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    Sunday, November 22, 2020

    Live From the 205 (11/20/20): A Few Suggestions

    Ashante "Thee" Adonis and Tony Nese on WWE 205 Live


    Last week on 205 Live, Curt Stallion won a Fatal Five-Way to become the new #1 contender to Santos Escobar's (interim) NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Not only did the title match not happen this week, but we don't actually know when it's going to happen. My suggestion is that since it's two weeks away, just do it on NXT Takeover: WarGames 2020.

    Give me a better Adonis

    This week's main event, for some reason, was Ashante "Thee" Adonis versus Tony Nese. If you follow this review column at all (and if you do, thank you) you'd already know how I feel about both guys. I'm tired of Tony Nese's never-evolving character, while Ashante feels unready for TV to me. Surprisingly, however, this match was better than I expected.

    While Nese just did Nese, I got to get a little more insight on how Ashante operates in the ring. I'd like to say I get why he's on TV now despite not being a finished product yet. He's smooth and energetic, and he's got the vibe of a young John Cena or Roman Reigns—reliable enough to deliver on the basics, but not much else. If you watch him closely, you'll see that he works too much like a generic Create-a-Wrestler, down to his uninspiring finish of a superkick... in 2020.

    Some of you who watch NJPW could probably say that he isn't different from a Young Boy/Lion, whose movesets and looks are limited by tradition. Problem is, Young Boys at least carry the impression of being fighters—Ashante's presentation implies something else, something better, but his work hasn't kept up. I don't see flashes of personality or strategy in the moves he's chosen.

    It also doesn't help that being a generic wrestler will make you stick out really bad on a show like 205 Live. The cruiserweight label carries a connotation of being able to "go" in the ring. Even Ariya Daivari, arguably the most "WWE" wrestler in the division, can turn it up in third acts.

    How do we fix it, then? My suggestion is to throw Ashante some help. If he can't be a heel, a singles run isn't what he needs right now; throw him in a tag team and have him develop a cohesive style. Tanga Loa of NJPW used to be Camacho in WWE, and his work was generic as hell being a product of WWE developmental—it's safe to say he's much better now after teaming with his brother as the Guerrillas of Destiny. If Ashante's going to work like a relatively heavier cruiserweight, have him figure that out so he can distinguish himself from the rest.

    I'm sure he's a nice dude. I'm even willing to say he's got something—or else the WWE wouldn't even put him in this position to begin with. He just needs to figure it out some more.

    Feed the tag team division

    The other match on this week's 205 Live card is a tag team match between the Bollywood Boyz and Ever-Rise. It was fun, and the Boyz get to prove to doubters why they have jobs in the WWE. I just meant the whole thing meant more, because I've always thought tag teams were somewhat out of place on a show about the cruiserweight division.

    If you've stayed with this column for years, you'd know a few years ago that there were small rumors of a Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship being tossed around. That never came to fruition (and it was a good idea not to) but it was logical—there were a lot of guys in the division, and there were even teams. Now it doesn't make sense anymore to have tag teams, because the only thing to fight for is a singles title.

    Now, hear me out: since 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Championship are now part of NXT, why couldn't we just have cruiserweight tag team matches count toward whatever rankings exist for the NXT Tag Team Championship division? 

    It's not hard to make it make sense; your current NXT Tag Team Champions are guys who were on 205 Live only as recently as a few months ago. Have cruiserweight tag teams duke it out on 205 Live, then pit them against heavyweight tag teams on NXT, and if they pass muster, have them challenge for the titles. 205 Live needs to have more impact on the brand it's on, and this is such an easy way to do it.

    All I want is for 205 Live to have a substantial place in the WWE pantheon. It used to have one, as all shows do, back when it was new. It's not hard to make it great again.

    205 Live 11/20/20 Final Grade: B

    Photo from WWE

    *****

    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor-in-Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Wrestling-Wrestling Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in advertising. 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, and he likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account.

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    Item Reviewed: Live From the 205 (11/20/20): A Few Suggestions Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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