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    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    Live From The 205 (4/25/17): Live Character Progression!

    Wanna see something beautiful? Go watch Mustafa Ali vs. Tony Nese from this week's episode of 205 Live.

    The match is a continuation of the storyline between Ali and conservative senator Drew Gulak, who's trying to ban Ali (and only seemingly Ali's) from doing his awesome high-flying moves. Drew's a little suspect in not protesting the rest of the other high-flyers, like Rich Swann and Neville, but bear with me here. Color commentator Corey Graves, a guy who usually roots for the heels, doesn't agree with Gulak's position. To be honest, he doesn't have to, but he's kind of traditionally obligated to being a color commentator.

    Graves asks Gulak why he wants to make 205 Live a no-fly zone, and Gulak, a deceptively decent talker, explains that he just wants to minimize risk in order to protect the individual futures of the cruiserweights. That actually makes sense from a normal, rational person's standpoint, but the beautiful part is that he gets Graves to see where he's coming from, acknowledging it in an exchange that's clear enough for you to see where he starts believing. In turn, Corey becomes even more of a heel because he buys into Gulak's sanctimonious preaching.

    It's not all perfect, but between this week's episode and last week's major Rich Swann reveal, 205 Live's become an oft-overlooked haven of decent action and some smarter-than-average storytelling, despite a lack of star power. These guys are a part of RAW which has some pretty shitty storytelling, but on their own show, given their own time, they're able to thrive and flourish in stories that are distinctly their own, and solid in their own little ways. It's unusual, but it's the good kind of unusual.

    There are rumors that 205 Live is in danger because of its poor Network performance, so I urge all of you to watch it, and if you have friends who are looking for good wrestling, tell them about this, too. WWE also has to handle the show better; it doesn't have to be the same level of special as the Cruiserweight Classic (because if it does, the tournament loses its luster), but it does have to start getting taped before SmackDown goes live or something. Anything that could help out its crowd reactions, which have always been lackluster since the beginning due to its unfortunate slot after the blue show.

    Short stops

    • Anyone catch the fact that Tony Nese has been messed with for two weeks in a row? Last week, Kendrick cost Nese a match, while this week, Nese won via DQ thanks to Gulak's interference. I'm starting to not put anything above the 205 Live team's capabilities; I have a feeling this is going to be headed somewhere. 

    • Wonderful straight up tag match between Akira Tozawa, Rich Swann, Brian Kendrick, and Noam Dar. It's one of those rare instances where the stories badly needed to take a backseat to some good action. Both stories are about to run their course, especially Tozawa and Kendrick's, but it was still great to get a Tozawa lesson at the end. It just has to come to a head no later than next week, if this wasn't their way of blowing off both feuds with one match.

    • Nothing wrong with Jack Gallagher and Neville going at it in a good main event, but is it just me, or is the light in Jacky Boy's eyes almost gone? He seems like he's extremely sad to be put in a role where he's making other talents look good, and still being reduced to a weird fop with an umbrella. To his credit, though, he's still working his ass off, proving that he's not more than just BBC Santino. His United Kingdom Championship match against Tyler Bate tomorrow should be one to watch.

    • I have no idea why they refuse to use Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik on this show. Despite the decent stories being told, 205 Live is in danger yet again of rotating the same 10 guys in different positions on the card, and something's got to change soon. They signed all these guys, so they better use them all. And who doesn't appreciate luchadors?

    • What are the odds that Kalisto's dumpster dive was their way of writing him off the main roster and getting him to the cruiserweight division?

    The Cruiserweight Division Power Rankings (as of 4/26/17)

    The power rankings and the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme (tm) says goodbye to Tajiri, who requested his release last week. It was a shame, as he was a welcome veteran presence on the show. Anyway, let's see if there were any major movements that moved the needle:

    • 1. Neville (champion), no movement — Neville barely holds on to his #1 spot after handily defeating Jack Gallagher in the main event; he and Perkins lost on RAW to make Austin Aries look as strong as possible heading into Payback. Expect a big upset at the PPV, though.

    • 2. Austin Aries, no movement — A-Double makes a huge statement this week, taking no Ls heading into the PPV. For once, a challenger looks strong; while booking logic traditionally dictates that a strong challenger going into a title match is about to lose, I have a feeling that Payback is going to be Austin Aries's night, if only because his chase has been going on for far too long, and Neville has beaten everyone he could beat. (Even his own lackey TJ Perkins.)

    • 3. Akira Tozawa, #4 last week — Tozawa moves up just for another impressive win against Brian Kendrick, alongside Rich Swann.

    • 4. TJ Perkins, #3 last week — TJ's post-turn sheen is starting to wear off sooner than expected, but possibly only because Aries is still the main focus of the division. Once A-Double wins, though, expect TJ to pick the heat back up as the heels start chasing the babyface.

    • 5. Rich Swann, #6 last week — Rich Swann continues climbing back up the chart after scoring a win against Noam Dar, in what I hope is the last we'll ever see of their feud. The payoff's already been reached, so I don't know where else they could go from here.

    • 6. Mustafa Ali, #5 last week — Two losses in a row thanks to Drew Gulak's interference. Only dropping because other people are winning; being pulled back so he can be shot forward like an arrow pretty soon. (Can't wait for Ali/Gulak.)

    • 7. Jack Gallagher, #10 last week Moves up three big spots in the power rankings after teaming with Aries to beat Neville and TJ Perkins on RAW, and will be competing in a UK title match this week. (Not that it's relevant to this particular division.)

    • 8. The Brian Kendrick, #7 last week — Suffers another setback to Akira Tozawa. Wonder if he'll even be winning this feud, and what happens to him after he loses.

    • 9. Drew Gulak, #8 last week — Managed to get one over his archnemesis Mustafa Ali and advance his no-fly crusade, even managing to convert a new follower, but ironically loses to high-flyers Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik on Main Event.

    • 10. Tony Nese, #9 last week — See Drew Gulak. May be in line for a face turn soon, however. We'll see.

    • 11. Gran Metalik, #13 last week Moves back up after defeating Drew Gulak and Tony Nese on Main Event.

      • 12. Lince Dorado, #14 last week — See Gran Metalik (for the second straight week).

      • 13. Noam Dar, #11 last week — Continues to be a loser; was nothing but the guy who ate the pin in the tag match. How the mighty have fallen.

      • 14. Ariya Daivari, #12 last week — Did not show up at all this week, after getting a gimmick change.

      • 15. Cedric Alexander, no movement — Still injured. No one's getting called up so far.

      Photo from WWE


      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 (4/25/17): Live Character Progression! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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