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WWE 205 LIVE
NOVEMBER 14, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
ST. LOUIS, MO
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson
-The show opened with the standard 205 Live video that featured Drake Maverick. He highlighted the matches of the evening that featured the main event of Cedric Alexander vs. Lio Rush and a tag encounter pitting the team of Akira Tozawa and The Brian Kendrick against Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher. Maverick also revealed that both Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy would speak on their upcoming WWE Cruiserweight Championship at Survivor Series.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really like the seriousness and sports-like fell to Ali vs. Murphy. It comes across like a major UFC fight. Great stuff.
-From there, the show open ran and the announce team welcomed the audience to the program. Quickly into their introductions, the bell rang for the first match to begin and the team of Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher walked to the ring.
(1) JACK GALLAGHER & DREW GULAK vs. AKIRA TOZAWA & THE BRIAN KENDRICK
Gallagher and Gulak got a small reaction and as they did their entrance, the announce cued up highlights from two weeks ago that led to the creation of this match. The announcers said that Gulak and Gallagher were looking for payback after losing their match to Kendrick. After the video, Tozawa and Kendrick were interviewed backstage ahead of their entrance. They were asked how they would address their history and differences, but neither answered and walked out to the ring instead.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Tozawa was a bit too comedic for me. The feud with Gallagher and Gulak is supposed to be one of intensity. By smiling and acting silly, he took credibility away from that narrative.
From there, Tozawa and Kendrick hit the ring together. Like Gallagher and Gulak, both Tozawa and Kendrick got tempered responses.
Heydorn’s Analysis: And no war chants from Tozawa? What’s happening here? A full moon or something?
Once they got down to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began. Drew Gulak teased starting the match with Kendrick, but Gulak then arrogantly tagged Gallagher in immediatley. The action continued with Kendrick, but he quickly tagged Tozawa into the match. Tozawa hit his offense which included a standing senton and stomps in the corner on Gallagher. Yes, the war chants started here too.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I knew it was too good to be true …
From there, Tozawa tagged Kendrick into the ring. He continued his momentum against Gallagher, but Gallagher was able to make the tag to Gulak. At this point, Kendrick fired up and nailed Gulak with a fury of strikes. As this happened, the announce team pointed out that Kendrick had waited weeks to get that moment.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really great fire from Kendrick there that not only mirrored the story, but the emotional state he’s in because of Drew Gulak. Simple, but effective.
Eventually, Gallagher caused Kendrick to be distracted which allowed for his team to take momentum. Gallagher hung Kendrick on the ropes and proceeded to stomp him before he tagged Gulak into the match. Upon entering, Gulak made a cover, but Kendrick kicked out at two. From there, Gulak locked in a submission Kendrick. Kendrick escaped, but Gulak crushed Kendrick’s knee to ground him near their corner. At this point, Gulak and Gallagher owned the match. Both tagged in and out of the match to stay fresh and each laid in different submissions to keep Kendrick grounded. In addition, they used a tandem knee strike before making the cover, but Kendrick kicked out at two.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Gallagher and Gulak are working like old school heels to get heat, but the audience isn’t reacting. Could be a small crowd on-hand at this point in the show, but you could hear a pin drop in there. Typically, Gulak can harness a crowd better than this. Speaks to Tozawa and Kendrick a bit. Not sure they are hot enough as babyfaces to carry this type of match style.
Finally, and after numerous attempts, Kendrick made the hot tag to Tozawa after hitting a back body drop on Gallagher. Tozawa crushed Gallagher with a series of unique strikes before connecting with flying suicide dive through the ropes and onto Drew Gulak. Tozawa proceeded to roll Gulak back into his drop zone and climbed to the top rope. From there, Tozawa nailed Gulak with a top rope dropkick before making a two count cover. Out of the pin, Tozawa locked in his inverted abdominal stretch on Gulak, but Gallagher interuppted it by shoving Kendrick into Tozawa. This caused Tozawa to confront Gallagher. In the end, their confrontation distracted one another which allowed Gulak to roll Tozawa up for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Gulak and Gallagher via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: An A to B match, but an unfocused A to B match. The story here was Kendrick getting his hands on Gulak and it was overshadowed by a throw back to a weak Tozawa/Kendrick feud? Just not the time for that and confusing for anyone new in the audience.
