SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
AUGUST 28, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson
-The show began with the standard 205 Live opening video that featured General Manager, Drake Maverick. He recapped the events of last week which led to tonight’s matches that include Akira Tozawa vs. The Brian Kendrick and Kalisto vs. Buddy Murphy. Maverick sold the history between Kalisto and Murphy and called it one of the best rivalries in the history of 205 Live.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This style of opening continues to be effective for the brand. Maverick recaps storylines nicely which not only conveys a certain authority of the show, but helps new fans get caught up as they drop in. Well done.
-From there, the show open ran and the announce team welcomed the audience to the program. They hyped tonight’s matches and then discussed the main event match between Kalisto and Murphy. After, they cued up the first match of the evening.
(1) THE BRIAN KENDRICK w/ Jack Gallagher vs. AKIRA TOZAWA
Kendrick hit the ring first and made his entrance to a very small reaction from the Toronto crowd. He was accompanied by Jack Gallagher and cut promo on his walk to the ring. In it, Kendrick talked to Gallagher and told him there was one thing he couldn’t stand. Gallagher guessed it was Toronto to a chorus of boos and while Kendrick agreed with him, he said what he couldn’t stand was people who didn’t know their place. Kendrick and Gallagher said that Akira Tozawa was the perfect example of that person and that their beating of him last week was strictly about business. Kendrick said that Tozawa could have taken his lumps and went away, but instead he chose to seek retribution through a match instead. Kendrick then said he wouldn’t get it and would just get more pain.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Nice promo. It was short to be sure, but it perked the crowd with the city bashing at the beginning and then was cold and calculated throughout to keep the audience’s attention. That’s a big moment and a job well done on 205 Live standards.
From there, Tozawa’s music hit and he entered the arena to a small reaction as well. Tozawa worked to get his war chant going and while it was slow to start up, it eventually caught on a bit with the crowd. Once Tozawa got to the ring, the bell rang and the match was underway. To start things off, Tozawa got the war chant started and Kendrick responded by rolling out of the ring. Tozawa followed, but was stopped by Jack Gallagher. Tozawa then clocked both Gallagher and Kendrick with a right hand before rolling Kendrick back into the ring. There, he went for a cover, but only got a two count. Out of the pin, Tozawa kept momentum with a running senton, but then was knocked out of the ring after being distracted by Gallagher. From there, Kendrick followed Tozawa to the outside and beat him up around the ringside area. He then rolled Tozawa back into the ring and kept up the offense by nailing him with strikes and a vertical suplex. After the suplex, Kendrick went for the pin, but Tozawa kicked out at two. Right out of the pin, Kendrick mounted Tozawa and punched him before locking in a submission hold.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really smooth action to start things off. Nothing special in terms of big spots, but you can tell both guys have good chemistry.
Eventually, Tozawa escaped the submission and gained momentum back after he connected with a snap hurricanrana. Out of that move, Tozawa went for his top rope Senton Bomb, but Kendrick rolled out of the ring. Instead, Tozawa nailed a running suicide dive through the ropes before punching Jack Gallagher and rolling Kendrick back into the ring. With Kendrick in the ring with him and Gallagher down, Tozawa held onto his momentum and connected with a snap suplex, as well as strikes to Kendrick’s injured leg. From there, Tozawa connected with a missile dropkick off the top rope. After, he connected with a Dragon Corkscrew before nailing Kendrick with his top rope Senton Bomb finish. Tozawa then made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Tozawa at 6:15
Heydorn’s Analysis: This match was more of a squash match than anything else. Yes, Brian Kendrick got some offense in, but the story was all about Akira Tozawa. He was aggressive, but played by the rules like a true babyface the entire time. This clean of a win tells me that he may be on an upward trajectory to bigger things in he division. Time will tell.
-After the match, the announce team hyped the main event between Kalisto and Buddy Murphy by showing a video from three weeks ago in which Tony Nese stole a victory from Kalisto due to Murphy’s involvement. They also showed the events of last week in which Kalisto cost Murphy his match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Smart use of video. These clips told the story of how they got to the main event, but also made the main event match feel important.
-Out of the video, Tony Nese and Buddy Murphy were interviewed backstage. Murphy said he came to 205 Live to become the cruiserweight champion. He said he almost achieved that goal, but that when Kalisto cheated him out of a win last week his eyes were opened. He said that in his match, he would end the Lucha House Party and not only send a message to the cruiserweight champion, but to the entire 205 Live roster. He ended by saying him and Nese were sick of playing around.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A pretty standard promo from Murphy as far as performance goes. That said, the content of his promo is where the news is. In one short promo, Murphy addressed his match AND stuck to his overall narrative and goal of becoming cruiserweight champion. By making that claim and reminding the audience of that, it gives him a journey to go on, but also positions the cruiserweight title as the one thing on every man’s mind backstage. Attention Monday Night Raw … do this very same thing.
