After a relatively flat show last week, this week’s episode of 205 Live provided us with some stronger content from start to finish. The show-stealing triple threat at Stomping Grounds featuring Tony Nese, Akira Tozawa, and Drew Gulak ended with a new champion, which was non-other than the new no-nonsense Drew Gulak. So in the main event of this episode, Tony Nese went one on one with Tozawa in a number one contender’s match. Plus, Mike Kanellis took on ‘Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher.
Besides the fact, 205 Live was yet again without Chad Gable! This week’s show did do a better job at ensuring most of what was on the show had meaning and advanced issues between characters. Also, with Nese and Tozawa in the main event, you knew you were in for a treat.
Things kicked off with Drew Gulak, who stood in front of a dark background, cutting a promo. He reminded us that he gave up on trying to make a “better 205 Live,” instead now focusing on making a better Drew Gulak. A better Gulak that people must now call “champion.” He ended the promo with a line that promoted Nese vs. Tozawa, but also showcased his new ruthless personality: “Whoever walks away victorious, I will put down for good at Extreme Rules.”
Mike Kanellis vs. Jack Gallagher
Both men worked a pretty basic match. Gallagher did his trademark upside-down balancing on the top rope, and while Mike was stretching Gallagher by pulling his arms and placing his feet on his opponent’s shoulder, Gallagher amusingly countered by repeatedly kicking Mike’s chin with both his feet.
Mike took control when Gallagher was distracted after almost throwing his opponent into Maria. A suplex on the outside would layout the ‘Gentleman’ and as the referee’s count went on the commentary team did a good job referencing Gallagher’s loss to Gable where he also lost via count out.
The ending came when Mike halted Gallagher’s momentum with a superkick and rolled him up for a cover, holding the tights during the pinfall attempt. The referee would stop counting as he saw Mike’s hands on the tights and it was during this exchange Mike lost his focus and began screaming at the referee. When he turned back around, he was greeted by a headbutt from his British foe, who then pinned Mike for the one, two, and three.
The camera zooming into Maria’s shocked face immediately after the three-count was a nice touch, and to continue with the surprises, Mike informed his wife that he was “done” as they made their way up the ramp. He told her to speak with Drake Maverick, and he then exited through the crowd, removing his wrist tape in the process.
We were then treated to a very engaging promo from the former champion as he sat with his head down, and his hair draped over his face. Nese discussed the rules of a triple threat and taking back control. He also brought up facing Tozawa, a man he respects, but also the same man who Gulak pinned to win the title. Nese finally lifted his head and pulled his hair back to deliver a final statement to Gulak, reminding him that he never beat him for the title, and after tonight, he’s taking it back.
Tozawa’s was, as expected, a much shorter promo. He talked about letting the opportunity slip through his hands at Stomping Grounds, and that in the main event; he will seize his opportunity to become a two-time cruiserweight champion.
Drake Maverick was then shown shouting, while on the phone to Mike Kanellis’ voicemail, claiming he has given him countless opportunities, but Mike’s failures are always somehow his fault. It’s an interesting twist to this story, and I’m curious to see where they go from here.
Humberto Carrillo vs. Rob Rollenbeck
WWE seems very keen on having squash matches fill the middle of 205 Live, and Humberto vs. Rob was just that, another squash match. If anything, it was a prolonged squash match, allowing Humberto to show off more of his offence before picking up the win.
Tony Nese vs. Akira Tozawa
Going into this main event, I’m sure everyone watching expected something great, and Nese and Tozawa did not disappoint. The action was fast-paced, and back and forth throughout the entire duration of this showdown. It felt like a fight between two elite boxers, where no one has the upper hand for too long.
The work rate from both men combined with how impactful certain moves looked, reminded us of the title implications. It was clear both men were desperate to win. Tozawa’s suicide dive to the outside was especially noteworthy as Nese fired himself onto the announce table. Plus, we witnessed another wonderful sunset flip powerbomb when Nese held Tozawa by his legs, only for the Japanese star to counter with a powerbomb.
The finale was full of counters, German suplexes, and near falls. It was a treat for wrestling fans. Ultimately, Tozawa found himself on the receiving end of Tony Nese’s modified piledriver, which allowed the former champion to pick up the victory and earn a title shot at Extreme Rules.
A great main event closed out a better edition of 205 Live this week. Also, there is interest in Mike Kanellis and Drake Maverick’s angle, as I am intrigued to see what happens moving forward. However, the absence of Chad Gable is beginning to frustrate me as there was so much momentum behind the former Olympian after his debut in the Cruiserweight division. But please, don’t let my gripe about Chad stop you from watching a fantastic main event between two of WWE’s best in-ring talents, Tony Nese and Akira Tozawa.
All images are courtesy of wwe.com