-After the match, Gulak and Gallagher celebrated on the ramp. From there, they cued up the official weigh-in of Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy ahead of their title match at Survivor Series.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Again, sports-like. Well done.
-Drake Maverick was the official present at the weigh-in. He introduced the match and then weighed Mustafa Ali first. Ali clocked in at 182 pounds and was followed by the champion, Buddy Murphy. Murphy weighed in at 204 pounds. From there, Maverick called the match on Sunday a “significant one for the brand” as Murphy and Ali stared each other down. Murphy told Ali that he would put him down and Ali responded by saying that the last time he said that, Ali put him down on the mat. This prompted Murphy to push Ali across the room and from there, a fight broke out. Both men were pulled apart by Drake Maverick and other officials and the segment ended with Mustafa Ali yelling that he wasn’t afraid of Murphy.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was exactly out of a UFC weigh-in and it worked. Both men were presented as equals going into the match and the feud has reached it’s boiling point at exactly the right moment. Well done.
-After the weigh-in, Buddy Murphy was interviewed backstage. Murphy said that Survivor Series wasn’t about his rivalry with Mustafa Ali. Instead, he said it was about HIS cruiserweight championship and what happens to people that try to take it from him. Murphy said that he felt bad for Ali because Ali didn’t understand what would happen to him at Survivor Series.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Your standard Buddy Murphy promo. Nothing extraordinary here, but it fell in line with Murphy’s aggressive, juggernaut character.
-After the interview, a commercial aired for NXT TakeOver: War Games on Saturday night.
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-Out of the break, the Lucha House Party’s music hit and the team of Kalisto and Lince Dorado hit the ring.
(2) LINCE DORADO & KALISTO vs. MIKE KARMA & KRAIG KEESAMAN
Karma and Keesaman were already waiting in the ring as Dorado and Kalisto made their entrance. Once they got to the ring, the match began. The match started with Karma and Keesaman telling Dorado “no lucha.” Dorado responded by hitting an aerial assault of lucha moves that culminated with a snap hurricanrana. Out of that, both Karma and Keesaman taunted the lucha chants, but Dorado and Kalisto with well-timed tandem offense that included dropkicks. In the end, Kalisto connected with the SDS and Dorado followed with his Shooting Star Press. After, Dorado made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Squash city. I should trademark that.
-After the match, Maria Kanellis appeared on the big screen. She got the attention of the Lucha House Party and said that she wanted them to enjoy their moment while they could. From there, she said that they have unfinished business with her husband and TJP. She then said that when it was right for them on their terms, they would challenge the Lucha House Party once again. In the meantime, Kanellis announced that next week, TJP would face Gran Metalik.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Yikes. Maria was composed and portrayed her character well, but that message was all over the place. Why is she speaking on behalf of TJP anyway? Just a messy promo in most ways.
-Cedric Alexander was shown warming up backstage and he cut a promo. He said he was undefeated for over a year on 205 Live and it wasn’t because of an accident. He said he outworked everyone day in and day out. Cedric then said that Lio Rush fights for accolades and trophies while he fights because its life to him. He concluded by saying that the Age Of Alexander was back.
Heydorn’s Analysis: It worked for who Alexander is as a babyface, but Alexander continues to lack depth. He’s great in the ring, but still is a one trick pony in terms of developing as a character on the show. For that reason, Mustafa Ali has passed him up as the top babyface of the brand.
-After the promo, a commercial aired for the new WWE Chronicle episode that will air after NXT TakeOver: War Games and feature Dean Ambrose.
-Out of the commercial break, Lio Rush made his way to the ring. Rush got a decent negative reaction from the crowd and walked to the ring with his usual arrogant and over confident sway.
