All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service
- Akira Tozawa & Hideo Itami VS Lucha House Party w/ Kalisto; Tozawa & Itami win.
- Jack Gallagher VS Murphy Myers; Gallagher wins.
- WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Semifinal Match: Cedric Alexander VS Roderick Strong; Alexander wins and moves on to the finals at Wrestlemania.
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The Cruiserweight Championship Tournament is nearing its end!
While Mark Andrews was flying high, he came crashing down against the ground game gladiator, Drew Gulak. Then, Buddy Murphy was bigger, stronger and faster, but all of that was not enough to stop the hungrier Mustafa Ali. Ali was cunning enough to find a weak spot in the Best Kept Secret’s armor, and overcame those disadvantages to win. Now the semifinals will have a storied rivalry reigniting their animosity, but that’s next week. Tonight, it will be the Carolina Kid, who was so close to the title yet so far, and NXT’s Messiah of the Backbreaker who wants his own first taste of gold. One man’s heart, and possibly back, will be broken by the end of tonight. Who will be the first man to qualify for the tournament finals at Wrestlemania?
Akira Tozawa & Hideo Itami VS Lucha House Party w/ Kalisto!
The Stamina Monster & Innovator of the GTS are the newest tag team on the block, but already called out the team of luchadors for a match. 205 Live GM Drake Maverick liked the idea, and made it reality! Will the Strong Style super duo defeat Dorado & Metalik to foil the fiesta?
Te bell rings, and Tozawa starts against Dorado, also starting up the “AH! AH!” chant. Tozawa and Dorado circle but Dorado gets the single leg pick and facelock. Dorado wrenches and whips but Tozawa reverses. Dorado sunset flips over, Tozawa rolls through, but Dorado narrowly avoids the Penalty Kick. Fans applaud the stand-off, and the two circle again. They tie up but Tozawa gets the arm. He wrenches and gets the wristlock, but Dorado flips and reverses to a headlock. Tozawa powers out but Dorado runs him over, then Dorado gets going and handsprings over. Tozawa arm-drags, Dorado arm-drags back, Tozawa trips him and covers, ONE. Dorado trips up and covers, ONE, double dropkicks deflect each other, and fans applaud this second stand-off.
Tozawa and Dorado both go for boots but also block, so they both set the feet down, then Dorado surprises Tozawa with a dropkick! He drags Tozawa up for an arm wrench then tags Metalik. Lucha House Party double whips and double hip tosses to then double kick! Metalik covers, TWO, but Metalik keeps on Tozawa with stomps. He lifts Tozawa into the fireman’s carry, but Tozawa slips out. Tozawa waistlocks but Metalik elbows out. Metalik runs, but into Tozawa’s headscissors! Tozawa crawls and tags Itami, and Itami swings kick after kick. Metalik dodges them to then kick back, and whips but Itami reverses. Itami dodges the handspring attack, then they both speed up, Metalik hits a handspring arm-drag! He then dropkicks Itami down, and tags in Dorado. Double dropkicks now, and Dorado turns Itami over for the standing moonsault. TWO, but Dorado keeps Itami grounded with an armlock.
Itami gets up and goes to a corner, but Dorado chops him. Dorado whips but Itami reverses, Dorado goes up and over then runs to slide under a kick. He dares Itami to bring it, they speed up again, and he headscissors Itami now. Another whip but Itami reverses again to hit the big kitchen sink knee! Itami waits for Dorado to stand up, to roundhouse him down. He whips Dorado, then boots him down. Tag to Tozawa, and the former champion chops Dorado. He chops again, then fakes a chop to hit the jab! Dorado sits down and Tozawa stomps a “AH! AH!” mudhole. He brings Dorado up, then over to tag Itami. Itami stomps and whips, then runs Dorado over with a back elbow. Cover, TWO, so Itami drops knees right into Dorado’s head. He takes down the pad, then hops over for the heel scrape.
Itami brings Dorado up, whips him into his corner, then tags Tozawa. They double whip corner to corner, Tozawa runs in for the back elbow, then hustles to the apron, he and Itami hit a knee strike swing kick combo! Tozawa climbs up, then hits Dorado with a screaming missile dropkick! Cover, TWO, and Tozawa is a bit surprised. He keeps on Dorado with a chinlock, but Kalisto rallies with “Lucha! Lucha!” chants. Dorado gets up and fights out, but Tozawa rocks him back. Dorado chops, Tozawa chops, and Tozawa keeps Dorado away from his corner. Tozawa swings, Dorado ducks under, and they double boot each other down!
