Hello everyone, it’s Lee Hazell, I’m here to give you the 5 foot 2 take on 205 Live.
We kick things off with a lengthy video package detailing the progression of the Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar rivalry. Noam Dar has his seedy eye on Alexander’s girlfriend, Alicia Fox. Noam is a sleazeball extraordinaire. The look on his face when Alicia Fox both slaps his face and kisses it is pure Sid James at his randy best. The slick back hair, the sub-par Saville Row suits, the way he pronounces Alicia Fox’s name with half a dozen o’s too many, shows that he’s either got his characteristics down to a tee, or that he’s such a sleaze in real life, WWE just decided to run with it.
Poor Alexander though, doesn’t get much time in these backstage segments because if he was there, then they probably wouldn’t be happening at all. This means that, while he gets the lion’s share of the in-ring work, story-wise, he feels like a bit part player. This isn’t a great trade for him as, for the story to work, he needs to lose the majority of his matches to sell Fox as a distraction. He’ll also lose his girlfriend in the end too, because that’s where all these stories eventually go anyway.
During the match, Cedric brings a striking game designed to knock the taste of his girlfriend’s strawberry lip gloss out of the Scottish Supernova’s mouth. For much of the match’s running length, it looks like the psychological advantage that Dar was after got him nothing but a number of missing teeth. Dar works some torturous looking arm holds, isolating his opponent’s left shoulder and wrenching it, old-school British style. Cedric sells his arm being mangled well too, the yelp of pain he gives when Dar pins it in-between the ring and the steel steps is wince-inducing. Fox gets in the way of the action to spare her BF’s deltoids getting ripped off and sold to a BBQ joint, resulting in Dar getting hit with an air to ground dropkick that looked like he was getting hit with a piston.
The inevitable turn happens to Cedric, as Fox saves her stalker from a moonsault which seals the deal for another loss for poor old Cedric. She sells the action as an action of involuntary instinct – afterwards, she looks confused as if she didn’t know what she was doing and felt instant self-loathing and regret. I feel that the turn was made a little obvious by that overly dramatic video package before the show. Kind of robs it of the surprise, but then again that may be counteracted by the fact that the match (which will turn out to be the most significant of the show) came first, and nothing noteworthy ever happens in the first 15 minutes of a wrestling show, does it? DOES IT? Apparently, it does.
Kendrick comes out next and, god bless him, he seems genuinely hurt by Tajiri spitting green goo in his face last week. C’mon man, that’s just how Tajiri says ‘hello’. You wouldn’t kick a dog for shoving its nose in your arse? Anyway, last week Kendrick came out to meet Tajiri with the smile of a southern Baptist and the sincerity of a snake oil salesman, so you know he was just going to try and take down Tajiri first.
I think the whole premise here is perhaps Kendrick is just upset that Tajiri got to him first, but Kendrick seems so earnest in his indignation. I think that he might have actually just been happy to see his old PG era run-in buddy and that expression on his face that make you think he wants to slide a knife between your shoulder blades might just actually be how he looks.
The match between him and Sean Maluta was a fine affair, the kind that has become the standard for 205 Live filler matches, but I’ll be darned if I didn’t think that actually, at some points during the bout, that Maluta might just have taken it from the more established star. Kendrick’s frustration seemed real at points and that gave this – otherwise predictable – match some honest to goodness drama.
Jack Gallaher (my breath, my beauty, my reason for living) took on Ariya Daivari in WWE’s first Parlay. After the brilliance in Three Stooges-esque slapstick that was their Gentleman’s Duel, this was something of a step-down, although I did enjoy the fact that good old Lizzy Windsor got a name check. Also, the fact that these two will now be involved in an ‘I Forfeit’ match (an ‘I Quit’ match with a better vocabulary) is just darling. It’s good to see the cruiserweights get the full plethora of stipulations to work with, as, for now, the action can become a little bit two-dimensional and repetitive.
Next, we have the conclusion to the previous soap opera drama between Alicia Fox and Cedric Alexander. You may remember that Fox, in a state of pure impulse, saved her stalker, Noam Dar, from her boyfriend’s finisher. This raised some questions for Alexander, who seemed to find satisfactory answers in dumping her ass. Fox responded by returning to the crazed she-demon we all learned to roll our eyes at on Raw. Seriously, she broke the boom mic screaming. The sound man must have gone into cardiac arrest.
The main event had one goal and that was to ensure us that the Cruiserweight champion was the man for the job. Rich Swann took a lot of punishment from the challenger, Tony Neese, and came out on top. Neese, by the way, is the best-looking physic on the show and has been terribly underused as the 205 Live equivalent of the Jobber to the Stars. But even having to make this display just makes me ask why they need to have it? Even when Swann’s rise to the title belt was being told, the story was always about the rivalry between Kendrick and Perkins. Was his coronation simply to ensure fans that title changes could take place on 205 Live, making it a must watch program?
I’ve never really understood the crowning of Rich Swann as champ, especially as momentum (and the crowd) really seemed to be behind Cedric Alexander, who’s been saddled with a girlfriend storyline, which we all know are momentum killers (WWE just do not know how to write relationships). But that looks to be coming to an end with the reign of Neville surely only one Royal Rumble PPV away. His promo at the end of the match while passionate, exposed his lack of comfort on the mic.
A decent watch, but it showed its hand way too early and had its main event as the opener, which, after the 20th minute, left nothing much to hold your total focus. Noam and Cedric could have easily headlined this edition, especially as the champion did not, in fact, defend his championship, but the state of in-ring action is encouraging, as is the character work from guys like Gallagher and Dar.
Tune in next week to see the continuation of the 5 foot 2 guy’s weekly take on 205 Live.