Stomping Grounds - 205 Live

If last week’s episode of 205 Live took the brand three steps forward, this week’s show felt like it took two steps back. There were positives throughout this episode, but there was also a feeling that they missed out on capitalizing on opportunities due to some notable superstar absences, and lack of meaningful in-ring action.

As expected, after the number one contender’s match last week ended in controversy, Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak were both granted a shot at Tony Nese’s title at Stomping Grounds, making it a triple threat match. On this week’s show, all three men gave us their final thoughts heading into Sunday, and we had a rematch between The Singh Brothers and The Lucha House Party. Plus, in the main event, Oney Lorcan looked to get some revenge on Ariya Daivari after Daivari attacked him with a chair during the Fatal Four-Way main event to crown a new number one contender.

The Singh Brothers vs. Lucha House Party

The Singh Brothers are entertaining characters, and I see them as a valuable act for 205 Live, as they can wrestle or have segments in the middle of the show, allowing the crowd to recover from a potentially great opening match (like last week). However, they are not strong in-ring performers, especially when you compare them to the rest of the 205 Live roster, and that was evident during their tag match with Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik.

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The match never felt like it got going. A lot of the spots felt a little clunky, and on two occasions, Samir Singh misjudged Lucha House Party’s offence, most notably when he went down too early for Dorado’s bulldog, leaving Dorado looking a tad silly as he did not even shove his opponents’ head to the mat. The one saving grace was Gran Metalik’s exhilarating hot tag, where he glided around the ring and gave us an exciting burst of action with one high flying move after another.

It ended when Sunil grabbed the Lucha House Party’s piñata, distracting his opponents in the process, which led to him rolling up Lince Dorado for the one, two, and three. It was a sudden ending to a tag match that was far from smooth.

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These two teams should have been in the middle of the show, and after last week’s fantastic debut, Chad Gable should have once again opened the show with a long, hard-hitting wrestling match. Unfortunately, that did not happen, and Gable did not even make an appearance on the show. A big mistake, if you ask me.

The Brian Kendrick vs. Local Competitor

The main thing that came out of this particular matchup was that the wheels seem to be in motion for a The Brian Kendrick heel turn, as his aggression in this match felt like something we’d see out of a villain. Also, there were subtle hints dropped by the announcers, such as them mentioning whether Kendrick is annoyed that his friend Tozawa has an opportunity to challenge Nese.

If a heel turn is a plan for Kendrick, a throwaway squash match felt like the wrong way to go about teasing this. A backstage segment would have done the trick, and the time in the ring could have been given to other superstars to further their stories or momentum (E.g. Chad Gable). Unsurprisingly, The Brian Kendrick walked out with the victory.

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Jack Gallagher then had a backstage promo, which was interrupted by Mike and Maria Kanellis. Mike called Jack deadweight, and he told him he should be embarrassed by the manner he lost to Chad Gable. He also mentioned the absent general manager Drake Maverick (who won the 24/7 title and left in a car on SmackDown Live), something the commentary also did a good job bringing up throughout the show. Ultimately, the segment worked as it set up a match between the two for next week’s episode.

Oney Lorcan vs. Ariya Daivari

Not only did Oney Lorcan and Daivari successfully continue their physical feud with this bout, but they also saved the entire episode by delivering a thoroughly entertaining main event. From his entrance to the final bell, Oney Lorcan was fantastic in everything he did. The no-nonsense walk to the ring, with his eyes firmly locked on his opponent, set the tone of someone looking for revenge, and this was brought to another level when he ran and hit his rival with an uppercut right out of the gate.

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Daivari would eventually weather the early storm and take control. He worked on Oney’s left arm, or more specifically, his elbow. Aiden English also did a nice job of mentioning Oney Lorcan attacking Daivari’s arm in their previous match, giving us more of an explanation for Daivari’s approach.

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Despite being down, Oney kept fighting back, and at one point, even used his injured arm to try and block an incoming strike, a well-executed spot, which obviously did not work out well for the NXT superstar. Eventually, Oney did make a comeback, and intelligently, did not use his injured arm for some of his attacks. After hitting his half and half suplex, Oney looked to be on the verge of winning, only for Daivari to roll out of the ring and attack his opponent with a chair.

Daivari then proceeded to beatdown Oney Lorcan, an attack that took them to the entrance ramp, where Daivari would hit his hammerlock lariat. It was a logical conclusion to a very simple, but brilliantly executed match. Something tells me this is not the last we’ve seen of these two in the ring, and I’m okay with that.

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The show closed with short backstage promos from each of the three participants in Sunday’s triple threat. Nese said the odds are not in his favour, and he does not care because he will “fight to the end.” Tozawa highlighted the threat of his opponents but noted that he is tenacious, and that will lead him to a second title reign. Drew Gulak concluded the segment with the best promo, where he ended it by claiming people call him “cold” and “vicious,” but after Sunday, they will have to call him “Champion.”

After a disappointing start, 205 Live ended with an entertaining main event and some strong closing remarks from Sunday’s triple threat participants. Hopefully, Nese, Tozawa, and Gulak can deliver on Sunday, and we can see the return of Chad Gable next week!

All images are courtesy of wwe.com