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    Saturday, April 7, 2018

    Live From the 205 (4/3/18): Come Early For The Show

    It's less than a week until the cruiserweight division's biggest moment at WrestleMania, and 205 Live continues to show the world what they're all about.

    Perhaps because it already embraces the fact that the token Cruiserweight Championship match has been relegated to the WrestleMania kickoff show, I notice 205 Live's already laying the foundation for what it's going to be after Mania. Four storylines in the division were advanced. The shades of gray in the wake of the Cruiserweight Championship tournament have turned into sides of black and white, with characters clearly turning heel and face.

    While all that is definitely admirable (hell, we even got a low-key Match of the Year contender in Kalisto vs. Buddy Murphy), I can't help but think that they sold Cedric/Mustafa really short when they needed it most.

    All they got was a video package and an impassioned promo from GM Drake Maverick urging people to go catch the kickoff (although he's preaching to the choir if they're not going to show his promo anywhere else). I understand they might have wanted to rest Cedric and Mustafa for their big match and devote some more airtime to a Tony Nese who needs it, but I feel like one more intense confrontation (and not necessarily of the corny, in-ring kind to close the show) would have done it. Instead they kind of feel like the afterthought on the show they main-event.

    Drake Maverick, however, is the voice 205 Live really needs after a promo like this. Even in the days of Neville's reign it felt like no one was really speaking for them. Not a single Cruiserweight Champion felt like a real representative of the division, and Drake's willingness to embody that role goes a long way in making the brand feel legitimate.

    So come early, because even if Cedric and Mustafa are kicking off WrestleMania, whatever happens then will be setting the show's landscape for the rest of the year.

    205 Live 4/3/18 Grade: I wish I didn't have to complain about the relative lack of Cedric and Mustafa on this episode, because that stopped me from giving this a perfect score. Guess we'll have to settle for another A.

    Short stops

    • For a moment I was disappointed that Lucha House Party and Team Japan were going right back at it, but when the heel turn unfolded I had to give it to them. I didn't expect Hideo Itami to try and rip off Gran Metalik's mask to try and save himself.
    • But that said, it's a stretch for these two teams to fight each other to be considered the most dominant team in the division... because they are the only teams in the division. Both teams are going to have to each beat a different team in the following weeks to give this storyline some credibility.
    • Nigel McGuinness says a luchador's mask is sacrosanct. Nigel, wrestling fans don't know what sacrosanct means!
    • A disqualification because the illegal man didn't leave the ring after a five-count? Actual in-ring logic?
    • HEEL TOZAWA???
    • Good move to postpone Mandrews/Gulak to next week in order to make space for other things on the show and give it a little more build. And I'm glad to see the return of the PowerPoint... even if it was just one slide long.
    • Also, I approve of the GuLock.
    • Wonderful little character development for Tony Nese to set up the quick face turn. This is what he needed after he got bullied in the Zo Train, and I'm glad that they used the jobber to facilitate Nese's turn. I'm excited to see what's in store for face Tony.
    • 205 Live has mastered the art of the quick turn in this episode. Team Japan turns heel, Tony Nese turns face, and Murphy turns heel in quick succession. And they didn't even need complex angles to pull each of them off.
    • Holy. Fuck. Kalisto/Murphy cements 205 Live's rebranding as the NJPW division of the main roster.
    • I love all the little touches in this match. The size difference and strength advantage. Murphy focusing on Kalisto's back. Kalisto fighting 'til the very end, forcing Murphy to hit an ugly but effective Murphy's Law. 

    205 Live Rankings as of 4/7/18

    The new and improved Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme™ rankings are heating up!
    1. Buddy Murphy (#3 last week) — Okay, I'm sold on this whole "Buddy Murphy is a top contender" angle they're cooking. It's clear that he's next in line for the title.
    2. Mustafa Ali (#1 last week) — Just by Murphy's rise alone I'm calling Mustafa to win the whole thing at WrestleMania. But of course, it's anyone's to win.
    3. Cedric Alexander (#2 last week) — Still needs something new to give him a compelling edge.
    4. Kalisto (no movement) — Loses in a hard-fought Match of the Year contender against Buddy Murphy.
    5. Tony Nese (new) — Quickly reestablishes himself after a decisive win against, uh, jobber Jonathan Pierce.
    6. Hideo Itami (new) — Back on the list after finally turning heel, and in deliciously wicked fashion, too.
    7. Akira Tozawa (#8 last week) — See Hideo Itami.
    8. Lince Dorado (#5 last week) — Proves himself with every passing week he's in action. I bet the bookers are wondering why they used so little of Lince in 2017.
    9. Gran Metalik (#7 last week) — Surprisingly showed up by Lince Dorado in this week's match.
    10. Drew Gulak (#9 last week) — Manages to not slip off the ladder by bringing back the PowerPoint presentation.
      Photo from WWE


      Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry, one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, and is associated with Philippine Wrestling Revolution. 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 (4/3/18): Come Early For The Show Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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