It would appear that someone has finally knocked some sense into 205 Live General Manager, Drake Maverick. Addressing social media regarding his lack of dedication towards his Cruiserweight division duties, Maverick has offered fans a double whammy tonight.
Not only will we have an official challenger for Tony Nese and his Cruiserweight Championship in a Fatal 4-Way between Akira Tozawa, Humberto Carillo, Oney Loran, and Drew Gulak for WWE Stomping Grounds. On top of that, “Mr. Also-Ran in the 24/7 Title Chase” has promised a special surprise for 205 Live. We’ve been somewhat unfulfilled with surprises before on the show. Although surprises have been somewhat lacking in shock value in recent times on 205 Live, this one is quite the jaw dropper. And for all the right reasons.
Jack Gallagher vs Chad Gable
Yes. You did read that correctly. Chad Gable is making his 205 Live debut. Sporting a new look with trunks instead of a single, and his long locks chopped off, Gable looks happy to be here. The chance to wrestle is something Gable is looking for. It may not be the dizzy heights of tag team gold on the main roster, but us wanting 205 Live fans cannot complain.
And what an opponent to face Chad Gable on his debut. Jack Gallagher is delighted to have some like minded competition. The catch wrestling is what it is all about. Gable’s arm drags are quick. Delivered with intent. Gable does sadly miss a sunset flip pin in the turnbuckle, but the action is so quick and smooth elsewhere, it is a blink and you’ll miss it botch.
Gallagher is in control now, making sure Gable knows what competitive wrestling means on the Cruiserweight show. The early joy at having an athletic wrestling style to play with has worn off as Gallagher reverts to the smash-mouth style he can so easily transition into. Gable’s honeymoon period hasn’t really started at all yet, so hellbent is Gallagher now on ensuring Gable’s introduction to 205 Live is a sour one.
Gable reverses an Irish whip into the corner, and the tide turns immediately. He follows up with a beautiful belly to belly suplex. He traps Gallagher and pivots over and up into another, before completing the triplet chain of moves. The crowd, understandably, are enjoying what they’re seeing.
A dragon suplex pin ends the sequence, but Gallagher somehow kicks out. Gable with an ankle lock now, emulating his – quite literally – Olympic hero, Kurt Angle. Gallagher breaks free of the hold, countering with his own Fujiwara armbar. Again, Gable breaks free, smashing Gallagher to the mat with a Tiger driver – matchbook pin combo. Gallagher kicks out, but the action continues to speed up considerably if that was even possible in the first place.
A back suplex attempt from Gable, but Gallagher flips through it. Another ankle lock attempt, but Gallagher rolls through, sending Gable into the turnbuckle. Gallagher follows up with a brutal lariat. Gable ends up on the outside recovering. Gallagher goes for a suicide dive, but Gable catches him from behind, launching him to the mat with a German suplex.
Gallagher doesn’t answer the ten count as he didn’t get his body all the way back into the ring. The referee rings for the bell, making Chad Gable the winner of the match. It’s very hard to determine whether this was a mistake, or if this was the plan for the outcome of the match. Either way, both Gallagher and Gable were convincing in their roles here.
Winner: Chad Gable
This was quite the start to 205 Live, it has to be said. We all know Gable is a fantastic wrestler for wrestling’s sake, so perhaps he has found his home. For the time being at least. The possibility of match ups for Gable over the next few months is, frankly, a mouthwatering prospect. Welcome to the Cruiserweight division!
Drake Maverick is up next. Mike and Maria Kanellis approach him and are furious not to be involved in the #1 Contender main event tonight. Furious, also, that he didn’t get to face Chad Gable on his debut. Maverick decides to swing for the fences, berating them both for complaining both on screen and online. Maria finishes by warning Drake that he better watch out for what’s coming. I had a feeling this exchange would take place. Mike and Maria have been rather cryptic on social media, hinting both at enjoying their time on 205 Live and giving us a countdown to something a week away. This is possibly their WWE contract cessation. I’ll be honest, Mike Kanellis does next to nothing for me, but this is a potential blend of art imitating life that I am getting something from. The next week or so will be very interesting in that regard.
