Well, well, well, ladies and gentle cruisers. The one and only Drew Gulak is now your WWE Cruiserweight Champion! After a successful outing in another great showing on a WWE PPV, the Philadelphia Stretcher’s title win, personally long overdue, is the birth of a new era on 205 Live.
Tonight’s episode will look at back at Gulak’s win on Sunday, and what that means for 205 Live going forward. Elsewhere on the show, Mike Kanellis takes on Jack Gallagher in his continuing quest to take over the Cruiserweight Division.
Drew Gulak opens the show. He says the pillars of the cruiserweight division are weak. He gave up focusing on a Better 205 Live so he can become a better Drew Gulak. This place deserves his wrath. That wrath is what we witnessed at Stomping Grounds, and we will now call him champion. Tonight, let Tony Nese and Akira Tozawa fight, the winner facing him at Extreme Rules.
Jack Gallagher vs Mike Kanellis
Mike Kanellis has been on a tear on Twitter of late, both defending 205 Live and lambasting its General Manager, Drake Maverick. His “worked shoot” tweets have been a highlight on social media. It’s a shame, then, that the same fire just doesn’t come across when in the squared circle.
For me, there is simply a lack of personality when it comes to his wrestling. A talented and crisp wrestler he is. Yet, so is Jack Gallagher. The personality that Gallagher brings to the table comes in spades every time, however. Especially when he is a babyface, as has been the case for a few weeks now. He shows this off in this match with some trademark tongue in cheek but effective offense and defense.
Kanellis isn’t happy with being made a fool of though, and Maria on the outside will do whatever it takes to have her husband back on an even footing. Her distraction allows Kanellis to incapacitate Gallagher on the outside, allowing him a ref’s ten count to further impose his overbearing presence on Gallagher.
Kanellis has Gallagher up for a superplex, but Gallagher fends him off. Taking to the air for an elbow drop, Gallagher eats Mike’s boots. Kanellis follows up with a release Death Valley driver, earning a two count. Gallagher looks to pick up some steam after the kick out, but Kanellis hits a superkick for another pin attempt. The referee stops the count, though, as Kanellis has the tights.
The ref spots this, eliciting rage from Kanellis. Gallagher capitalises from the distraction, nailing Kanellis with a headbutt. Gallagher sprawls on Kanellis and picks up the win.
Winner: Jack Gallagher
Mike and Maria are furious as they walk up the ramp. Mike asks Maria to tell him, probably referencing Maverick, saying this was a mistake. Mike is done, apparently. It would appear he has quit. He walks out through the fans as Maria looks on, bemused and concerned. Now, knowing the Kanellises have just re-signed a WWE contract, this is all just storyline. It would appear the Kanellis vs Maverick angle is slowly but surely growing arms and legs.
Tony Nese is backstage, saying he won’t make excuses about losing the title on Sunday, even though he wasn’t pinned. Tonight, he takes back control, finally getting the singles match he always wanted against Akira Tozawa, a man he greatly respects. He wants Drew Gulak to know that he didn’t beat him for the title. After tonight, he’s coming to take it back.
Akira Tozawa is up next, saying how he let the opportunity slip from his grasp, but he won’t let that happen again. After he beats Tony Nese, he will be gunning for Gulak to become the Cruiserweight Champion once again.
Drake Maverick tries phoning Mike Kanellis but only gets to voicemail. He asks him how he will turn this loss tonight, a valid opportunity to climb the cruiserweight ranks, into being his fault. Maverick hangs up, looking rather frustrated.
Humberto Carillo vs Rob Rollenbeck
Mr Carillo in the enhancement talent spot on 205 Live this week. I kind of hope Rob Rollenbeck wins, simply because he has a cool name. Obviously, this will not be the case. Carillo pulls out some of his greatest hits with ease upon Rollenbeck. Again, despite his size and frame, the beautiful agility Carillo clearly possesses is not coupled with high impact. Kicks and elbows are mere grazes, and dropkicks are almost off the mark entirely.
He gets the win with the top rope twisting splash. The point of these matches is to accentuate a wrestler’s strengths. We didn’t really get that tonight.
Winner: Humberto Carillo
We now see footage of last week, when Ariya Daivari lost his cool and laid waste to Oney Lorcan during and after their match. Sarah Schreiber asks what drove him to destroy Lorcan. When it comes to fighting, Daivari asks us not to forget the stitches he had thanks to Lorcan.
