“Who Wants to Face me on the ‘Grandest Stage of Them All’?” – 205 Live – 19/02/19

Before diving into this week’s episode of 205 Live, Buddy Murphy and Akira Tozawa both deserve praise for their match at Elimination Chamber. They were a part of the kickoff show, which is never the ideal spot. But after a slow start, the crowd was on board, and it even led to a “this is awesome” chant. So do yourselves a favour, watch the Cruiserweight title match from Sunday.

The road to WrestleMania fever is in full effect, and it has now spread to 205 Live. On this week’s episode, Drake Maverick announced that starting next week there will be an eight-man single elimination tournament to determine who will face Murphy at WrestleMania 35. Also, the show continued Mike Kanellis’ quest for a big victory when he faced Cedric Alexander, and it also featured TJP vs. Humberto Carrillo.

Humberto Carrillo vs. TJP

Humberto Carrillo vs. TJP started off with some nice back and forth action between the two that ultimately led to Humberto getting the upper hand with some high flying offence. When TJP got hit to the outside, Humberto seemed to be preparing for a dive onto his opponent but stopped at the sight of Jack Gallagher and Drew Gulak making their way to the ring. As both men walked down the aisle, Jack could be heard saying: “we talked about this.” A comment that played into Gulak and Jack’s desire to put an end to risky high flying manoeuvres, and their storyline of wanting to mentor Humberto.

Humberto vs. TJP

From then on, the match turned into a more grounded and mat based wrestling match. That transition to exchanging wrestling holds did wonders for the young cruiserweight because now his athleticism was mixed in with more legitimate wrestling holds, and it was no longer a case of him simply producing flashy moves for the sake of it. It was what Dynamite Kid did so well, mixing great technical wrestling with a little bit of flash.

Drew Gulak was great again this week, but instead of using his words like he did last week on commentary, he gave great facial expressions. Most notably when Humberto reverted back to his high flying style and fell flat on his face. Ultimately, Humberto would pick up the win, and even did so with some of his trademark high-risk moves.

Gulak & Gallagher

We then went to a simple promo of Tony Nese explaining that he now knows that all he needs to do is believe in himself. While it wasn’t the best promo, it was an effective tool of promoting the number one contender tournament that starts next week.

Then Kayla Braxton interviewed Mike and Maria Kanellis about Mike’s match with Cedric Alexander. Maria interestingly made her husband sound like a babyface by claiming he doesn’t shy away from challenges. He wants to beat the best. However, she did a great job maintaining her heelish side with her tone and attitude towards Kayla.

Ariya Daivari vs. Johnny Lyons (Local Competitor)

Ariya Daivari 205 Live

This week’s episode of 205 Live also gave us three matches as opposed to two. We had a quick squash match, which was more effective than one would have thought as Ariya Daivari did a good job rubbing the New Orleans crowd the wrong way by insulting a local sports team. That led to the crowd cheering on Johnny during this quick bout that was won by Daivari.

Buddy Murphy also had a backstage promo where he did a great job promoting this upcoming tournament. He ran down his list of victims over the past few months and even praised Drake Maverick for doing his best to provide him with competition. And he simply ended the promo with a simple, yet incredibly effective line: “Who wants to face me on the ‘Grandest Stage of Them All’?” It added intrigue to the tournament and even made you wonder who will face Buddy Murphy at the ‘show of shows’.

Mike Kanellis vs. Cedric Alexander

Cedric vs. Mike

It’s almost becoming a weekly tradition with my review of 205 Live that the commentary team gets some praise for their work behind the desk. All three commentators did an excellent job tying Mike Kanellis’ recent losing streak into this match, and hitting home the point that he needs to win to try to secure a spot in the upcoming tournament. Good performances are not enough. You have to win.

The pacing of Mike and Alexander’s match was very good. Both men had periods of offence before Alexander slipped and injured his knee when leaping off the top rope. It was a repeat of what happened in a fatal four-way match a few weeks ago, and the announcers did a good job reminding us of that fact.

Cedric vs. Mike 2

After the knee injury became clear, the momentum of the match picked up. Mike saw his opportunity to pick up what would be the biggest win of his career, while the fans became invested as they rooted for the sympathetic babyface. There were a great series of near falls, submissions, and even an attempt to win by count out, but Alexander managed to hold on every time. Maria’s facial expressions were excellent throughout those moments, adding to Mike’s desperate need for a victory.

Then we had one final swerve when Mike capitalised on Maria distracting Alexander, and the ref counted one, two, and three. However, the referee would cut Mike and Maria’s celebration short as the replay showed Alexander got his shoulder up before the three-count. The match then restarted, and the former cruiserweight champion hit his lumbar check to pick up the victory in this excellent bout.

Cedric vs. Mike 3

The episode then concluded with Drake Maverick announcing two matches for the eight-man elimination tournament. Drew Gulak vs. The Brian Kendrick and Tony Nese vs. Kalisto are the two matches that will start this tournament.

With the announcement of the eight-man tournament, which is a throwback to last year’s build-up to WrestleMania, and the Cruiserweight Classic, you couldn’t help but be more focused on what next week had in store for us. But this show did a nice job setting us up for next week, and it also featured a highly entertaining main event that is well worth your time.

All images are courtesy of wwe.com

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