SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
SEPTEMBER 4, 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 in which general manager Drake Maverick rounded out the night’s matches. In it, he said that tonight’s show would have a significant impact on the future of the cruiserweight division. From there, he recapped the Kalisto vs. Buddy Murphy match from last week and hyped Murphy’s upcoming championship match at WWE Super Showdown. He then revealed that Murphy’s training partner would take on Gran Metalik in a match tonight. Maverick then moved on to the growing feud between Cedric Alexander and Drew Gulak. Maverick recapped the feud and hyped that Cedric Alexander would call Gulak out tonight.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really nice recap video as usual, but absolutely no mention of the fact that Drake Maverick was on Raw last night as the manager of Authors Of Pain. Knowing that, it takes a little away from Maverick’s 205 Live character. Before, you could imagine Maverick being real and genuine in his role on 205 Live. With him on Raw in a totally different capacity, your forced to live with the face that he is playing a character 100 percent. Nobody else in the WWE is playing two different characters on television. Maverick shouldn’t be any different.
-After the opening video, the show open ran and the announce team welcomed the audience to the program. Vic Joseph hyped the confrontation between Alexander and Gulak and the analyzed the next cruiserweight championship match at Super Show Down between Alexander and Murphy. From there, they cued up the first match of the evening.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Just like the Saudi Arabia show did earlier in the year, Super Show Down is muddying up the storylines on 205 Live. Alexander is embroiled in a feud with Drew Gulak which will be prominently featured tonight, but his next title defense is against Buddy Murphy? I know that Gulak was denied a title shot last week, but to feature unfinished business between Gulak and Alexander tonight teases a match between them. Unless the stories are rolled together, WWE should maintain focus on that championship and the next defense of it rather than feature it’s champion in two different stories simultaneously.
(1) GRAN METALIK vs. TONY NESE
Metalik hit the ring first and got almost zero response from the Detroit audience. He was accompanied to the stage by Kalisto and Lince Dorado. As he did his entrance, the broadcast flipped backstage to a live interview with Tony Nese ahead of his entrance. Nese was with Buddy Murphy and was annoyed that he was being interviewed. He said he had a match in 30 seconds and Murphy took over instead. Murphy gave his thoughts on Super Showdown and said choosing him as the number one contender was and easy choice for Maverick. He said he was Melbourne’s biggest star and that he was the most dominant athlete in 205 Live history. From there, he said that with his fans cheering him on, he’d become the next WWE Cruiserweight Champion. Murphy then addressed Nese’s match and said that Nese would take care of business.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Murphy paid tribute to the last championship match he had with Alexander within this promo. That match just happened to be in Alexander’s hometown. With Murphy in his hometown, this is a logical story to tell and Murphy did a good job of laying that ground work in this interview. Nothing fancy, but mission accomplished.
When Murphy was done talking, Nese made his entrance. Like Metalik, he got almost no reaction from the audience. Like usual, Nese counted his abs and talked to the camera before he walked down the ramp. As Nese walked, the announce team highlighted the fact that Maverick ordered everyone associated with both Metalik and Nese to stay in the backstage area. The team praised Maverick’s decision so that they could find out who the true best man is.
Heydorn’s Analysis: it’s small details like this one that make this show an enjoyable watch for the most part. That one line by the announce team gives the match some stakes while maintaining consistency from the previous week’s stories. Pay attention Monday Night Raw.
Once Nese got to the ring, the match began.To start the match, both men tied up in the middle of the ring and exchanged holds. Metalik then whipped Nese into the ropes, but Nese bounced off and hammered him with a shoulder tackle. Out of that, both men exchanged offense and attempted dropkicks on one another. They both missed and then kipped up at the same time. From there, Tony Nese took over with some quick offense before Metalik hit him through the ropes. With Nese on the outside, Metalik went for his dive, but stopped when he saw Nese move out of the way. This left Metalik on the ring apron. Seeing this, Nese tripped him and sent him crashing to the canvas. From there, Nese took over the match and slammed Metalik into the guardrail. After, he rolled Metalik into the ring and kept up his momentum in the match with strikes and chops.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The audience simply seems cold for this match and more so than the typical cold response the first 205 Live match gets on a regular basis.
Metalik worked to gain momentum and went to the top rope to do so. Nese countered his move, pulled him off, and successfully hit him with a Northern Lights Suplex to keep the upperhand. Later on, Metalik attempted a moonsault to shift the tide, but Nese caught him in mid air. This time though, Metalik reversed Nese out of the catch and nailed him with a DDT. He then went for a cover, but Nese kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Metalik kept up his momentum and crushed Nese with chops before hitting him with a top rope springboard forearm. He covered again, but again, Nese kicked out. Out of that pin, Metalik attempted a second springboard move, but Nese countered with a spinning heel kick. After, he covered, but this time Metalik kicked out at two. After that pin, Nese went to the top rope, but Metalik kicked him off. From there, Metalik jumped over the ropes and nailed Nese with a hurricanrana off the apron.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, they almost didn’t make that one. Metalik saved the move by hanging onto the ropes, but it looked awful.
