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Live From the 205 (12/19/18): 'Twas the 205 Before Christmas


This week's episode was the last 205 Live of the year, with everybody miraculously taking a holiday break next week. No Christmas episodes for RAW and SmackDown, which means there's no 205 Live taping either; we're getting a Best of 2018 next week and I'll come out with a similar column.

That said, with so many things happening for the Purple Brand this week (some more subtle than others) it's time to take a look at where this leaves us heading into 2019:

  • Buddy Murphy is getting a reset next year. With Cedric Alexander coming up short against the Juggernaut at TLC, which effectively hammers the last nail in the coffin that houses his championship dreams, as well as someone else graduating from 205 Live (more on that in a little while) it means we're getting a completely new challenger(s) for the title.

    The only issue here is the show is now down a couple of top babyfaces, especially if it's decided to sideline Cedric Alexander for the time being. I have a couple of ideas, but I'll wait for Drake Maverick to make the announcement instead of throwing out guesses, because I'm totally at a loss here.
  • Mustafa Ali has graduated to SmackDown Live. Yes, here it is. In a move I never saw coming (because we never thought it was possible, even with Lucha House Party appearing on RAW) Ali has officially been named a member of the SmackDown Live roster, completely bypassing a Cruiserweight Championship reign that should've been perfunctory.

    I guess being on the main roster and pinning the WWE Champion in a tag team match on TV is much, much better than being champion, but now the rules are all crazy again. So anyone is eligible to move up of the cruiserweight division? How does a cruiserweight go about doing that? Is this like a visa application, where they should seek out a main roster sponsor who could give them a shot? Is it because people can do what Mike Kanellis and Buddy Murphy did and cut down to below 205?

    I would actually like for things to work this way because it would make sense for some characters to go down to the smaller pond; I just need to know how the system all works. Everyone knows there's nothing I hate more than the WWE rewriting the rules on the fly just because they can.

  • Brian Kendrick is back to being the actual The Brian Kendrick. In a strange but not-too-surprising transformation, Kendrick has reverted back to his 2008 self to match his new babyface persona. It's a little disorienting, but not a bad idea for someone whose character had been going for two years without much progress. 
  • Gran Metalik is apparently disgruntled with his role in WWE. Yes, this just turned into a Grapevine column, but Metalik just (inappropriately) tweeted a little poll on where he should be going next: back to CMLL, or to the indies. I can't blame the guy as he's been the least-used member of the Lucha House Party, there's just very little space wherever you look in the WWE right now, and his contract may be up soon, but way to take your frustrations public. (He deleted the tweet.) (For the record, I voted for the indies.)


205 Live 12/19/18 Final Grade: This week's episode was a little more toned down mostly because the big match was at TLC, but still worth a look. Just a little ho-hum, and I didn't really dig yet another babyface cruiserweight team beating a heel cruiserweight team. Hideo Itami vs. Noam Dar was really solid, though. B

Short stops

  • The show doesn't go 10 minutes before Vic Joseph busts out a "THAT BEING." What's worse is that the habit has rubbed off on Nigel and Percy, so everyone busts out a THAT BEING in this episode! YOU DON'T NEED TO TELL US WHO THAT BEING IS! WE CAN INFER WHO YOU MEANT JUST FINE!
  • A comment on the Cruiserweight Championship match at TLC: man, was Cedric shut down or what? He gets to go on his Superman comeback and Murphy straight up neutralizes it with a foot on the rope. This is what I was talking about when I said Murphy gives so much to his opponent where Cedric doesn't; if Cedric were the champion and he was retaining, you wouldn't see Murphy hit a Murphy's Law or a powerbomb for Cedric to kick out, he'd just nail you with a Neuralyzer and a Lumbar Check to go home. 
  • The Daivari/Itami partnership is growing so much on me. Daivari is the mouthpiece Itami sorely needed, and Itami is the credibility Daivari doesn't know he needs. I really hope Daivari learns from him.
  • I don't know if Noam really wasn't cleared to compete last week or they decided to switch him out for Metalik in the match with Murphy at the last minute, but I really appreciated how they set up this week's opening match. For some reason, 205 Live isn't afraid of going the extra mile to do that one little thing that would explain a decision. RAW and SmackDown could really learn from this, because it's not asking creative to move mountains.
  • Also an excellent use of Buddy Murphy and Drake Maverick to thread the needle on Murphy's next storyline. I just wish they both addressed Mustafa's move to SmackDown as it's the elephant in the room. (If I were Murphy, I'd either question why Mustafa was the one to move, or reestablish my dominance over this division by saying that Mustafa ran away from me. He already did that on Twitter.)
  • Good call to have Lio Rush play no games in his return, although I wish they didn't fall back on relying on another jobber in this segment, even if it is Mr. Bayley Aaron Solow. I don't know how they would've done it differently beyond doing an NXT one night callup, though.

205 Live Rankings as of 12/22/18

Mustafa Ali joins the SmackDown roster, so how is this going to affect 205 Live now? I'll tell you one thing: the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme features him one last time, for the road!
  1. Mustafa Ali (#3 last week) — Mustafa rides out of this ranking on top, because how else would he? He gets to pin the WWE Champion on SmackDown, and unfortunately that's more significant than anything that's happened on 205 Live or even TLC.
  2. Buddy Murphy (no movement) — Murphy soundly defeats Cedric Alexander on the TLC kickoff, and while that would normally propel him to the top, he didn't go to SmackDown. Don't worry, there's always next year.
  3. Cedric Alexander (#1 last week) — Cedric gets stopped in what I hope is his last title shot for a while, but I don't know where he goes from here.
  4. Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa (#8 last week) — I wish the Submission Commission (great name, by the way) won instead.
  5. Hideo Itami (#7 last week) — Itami continues to reestablish himself with the help of Ariya Daivari, and I'm stoked.
  6. Ariya Daivari (no movement) — See Hideo Itami.
  7. Lio Rush (new) — Lio's back on the ladder with a big win this week, but do they have a new direction for him? The show needs some new babyfaces for him to feud with.
  8. Lucha House Party (#4 last week) — While the House Party is on RAW, on that show they're just another team. Right now they're waiting for a new storyline on 205 Live, and I figure they'll be getting one sooner than later.
  9. Tony Nese (#5 last week) — Hasn't been seen in a couple of weeks, although I'd like to know how he repositions himself in the title picture.
  10. Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher (#9 last week) — No win for the Submission Commission, unfortunately.
    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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