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    Thursday, December 8, 2016

    Live From The 205 (12/06/16): Three Is Never A Crowd

    With two showings down pat, 205 Live has already set down the foundation for standards and expectations on the most exciting hour in sports entertainment.

    This week showcased the main selling points of 205 Live to the WWE Universe: 
    (1) the willingness to build the Cruiserweight division around three men: the apparent CWC herald, TJ Perkins; the reliable veteran, Brian Kendrick; and the personification of the today's Cruiserweight era, Rich Swann; 
    (2) the gold mine that they have with their commentary team of Mauro Ranallo, Corey Graves, and Austin Aries, who are able to meld the unique play-by-play, creative insight, and character work in their announcing. 

    With both of these things in play, one can only expect great stories to be told both inside the ring and out.

    After a strange transition from the culmination of the CWC, TJP has gotten the short end on the stick, even during his reign as champ. While he has been getting his RAW ring time, the creative fumbles have somehow left his character lost in the shuffle, at least until prior to being used as the bane for TBK's loss last week. 

    We see him this week sitting on commentary for the main event and trying his best to remind people of his past achievements. However, it seems TJ has channeled his inner James Ingram because every time he tried to make a point, he only seemed to be overpowered by Mauro's insistence on calling the match in-ring and Aries' chewing him out on the mic. 

    TJP: Don't disrespect Rich Swann
    AA: I wasn't disrespecting him, I was disrespecting you.

    Of course, this week's championship rematch from last week only proved that these main event talents are getting over with the fans, reviving a crowd that was silent the entire night. With the finish involving TJP actually participating in the action, from both as an unknowing distraction to TBK to accidental superkicking Swann's head off, the right seeds have been planted for a championship Triple Threat match on the RAW-exclusive PPV, Roadblock: End of the Line.

    Aside from the solid main event, the rest of the card looked promising—in more ways than one.

    The first match of the night featured the 205 Live debuts of young lion Noam Dar and fan favorite Cedric Alexander, who surprisingly, is now coupled with Alicia Fox.

    It was a stark contrast of styles with Dar's good technical grappling and methodical pacing against Alexander's creative athletics coupled with stiff striking. Cedric Alexander has shown great flashes of wrestling skill, but this match just did not highlight his strengths. Perhaps he did not just have the look for a face in peril as he commands more as a domineering powerhouse or must be Dar's unimposing upper hand (pun intended) in this match, either way, it was a strange match-up between both foes.

    Dar ended it with a Kinshasa-like running knee and a call-out to Cedric's new "girlfriend," Alicia Fox. This won't be the last time we see these two together, but we hope the story between Alexander and Fox unfolds further, and how Noam Dar will figure in all this.

    The Ariya Daivari and Jack Gallagher match-up has been featured twice, both in last week's 205 Live debut and this week's RAW. Having them face-off again for this week felt contrived, despite the best effort of these guys. Although they featured a slight wrinkle with Ariya's mean streak in attacking Jacky Boy's knee and having him win finally with a Persian Lion frog splash, it just wasn't as refreshing a take as they are making it out to be. For the pizzazz and flip-floppy nature of Jack Gallagher, he needs to be kept fresh in the eyes of the WWE Universe to avoid the risk of him simply being a novelty act. 


    Live Jives:
    • The lingering question of how RAW figures in the universal scope of 205 Live has finally been answered as we saw earlier this week some progression in the stories between Swann/Perkins and Gallagher/Daivari. Unfortunately though, despite giving them time to milk the stories, the roster for this three-match show is 16-men deep and if you feature the same 4-5 guys from the previous night on RAW, the milk could go sour real quick. 
    • The crowd being dead is alarming. Could it be the lack of high-flying moves mainstream audiences are used to or the lack of a crowd at all? Some reports state that the home crowd of Houston, Texas filed out of the arena right after SmackDown Live which left patches of empty seats for the Cruiserweight showcase. Rumors are swirling that they might switch 205 Live to a pre-SmackDown Live timeslot, but we hope that the lack of audience members are isolated cases and not a case of wrestling fatigue.
    • Speaking of styles, is it possible that 205-pounders and below are the only ones flexible with their respective wrestling styles? Strong, technical, lucha libre, each Cruiserweight has at least a couple of style sets they feature compared to the mainstream show wrestlers.
    • Also, me needs me some luchadores!
    • Ouchie of the Night: Cedric's Spinning Back Elbow. Nasty.
    • Commentary Gold Line of the Night:  Mauro Ranallo: Isn't that the greatest word in our language? Modified.
    • Despite some lulls, 205 Live has shown flashes of NXT-level potential and has got me looking forward for next week. I give this week's episode a solid B.

    Quick Results:

    Noam Dar defeats Cedric Alexander via Running Knee Strike
    Ariya Daivari defeats Jack Gallagher via Persian Lion Frog Splash
    Rich Swann retains the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Brian Kendrick via Spinning Roundhouse Kick

    Photos from WWE.com


    Lynch Imbat (@imbatlynchis a marketing guy by profession. Unsure if it were the plastic chair shots to the head, pro wrestling has altered his ways of understanding the intricacies of the world through finely crafted storylines and savagely fought feuds. Now that he has found a community of wrestling marks, he continues to learn and understand more while sharing his own views about wrestling.
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    Item Reviewed: Live From The 205 (12/06/16): Three Is Never A Crowd Rating: 5 Reviewed By: The Village Nerds
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