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    Friday, June 30, 2017

    Live From The 205 (6/27/17): Where Did All The Cool Guys Go

    Hey, everyone. Good news and bad news.

    The good news is that the cruiserweight division is pretty deep that 205 Live is willing to commit to building up a lot of people right now, most probably after they realized that they can't always rely on an Austin Aries (and Neville) to hold down the show every week.

    The bad news is that the cruiserweight division is so deep, 205 Live can't always give airtime to everyone. Even worse news is that 205 Live can't seem to give consistent airtime to those who need it most.

    This week's episode, while valiant in its effort to get the rest of the cruiserweight midcard some more exposure, suffered from a disturbing lack of TJP, Rich Swann, Tony Nese, and Austin Aries. You theoretically can't go on without two of your most dynamic headliners doing something on the show, even if the focus of the title is now officially on Neville and Akira Tozawa. Nese can't afford what little momentum he has to be derailed, and Aries is always needed on the show, even in small doses.

    So yes, it's definitely great that we're seeing guys like the Brian Kendrick and Ariya Daivari back being utilized on the show, but that's not to mean that there shouldn't be a clear hierarchy of who deserves airtime. It's definitely going to mean that some wrestlers aren't going to be seen as much, but there's always a creative way to approach this problem; all they have to do is take cues from SmackDown Live. Mustafa Ali and Drew Gulak don't have to face each other every week. Not everyone has to have a match.

    It was a valiant effort, but you just can't shortchange the wrestlers fans are actually invested in.

    205 Live 6/27/17 Grade: A solid effort in bringing back quite a bit of missing people on the show, but sacrifices gravitas in cutting out people who do actually need to be seen on it. This week's episode gets a Brian Kendrick Title Run, or a B-.

    Short stops

    • All of the above said, I do like where this Jack Gallagher storyline is going. It's apparently not just a Nese story as they're exploring whether Jacky Boy can push the boundaries of being a Gentleman, and I always like character studies and morality tales. I just wished that they connected it to everything that happened in the last two weeks; Brian Kendrick suddenly appearing and being the devil on Jack's shoulder was totally random, and I would have appreciated some sort of conniving between him and Tony Nese. Also, another bit from Austin Aries reinforcing his offer for a "loose association," especially after Kendrick went for the DQ, would've helped. There's still time to correct this in succeeding episodes, but there had to have been some carryover from the plot threads already laid out. It just smacks of lazy writing.

    • Also, Kendrick's Jack Gallagher cosplay looks like the adult version of Ferguson from Clarissa Knows It All.

    • TJP has his own character study going on too, in the opposite direction. They couldn't give him some sort of backstage confrontation segment, possibly with Rich Swann?

    • Like I said earlier, Drew Gulak didn't need to face Mustafa Ali this week. I thoroughly enjoyed the new wrinkle added to their storyline, in that Gulak is actually afraid of doing high-flying moves, but he could've been facing Gran Metalik for that instead of running down yet another Gulak/Ali match. See, if you're going to be featuring underexposed wrestlers, this is the way to do it, not by...

    • ...giving too much to a throwaway Ariya Daivari/Cedric Alexander match. I'm enjoying Daivari's work more and more as he is improving, but the whole Cedric/Noam storyline is something I really don't want to see much of right now.

    • The confrontation between Neville and Tozawa was pretty effective. See, not everyone needs to be in a match, they just have to be there. I do want a little more exploration on the dynamics between Tozawa and Titus O'Neil, and how Tozawa ended up agreeing to be part of Titus Worldwide.

    The Cruiserweight Division Power Rankings (as of 6/30/17)

    A lot of second-string and third-string players got playtime this week, so let's see exactly how the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme (tm) measures the different shifts. I expect a big shift in the middle ranks.

    • 1. Neville, no movement — Still on top after dismantling Lince Dorado on RAW.

    • 2. Akira Tozawa, no movement — Tozawa, who didn't really get a match this week, stays at #2 after proving himself to be more than a match against Neville at the end of 205 Live.

    • 3. Cedric Alexander, #4 last week — Cedric Alexander surprisingly lost to Ariya Daivari on this week's 205 Live, but is able to go up one spot thanks to rebounding with a win against Brian Kendrick on Main Event, and for TJP not appearing at all this week.

    • 4. TJP, #3 last week — TJP's freefall is only to one spot, thanks to a lot of other people not showing up and/or winning this week.

    • 5. Mustafa Ali, #9 last week — Ali climbs up the charts once again with an interesting little win against archnemesis Drew Gulak, taking advantage of his hesitation from doing dives.

    • 6. Jack Gallagher, #7 last week — Jacky Boy luckily moves one spot up thanks to Rich Swann and Tony Nese both being MIA. Gallagher lost, but the intrigue in his character is definitely building.

    • 7. Tony Nese, #5 last week — Missing, after solid showings in the past couple of weeks.

    • 8. Rich Swann, #6 last week — See Tony Nese, but more understandable if he's selling his destruction at Neville's hands last week.

    • 9. Ariya Daivari, #12 last week — Shoots back up after a surprising win against the hot Cedric Alexander, but I don't expect him to stay in this spot for very long.

    • 10. Drew Gulak, no movement — Stays in his spot due to an unfortunate loss.

    • 11. The Brian Kendrick, #15 last week — Back on the show after a few weeks' absence following his big loss to Akira Tozawa. He takes out some frustrations on Jack Gallagher, and although he didn't technically win, he made quite the impact on the division.

      • 12. Noam Dar, #11 last week — This Alicia Fox FaceTime angle is dragging him down.

      • 13. Austin Aries, #8 last week — Falls down pretty far; already isn't competing due to injury, and is sidelined altogether from this show. How the mighty have fallen.

      • 14. Lince Dorado, no movement — He at least gets to show up on RAW to lose.

      • 15. Gran Metalik, #13 last week — And we're back to this.

      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 (6/27/17): Where Did All The Cool Guys Go Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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