Akira Tozawa & Brian Kendrick vs Jack Gallagher & KUSHIDA
Humberto Carillo / Lince Dorado / Gran Metalik vs
Drew Gulak (c) / Tony Nese / Ariya Daivari
Commentary: Vic Joseph / Dio Maddin / Aiden English
The final 205 Live before WWE Clash of Champions sees this Sunday’s Cruiserweight Title competitors embroiled in tag team action.
With days to go before WWE Clash of Champions comes around, the landscape of 205 Live has shifted. Quite considerably, too.
My new favourite wrestler, Lince Dorado, has barged his way into the Cruiserweight Championship scene with a solid couple of months worth of impassioned backstage promos and a notable increase in attitude in the ring. His character development, and commitment to being noticed, is well over and above anything his Lucha House Party stablemates have brought to the table. We, along with Dorado, are reaping the benefits of his hard work, with his addition to Clash of Champions’ Cruiserweight Championship match, alongside Humberto Carillo and the defending Gulak.
Speaking of the champion, so overpowering has Gulak’s rein been, that his tight grip on the belt has seen a recent hero of 205 Live revert back to the dark side. Tony Nese simply did not take his losses to Gulak, and subsequent poor run of form, like the man of honour and dignity he had strived to become over the first half of 2019. Deciding instead to align with Gulak, rather than fight his way back to the main event scene through more traditional means, Nese has regressed to a role he seems more comfortable in: that of second fiddle to the dominant villain, a role he has played to Buddy Murphy and Enzo Amore before him.
This tag match tonight sees a reunion of Gulak and Nese, who were bosom buddies way back in the infancy of 205 Live. While their current trust in each other is not in question, their opponents, Dorado and Carillo, have not seen eye to eye for a while. Only the threat of Gulak’s dominance over 205 Live being bolstered by Nese has seen the two luchadors fight the same battle.
The battle begins in earnest this week as Gulak and Nese attack the pair before they have even made their way to the ring. Like the slithering snake that he is, Ariya Daivari appears out of nowhere to join in on the fun his friends are having. In order to even the score, Gran Metalik makes the save for his friends.
Once again, many 205 Live roster members are getting air time. What becomes a six man tag was obviously not planned as per social media. But it’s good to see a sizable chunk of the Cruiserweights given more opportunities to be a part of the show. The inclusion of more wrestlers in the main stories gives the whole division a real “shared universe” feel. Everyone is in everybody else’s pockets, whether with them or against them. It keeps things fresh and people guessing. Who will be involved next? Who will take issue with a throwaway comment made on social media and bring it to the screen? The wrestlers and writers seem to be working overdrive and fueled with caffeine. It’s taken some time since the departures of Buddy Murphy, Cedric Alexander, and the one only Mustafa Ali, for 205 live to find its feet again. But things are looking promising if this current formula is to continue.
The tag match itself goes how you would expect in the early stages. The heels keep control of the match with methodical precision. And, as you would also expect, the faces make a spirited comeback with a flurry of impressive aerial offense, this time in the form of Gran Metalik. Lastly, as is regularly the case, the crowd are less than interested, chanting more for a baby spotted in the stands than what is transpiring in the ring.
Drew Gulak does his level best to bring eyes back to the ring by taunting the baby, attempting to rip Metalik’s mask off, then cradling him like – yes, you guessed it – a baby. Thankfully it works, but there is no doubt damage was done in what is supposed to be a hot go-home match in the lead up to Clash of Champions.
With the distractions out of the way, Carillo and Gulak finally face off for the first time in the match. Carillo clears house of opponents. Carillo is fired up, taking to the skies with a moonsault and wiping out all of Daivari, Nese, and Gulak.
Back in the ring, and Gulak is in danger of losing to Carillo, but Nese comes to the rescue. Dorado leaps in from nowhere with a huge tornado DDT to Nese, but the LHP member eats a Persian Lion Splash from the returning Daivari.
If anything can be said about the disrespectful crowd behaviour, it seems to have fired up all six wrestlers. All finishers and signature moves are hit with precision and oomph. It’s almost as if a sixth gear has been found.
The excellent performance put in by these men is all for naught, it would seem. The match is clearly reaching the climax, with Dorado and Gulak left in the ring in the eye before the storm. But those in the stands are simply none the wiser. Dorado indeed gets the better of Gulak in the end. With the champion grounded, Dorado hits a shooting star press and covers him for the win. Carillo, Dorado, and Metalik pose for the hard cam to close the show, but the crowd response is as apathetic as you can imagine. A sad way to build towards a big match at Clash of Champions.
