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Live From the 205 (11/8/19): Almost A Recap Show


It's a good thing I decided to watch this week's NXT before I got to 205 Live (well, naturally the chronological order of the week's releases is to thank for that) because not only is a good chunk of this week's episode a full match lifted from the former, but they've slowly been moving the Cruiserweight Championship angles to it from the latter as well.

That means, little by little, 205 Live is starting to become a B-show for the NXT Cruiserweight Division. The way this week's episode was set up made it even look like the Main Event for cruiserweights.

On one hand, it's not a good sign for the purple show. Of course, this is not likely to continue as SmackDown was just away on tour in the UK, and there's not much point in bringing over cruiserweight talent across the pond. But this fresh Full Sail crowd is exactly what the brand needed to shore up its historically flat show, and if someone like Triple H realizes this is much better than taping after SmackDown, it likely means the show is never going to be the same again. I can only hope this is the direction they're headed, but it's also tough to call.


On the other hand, I actually enjoyed the episode entirely for what it was. The four wrestlers who had to tape original material for 205 Live only had around 15 minutes total to wrestle, so that meant two frenetic matches. That's way more up the cruiserweight division's alley, more representative of their style than longer, more drawn-out barnburners that take a while to get off the ground (although Full Sail was the perfect crowd for that kind of match). The Garza/Nese match from NXT also meant I could skip a full third of the episode.

Now, it's on Triple H or whoever's running this show to figure out how to weave the two roles of NXT and 205 Live together. My suggestion is to keep it, move it permanently to Full Sail before NXT goes live, and spare the cruiserweights the burden of having to shuttle back and forth from Orlando to wherever SmackDown is this week. Clear up airtime on the main show for the midcard talent who need it—while still mixing up cruiserweights and heavyweights, like Isaiah "Swerve" Scott and Dominik Dijakovic did—and run multiple short sprints with many of the cruiserweight wrestlers on the NXT roster.

The pieces are there, for sure; they really just gotta iron out the kinks of the setup, which aren't a lot when you take a closer look at it. This show can still survive.

205 Live 11/8/19 Grade: If you saw NXT earlier in the week, then much of this episode is skippable. The original parts, though, are really good, though I wish more was done to address the unique setup. B+

Short stops

  • Looks like Mansoor may finally have a place on WWE TV with that win. The Arabian Seth Rollins actually acquits himself well in this matchup against Brian Kendrick, continuing his little tour of solid matches and proving he's more than just an affirmative action signing. He's got a lot of upside, and it'll do really well for the WWE to flesh him out a little more moving forward.
  • The show's slowly devolving into the Wild West due to the uncertainty of who's actually running it onscreen. I don't really mind if Drake Maverick isn't the GM anymore (especially if a lot of the cruiserweight action is on NXT) but they do have to clarify where these matchups and decisions are coming from. Just be done with it and say it's William Regal.
  • Angel Garza is a star in the making, and I'm not just talking about the cruiserweight division. Out of all the potential Eddie Guerreros we've seen walk in and out of the WWE, he's gotta be the best one; he's got the smarmy charisma and cool factor down pat. He'll break out of 205 one day the same way Adam Cole and the rest of the Undisputed Era already are, and it's only a matter of time. Giving him the win over Tony Nese was more than a great decision.
  • When you get the crowd to cheer "205!" at you, you know you're a true cornerstone of the brand. Lio Rush truly is the shot in the arm the show needed this year. The decision to keep using Raul Mendoza—a guy who I once said was robbed in the Cruiserweight Classic—is also paying a lot of dividends.
    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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