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Live From the 205 (12/26/18): 205's Top Five


Hello, and welcome to a very special year-ender edition of Live From the 205!

Since the show took a break this week to discuss the show's best moments of the year, I thought I'd do the same. I scoured my reviews from this year for the most must-see matches from 205 Live itself (which means Cruiserweight Championship matches on PPVs aren't counted) and picked out five of the best. I'll give you the episode date as well so you could watch it back if you'd like.

Without further ado, let's get on with it!

5. Lio Rush vs. Noam Dar (9/26/18)

When Lio Rush arrived in 205 Live, you either thought it was too soon (he pretty much bypassed an entire NXT run just to be here) or it was the perfect fit. Or maybe both. But in the beginning, they gave him nothing but local competitors to show off his speed and agility and a little misguided feud with Akira Tozawa that had good intentions, but just didn't work.

It took them a while, but thankfully, 205 Live gave Lio Rush the chance to feud with Noam Dar—which, while not too consequential in the bigger picture, was the best thing Rush could have asked for at this stage of his run. The Scottish Supernova was the exact match, providing the chemistry the Man of the Hour needed in order to prove he was worth the direct callup. Rush would move on to Cedric Alexander after this, which was another great feud for him, but I'll always remember this as the rivalry that solidified him as a potential major player.

4. Gran Metalik vs. Buddy Murphy (12/12/18)

I picked a rather inconsequential Buddy Murphy match, but the fact that it's objectively a random exhibition doesn't matter. The truth is you can pick any Buddy Murphy match on 205 Live this year and they will all be great. I promise you. Go on, do it right now. I'll wait.

See? The Juggernaut has been one of the most consistent superstars on 205 Live, if not the most consistent (arguably) if it weren't for Mustafa Ali. He's earned that Cruiserweight Championship around his waist. If you want to binge Buddy Murphy on the show, go search his matches with all members of the Lucha House Party, Mustafa Ali, and Mark Andrews, for starters.

3. Roderick Strong vs. Cedric Alexander (3/13/18)

Can you imagine that the time before WrestleMania was nine months ago? In the time it took to give birth to a child, 205 Live changed so much. Before that, though, there was a big tournament for the vacant Cruiserweight Championship and everyone everywhere was invited, including a pre-Undisputed Era Roderick Strong.

Babyface Roddy was so damn good in this little main roster taste that 1) I thought he was going to be called up already, and 2) he was headed for the finals at WrestleMania. I guess it was too good to be true, but here's where his buck stopped, in a cardiac match weeks before Mania that all but solidified Cedric's big streak.

Also, Roddy's reaction at the end when he realized Cedric got him with the rollup? Absolutely heartbreaking. I miss face Roddy.



2. Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak (3/20/18)

That tournament was the gift that kept on giving, and while I'll always be a fan of Mustafa Ali as the show's top babyface, Drew Gulak still should've won here.

Why? Simple: in a tournament that was all about building a couple of new top stars in the wake of Enzo Amore's firing and the power vacuum it left, Gulak absolutely needed to be the top heel of the show. Yes, the face versus face WrestleMania matchup was a nice little moment, especially for the once-Cruiserweight Classic alternate Ali, but the show's done Gulak so dirty since then—it took a while for Gulak to become the top heel after this, and even then they didn't have Cedric drop the title to him when he was red hot.

I'll always have this tournament Gulak, the one that remade himself after spending late 2017 and January being an almost-babyface to Enzo. (If you want to go the extra mile, there's also the Drew Gulak vs. Mark Andrews series, which solidified him even further as the cruel heel before Hideo Itami's heel turn.)


1. Five-Man Gauntlet Match (4/24/18)

The show's done a number of amazing multi-man main events over the year, but this entire episode will always stand out to me—because it was nothing but a whole gauntlet match.

This was the episode that proved the new 205 Live, under what seemed to be the guidance of Triple H, was willing to go the distance creatively just to distinguish itself from the other main roster shows. This was the fuckin' creative peak of the show, and a peak that I'm always hoping it revisits sooner than later. Sure, RAW did it a couple of months prior, but you know they won't go all in and have the entire episode be one single match; only NXT did that before. 

Imagine: how do you build stars, highlight as many people as possible, and try to write new stories in one shot? A gauntlet match, that's how. I firmly believe the show needs to have this gauntlet episode happen at least once every year, making it 205 Live's signature match and Drake Maverick treating it seriously, with qualifying matches and everything. 


Five Guys I Want To See On The Show In 2019

Since 205 Live loves to borrow other talents from both NXTs and even RAW and SmackDown, here are my dream one-offs (but hopefully more):

  • Travis Banks — I needs this. I gots to have this real bad. I know Hideo Itami kind of makes him and his hard-hitting style redundant, but I really need it.
  • Rey Mysterio — While we're at it, why not have the legendary cruiserweight on the show, maybe as a Buddy Murphy exhibition or something with the Lucha House Party? We already know rosters can trade freely, and 205's on the same night as SmackDown...
  • Ligero — Speaking of Lucha House Party, it ain't a real party if not all of the luchadores under the WWE banner are represented.
  • Johnny Gargano — This is a little iffy right now considering Johnny Wrestling is a heel now, but I really wanted to see him come and tear it up in the tournament. 205 Live is loaded with heels right now, but if Johnny ever comes back to the side of the light, there's always a spot here waiting for him.
  • Pete Dunne (and Tyler Bate, who's already been on the show) — Hey, speaking of the show overloaded with heels... if we're going to set up all these teams to build up to something, like a Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship, maybe, let's get the two lighter guys of British Strong Stlye on the show again.

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. 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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