With Nese on the outside, Metalik attempted a moonsault off of the turnbuckle, but Nese countered by putting both of his feet in the air. This caused Metalik to crash right into his boot and give the momentum back to Nese. With the ref counting, Nese rolled into the ring first and Metalik came later at the count of eight. Nese then hit Metalik with an over the top rope corkscrew splash and followed that up with a 450 splash after rolling Metalik back into the ring. Right after the 450, Nese covered, but Metalik kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Nese slammed Metalik’s shoulder into the ring post. He then attempted a clothesline, but Metalik countered with a boot to the face. After, Gran Metalik connected with the Metalik Driver and then climbed to the top rope. Again, Nese caught him up there and climbed to meet him. The two men exchanged punches until Nese attempted a superplex. Metalik countered an hung Nese up on the ropes. With Nese hanging there, Nese connected with a third hurricanrana and followed that with a springboard elbow drop. From there, he made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Metalik at 11:08
-After the match, Metalik celebrated in the ring with the rest of the Lucha House Party.
Heydorn’s Analysis: For the most part, that was a really good match. They had some near disasters in terms of spots, but both men hung on in each instance to keep the match going.
-The announce team recapped the events of last week between Hideo Itami and Mustafa Ali. Right after the highlights, Drake Maverick was shown talking to a referee backstage. He said that he didn’t know what Cedric Alexander had planned for later in the night, but wanted that ref to let the other refs know that if it got out of control later, he’d deal with it. From there, Mustafa Ali entered Maverick’s office said that he really wished Maverick was still wearing the AOP gear from yesterday. Maverick responded by telling Ali that what he did on Monday night’s was none of his concern.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Well, at least they mentioned it. Maverick handled it well in character too. I still don’t like the move, but I give the entire thing a higher grade than before because they stayed consistent and didn’t leave both universes totally independent from one another.
He said what is his concern is the fact that he confronted Hideo Itami in the ring last week before he was medically cleared to do so. Ali said that he couldn’t just stand by and watch someone take advantage of someone else. He then said that he was totally fine. Maverick responded by saying he appreciated the fact that Ali wanted to put an end to Itami’s destruction, but that he would not enter a 205 Live ring again until he said so. The the audience booed a bit as Maverick said those words.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This Ali storyline is a good one. It’s intriguing and his absence is making the heart grow fonder.
-A commercial aired for the WWE Evolution and the upcoming Mae Young Classic on the WWE Network.
-Out of the commercial break, Noam Dar’s music hit for his match.
(2) NOAM DAR vs. BRYAN KELLY
Dar walked out to no reaction from the audience and met Kelly who was already in the ring. As soon as he got to the ring, the referee attempted to ring the bell to start the match, but was interuppted by Lio Rush. He took his time walking to the ring and then posted up at the announce table with the commentary team. Then, the bell rang. Out of the gate, Dar locked in an arm submission and then knocked Kelly to the mat with a shoulder tackle. As this happened, Rush complained that he wasn’t booked for Summerslam weekend. He ranted about his relationship with Drake Maverick and then told the team to ask him better questions.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Great commentary from Rush. He’s exactly on point with not just what his character would say, but how his character would say it. Well done.
Back in the ring, Kelly clocked Dar with some stiff strikes. He then attempted a top rope maneuver, but it was countered by Dar. Dar controlled the match from this point forward. He stared Rush down as he nailed Kelly with the the Nova roller. He then covered Kelly for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Dar at 2:26
-After the match, Rush commented on Dar’s win and said it wasn’t enough to put him in his league. From there, Rush taunted Dar and golf clapped for him while he stood on the announce table. The two then taunted each other before Dar rolled out of the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This match was more about Lio Rush than anyone else. Yes, Dar won and it was fine for what it was, but Rush was the star. Clearly, Dar vs. Rush is on the horizon, but the bigger story is Rush continuing to buy into his character and gimmick. If this slow build continues, he’ll be piping hot when the time comes for him to take on the likes of a Cedric Alexander of Mustafa Ali.
-Cedric Alexander was shown walking backstage and was confronted by Drake Maverick. Maverick said that he understands that Alexander has history with Gulak. He then said that allowing Alexander to call out another opponent is not how he’d typically run his show, but he’s allowing him to do it out of respect since he’s the champion. Maverick said that if it escalated at all, he’d intervene. Alexander responded by saying “you’re the boss,” before walking off.
Heydorn’s Analysis: On other WWE shows, this altercation would just happen. The 205 Live story is unique in that it gives a reason for the altercation to happen and a backstory surrounding it involving other players. 205 Live has loads of issues, but this is a pillar of light that other WWE shows don’t have.
-A commercial aired for the Mixed Match Challenge 2
-After the break, the announce team hyped Buddy Murphy vs. Gran Metalik for next week’s show.
-From there, Cedric Alexander hit the ring to a small response, but the biggest response of the night. Once he got to the ring, the announce team hyped Buddy Murphy vs. Alexander for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at WWE Super Showdown.
Heydorn’s Analysis: You’d think after that promo, Alexander would be out there to address Buddy Murphy. He isn’t though. A sign of the times in the WWE, but confusing nonetheless.
