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    Saturday, February 9, 2019

    Live From the 205 (2/5/19): #StaminaMonsterBack

    This whole Cruiserweight-Championship-matches-on-every-PPV setup is a double-edged sword.

    On one hand, it's great that 205 Live gets represented every month. Lord knows they need more eyes on the product, and if getting on every kickoff is the way to do that and showcase the hard work the cruiserweights put in every week, I'm all for it.

    On the other hand, the show definitely loses the charm it's built up from not having to adhere to the monthly cycle. Around this time last year, as Cedric Alexander mentioned, 205 Live was having a long-ass tournament for the vacant Cruiserweight Championship. Marking special weekly episodes where the champion could defend on TV made sure everyone got into the rotation at least once a month.

    Now having to work toward a PPV match every month hurts a big part of the roster, specifically those who aren't exactly in championship contention. It looks like the show's now permanently in the two-match format, and while it's the most optimal use of the broadcast, it does mean a lot of people have to sit on the sidelines for a lot longer. When's the last time you saw Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher in action? Did you know TJP hasn't competed in 2019 yet, two months into the year? I even miss the middle-segment local competitor squash matches, because they at least used to remind the crowd of certain people's presence.

    Running on their own schedule also meant that the show could follow their own pace when it comes to stories. The contracted timeline is most evident in this week's main event, with an elimination fatal four-way match to determine the new #1 contender to Buddy Murphy (in two weeks, mind you). Cedric Alexander gets to be in that match despite already losing in the title bout at Royal Rumble, and not even appearing last week.

    At least Akira Tozawa has a win over Hideo Itami to go on, Lio Rush is always on RAW, and Humberto Carrillo has also won recently. But Cedric? He's got nothing, and is, unfortunately, the most head-scratching inclusion in this contendership match. It could've easily been Kalisto, and had the show gotten more time to give Cedric something, anything to sensibly place him in contention, I wouldn't be picking bones.

    The good wrestling makes up for it, at the very least, and Akira Tozawa is a nice choice for a seemingly run-of-the-mill defense for Buddy Murphy. I can't help but wonder if this is them showing Hideo Itami what he could've gotten, but at the same time, Tozawa proved in this match why he deserved the shot. The Stamina Monster is back—Vic Joseph even used the nickname, one I haven't heard in so long—and it's gonna be a whole lot of fun.

    205 Live 2/5/19 Final Grade: Despite another crawling Mike Kanellis loss to start the show, it wasn't bad, and the main event may very well be the show's first must-watch match of the year. A-

    Short stops

    • Okay, so where is the Mike Kanellis angle heading? Losing streak stories work best for sympathetic babyfaces, not heels the crowd doesn't really get behind. Are the Kanellises leaving and is this their punishment? What exactly is the payoff going to be, and why should we (meaning the ordinary viewer) be invested in Mike Kanellis finally turning the corner?
    • Excellent Celine Dion reference by Nigel McGuinness there. Inserted it seamlessly, even.
    • So let me get this straight: Drake Maverick doesn't want to reward Tony Nese's actions, but he gives in to Noam Dar anyway... and makes it a No DQ match. He didn't really have to go there, but he did—and doesn't that give Tony Nese what he wants, too? If they were gonna go there I wish they just did an unsanctioned match a la Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa so that DM could wash his hands off it, and I don't care if the feud isn't big enough. Just make it make sense.
    • I was half-expecting Gulak and Gallagher to come out during the main event to cost Carrillo the match after that segment, but I guess they're burning this story slowly. That's cool.
    • That was an excellent Ariya Daivari promo. The truth is their breakup was too early (it doesn't really make sense for Daivari to get that frustrated when they only started teaming a couple of months ago) but of course, circumstances forced it. I think he's doing fine so far.
    • Sad to see Lio Rush go out of the match first. He was already the only heel in it, and he had to suffer the indignity of being the first casualty. I still say Gulak and Gallagher should've interfered.
    • I think Cedric slipped for real in the springboard spot there and tweaked his knee for real, but I'm glad it seemed to be fine enough for him to finish the match.
    • Is it just me, or have I not seen this Akira Tozawa since the Cruiserweight Classic? Perfect time for him to look like that again, making him a more than credible challenger for Buddy Murphy.

    205 Live Rankings as of 2/9/19

    In a post-Hideo Itami world, how do the rankings look like? Which teams will be ranked solo again? The Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme has answers!
    1. Akira Tozawa (#3 last week) — Tozawa beats a living legend, and becomes #1 contender in the span of two weeks? Sign us up!
    2. Buddy Murphy (#1 last week) — Murphy drops down one spot by virtue of sitting on the sidelines, but I suspect we'll see him in action again next week.
    3. Brian Kendrick (no movement) — Funnily enough, stays in this spot thanks to a nice win over Mike Kanellis.
    4. Cedric Alexander (#4 last week) — A Cedric Alexander apparently has enough pull to be considered for a title shot even after losing one. Cool.
    5. Humberto Carrillo (#6 last week) — Did just fine in his opportunity, but the two vets brought their A-game as well.
    6. Lucha House Party (#2 last week) — The House Party drops down more than a few spots after they didn't show up this week.
    7. Lio Rush (new) — The Man of the Hour finds himself in a good spot—perhaps it's because of his exposure on RAW every week?
    8. Mike Kanellis (#7 last week) — Another week, another loss for the Opportunist. When will he collect the W?
    9. Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher (#10 last week) — Manages to at least wrestle on NXT despite sitting on the sidelines in 205 Live. And hey, is also present every week.
    10. Noam Dar (new) — Also manages to wrestle on NXT UK, and is good to go against Tony Nese next week.
      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 (2/5/19): #StaminaMonsterBack Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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