SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
DECEMBER 12, 2018 ON WWE NETWORK
LAS VEGAS, NV
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson
-The show started with the standard 205 Live opening hype video that featured Drake Maverick. In it, Maverick hyped the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match at TLC between Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander. He then announced that Murphy and Alexander would both be in action tonight. Murphy against Gran Metalik instead of the announced Noam Dar. Alexander against one of his longtime rivals, Tony Nese.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Interesting that they removed Noam Dar from the Murphy match tonight. Metalik is a suitable replacement, but the question lies in the severity of the injury to Dar. Or if its actually real. Something to watch moving forward.
-From there, the show open ran and the announce team welcomed the audience to the program. As they did, the WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Buddy Murphy, walked out of the opening contest. As he did, the announce team highlighted that he took his first loss since becoming champion a few weeks a go and questioned whether he could leave that loss behind him and get the win tonight. Then, the announce team hyped the cruiserweight championship at TLC that obviously features Murphy.
(1) BUDDY MURPHY vs. GRAN METALIK
Metalik walked out next with the rest of the Lucha House Party, but walked to the ring without them. He got a nice reaction of Lucha Chants, but otherwise, both men got a small response from the crowd. Once Metalik got to the ring, the bell rang and the match began. Out of the gate, both Murphy and Metalik pushed each other until Murphy took hold of Metalik’s arm. He crushed it with stomps and punches which allowed him to ground the high flying Metalik. From there, Metalik attempted to break and reverse the hold and once he did, both men exchanged pin attempts before staring each other down in the middle of the ring. As that happened, Metalik got another lucha chant going. Metalik then started his offense and nailed Murphy with a hurricanrana and a flying over the top rope suicide dive. From there, both men brawled on the outside of the ring until Metalik hit Murphy with a hurricanrana off of the ring guardrail. Metalik then rolled Murphy back in and covered, but Murphy kicked out at two.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Lots of offense from Metalik. Not that he doesn’t look good, he does. Thought Murphy would look stronger here though heading into TLC.
Out of the pin, Murphy took over. He smashed Metalik’s face into the ring post and then countered a top rope Metalik move by catching him in mid air and nailing him with a vertical suplex. After, Murphy made the cover, but Metalik kicked out at two. Out of the cover, Murphy viciously tossed Metalik to the outside of the ring and forced the referee to start counting Metalik out. At the count of eight he got back into the ring, but was met with strikes from Murphy.
Heydorn’s Analysis: That sequence is a perfect example of what makes Murphy a reliable lead heel. His aggression inside of his offense makes it easy for the audience to feel sympathetic toward the babyface and they cheer. It’s happening here and Gran Metalik isn’t the most over babyface in the world. Good stuff.
From there, Murphy grounded Metalik with another submission and tried to cover, but Metalik kicked out at two. He then locked in a rear chin lock to keep Metalik on the ground.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Smart psychology to ground the high flyer and well done on the part of the announce team to convey that story.
Eventually, Metalik broke the hold and attempted offense, but again, it was countered by Metalik. Finally Metalik did connect with a kick to Murphy. Out of that, he hit a springboard splash and transitioned into a cover, but Murphy kicked out at two. After, Metalik hit more high impact moves including a top rope dropkick. Again, he covered, but Murphy kicked out at two. After the pin, Metalik attempted the Metalik Driver twice, but Murphy countered into his jumping knee strike. From there, Murphy went for the knee again, but Metalik countered it into a successful Metalik Driver. Metalik then attempted a pin, but Murphy kicked out.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Fun spot with the mental roller coaster of will he or won’t he with the Metalik Driver.
In the end, Buddy Murphy countered a Metalik moonsault from the top rope and followed it with a Murphy Bomb. Out of that, he pinned Metalik, but only for a count of two. Murphy then attempted Murphy’s Law, but Metalik countered into a roll-up. Metalik then hit the ropes for a move, but Murphy countered into a successful Murphy’s Law for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Murphy via pinfall
Heydorn’s Analysis: Really good match. Effective and almost too effective in presenting Gran Metalik as a viable challenger. Maybe too much offense on his part, but in the end, Murphy looked dominant and that’s what counts.
-After the match, Murphy celebrated in the ring and the announce team hyped his TLC match once again. From there, the announcers recapped the events of last week between The Brian Kendrick and Drew Gulak. Out of the video, Tozawa and Kendrick were shown backstage talking with Drake Maverick. Maverick told them that their tag team match against Gulak and Gallagher next week would be contested under street fight rules. Maverick said he wanted to gauge their reaction to that note due to the fact that Kendrick and Tozawa faced each other in a street fight last year. Kendrick said he had no problem with it and that he was a different man back then. He said then, he was doing whatever he could to hold on to his dreams. Kendrick proceeded to “thank” Drew Gulak for beating some sense into him and that he was a changed man. Tozawa agreed that he was a changed man, but said he looked the same. He then told Kendrick to follow him as he had an idea. Tozawa then walked back into the shot and told Maverick he was fired because he lost AOP’s tag titles on Raw. He then left the shot as Maverick told him he couldn’t be fired because he’s the GM.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Please WWE. Nothing silly here with Kendrick’s inevitable new look. Deal? Deal. As for Maverick, this was a bad showing for him and a good example of how bad booking on Raw will have negative residual effects here on 205 Live. To this point, Maverick has conveyed himself as the true leader of the 205 Live brand. He’s done a tremendous job in establishing credibility within the role. Tozawa taking a shot at Maverick weakens that credibility.