-After the interview, a commercial aired for the upcoming Mae Young Classic.
(2) HIDEO ITAMI vs. MICHAEL BLAISE
Out of the break, Hideo Itami walked to the ring to a very small reaction from the crowd. As Itami walked to the ring, a selfie video aired from Itami in which he spoke Japanese. Eventually, he switched to English and said that from the bottom of the heart, he felt bad about hurting Mustafa Ali. From there, he laughed and confirmed that he felt bad because he wanted to hurt him worse.
Heydorn’s Analysis: At this point, this type of promo looks to be the best they’ll get out of Itami. It works, but for Itami to be a true top star and lead guy on the brand, he needs to take strides to cut good promos in the ring.
Blaise was already in the ring as Itami got there and as soon as he did, the match began. Out of the gate, Itami crushed Blaise with a boot to the face. He then tossed Blaise into the corner and stomped him before he repeatedly chopped him in the chest. After the chops, Itami went to the kicks and yelled “Respect Me” after he laid the kicks in. After the gloating, Blaise got some kicks of his own in, but they were eventually countered due to a clothesline from Itami. Out of the counter, Itami decimated Blaise with kicks and continued to yell “Respect Me” after them. Eventually, Itami connected with a Falcon Arrow and a second high impact move. After each, he attempted a pin, but broke the pin himself while gloating. Out of that, Itami connected twice with his basement dropkick in the corner. As Itami went for the third, Mustafa Ali’s music hit and Ali appeared at the top of the ramp.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Nice pop for Ali. The biggest in weeks on this show. Further shows just how entrenched he is with the audience. They buy what he sells on a regular basis.
After soaking in his reaction, Ali briskly walked to the ring to confront Itami. Seeing this, Itami rolled out of the ring and ran away to a chorus of loud boos. In response, Ali stood on the turnbuckle and yelled “if you want respect, fight me.” All Itami did was smile and wave back which clearly frustrated Ali.
WINNER: No contest
Heydorn’s Analysis: The match was squash-like, but the angle at the end worked very well. Ali is tremendous in his babyface role and used the “respect me” narrative to get Itami fighting. In classic heel fashion, Itami ran off anyway. With Ali getting the babyface reaction he did and Itami absorbing heel heat because of that, this feud is a hot one. It behooves WWE to run now while this iron is hottest. That’s now.
-After the match, the announce team hyped WWE Evolution. They then cued up a video on last week’s events in which Drew Gulak called Cedric Alexander out for a second chance at his title. The video ended with Alexander running to the ring and chasing Gulak off along with his henchman. After the video, Alexander cut a selfie promo. He said that, Gulak sunk to a new low last week. He said he challenged him to a fight, but when he walked out to accept, he ran away. Alexander then said that he would expose Gulak as the spineless hypocrite that he is. In the end, he said that next week he would call Gulak out so he could finish what he started.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Decent stuff and it furthered their storyline with logical direction. Alexander still just isn’t getting into that “over” level that his push would dictate he’s in. He doesn’t seem natural or fully comfortable in his role either. Where Mustafa Ali is perfectly in touch with who he is and what he’s doing, Alexander is the polar opposite.
-A commercial aired for WWE Story Time on the WWE Network. From there, a commercial for WWE Shop aired.
(3) BUDDY MURPHY w/ Tony Nese vs. KALISTO w/ Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik
Murphy walked out first and was accompanied by Tony Nese. Murphy got a small reaction and as he walked to the ring, Vic Joseph hyped Super Show Down in Australia while also promoting the return of Shawn Michaels next week on Raw. After, Kalisto made his way to the ring and was accompanied by the Lucha House Party.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Good reaction on the 205 Live grading scale for Kalisto. The audience was engaged with him and doing the lucha chants with him as well. Seeing this, it’s up to Kalisto to keep these fans in the match. If he sells the Murphy offense, fans should join the ride easily. Here we go.
Once Kalisto got to the ring, the bell rang. Kalisto did some rolls in the ring before both men tied up. Out of the gate, Murphy slammed Kalisto to the mat. The two then tied up again, but the result was the same for Kalisto. On the third round, Dorado got a lucha chant going that Kalisto chimed along with. This time, Murphy crushed Kalisto with a kick before grounding him by winning a test of strength. With Kalisto down, Murphy went for a few pins, but each time Kalisto kicked out at two. Out of the pin attempts, Kalisto and Murphy scaled the ropes before Kalisto connected with a top rope hurricanrana that sent Murphy to the outside. In an effort to follow-up, Kalisto hit his suicide dive on Murphy and Nese who had walked toward Murphy to help him.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Buddy Murphy is incredibly smooth in that ring. Especially with an opponent as seasoned as Kalisto.
