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    Sunday, December 16, 2018

    Live From the 205 (12/12/18): The One Before The Title Match At TLC

    Yeah, the best way to describe an episode is to go with the Friends format.

    205 Live returned to its meaty two-match episode layout just for the go-home show, and I gotta say it's the best way to build up intrigue and really muddy up the potential outcome of the title match at TLC. Give both men one match to build momentum for the PPV, and of course they both win. There's a small, small window at the very end of the episode for Cedric Alexander to stand tall over Buddy Murphy, but I gotta say it's anyone's ball game right now.

    So let's take a look at the two different scenarios that could come out of TLC:
    • Buddy Murphy ends up retaining. This is honestly the best and easiest scenario they could go for here, because there's still space for so many different permutations surrounding the Cruiserweight Championship picture left to be explored. You could still have a triple threat with Cedric and Mustafa Ali (I mean, what are these two defenses for if they're not building up to this?) or include Tony Nese for the logical four-way. The Buddy Murphy reign still has considerable potential.
    • Cedric Alexander wins the championship. If there's anything I can't fault 205 Live for, it's by putting in the hard work and trying to make a compelling case for someone like Cedric. Ever since losing the title at Super Show-Down in October, the guy's had to take the roundabout way to get his title shot back, and despite standing tall at the end of this week's episode, there's still a good chance Cedric could win just off the hero's journey.

      Obviously, this is the scenario I don't want to see. As you'll read in the short stop notes later, there just isn't much left to mine in another babyface Cedric reign. The only way I'll support it is if it signals the beginning of a slow-burn heel turn, especially with a more popular babyface in Mustafa Ali in the mix. (The guy gets to be on SmackDown, for crying out loud!) 
    That said, my official prediction for TLC is Buddy Murphy shuts down Cedric Alexander for the second straight match. I'm just not feeling good about it, though, but I guess we'll see.

    205 Live 12/12/18 Final Grade: Finally, an episode I could root for again! A two-matcher always means there's a good bit of exposition in the middle, and it did not fail to deliver. Matches were hyped and questions were answered. This week's 205 Live gets a solid A.

    Short stops

    • Gotta give props to Gran Metalik's OG Sin Cara colorway. I wonder who else caught this attention-grabbing blue-gold scheme, because no one else other than Mistico Cara wears it.
    • I didn't know Noam Dar was injured again. Tough break, as I really wanted to see Buddy Murphy go up against him. The match with Gran Metalik was great by any means, even the better one between the two matches in this episode, but I was excited to see how two similar styles would have matched up with one another.
    • Murphy gave Metalik so much that Nigel wasn't kidding when he said he thought Metalik had the match at some points. That's the mark of a good bout.
    • Speaking of commentary, Vic Joseph is starting to develop this annoying little habit where he starts to describe someone, then identifies them by saying "that being [NAME]." It's always "that being [NAME]." Listen closely and you'll hear it twice this episode. It's a pet peeve of mine because he's starting to rely on it, and between 205 and NXT UK I'm hearing a lot of Vic doing just that.
    • Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa are starting to become that gay couple, it seems. Perhaps the WWE's answer to the Golden Lovers.
    • I think there's a little more to Kendrick being a "changed man," given his body language and tone, so I'll keep an eye out for whatever it is. But I do like them constantly referencing Kendrick and Tozawa's history with one another, and how ironic it is that they'll be doing a street fight against Gulak and Gallagher. This is a show that remembers its past and doesn't try to erase it for the sake of convenience. Kudos to Adam Pearce and the team.
    • Tozawa gets to reference AOP losing the titles on RAW, but no one ever made jokes about Drake peeing himself???
    • Finally, the Ariya Daivari explanation I've been waiting for since a couple of weeks ago. Daivari being sidelined for seven months and seeing everyone on the show except for Hideo Itami turn into pansies is as good a reason as any for teaming up. Now I want to see Hideo mentor Daivari into becoming as brutal as he is. I do think there's something there.
    • So I dig that Lio Rush gets a "returning soon" graphic, even though it's only been three weeks since he was last seen. Not only does the show remember its past, but it also treats everyone on the roster with some respect. Hideo apparently didn't have to look very far.
    • The criticism I had with Cedric and his matches ending too abruptly still applies, and it's the reason why I thought Murphy/Metalik was a much better go-home match. It was a good battle, but poor Nese doesn't even get much of a believable near fall the way Metalik did. I don't know if it's a matter of who the agent was for this one or if it's because Nese doesn't have as many cool signatures as Metalik does, but yeah. It may seem like a silly reason, but it's one knock that makes me vote Murphy over Cedric.

    205 Live Rankings as of 12/16/18

    It's the night before TLC and the two title contenders go for matches! Mustafa Ali wrestles on SmackDown! How does the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme handle all this?
    1. Cedric Alexander (no movement) — Cedric pins Nese after a hard-fought match, and looks to be the favorite coming out of TLC. Operative word is looks.
    2. Buddy Murphy (#3 last week) — Murphy beats Gran Metalik too, but wasn't as streaky as Cedric.
    3. Mustafa Ali (#2 last week) — The Heart of 205 Live gets to tangle with the WWE Champion in a twist of fate! He didn't win, but did well enough to stay in the top three of the ranking!
    4. Lucha House Party (no movement) — LHP's been having a banner past few weeks especially being on RAW and beating Mike Kanellis and TJP last week. They're just lucky that there hasn't been much other action on 205 Live.
    5. Tony Nese (no movement) — Nese put up a good fight but doesn't get the job done against Cedric Alexander. No matter, it's good enough to keep him at #5.
    6. Ariya Daivari (#9 last week) — After a dominant win last week (albeit against a local competitor) and gaining an important new friend, Daivari makes waves and moves up the ranking.
    7. Hideo Itami (no movement) — Itami's sat out the past couple of weeks to make some space for Daivari, but where this is going is definitely interesting.
    8. Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa (new) — Kendrick and Tozawa finally seem to be on the same page, and next week's street fight will be the final test.
    9. Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher (new) — Gulak and Gallagher are still making their presence felt, but barely.
    10. TJP (no movement) — TJP stays at the bottom of the ranking after losing to Lucha House Party last week. And I really thought they were gonna get it.
      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 (12/12/18): The One Before The Title Match At TLC Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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