-When that segment ended, a selfie video aired from Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher. They said that the street fight rules would be a perfect way for them to end The Brian Kendrick. They said they will take things as far as they want and it would all be legal. The promo ended with Drew Gulak telling Kendrick that he would tap out.
-The announce team hyped Lio Rush for next week on 205 Live.
-A commercial aired for NXT TV and TLC 2018 on the WWE Network.
-Out of the commercial break, the announce team highlighted Ariya Daivari’s return to 205 Live last week. Daivari was then interviewed backstage. In it, he said that wrestling used to be simple and that all wrestlers care about now is getting likes on Twitter. He said while he was injured he saw a lot of flash and no fight on 205 Live and he was back to change that. From there, Hideo Itami walked into the shot and looked Daivari up and down. He told Daivari good job in his match last week and shook his hand. Daivari responded and said that Itami was one of the last true men on the brand. Daivari then walked off.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Mid card level stuff, but good mid card level stuff. Nothing special, but it worked.
(2) TONY NESE vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
After the interview with Daivari, Tony Nese made his entrance to a small reaction and counted his abs as he walked to the ring. Once Nese got to the ring, Alexander made his entrance to a nice reaction from the Las Vegas audience. As he walked down, the announcers hyped TLC again and called his rematch a major obstacle. As soon as Alexander got to the ring, the bell rang, and the match began.
Heydorn’s Analysis: A notable pop there for Cedric Alexander. Shows that his redemption story is resonating with fans a bit. Glad to see that.
To start things off, Alexander got the audience clapping and then tied up with Nese in the middle of the ring. Eventually, the tie up broke and both men stared each other down. Alexander posed which got some cheers and chants from the crowd. On the flip side, when Nese posed, the audience booed. As they action happened in the ring, the announce team discussed Alexander’s journey to his title rematch.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Wow. Great commentary on the Alexander redemption story there. The announcers fluidly walked the audience through Cedric’s journey and used that journey to frame how important his match on Sunday against Buddy Murphy is. Right there is the purpose of commentary folks. Well done.
Back in the ring, both men exchanged and countered each other’s moves at a furious pace until Alexander decked Nese with a pinpoint dropkick. After, Alexander went for the cover, but Nese kicked out at two. Out of the pin, Alexander chopped Nese in the corner and then flipped him over the top rope and onto the floor. From there, Alexander went for his over the top rope dive, but Nese moved out of the way. Cedric attempted a springboard clothesline instead, but Nese countered with a straight palm strike. Nese owned the match from this point on by striking and viciously whipping Alexander into the ring posts.
Heydorn’s Analysis: I need more intensity from Nese as he heels it up to shine the babyface. It looks as if he is remembering steps rather than fighting someone. This type of thing is why he hasn’t broken out of his current role as jobber to the stars on the show.
Eventually, Alexander stopped the furious offense and submissions from Nese and kicked him in the face. This created separation. From there, Alexander dove through the ropes and nailed Nese with a Flatliner. Alexander then built his own momentum and crushed Nese with his own strikes before drop kicking Nese in the knees. Next, Alexander finally connected with his springboard clothesline and made a cover, but Nese kicked out at two. In the end, Alexander attempted a Neuralizer, but it was countered by Nese.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Botch alert! It happens, but it affected the momentum of the match. Would have loved to have seen where that spot would have gone had Alexander caught Nese properly.
From there, Nese tossed Alexander to the outside of the ring and nailed him with a corkscrew over the top rope dive. After, Nese rolled Alexander back into the ring and climbed to the top rope. With Alexander prone on the mat, Nese attempted a 450 Splash, but Alexander countered and moved out of the way. Cedric then made the cover, but Nese kicked out at two. Finally, after Nese countered a Lumbar Check, Alexander hit it successfully and covered for the 1,2,3 win.
WINNER: Alexander via pinfall
-After the match, Buddy Murphy walked out with the championship and stared each other down. Alexander told Murphy to come to the ring and in response, Murphy ran down. From there, Murphy and Alexander brawled with each other. The brawl culminated with Alexander connecting with his flipping suicide dive and Murphy afraid to enter the ring after it. Alexander jawed at Murphy from inside the ring as the show faded to black.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Effective match, but a more effective post-match angle. Both Murphy and Alexander looked ready to fight, but left enough on the table to keep people wanting more on Sunday. From a story standpoint, Alexander came off looking like a confident challenger, with Murphy tucking his tale between his legs in the end. Simple, but it worked.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 12/5 WWE 205 Live Report: Gulak vs. Kendrick, Tornado Tag action, new number one contender announced, and more