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    Sunday, July 15, 2018

    Live From the 205 (7/10/18): You're Just A Notch On My Bedpost

    When 205 Live was given a soft reboot after Enzo Amore's firing earlier this year, I was really hoping things would stick. Every episode was just different thanks to the big multi-week Cruiserweight Championship tournament heading into WrestleMania, and even as the tourney winded down things started to play out differently from pre-Drake Maverick 205.

    Now, around six months after that, we're still getting a superior 205 Live than when Enzo was king of the playground, but I'm starting to worry that the show's slowly settling back into its old formula.

    It's not a total regression; the show still does its best to juggle a lot of different midcard stories and rotate the main event scene enough to give deserving characters some shine (just see Buddy Murphy/Mustafa Ali from the week before, then this week featuring Hideo Itami challenging Cedric Alexander). But I'm still really worried about how the midcard stays largely the same, with people feuding with their nemeses without any real hint toward progression in the division.

    Sometimes it's just the show's tight one-hour format that's to blame, because there really isn't time to put everyone on. I appreciate the show planning ahead and trying to build to the next episode as much as they can, but I just wish that every clash is contextualized within the bigger picture, i.e. the Cruiserweight Championship. I don't want to have to wait for Cedric Alexander to keep insisting new challengers on Drake Maverick, because that's the GM's job. Tournament Drake was the best Drake, because he made everything made sense; lately, he's been made to fade in the background a little.


    Anyway, I'm still not sure what to feel about Itami not winning the title this week. That was as good a time as any, especially with Cedric barely withstanding Hideo's strong style and the guy not really having anything compelling to go off on as champ. I mean, the Japanese Legend (yeah, that's what they're calling him right now) had his number the entire match, and apparently all it takes for Cedric to come back is one Lumbar Check from outta nowhere. It's a sweet move, but it's not an RKO by any means. The look on his face after the match said it all—he wasn't the same guy.

    On the other hand, given the quick selfie video from Drew Gulak and the Pips, it looks like that's where Cedric and the title are headed next. If Gulak is the guy he's being built up for (and Gulak has been built up for Cedric, too) then I'm all for it. Gulak's more overdue than Ali is or Cedric was at the time he won the title, so I'm excited for that.

    I just don't know what's next for Itami after this. I feel like they keep building him up just to let him be the bridesmaid, and I really thought this was going to be it after they rushed the breakup with Tozawa. All my hopes of Tozawa/Itami being reignited are dashed after they made it clear Tozawa's got his hands full with Lio Rush, so the best I can hope for is Ali coming for Itami after the way he beat him in that triple threat.

    205 Live 7/10/18 Grade: This week's episode was more of a reset to lay down the next month of feuds, so there wasn't much to expect from the midcard. Once again the main event had to carry the episode, and while it did, I just wish it went a different way. B

    Short stops

    • Looks like we're getting the Body Guys versus the Lucha House Party next, and while the way their story is set up makes sense to me (Murphy's frustrated by his losing streak) this would mean much more if they actually did set up the long-rumored cruiserweight tag titles. Right now the focus seems to be on Murphy and Kalisto as two singles stars hovering around the title scene, and Nese and the rest of the House Party being their respective sidekicks. It would also boost the Alliance of Grapplers' profile, because they did beat the House Party.
    • Why don't they just sign Colin Delaney, unless he is signed again already?
    • Signs that Drake Maverick is being watered down: making matches that anyone can see coming from a mile away (like Rush/Tozawa) and acting like it was such a genius idea. He's supposed to be better than that.
    • Why didn't Rush drop Tozawa there? It felt like that segment ended on a strange, anticlimactic note, since the crowd wasn't exactly audibly hyped for the match that was made (likely because they weren't going to see it happen in front of them this week).
    • Right now TJP vs. Noam Dar and Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa are the only sure matches we've got for next week, which is some nice building-up but not exactly a big reason to tune into the show.
    • Cedric's getting some John Cena-style superman comebacks—first in the match with Buddy Murphy (where he was magically able to pull off Neuralyzers after the beatdown Murphy gave him) and now with Itami, where he was able to slot in a Lumbar Check at the last minute. Yes, it's clutch, but clutch in a scripted match doesn't have the same kind of pull as clutch in a real sport. For some reason, Cedric just doesn't have that big match player feel when he does it.
    • Is Itami's loss to Cedric the WWE's way of saying "suck it" to NJPW, who's holding the G1 Climax right now? *thinking emoji*

    205 Live Rankings as of 7/15/18

    With another championship challenger out of the way, how does the roster stack up according to the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme?
    1. Cedric Alexander (no movement) — It's another big win for Cedric, so he stays at the top.
    2. Mustafa Ali (#3 last week) — Hideo's big loss means Ali gets propelled forward. How will the title scene proceed after this and Ali's huge win against Buddy Murphy last week?
    3. Hideo Itami (#2 last week) — After all that posturing and tough talk, Itami couldn't get it done. I'd like to see Cedric defend his title in a four-way after everything that's happened, but this means Itami has to take a step back.
    4. Drew Gulak (no movement) — Gulak should actually be higher than Hideo now all things considered, but he hasn't formally put out a challenge yet. Once he makes a new statement he should be going up the rankings. 
    5. Buddy Murphy (no movement) — Murphy stays in his spot after going into a new feud with the Lucha House Party. Them's the breaks.
    6. Lio Rush (#7 last week) — Rush moves up after beating Colin Delaney in record time, and manages to finagle a higher-profile match with Akira Tozawa next week.
    7. Akira Tozawa (#6 last week) — Trades spots with Rush just because only one of them could have a match tonight, apparently.
    8. Noam Dar (no movement) — Manages to get into TJP's head and some momentum out of it.
    9. Lucha House Party (#10 last week) — Moves up one spot after winning by DQ. They did show up this week, so.
    10. Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher (#9 last week) — Only show up as Drew Gulak's backup singers this week. See, this is why we need a cruiserweight tag team division.
      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 (7/10/18): You're Just A Notch On My Bedpost Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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