After last week’s challenge from The Brian Kendrick, and Tony Nese’s heel turn, Madison Square Garden got two matches that continued these stories. In the opener, Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa took on Jack Gallagher and his surprise partner, and in the main event, Drew Gulak, Tony Nese, and Ariya Daivari had a six-man tag match against Humberto Carrillo, Lince Dorado, and Gran Metalik.
The fact the 205 Live superstars got to perform at Madison Square Garden was pretty cool, and a lot of them can now proudly say they wrestled at the “World’s Most Famous Arena.” Unfortunately, everything felt a little flat. NXT superstar Dio Maddin gave a subpar performance on commentary after being announced as Nigel McGuinness’ replacement. Some of the wrestling lost a little steam, and the New York crowd seemed determined to hold up their reputation as a hard crowd to please.
The Brian Kendrick & Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher & Kushida
The surprise announcement of Kushida was a clever move by WWE. He got a nice pop from the crowd, and as he prepared himself to start the match, there were noticeable chants of “Kushida!” The action kicked off with Kushida getting the best of Kendrick while displaying some impressive offence which included a hip toss into an armbar. Gallagher and Tozawa also had a nice back and forth battle, which led to Tozawa and Kendrick taking control of the match.
The action slowed down when Gallagher endured the punishment being dished out by his opponents. However, they seemed to struggle to get the early momentum back, even with the hot tag. After an awkward and pointless move where Tozawa helped flip Kendrick over when he had Gallagher in position for his running bulldog, Gallagher then tagged Kushida, and what followed was a series of moves where all four men seemed to hesitate in their execution.
Kushida looked good at the end, single-handedly taking out Tozawa and Kendrick, and eventually hooking in his kimura, forcing Kendrick to tap. Kushida’s presence helped this opener, but it could not hide the fact that this match seemed to fall apart during the second half. Kushida is a potentially exciting addition to the roster, and he’ll have a lot of great matches if he joins 205 Live. The tag match on this show, however, will not go down as one of those great matches.
Not long after the opener, Mike Kanellis was interviewed backstage in a rather bizarre segment. His wife Maria criticised Mike’s win over Tony Nese, claiming Mike took advantage of a vulnerable Nese. I understand the type of dynamic WWE is creating with Maria and Mike, but it was disappointing to see Mike’s big win almost chucked away in one segment. I’m hoping this somehow leads to Mike fighting for the Cruiserweight title down the line.
Humberto Carrillo, Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik vs. Drew Gulak, Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari
Originally, this was supposed to be a tag match with Gulak and Nese taking on Humberto and Dorado, but after a brawl broke out before the bout got underway, Metalik and Daivari got involved. Humberto then laid down the challenge for a six-man tag match. The Lucha Libre stars got off to a good start when Dorado was successfully executing his high flying manoeuvres. Eventually, Gulak’s team built some momentum and began beating down Lince Dorado.
From start to finish, the wrestling was of a high standard, especially when Gran Metalik entered the ring and went one on one with Tony Nese. Unfortunately for the wrestlers involved, New York showed them the ultimate disrespect as they paid no attention to the impressive in-ring action, and instead focused on various activities going on in the crowd, and also began chanting “baby.”
Drew Gulak did a great job adapting to the crowd’s interest by picking up Metalik and rocking him side to side like a baby, which got a loud reaction from the live crowd. It proved to only be a temporary fix, though. The New York crowd suffocated this main event and showed no remorse for their actions.
The ending featured some entertaining spots, and Dorado ultimately hit his shooting star on Drew Gulak for the one, two, and three. These superstars deserve praise for their efforts. But with such distracting crowd reactions, it was too difficult to focus on what was happening in the ring.
Overall, this was a forgettable episode of 205 Live, and I’m sure it’s probably a night some of the main event participants will like to forget as well. Humberto, Dorado, and Gulak now have an opportunity to turn things around at Clash of Champions when they have a Triple Threat for the Cruiserweight title.
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