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    Sunday, November 4, 2018

    Live From the 205 (10/31/18): Here Comes A New Challenger

    I know last week was the 100th episode of 205 Live, but with an episode like this week's, it should've been the milestone edition instead.

    Because finally, the show has arrived at where it wants to be heading into 2019: a whole new Cruiserweight Championship landscape, Cedric Alexander back in the second tier clawing at a chance for a compelling story, a ridiculously strong champion in the villainous Buddy Murphy, and undisputed fan-favorite Mustafa Ali serving as his challenger.

    It's been this way for a while, but with this new status quo, it's a great time to be a 205 Live fan right now.

    You guys know I love it when 205 goes out of its way and puts in an effort to explain all its narrative decisions, and this episode has that exposition in droves.

    So where I—and everyone else, it seems—thought Cedric Alexander was going to face off against Tony Nese in a match to become the new #1 contender for the Cruiserweight Championship, it's actually Mustafa Ali. EVERYONE GETS BAMBOOZLED! So Cedric asks Drake what the deal is with this, and Drake actually takes the time to explain his decision: that Cedric does have a legally-mandated title rematch, but he can't get it yet because he's slipped in the past few weeks. Only when Cedric gets back in championship form can he get his rematch.

    That, of course, sets up the metastory of when exactly Cedric's going to turn heel out of sheer frustration. The tension between him and buddy Mustafa Ali, who got and earned the opportunity he was supposed to have, was pretty palpable after the main event. Ali's lucky Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese stepped back out instead, and it looks like we'll have us a new tag team feud.

    This new title picture is pretty refreshing, and it's now more dynamic with four moving parts instead of two. Instead of a run-of-the-mill one-on-one feud, the show now has more permutations with which it can tell its story. Buddy Murphy holds court as the strong heel champion, Tony Nese is now built up as his capable sidekick, Mustafa Ali gets his chance to carry 205 Live on his back as the top babyface everyone's been asking for, and even Cedric gets revitalized by playing the role Ali's been playing for him this whole time, except this time he's also got a stake by way of his future rematch.

    The cruiserweight division gets maximized to its full potential, or somewhere close to it. Not bad for an hour a week.

    205 Live 10/31/18 Final Grade: A packed episode that hits all its important story beats while returning to its three-match format, and retaining a solid and lengthy main event? This is the best of 205 Live. A

    Short stops

    • I honestly can't remember who won the Jack Gallagher vs. Brian Kendrick match. That's how dull this story is, simply because Kendrick really shouldn't be the victim here. I wish the roles were reversed—hell, I'd even take a face Gulak.
    • At least Tozawa's getting involved.
    • A quick Gran Metalik promo, a faster match, and a TJP run-in. Not bad.
    • Just wanted to do some really quick Spanish nitpicking: "mano a mano" does not mean "man to man." It means "hand to hand." Gran Metalik is challenging TJP to a one-on-one match. With their hands.
    • I daresay Percy Watson may be the babyface master of emotions on the entire WWE commentary roster.  
    • A throwback to Maria's days as a backstage reporter. That's clever.
    • TJP joining forces with Mike Kanellis is the logical next step of both their feuds with the Lucha House Party. While it's not the best story ever, things that make sense falling into place makes me happy.
    • I'm down with Buddy Murphy vs. Mark Andrews, but if Murphy wanted to face the best of the UK division, isn't Noam Dar doing both shows? Couldn't he just have plucked Noam up?
    • The fact that 205's now being taped before SmackDown really helps the show's reactions. Keep it this way, please, even after the Mixed Match Challenge ends.

    205 Live Rankings as of 10/29/18

    We've got new title challengers, and a whole lot of everything else. How does the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme stack it up?
    1. Mustafa Ali (#3 last week) — You can thank Buddy Murphy not doing much as champion other than looking tough and mean until next week, but don't deny Ali's credit: he won two wars in the span of two weeks just to become the new #1 contender. We stan a prince.
    2. Buddy Murphy (#1 last week) — Unfortunately, Murphy's big run isn't amounting to much until next week, when he faces Mark Andrews.
    3. Tony Nese (#2 last week) — Nese's little Cinderella run is over for now, but he's still got a spot in the main event scene.
    4. Cedric Alexander (no movement) — So Cedric doesn't get his rematch just yet, but he's got his hands full. I guess he's not messing with Lio Rush just yet.
    5. Mike Kanellis (no movement) — When the self-proclaimed CruiserGreat is asking you for help, you know you're doing all right.
    6. Lucha House Party (#8 last week) — Gran Metalik reestablishes his dominance, but is the latest victim to TJP's mask-stealing antics.
    7. Brian Kendrick (#10 last week) — Kendrick easily dispatches his former friend Jack Gallagher, so that's something for him.
    8. TJP (#9 last week) — TJP's still making himself present and known to all, but he's just one guy against three luchadores.
    9. Lio Rush (#6 last week) — Lio Rush hasn't been in action since the five-way. Hope they don't forget about him.
    10. Drew Gulak (#7 last week) — I never thought I'd see Drew Gulak this far down in the rankings, but that's what happens when you take a backseat in a third-tier angle.
      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 (10/31/18): Here Comes A New Challenger Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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