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Live From The 205 (2/27/18): And So We Separate The Strong From The Weak


All right, kids, if you're not convinced yet that Roderick Strong is heading to WrestleMania, then this week's 205 Live should be enough proof.

If there was anyone they pulled up from NXT who deserves to go all the way, it was really going to be either him or Tyler Bate—and since Master Bate has been knocked out early in the game by TJP, then we're left with Roddy. If they were planning to just use him as a capable hand from Full Sail to help fill in the tournament brackets, then they would've easily let Kalisto, the bigger star, advance. But here we are now, and I think they're all in on Roddy.


The story's way too good to pass up, anyway. Think about it: a 15-year underdog veteran who's clawing his way to a WrestleMania spot? He and Cedric Alexander are essentially in the same boat, and while I would totally be fine with Cedric advancing to the finals, Cedric still has a whole career ahead of him. I won't mind Cedric not getting the spot just yet, and the fact that Strong's story happens to be more resonant isn't helping his cause.

As the tournament rolls forward, it gets sadder and sadder to watch people get eliminated. This feeling has been around since the first round, anyway, considering this tourney's way more stacked than the original Cruiserweight Classic was—and what I'm now looking for from the show is the gradual reestablishment of everyone who's been sent home.

Yes, there's space for long matches that go over 10 minutes, but it's time to re-reintroduce everyone who got eliminated. This isn't only because there are people in there that I miss (what's good, Tyler Bate, Hideo Itami, Akira Tozawa) but we shouldn't have to wait until after WrestleMania to find out who exactly's going to comprise the 205 Live landscape. We'll be done with the main tournament after two or three weeks depending on how they play out the semifinals, and there'll be a gap between then and Mania to hype things up, so they have to get rolling on the "regular season" storylines.

They already did a good job of this by throwing in a random Lucha House Party squash last week, but they don't always have to do that; all they have to do is show us more of the other cruiserweights interacting backstage with each other and GM Drake Maverick.


You've given us a hot must-watch tournament, but now I—we—want to see how the real Drake Maverick 205 Live is gonna look. That shouldn't be too much to ask, right?

205 Live 2/27/18 Grade: The quiet crowd in this episode (besides the section that's been cheering for TJP, because they're in Cali) kind of hurts the atmosphere of what should be a couple of high-stakes matches; and the main event ran a little shorter than I expected. It's another solid episode from this current run, but I wish we saw more of the other roster members again. B+

Short stops

  • The short vignette where Drake Maverick explains his vision for the show is great. It establishes the brand as pretty much main roster NXT, and what SmackDown is supposed to be on paper: a show committed to bringing you the best action and athleticism, with the best getting merits. Simple but strong.
  • I feel like TJ and Cedric should've cut their match down by a few minutes after hearing crickets for their bigger spots. TJ got some love, but wasn't enough to make the atmosphere hot.
  • Roddy had some pretty bad intentions for Kalisto there, but the strange top-rope backbreaker counter into what seems to be a reverse DDT (wasn't sure if it was meant to be a rana) looked nasty. Strong hurt his right shoulder there for real, even if only for a few moments.
  • I'm still figuring out who my Purple Conference finalist is. You could go Drew Gulak for the clear face/heel matchup, but the styles would be too similar and not representative of the cruiserweight division. On the other hand, Strong/Ali would be much more fun, but would strictly be an athletic face/face matchup. There's nothing wrong with it considering the Cruiserweight Classic finals between TJP and Gran Metalik was a face/face deal, but I feel like you can get more out of Roddy and Gulak, and Gulak deserves the spotlight as well for how good he's carried himself over the past year. It's a tough choice either way, and that's a testament to how underrated the cruiserweights have been the whole time.
Photo from WWE

*****

Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry, one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, and is associated with Philippine Wrestling Revolution. 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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