Both men go down, and both sides rally for their teammate. Dorado and Tozawa crawl, hot tags to Itami and Metalik! Metalik springboards to crossbody, then scoops for a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker! He loudly chops Itami, then whips corner to corner, but Itami reverses. Itami runs in but into the SUPERKICK! Metalik runs to Sling-Dog Itami down! He keeps moving, running the ropes for a springboard missile dropkick! The King of the Ropes fires up and climbs but Tozawa tries to stop him. Metalik kicks him away, then acts as Dorado’s springboard for a HUGE FLYING TACKLE!
Itami runs in again but into another kick. Metalik climbs up, walks the tightrope and springboards, but Itami rolls and Metalik lands on his feet. The landing is rough on his leg, and Itami goes right at it with a kick. Then Itami brings Metalik into the dragon sleeper, and swings him into the GTS Mark II!
Cover, Itami & Tozawa win! Strong Style trumps lucha libre tonight, can this duo of the Rising Sun conquer the Cruiserweight Division?
However, Dorado doesn’t appreciate how Itami stands over Metalik, and pushes him away. Itami gets in Dorado’s face now, but Kalisto and Tozawa come in to keep them from fighting after the fact. Everyone keeps their cool, but there’s tension growing between these two teams of international flavor. Will there be any respect to be found should these two teams tangle again?
WWE and 205 Live take a look at Roderick Strong.
After opening his heart to the WWE & NXT Universes, showing us how rough his life was before wrestling, and the fans embraced him. He thrives on going up against varying styles and finding answers to them. He’s ready for any and every situation, and has proven as much in both his NXT and 205 Live careers. Strong looks at the bracket, and feels none of the remaining superstars can match up to him. He hasn’t had it easy, and he doesn’t want it that way. “To become Cruiserweight Champion at Wrestlemania would mean everything” to him. For his family, for himself, “when it’s all said and done” he can look back and say he did it. Strong promises “you’re looking at your next Cruiserweight Champion.” Can he earn his spot? Or will he get a Lumbar Check?
205 Live General Manager, Drake Maverick, heads to the ring.
The man formerly known as Rockstar Spud comes out to join commentary for the upcoming match.
Jack Gallagher VS Murphy Myers!
The Ungentle Gentleman has returned to a more proper wrestling attire, prompted by stern words from Drake Maverick. Will combining that with his sinister edge help him “sort himself out” and move towards the top of the Division?
The bell rings, and Gallagher circles with Myers. They tie up but Gallagher pie-faces Myers. The fans are on Myers’ side as he circles with Gallagher again, but Gallagher puts him up against the ropes. Gallagher honors the break, but isn’t very respectful with that stoic gaze. He then grabs Myers’ hand, puts it on the mat, and stomps it! Gallagher snapmares Myers then runs him over. They speed up, Gallagher catches Myers and then hotshots him on the top rope. Gallagher keeps going to run him over again! Gallagher scoop slams Myers quick, then scrapes his soles on Myers’ face. He won’t stop, he wrenches the hand and fingers, then wrings Myers to the mat. Gallagher clubs and stomps Myers, then brings him to the apron to slam his chest on the edge. The Ungentle Gentleman glares at Maverick, and Maverick likes what he sees.
However, Myers attacks Gallagher upon reentry! He throws furious forearms and then an enziguri! Gallagher tumbles off the apron while Myers builds speed, but Myers’ sliding dropkick gets caught in the apron skirt, and Gallagher tees off! Gallagher clubs away with forearms, then kicks Myers in the back again and again. He finally puts Myers back into the ring, then finishes him with the Extraordinary Headbutt!
Cover, Gallagher wins! The Ungentle Gentleman continues his streak of cruelty, but will have to wait for a later chance at the Cruiserweight Championship. Will a harsh reality be awaiting the tournament winner on the other side of Wrestlemania?
WWE and 205 Live take a look at Cedric Alexander.
Alexander was part of the Cruiserweight Classic tournament in 2016, but only made it as far as the second round after running into Kota Ibushi. He still earned the respect of the WWE Universe, and he was able to fight his way through the Division to get to this point. Many say Alexander “can’t win the big one”, but he’ll show them all he’s not a choke artist. “No one on 205 Live has been hotter than me,” and he won’t stop until he finally wins. He knows he has an unorthodox style but he did start his career as a heavyweight. He’ll hit hard, fast and from everywhere, “no one else on the roster can touch what I do.” Alexander vows to go to Wrestlemania, no matter what, but will he only end up on the wrong end of the End of Heartache?
Mustafa Ali speaks.
