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    Thursday, August 2, 2018

    Live From the 205 (7/31/18): Don't Be A Lesnar

    "You're the Brock Lesnar of 205 Live." God damn, this show is getting more and more self-aware by the week.

    Not only are they going all-out on painting Brock as a real shitheel for being an absentee champion, but 205 Live is doing something they haven't done since Enzo Amore was champ: they're acknowledging the champion's real-life shortcomings. This time, though, it's taken to a whole new level. Cedric Alexander not being around on the show if he's not defending the title is no fault of Cedric's, because he's not in charge of how he's written.

    Essentially, 205 Live is acknowledging an issue they've created, and they're addressing it themselves in the writing. If that doesn't tell you that they've low-key emerged as the best show on the WWE slate of programming right now, it means you just haven't been watching.

    Sadly, there's no video of the contract signing segment up yet, but it and this week's episode re-solidifies Drew Gulak (because we already knew this from before) as Cedric's toughest challenge in the absence of Neville. Drew has him all figured out, down to how he could get under his skin, which leads to how he's going to soften him up for SummerSlam.

    Think about it, because it's genius. 205 Live has a habit of benching Cedric to (rightfully and understandably) focus on the rest of the guys trying to earn a shot at the Cruiserweight Championship. In recent months they've been attempting to show Cedric as a proactive champion, always bugging GM Drake Maverick as to who he's facing next. But it's not enough for Gulak, who eggs Cedric on to take more matches on the show, which he does when he goes up against his cohort Brian Kendrick in this week's main event. Although Cedric beat Kendrick, Gulak uses their superior numbers to beat him down after the match and wear him down a little weeks from SummerSlam.

    This gives us something Cedric hasn't really had since winning the title at WrestleMania: a real threat to his title reign. Guys like Kalisto, Buddy Murphy, and Hideo Itami were just one man every time they stepped up to Cedric; Gulak is technically superior and has the numbers advantage.

    Why it took this long to finally stack more odds against him is beyond me. I can't wait for Gulak to beat him at SummerSlam.

    205 Live 7/31/18 Grade: A decent opening match, an entertaining Lio Rush squash, plus some wonderful main event plot advancement? Only thing missing was a check-up on the rest of the four-way contenders from last week. B+

    Short stops

    • Nigel: "Oh, an injured thumb. That'll put a damper on [Lince Dorado's] nighttime activities."
      Percy: "You don't know what he does at night!"
      Nigel: "Bowling!"
    • I was really, really hoping Tony Nese would get the win here. He was doing so well against Kalisto, too.
    • And I guess we indeed are headed into a team feud with Murphy/Nese and the Lucha House Party sans Gran Metalik. Seriously, when are these cruiserweight tag titles happening already?
    • Are we sure this Ricky Martinez fella is a cruiserweight?
    • And why doesn't Drake Maverick just book Tozawa vs. Rush II? Why couldn't Tozawa just ask him for it? Why does he have to keep chasing a guy who obviously wants to duck him (although after beating him clean)?
    • Excellent setup for Jack Gallagher coming in for the post-match beatdown. I thought it was strange that Gulak didn't know where Jack was, but that should've tipped me off. They got me good there.

    205 Live Rankings as of 8/2/18

    The good thing about Gulak egging Cedric on is that the latter finally wrestles a non-title match on the show. Will the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme adjust accordingly?
    1. Drew Gulak (no movement) — Cedric did win against Brian Kendrick, but Gulak orchestrated that ambush masterfully. He stays on top.
    2. Cedric Alexander (no movement) — Cedric did well and showed up on the show he was the king of, but his nemesis Gulak gets the last laugh.
    3. Lio Rush (#7 last week) — Rush makes a huge leap this week because everyone else ahead of him is nowhere to be found. Not bad for the 23-year-old Piece of Gold.
    4. Akira Tozawa (#6 last week) — Looks strong against a retreating Lio Rush, but he's still chasing him here.
    5. Mustafa Ali (#3 last week) — We heard he got injured, but hoping he'll recover soon.
    6. Lucha House Party (#8 last week) — The House Party get another win over the Hardbody Lovers. They're that good.
    7. Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher (#10 last week) — Kendrick loses but Gallagher helps Gulak win the war.
    8. Hideo Itami (#4 last week) — Nowhere to be found this week.
    9. TJP (#5 last week) — See Hideo Itami.
    10. Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese (#9 last week) — Officially lumping them together for the purposes of this feud. They really need a win—moral or otherwise—because the Lucha House Party are just creaming them so far. 
      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 (7/31/18): Don't Be A Lesnar Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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