SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
NOVEMBER 21, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
LOS ANGELES, CA
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson
-The show began with a recap video package that highlighted the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy at Survivor Series.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Tremendous video. It pulled on the Ali heartstrings, but made Murphy look like an unstoppable champion. Good stuff.
-After the video, the show open ran and the announce team welcomed the audience to the program. As they did, Buddy Murphy’s music hit and the cruiserweight champion walked out to the ramp. Murphy got a relatively small reaction, but then addressed the crowd. He welcomed everyone to “his” 205 Live. From there, he asked the audience if they really thought Mustafa Ali would beat him at Survivor Series. The audience responded by saying “yes” to which Murphy said that their opinion meant nothing to him. The audience booed and he then said at Survivor Series he proved to Ali that you can’t stop the unstoppable.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Short and to the point. Murphy is a tremendous worker and has the ability to carry the 205 Live brand as a top heel. He needs more depth with his promos though in order to be that guy. This wasn’t bad by means. it just lacked that depth. Sidebar – Murphy was sporting a brand new shirt. Not saying I’d buy it, but it’s better than other 205 Live products they’ve created.
When Murphy finished speaking, Tony Nese’s music hit. Nese got a small reaction and fist bumped Murphy before both men walked down to the ring. As they did, the announce team addressed the friendship of Murphy and Nese. They then debated whether or not Murphy won respect with his victory over Mustafa Ali. Once Nese got to the ring, Noam Dar walked out and walked to the ring to a very quiet response.
(1) NOAM DAR vs. TONY NESE
As he made his entrance, a selfie video aired in which Dar said that he’s ready to make an impact in the cruiserweight division. He said that when Drake Maverick offered him the match with Nese he thought about eight reasons he’d like to kick Nese’s head off.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A play off of Nese counting his eight abs during his entrance. Consistent? Yes. Lame? Also, yes.
Once Dar got to the ring, the bell rang and the match began. To start, both men tied up in the middle of the ring. Nese quickly pushed Dar off and then flexed to taunt him as the audience booed quietly. Nese then posed to the crowd and the boos reigned in a little louder. From there, they tied up again and Nese crushed Dar with a shoulder tackle. Again, Nese taunted Dar. This time though, Dar countered the taunt into a submission maneuver. He then hit the ropes and nailed his own shoulder tackle before attempting a backslide pin. He locked the pin in, but only got a two count. After the pin attempt, Dar tripped up Nese on the outside and then dropkicked him to the mat. Dar then followed him to the outside of the ring to capitalize, but ended up going face to face with Murphy instead. This distraction allowed for Nese to gain the upperhand again with a rib breaker.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Nese is an incredibly solid in-ring worker for the 205 Live brand. He needs to shore up some sort of gimmick though. The fact that he’s athletic has run its course and because that is all he brings to the table, his matches are formulaic and predictable.
Out of the move, Nese rolled Dar back into the ring and crushed him with a running forearm. Nese then attempted a pin, but Dar kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Nese locked in a leg scissor submission. From there, Dar worked to escape as the audience cheered him on. Nese halted that momentum though with a knee to the midsection. Nese then attempted a second flying forearm, but Dar countered by sliding out of the way. Dar took over the momentum at this pint and nailed Nese with a striking combination before connecting with a northern lights suplex. After, Dar went for the pin, but Nese kicked out at two. After the pin attempt, the audience clapped for Dar and both him and Nese exchanged striking combinations. Dar parlayed that into a chin lock, but Nese battled out of it by elbowing Dar in the face. From there, Nese attempted a springboard splash, but Dar countered into his Guillotine Choke. After holding the move for a few seconds, Nese countered out of it with his own northern lights suplex.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Impressive counter. Very cruiserweight-esque.
In the end, Dar attempted his finishing maneuver, but got tripped up illegally by Buddy Murphy. Dar worked to get a shot in Murphy, but Nese attacked him from behind. Nese connected with a German suplex into the turnbuckle and followed that with the Running Nese for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Nese via pinfall
-After the match, Nese and Murphy celebrated in the ring and attacked Dar before kicking him out of the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Your standard Tony Nese match. I can’t believe that is a thing these days, but that’s what this was. It was smooth, crisp, and well wrestled, but lacked uniqueness. In the end, Murphy and Nese got their heat, but they could’ve gotten that without this match. A means to and end, but that’s about it.