“We all have that one mistake from our past that seems to follow us no matter where we go.” When Ali was younger, a friend and him ran into a bully. The bully knocked his friend down, but Ali stepped down. He feels like that’s happening all over again. Andrews not only got beat by Gulak, but he got bullied by Gulak, too. Ali will make things right when he gets back at a bully. He will take Gulak head on and fight back! Can Ali come out of this rematch of a very personal feud the victor? Or will he crash and burn in the No Fly Zone?
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Semifinal Match: Cedric Alexander VS Roderick Strong!
The tournament is still far from over, but one Cruiserweight’s dream could be after tonight. Both men love to hit hard, hit fast and prove doubters wrong, but only one can prove himself worthy of Wrestlemania!
The bell rings and the fans duel while the two circle. Alexander and Strong tie up, pretty even in strength, but Strong swings around to roll Alexander up, TWO. Alexander goes after Strong with a waistlock, getting a facelock. They go around and Strong gets the switch, but Alexander switches back to roll Strong up, ONE, and the two break off. Fans applaud the stalemate, then the two circle again. The dueling chants continue while Strong gets a headlock. Alexander puts Strong in a corner, and honors the break while Gulak watches backstage.
Gulak, perhaps looking ahead to the finals already, watches as Alexander whips Strong corner to corner. Strong goes up and over and keeps moving, to then shove Alexander to ropes. Alexander comes back and rolls under to handspring back, and headscissors Strong to then dropkick him down! Cover, TWO, but Alexander grabs Strong in the facelock. Now we see that Mustafa Ali is also watching this match closely.
The fans duel while Strong powers his way up and out, then knees and clubs Alexander. He chops Alexander in a corner, but Alexander forearms back. Strong kicks and whips but Alexander reverses to launch Strong with a body drop! Alexander runs in but is put on the apron. He hits back then jumps up, but Strong disrupts the springboard to send Alexander into buckles! Alexander crashes and burns while Strong staggers back.
Strong stomps away on Alexander at the ropes, but backs off at the ref’s count. He waits for the dazed Alexander to stand up, then chops him before more stomps. Strong won’t let up, he brings Alexander up for the butterfly suplex. Cover, ONE, another try, ONE, so Strong puts on a chinlock. He keeps Alexander grounded as he shifts to a seated abdominal stretch. Strong even grabs an ear to tweak Alexander further. Fans rally and Alexander stands up, to fight out. Strong forearms and whips Alexander, but Alexander ducks to handspring, only to jump into Strong’s dropkick!
Cover, TWO, and Strong grows frustrated. He hammers away with rights, then stomps again. The referee backs him off to check on Alexander, so Strong taunts Alexander. He goes after Alexander, and Alexander tries to fight back, but Strong just clubs and stomps him down again. The fans keep dueling while Strong stretches Alexander in a half clutch. Strong taunts Alexander, shouting “How bad do you want it?!” The fans rally for Alexander and Alexander works his way out. Alexander fights back but Strong hits back each time. Strong whips but Alexander reverses and Strong hits buckles hard, Alexander catches his breath and slowly fires up while Strong stirs.
Alexander and Strong get to their feet, Strong runs in to Alexander’s boot. Alexander uppercuts, ends up in a corner, but dropkicks Strong’s knees out to send him face first into buckles again. He then gets to the apron, and says “Good night!” with a kick to Strong’s face! Strong staggers back, and Alexander gets him with the springboard complete shot! Strong rolls out of the ring but Alexander kip-up. Alexander builds speed, and FLIES!
He wipes out Strong, then hurries to put him back in the ring. Alexander takes aim from the corner, springboard clothesline! Cover, TWO, and Alexander grows frustrated. He drags Strong up, but Strong elbows him away. Alexander runs into the boot, but ducks the enziguri, so Strong kicks him away. Strong runs, Alexander scoops and hits Strong with a sudden Michinoku Driver! Cover, TWO! Alexander is again in disbelief, but he won’t slow down. He gets up, grabs Strong, but Strong blocks the Check. Strong fights Alexander off then throws him out, but Alexander shoulders him away. Alexander again gets to a corner, springboards, but Strong catches him! Strong lifts Alexander up, but Alexander counters with a crucifix roll, TWO! Alexande runs into that boot again, and the enziguri connects this time, and Strong follows up with a half-nelson backbreaker!
Cover, TWO! Strong is too sore to be frustrated, he just stands up and drags Alexander up again. He lifts in a fireman’s carry but Alexander slips out, so Strong throws in a knee. Strong tries again, but Alexander counters the Olympic Slam with an arm-drag! Strong runs, Alexander handsprings, Neuralizer! LUMBAR CHECK!
Cover, ROPEBREAK!! Strong survives by a foot on the bottom rope! And Alexander can’t believe it. Strong gets to the apron, Alexander takes off his elbow pads and walks over. They both end up on the apron, Strong kicks out a leg, then kicks Alexander’s face. Strong lifts Alexander into a torture rack, to then toss him at the post!
