SHOW OPENING- Rather than Drake Maverick running down tonight’s card, we open with fallout from Smackdown as Erick Rowan walks off and officials check on Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. GOOD. This is an important storyline event taking place right where the cameras are, and we can’t start the matches yet anyway because there guys are in the ringside area.
DRAKE MAVERICK MEETS WITH LINCÉ DORADO & HUMBERTO CARRILLO EARLIER TODAY- good
The end result of this was Maverick deciding that if Lincé beats Carrillo tonight, Lincé will be added to the Cruiserweight Title match at Clash of Champions. Everyone was good here, although Lincé being forced to say that he has never had a “WWE Cruiserweight Title opportunity” instead of the much more natural “title shot”” or “shot at the title” or something like that really stood out here for its awkwardness. If you think these awkward mandated phrases are bad on Raw and SD, just wait until you hear them on a show like 205 Live where all of the other verbiage feels completely natural and they stick out like a sore thumb.
One thing they usually have Maverick do that I absolutely love is the way he frames his reasoning for booking matches. For the past 25 years in wrestling (especially outside of Japan) we have seen promoters’ kayfabe motivations fall into one of three categories:
1. “Big stars draw us ratings.”
2. Controversy/violence draws us ratings.
3. Critical acclaim
While the idea of drawing ratings and critical acclaim are absolutely things that a booker should have in mind- and even in kayfabe (where critical acclaim is basically positive social media reaction rather than the number of asterisks various wrestling news outlets give it), there is something off-putting about a promotion that promotes specifically to enflame tensions between its wrestlers or often puts its wrestlers in extremely dangerous matches for financial gain, even if the wrestlers themselves share in that gain. That’s a big part of why Dario Cueto feels like a heel from the very beginning, even before we learn all of the other crazy stuff that his family is involved in. And a promotion that seems overly concerned with star ratings risks shattering the suspension of disbelief because they’re trying to sell you on the artistic merits of their product from a kayfabe place within that art.
Drake Maverick, on the other hand, specifically stated that he is booking this match “to clear the air” between Humberto and Lincé. He’s not booking matches to create tension but rather because it’s the proscribed way to diffuse tension by letting the wrestlers work their aggression out in this legal manner. Drake just wants to run a nice, clean wrestling show.
I know that by now you’re all thinking that this is another “BRM wants this to be a real sport, dammit” rant, but it’s not. The point I’m about to make can be applied to any promotion. Well… maybe not a promotion who constantly books deathmatches, but almost any promotion. And that point is that the fact that drake Maverick’s goal is to prevent the anger, tension, and hostility between his wrestlers makes that anger tension and hostility feel more genuine because it doesn’t come off as a desired part of the show, being stoked by the authority figure and pushed as a positive by the announcers.
MIKE KANELLIS vs. TONY NESE- 8.25/10
This match right here! This match had no stipulations of any sort, and the story of the match was simply two men trying to win a wrestling match. And yet this match felt like so much more than that because of the combination of the story going in- both men have been on losing streaks- and the fact that the bookers have spent the past year and a half showing us time and again that on 205 Live wins and losses matter. Because of those two things (and especially that second one), this match with no special stipulations between two men who had absolutely no bad blood between them, past or present, felt like a match where EVERYTHING was on the line.
This was a match that both men felt they HAD to win, and the match they put together reflected that beautifully, with big moves getting kicked out of and Kanellis taking some uncharacteristic risks like that big running kick off the apron to Nese while he was draped over the barricade. The announcers put all of this over, the crowd was into it, and in the end, when Mike Kanellis won (cleanly!) to pick up his first win over a non-jobber in months, and Nigel McGuiness told us that this was “arguably the biggest win of his career,” I believed him, because of the importance of finally getting a win to get his confidence up after months of losing and having his wife berate him for weeks on end. Speaking of Mike’s wife, Maria was shown watching backstage, and was quite pleased with Mike’s victory.
LINCÉ DORADO PROMO- Or not a promo. The camera is just randomly on him backstage. Fortunately, Ariya Daivari showed up so that we could see their backstage segment. I realize that this is normal WWE fare, but it’s not normal for 205 Live, and thus sticks out.
LINCÉ DORADO & AIRYA DAIVARI BACKSTAGE- mostly good
Daivari wants to wish Lincé good luck, but then gets upset when Lincé doesn’t thank him for empowering him to get himself this opportunity. Lincé gets annoyed and realizes that Daivari is nothing but a leech who was trying to break him away from Lucha House Party to latch onto him himself. He says he is going to call Kalisto and Gran Metalik and apologize to them, then win tonight’s match and then LHP will “throw the biggest Lucha House Party of all time.” Whoever insisted on including that last line should have been flogged for even suggesting it.
BOLLYWOOD BOYZ PROMO- yeah. They’re nothing but total goofs. Also, they vow to eventually take revenge on Brian Kendrick & Akira Tozawa for beating them.
AKIRA TOZAWA & BRIAN KENDRICK vs. TWO JOBBERS- squash
This was supposed to be Kendrick vs. Gallagher but Gallagher is not medically cleared. Kendrick has “questioned the validity” of his injury, because 205 Live knows how to keep a storyline on a weekly TV show going in an intelligent manner even if an unexpected injury occurs.
BRIAN KENDRICK PROMO- good
He buries Gallagher for not showing up tonight and announces that he talked to Drake Maverick and next week, live from Madison Square Garden, it will be Kendrick & Tozawa vas. Gallagher & a partner of Gallagher’s choosing “if you you’re feeling up for it.” Fighting words right there. Also, I’m quite interested to see who the mystery partner is.
SARAH SCHREIBER INTERVIEWS ONEY LORCAN- great
Sarah asks Oney for a reaction to his loss in last week’s #1 contendership match to Humberto Carrillo and the fact that it means he will have to wait until after Clash of Champions to get revenge on Gulak. Before Oney can answer, though, we hear a disturbance from off screen. The camera turns to see Tony Nese screaming and hitting equipment cases in frustration.
Lorcan tries to calm Nese down, telling him “I’ve been there,” but Nese responds to this with a sucker punch. Nese then proceeded to beat Lorcan up while screaming that Lorcan hasn’t actually been where Nese has been. I thought this was great, but thought that it might have been a little better if they had made clear that Nese is interpreting having “been there” as being Cruiserweight Champion and that Lorcan- who hasn’t been champion- doesn’t understand the agony of losing the title and the desire to get it back.
IF LINCÉ DORADO WINS, HE IS ADDED TO THE WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH AT CLASH OF CHAMPIONS: Lincé Dorado vs. Humberto Carrillo- 8.25/10
Another awesome match, this time with huge stakes. Lots of big moves were kicked out of in this one as well. Dorado won clean with a roll-up to earn his first shot at the Cruiserweight Title.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- great
Drew Gulak came out and attacked Lincé Dorado on the ramp. Humberto Carrillo went to make the save but was attacked by Tony Nese. Nese and Gulak exchanged a glance and a nod, then began to work together. They won the fight, each inviting the other to hit his finisher of a guy he had been beating up, and posing together afterwards.
Yet another awesome episode of 205 Live. I will admit that I’m a little disappointed that Lincé isn’t breaking away from LHP, but setting him up for a feud with Daivari at least means that we’ll get a good feud between two characters who don’t get featured particularly often.
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