205 Clive’s Purple Brand Review:

Welcome to the review and recap of a very special edition of 205 Live. Episode 100 has arrived! And what better way to celebrate it than in the main event, where Mustafa Ali looks to end his bitter rivalry with Hideo Itami in a Falls Count Anywhere match!

This feud has a “talking heads” style hype video that opens the episode, showing how their paths have crossed in violent fashion over the last four months. This vignette is similar to the treatment The Miz vs Daniel Bryan had detailing their storied rivalry. Considering the gravitas with which this particular feud has been handled in 205 Live’s universe, this detailed account is very much warranted.

Lince Dorado vs Mike Kanellis

Vic Joseph, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness welcome us to this milestone episode by introducing the first match of the night. They discuss Mike Kanellis’ introduction to 205 Live by attacking Lince Dorado two weeks ago, as both competitors, accompanied by Maria Kanellis and the rest of the Lucha House Party respectively, make their way to the ring.

Dorado kicks things off by showing no ill effects from the attack a fortnight ago. The hot-tempered luchador makes quick work of Kanellis early on, but Kanellis uses his superior size to his advantage, turning things around. TJP is seen backstage watching the match, no doubt with a vested interest in how Dorado fares.

Maria Kanellis distracts the referee in hysterical fashion, allowing her husband an into the match. Kanellis begins a systematic beatdown of Dorado, goading him as he launches him from corner to corner. The size differential is becoming more pronounced here, the long legs of Kanellis making easy work of Dorado, and the wider arm span allowing him to dominate Dorado through a variety of submissions and right hands. Kanellis’ game plan is being executed to perfection now.

However Dorado’s smaller frame begins to work in his favour as he is able to wriggle free from danger. Unfortunately, this is short-lived as a rebound off the ropes earns him a big boot, flooring him the in centre of the ring.

A desperate spinning heel kick from Dorado sees him slowly but surely worm his way back into the match. He continues gaining momentum by dodging incoming turnbuckle attacks, then bring the score even with a hurricanrana from the top rope.

Kanellis uses his power to swing momentum back his way with a spinebuster, but this only earns him a two count. Kanellis is frustrated now, upset that his idea of tonight being quick work is fading as quickly as Dorado is able to dance around the ring. A somersault from in the ring to outside sees the luchador almost gain an upset victory once he pours Kanellis back into the ring and lands a beautiful shooting star press.

Kanellis crawls out, further venting his frustrations by shoving Gran Metalik and Kalisto. Dorado intervenes with a head-scissors roll through, but Kanellis is unperturbed. He uses Dorado’s anger for his stablemates against him and lands a high impact DDT variant for the victory.

Winner: Mike Kanellis

I really enjoyed the use of size in this match. Kanellis’ large and imposing frame overpowering Dorado, only for Dorado’s smaller size allowing him to weave in and out of Kanellis, was a common theme throughout. Say what you will about lucha libre wrestling as far as compelling storytelling is concerned, but when pitting it against a more traditional wrestling style, the results can be a joy to watch.

General Manager Drake Maverick is backstage and congratulates 205 Live for reaching one hundred episodes. He says that they will hit the ground running for another hundred, as next week will be a number one contender match for Buddy Murphy’s Cruiserweight Championship. I imagine Tony Nese will be involved in the match, but no official announcement as yet.

Brian Kendrick is up next and talks of how Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher have shown No Mercy in ousting him from their cabal. Kendrick then promises Jack Gallagher that he will be the one to show no mercy in a match between the two on next week’s 205 Live.

Lio Rush and Tony Nese talk in separate segments about their performances in last week’s Fatal 5 Way match. Lio Rush seems to be focused on Cedric Alexander in an upcoming angle, while Tony Nese, alongside Buddy Murphy, belittles Drake Maverick and his decision making skills with regards to why The Premier Athlete isn’t an automatic number one contender.

Mustafa Ali vs Hideo Itami: Falls Count Anywhere

I recently touched on this rivalry when counting down 205 Live’s greatest Cruiserweights (cheeky plug – link below). As a result, I’ve been very excited for this match. Without a Championship in sight, the stakes feel very important in what has turned into a blood-feud.

