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Live From the 205 (1/1/19): New Year, Who Dis?


Happy new year, mga ka-205! It's a new year and it's finally time to get back to our great cruiserweight action, and boy oh boy, did 205 Live come back with the goods.

Here's the scene: GM Drake Maverick (the only main roster GM still standing after the McMahons' fresh start, it should be noted) isn't going to give Cedric Alexander yet another rematch after he lost back at TLC, so at Royal Rumble there will be a fatal four-way for the title. (Three cruiserweight matches on PPV in a row? Hot damn!)

Yes, there is still a chance Cedric Alexander ends up in this match as he gets a qualifier against Hideo Itami next week, but finally they're switching it up and giving us a little more cruiserweight goodness. I mean the Rumble is the multi-man PPV after all, so why not?

So this episode is a solid two-matcher with both matches being the first two fatal four-way qualifiers. 205 Live knows what it is now, opening the year with the format that's guaranteed to deliver solid bouts, and while I don't personally agree with the winners, everyone ended up looking really good this week.


The first person to officially qualify is Kalisto, but I honestly wish he didn't have to beat Lio Rush for the spot. Yes, it was a damn good match, but if there's anyone I felt also deserved to be hovering around the Cruiserweight Championship—even if the champ is a heel—it's the Man of the Hour.

That said, Kalisto's got great chemistry (and history) with Buddy Murphy, and if we're stacking the odds against the Juggernaut in a face-heavy title match, Kalisto is definitely not a bad idea.


And for the second guy... all right, I love Akira Tozawa, and he came to play this week, but if we're being honest (and especially if Cedric Alexander is finding his way into this fatal four-way) Drew Gulak really, really deserved this break.

This match may have served as the final ending to their long-running feud, which is why Tozawa got the decisive win, but this Gulak really felt like last year's tournament Gulak. I hope this is a case of him trying to show the higher-ups what they're missing, because Drew's been firing on all cylinders.

So it's down to either Cedric Alexander and Hideo Itami next week, and I honestly not sure what 205 Live plans to do here—I feel like the show is likely to do both options. On one hand, the creative team's proven before that they can throw wrenches in Cedric's gears, handing him a loss where a win is expected. (A revitalized Hideo Itami also kinda needs this.) On the other, stacking the odds against Buddy Murphy by giving him all-babyface challengers just to get the best matchup possible is something they're also willing to do. 

My personal pick is for Hideo to win, just so they can really try something new at the Rumble and rest Cedric from the main event picture for a while, segueing into a possible feud with Itami after the PPV.

205 Live 1/5/19 Final Grade: You know I love it when 205 Live gets lean and mean. While a little too light on its bigger stars (only Kalisto is on; both Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander this week; I expected Cedric's qualifier to be on the first show of the year, at least) both matches are still ridiculously strong. A

Short stops

  • Vic Joseph still thinks a spinning back kick is a roundhouse.
  • Lio Rush's clock floor LED video is awesome to watch.
  • I appreciate what they were trying to go for with the finish to Lio/Kalisto here, in that the Lucha House Party's interference wasn't heelish because it was Lio Rush's own fault he tried to mess with them, but I feel like that nuance was lost when Metalik and Lince very blatantly swung their noisemakers when Lio went up to the top rope. Everybody's going to look at that as the LHP trying to distract Lio. They're lucky no one's booing them, else I'd be pushing for them to turn heel already.
  • Looks like we really are getting new wrestlers in the division, but for the life of me I can't figure out who they would be. Judging from who hasn't shown up on NXT UK lately, my best guesses are Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster.
  • What an excellent promo from Ariya Daivari. This spokesperson role is really suiting him, and if it was a scripted piece then he really cut it well.
  • This show is really doing Gulak dirty. He should've at least been the first guy to manage someone on RAW.

205 Live Rankings as of 1/6/18

New year, new roster! Now that Ali is gone, how does the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme rank the 205 Live roster?
  1. Buddy Murphy (#2 last week) — Murphy is back on top now that Ali is gone. And hey, Ali never really beat him for the title, so why not?
  2. Akira Tozawa and Brian Kendrick (#4 last week) — Tozawa jumps back and takes the #2 spot for formality's sake after one hell of a hard-fought battle against Drew Gulak.
  3. Lucha House Party (#8 last week) — Thanks to Kalisto's big win to qualify for the fatal four-way at the Royal Rumble, the Lucha House Party gets a huge leg up.
  4. Cedric Alexander (#3 last week) — Cedric drops one spot after opening the new year literally sitting on the sidelines (well, the locker room in his case).
  5. Lio Rush (#7 last week) — Rush moves up a couple of spots for being here and being game this week.
  6. Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher (#10 last week) — See Lio Rush.
  7. Hideo Itami and Ariya Daivari (#5 last week) — Itami drops down a couple of spots as he and Daivari prepare for next week's showdown.
  8. Tony Nese (#9 last week) — At least Tony Nese is around to hang out with Buddy Murphy?
  9. Noam Dar (new) — Only here on this list as a formality, but hasn't been seen since a couple of weeks ago.
  10. TJP (new) — See Noam Dar.
    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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