(3) LIO RUSH vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
Alexander walked out next and received a nice pop from the audience. As he walked to the ring, the announce team doubted that any confidence left Alexander throughout his mini losing streak. Once Alexander got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began. Out of the gate, Alexander and Rush talked trash at each other before teasing a tie up in the middle of the ring. As that happened, the audience battled in a “Let’s Go Lio, Lio Sucks” chant. From there, Alexander took momentum by locking in an arm submission on Rush. Rush caused a break in the hold be hitting the ropes, but as Alexander separated, Rush took over with a head lock. After, both men countered each other’s high paced offense and talked trash in the middle of the ring again.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good psychology to start the match as both countered and hit enough to stand on an equal level.
After the stare down, Rush took Alexander down to the mat and then slapped Rush across the face. In response, Alexander fired up, but Rush one upped him again and connected with a hurricanrana. From there, Rush continued to taunt Alexander. This time though, Alexander took Rush down and connected with a dropkick to gain momentum back in the match.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Incredible pace and crispness thus far. Will be fun to see this kick into third and fourth gear.
After more offense from Cedric, he made the cover on Rush, but Lio kicked out at two. After the pin, Alexander hit Rush with a belly to back suplex before attempting running splash into the corner. Rush moved out of the way to counter, but Alexander countered the counter by hitting Rush with a drop toe hold into the ring post. Eventually, Rush took over with a dropkick of his own that sent Alexander to the outside of the ring. Rush followed and hit Cedric with a suicide dive through the bottom rope. From there, Rush rolled back into the ring and told the ref to start counting Alexander out. At the count of seven, Rush saw that Cedric would make the count and rolled back to the outside of the ring to continue his attack. Rush decimated Alexander and tossed him into various objects around the ringside area. Again, Rush climbed into the ring and demanded the count be started. Alexander rolled back into the ring at six and Rush responded by smiling and aggressively connecting with a flurry of strikes. After, Rush made the cover, but Alexander kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Rush grounded Alexander by locking in a sleeper hold. Eventually, Alexander escaped the hold and both men exchanged some acrobatic offense in the middle of the ring. The exchange ended with Rush hitting a step up enziguri on Alexander and he followed that by making a cover, but Alexander kicked out at two.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Rush’s run on offense here was accompanied by an intense emotional look that mirrored up with the promo he cut last week. Smart of him to tie those pieces together and as I said last week, a serious Lio Rush is the best Lio Rush.
Out of the pin, Rush stalked Alexander with kicks, but Cedric countered it with a spinning back elbow. The crowd popped big for this move and Cedric followed it by connecting with a springboard dropkick. Alexander followed that with a pin, but Rush kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Alexander attempted to hit the Lumbar Check, but Rush countered. Instead, Alexander crushed him with the Neuralizer and attempted another cover, but Rush kicked out at two. In the end and after both men countered numerous pieces of offense and exchanged pins, Rush connected with a Spanish Fly. He then attempted to hit the Final Hour, but Alexander moved out of the way to counter that. From there, Alexander attempted the Lumbar Check again, but Rush countered and then hit Cedric with a springboard stunner. Out of that, Alexander hit his own Spanish Fly and then the Lumber Check for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Alexander via pinfall
-After the match, Cedric Alexander celebrated in the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good match. These two have tremendous chemistry and the athletic ability to do almost anything in the ring. Like the Ali vs Murphy story, more is in-store for these guys and with added stakes, the feud could be a pillar program for the 205 Live brand in 2019.
-From there, a selfie promo aired from Mustafa Ali. In it, Ali said that on Sunday, Buddy Murphy would have to go to hell to beat him. Ali said the championship meant more to him than anything and that in the end, their different strengths in the ring would determine who walks out with the belt. Ali finished by saying that on Sunday, Murphy would learn that even a juggernaut can’t stop the unstoppable.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Right in line with who Mustafa Ali is as a character and a perfect way to drive interest in the match as a babyface. This is can’t miss at Survivor Series, folks.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 11/7 WWE 205 Live Report: Murphy vs. Andrews, Lio Rush confronts Cedric Alexander, and more