The past few weeks have been crazy for professional wrestling with so much happening on raw, the taping of tribute to the troops and the UK tournament announcement it’s hard to keep up with it all. That being said I’m here to bring the focus squarely back to the cruiserweight division and the last two weeks of action on 205 Live. Episode 2 looked to keep things strong and showcase the cruiserweights in all their glory whereas Episode 3 seemed like somewhat of an afterthought, losing the “Live” aspect of the show as it was shunted from its spot, filming before raw instead of after Smackdown Live. With the potential to be one of the best shows in wrestling WWE just need to commit until 205 live gets that commitment we may see the show flounder. The only way to find out is keep watching.
As I said at the beginning of this article episode 2 of 205 live looked to keep things strong following a great debut episode (crowd notwithstanding). As such we had another title match to keep the drama high. Rich Swann was set to take on Kendrick in the main event with the seemingly forgotten TJ Perkins in the main event. But before that we see action from a debuting (on 205 live) Noam Dar vs Cedric Alexander. Straight away I’m soured on this match for 2 reasons, I’ve made it clear that I think Dar isn’t ready for WWE yet, he’s young and has promise but there is something that’s just missing for me. The match was only made worse for me when I saw that they are putting Alexander in a romantic angle with Alicia Fox. The less said about that the better really, if the two really are an item, that’s great but don’t sell Alexander as Alicia Fox’s boyfriend when he is so much more. Anyway despite my poor opinions heading in I was pleasantly surprised. Dar seems to be wrestling a more aggressive style than he was in the CWC and it really works for him. He looked desperate and angry which was great and after eventually picking up the win on Alexander, he set himself up as a heel dedicating his win to Alexander’s girlfriend the aforementioned Alicia Fox. The match was nothing extraordinary but it endeared Dar to me and set up a new heel in the division.
Coming after Dar was my personal favourite from the CWC, Jack Gallagher, in a match setting up another cruiserweight rivalry. Storylines and rivalries were exactly what was missing from the cruiserweight division on raw and now that they have 205 live they have the time to build these rivalries. We are going to get more than the obligatory championship rivalry as this match builds on one from the previous raw in which Ariya Daivari injured Jack Gallagher. Throughout the entire match we see that Jack is hurt and it is serving to build a story between these two men. The match is entertaining and paints Daivari as a powerful and aggressive heel, something heels aren’t anymore. A breath of fresh air from Daivari and any story involving Gallagher gets me happy. So long as it isn’t week after week of Jack vs Daivari there looks to be a lot they can do with this angle and I’m optimistic to see where it may go.
Finally we get to the main event. The Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann Vs The Brian Kendrick. In a rematch from last week’s championship match. This time we find out that TJ Perkins is at ringside. Keeping Perkins in the picture makes it seem like they are looking to have this become a three way rivalry which is an interesting way to keep things fresh but having him a ringside really was a poor decision. With people so great on the mic like Graves and Aries beside him it really highlighted how weak Perkins is as a talker. The commentary throughout the match had me fully aware of TJP’s shortcomings and I’m sure I’m not the only one. The match was great fun, though not quite as good as the encounter from last week but it was great and it finally brought TJP into the mix resulting in a dusty finish that keep Kendrick as a viable contender as well as building tension between all three men involved. After the match we get a brawl between TJP and Kendrick with Rich Swann rushing to Perkin’s aid only for miscommunication and special awareness to result in Kendrick being the only man left standing. It opens up several avenues for the rivalry to take I and look forward to what WWE have to offer with it.
Following on from the second episode we get episode three. Episode three was not live, as it was filmed before Raw to allow for the Tribute to the troops taping to take place after Smackdown Live. Removing the live aspect from the show leads me to believe that WWE are not invested in the cruiserweights and obviously future weeks will tell but the thought was constantly at the back of my head during this episode.
At the start of the episode we are told that the three men who battled at the end of the last episode TJP, Brian Kendrick and the Champion Rich Swann will be in a triple threat at Roadblock for the title which has all the makings of a good match and has people looking to the future but first we have cruiserweight action to watch. Making sure they start strong, Jack Gallagher opens the show. During his entrance the commentary team speaks of Gallagher and Daivari and how they clashed on Raw (that was yet to be filmed). Despite this it was nice to see the furthering of storylines as Drew Gulak made his way to the ring. The match started with a fun mat sequences with some rolling crucifix pin counters leading into Gallagher setting up the Windsor knot. My only fear with this move is that they may set up Gallagher as a comedy wrestler which, although he would be great at, would seriously underutilize him. From her the match felt a bit samey with Gallagher doing his usual spots and finishing with his corner drop kick in a fairly forgettable match.
It was here where audiences found out that Tajiri is coming back to the cruiserweight division and I couldn’t be happier. I heard he signed a contract prior to CWC but to see his video package makes it real and adds come much needed star power to the show before the second match gets underway.
The second match features Lince Dorado and Mustafa Ali, two men who had a great match against one another in the CWC. We saw glimpses of what the two men were capable of briefly during this match with a hurricanrana off of the apron and a great rolling neckbreaker before a double count out was called and the match was stopped short. It really hurt the 205 live debut for both of these guys and I can only hope it is feeding to something bigger otherwise it was a huge waste for two really talented guys.
After that we waste a minute on a terrible promo involving Alicia fox and Noam Dar which looks to have Alisha at the centre of Dar’s actions which makes me very sad. We don’t need a romance story line and it is only going to ruin Dar. Thankfully it is a short segment that leads us to the main event of the evening TJP vs Rich Swann, a match that doesn’t even get started before “Man with the Plan” starts blaring from the titantron. Kendrick takes a seat at ringside in a similar vain to Perkins last week and draeing that comparison only worsens my opinion of Perkins as a talker. I found myself more focussed on commentary than the match. The match was fine but Kendrick was just on top form. Insulting the personality of the two men but stating that they have trained for a long time and they are very good wrestlers, just not as good as him. Knowing how to insult an opponent is something a lot wrestlers and commentators forget nowadays. As the match continued I did start to pay more attention to the action as TJP and Swann having a nice match full of explosive offense. Every move looks like it deals real damage and it looks as if the two “friends” in the ring are going for one another. The match ultimately ends with TJ Perkins picking up the win and has the three men in Sundays match having a brief interaction showing the shades of grey of everyone involved. Swann feels dejected TJP is threatening and Kendrick is the master strategist, It really is giving viewers a great build to Sunday. I’m actually invested in the cruiserweight title match at the PPV which is something I haven’t been able to say thus far. A short episode with issues here and there but it certainly served its purpose.
I still haven’t made my mind up on whether the show is a success or not yet but I’m sure I will have soon. Until then you can look back here to see my thoughts on 205 live. What do you think of 205 Live, who is your favourite cruiserweight? Comment below or tweet me @Jabroni_Josh.