They show a replay of Hideo Itami interfering in the Buddy Murphy vs. Mustafa Ali main event from last week, and Drake Maverick annoucnes that Itami will not be allowed to compete on tonight’s show. A week removed from Itami’s interference last week, I’ve really come to appreciate what 205 Live has morphed into now. I’ve always enjoyed this show from the very beginning and have never missed an episode, but I can see where it turned people away during the time period when you have the Cedric Alexander-Noam Dar-Alicia Fawwwwwwwwwwwx love triangle, weekly PowerPoint presentations, and a champion whose best in-ring skill was berating the rest of the cruiserweight division. Then it was reported that Vince handed over control of the show to HHH once Enzo was fired and the championship was vacated, and it’s been on a steady upswing since. Now you still have characters, which is vitally important to any wrestling show, but the focus is on what makes the division unique, which is the in-ring product, something that had obviously taken a back seat to cartoonish segments and promos, thus making people say, “How is this different from Raw or SmackDown? Purple ropes?” Now, they are keeping attention on cruiserweights’ wrestling skills while still promoting character development. Itami came into the division as a tag team partner of Akira Tozawa, already a fan favorite. They got a few wins, then started a slide, and Itami grew more and more frustrated each week until turning on Tozawa, and turning heel. He defeated Tozawa in a terrific match, and after getting over as a heel in that feud, he takes then next step up and thrusts himself into the main event picture. He’s settled into an identity in the division, an extremely talented but insecure competitor who feels he gets no respect and will do whatever he has to to get it. I look forward to where the story and the division go from here, because it seems they’ve certainly found a formula for success.
SIX-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH: LUCHA HOUSE PARTY VS. DREW GULAK, THE BRIAN KENDRICK, & JACK GALLAGHER
The luchadors have such a frustrating offense, especially for guys with the temperament of Gulak, Kendrick, and Gallagher. They can frustrate the heels into being too aggressive and making mistakes, leading to more quick strikes from the luchadors. It also means stronger and more aggressive attacks by the heel team once they can their opponents, which inevitably happens. All three of the heels in this match are experts in submission and painful-looking body manipulation, which has a lasting effect on a team whose styles is based on speed and precision strikes. The tried-and-true heel technique of distracting the referee so he does not see the faces make a tag is highly effective, and I realized it’s something we don’t see used as much as we once did. Kalisto gets beaten down for what seems like close to five or six minutes and does some great selling before finally hitting a DDT on Kendrick and making a hot tag to Gran Metalik, who hits some awesome high-flying shit on Gallagher. Nigel McGuinness points out that when Gulak broke up a pin attempt, he pulled Gallagher near their corner so he could tag in. Things like that are what make Gulak such a great wrestler and improve the psychology of the match. After some awesome double teams moves, Lince Dorado reverses a Captain’s Hook into a dirty pin on Kendrick to give Lucha House Party an impressive win.
Match Rating: Eight Gold Medals
AKIRA TOZAWA VS. STEVE IRBY
Tozawa just came out on the losing end of his feud with Itami so it makes sense to get him back on track with a match against a jobber. Irby shows some “educated feet” as JR would say and makes sure this isn’t a total squash. Tozawa wins this kicking contest and hits his senton splash for the win. This one was more about getting Tozawa a convincing win than overall match quality, but the quality was still pretty good. I think Tozawa would be a good feud for Lio Rush when he debuts.
Match Rating: Six Gold Medals
MUSTAFA ALI VS. TONY NESE W/BUDDY MURPHY
Tony Nese brings Buddy Murphy out to be in his corner, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Cedric Alexander comes out to back up Mustafa Ali. Right on cue. I could write this shit. Tony Nese is STRONG, and Mustafa Ali is FAST. Great matchup. And Nese isn’t slow in there, he’s a damn dangerous competitor. With some more character development He could definitely be a champion. I think he should be a face champion if he gets to that point, and as a heel he is perfect where he is, just below main event level, the Jake Roberts, or, more accurately, Mr. Perfect, who the face battles with on his way to the main event. This one becomes a cluster fuck as both Murphy and Alexander get involved. After they beat each other up the ramp, Murphy hits an incredible one-handed buckle bomb. Awesome. Ali recovers to hit his tornado DDT and the still-amazing 054 for the win. I could watch Nese wrestle anybody, and I could watch Ali wrestle anybody. Them wrestling each other, I’m all for it anytime. Terrific match.
Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals
After the match, Ali asked for exactly the match I hoped would happen when he requested a triple threat match between himself, Buddy Murphy, and Hideo Itami, and Drew Maverick makes it happen. Excuse me while I tend to my raging boner.
Overall Show Rating: Eight Gold Medals