Alexander tumbles to the ground, and the referee checks on him. Strong shouts for the ring count while Alexander spasms, eyes glazed over. The count begins, and Strong waits it out. Alexander stirs at 5, and crawls up to the apron, and seeing Alexander will beat it, Strong runs in! But into Alexander’s kick! Alexander climbs up, but Strong jumps to rock him with a knee! Strong climbs up to join him, and hits the SUPERPLEX!
Strong covers, TWO!! He can’t believe that Alexander is somehow still going, but the fans declare “This is Awesome!” Strong gets up, goes over to Alexander, and brings him up. Alexander is mostly dead weight, and Strong clubs him. Alexander fights back and they throw heavy hands. Strong gives several elbows but Alexander gives a mule kick. Alexander blocks the boot, but misses the back elbow, Strong rocks Alexander with a jumping knee! They both stagger, but Strong brings Alexander in for END OF HEARTACHE!
Cover, ROPEBREAK!! Now they’re even, and fans are loving it! They chant “YES! YES!” while Strong shakes his head “No.” Alexander drags himself to the apron but Strong drags him back in. Strong drags Alexander up, but Alexander elbows him down! Both men down again, but Alexander’s eyes are still pretty spacey. They both struggle to stand up while fans rally. They’re back to back, miss swinging haymakers, but Strong lands a chop. Alexander uppercuts, they stagger, and then they both glare at each other. They throw furious hands at the same time! Strong gets the edge, but then Alexander lifts for Lumbar, but Strong slips right out. Alexander runs, but into a takedown, so he twists, only for Strong to sit on it for a cover, TWO!!
They both scramble to their feet, BIG knee strike from Strong! Alexander is out, Strong grabs him, but then small package surprise, ALEXANDER WINS!! And neither man can believe it!
Somehow Alexander pulled it out, and is headed to the Show of Shows for a Cruiserweight Championship match! Alexander’s smiling, but Strong’s heart is breaking. He put his all into the match but came up short. Even so, Strong gives a nod of respect to Alexander and lets him have the ring.
In-ring interview with Alexander.
He is headed to Wrestlemania, how does that feel? The fans know “You Deserve It!” But Alexander says he earned it! “This is the single most important match of my life”, because now he’s going to Wrestlemania. He has a four year old daughter who already calls him champion, so now he wants to become THE Cruiserweight Champion! Alexander won this big match, but must still win THE Big One. Will it be his friend in Mustafa Ali, or old foe in Drew Gulak, that meets him on the Grandest Stage of Them All?
I don’t care what anyone else says, 205 Live is quite possibly some of the best wrestling WWE is putting on today. While it isn’t “developmental” like NXT and it isn’t considered quite the same as Raw or SmackDown, the Cruiserweight Division’s 51 minutes of programming far out-shined SmackDown’s 2 hours. There may not be a lot of promos to propel story, but that’s because the matches did more than enough to do that. Itami-Tozawa VS Dorado-Metalik was some great tag team wrestling, and really impressed with the chemistry already between the two Japanese superstars as well as the creativity of the luchadors. I’ve never seen a springboard quite like the one Metalik helped Dorado achieve. Plus, the story comes out from the tense stand-off afterwards, and could easily build into a more involved story in the rematch.
Jack Gallagher does a great job in making a squash match feel like it actually matters for his character. He wasn’t as technically torturous as he usually is, but his aggressive striking did more than enough to remind us of his new found edge from teaming with THE Brian Kendrick. I sense something between him and Maverick starting up once we’re past Wrestlemania, as a way to tide Gallagher over until Kendrick returns. Once Kendrick returns, he and Gallagher can go back to being a tag team and joining in what is clearly growing into a Cruiserweight Tag Team Division, and as rumored, complete with Cruiserweight Tag Team Championships. That’s three teams easily established, but perhaps more will pop up now that 205 Live is gaining some ground.
Mustafa Ali gave us another great video promo, he’s really coming into his own with this somewhat edgy Face angle. His match with Gulak promises to be a really great one worthy of the Road to Wrestlemania. The Alexander and Strong video packages were also great, and helped refresh the memories of the audience. I don’t think they got the date right on when the CWC happened and where Alexander finished in it, though. But then Alexander VS Strong was some top level action and story telling, worthy of any PPV. The parallels in their styles and especially their finishers were clear, so it was great that the way they survived the finishers were the same. Alexander’s story is the stronger one, so naturally he goes over. Strong still has NXT he can fall back on, and Alexander VS either Ali or Gulak will be ‘Mania worthy.
My Score: 8.5/10