The Cruiserweight Champion awaits a new challenger. Who will make it all the way to the end of the Road to Wrestlemania to face Buddy Murphy for the title?
- Cruiserweight Championship Contenders Tournament: Tony Nese VS Kalisto; Nese wins and advances to the next round.
- Cruiserweight Championship Contenders Tournament: Drew Gulak VS THE Brian Kendrick; Gulak wins and advances to the next round.
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Drake Maverick previews the opening round of the Cruiserweight Championship Contenders Tournament!
First it will be The Premier Athlete against the Lucha Dragon! Tony Nese is a training buddy of Buddy Murphy’s and has been on a roll. His most recent victory was in a brutal but incredible No Disqualification Match with Noam Dar. Meanwhile, the former Cruiserweight Champion is a “perennial threat” to the title given his history and ability. Will the leader of the Lucha House Party use his speed to trump Nese’s strength?
And in the main event, another former Cruiserweight Champion takes on a familiar foe as THE Brian Kendrick again faces Drew Gulak. Their grudge began when Gulak and Jack Gallagher kicked Kendrick out of their club over being too soft. Kendrick has since shown Gulak who’s soft, but the grudge is far from settled. Gulak has come close to holding the title but always falls short. His superb submission skills will be tested by the savvy Cruiserweight legend. Who moves on step closer to the Grandest Stage of Them All in this newest grudge match?
Cruiserweight Championship Contenders Tournament: Tony Nese VS Kalisto!
The Premier Athlete wants his first taste but the Lucha Dragon looks for a second helping! Nese doesn’t know what it’s like to be at Wrestlemania, but Kalisto does. Kalisto fights every day to claim his rightful place, and will take the fight to Tony and his abs! Who takes a step closer to Wrestlemania’s Showcase of the Immortals?
The bell rings and Kalisto circles with Nese. They tie up and Nese powers Kalisto to a corner. Nese backs off at 4 to flex on Kalisto and say “This is MY tournament to win, not yours.” Kalisto doesn’t back down, he ties up with Nese again. Nese gets a waistlock slam and squeezes Kalisto with a rear bearhug. Kalisto powers his way up and pries out to a wristlock. Nese rolls and tweaks the arm! Then he arm-drags Kalisto down and puts that arm in an armlock. Nese grinds his knee into Kalisto’s head but fans build to a rally. Kalisto endures the wrench while Buddy Murphy watches backstage. Murphy likes what he sees from fellow Body Guy, but Kalisto gets up. Nese wernches Kalisto’s arm again then toys with him.
Nese asks Kalisto, “You think you’re stronger than me?” Kalisto probably doesn’t think that, but he does CHOP Nese! Kalisto then shows he’s faster by using the ropes to acrobatically arm-drag Nese away! Fans echo “Lucha! Lucha!” as Kalisto dodges and mule kicks Nese. Kalisto kicks Nese more then throws forearms. Nese pushes Kalisto away and uppercuts him down! Nese runs into a monkey flip, but lands on his feet! He runs back in but Kalisto goes up and over. Kalisto gets under Nese’s moonsault, but Nese goes Matrix to dodge the clothesline. Kalisto does the same and heel kicks Nese out of the ring! Fans fire up as Kalisto wrecks Nese with a dropkick. Kalisto builds speed and DIVES! Direct hit takes out Nese! Kalisto catches his breath then puts Nese back in the ring.
Kalisto hears the fans echo “Lucha! Lucha!” and springboards for a big crossbody! Cover, TWO! Nese survives but Kalisto stays on him with right hands. Kalisto brings Nese up but Nese mule kicks hard! Nese drags Kalisto up by his mask, then whips, but Kalisto reverses to send Nese out. Kalisto builds speed again, but fakes Nese out! Nese swipes but Kalisto flips away. Nese dodges now but Kalisto catches him with an elbow. Kalisto runs back in, but Nese back drops him over the steel steps! Nese fires up and fetches Kalisto into the ring. Cover, TWO! Kalisto lives and bails out of the ring. Nese pursues and taunts Kalisto as he brings him up. Nese throws Kalisto into barriers hard! The referee counts while Nese CHOPS Kalisto against the barriers. Nese stomps Kalisto down, then leaves him behind to refresh the count.
Nese flexes again while fans boo and jeer. He CHOPS Kalisto more as the count restarts, but Kalisto CHOPS back! Nese shoves but runs into an elbow. Kalisto headscissors but Nese blocks to swing Kalisto into barriers! The referee comes out to order Nese back in, but Nese just refreshes the count again. Nese drags Kalisto up and into the ring to cover, TWO! Kalisto clutches his back and Nese is on him with another rear bearhug. Nese puts on the squeeze but fans build to a rally for Kalisto. Kalisto grits his teeth as he powers his way up. Kalisto frees himself with an arm-drag! Nese walks into Kalisto’s elbow, then into a boot. Kalisto runs and spins Nese to then tilt-o-whirl headscissor! Kalisto runs in but is put on the apron, so he swing kicks Nese down!
