Dorado. Out of the pin, Dorado battled both Nese and Murphy himself. He used dropkicks, an enziguri, and chops to gain momentum before he attempted a pin on Murphy, but only got a count of two. After that pin, Nese and Murphy kept up their double team until Dorado knocked both over with a moonsault.
It was all Dorado at this point in the match. He nailed Murphy with a spinning DDT and then climbed to the top rope for his Shooting Star Press. Before he could hit it, Murphy knocked Dorado off and then followed him up to the top perch. Seeing this, Metalik knocked Murphy off and the four men proceeded to execute a unique spot in which Nese splashed Metalik, Dorado hit his moonsault on Nese, and Murphy nailed Dorado with a suplex. This got a nice round of cheers from the audience after Dorado kicked out of Murphy’s pin.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The tornado rules allow for a spot like that to happen and it was incredibly smart for these guys to use that stipulation to do something totally unique. This spot was just that and the audience popped big for it.
Soon after that sequence, the men hit another spot where Metalik walked the ropes for a dropkick and Murphy followed with a devastating top rope meteora on Metalik for his troubles. Before that, Nese destroyed Dorado with a German suplex off the second rope. After that sequence, both teams exchanged strikes and super kicks in the middle of the ring. Dorado and Metalik got the upper hand and proceeded to hit a round of moonsaults on Nese. They then both covered Nese, but Murphy broke the count at two. Out of the pin, the audience chanted this is awesome.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Yes, Brooklyn, I agree. The offense in this on both sides is innovative, sensible, and connecting with the crowd.
In the end, after a hurricanrana from Gran Metalik that tossed Nese out of the ring and into Murphy, Metalik got the 1,2,3 pin on Murphy when Murphy was tripped up by Kalisto.
WINNER: Dorado and Metalik at 17:19
-After the match, Dorado and Metalik celebrated with Kalisto on the ramp as the show faded to black.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Whoa, that hurricanrana spot was something else. Overall, this was a really good match and given the fact that it was rooted in a weak story, it vastly out shined expectations. Each of the competitors were crisp with their moves while selling their opponent’s moves simultaneously. Everything in this was very buttoned up in that regard. What put this over the top was the unique offensive sequences from both teams. These spots woke the fans up and got them into a match that had an uphill battle to fight from the beginning. Well done on all fronts.
FINAL THOUGHTS: If you remove the travesty that was TJP vs. Noam Dar from this show, it meets the bar that has been set throughout the last few months for 205 Live. The main event was surprisingly good and the Drew Gulak vs. Cedric Alexander feud added a new layer of heat to it that gives it legs to continue on. With the main event program set, WWE needs to utilize guys like Lio Rush, TJP, and Tozawa to build the mid card and find the next challenger for the belt once the Gulak/Alexander program wraps up.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 8/14 WWE 205 Live Report: Mustafa Ali medical update, Alexander vs. Gallagher, Tozawa vs. Rush, and more