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    Thursday, July 5, 2018

    Live From the 205 (7/3/18): What Do You Get When You Give Your Heart?

    How do you kill the Heart of 205 Live? As Buddy Murphy found out for himself, you may have to literally stab the guy, because anything short of an actual murder isn't going to stop him.

    It's a lean, streamlined episode of the show this week, all to give the big no-disqualification climax between these two top-tier guys a lot of time. It's your typical paint-by-numbers WWE-style street fight, in which the guys use very few weapons and hardcore spots in favor of some main event-level storytelling. And boy, does it deliver.

    At this point, Buddy Murphy and Mustafa Ali may both be the AJ Styles of the division. Put them in a match against anyone and they'll make it instantly watchable; Ali with his ridiculous athleticism, ability to make everyone look good, top-level pacing, and genuine charisma, and Murphy with his relentless, almost superhuman intensity. You know you're that good when you're able to convert a crowd who doesn't want to see any more stair spots, turning their "no more stairs" into "holy shits." 

    I don't care what you say—this is the WWE's first ever stairs match, not that other one with the Big Show on that throwaway PPV.

    So with a clean win over archnemesis Buddy Murphy, where does Mustafa Ali go from here exactly? The sheer determination to withstand all the punishment the big bad Aussie brought, and actually beat him, places him squarely in the top ranks. What's next? If you pay attention closely, the fact that we're getting a Cruiserweight Championship match next week between Cedric Alexander and Hideo Itami may be telling. If we're really going where all the signs are pointing, then Hideo may be winning next week so Ali could challenge and avenge his loss from two weeks ago.

    I don't think it's far-fetched, because I think we've reached the wall for this current Cedric Alexander run. It's given us a bunch of good matches in the past three months, but I wouldn't mind 205 Live getting shaken up again, what with Ali getting more and more popular every week. As Ali's finding out, you get what you give—and when you give your heart, the universe can be kind to you.

    205 Live 7/3/18 Grade: Much of the undercard was sacrificed for the big main event, but it was worth it. A-

    Short stops

    • I don't mind the quick TJP loss—obviously it's not going to be the end of the story yet—but surely they could've chosen someone better than Noam Dar? Last time I saw him, which was last week, the Scottish Supernova was ducking out as the Coffeys were destroying Flash Morgan Webster, Mark Andrews, and Travis Banks. Even though he looks ripped as hell now, you could hear crickets when he came out. It's not that Noam is terrible or anything, but he didn't really leave any good will before his injury, so the rub could've been given to anyone who was an actual, clear-cut babyface, like a Mark Andrews (who is also back, by the way). Then again, I doubt Omaha would've cheered for anyone else either.
    • I did like TJ's promo. He has a point—Drake Maverick chooses all the opponents, so how is tonight any different from all the other nights TJP was facing random jobbers?
    • That's a beautiful running enzuigiri from Noam, and is in no way a knee to the jaw.
    • That said, since Akira Tozawa faced a jobber the same way TJP likes to complain about, I think it's time that GMDM actually comes out and explains exactly why he feeds local competitors to the 205 Live roster. They already do a good job of explaining the little things, so it could be as simple as he's continually giving anyone who wants a shot opportunities to be on the roster. (Especially when some of the local guys in the past couple of weeks aren't bad-looking.) I know it's implied, but it would really help the TJ storyline if he explicitly said it.
    • I'm g for this Akira Tozawa/Lio Rush feud. Tozawa could really use Titus Worldwide backup on this, though—imagine the interactions between Titus and Lio. Lio's the kind of guy Titus should be trying to sign, too.
    • I know it was covered in the weekly Drake Maverick rundown to open the show, but this WWE.com exclusive segment should've made it on this week's episode. It's, what, only over a minute, and they could've afforded to shave that time from the main event. You need segments like this on the show, instead of on WWE.com or YouTube where people have to scrounge them up, if you have a big match like the title match next week. The champion needs to be on the show as much as possible. (Watch how Dasha gets out of dodge real quick, completely telegraphing the physical stuff that comes afterward.)

    205 Live Rankings as of 7/5/18

    The rotating format of 205 Live, while beneficial to the wrestlers because everyone gets time now, is forcing the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme to work overtime.
    1. Cedric Alexander (no movement) — Cedric WANTS TO FIGHT ITAMI AND WANTS TO FIGHT HIM NOW.
    2. Hideo Itami (no movement) — Can he make Cedric show him some respect? Tune in next week to find out!
    3. Mustafa Ali (#4 last week) — Mustafa moves back up to his old spot after beating Buddy Murphy, but he also may have to deal with a victorious Drew Gulak from last week.
    4. Drew Gulak (#3 last week) — If there's going to be a new chase for the #1 contendership, Gulak shouldn't be missing out on it. 
    5. Buddy Murphy (no movement) — Luckily doesn't drop at all after taking a big loss to Mustafa Ali. You can thank the fluctuating cruiserweight midcard for that.
    6. Akira Tozawa (#9 last week) — Jumps up after a win against his very own local competitor, and gearing up for a new feud with Lio Rush.
    7. Lio Rush (no movement) — Lio Rush sticks around just by showing up for the second straight week in a row. Wow! What is he, a main eventer?
    8. Noam Dar (new) — The Scottish Supernova returns to 205 Live and shocks the world with an upset win over TJP.
    9. Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher (#6 last week) — This is what happens when the show rotates its players every other week; when people don't show up, they drop.
    10. Lucha House Party (no movement) — The cruiserweight locker room is getting a little crowded now, so I have to lump in the Lucha House Party together as they don't seem to be parting ways any time soon.
      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 (7/3/18): What Do You Get When You Give Your Heart? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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