Nese crawls away while Kalisto climbs. Kalisto leaps for a seated senton! Nese and Kalisto crawl, Kalisto runs in for a tilt-o-whirl DDT! Cover, TWO! Nese survives but Kalisto keeps moving, SPIKE-RANA! Cover, TWO! Kalisto is too tired to be frustrated while he and Nese slowly sit up. Murphy still watches but doesn’t seem concerned. Kalisto powers up with “Lucha! Lucha!” while Nese gets to a corner. Kalisto runs in but Nese flapjacks him onto the buckles! Nese clubs Kalisto and climbs up behind him. Kalisto fights back and headbutts Nese down. Kalisto adjusts but Nese SHORYUKENS! Nese climbs back up and pulls on Kalisto. Kalisto resists and fights Nese off again. Kalisto grabs Nese and fans fire up, but Nese denies Salida to hit the SPIDER GERMAN!
Nese uses those abs to sit back up, and then turns around to 450! But he flops! Kalisto crawls while Nese gasps for air! Kalisto gets up top and leaps for his own 450! Cover, ROPEBREAK! Nese survives and Kalisto can’t believe it! Kalisto gets space and powers up with more “Lucha! Lucha!” Nese staggers up, Kalisto grabs him, but Salida is denied again as Nese rocks Kalisto with a forearm! Nese runs but misses his Premier Knee to get a Listo Kick! Cover, TWO! Nese survives again but Kalisto keeps the “Lucha! Lucha!” going. Kalisto tries but is again denied, so he SUPERKICKS Nese down! Kalisto runs in but into a monkey flip from Nese! Both Nese and Kalisto slowly stir.
Nese drags Kalisto up but Kalisto fights back. Jawbreaker and whip, but Nese slips under to pumphandle! Kalisto slips out, rolls up, TWO! Huricanrana pin! TWO, wheelbarrow but Nese sits on it! TWO, to a wheelbarrow suplex into buckles! Kalisto is down, Nese runs, PREMIER KNEE! Cover, Nese wins!
Winner: Tony Nese, by pinfall; advances to the second round
The Premier Athlete’s hot streak continues! Nese wants that title, even if it means facing his buddy, Buddy. Will Nese make it all the way to the end to give us a battle of the Body Guys?
Buddy Murphy celebrates Tony Nese’s victory!
The Cruiserweight Champion even compels the 205 Live stage hands to clap along with him. But is his celebration a bit overboard? Or perhaps a bit premature?
Jack Gallagher helps Humberto Carrillo study match film.
Humberto Carrillo of course won last week’s match against TJP, but using his high-flying, risk-taking style. Gallagher says “there’s nothing wrong with what you did there, per say.” But does Carrillo understand that he could’ve done the same amount of damage with a well-applied grapple. Gallagher isn’t angry, he’s just a little disappointed. But Carrillo will “get it” soon enough. Drew Gulak’s match tonight will be a master class on how to pick apart an opponent piece by piece. Come along. Carrillo does go with Gallagher, but will he really go along with what the Submission Commission is teaching?
Mike & Maria Kanellis meet with Drake Maverick.
They’re obviously very upset over last week’s result against Cedric Alexander, and Maverick appreciates them coming in to discuss this. But the referee pointed it out, Alexander did get his shoulder up on the pin. Plus, the referee’s decision is final. Mike is furious but Maria keeps him calm. Maria tries to explain, but Maverick doesn’t let her. Maverick instead explains that Mike took one of the very best to his limits, and that does go a long way. He wants Mr. & Mrs. Kanellis to go home and rest up, because Mike is getting another match next week. Maria says this is THE match, and says Maverick made the right choice. Mr. & Mrs. Kanellis leave happily, but will they notice that Maverick never said it was a tournament match?
Cruiserweight Championship Contenders Tournament: Drew Gulak VS THE Brian Kendrick!
The Philly Fury wants to finally have that title and finally establish a #Better205Live. The Man with a Plan wants to finally have a Wrestlemania moment. These two have gone from allies to enemies and now their missions oppose each other, as well. Will it be Gulak or Kendrick who takes a step closer to a dream come true?
The bell rings and Gulak circles with Kendrick. They stare down while testing the waters. They reach but back away, then finally tie up. Gulak gets a headlock and takedown, Kendrick counters with headscissors but Gulak pops out. Fans applaud the exchange and the two go again. Gulak goes for an arm but Kendrick cravats. Gulak breaks free and wrenches but Kendrick gets a full nelson. Kendrick holds on as Gulak goes to break free, so Gulak rolls and makes it a cover, ONE! Gulak and Kendrick each facelock each other, and Kendrick steps through. Gulak rolls and breaks free, and fans applaud again. Kendrick glances at the Wrestlemania sign as he approaches Gulak again. They tie up for a test of strength but Gulak uses a leg to bring Kendrick down.
