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Live From the 205 (10/3/17): Lukewarm Lucha Things



The cruiserweight division—or, more accurately, RAW GM Kurt Angle—finally gets its ass moving by adding Kalisto to its ranks, making the second non-cruiserweight-to-cruiserweight move of the year.

Other than the implication that non-cruiserweights at the time of 205 Live's establishment apparently weren't automatically moved to the division unless they asked or were made to do so (they actually had a choice, imagine that) it took them long enough after 'Listo was moved to RAW. They didn't even think about doing this when Kalisto warned Tozawa about trusting Titus a few months ago, but now that they needed more eyes on the show, here we are.




The only problem with this is it would've been exciting... back in around 2015 or so. Or maybe even last year, when Kalisto was still somewhat relevant as part of SmackDown Live. Ideally, one of the most exciting luchadores on the roster would be a grand addition to a division that needed more stars, but as of Monday, nobody remembered Kalisto was technically a cruiserweight. Some people were expecting it to be Hideo Itami, who we're seeing less of down in NXT.

Why is that? Not because Kalisto isn't a great wrestler, that's for sure—simply because he's been made irrelevant by the RAW machine. Take, for example, Asuka coming to RAW; people are excited now because they did a good job building her up in her whole stay in NXT. If she was booked anything like how Kalisto was booked on RAW, however, nobody would be batting an eyelash at the Empress of Tomorrow. This tells me moving Kalisto down wasn't exactly a big plan they were working on in the long-term, because if it were, the guy wouldn't be making like an RKO and coming from out of nowhere. 

They still had a chance to make up for all that by having Kalisto leave a lasting impression on his first 205 Live episode. Unfortunately, his first official match was against Ariya Daivari—who's solid, but it's clear they didn't have much chemistry. It really wasn't the best platform to introduce and showcase the Lucha Dragon to one of the most competitive divisions on the main roster. They could've given him a guy like Tony Nese or Noam Dar, who could've made him look better.



The only positive note is that Kalisto put out a decent promo, even if it made him sound like Millennial Rey Mysterio. What he said, albeit short, was much, much better from the "good lucha thing" inanity we heard a year ago, and he didn't back down from the microphone powerhouse that was Enzo.

What's also a little troubling is the total absence of Neville, who didn't even come in at all in this episode to be a looming threat. That tells me that they're not quite sure of how they're going to move forward with this story from here—and they're not devoted to making Neville a complete babyface if they needed to bring in someone who is. That, at least, is a good decision, but they're going to need to get this new top scene together, and fast.

205 Live 10/3/17 Grade: It should've been a huge episode to mark the introduction of another cruiserweight star, but this week was surprisingly room temperature-mild. Kalisto starting the show to explain himself makes sense, but he should've also been the main event. Especially if the alternative is Cedric Alexander vs. Jack Gallagher. B.

Short stops

  • I have this yuuuuge fear that they've started to reduce Akira Tozawa to his battle cry. Yes, he was rubbing it in the face of Drew Gulak, who is banning chants, but to have him say nothing else is a little worrisome. Tozawa's innocently charming when he actually speaks to his opponent, and I wish they still took advantage of that. It's still also troublesome that Titus Worldwide isn't appearing with him even though the commentators still say he's a part of it. What happened?
  • Brian Kendrick becomes the newest heel to try and align with Enzo Amore. I hope there's an eventual double-cross in there somewhere.
  • Heel Jack Gallagher can't keep coming out to "El Toreador." There are so many classical pieces they could use. Hell, they could even go the cliché route and remix "Carmina Burana."
  • Cedric Alexander snapping on Jack Gallagher would make more sense to the viewer if Kendrick brought up the fact that Cedric wasn't willing to snap on Enzo when he won the contendership fatal five-way, because he established that it wasn't what he does. There could be something more to this—like a morality play on giving in to rage when you're pushed over the edge. I hope it's something they're considering.

The Cruiserweight Division Power Rankings (as of 10/6/17)

We have 16 cruiserweights now! That means the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme (tm) has to adjust to this new information as—gasp—one person will have to fall off the power rankings!

  • 1. Enzo Amore, no movement — Interestingly, it's as a champion that Enzo manages to establish himself on the top of the list. His mic work is better, justifying his subpar in-ring work by making it a reason to be a heel. I'm okay with this now.
  • 2. Cedric Alexander, #3 last week — Neville being reduced to a smaller role, especially now that he technically can't challenge for Enzo's title right now, forces him to fall from a spot I don't really want him to fall from. Cedric didn't do that much this week other than tapping into a side of himself he wasn't in touch with until now, and at least it's interesting to see where he'll be going from here.
  • 3. Neville, #2 last week — I'm curious to see how the King will continue to figure in the title scene now that he can't have a shot at it.
  • 4. Kalisto, new — Well, it looks like he's got a clear path to the title at this point, unless Neville manages to wrangle his way back in.
  • 5. The Brian Kendrick, no movement — Gets punked out, but asserts himself as a master manipulator on the show.
  • 6. Jack Gallagher, #5 last week — Jacky Boy still feels like a lackey alongside Kendrick, and the DQ loss kind of proves it.
  • 7. Rich Swann, #8 last week — No appearance on 205 Live, but beats Tony Nese and Noam Dar on Main Event with Lince Dorado.
  • 8. Lince Dorado#8 last week — Goes up, but not because of anything remarkable, really. Technicalities are keeping him along.
  • 9. Akira Tozawa, #7 last week — Went out to mess with Gulak, but had a pretty quiet week.
  • 10. TJP, #9 last week — No appearance, not even to hype what I assume is the climactic matchup between him and Rich Swann next week. 
  • 11. Gran Metalik, #4 last week — Drops down six spots due to a multitude of factors, biggest of which is the non-appearance on any shows this week save for the big cruiserweight division vs. Enzo Amore showdown on RAW.
  • 12. Mustafa Ali, #14 last week — Moves up after finally scoring a nice win on 205 Live, even if it didn't mean too much. 
  • 13. Ariya Daivari, no movement — Yes, Daivari technically lost to Kalisto, but he's getting a prime spot as Enzo's top ally. 
  • 14. Drew Gulak, #11 last week — While in a nice midcard spot with Akira Tozawa, Gulak has been nothing to write home about in the ring. His highlights are mainly the PowerPoint presentation, but that doesn't move you up the rankings.
  • 15. Tony Nese, #12 last week — This is how low Nese has sunk; after getting a nice push two months ago, he now rests at the bottom of the list. And he had so much potential, too.


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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