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    Thursday, August 23, 2018

    Live From the 205 (8/21/18): Filibuster!

    My biggest concern with the Age of Alexander is that Cedric has always felt like a champion watching from the shadows, doing less work than Batman. There are a lot of other cruiserweights in the division, and he's only really there when it's time to face the flavor of the month. So when Drew Gulak called him the Brock Lesnar of 205 Live—implying he's an absentee—I really felt that.

    That's why I can get behind Gulak's insistence on another title shot, despite having lost clean at SummerSlam (something I also can't stand for). Drew's bucking against the rigid logic 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick refreshingly brings to the show, as well as making Cedric a hell of a lot more compelling than any of his previous opponents have made him look. As I've always believed, when you have a clear set of rules, the drama comes from working within them—and breaking them at the right times.

    To tell you the truth, I'm just really glad this segment happened for a number of reasons: it broke the show's usual formula, attacking Akira Tozawa and Colin Delaney reestablishes Drew Gulak and the Pips' presence as the best villains on the show (not just whichever third of the show they happen to be on), it brings out Drake's greatest strength in being one of the firmest and most competent GMs WWE has right now, and most importantly, it means Cedric/Gulak isn't over yet. 

    205 Live's got an annoying (but admittedly necessary) habit of designating Cruiserweight Championship contenders as one-offs to keep them rotating. Drake actually explains this in his backstage interview when he brings up the fact that there are other wrestlers deserving of a shot, and kudos to them for ironing out this wrinkle to set up the attack segment. Someone in the back's realized that Gulak is the best nemesis Cedric's ever had, and it took them months of building his reign up so we can get to this point. If a protracted Cedric/Gulak feud is what we're getting, then I'll accept the SummerSlam loss. 

    After a couple of months of treading a bit of water, this rejiggering is exactly what the show needed. They've shifted to third gear on this feud, and I hope they continue to ride it—I know 205 loves to rotate its cast, but I don't mind messing with the episode's formula a bit if it means the build remains consistent. Put Gulak and Cedric on every episode until the feud ends. This filibuster is working.

    205 Live 8/21/18 Grade: It's the tail end of SummerSlam weekend, and the boys know it's SummerSlam weekend, so they're wrestling to remind you they're just as good as everyone on the PPVs. Please go watch the main event. I can't remember the last time an episode of 205 was this much fun. A

    Short stops

    • "Nobody dabs anymore, man!"
    • We also get a rehash of Wale's "my name Wa-ley" period of his career as the commentary team discusses how to pronounce his name.
    • So much bickering and ass-kissing on Wale and his plans that Wale himself had to segue back into the action in the ring. He may have been a guest, but he was self-aware as fuck. Loved the bits where he was punking TJ.
    • You really miss TJ's kind of wrestling when he doesn't get booked for a while. There's just nothing else like it.
    • Is Colin Delaney an unofficial member of the roster? He might as well be, huh? Designate him the official jobber of the cruiserweight division.
    • You may feel sorry for Tozawa getting reduced to beatdown duty, but think of it this way: he was getting the Delaney match to get back on track. It's the little things.
    • Please watch the main event. This highlight video isn't gonna do it justice:

    • I don't know if they're still building toward a cruiserweight tag team championship, but it's going to be hard to say no after this tornado tag. There are three teams in the division right now, and three'll be enough for this one-hour show. Let's do this.
    • That said, I have a couple of qualms about the finish of this match. I get that it had to be done to preserve the Hardbody Lovers' heat, and it made sense given the provocation by Murphy to Kalisto, and I also understand that it's not the first time LHP's been made to look like hooligans so it makes some sense, but I don't know... I'm not really feeling it. It really just felt off-character to me. The worst part is that the post-match makes it seem like this feud still isn't over, but if this thing doesn't end in an inaugural tag title match...

    205 Live Rankings as of 8/21/18

    How does SummerSlam weekend change the landscape of the show? Let's ask the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme to find out!
    1. Cedric Alexander (#2 last week) — Sigh. Well, a successful title defense and Cedric standing up for himself put him back up top.
    2. Drew Gulak (#1 last week) — Gulak has to drop down after his narrow loss, but I'm glad he's not going away from the title picture.
    3. Lio Rush (no movement) — Rush hasn't been seen this week, but no one's toppling him from his spot right now.
    4. Hideo Itami (no movement) — See Lio Rush.
    5. Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher (#6 last week) — Riding Drew Gulak's coattails is working out for them, because as long as he's taking over the show, they remain relevant.
    6. Lucha House Party (#9 last week) — Scoring a huge win against the Hardbody Lovers earns them a huge jump this week. One has to wonder, though: is this the end of their feud?
    7. Noam Dar (#10 last week) — Dar finally gets payback against TJP with a little support from Wale. Actually necessary as the division's skewing toward heels right now.
    8. Tony Nese and Buddy Murphy (#5 last week) — Loses narrowly to the Lucha House Party this week, but I have a feeling they'll have a shot to rebound.
    9. Mustafa Ali (#7 last week) — Still don't know what his short-term fate is at the moment, but it's not looking good.
    10. Akira Tozawa (#8 last week) — Going from a second straight clean loss to Lio Rush to getting jumped by Gulak and the Pips. Tozawa can't catch a break. (Maybe he needs to move up weight classes and team up with his BFF Apollo Crews.)
      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 (8/21/18): Filibuster! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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