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    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Live From The 205 (2/22/17): Two's Company

    For some reason, the best things about 205 Live weren't really on 205 Live this week.

    We don't know where they are, but guys like Neville, TJ Perkins, Cedric Alexander, and Rich Swann were missing from the premiere Cruiserweight show. And when the B-team is left to fend for themselves, it's immediately noticeable. I mean, yes, Jack Gallagher, Tony Nese, Akira Tozawa, and Brian Kendrick are there to hold down the fort this week, but when they are the only ones left to do that, you kind of see how shallow the roster can get without the top.

    When it's not putting on blockbuster main events like the Fatal Five-Way from a couple of weeks ago, 205 Live is inexplicably too reliant on singles matches all throughout the card. Tozawa/Kendrick and Gallagher/Nese were as good as expected, and Mustafa Ali vs. Noam Dar is solid because they're solid, but why can't we have more tag matches main-eventing the show? Why's it always gotta be a big singles match? 

    Granted, there's never anything wrong with a hot one-on-one bout topping off the card, but booking the card this way sets a bland monotone for the whole show and doesn't maximize the overstocked-on-paper cruiserweight roster. These guys only get two or three segments every Monday on RAW, so if they can't get a simple look on a one-hour show, then you're just wasting them on the sidelines, aren't you? Showcase singles matches are always good in theory, but if we're building a brand and all the personalities associated with it here, then you're going to want to make the most use out of that airtime. Even small segments help.

    Neville didn't even appear once on this show, not even in a pre-taped backstage segment that could've boosted his omnipresence as champion. Only Brian Kendrick was the former Cruiserweight Champion in attendance, and without some sort of promotion for the other guys hovering around the title scene, the championship picture quickly looks like a revolving door of names.

    It's a shame, because I swear this show was turning over a new leaf. And while it's gotten rid of some of the silly angles (there's slightly less emphasis on ALICIA FOOOOX and whatever love triangles she and Noam Dar are in) it feels like Vince and co. are content to leave this show on cruise control, getting by on the high-caliber performances his guys are turning in. But that shouldn't be the case; this is a two-way street, guys. Good wrestling absolves a multitude of sins, but they've also got to set up an infrastructure that amplifies the great work in the ring.

    Next week is the go-home show for Fastlane, and they better think of something big. I don't even care if the rest of the roster is doing another multi-man tag for the kickoff, but spin some new plot threads and advance your existing ones already, jeez.

    Short stops

    • It's weird that a Neville highlight has to come from RAW instead of 205 Live, but I would absolutely love it if Neville started being the smartass who makes objective reviews of everyone's characters. He's right: Jack Gallagher is a caricature of what an Englishman should be, and Gallagher actually looks pretty silly for insisting on his portrayal, even though that's what he's been like ever since we first saw him in the Cruiserweight Classic. Next he should mock TJP for being a totally lost babyface who doesn't know what he is.

    • It really is a shame that they couldn't even find time to put guys in backstage segments or short pretaped interviews. There's a true wealth of talent sitting on the sidelines, and they can't get any minutes because the showrunners are too old and one track-minded.

    • Tozawa/Kendrick is the underrated midcard feud that's really low-key good. It's simple, and Kendrick is the guy making it simple and strong. Kendrick wanted to help Tozawa, and the Stamina Monster knows better and understands that TBK is a shady motherfucker. I feel like Kendrick excels best in small stories like these, pieces of character work that don't need something as big as a championship. Tozawa, for his part, is going places mainly for being a Japanese guy who could actually articulate emotions in English, even if he isn't fluent. I want them to blow this off in a big 205 Live main event like Gallagher and Daivari did.



    • I hope to God they aren't planning on inserting Rich Swann in whatever Noam Dar and Alicia Fox have going on.


    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul.
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    Item Reviewed: Live From The 205 (2/22/17): Two's Company Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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