Venue: Smoothie King Center (New Orleans, LA)
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, & Aiden English
205 Live points its focus to (the) WrestleMania (Kickoff Show) as GM Drake Maverick declares an elimination tournament. The prize? A shot at Buddy Murphy‘s Cruiserweight Championship. Also on the show Mike Kanellis tries to figure out a winning formula as he takes on former champ Cedric Alexander and Ariya Daivari follows up his nu-metal promo last week by making mince meat out of a poor nameless dude.
- WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Buddy Murphy
- Humberto Carrillo vs. TJP (**1/2)
- Ariya Daivari vs. Johnny Lyons (SQUASH)
- Cedric Alexander vs. Mike Kanellis (**1/2)
-GM Drake Maverick recaps Buddy Murphy’s retention of the Cruiserweight Championship at Elimination Chamber. Maverick announces an 8-man single elimination tournament starting next week; the winner will challenge Murphy for the title at WrestleMania. Maverick announces two matches for tonight: Humberto Carillo vs. TJP and Cedric Alexander vs. Mike Kanellis.
Humberto Carrillo vs. TJP
Carillo’s dimples are SO DEEP. I’m jealous. TJP rolls Carrillo with a crucifix, Carrillo kicks out and shifts weight into a lateral press for a one-count. Carrillo flips over a monkey flip attempt and takes TJP to the mat with a springboard armdrag. TJP bails to the floor, Carrillo wants to take flight but gets distracted by Drew Gulak and ‘Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher who make their way ringside. TJP with a wristlock, Carrillo escapes and takes TJP to the mat with a rolling trip. TJP counters with a headscissors, Gallagher is apparently TAKING SELFIES like he’s Tyler Breeze or something, Gulak tries to avoid them. Carrillo sent to the apron, he connects with a flying crossbody for a one-count. Carrillo with a hard chop, TJP counters a second springboard attempt with a slam and goes to work on Carrillo’s left arm. TJP with a slingshot senton for a one-count, much to his annoyance. Carrillo dodges a corner splash but runs shoulder-first into the LED post when he tries to follow up. TJP places Carrillo in a tree of woe, placing his dropkick right at the left arm for the 1….2…nope. TJP with a double-arm submission, manipulating the digits for extra torque. Both men misses kicks until Carrillo catches him out of nowhere. TJP to the floor, Carrillo hits a corkscrew splash and rolls him in for the 1…2…TJP isn’t done yet. Carrillo with a back handspring moonsault for the 1…2…nope! TJP sends Carrillo to the apron, Carrillo flips over and tries a rollup but TJP rolls through into a STF/Garga-No Escape hybrid. Carrillo forces a rope break, Gulak and Gallagher continue cheering him on. Carrillo and TJP fight on the apron, Carrillo with a missile dropkick to the back of the head. Carrillo follows up with a corner headstand (sorta, he doesn’t actually touch the buckle with his head) into a split-legged moonsault for the 1…2…3!
Humberto Carrillo defeated TJP via pinfall with a split-legged moonsault (10:20)
- Sad to say but this is the first Carrillo match I have actually seen since starting to watch weekly TV again, but I gotta say I was impressed. He’s got a ton of speed and I liked he and TJP constantly trying to flip out of the way of various strike attempts. I’m sure he would wow a much more engaged crowd and the fact that Rey Mysterio was brought up on commentary now makes me want to see a Mysterio/Carrillo match happen. TJP was competent as usual, but he seems sorta lost in the shuffle which is unfortunate, he deserves better I think. (**1/2)
Gulak and Gallagher congratulate Carrillo for he has potential and they lift him on their shoulders like he just beat Yokozuna at WrestleMania X. Carrillo goes along with it because, hey, who doesn’t love praise?
–Tony Nese cuts a backstage promo, putting over his victory over Noam Dar last week. Nese says that whatever mental block has been holding him back has been smashed down and vows to win the tournament and become the new Cruiserweight Champion at WrestleMania. I can dig it.
–Mike Kanellis is backstage taping up his wrists when Kayla Braxton interrupts for an interview. Maria Kanellis completely dresses Braxton down (DESERVEDLY SO), and says that her husband will take out ‘the soul’ of 205 Live and prove he’s the most dangerous man on the brand.
-Hype for DX’s impending WWE Hall Of Fame induction. I’m glad Chyna is going in, can take or leave the rest to be honest.
Ariya Daivari vs. Johnny Lyons
Daivari’s theme song BANGS. Before the match he cuts a promo, saying everyone is hear to bear witness to his destruction of the Cruiserweight division and throws shade at the New Orleans Saints for some of that delicious CHEAP HEAT. Eh that wasn’t really necessary. Lyons is a TINY MAN, even by 205 Live standards.
Lyons does manage a dropkick but Daivari makes him pay for it with RUTHLESS AGGRESSION, hitting a hammerlock lariat and finishing him off with a grapevine Cobra Clutch for the easy tap.
Ariya Daivari defeated Johnny Lyons via submission with a Cobra Clutch (1:25)
- A fine squash to re-introduce Daivari back in the squared circle, with a new finishing move to boot. (SQUASH)
-Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy is in the locker room. Murphy says Drake is trying to give him the challenges he wants, but he’s run through everybody placed in front of him. Murphy says he’s the greatest Cruiserweight of all-time and awaits the winner of the tournament, wanting to see who will try to challenge him come WrestleMania. Confident promo from a confident champion. I wonder who will get the nod, to be honest. He’s beaten the bigger names, so it’s gotta be someone unexpected I assume.
