Hello everyone, it’s Lee Hazell, and I’m here to give you the 5 foot 2 take on 205 Live.
Big video package for Jack Gallagher and Ariya Daivari detailing their long and storied rivalry, which is a lot longer and more storied than I remember it being. By ‘eck they’ve been feuding a while now haven’t they? Let’s hope their encounter tonight is epic enough to warrant putting their troubles to rest and Jack can move on to a rematch between him and the guy who kicked him out of the Cruiserweight Classic, the soon to be debuting Akira Tozawa.
So, I’ve had a long day at work. I’ve been at my computer, staring at the screen with numerous approaching deadlines bottle-necking my Wednesday, giving me barely any opportunity to look away from the buzzing lights, which imparts to me the beginnings of a horrendous headache. So I get back home, put on 205 Live and think that this will make me forget all about my migraine.
Enter Alicia Fox. Cedric Alexander makes his way down to the ring for his match with Drew Gulak. Coming out around two or three seconds after him is Alicia Fox. Fox is keeping a suspicious distance for someone who thinks she’s still Alexander’s boyfriend.
But once Cedric catches sight of her, he’s having none of it and sends her on her way. This resummons the demoness banshee Alicia Fox of old, whom we banished to the fourth dimension before she opened her gaping maw and sung the song that would awaken the old ones and split the world in twain. She tries a similar stunt here. Also, it made my headache worse. Thanks Alicia.
One of our writers, James Toal (look up his work here) even said that from here on in he’ll just be skipping her segments. I wish I had that luxury. But as I’m reviewing the bloody thing I have to endure every decibel.
Alicia’s fit beckons the arrival of the impish ghoul, Noam Dar, ready to do his Mistress’s bidding like she’s Rita Repulsa and he’s both Squatt and Baboo from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. He gives Cedric a beat down aided by Gulak, who’s more than ready to throw out a potential match just for the joy of kicking the crap out of him. The beat down is messy and sloppy and no replacement for an actual match, which, at this point, I don’t believe we’re going to get, so I’m totally down on the whole segment.
But, plucky young face that he is, Cedric Alexander insists that he can compete after getting ganged up on by two men pre-match. Now this, you might be thinking, will be a typical example of a WWE match where the face tries to get sympathy for being beat down, but never sells his injuries and doesn’t limit his move set. But you would be wrong. Gone is the notion that anyone under 220lbs can’t deal with psychology.
Alexander is constantly selling the beating he just received; the match never leaves a slow and methodical pace, and Gulak looks like he holds residence at the London Dungeon with the torturous holds he’s tying Alexander up in as well as the sick grin he has on his face while doing them. Alexander does get in some offence but always shows the cost of doing so and can’t get any momentum going. He loses, making Gulak look strong (finally) but also not dismissing Alexander, instead making him look like a tenacious competitor to fight through all this pain as long as he did.
These may be the cruiserweights but this isn’t the so-called ‘flippy shit’ that has old school veterans drawing blood on twitter whenever they see someone do a 450 splash. This match showed me (and there will be more evidence of this later on) that 205 Live actually has a greater grasp of psychology than its bigger brothers. Perhaps even more than NXT. Nowhere else on the roster would a wrestler be permitted to sacrifice so much of his repertoire in order to tell a story properly.
Tony Nese vs Mustafa Ali is another match that pushes psychology over athleticism. While Mustafa’s offence does have more of the acrobatic about it than the other competitors tonight, it doesn’t make the storytelling any less believable. Nese is being pushed as a threat in this match and, as such, bullies Ali around the ring, brute-forcing him with suplexes and strikes to clip the flyer’s wings. He eventually puts him down with an especially nasty is a German suplex into the corner followed by a devastating knee strike. It’s just too much for one man to kick out of and both Nese and Gulak finally look like the fighters they should be seen as.
Jack Gallagher and Ariya Daivari have their much anticipated ‘I Forfeit’ match. An I Quit match with manners. This match, this feud, is set up to showcase the character and ability of Jack Gallagher, with Ariya Daivari as the set dressing for Gallagher’s ascendancy to fame. We get little to no development for Daivari’s character, and all the meetings have been set within the context of Jack’s gimmick. Then again, if Daivari actually showed some character outside of his ‘mean-middle-eastern-dude-with-a-chip-on-his-shoulder’ routine (or if he was allowed to) then we could have a feud in which he was the star. As we stand, not everyone on 205 Live is destined for fame.
The match ups the ante for the level of violence we’re used to seeing from the Purple brand. They hit the outside, find various weapons, even walk up the stage and use the Titan Tron. Occasionally the stripped-down nature of the show can seem a bit vanilla compared to the shows it appears alongside on the network, especially since, as a live show, it appears as the third hour of SmackDown. All the quirky, colourful moments that define the match belong to Gallagher with Daivari never really coming to the forefront. Even in the moments where he appears dominant, all talk is of how Jack can make a comeback. Daivari never comes to the forefront until he finally surrenders.
Jack’s character remains one of the most distinct, interesting and bright on the roster of all WWE. From his rainbow trunks, to the umbrellas he hits Daivari with (all named William, the first, second and third of their names), to politely asking the commentators to move out of the way so he can throw is opponent across their table. Just don’t keep saying the words ‘Extraordinary Gentleman’ Jack. We get it. That’s your gimmick. Just do the things that reinforce it, don’t keep repeating it or it will accelerate any possible staleness.
Gallagher is hilarious in this match, but he does reign it in for the moments that count. For example, he Houdinis himself out of his hands being tied up behind his back, which is funny, but then head butts his captor with a vicious rage, the kind need to win an ‘I Quit’ … er, sorry, pardon me, an ‘I Forfeit’ match.
It was (what I hope will be) a great end to a feud that was one-sided from the start, but has Gallagher free to start looking towards Tozawa or Neville. Although, does anyone secretly want to see a feud between Xavier Woods and Jack Gallagher after Xavier finds Francine the Trumpet getting gangbanged by all three Williams?
No? Just me then.
Tune in next week to see the continuation of the 5 foot 2 guy’s weekly take on 205 Live.