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Live From the 205 (1/28/19): Thank You, Hideo


Well, this is it. It hasn't even been a full month yet, but this year has already claimed its big-name 205 Live casualty. After Austin Aries and Neville, Hideo Itami is the next to leave the cruiserweight division. For those who don't know, Itami has asked for and been granted his release, and his back-to-back losses this week at Royal Rumble and this week's episode reflect that.

I can't say I'm surprised, but I do wish he gave it some more time. I always thought of Hideo Itami as a future Cruiserweight Champion; always ready for his time to shine and help carry the brand, but never really needing the title to exist on the show. Of course, he's objectively no longer the same wrestler that he was in his peak, and that may be what led to younger guys like Cedric Alexander and Buddy Murphy getting more time with the title, but I always thought it was only a matter of time before he got his token turn.


I've looked at Hideo's run, especially this recent pairing with Ariya Daivari, as perennially being on the cusp of greater relevance. If it was underwhelming, it was only because it wasn't his time yet. He was clearly positioned as the #2 heel of the show behind Buddy Murphy, eclipsing even the potential of a Drew Gulak or TJP. This is why I could say that there was always something around the corner for him, but I suppose he couldn't wait any longer.

As always, things like this are seemingly more reflective of the way the company positions 205 Live than it is an indictment of Hideo's booking, even though the people who really are behind the show work so hard to make it as competent a product as possible. It's likely that guys like Hideo and Neville and Aries wanted to be much more than just leaders and figureheads of a brand that comes on after SmackDown, which not everyone even watches on the WWE Network.

I can't blame them for wanting to achieve more than just being big stars on a niche show, no matter how much people like us appreciate them for it. Thank you for your contributions, Hideo, to all of WWE. 205 Live won't be the same without you.

205 Live 1/28/19 Final Grade: This week's episode was really to send off Hideo and put over both Akira Tozawa and Ariya Daivari in the process, while regaining some heat for Kalisto. Some storylines were advanced, but not too far. B

Short stops

  • I haven't watched one of these in full for quite a while, but Drake Maverick's opening recap is always a great way to get everyone up to speed. It's easy for anyone to jump into the stories of the show thanks to that minute they spend on reviewing what's happened recently, and Rockstar Spud does a stellar job of narrating.
  • The show doesn't even go five minutes before Vic Joseph hits us with a "that being."
  • I missed last week's review so I didn't get to talk about it, but I feel Aiden English is a welcome addition to the show. At first I had misgivings because the last time we saw him on SmackDown, he was a heel, and now he's doing the face color commentator role to replace Percy Watson. I gotta say he's much more believable, credible, and confident as a face commentator than Showtime, who always seems to get caught up in what he wants to say. English fully understands the story the entire match is trying to tell and contributes positively to it.
  • Case in point: good, logical back-and-forth banter between English and Maria Kanellis, who are debating how to get ahead in the division. English says Mike needs to win more, while Maria argues they don't get a lot of opportunities. Both valid points, and both well-defended.
  • I really thought Mike was going to win there, and he should have, but I guess they're headed for some husband-wife tension.
  • Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher waste no time calling out Humberto Carrillo and his high-flying. This should be fun.
  • Watch Drew Gulak during the Nese/Dar beatdown segment. Look at that guy. He's so happy.
  • So what's Cedric Alexander up to now?
  • It also seems we're headed toward Akira Tozawa vs. Buddy Murphy. Sounds good to me, Tozawa deserves the shot.

205 Live Rankings as of 2/2/19

The Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme will miss Hideo Itami.
  1. Buddy Murphy (no movement) — Murphy successfully defends his Cruiserweight Championship against three other guys. I rest my case.
  2. Lucha House Party (#3 last week) — Kalisto loses, but he regains momentum after defeating Mike Kanellis.
  3. Akira Tozawa and Brian Kendrick (#5 last week) — See Lucha House Party.
  4. Ariya Daivari (#2 last week) — Guess we have to break them up. Daivari comes out of his partnership with Itami looking much better, as he was the one laying him out.
  5. Hideo Itami (#2 last week) — Goodbye, Hideo. I wish you well in your future endeavors.
  6. Humberto Carrillo (#8 last week) — Carrillo rebounded from his 205 Live debut to beat Gran Metallik last week. Not bad at all.
  7. Mike Kanellis (new) — The Kanellises are quite unlucky, but it looks like they'll be rebounding soon enough.
  8. Cedric Alexander (#6 last week) — Haven't really seen him in a couple of weeks.
  9. Tony Nese (no movement) — On one hand, it was good of Nese to be proactive by beating up Noam Dar, but on the other hand, was it really wise since he got himself suspended?
  10. Drew Gulak abd (no movement) — Is at least present this week to, uh, make his presence felt by Drake Maverick.
    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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