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    Friday, August 11, 2017

    Live From The 205 (8/8/17): Put Tank In A Mall

    TJP is one hell of a dick, guys.

    We've already known this since his heel turn a couple of months ago, but him being a cocky son of a bitch just because he wrestles better than most guys is exactly the kind of TJP people were willing to buy since the Cruiserweight Classic ended. Outside of the Philippines, where Filipino-blooded stars outside of the country are more heroic than usual, only a relative few thought TJ Perkins was endearing—and looking back at the way he just was, I couldn't blame them.

    He's a nice dude, but he could also be smarmy, especially when his wrestling is doing the talking. That probably explains why his current character feels like he's turned all the way up to 11, and why it's the perfect foil for a smiling nice guy in Rich Swann. Swann can come across as cocky, too, but he manages to build just enough organic goodwill for people to get behind him.

    I felt bad for Swann for losing yet another hard-fought match to TJ, especially a clean one, after getting punked two bouts in a row. But after seeing the final shot of the episode, in which Swann finally confronts the truth about his friend TJ, I realized that he did have to lose in order for the feud to kick into high gear. I just wish that Swann's last glass-shattering moment was way more impactful—I wish he did something out of anger; TJ was needling him to the point where he would have deserved a shot to the face by Rich, even if it would have been similar to Angry Jack Gallagher (more on that later).

    I feel like they earned it, but once more pulled back on what could have been a memorable moment. 205 Live is already working an NXT-esque, Lucha Underground-esque format, where the lack of PPVs (or space on RAW-brand PPVs) force most storylines to live and die on regular episodes. With a show fighting for survival and relevancy like 205 Live, there's no choice for them but to try and go all-out with every episode, as much as they can. There will be episodes with big moments like Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar's I Quit match, or Mustafa Ali and Drew Gulak's 2 out of 3 falls match, or any of the big contendership matches, but we can't spend a couple of weeks or more waiting for those moments to happen.

    There will always be good matches, and great matches even more so, but the crowd wants moments that would make them care. Judging from the way they were eerily silent in a main event that deserved more noise than it got, 205 Live needs to keep shooting for the moon instead of just the clouds.

    205 Live 8/8/17 Grade: Two good matches in an episode that did its best to advance many of its storylines bring it up to a solid B+ or A-, depending on your mood.

    Short stops

    • Realization: Tony Nese is quite the effective heel. Half of it is the way he's being presented, but I find myself being annoyed at the entire ritual of him mouthing off at the camera and counting his abs off like it was some fucked-up episode of Sesame Street. While the cruiserweight division is diverse enough for his Cruiserweight Chris Masters gimmick to stand out just enough, he's eventually going to have to find a way to distinguish himself from Neville, who I'd argue is the only guy more jacked than Nese.
    • Give me Angry Jack Gallagher every week. He's probably channeling all his rage from getting booked in this inane storyline.
    • Neville interrupting Tozawa's interview is one way to hide some of Tozawa's awkward English, but he's honestly not as bad as Shinsuke Nakamura and he keeps proving why they should let him keep talking. He's just magnetic on the mic.
    • I keep saying this every week, so I'll keep on saying it until someone listens: put in a damn ladder ranking system. Matches like Tony Nese vs. Cedric Alexander, even though they make sense for someone who follows the show, need to make more sense to those who don't. Nese has been winning these singles matches for a few weeks now, and those wins should mean something. Ali's wins should've meant something. A ranking system makes sure that these matches aren't just exhibitions.
    • Oh hey, Noam Dar is back. As what? We don't really know, but no more Alicia Fox.

    The Cruiserweight Division Power Rankings (as of 8/11/17)

    How does the ranking stack up after a rather quiet week for the division at large? The Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme (tm) finds out:

    • 1. Akira Tozawa, no movement — Tozawa continues to prove himself as the #1 contender, and this week he shuts Neville and Ariya Daivari up for good measure.

    • 2. Neville, no movement — Neville keeps dressing up for nothing at all. Would it be too much to ask for a match where he squashes a babyface, just to remind people that he's one hell of a champion? They're getting a little lazy with him, to be honest.

    • 3. TJP, #4 last week — TJ climbs back up after his big win against Rich Swann, but it's about to get real heated soon. 

    • 4. Tony Nese, #8 last week — Nese jumps as high as his hops with another big win on the show, defeating Cedric Alexander handily. If he's getting a push, then it must mean he's probably in line for bigger things soon, and it would make more sense that a high-ranking babyface would be his target. Does that mean we're finally getting the Tozawa win?

    • 5. Rich Swann, no movement — Swann fights hard, but falls to TJP; I don't suspect he'd stay down for very long. 

    • 6. Cedric Alexander, #4 last week  Cedric gets knocked down a peg, and there's that limbo for guys who don't have new stories but have just come off big ones.

    • 7. Jack Gallagher, no movement — Gallagher continues to look strong as he keeps taking it to the cowardly Brian Kendrick, but this has to end soon enough.

    • 8. Noam Dar, #14 last week — Gets right back in the top 10 for coming back and winning. It helps that the others are nowhere to be found this week, not even on Main Event.

    • 9. Ariya Daivari, #6 last week — Looks like the small push is over for now, but he did get better. I'd like to see him get more time and opportunities.

    • 10. The Brian Kendrick, no movement — Kendrick getting beaten up every week is still funny.

    • 11. Mustafa Ali, #9 last week Drops down after not showing up. I wonder if his recent Twitter storm against "Mr. 450" John Yurnet affected his standing?

      • 12. Gran Metalik, #11 last week — See Mustafa Ali.

      • 13. Lince Dorado, #12 last week — See Mustafa Ali.

      • 14. Drew Gulak, #13 last week — See Mustafa Ali.

      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 (8/8/17): Put Tank In A Mall Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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