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    Saturday, September 15, 2018

    Live From the 205 (9/11/18): Good Wrestling Forgives A Multitude of Sins

    I say the words in the title of this review a lot, usually at any WWE show where the wrestlers are given enough time to do their thing. Those words come whenever the story surrounding it is lame and toothless, when there's little to no hype building this event, when everything else is hopeless except for the God-damned wrestling.

    So I guess this is where we are now: I have to pull it out to describe an episode of 205 Live. From the greatness that Drake Maverick brought in his reboot, we've now been reduced to this—treading water on stories that just don't seem to end, but at least the wrestling is great. This is what the fans always wanted, right?

    Let's break down the bookending matches of this week's episode. As you already know by now, the 205 Live formula, the damn formula they've stuck to since after WrestleMania, means the curtain-jerker and main event are the actual good matches on the card, while the middle slot is more often a shorter story-moving segment for feuds that need it.

    The first match on this show is Buddy Murphy versus Gran Metalik in the feud that just will not end. I thought it was over a couple of weeks ago when Murphy finally beat Kalisto, and I thought it was over a couple of weeks before that when Nese and Murphy beat the Lucha House Party. Or the Lucha House Party beat them in the tornado tag. I honestly can't remember anymore, because we've been getting some permutation of this feud almost every week for the past couple of months.

    But at least the match was good. The point was to build Buddy Murphy up for his title shot at WWE Super-Showdown in Melbourne, which Cedric Alexander still doesn't care about because he's busy with Drew Gulak. If Murphy just needed a good match, why couldn't Drake have pulled a cruiserweight from NXT for one night only to shake things up around here? Remember when he would do that? Was there really nobody else around except for the Lucha House Party?

    And then we have the main event, which at least was a new wrinkle built up over a couple of weeks. Akira Tozawa teams with Cedric Alexander to take on Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher, tying a loose end left when Gulak and the Pips interrupted a Tozawa match to demand a rematch. It was a good tag match that ultimately resulted in Gulak finally getting his rematch next week, but the heels looked so good that you know Cedric's retaining in the clutch again. (Especially with a looming Buddy Murphy title shot in the horizon.) But at least the match was good.

    We watch these shows mostly for the wrestling, so maybe it should be enough to say that at least the matches were good. But the truth is once we've tasted the wrestling, we still need a good narrative to sink our teeth into. Isn't that how everyone, save for the real purists, approaches sports? This isn't an unjustified request, is it?

    So is this holding pattern the new 205 Live truly running out of ideas—or them settling into complacency, riding on the backs of the gifted pro wrestlers they've built up and collected? Good wrestling forgives a lot of sins, but they would not want to find out for how long it can keep forgiving.

    205 Live 9/11/18 Grade: Like I said, good matches cover up a lot of water-treading. A-

    Short stops

    • No, Vic, "Gran Metalik" does not mean "golden mask." Mascara dorada does, and gran metalik just means "[the] great metallic," but they changed it while keeping Lince Dorado because they probably thought people would confuse the two. (If that were the case, why'd you guys end up making Lince the jobber and putting Metalik in the finals?)
    • I did like how there was an attempt to differentiate each member of the Lucha House Party by fleshing out their personalities. Gran Metalik is apparently the chillest one.
    • So one week after Drake Maverick lays down the law on Mustafa Ali saying he needs to be cleared first, Mustafa automatically gets cleared for action? You just threw away a potentially-compelling storyline for Mustafa as he fights his way back to recovery, and I would've wanted to see Hideo squash people and taunt Mustafa into coming back every week. Dropped ball.
    • Speaking of Hideo, I am amused at his deliberate attempt to pronounce "Mustafa Ali" correctly. That guy's English promo game is actually better than Shinsuke Nakamura's right now.
    • This marks the second week in a row that a cruiserweight questions Drake Maverick managing AOP. I hope this is Triple H taking subliminal shots at his father-in-law's new creative decision to feature cruiserweights as managers on RAW. It's also ironic that Gulak and Gallagher questioned Maverick this week, as Gulak was in the Shield mob last week.
    • That said, why would you pair Lio Rush up with Lashley? Rush is a heel and Maverick is a face. Don't disregard the stories on 205 Live, Vince.
    • That Cedric/Mustafa/Tozawa segment, though, is comedy gold, and I've missed the show's attempts at comedy.
    • Again, speaking of, why did they stop airing vignettes for Ariya "Dinero" Daivari?
    • Drake making a title match for next week seems pretty rushed, especially when they've got more than a couple of weeks away before WWE Super Show-Down. Then again, they probably just want to wrap Gulak's story up. *sigh*

    205 Live Rankings as of 9/15/18

    With all these new announcements, how does the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme see the division today?
    1. Drew Gulak (#2 last week) — Gulak finally reclaims the top spot after earning himself a title match and beating Cedric and Tozawa in the main event. Of course, this is just a temporary success for him, as he will inevitably be knocked back down a peg next week.
    2. Buddy Murphy (#3 last week) — I guess I have to separate these two for the time being, as Nese wasn't even allowed to be at ringside for his, uh, buddy's match. Murphy heading into his title shot strong after two straight wins against members of the Lucha House Party. That means his next match is likely against Lince Dorado. Another sigh.
    3. Cedric Alexander (#1 last week) — Cedric is at least knocked down from his perch, but again, only for the time being.
    4. Lio Rush (#5 last week) — This is the first time in a long while I'm bumping someone up for appearing outside of 205 Live. Rush is going places.
    5. Mustafa Ali (#10 last week) — Mustafa's back. Perhaps too soon, but he won.
    6. Hideo Itami (#4 last week) — Is at least around to take shots at Ali.
    7. Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher (#8 last week) — Helps out Gulak and wins in the main event. Get well soon, Kendrick.
    8. Lucha House Party (#7 last week) — Metalik is knocked down a peg after looking good against Tony Nese last week.
    9. Akira Tozawa (no movement) — Tozawa takes the fall and doesn't go down just because there's someone else beneath him.
    10. Tony Nese (new) — Currently fulfilling his destiny as the Marty Jannetty to Murphy's Shawn Michaels. Time will tell if I'll have to bundle them up again.
      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 (9/11/18): Good Wrestling Forgives A Multitude of Sins Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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