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    Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    Live From the 205 (12/6/19): In the Arms of the Angel

    Apologies for missing last week's review, back when the show actually returned from its pre-Survivor Series hiatus. To anyone still reading this, let's go over that ep real quick before talking about the December 6th episode.

    Basically, the biggest development from that episode is Jack Gallagher's snapped after a loss to Angel Garza. The worst victim of that attack is 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick, who we confirm is still the show's authority figure even though he hasn't really done any general managing since the division got subsumed under the NXT umbrella. Seeing as Drake is an active roster member on SmackDown, it's possible that this might lead us to a Drake/Gallagher feud in the division? Maybe?

    If anything, what Drake's inclusion underscored for me is how meaningless cruiserweight bouts, especially on this show, have become. Yeah, they're always good for solid action, but without even the smallest directions from the de facto and de jure authority figure of this show, all the matches (even with all the same superstars) feel like they're treading water every week until something else happens—more on that later.

    So if Drake isn't doing any onscreen GM work, not even recapping the shows and setting the table, what's the point of still keeping him around and trotting him out in his snazzy GM three-piece? Either he's booking the entire cruiserweight division, even on NXT episodes, or William Regal is also influencing 205 Live. Or the two of them explicitly jointly booking the cruiserweight division. Somebody has to draw this line. Do it for appearances' sake, if you're not really going to care about this show. We know you don't.

    Angels and Demons

    So 205 Live has settled with a core cast of characters after the NXT transition and WWE Draft, and we know we're getting Tony Nese, Ariya Daivari, Jack Gallagher, Danny Burch, the Singhs, Angel Garza, and Lio Rush. Maybe Oney Lorcan, now that he's said he's signed a new multi-year deal, and maybe Isaiah "Swerve" Scott. The jury's also still out on KUSHIDA and Cameron Grimes. That's only 10 people on a good day, eight on any other, and that's perhaps the least amount of talent the show's had in its three-year history.

    Which is why when we get Angel Garza versus Raul Mendoza, it feels like it's for the 569134th time. It's not terrible by any means, it's actually great because these two are low-key some of the best Full Sail's been hiding. It's just another tune-up win for El Angel, who's... already had one the week before against Gallagher?

    So it's not explained clearly, but this matchup and the main event were actually handpicked by both Lio Rush and Angel Garza, respectively, building up to the title clash on the December 11th NXT. You know what would have been extremely helpful? Drake Maverick telling us all of this before the show started!

    Tony Nese Is Still Here

    Yes, he is. And the Singh Brothers, now without the 24/7 Championship, are picking up the scraps. Just ditch the Bollywood gimmick, which isn't really popping, and go with being annoying wrestler-vloggers.

    I will say, however, that I thought Nese was going to turn face again when the Singhs came out; turns out they were just going to beat the other guy up.

    Burch of a Nation

    So if there's any reason why we still need to keep 205 Live around and give cruiserweights the time they need to do their thing, Lio Rush versus Danny Burch is it. Seriously. If you've got the time and want to watch a proper clash of styles, go find this week's episode and the main event.

    TJP recently said that WWE producers heavily script out the stars' matches, but you'd never know it from the way Burch does his thing. Ever since Drew Gulak got drafted to SmackDown a couple of months ago, the show's been missing someone in that role. Ariya Daivari, while he tries really hard, just isn't the same kind of roughneck Gulak can be. Nese is too much of a highflyer, while Gallagher is more of a striker/technician. Oney hasn't been seen in a while, and we don't know if we'll ever get him back. 

    The moment they put Danny Burch and his actual gritty British strong style in this spot, I knew we had a real winner.

    You put two guys who are straight up stylistically different from the rest of the division against each other and you get instant magic. This match didn't end clean as Garza had to make his presence felt—actually something refreshing, as it meant 205 Live gets to help advance the cruiserweight title story outside of NXT again—so not only does Burch have a reason to ask for a rematch, he also gets a future chance at a great match with Garza. That's a major win for a show that's been sitting on its hands lately.

    Honestly, I just hope they don't lose this momentum again, because now last-minute taping cancellations are apparently real. Guess we'll find out on the go-home day before TLC.

    205 Live 12/6/19 Grade: Looks like someone realized they needed this show and its time for the cruiserweights. If you're a 205 Live fan, this episode rewards you. B+
      Photo from WWE

      Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry, one of the four hosts of the Wrestling-Wrestling 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, and he likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account.
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      Item Reviewed: Live From the 205 (12/6/19): In the Arms of the Angel Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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