Once Kalisto connected, he rolled Murphy back into the ring. Eventually, Kalisto with his team and Murphy with Nese stood toe to toe in the middle of the ring. With Kalisto distracted, Murphy took over. He hit Kalisto with a variety of punches until Murphy countered. He then rolled to the ring, but Kalisto kept the pressure on by attempting a rolling thunder off of the ring apron. Instead of hitting it, Murphy caught him in mid-air and nailed him with a suplex on the outside mats.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Great spot and even though its a show off spot for Murphy, the crowd oo’ed and ahh’ed for it within the narrative of the match as well. In that scenario, both guys win.
After the big move, Buddy Murphy pushed Lince Dorado and Dorado retaliated. Seeing this, the referee tossed the Lucha House Party. As this happened, Murphy regained control of the match. Buddy Murphy decimated Kalisto with a hand full of offense. Kalisto countered and then locked in a sleeper hold instead. Murphy slammed Kalisto into the corner which broke the hold, but Kalisto got it right back after losing it. Eventually, he escaped and right after he did, he connected with a knee to Kalisto’s face. After that move, Murphy went for a cover, but Kalisto kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Murphy attempted to lift Kalisto up, but Kalisto countered with a back body drop on Murphy to the outside of the ring. Seeing this again, Kalisto tried for another suicide dive, but was tripped up by Murphy. As the referee saw this, he tossed Nese from the ringside area which left Murphy all alone.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I like the psychology behind both sets of spectators being tossed. The babyfaces were thrown out in a way that got heat on the heels and the heel got tossed after finally going too far with his interference. It worked. Plus, once it was strictly a one on one match, Murphy kicked the match into a higher gear. That conveyed desperation on Murphy’s part and relief on Kalisto’s part. Both men performed well to achieve those sets of emotions. Good stuff across the board.
After Nese got bounced, Kalisto owned Murphy with dropkicks and straight kicks to the face. Kalisto then attempted a top rope neck breaker, but Murphy countered by catching him again. This time, instead of taking a suplex, Kalisto countered it into a reverse hurricanrana. After, he his is basement-rana before covering for a two count. Out of the pin, Murphy battled back. He hit Kalisto with a fury of moves torpedoing him into the ring post. After this move, both men rolled to the ring apron to continue their battle. Eventually, Murphy pushed Kalisto off of the apron and crashing into the announce table area. With Kalisto down and out, Murphy followed him out and beat him, once again, on the outside of the ring. Kalisto tried to fight back by jumping off of the guardrail, but Murphy countered with a knee to the face. This left Kalisto laying and the ref counting him out. Instead of actually reaching the full count out, Murphy rolled out of the ring to fight Kalisto. As he approached him, Kalisto dropped him over the guardrail and rolled back into the ring himself. This time, the referee counted for Murphy. Murphy barely made the count and then was crushed with a hurricanrana straight into the mat. After, Kalisto covered, but Murphy kicked out at two. This happened as the audience chanted “this is awesome” and “205.”
Heydorn’s Analysis: That “205” chant has to be a pretty sound for both Murphy and Kalisto to hear. They are working their tails off and are connecting with the audience on a high level because of it. To my knowledge, that chant has only surfaced one other time in the last year.
In the end, after the Kalisto cover, both men exchanged some vicious strikes. Murphy got the immediate momentum out of them and then nailed Kalisto with Murphy’s Law. From there, Murphy made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Murphy at 16:45
Heydorn’s Analysis: Fantastic, stellar match. It was fast paced, included the action that makes cruiserweight wrestling great, but also told the story that needed to be told. Murphy winning firmly plants him in the drivers seat for a shot at the championship later down the road. With Akira Tozawa also on the track toward a title shot after tonight, Murphy vs. Tozawa is a logical destination as the title program between Gulak and Alexander finishes up.
-After the match, Murphy celebrated with Tony Nese as the show faded to black.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a very good episode. Every segment hit the right notes and not only did storylines progress, but we got a fantastic wrestling match in the main event. 205 Live works best when everything happening on it seems important. This show highlighted that formula to a “T.” In addition, the focus of this show either directly or indirectly was on the cruiserweight championship. That simple narrative continues to give direction to all wrestlers on the show while keeping stories logical for fans.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 8/21 WWE 205 Live Report: Summerslam championship match fallout, TJP vs. Noam Dar, and more