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    Sunday, September 27, 2020

    Live From the 205 (9/25/20): A Swerve In Style

    Isaiah "Swerve" Scott and Ariya Daivari on WWE 205 Live

    205 Live
    this week was a shift in focus back to the NXT side of the division, with Isaiah "Swerve" Scott getting the focus after only being relegated to a video package on this week's NXT. It's a good idea, especially with the Cruiserweight Championship seemingly left off next week's Takeover (unless we get a surprise).

    Your mandatory Mansoor

    Mansoor is back on the show after a couple of weeks away, and once again he gets paired up with Ashante "Thee" Adonis (whom, according to my research, he faced quite a bit back in July). This match was nothing to write home about, with the two seemingly having better outings.

    What I would've liked to see is an Ashante win, because I'm more invested in his personal arc—what with the whole rebranding and all, and the fact that they seem to have nothing at all creatively for Mansoor. I saw the subtle move of Ashante pulling off Brian Kendrick's Captain's Hook, but where is it all going to go if he can't even score a win after all this time? There wasn't even any post-match character-building for him.

    I'm aware that 205 Live is probably the red-headed stepchild of the entire slate of in-ring WWE programming, but I don't know, I still have some hopes for this show. It's feeding NXT anyway, so they might as well try to build up a new star or two.

    Slowed-down Swerve

    If there's a reason why 205 Live isn't as popular as any other WWE show, it's likely because at its essence, it's a hardcore internet wrestling fan's wet dream. Sometimes it tries to take stars in (like during the Enzo Amore era) but most of the time it's content to reward the fan who wants pure wrestling action. Maybe that's why it's survived this whole time it's never drawn the ratings that would've sustained any other show—whichever wrestling god smiles favorably upon it really, really likes it.

    This week's main event between Isaiah "Swerve" Scott and Ariya Daivari is one of those treats.

    Let's be clear: this matchup was devoid of heat. Swerve had been away from the show for a while before staking his claim to a Cruiserweight Championship shot on NXT, while Ariya reappeared last week with an interesting squash segment to sort of reestablish himself. The match didn't start with a high-speed frenzy that people associate with the cruiserweight division. In fact, they took their sweet time for the whole 13 or so minutes they had, only really ramping it up near the end.

    The good thing, I should probably say, is that I had seen Bryan Danielson vs. Naomichi Marufuji from an old Ring of Honor PPV. That match, which ran for 20+ minutes, ran slow and sure, characteristic of the old Bryan Danielson style, back when he was regularly expected to wrestle long matches in the indies. I appreciated that match because the somewhat leisurely pace paradoxically emphasized how wrestling holds could really hurt.

    Now, while these two are no Danielson nor Marufuji (though Swerve definitely looks the part here), the spirit is there. What we get is an impressive study in the minimalistic WWE main event style in less than 15 minutes, with both men proving they deserve their spots on the roster. It doesn't rush, but it never grinds to a halt either; it flows just right, feeling its downs and ups and unleashing its energy at the right time.

    No, it's not the most exciting match out there, especially in the WWE's stylistic landscape in 2020, but it's greater than it looks—even more so if you're able to appreciate it.

    205 Live 9/25/20 Final Grade: A-

    Photo from WWE


    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor-in-Chief of Smark Henry and one of the four hosts of the Wrestling-Wrestling Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in advertising. 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 (9/25/20): A Swerve In Style Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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