The commentary team show Drew Gulak’s attack of Noam Dar from last week. Noam Dar is on a “dot com” video bemoaning 205 Live management’s idea of safety on the show. Dar says this would never have happened to him on NXT UK. He says he has to take some time off to recover, and in that time he might consider a permanent transfer across the pond. That’s funny, I thought we already had a permanent transfer earlier in the year…
The Singh Brothers vs Dos Locales
A graphic comes up announcing The Singh Brothers will face Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado next week. Their luchador opponents, with as generic a tag team name you’ll ever see, are the warm up act for Sunil and Samir. Nigel does offer their full names, but they are simply too long to print.
The Singhs are not taking this match seriously, deciding instead to involve themselves in some Bollywood dancing. Sunil asks his opponent, Locale #1, to join him. He does but sees an opportunity with a roll up pin. Sunil kicks out, but he is clearly embarrassed. Dos Locales get some tandem offense in, but Sunil scurries free and throws the tag to Samir.
As you would expect with the mid-show local talent match, Samir and Sunil then make quick work of their opponents. A Locale is propped up on a knee. One of the Singhs jumps off the top with a high elbow, turning the Locale inside out. The win is decisive. I lost track of who was who towards the end. But, to be honest, I am not sorry for it. The Singhs have lost any charm they may have had as Jinder Mahal’s “muscle”. They are, frankly, a bit of a chore. And next week they face another chore in the Lucha House Party. Dear oh dear.
Winners: The Singh Brothers
Tony Nese is speaking to Sarah Schreiber next. Tony Nese would like to congratulate his General Manager on finally making a decision. Nese considers himself a workhorse and states he would prefer a match with Akira Tozawa. Having said that, he talks about all of the competition in tonight’s main event, complimenting them accordingly. Nese is ready for whoever. He’s sick of waiting on the sidelines. He’d rather be competing. That’s the reason he’s the Premier Athlete of 205 Live.
Akira Tozawa vs Humberto Carillo vs Oney Loran vs Drew Gulak
Gulak IMMEDIATELY crashes into Carillo with a shotgun dropkick (my favorite move in wrestling right now, in case you were interested). He shows no ill effect whatsoever, though. With Gulak taken out of the equation from a tandem move between Tozawa and Lorcan, Carillo returns to action seconds later, clearing house. Great selling, Humberto…
Tozawa takes out each opponent individually with a fireman carry front facing splash of sorts. Lorcan throws brutal chops to Tozawa and Carillo. A European uppercut to Gulak follows. Lorcan is showing what he does best tonight. Frenetic chaos from the beginning. He forms a temporary alliance with Gulak in taking out Carillo, but that doesn’t last long. Gulak hauls Lorcan off and away from a pin attempt.
You may have noticed the reporting of this match is choppy. That’s because this match seems to be in a high gear much earlier than normal multi-man matches on 205 Live. So, on this occasion, forgive me for calling it as I see it without proper analyses of the story they are telling in the ring. My fingers simply cannot keep up.
Gulak with a German suplex to Carillo, his pin attempt broken up by Tozawa. Gulak scoop slams Tozawa but can’t even go for the pin before Carillo takes it to Gulak. A chop to Carillo’s chest by Gulak reverberates around the arena. He hits an almost brainbuster suplex on Carillo. This new more callous side of Gulak is a joy to watch as he simply beasts through his offense, for want of a better word.
Carillo and Tozawa team up with high flying offense to finally deal with Gulak. Lorcan sprints towards the corner where all three are. Tozawa and Carillo monkey flip in right onto Gulak. A cheer of appreciation resonates from the crowd. Carillo with the cover, broken up by Tozawa. Then vice versa. Carillo and Tozawa finally lock horns. The pair swap pin attempts before squaring off in the middle. They both superkick the incoming Gulak, before Tozawa superkicks Carillo.