Elsewhere on 205 Live this week, Jack Gallagher hasn’t had the best run of luck for some time time. Dubious decisions negatively affecting the outcomes of his matches, as well as niggling injuries, have stopped Gentlemanly Jack from putting together a run of consistency afforded those relatively fresh to the upper rungs of the 205 Live ladder.
Standing in his way most recently have been the tandem of Akira Tozawa and Brian Kendrick. This pair are normally on the good side of the moral spectrum. But they seem to be going out there way now to make Gallagher’s life that bit more difficult.
With Gallagher allowed to pick a partner of his choosing for tonight’s tag team match, he will no doubt be looking to acquire someone who will all but guarantee a rare favourable outcome.
As it turns out, Gallagher has quite the ace up his sleeve in former New Japan Juniour Heavyweight sensation Kushida as his mystery partner. The decorated star hasn’t skyrocketed his way up the NXT ladder like some other fresh signings have. He is still very much an exhibition attraction so far. So what better place to showcase his skills than in a division similar to that in which he made a name for himself in the first place?
Kushida’s compatriot, Akira Tozawa, is not happy with the arrival, despite the shared backgrounds. Tozawa has to wait to get his hands on him, though, as Kendrick is the …. lucky one… to face off against Kushida in his 205 Live debut. Kendrick of course holds his own, no surprise considering how much experience Kendrick has in the business as a whole. But Kushida is simply too fast for Kendrick. He spins and dances around his opponent with almost embarrassing ease.
That humiliation continues as Gallagher is tagged in to shake off the cobwebs of injury in typically Houdini-esque fashion. Tozawa, too, feels Gallagher’s technical prowess. The team of Gallagher and Kushida are so confident and in control, it takes an interfering Kendrick to ram Gallagher’s shoulder into the ringpost to balance out proceedings.
Tozawa continues the beatdown of Gallagher with a feined suckerpunch toppling the Englishman to the mat. The systematic dissection of Gallagher in the corner of Kendrick and Tozawa shake off the early concern they may have had at the reveal of Kushida.
The hot tag by the escaping Gallagher, however, brings Kushida into the fray. He lets loose with an array of rapid offense that ends with a speedily applied armbar on Kendrick. Tozawa breaks up the hold, eventually working Kushida into a submission of his own with the Captain’s Hook. Kushida fails to reach the ropes, rolls onto his back for a two count over Kendrick, then finally gains some ground by rolling Kendrick out of the ring.
Kendrick takes advantage of his positioning by launching Gallagher into the barricade. Tozawa follows shortly after with a massive somersault off the steps onto Gallagher. But even with the divide and conquer mentality, they are simply no match for Kushida. The hoverboard lock he applies to Kendrick is so damaging, Tozawa would never have reached the ring in time to break the submission. Kushida earns him and Gallagher the feel good win.
The Singh Brothers grace us with their presence once again from an undisclosed location at a point early in the episode. So inconsequential are their jibes towards Kendrick and Tozawa, it’s barely worth writing about. This is mere filler that nobody will remember, especially in a WWE product were many other backstage segments rack up far more views on the Youtubes of the world.
Mike Kanellis is interviewed by Sarah Schreiber regarding how his victory over Tony Nese resulted in the aforementioned chain reaction. Kanellis doesn’t care about that, though. He cares more about Nese being in the main event of 205 Live this week, while he has nothing and is dressed in street clothes. As if on queue, Maria Kanellis appears and reminds her husband that clearly his victories mean nothing. Once again, Mr Kanellis looks like he will be sleeping on the sofa. Poor guy!
Another week, and another 205 Live is in the bag. The crowd behaviour for the main event simply ruined the match, plain and simple. But the other notable instance that took some time to accustom to was the addition to the commentary team of Dio Madden. A complete unknown to me, he will replace Nigel McGuinness who will have a lot of responsibility on his hands with NXT moving to USA next week. Congratulations to Nigel on his big gig, but his drier than sandpaper wit will sorely be missed.
Check out the latest Ricky & Clive podcast! Ricky & Clive come to you this week with a look at the upcoming Clash of Champions PPV this Sunday, on the WWE Network for only $9.99 (or $12.34 if you live in UK…). To change things up a bit, we preview Clash in the form of answering listener questions, as well discuss the King of The Ring Tournament to date. We also look at the incident from Rev Pro’s recent Summer Sizzler event that saw a referee have to medically retire from his job. All that, plus hopefully a much better quiz than last week.