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    Saturday, November 24, 2018

    Live From the 205 (11/21/18): Building Blocks

    Mustafa Ali lost against Buddy Murphy at Survivor Series in a solid title match (which hopefully drives more viewers to 205 Live), but the show wastes no time setting up the next chapter of the story.

    Tony Nese reappears on the show after a few weeks to set up a tag team main event between the Hardbody Lovers against Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali, and if this isn't a sign of the show finally building not a cruiserweight tag team division (which Murphy hinted at during his backstage interview) but a conference around the Cruiserweight Championship, I don't know what is.

    I've long maintained that the division has way too many guys to keep trudging along with a revolving door of challengers for the title. It's what made Cedric's reign a little too dull in its six long months, and it's what kept a lot of the budding guys back from helping to carry the show. The more you involve people in championship chases—of course, in stories that make sense as well—the more interesting it becomes. Then you can start whittling down the title scene every now and then to the two most compelling people before expanding again. It just has to be clear exactly who can play at the top.

    Right now there are no better people than Buddy Murphy, Mustafa Ali, and Cedric Alexander to revolve around the title. (Sorry, Tony, but they've really done you dirty, so you're still a slightly glorified sidekick to Buddy.) I'm interested to see where all of this goes (and whether my theory of a Cedric Alexander heel turn still holds up, because I can sense the faint rumblings) through the end of the year. I like it even more after realizing this status quo definitely leaves the other guys more opportunities on the show.

    I keep repeating this, but I'm mainly talking to those who have a hard time keeping up with 205 Live every week: watch this show. You want good wrestling on the main roster? The backstory of why guys like Ali and Murphy are fighting on Survivor Series? Watch this show. You won't regret it.

    205 Live 11/21/18 Final Grade: The cooldown episode from Survivor Series and last week's Cedric/Lio Rush match isn't bad at all, especially when they've already started building on the latest developments involving the title. Nese/Dar is a must-watch match in an episode that's a solid and respectable B.

    Short stops

    • Turns out Noam Dar is actually still a member of the cruiserweight division despite showing up on NXT UK a lot more recently, and they actually address this. At this point, if it's canon that Noam is splitting time between 205 Live and NXT UK, why not have guys like Mark Andrews, Jordan Devlin (ugh), Ligero, and Tyler Bate on too?
    • God damn were these two firing on all cylinders this week. Noam could be a great face to build on even though he's already filling this role on NXT UK, and Nese continues to prove why his start-and-stop booking is a terrible idea.
    • Nope, there were no references to Drake Maverick's weak bladder on this show. I suppose whoever's running 205 creative isn't happy about their general manager being made to act like a dog on RAW.
    • A decent promo from Mustafa Ali selling the disappointment he feels over losing at Survivor Series, but I wonder how much his current almost-there booking is dampening his spirits. Or if creative itself is toning down the production value of his promos. Bring back badass Mustafa video promos.
    • It is incredibly weird to see Brian Kendrick turn into a full-on face and go along with Akira Tozawa's barking. What I liked about his face turn is that it seemed that he would keep his edge while fighting against his villainous former friends, and this development throws a bucket of water over all of that. I udnerstand that the story had to be how Kendrick and Tozawa would start to get along as a team while fighting against a common enemy, but I was really hoping for a straight man-comic foil dynamic between the two. I think this one's a big miss.
    • Oh hey, Hideo Itami's coming back soon! I hope the break was good for him.
    • I felt like the chemistry between TJP and Gran Metalik was slightly off this week, and it's a shame considering the incredible Cruiserweight Classic final they had a couple of weeks ago. I wonder if it's the TV environment affecting them, but I hope they come back to us with an even better match.
    • I won't lie, Maria's heel work was incredibly effective here; I really thought there was some #MeToo stuff going on, but I should've known better that it was gonna be a distraction for an attack by Mike Kanellis and Dolores the steel chair. With this, I'm ready for the show to wrap up this feud with a huge tag match, preferably with no disqualifications.

    205 Live Rankings as of 11/1/18

    After what happened at Survivor Series and this week's episode, does the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme detect any changes?
    1. Buddy Murphy (no movement) — The Juggernaut succesfully defends the title at the PPV and has his boy Tony Nese win against a returning Noam Dar. It's a good week for Buddy Murphy.
    2. Mustafa Ali (#3 last week) — Ali ekes out his #2 spot with a strong performance at Survivor Series, even if he fell short.
    3. Cedric Alexander (#2 last week) — Cedric goes back down with no match this week, but he'll have a chance to build a new winning streak with a tag match alongside Mustafa against Buddy and Tony.
    4. Lucha House Party (no movement) — Lucha House Party retain their spot in the top four with a pin by Gran Metalik over TJP. Oh, and by appearing on the Survivor Series pre-show too as part of Team RAW Tag Teams.
    5. Tony Nese (#7 last week) — Nese needs to be on every episode to try to be on his buddy Murphy's level. Especialy after a match like that against Noam Dar.
    6. Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa (#9 last week) — Yes, I have to start bunching these two together now. A win against some local competitors means they're starting to gel together, but the true test will be against Gulak and Gallagher.
    7. Mike Kanellis (#8 last week) — Kanellis's jump against the Lucha House Party earns him one spot for reminding us of his cunning.
    8. Lio Rush (#5 last week) — Rush drops down after not being seen following his match against Cedric Alexander, and I kind of wish they got a video promo from him just reestablishing his heat.
    9. TJP (#10 last week) — TJP almost takes a win, but manages to let it slip through his fingers. A solid performance from him, though, despite the loss.
    10. Noam Dar (new) — The Scottish Supernova's back on the list after a long while out, but he'll need a more consistent presence on the show to stay here.
      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 (11/21/18): Building Blocks Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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