Tozawa goes for the top rope senton, but Lorcan stops it, incapacitating Tozawa momentarily. He drags Carillo into the middle, spins him around, and half and half suplexes him onto the still prone Gulak. Lorcan with the pin, but Tozawa finally nails the top rope senton, crashing down on Loran and Gulak to break up the pin. “205” chants ring out.
All four wrestlers end up out on the apron. After what happened to Kota Ibushi at NJPW Dominion at the weekend, I admit an unease when seeing Gulak try to German suplex Lorcan onto the floor. His attempt is thwarted with a superkick from Carillo, who takes out Tozawa shortly after. Carillo takes to the top rope and hits Gulak with a gargantuan missile dropkick, spilling Gulak from the mat while Carillo lands “safely” in the ring.
Tozawa hunts the retreating Gulak down, smashing him into the fan barrier with a somersault. Carillo leaves his feet, a Fosbury flop taking Carillo out. INCREDIBLE ACTION THIS EVENING. The long drawn out applause and “205” chants may be the loudest and longest I’ve ever heard from the crowd. That should tell you something about tonight’s match.
Carillo does his springboard armdrag thingmy to Tozawa and goes for the pin but to no avail. Lorcan comes back in and rocks Tozawa and Carillo with a double blockbuster. Gulak re-enters the ring. Lorcan and Gulak lock intense eyes. Chops. Slaps. Punches. They want to kill each other. Lorcan sprints to the rope. Instead of rebounding, he somersaults outside and lands on Tozawa and Carillo. Lorcan is fired up, but Ariya Daivari attacks Lorcan with a chair out of nowhere. The match is no disqualification, but that doesn’t take away from the injustice that has just been served.
Like a snake in the grass, Daivari has done his damage and slithers back through the curtain, his message clearly sent.
Tozawa and Carillo are in the ring alone now. Tozawa with a spinning enziguri. A senton bomb attempt is blocked by a high enziguri from Carillo. Gulak appears out of nowhere and throws Carillo to the outside. Gulak looks for a superplex to Tozawa. After some clubs to Gulak, he fights them off and gives Tozawa a superplex of a lifetime.
Gulak goes for the pin, but Tozawa also has Gulak in a pinning position. The referee counts to three, but both men have a right to be called the winner.
Winner: Not Determined (Gulak & Tozawa Joint Winners)
Drake Maverick comes down to talk with the referee. Maverick is unsure how to call the match as the 205 Live graphic comes up to end the show. Well, well, well! That was a dramatic finish to an even more dramatic match. I would go so far as to say that was one of the best matches on the Cruiserweight show there has ever been. It certainly ranks highly as far as multi-man matches go. This will deserve a rewatch to truly take it in.
Apart from the lackluster feud between The Singh Brothers and Lucha House Party, this was an excellent 205 Live. Maverick and The Kanellises continue to wage war. Chad Gable has seemingly joined the show, opening up a long list of dream matches, and an unbelievable main event closes the show. My disdain for 205 Live over the last couple of weeks has definitely taken a back seat. More of that please, WWE!!!!
Latest Ricky & Clive Wrestling podcast available for download here. WWE has been on the receiving end of an enormous and growing wave of criticism over the last couple of years. That rise of disdain goes hand in hand with both the ever increasing use and abuse of social media, and the birth of the new “competition”, AEW. Is the hatred warranted? Do disgruntled fans have blinkers on? Is the general consensus – “WWE Sucks LOL” – even argued in a reasonable and level headed manner? In another solo show, Clive looks at the behavior of the IWC (and its influencers) in more recent times, and how this echo chamber has resulted in possibly the worst aspect of wrestling fandom. (Disclaimer: This was recorded a few weeks ago, so if anything truly dreadful has happened, don’t shout at me!)