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Live From The 205 (8/1/17): Last Train To Brooklyn



It's another late edition of Live From the 205, and 205 Live chugs along, with this week's episode finally getting us back on track to the Cruiserweight Championship after a brief two-week detour.

Okay, so the sudden emergence of Ariya Daivari is unusual, since he came from out of nowhere to be a championship contender. Of all the different heels to go with to contest Akira Tozawa's claim to the contendership, they go with someone who hasn't really made much of an impact since the show's early days, and someone who isn't really in even decent standing on the show.

Call it the Jinder Mahal Strategy. To some extent, I think it worked—while I would pick just about any other guy to have a mini-feud with Tozawa and Neville, I'm now interested in what Daivari would do with the rest of his minor push. It's only been a couple of weeks, but this story thread is already looking a little more sensible than Jinder's own reign.

Ariya shows up at a time Neville is gone, takes it to Tozawa a little harder than usual, and holds his own in matches that are admittedly better than the bouts Jinder's been forced into (save for the ones against Sami Zayn and AJ Styles). This all culminates in this week's main event, one more time with Akira Tozawa, for the #1 contendership at SummerSlam.

 

Ariya's still very much a by-the-book WWE wrestler (and he'll probably find me on Twitter for saying that) but this match helped out his cause. The reason why I bring up Jinder Mahal's push is also because Ariya's in-ring style evokes that of Mahal's, just a notch or two less hard-hitting. It helps that he was in there with Tozawa, who needless to say is pretty intense. A couple of key near falls, including a spot where Daivari kicks out after a Shining Wizard, goes a long way into elevating his standing on the show.

What this whole detour really was, though, is a way to keep the Tozawa/Neville feud fresh without having to pit them against each other every week. They learned their lesson from Aries/Neville, even though it's not applied to every feud on the show. But I appreciate the fact that this time, they decided to build a new star in the process, which is something we're starting to see little by little not just on 205 Live, but across all WWE programming. I hope they sustain this pattern, and most importantly, I hope they sustain Daivari's momentum moving forward. 


205 Live 8/1/17 Grade: It wasn't a mindblowing episode, but it did a good number of things right. I'll give this week a B.

Short stops


  • Gran Metalik is back on the show! Two things: I'm glad they're rebuilding Tony Nese, and I'm happy that they chose the Metallic One to job to him. Yes, it could've been a lot better, and Nese's promo makes Metalik coming out to face him make more sense than, say, Lince Dorado, but I'm glad they're utilizing their assets again.
  • Angry Jack Gallagher works here, and I'm glad it didn't take too long for them to have him snap. If this were a few months ago, we'd have waited another month to see this development.
  • I like the way they're approaching TJP/Rich Swann. The pace could seem frustratingly slow with the way TJ keeps up his facade of being friendly with Rich, but it's only building toward a more sinister turn that we'll be getting sooner or later. They're right in having Swann seem suspicious and TJ downplaying his fears, because this could be the show's version of the Eddie/Rey series.
  • Mustafa Ali, however, being relegated as an extra in TJ and Rich's segment after getting a lot of momentum following his win over Drew Gulak is a problem. It just shows that you're nothing on this show if you don't have anyone to feud with. This could really easily be resolved if the division had a ranking system, which would allow wrestlers who aren't in the middle of a bitter rivalry to play for a higher spot toward the championship. How hard would that be, really? You get to have your random one-on-one matches without making them throwaway bouts.

The Cruiserweight Division Power Rankings (as of 8/4/17)


We have a new (old) #1 contender, but with only one other story moving forward this week, how much will positions change according to the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme (tm)?

  • 1. Akira Tozawa, #2 last week — I've honestly got no choice but to put Tozawa back on top. He's earned his way back in the title scene despite a storyline injury, and won twice this week. Neville's resting on his laurels here, and he needs to show his dominance again.

  • 2. Neville, #2 last week — The problem with beating everyone in his division is that eventually, you're going to run out of things to do. Maybe he should host an open challenge until SummerSlam.

  • 3. Cedric Alexander, #4 last week — It's entirely possible to move up the rankings without making great progress. Cedric is part of the team that beat TJP, Ariya Daivari, and Tony Nese in what is pretty much a recap rematch of last week's main event, but on RAW. He's looking good, but with nowhere to go. 

  • 4. TJP, #3 last week — TJP trades places with Cedric while his feud with Swann gets ready to kick into high gear. 

  • 5. Rich Swann, #7 last week — Swann gets some ground back, but only because the two above him have faltered. 

  • 6. Ariya Daivari, #5 last week  Daivari, for all his championship hopes, loses twice this week—and that's coming after a loss from Neville last week. It was a nice little Cinderella run, and now he has to focus on the marathon ahead of him.

  • 7. Jack Gallagher, #8 last week — Technically loses to Brian Kendrick via DQ, but shows a meaner, umbrella-whacking side to the Gentleman that hasn't been seen before. I like this.

  • 8. Tony Nese, #10 last week — Looks good in a fresh singles win against Gran Metalik that also shows a clear new direction for his character.

  • 9. Mustafa Ali, #6 last week — When the most you've done since beating a hated enemy is playing video games backstage with a friend, you know something's going wrong.

  • 10. The Brian Kendrick, #9 last week — Gets his ass beat so bad, it's funny.

  • 11. Gran Metalik, #14 last week Just on the strength of showing up on the premier cruiserweight show. Oh, and wins on Main Event with Lince Dorado.

    • 12. Lince Dorado, #13 last week See Gran Metalik.

    • 13. Drew Gulak, #10 last week — Slowly falling into irrelevance after his loss to Mustafa Ali, but a match against both luchadores on Main Event is enough of an opportunity to begin his crusade anew.

    • 14. Noam Dar, #12 last week — Worked ICW one last time, so he's absent.

    Photo from WWE

    *****

    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul. He likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account.

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