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    Sunday, June 17, 2018

    Live From the 205 (6/12/18): World War 205

    I've often found that some of the best championship stories arise from when more than one person stakes a claim to a shot. I don't know, there's just something about a rogues gallery of challengers coming for a title.

    These either happen in the absence of an undeniably strong contender or in the presence of many deserving candidates. In the case of 205 Live, which has been trying to pull off a teetering balancing act every week of building up as many people as it can in an hour, there's a lot to go around. Cedric Alexander's long proved himself worthy of the purple championship around his waist, but so has both Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy, and as well as in a roundabout way, Hideo Itami.

    Which is why the current storyline between these three guys hovering around Cedric's title gives me more than a bit of joy. Having them orbit the championship scene means that the creative handling 205 Live is definitely paying attention to all of them, and in doing so, maximizing the division's deep roster.

    And speaking of maximizing the roster, all of this means 205 Live can utilize bit players again, like Buddy Murphy's "training partner" (is that what they're calling it now?) Tony Nese to go up against a vengeful Mustafa Ali. It's been a while since we last saw the Premiere Athlete wrestle on the show, so it's good that they've been subtly and slowly building up their partnership for this to make sense.

    The only thing left for the show to do now is to involve Akira Tozawa as well, foiling his former friend Hideo Itami's plans to make an impact at the expense of everyone else. I think it only makes sense given how their feud seemingly ended, and helps tie in a secondary/tertiary storyline into the bigger picture surrounding the championship. You get the added benefit of continuing to tell a nuanced story that shouldn't have ended yet, and giving some more meaningful exposure to a guy who deserves more than squashing local competitors. It's all about being hardworking.

    After a dragging summer for the champ Cedric Alexander, things are starting to look up for 205 Live. Sure, it's still pretty formulaic—it feels like they're slowly running out of ideas and slipping back into the trap of what the show was late last year—but the more guys you involve up top, the more space you have to work with in the midcard. Not every week is going to be a home run, but it's looking to be more consistent in the coming episodes.

    205 Live 6/12/18 Grade: The real highlight of this week's episode is the six-man tag that I hope is the climax to the Lucha House Party/No Fly Zone feud. Everything else was mostly coasting. B+

    Short stops

    • The Lucha House Party/No Fly Zone match makes a pretty strong case for why there should be a Cruiserweight Trios Championship instead of a Tag Team Championship, at the risk of being accused of ripping off Lucha Underground. But hey, intertextuality.
    • The finish to the six-man tag is asking for a bit of mental gymnastics from the viewer. Lucha House Party are faces, so they shouldn't be cheating to win. The key to justifying this is in Percy Watson's reaction: Gulak, Kendrick, and Gallagher have been trying to cheat to beat the LHP this whole time, so why shouldn't they get a taste of their own medicine, right? A babyface like Percy is pretty hypocritical to support this move, so they've done a lot of idea seeding to make it seem like it's only right to use the heels' own tricks. We're slowly breaking down what it means to be a babyface, and I guess the real question is whether it's right to do so in the first place. Should a face really be advocating cheating to beat the bad guys? Is it better to advocate for a moral instead of an actual victory? So many things to unpack from a simple booking decision they probably didn't even think about.
    • Wait, I just realized: Dorado cheating means this may not be over yet.
    • Akira Tozawa deserves better than this. Honestly, if he just followed around trying to foil Itami's plans of messing with other people, it would make a lot more sense. I would rather use the second slot to advance TJP's "The Decision" storyline.
    • They're using Lio Rush's real-life lack of judgment as a gimmick, and I dig it. At worst he's going to be a much better Enzo, at best he's going to quickly be a top heel on the show.
    • It's official: Mustafa Ali only has one light-up mask, and he gave it away to the person who needed it. What a true hero. Eid Mubarak, Mustafa.
    • Good use of Cedric in this match; before he came out I was really starting to worry that they didn't use him on the show again.
    • Drake Maverick is really easy to persuade, but then again, he's making the no-brainer decisions. I like that they're still booking him to make tough decisions like banning Itami from this week's episode, but I want to see him interact with the whole roster like he did during the Cruiserweight Championship tournament and the time after it. That Drake Maverick, the GM that seemed to be involved with his whole roster, looked really good. Why doesn't he respond to TJP's threats? Why doesn't he give more pep talks to the less visible cruiserweights? Use him!

    205 Live Rankings as of 6/17/18

    The chaos surrounding the Cruiserweight Championship has the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme working overtime!
    1. Cedric Alexander (no movement) — Cedric's back to back up his homeboy, and it's a nice show of force by the Cruiserweight Champion.
    2. Mustafa Ali (#4 last week) — Ali comes up to #2 with a good win over Murphy's sidekick Tony Nese.
    3. Buddy Murphy (no movement) — Murphy doesn't get a chance to retaliate this week, so he stays put where he is.
    4. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik (#6 last week) — The Lucha House Party proved that they weren't just Kalisto's muchachos, with Dorado scoring the pin for their team. 
    5. Kalisto (#9 last week) — Jumps up the rankings with a huge win over Kendrick, Gallagher, and Gulak with his Lucha House Party amigos.
    6. Hideo Itami (#7 last week)  — Continues to be the talk of the town. Hey, if everyone's booking around you, you must be doing something right.
    7. Drew Gulak (#2 last week) — Gulak suffers the biggest fall after losing the six-man tag to Lucha House Party. He shouldn't be stuck in this story.
    8. Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher (#5 last week) — See Drew Gulak.
    9. Akira Tozawa (new) — Returns to the rankings by defeating a jobber.
    10. Tony Nese (no movement) — Nese wrestles a hard-fought match but falls short to the Heart of 205 Live. At least he's figuring in this storyline.
      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 (6/12/18): World War 205 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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