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    Saturday, September 8, 2018

    Live From the 205 (9/4/18): Cruiserweight Chaos

    If you clicked this column to try and find an explanation for why Drake Maverick decided to manage AOP, stop now. You won't get it here, because all they gave us was a throwaway backstage segment between him and Mustafa Ali to explain it—and all he gave us was "what he does on Monday nights is none of our business."

    Sorry, guys. Not even 205 Live is free from creative's occasional lack of nuance.

    This week's episode was both forward-moving and running in place at the same time. If you find that hard to grasp, I'll tell you that I also had a bit of a hard time thinking about it. Cedric Alexander has a new #1 contender in Buddy Murphy on WWE Super Show-Down at Melbourne. That makes sense, but not so much when you also realize that Drew Gulak is still looking for a title rematch.

    In fact, the Cedric/Gulak feud proceeded as though no one cared about Murphy suddenly getting a title shot in his hometown. Instead of Gulak messing with Drake Maverick on the grounds of someone else getting a shot before he did, he and Jack Gallagher (Brian Kendrick is nowhere to be found this week, probably ashamed after losing to Akira Tozawa last week) just jump Cedric after the main event, as though that's going to change the Super Show-Down match.

    If they don't correct this right away next week, they'll have missed an opportunity to tie together both of these strands and write the multi-man championship story I was asking for. Murphy's title shot was a move they made as a surprise, so it would make sense that Gulak would feel indignant that he was overlooked while he was chasing another opportunity. If Cedric's going for an undefeated year, taking on and beating two guys to retain his title would add to his championship legacy.

    Truth is 205 Live's falling into a slump, focusing on much of the same matchups as though that were the only way to advance feuds. This episode does a little better in presenting some new ideas, but in some parts, it's still pushing through with old stories.

    205 Live 9/4/18 Grade: Two solid bookending matches and a new feud emerging should be good, but a slight lack of hard work on the creative end plus a dead, tired crowd kind of smothers this episode a bit. It would've been an A- but it has to stick with B+.

    Short stops

    • You mean to tell me Nese/Murphy and the Lucha House Party is STILL not over? Did they really have to let the House Party take their win back? It was a great match, but I'm so over this pairing already.
    • Excellent work by Nigel McGuinness on covering a really small botch Gran Metalik did on his over-the-rope outside huracanrana, explaining it away as a technique Metalik did instead of an awkward execution. The live crowd probably didn't catch it, and it's not that big of a deal when you watch it, but it's great to have a color commentator like Nigel who's savvy and agile enough to pull off something like that live.
    • So Tony Nese lost. Now what? Is he always going to be the weaker link between him and Murphy?
    • That falling dodge Noam Dar did was hilarious.
    • Is this going to be Lio Rush's gimmick moving forward? He's always going to scout every other 205 Live veteran and challenge them? One would think that the 23-Year-Old Piece of Gold would be gunning for a title shot already.
    • Only just noticed that TJ's theme was remixed. Interesting stuff, and electric guitars playing the melody definitely fits a heel more.
    • Drake says he doesn't always make impromptu matches because it goes against "general manager code," but I can count at least five matches in the past few months that he's made on the spot. At least the show is deferring to an onscreen authority.
    • I don't know if it's because they want to make all other top guys on the show look good, but I think Cedric pulls out too many clutch wins for my liking. The Lumbar Check isn't exactly a move that's super clutch, which may be why it feels too much like Super Cena when he does it from out of nowhere. For a guy with an undefeated streak, Cedric doesn't look like a dominant champion winning like this.

    205 Live Rankings as of 9/8/18

    With all these new announcements, how does the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme see the division today?
    1. Cedric Alexander (no movement) — Gulak would've taken over the top spot after that ambush had Cedric not beaten TJP handily, and if Drew managed to get a title shot. Alas.
    2. Drew Gulak (no movement) — Gulak holds on to #2 after ambushing Cedric (and helping the RAW heels destroy the Shield!) and leaving him a pile of his own body to close the show.
    3. Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese (#5 last week) — I'm pretty close to separating these two again, but let's see how they fare moving forward. Murphy got his title shot so he drags Nese's ass with him. (I'd rank them higher if Nese beat Metalik.)
    4. Hideo Itami (no movement) — Itami doesn't have to worry about Mustafa Ali for the time being, as the latter is still not cleared to compete.
    5. Lio Rush (#3 last week) — Rush was feuding with a former Cruiserweight Champion in Akira Tozawa before this, but now he's stuck with Noam Dar, who didn't really have a solid comeback even after managing to beat TJP.
    6. Noam Dar (#10 last week) — Looks good against a local competitor, and is about to look even better against fellow Young Person Lio Rush.
    7. Lucha House Party (#8 last week) — Gran Metalik beats Tony Nese in a hell of a match, redeeming Kalisto's loss against Buddy Murphy last week.
    8. Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher (#5 last week) — Gallagher is around to help Gulak ambush Cedric, but that's about it.
    9. Akira Tozawa (#6 last week) — Doesn't show up this week, so falls due to other people moving up.
    10. Mustafa Ali (#7 last week) — Sorry Mustafa, you're still not cleared! I'm curious as to how they're going to write him back in, though, but this was a good way to dampen his momentum. They may end up regretting this.
      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 (9/4/18): Cruiserweight Chaos Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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