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    Thursday, July 27, 2017

    Live From the 205 (7/25/17): Good Guys Finish Last Again

    So this week's lesson is that we can't always have nice things.

    After a couple weeks of good 205 Live episodes, I can't be too surprised at this one falling a little flat. There's only so much you can expect, which is why I now go into WWE shows with as little expectations as possible, even though I've been tuning in with some optimism lately.

    If nothing else, this week's episode inexplicably had downer results the entire night. Neville and Ariya Daivari was a strange bit of booking that inspired no one at all (more on that later), Jack Gallagher doesn't get to lay his hands on Brian Kendrick, and while the main event was solid, TJP and Tony Nese coming out on top doesn't exactly send shockwaves of joy throughout the audience. While I agree that storytelling must come before fanservice, how are you going to get the crowd hyped up if you don't give them something, at least one thing they can latch on to?

    Anyway, let's discuss this sudden Ariya Daivari push.

    While I still don't know exactly what to make of this gimmick where he dedicates his matches to legendary Iranian amateur wrestlers, it was somewhat working when he was up against Akira Tozawa, because that was at least a natural face/heel angle that's easy for any fan to sink their teeth into. Now that they decided to book a heel/heel match when they put him up against Neville, they had to work harder with Daivari.

    Neville's end of the story is sound—he's a king quashing a little peasant rebellion, and why does this little maggot think he can start ruling the kingdom after only one week of being gone?—it's really Daivari that needs help. He comes away with a lucky countout win against Neville after Tozawa (who was guesting on commentary) decides to intervene. Normally, a fluke like that by an upstart works better when the upstart is a babyface. Daivari was definitely an underdog, but he wasn't likable; even though I appreciate the intent to build up a new talent, even if the intention is to write a slimy new heel, it just wasn't endearing.

    Regardless, as it stood, pitting a methodical heel in Neville against another heel with not much name recall in Ariya Daivari never did much to inflate the crowd. It was really all story, but you can feel the awkwardness all around, especially when the most magnetic guy in the entire angle was sitting on commentary.

    That was a misfire, but that doesn't mean the Daivari project should be finished. Either they keep trotting out Daivari and having him win like that against other credible babyfaces to build up his character, or they continue what they started on RAW last week and turn Daivari into Cruiserweight Jinder Mahal, so he could at least look decent against a fellow heel in Neville.

    205 Live 7/25/17 Grade: It's the first unmemorable 205 Live episode in a while, even with a main event full of my favorites. This gets the Gran Metalik booking grade, or a C+.

    Short stops

    • Somebody smart had the decent idea of putting Tozawa on commentary. It wasn't a great idea, it wasn't a bad idea, it was just an idea. Tozawa's English is good enough to get him through promos and backstage segments, but not for the constant flow required for commentary. He did his best, though, bless his soul.

    • Brian Kendrick is clearly trying to fight the script given him, but it's just not working. This whole feud is so uninspired that at this point, they have to let Jack Gallagher beat Kendrick up already. I hope it ends around SummerSlam.

    • The main event wasn't terrible—how terrible could you get if you have TJP, Tony Nese, Cedric Alexander, and Rich Swann in the same match—but the first two-thirds deflated the whole show, and the heels winning didn't help. The crowd needed something to send them home happy, they really did. I love Team EVOLVE being a thing, but Swann needed something to keep him in the game here, and this loss also throws a small bucket of cold water on Cedric's momentum.

    • The other important takeaway from that main event is that Tony Nese has been getting extra personality lessons. Now he's not just "guy who poses with his biceps;" he's "guy who trash talks with his biceps and abs." That's a step higher, trust me, but he has to talk less during his entrance.

      The Cruiserweight Division Power Rankings (as of 7/27/17)

      205 Live didn't do too much with advancing stories this week, so let's see how the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme (tm) records the movements. Also, for the first time in Live From the 205 history, there are only 14 cruiserweights on the ladder, until someone new is added to the division:

      • 1. Neville, #2 last week — The King is back, and retakes his spot on top of the rankings. It definitely helps that Tozawa did not compete at all this week to sell his shoulder injury.

      • 2. Akira Tozawa, #1 last week — Tozawa falls back to the #2 spot, but look for him to work on getting the title by SummerSlam.

      • 3. TJP, #6 last week — The #CruiserGreat gets back to #3 after his big win against Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann. Let's hope this is all getting some championship implications somewhere down the line. 

      • 4. Cedric Alexander, #3 last week — Cedric does actually get half of his win back against Tony Nese in this week's Main Event, but that tag loss kind of hurt his hot streak. 

      • 5. Ariya Daivari, #8 last week — Daivari, who doesn't have much of a right to be high on this list, has become quite prominent as of late, and it shows on his new spot on the ladder. 

      • 6. Mustafa Ali, #4 last week Ali is noticeably absent after his big win in last week's two out of three falls match, which necessitates his two-spot drop in the rankings. Hope he gets back soon, but there aren't a lot of heels around right now for him to feud with. Unless... he's getting Noam Dar next. *shudder*

      • 7. Rich Swann, no movement — Despite the loss, the spots around Rich Swann move around just enough to leave him where he was last week.

      • 8. Jack Gallagher, #5 last week — Gallagher is literally made to look like a clown this week, and doesn't even manage to get his hands on Kendrick.

      • 9. The Brian Kendrick, no movement — Nothing new, so his ascent stops momentarily this week.

      • 10. Tony Nese, #12 last week — Nese becomes somewhat relevant again after TJP drafts him to be a part of Team EVOLVE. Let's hope this leads to something more for the Premiere Athlete.

      • 11. Drew Gulak, #10 last week — Still out to sell the end of his feud with Ali. Unfortunately causes him to drop one spot.

        • 12. Noam Dar, #11 last week — Nowhere to be found.

        • 13. Lince Dorado, no movement — See Noam Dar.

        • 14. Gran Metalik, no movement — See Noam Dar.

        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. He likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account.
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        Item Reviewed: Live From the 205 (7/25/17): Good Guys Finish Last Again Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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