Once the promo by the announce team was over, Alexander grabbed a microphone and said that he was a man of few words. Cedric then told Drew Gulak to come down to the ring if he had any sense of integrity left. Alexander waited for Gulak, but TJP’s music hit instead. At the top of the stage, TJP addressed Alexander said he wasn’t surprised that Gulak didn’t respond because he was an opportunist. As for himself, he called him self impatient and said he wasn’t good at waiting in line. He then said that if Cedric Alexander was going to wait for a fight, he’d be happy to jump in the ring and make him tap out so that he’d be next in line for a championship opportunity. TJP attempted to do his rolling kip up into the ring, but caught his foot on the ropes which made him almost fail at the move.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Yikes. Since TJP is a heel, the negative reaction he got after was fine. Had to be embarrassing though.
Once TJP got into the ring, he got in Alexander’s face which prompted Drake Maverick to walk out. Maverick said that there was only one person that made matches on 205 Live and that one person was him. He said that his next move was out of the ordinary, but that he knew a marquee match up when he saw one. From there, he made the match official and sent a referee to the ring.
(3) TJP vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
The match started with both men circling each other in the ring. They then tied up and TJP took over with an arm lock. Eventually, Alexander escaped and whipped TJP to the mat. From there, Alexander nailed TJP with a shoulder tackle and followed that an elbow to the head. Out of that, Alexander connected with the Neuralizer which sent TJP to the outside. After, Alexander connected with a suicide dive before throwing crashing him into the ring apron. He then chopped TJP and rolled him up the ring apron. From there, Alexander attempted a suplex, but TJP countered with a DDT on the apron.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Nice aggressive offense from Alexander to start the match. His aggressive starts have become a staple of his matches and its effective in grabbing the audience’s attention right out of the gate. Good stuff.
After the big move, TJP rolled Alexander back into the ring and locked in an Octopus Stretch submission. Alexander countered and then covered TJP for a two count pin. Out of the pin, Alexander hit TJP with a hurricanrana that sent TJP the outside once again. Cedric followed and rolled TJP back in before connecting with a knee to the face. As he went for a second one, TJP countered with his own knee and then locked Alexander into an abdominal stretch while using the ropes.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A really unique submission from TJP there. Plays into his submission specialist role, though that role is also inhabited by Drew Gulak.
From there, it was all TJP. He stalked Alexander with submissions and connected with various strikes. He then attempted to work over the left arm of Alexander, but Cedric countered. He connected with his Flatliner and covered, but TJP kicked out at two. Next, Alexander attempted a running splash in the corner, but TJP countered with a kick to the face. He then crushed Alexander with a stiff kick to the left arm and Cedric yelled out in pain. This gave TJP the momentum again. He connected with back to back vertical suplexes and then covered, but Alexander kicked out at two. Out of the pin, TJP put Alexander in a submission that focused on the left shoulder. Eventually, Alexander escaped, but TJP kept up the offense by connecting with a springboard splash. Right after, Alexander hit his own offense and nailed TJP with a springboard clothesline.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Selling isn’t always a strong skill from Alexander, but he’s doing it well here. Conveying his pain is helping TJP gain heat while also keeping the match simmering at a high level.
In the end, TJP countered the Lumbar Check a handful of time and countered one into a sleeper submission. Alexander escaped that and proceeded to hit TJP with a body slam before covering for a two count. Out of the pin, Alexander attempted a second springboard clothesline, but TJP countered it into the Knee Bar submission. He grabbed the ropes and then was taunted by TJP. Then, after countering yet another submission by TJP, Alexander hit the Lumbar Check for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Alexander at 11:00
-After the match while Alexander celebrated, Gulak’s music played in the arena. Gulak then walked out and addressed Cedric. He congratulated him and then mocked him as well. Gulak then asked Alexander if he heard him right when he said that he wanted to finish what he started in Brooklyn. He said after careful consideration he accepted Alexander’s challenge. From there, Gulak walked to the ring for a fight. As he did the announce team called Gulak out on taking the challenge after Cedric fought a match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really solid match between these guys and a good follow-up from Gulak as well. I hope Michael Cole and Renee Young heard the announcing as Drew Gulak “accepted” Alexander’s challenge 10 minutes later and after a match. His commentary put heat on him and therefore, it helped the story. I shouldn’t have to congratulate an announce team member on such a rudimentary task, but we don’t hear that kind of commentary enough these days.
Then from behind, Jack Gallagher attacked Alexander. Eventually, Cedric dispatched him from the ring, but as he did Gulak attacked him. Gulak locked in the Gu-Lock on Alexander until Drake Maverick ran out to break up the fight. From there, the show ended with Alexander being tended to in the ring as Gulak yelled “Give me my rematch” at the top of the ramp.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I like the angle a lot. Gulak looks like a total jerk, but his jerkiness has an end game too – him getting a title shot. Again, the story here is simple, but the consistency in the details gives it direction and something to grasp on to. Well played on all fronts.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 8/28 WWE 205 Live Report: Mustafa Ali returns, Kalisto vs. Buddy Murphy, Tozawa vs. Kendrick, and more