Itami starts the match with a vicious spinning back-fist, demanding respect as Ali sprawls out of the ring. But Ali has revenge in his eyes. He storms the ring, which Itami has slithered out the opposite side of, and lands a crossbody on the Japanese legend. A quick two count beside the commentary table has little impact, but it sets the tone for what is shaping up to be a match set at a frantic pace.

Itami sweeps Ali’s legs from the apron, who lands face first on the edge. Itami smells blood. He homes in and launches Ali into the fan barrier. Itami rolls Ali into the ring and continues to take Ali down. Knees to the gut. Punts to the back. Itami’s feet are lethal weapons, and he is using them to his full advantage this week.

Ali attempts to power out of a headlock, but Itami stomps Ali down. Without a specific target in mind, Itami is looking to brutalise Ali’s body from head to toe. Ali fights back with some kicks off his own. An enziguri from the apron is followed up with a facebuster. Itami breaks up the referee’s count and, once again, snakes out of the ring. Ali advances but is thrown into the timekeeping area. Itami soaks up the boos, but with his back turned, Ali vaults the barrier and takes him down.

Ali throws Itami head first into the commentary table. The crowd are eager for Ali to exact his revenge atop the table, but Itami trips him up again, putting him into a single leg crab. Ali wriggles out, but an ugly boot to Ali’s chest sees him spill onto the adjacent fan barrier.

Itami’s move set is limited tonight, but very effective. Punts, kicks, and launches into the steel steps are punishing Ali. His regular sweeping of Ali’s legs is a sign that, like Drew Gulak before him, he has no desire to see Ali take to the skies where he is most effective. It seems that Ali’s greatest adversaries repeatedly aim to ground him: anchoring him to their depths lest he soars for greatness. It can be painstaking to watch at times, so invested am I in Ali..

The Heart of 205 Live rolls out of a back suplex on the ramp, but is up-ended with a brutal clothesline, earning Itami a close two count. Another ref count follows shortly after with another Ali cross body, this time from the turnbuckle onto the floor.

Ali brings a table out from underneath the ring, but Itami spots the danger and rushes Ali off his feet. Ali sets up the ring steps with evil notions in mind. He flapjacks Ali onto the steps. The furniture around the ring is now in such disarray, the concern for both men’s safety mounts.

After an impressive tornado DDT from a diagonally erected step, Ali unfolds the table near the ring and lays Itami on top. Ali mounts the turnbuckle and gazes down at Itami. Tragically, Ali shouts to Itami that he “always respected him”, before landing a gorgeous 450 Splash onto Itami through the table. Itami is out for the count as Ali comes in for the one, two, three.

Winner: Mustafa Ali

It was almost too difficult to just take stock and enjoy this match. The nervous energy surrounding their desperate desire to defeat the other was palpable. Wrestled at a frantic pace, the unease escalated. The most heartbreaking part was Ali’s admission that he always respected Itami. It told me that Ali hated bringing down one of his heroes, but had to for his own good. Additionally, if Itami wanted the respect he so madly craves, he needn’t have gone down this dark path in the first place. This won’t win awards for the best match in 205 Live history, but from a fictional perspective, a bittersweet story was told.

Drake Maverick announces after the match that, due to Mustafa Ali’s contribution to 205 Live and all he has been through, he will be the one to face Tony Nese in next week’s number one contender match.

So there we have it. One hundred episodes of 205 Live are in the bag. It was more than fitting to see Mustafa Ali once again overcome adversity. Ali is without a doubt the Cruiserweight Division’s biggest success story.

Check out the latest podcast. Before Ricky & Clive, joined by Rance Morris from Outsider’s Edge, preview and predict the upcoming WWE Evolution PPV, and look at the second episode of NXT UK, the sad news regarding Roman Reigns is discussed at length. Reigns’ leukemia diagnosis was a sad shock for everyone in the wrestling world, and we try our best to process it all. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe Anao’i and his family.

Catch the latest in my column series, showcasing the top ten cruiserweights of the 205 Live era.

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