-The broadcast cut to a Mustafa Ali promo. In it, Ali was sitting on a bench backstage and said that he was hurt. He said it wasn’t just physical pain, but mental pain as well. He said he didn’t want forget the pain, but embrace it. In doing so, he said he would use the pain to rise back up. From there, Ali thanked Murphy for that pain. He said that because of it he would work harder and turn the pain into power so that he could become the cruiserweight champion.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Eventually, they fans need to get paid off for the time and passion they’ve put into Mustafa Ali. If there is a “fan choice” on this brand. He’s it. WWE can only tease so much with this one.
-After the promo, Drake Maverick was shown talking to a referee backstage. He warned the referee that there could be interference on behalf of Mike Kanellis because of Maria’s comments last week. In the warning, Maverick said he wanted the referee to be aware because he didn’t want his main event tampered with. As the referee walked out, Cedric Alexander walked in. Maverick congratulated Alexander on defeating Lio Rush last week and then said there was a match that he wanted to see Cedric in. Alexander asked what it was and Maverick responded by saying that next week, Alexander would team with Mustafa Ali to take on Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese in the 205 Live main event. Alexander looked thrilled and walked out of the shot.
Heydorn’s Analysis: From an in-ring perspective, this should be can’t miss 205 Live viewing. Both Alexander and Ali have a story with their opponents so it makes sense from that perspective as well. Ali and Alexander is an interesting pairing. They’ve teased dissension here and there, but never started anything serious. Could this be an avenue for Alexander to turn? Ali? Time will tell.
-A commercial aired for NXT television.
(2) AKIRA TOZAWA & THE BRIAN KENDRICK vs. LOCAL WORKERS
Out of the break, Akira Tozawa hit the ring to a small reaction. He pined for a war chant as his partner, The Brian Kendrick, made his entrance. Together, both men walked to the ring. As they walked down the ramp, Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher were interviewed backstage. They belittled Tozawa and Kendrick and said that their team wasn’t a true team. Gulak called him and Gallagher the submission commission and said that if the team of Tozawa and Kendrick stepped to them again, they would tap out.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Gulak deserves better than this. Toiling around in a mid card feud that’s rooted in who is truly a team and who isn’t is far beneath his ceiling given the fact that he brings character and ring work to the brand.
After the interview, the bell rang, and the match began. Kendrick handled things from the beginning and owned the match with a few headlock takeovers. From there, Tozawa entered the ring and hit his running senton bomb.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The commentary did a nice job of handling the storytelling of this feud. They framed the tag team argument that Gulak made in a way that seemed more malicious and seriousness. I’m still not a huge fan of the story, but at least this addressed a major concern of it seeming too juvenile.
In the end, the jobber team got a bit of offense in, but the match ended after Kendrick hit Sliced Bread #2 and Tozawa followed with his top rope Senton Bomb for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Tozawa and Kendrick via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Total squash, but did the job in showing the fluidity of Tozawa and Kendrick as a team.
-After the match, Tozawa tried to get Kendrick to do the war chant and after being apprehensive about it he happily participate.
-Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese where shown walking backstage before they were interviewed. In the interview, Murphy was flabbergasted by the question and said he beat both Ali and Alexander individually and that he’d do so again with Nese. Murphy then walked off before Nese told the interviewed that she was “better than that.”
Heydorn’s Analysis: I suppose it was heelish for Murphy to get upset by the question, but his anger seemed disproportionate to what he was asked. Nese’s comment was silly, but fit his sidekick persona well. Not a compliment, but just stating the facts.
-After the interview, the announce team plugged next week’s main event and the return of Hideo Itami before the show went to commercial break.
-A commercial aired for WWE Shop.
-Out of the commercial break, the Lucha House Party music hit and the announce team readied the audience for the main event.
