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    Thursday, April 4, 2019

    Live From the 205 (4/2/19): The Lukewarm Send-Off

    205 Live's biggest match of the year is gonna be this Sunday, and once again, the show seems to have its priorities all mixed up.

    The big confrontation between Tony Nese and Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy happened in the middle of the show, with the big impactful exclamation point going on before a Mike Kanellis and Akira Tozawa main event. Sure, the show ended with a video package that nicely recapped the past two weeks of Murphy and Nese's abridged feud, but how is that better than ending with the visual of a Running Nese to Murphy's face?

    Don't get me wrong—Kanellis and Tozawa had one hell of a match. I've actually got something to say about it later. But Nese/Murphy is your annual representative to WrestleMania this year, and I don't feel like they're treating it that way. If the fact that Nese stood tall over Buddy didn't already make it plain, this unusual treatment of the feud gives away the plan for Murphy to retain once again.

    Of course, 205 Live could very well be the one to break that age-old pro wrestling convention. Shocking the universe because they've got space to shock the universe is what they do. But I think some occasions just call for a straight up, full-glossy hyping worthy of the biggest show of the year. They've already set an unspoken rule that 205 Live must always have a good match, but this go-home episode would've been the best time to break that rule for maximum effect: end with the Nese/Murphy confrontation, punctuating it with the knee to the face and point to the sign. Poor Tony already pointed at it like he was closing the damn show.

    This feud already started too late, so one would expect them to pull out all the stops in the two and a half weeks they had to build it. That didn't really happen—they tried, but I personally didn't think it wasn't enough. They did Tony really dirty here, so the endgame better be him pulling the hometown upset. Otherwise, why break them up at all?

    205 Live 4/2/19 Final Grade: The two matches we had were quite good, no questions about it. But this could've been a better go-home show. B+

    Short stops

    • Really dug heel Oney, with his smashmouth style befitting the turn. It helps that Kalisto is a savvy and adaptable-enough vet to put Oney's style over.
    • I felt like Drake Maverick was missing one more point in his explanation to Cedric Alexander. Yes, it makes sense on its face that Drake wants Cedric 100%, but when you break it down a little further the logic kinda falls short. The cruiserweights wrestle once a week if they're lucky, so wouldn't they already be at 100% by the time Tuesday night rolls around? Why does Oney get a match when he lost more than Cedric did? 
    • The security Brian Kendrick brought with him worked, allowing karma to get back at the Kanellises. That makes sense to me, but maybe he should've won a little more before it came back around?
    • I'll say it: 205 Live has the finest pure wrestling action on the main roster, but matches need to be a little shorter—or, rather, the two-match episode format should be more special than it is now. The TV matches are great. There's no disputing that; it's a great way for the more underrated talents on the entire WWE roster to get a ton of shine whenever they're on. But that means the show's revolving door is real, and a lot of guys end up getting shelved for a while.

      And it leads to slightly unsustainably long matches on the show. A match like Tozawa/Kanellis, one that myself and the live audience really liked, could have been shaved a few minutes shorter. Same goes for Oney/Kalisto. We could've gotten a third match that showcased someone else instead of having to wait the next week for the others to get their turn. In short, with a roster like that, I need 205 Live to be structured more like the NXTs. I'm not asking for the three-segment match-squash-match format that they loved doing in 2017 and 2018; I just want them to be able to manage their air and ring time a little more efficiently so everyone gets on the show. That's all.

    205 Live Rankings As of 4/4/19

    How does the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme rank the cruiserweight division a few days before WrestleMania?
    1. Tony Nese (no movement) — Nese remains atop the ladder after another strong week, but this doesn't bode well for his actual chances at WrestleMania.
    2. Buddy Murphy (no movement) — Buddy tried to clown his ex-buddy Tony, but ended up getting clowned himself for the second straight week. That only means he's being primed to head back to the top, though.
    3. Mike Kanellis (no movement) — Normally a loss like that would've bumped Mike down, but I'll settle with not moving a spot. It helps that the other cruiserweights didn't see much action.
    4. Oney Lorcan (#9 last week) — Oney jumps five spots up after that dominant win against Kalisto.
    5. Akira Tozawa (#10 last week) — Tozawa also rebounds far thanks to his huge win this week, but that leaves him open to a rubber match.
    6. Lucha House Party (#4 last week) — The Party will be headed to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but other than that, Kalisto lost.
    7. Ariya Daivari (#5 last week) — No-show on the show this week.
    8. Cedric Alexander (#6 last week) — Couldn't get a match on the show thanks to Drake. You know, I feel like there's a budding rivalry in here somewhere.
    9. Humberto Carrillo (#7 last week) — See Ariya Daivari.
    10. Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher (#8 last week) — See Ariya Daivari.

    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 (4/2/19): The Lukewarm Send-Off Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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