He goes on, but Lorcan attacks him from behind with a chair. He screams in the prone Daivari’s face “How does it feel?!” over and over again. Lorcan seems possessed. Lorcan got his point across, but that was some cringe-inducing rage shown by Mr. Lorcan there.
Lucha House Party is backstage now, as hyperactive as usual. They aren’t happy about what the Singh Brothers did to Penelope. They will get a rematch with the Singhs in Tornado Tag rules next week. Can’t wait for that one…
Akira Tozawa vs Tony Nese
Off the top of my head, I can’t recall many singles matchups between these two. For recency bias purposes, their exchanges at Stomping Grounds were as exemplary as you would expect from these two cruiserweights, who have been on 205 Live since almost the very beginning.
Tonight’s match is no different from early signs. Tozawa sets off the first firework with a sprinting leaping cannonball off the apron, slamming into Nese in the corner of the ringside area. Back in the ring, and Tozawa looks for a missile dropkick off the top. Nese rolls towards the corner, leaping up for an impressive Pele kick, knocking Tozawa from the turnbuckle.
Nese now has Tozawa in the rear scissors lock, working on the back that Tozawa was nursing after the earlier cannonball. Tozawa elbows his way out of the submission, trying to power Nese up onto his shoulders. His back gives out, though, and Nese applies a rear bear hug.
Once again, Tozawa resorts to elbows. Nese runs the ropes but eats a more forceful elbow for his troubles. Tozawa eventually gets Nese up to full height on his shoulders, splashing him face first onto the mat. Nese rolls to the outside, but Tozawa follows him almost immediately with a suicide headbutt. Nese spills over the commentary table, spilling Joseph, McGuinness, and English from their seats.
Tozawa drags Nese back into the ring, hitting a missile dropkick from the top rope for a two count. Now Tozawa looks to work on Nese’s back. Nese fights him off, but Tozawa twists round Nese and applies the iron octopus. Nese uses his power to unwind Tozawa from him, spinning him around and crashing his shoulders onto the mat.
Both men gingerly get to their feet, exchanging strikes and chops. Nese gets the adrenaline surge first with some combination offense. Nese goes for a springboard moonsault off the second rope, but Tozawa rolls out. Nese with a Fosbury flop onto Tozawa on the outside. He drags Tozawa into the ring and hits the springboard moonsault successfully the second time around.
The action has picked up considerably in the last few minutes. The chop exchange returns, Tozawa eventually getting the better of it. After a flurry of offense, Tozawa gets a near fall. Nese kicks out, but Tozawa climbs to the tope rope looking for a senton. Nese rises up and hits Tozawa with an open palm strike. Both men are on the top rope now. Nese attempts a superplex, but Tozawa sucker punches Nese repeatedly. Tozawa tries a sunset flip powerbomb, but Nese flips through.
Nese looks for an Alabama slam after some struggle, but Tozawa nails Nese’s head to the mat with a Canadian Destroyer. Nese takes to the skies with another senton bomb attempt, but Nese rolls out of the way at the last moment.
Tozawa with a crucifix pin, but Nese kicks out. Nese rolls up Tozawa, hoists him up, and throws Tozawa into the bottom turnbuckle with a one-handed powerbomb. He goes for the pin, but Tozawa already had his feet under the ropes. Nese is frustrated and takes a snap German suplex.
Nese recovers quickly, hitting a German of his own. Tozawa comes to, looking to apply the octopus stretch again, but Nese catches him. Tozawa’s head is trapped precariously in between Nese’s legs. Nese has Tozawa’s own legs hooked and crushes Tozawa’s head with a piledriver variant.
Nese covers Tozawa for the three count and becomes Drew Gulak’s challenger at Extreme Rules.
Winner & #1 Contender: Tony Nese
While the outcome was expected, this was still a good back and forth that had me guessing at points. It makes sense for Nese to win this match. It’s the “rematch” that WWE can say isn’t an automatic rematch. It’s also a match that has had differing outcomes before. Both men have matured in different ways over the last year and change, making the Extreme Rules match a mouth-watering encounter! Looking forward to that one very much.
Latest Ricky & Clive Wrestling podcast is available for download. Ricky is back! Ricky returns without Clive but Rance Morris and Rob Ropes are here with Ricky for a special question time episode. We discuss our wrestling fandom, memories of wrestling, why we love wrestling and more.