Cedric Alexander vs. Mike Kanellis [w/ Maria Kanellis]
GREAT character work from Kanellis during his entrance; Maria is full of confidence but he has a look of fear and defeat all over his face, like he’s barely holding it together. It’s tremendous, and honestly now I just kinda feel sorry for the guy. He wants to be the man that Maria tells everyone he is, but he’s not entirely sure he can live up to the expectation. Alexander won the Cruiserweight Championship at last year’s WrestleMania so now he’s fighting to get back to the grandest stage of them all to do it again.
Both men trade holds and reversals, jockeying for position. Kanellis backs Alexander in the corner and shoves him, daring him to come at him bro but hiding in the ropes before he can be attacked. Kanellis grabs a side headlock and wrenches it in when Alexander tries to whip him off. Alexander bounces back with an armdrag takedown into an armbar. Alexander connects with a pair of chops into a dropkick to the back of the head for a two-count. Alexander tries a springboard something or another but is stopped dead in his track with a right hand. NOICE. Kanellis peppers Alexander with more right hands followed by a series of elbows right to the sternum. Kanellis follows up with a sliding kick and rips at Alexander’s face while bending the neck over the bottom rope. Alexander responds with a couple of more chops followed a European uppercut and a roll-up for the 1…2…Kanellis kicks out and belts Alexander with a right hand. The lights are on but nobody seems to be home. Kanellis covers, Alexander out at two so we settle into a chinlock. Alexander with jabs followed a palm strike and a pair of dropkicks. Alexander continues his comeback, hitting the Neuralizer and sending Kanellis to the corner. Alexander tries a springboard, but slips off the ropes and starts clutching his left knee. Naturally Kanellis zones in, trying to stomp the knee into paste. Alexander belts Kanellis with a superkick but crumples to the mat due to the knee and he can’t make the cover. Alexander’s knee prevents a Lumbar Check, Kanellis counters the Neuralizer with a superkick to the back of the head followed by a Michinoku Driver for the 1…2…Alexander kicks out and Kanellis is in disbelief.
Alexander and Kanellis trade strikes, Kanellis connects with a backpack stunner for the 1…2…Alexander still kicks out and Kanellis beats himself up over it. I’ve been there, man. Alexander with a series of roll-ups but Kanellis manages to kick out. Alexander with a Michinoku Driver of his own for the 1…2…NOPE. Kanellis rolls to the apron, Alexander with a series of forearms, Kanellis drops him throat-first on the top rope. Kanellis brings Alexander to the apron and they both hit big boots, Alexander landing on the apron while Kanellis lands on the floor. Kanellis starts CRAWLING AWAY FROM THE RING, suckering Alexander for a spinebuster RIGHT ON THE RAMP which Alexander sells by screaming like he’s just been shot. Goddamn. Kanellis crawls back into the ring and begs the ref to keep counting. Alexander JUST breaks the count and Kanellis does his best not to start sobbing. Kanellis stomps Alexander and applies the Boston Crab in the near-center of the ring. Alexander screams and struggles, biting his head to stop himself from tapping, and manages to lunge at the bottom rope to force a break. Maria is looking much less supportive than earlier. Alexander sends Kanellis to the floor and takes flight with a senton. Alexander rolls Kanellis back in, Maria gets in between them to try and keep him on the floor. Alexander runs in, Kanellis connects with a superkick followed by a Cross Rhodes for the 1…2…KANELLIS THINKS HE’S WON BUT ALEXANDER GOT HIS SHOULDER UP. The ref slapped the mat three times, this should count. THIS SHOULD COUNT. Alexander ducks a clothesline and hits the Lumbar Check for the 1…2…3!
Cedric Alexander defeated Mike Kanellis via pinfall with the Lumbar Check (17:34)
- A good match that went a hair too long for my tastes. Kanellis getting increasingly desperate as Alexander continued kicking out was great though, watching him alternate between confident and defeated was tremendous. Alexander did some great selling in this one, his screeching after the spinebuster on the ramp being the standout. I don’t know where they go with Kanellis’ losing streak, because to be honest not much ever happens with this gimmick, but I hope it leads to a moment where Mike finally tells Maria to stop pressuring him so damn much or something. Also FINE THAT REF for essentially costing Kanellis the match. (**1/2)
-Drake Maverick announces the 1st Round matches for next week: Kalisto vs. Tony Nese and Brian Kendrick vs. Drew Gulak. Oh man you think Carrillo and Gulak are gonna meet in the semi-finals or finals?
Overall Thoughts: An entertaining and competent episode of 205 Live that acted as a bridge to the ACTUAL interesting stuff that starts next week. Got to see some new faces (for me) in action plus some great character work from Mike Kanellis so it wasn’t a total wash.
- Match of the Night: Cedric Alexander vs. Mike Kanellis
- Moment of the Night: Mike Kanellis’ face running the gamut of ‘oh god, I’m screwed’ emotions during his entrance for the main event.