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    Thursday, May 11, 2017

    Live From The 205 (5/9/17): Runnin' Plays

    I don't understand what it is about this show lately, or whether it's simply this episode, or the fact that they're at the tail end of a European tour, but 205 Live seems to be in a holding pattern.

    Where the Cruiserweight Championship picture had differentiated itself by adding TJ Perkins and Jack Gallagher as supporting characters to champion Neville and Austin Aries respectively, everything else in the division is stuck where they are.

    People are putting out good matches, but this week's episode did absolutely nothing to propel the story forward, close to any form of conclusion whatsoever. The first match on the show, Mustafa Ali vs. Tony Nese, was one hell of a match, but did nothing to move Ali and Drew Gulak's story forward—which is baffling, because Ali and Gulak already tangled in the ring last week. You'd expect the conservative senator to get himself involved in this match somehow, whether it was interference, guesting on commentary, or challenging Ali to one more match. Or even chiding Nese for doing his springboard moonsault. Anything. Nothing happened; we just got a good match that people won't really remember in a couple of weeks.

    As for the main event, in theory I'm glad Akira Tozawa and Brian Kendrick got the main event spot, which is certainly better than Noam Dar and Rich Swann storywise, but it's truthfully the same old reliable Tozawa/Kendrick singles match we've been getting over the past couple of months. Nothing's really changing—they're locked in perpetual combat with each other, and while the post-match Kendrick beatdown signifies that they might finally be moving to the climax of their feud, I wish we got a little more pretext for having Tozawa/Kendrick III or IV tonight. The show didn't throw back to the ambushed interview Kendrick had last week, and the commentators only had to make do with referencing it during the match. All it would have taken was a two-minute video package.

    I'm not going to blame the show as a whole for not making the effort to do the little things, because some weeks they do actually do these things, and even in this episode they gave some airtime to a couple of important things (more on that later). But given two feuds that feel like they've been going on forever, especially Tozawa and Kendrick, you'd think that something would be done to spice these stories up.

    A bigger problem, though, is how storylines are taking forever in the cruiserweight division. Aries/Neville has already run its course, and the TJP/Gallagher side-feud is also in danger of getting stale after so many matches together. But they've still got the power of the permutations between the four of them. Meanwhile, Ali, Nese, Gulak, Kendrick, and Tozawa have fought together and each other, and it's time to start shaking the status quo up again. 

    This is really where an actual ranking system would do well, because it would allow the roster to interact with each other in different matchups every week, for real stakes. So they can also start priming the people next in line for a title shot, and cause drama in that end, too. 

    But you know I've been saying this over and over. The problem is that they've proven they can put out good episodes every now and then; but if they really want to save this show from its dismal numbers, they're going to want to be consistent every week.

    Short stops

    • I'm cool with Neville, TJP, Aries, and Gallagher's toast segment. It makes Jacky Boy look like he's still a big deal despite being used as a jobber to Neville and TJP.

    • Looks like the Ariya Daivari experiment is still not over. That's fine, as long as he gets more screen time.

    • Please let the Dar/Swann feud be finally over. Please. I want that backstage segment to be the last laugh in this feud, because both men, especially Swann, need to move on to bigger things. Or other things, at least.


    The Cruiserweight Division Power Rankings (as of 5/11/17)

    This week is interesting—neither Neville nor Aries competed on TV, which is strange considering they're in the UK. One would think that this would be a huge consideration, so the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme (tm) adjusts accordingly.

    • 1. Austin Aries, #2 last week — Without any matches and dominant wins to go on, Aries looks really good coming out of this week, managing to get the upper hand in segments on both RAW and 205 Live. We don't know when Aries and Neville are going to meet again for one last title shot, but it should be the final battle where A-Double finally wins it.

    • 2. Neville, #1 last week — See Austin Aries.

    • 3. TJP, #4 last week — TJP moves up one spot for continuing his dominance over Jack Gallagher.

    • 4. Akira Tozawa, #3 last week — Technically, Tozawa beat Kendrick in the main event of 205 Live this week, but TBK's post-match beatdown was so brutal, Tozawa had no choice to drop down one spot.

    • 5. Jack Gallagher, no movement — Gallagher retains his spot because he retains his heat in that toast segment.

    • 6. Mustafa Ali, #8 last week — Ali soars up two spots after a big win against Tony Nese, in which Drew Gulak did not get involved at all.

    • 7. The Brian Kendrick, #9 last week Loses, but totally leaves Tozawa dazed (and possibly kayfabe concussed) at ringside for his final lesson.

    • 8. Drew Gulak, #6 last week — Does nothing of importance. Doesn't advance his advocacy whatsoever; I was so looking forward to it, as well.

    • 9. Noam Dar, #10 last week — Gets his girl back and beats Gran Metalik on Main Event. Good week for the Scottish Supernova.

    • 10. Rich Swann, #7 last week — Watches idly by as Noam Dar has Alicia FOOOOX on his arm, and his hard work goes to waste.

    • 11. Tony Nese, no movement Puts over Mustafa Ali big time. They just love using the poor guy to get a good match; hope his string of losses turn into something, as his partner Gulak has his own storyline.

      • 12. Gran Metalik, no movement — This is a Cruiserweight Classic finalist, guys. Is it because he's Mexican?

      • 13. Ariya Daivari, #14 last week — Daivari gets airtime, so...

      • 14. Cedric Alexander, #15 last week — Our boy Cedric moves up after getting a "returning soon" video package! Can't wait!

      • 15. Lince Dorado, #14 last week — His loss to TJP last week apparently put him in time-out. God dammit.

      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 (5/9/17): Runnin' Plays Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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