(3) GRAN METALIK vs. TJP
Gran Metalik walked out to the ramp with Kalisto and Lince Dorado. The three men stood on the ramp and conducted the lucha chant before they walked down to the ring. As they did, the announce team cued up a recap video that highlighted the issues between the Lucha House Party and TJP. When the video finished, Mike and Maria Kanellis’s music hit. Maria stood on the stage and smiled before welcoming her husband and TJP. Both men had lucha masks on to taunt their opponent.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Pretty decent touch there. WWE has sold the disrespect of the lucha culture by disrespecting lucha masks. This doubles down on that and pushes that disrespect forward in a meaningful way. Well done.
As the taunting continued, the lucha house party climbed out of the ring to confront Kanellis and TJP on the ramp. As this situation grew tense, it was broken up by a slew of referees and Drake Maverick. Maverick forced all parties not directly involved with the match to leave the ringside area. When it was cleared, the bell rang and the match began.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I really like that the Lucha House Party didn’t just stand in the ring as they were disrespected ala a babyface from Monday Night Raw. They took that disrespect and then acted on it in a babyface way. Really well done.
Out of the gate, Metalik hit a dropkick on TJP that knocked him out of the ring. From there, Metalik connected with an over the top rope flipping suicide dive on him. Metalik then rolled TJP back into the ring and connected with a springboard splash. After that combination of moves, TJP worked to walk away, but was caught by Metalik. From there, Metalik rolled TJP back into the ring again and connected with a reverse Sling Blade. Out of that move, Metalik attempted a second springboard move, but it was countered into a submission by TJP. TJP took over momentum from there and connected with an over the the top rope slingshot before rolling Metalik back into the ring.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Very quick paced to start. Cruiserweight in nature and exactly what it should be.
Once TJP got Metalik back into the ring, TJP went for a pin, but Metalik kicked out at two. Out of the pin, he tried to remove Metalik’s mask which got good heat from the crowd. From there, TJP locked in a headlock as the audience clapped for Metalik to make his escape. Eventually, he did just that and did so with an spring board arm drag. That momentum didn’t last long as TJP got it back with a gut buster that he followed with a two count pin attempt. Out of the pin, TJP lifted Metalik to his feet and took him down with a double toe hold. He transitioned that move into a bridged chin lock, but Metalik broke the hold after punching TJP in the face. TJP was able to keep the lower body submission intact, but it was fully broken once Metalik grabbed the ropes. Out of the hold, TJP connected with a hurricanrana before climbing to the top rope. As he sat on the top rope, Metalik connected with a step up kick and followed that with a top rope dropkick before making a two count pin attempt. In the end, Metalik attempted a beautiful top rope moonsault, but it was countered by TJP. TJP then power bombed Metalik to the mat and followed with a pin attempt, but Metalik kicked out at the last second. From there, Metalik connected with a high risk over the top rope hurricanrana that sent both men to the floor. Metalik got to his feet first and rolled TJP back into the ring. He then connected with his Metalik Driver before attempting his springboard elbow drop. TJP countered that into the arm bar submission that he transitioned into the Knee Bar. As Metalik was about to tap out, he made it to the ropes to force a break. At that point, TJP attempted to use a Lucha House Party pinata on Metalik, but Metalik countered it and rolled up TJP for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Metalik via pinfall
-After the match, the rest of the Lucha House Party joined Gran Metalik in the ring to celebrate. As they did, Maria Kanellis walked out onto the ramp crying to Drake Maverick and accused him of ruining her life. As that happened, Mike Kanellis attacked the Lucha House Party from behind with a steel chair. Maria then smiled and dropped her crying before she joined him in the ring. From there, Kanellis continued to beat on Kalisto and Lince Dorado as TJP locked in the Knee Bar again on Metalik. Eventually, Maverick got control and removed Kanellis and TJP from the ring as the show faded to black.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Decent match, but the show closing angle is where the news is. The steel chair attack really added steam to the feud and gave it a more serious undertone. Mike Kanellis and TJP were believable in delivering the beating and the Lucha House Party sold it well. Lastly, Maverick’s panicked expressions helped the seriousness of the angle and further positioned him as the man running the show. Really good stuff all around.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 11/14 WWE 205 Live Report: Final build to Ali vs. Murphy at Survivor Series, Alexander vs. Rush, and more