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    Friday, July 19, 2019

    Live From the 205 (7/16/19): The Best Wrestling This Side of the Main Roster

    You know, used to be SmackDown Live had the best wrestling on main roster television around these parts. It wasn't always perfect, but whoever was in charge of the show consistently gave the actual in-ring action enough time to shine, especially compared to RAW. (Main Event and Superstars had even more action because they concerned themselves with putting on C-list matchups, but they didn't count because Americans could never really access them on their cable.)

    But then 205 Live came around, and even though it's a WWE Network exclusive, enough people had the service for them to catch it weekly. You didn't need to wait three weeks for the latest episode to show up, and the cruiserweights were technically part of the main roster, therefore the show became the best wrestling that wasn't called NXT.

    Still people didn't really watch it. Who could blame them? The cruiserweight division was pretty much an afterthought when they were a presence on RAW, and watching yet another hour of wrestling on the Network (one that seemed inconsequential, compared to NXT and its own pantheon) felt like a chore.

    All of that changes this week, though. If you're still not convinced 205 Live isn't worth your time, go watch this week's main event. I know, I know. I say this just about any time the show has a great match on—but shouldn't that be telling of how underrated it is?

    At this point, Chad Gable has to be a brand-new member of the division. He just has to be. There's no sense in having them put out such a great match like this and not introduce him as a major player to a roster that could definitely use him. It gets him time in front of an actual TV crowd, which is a lot more than he can say if he were just sitting on the SmackDown bench.

    In fact, he'd make a damn great next challenger for Gulak, who's now got a wide-open field of contenders after dispatching Tony Nese at Extreme Rules. I hope whoever's running 205 Live realizes how much the wave of momentum is growing since Gulak's won the title. Keep doing everything right.

    205 Live 7/16/19 Final Grade: Not only was the main event a Match of the Year contender, but this was arguably the most self-aware episode ever with the Kanellis/Maverick segment. A+

        Short stops

        • Gulak's promo game ever since his slight rebrand has been nothing short of untouchable. It's kind of like Neville PAC is back, and Gulak is channeling the much-needed bruiser heel role left vacant by Buddy Murphy's departure. Sadly, he's a much better anchor of the show than Nese was in his short time as champion, but not to worry; Nese is better off chasing the title, anyway.
        • The only other guy who could come close to Gulak's mic work is, surprisingly (or not surprisingly) Mike Kanellis. Mike went toe-to-toe on the stick with Drake Maverick (who is already one of the show's best talkers) in what seemed like an unscripted exchange (unscripted meaning not scripted word-for-word), sounding like a 2019 version of CM Punk in the process. I liked what I heard, and the guy further proved he deserved to be around.
        • But, finally! Finally this Mike/Drake feud gets physical, going off of all the loose threads laid out over the last couple of months, and this likely means we're finally going to see Drake back in the ring again. I might be in the minority here, but this feels like a PPV-worthy match to me just by the way they've told the story. I don't care if you put it on the kickoff, it's a non-title matchup that's been spun painstakingly well.
        • I still get scared with the way Gable spikes his head on his bridging German suplex. How does he not have a broken frickin' neck already, even with neck bridges?
        • I feel like the main event was the two guys' way of putting on a match worthy of the G1 Climax, since it is G1 season.
        • Fuck those guys in the crowd who chanted "boring" and "CM Punk" during the main event, only to be hooked in at the end.
          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 (7/16/19): The Best Wrestling This Side of the Main Roster Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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