On this week’s episode of 205 Live, we had two big singles bouts that significantly impacted the brand moving forward. In the opener, Tony Nese took on Mike Kanellis in a battle that saw both men trying to build some much-needed momentum. The main event saw rivals Humberto Carrillo and Lince Dorado face-off, with the stipulation that if Dorado wins, he’ll be added to Humberto’s title match with Drew Gulak at Clash of Champions.
One of the things that stuck out during this show was the fact that along with some solid in-ring action, we had a narrative that ran through the entire episode. There were also setups for storylines moving forward, making next week’s episode of 205 Live all the more intriguing.
Tony Nese vs. Mike Kanellis
Before diving into the actual wrestling, Nigel McGuinness, Vic Joseph, and Aiden English deserve a lot of praise for their fantastic work during this opener. Tony Nese has endured a horrible time since losing his cruiserweight title, and Mike Kanellis’ series of unfortunate events have been highlighted on RAW as well. But the commentary team did a great job detailing the struggles both men have had to deal with, as well as emphasising how important a victory was for both men. It was a “Rock bottom brawl” as Aiden so fittingly described it, and as a fan, it made you feel like the outcome was very important.
Tony Nese started things off by getting into his groove fast, doing his duck and kip-up, and even a very impressive cartwheel dodge on the ring apron. However, when the action spilt to the outside, Mike took control by unleashing a vicious looking DDT on the entrance ramp. During his period of offence, he even hit Nese with a leaping boot off the ring apron, which the commentary team highlighted as a new move for Maria’s husband, showing how much he needs this win.
As the match neared its conclusion, both superstars went back and forth, exchanging some good near falls. On more than one occasion, Nese looked to have the match won, but Mike kept getting his shoulders up. And as the former cruiserweight champion went for his running knee in the corner, Mike jumped to his feet to hit a superkick and his rear face lock for a shocking upset. As fans tried to digest this surprise, Nigel brilliantly screamed that this victory was “For his wife. For his child. For his unborn child.” An entertaining start to the show.
The Brian Kendrick & Akira Tozawa vs. Local Competitors
There was nothing to say about this match aside from one moment when one of the local competitors cheap-shotted The Brian Kendrick, and he turned up the fury in his attack, which eventually led to him and Tozawa picking up the win. However, post-match, Brian Kendrick challenged Jack Gallagher to find himself a partner and face Kendrick and Tozawa next week at Madison Square Garden. It’ll be interesting to see who ends up being Gallagher’s partner, but the week given for fans to ponder who it could be is a good move from WWE as it builds intrigue.
Oney Lorcan then had a backstage interview, and as he started to speak about recent events, Tony Nese walked by kicking objects out of anger. Oney tried comforting Nese by explaining that he’s “been there.” Nese, however, attacked Oney and screamed, “You’ve been there!” repeatedly. The anger from Tony Nese made all the sense in the world because of his recent track record, and attacking Oney sets up a potentially mouth-watering wrestling match!
Humberto Carrillo vs. Lince Dorado
The main event started a little slow, with both men feeling each other out, exchanging pinfall attempts. Also, when they tried incorporating some flips and high flying manoeuvres with technical wrestling, it did not look very smooth. The pace did pick up when they stopped playing nice and began unleashing chops back and forth at a furious pace, which ultimately led to Humberto getting the upper hand and unleashing some of his trademark offences.
Once Dorado started to take control of the match, the clunky spots seemed to continue. Dorado’s attempt at a reverse-rana was a perfect example, as he just about managed to salvage the move and avoid a potentially nasty injury. Even their Lucha Libre style offence did not come across as smooth as one would expect because it felt too choreographed, and although that’s okay in Mexico, it looks out of place in WWE.
Whenever the two exchanged chops or strikes instead of trying to fly around the ring, the match flowed, and both men seemed to gel. Unfortunately, those moments were few and far between. The ending came when Lince Dorado hit a standing hurricanrana and picked up the one, two, and three. Dorado won the hit and miss bout, and so he will now join Humberto in the title match at Clash of Champions.
As Dorado made his way up the ramp, Gulak attacked his new challenger, and before Humberto could do anything, he was the recipient of a Tony Nese attack. Gulak and Nese looked at one another and then left both men lying in the ring. A very interesting move turning a former fan favourite like Nese heel, but this partnership with the newly invigorated Drew Gulak has the potential to be a great team for the 205 Live brand.
All in all, this was a solid edition of 205 Live that set up a lot of potentially exciting matches and events for shows down the road.
All images are courtesy of wwe.com