Gulak has a hammerlock then transitions to trap a leg. He goes after arms and twists Kendrick around. Gulak shifts to a cover, ONE, and Kendrick fights Gulak’s hands off to get to a corner. The ref keeps Gulak back as Kendrick returns. Kendrick and Gulak circle again, and Kendrick wrenches. Gulak rolls but Kendrick puts his shoulders to the mat, ONE. Kendrick pushes back down, ONE. Kendrick and Gulak roll and Gulak gets the legs. Gulak makes it a cover, ONE, so Gulak wrenches the foot! Gulak has a standing Heel Hook but Kendrick uses his free leg to get free! Kendrick has Gulak in a headlock but Gulak pulls hair. Gulak powers Kendrick to ropes, but they back off at 4.
Kendrick and Gulak get chippy as they circle again. They tie up and Gulak pushes Kendrick to the ropes. Kendrick gets to a corner but Gulak throws body shots. Kendrick shoves Gulak but runs into a German Suplex! Bridging cover, ONE! Gulak shoots the half, ONE, but he has the arm again. Gulak wrenches the arm and pulls a leg for a modified Bow ‘n’ Arrow. Kendrick endures and powers his way up. Fans rally as Gulak turns Kendrick but Kendrick gets the backslide! TWO, and Kendrick tilt-o-whirls for a crucifix! But Gulak blocks and brings Kendrick around for another Heel Hook! Gulak shifts to a modified deathlock and pulls back as far as he can! They roll around and Kendrick gets a ropebreak. Gulak lets go but keeps close. Kendrick tackles Gulak and then CHOPS away! Kendrick runs but into Gulak’s lariat! Cover, TWO!
Gulak SLAPS Kendrick then grinds his knee in as he pulls the arm. He also pulls hair but the ref counts. Gulak focuses on the arm, and then pulls at the fingers. Gulak forces the arm to fold to a keylock. Kendrick stands up but Gulak knees and CHOPS him to a corner. Gulak whips corner to corner but Kendrick goes up and over! Kendrick arm-drags Gulak around, then goes for an armbar! Gulak endures while moving around. Kendrick pulls but Gulak shifts his weight to avoid full extension. Gulak reaches with his legs and brings Kendrick to a leg lock! Gulak goes after the arm again and pulls fingers! He stands on Kendrick’s head then brings Kendrick around to pull hair. Kendrick fights back with body shots and forearms. Gulak turns it around to stomp a mudhole into Kendrick.
Gulak whips corner to corner but Kendrick reverses. Kendrick hits a forearm smash but is denied his bulldog as Gulak shoves him hard! Gulak grimaces as he stalks Kendrick at the ropes. Gulak whips Kendrick and tilt-o-whirls, but Kendrick counters with a cradle! TWO, and the two scrap. They end up at the ropes, and Gulak whips. Kendrick reverses and calf kicks Gulak down! Gulak scrambles to a corner and Kendrick runs in for another forearm. Kendrick back drops Gulak then crawls to a cover, TWO! Gulak just gets up but Kendrick is too tired to be frustrated. Kendrick comes around and brings Gulak up in a headlock. Gulak pulls hair again, then powers out. Gulak runs Kendrick over then does it again.
Things speed up and Kendrick comes back with a headlock. Gulak back suplexes but Kendrick turns it to a crossbody! Cover, TWO, and Gulak blocks the boot to a trap-leg German Suplex! Cover, TWO! Kendrick lives and Gulak grits his teeth. Gulak drags Kendrick up and runs, but into a back elbow! Kendrick kicks and Dragon Suplexes Gulak! Gulak springs up to clobber Kendrick! Both men are down and a standing count begins. Fans build to a rally as Gulak stands at 6. Gulak stomps Kendrick and drags him onto the apron. Gulak grinds his foot into Kendrick’s face but backs off at 4. Kendrick slowly sits up as Gulak stalks him. Kendrick jawbreakers, but Sliced Bread is denied! Gulak goes for the GuLOCK, but Kendrick rolls through to cover! TWO, Kendrick gets Gulak for the Captain’s Hook! Gulak endures a submission now!
Gulak crawls, reaches, but Kendrick rolls him from the ropes! Kendrick pulls back harder, and Gulak starts to fade! Gulak fish hooks and POWERBOMBS! Cover, TWO!! Kendrick survives and now Gulak is too tired to be frustrated. Gulak grits his teeth and glares as he stands up. Kendrick drags himself up on the ropes and eggs Gulak on. Gulak runs into a boot, and then another. Gulak comes back but gets a SUPERKICK! Kendrick grabs Gulak but Gulak escapes Sliced Bread! Kendrick deflects the boot and rolls Gulak up! TWO into a surfboard, into the GuLOCK! Gulak has Kendrick stuck in the dragon sleeper and body scissors! Kendrick reaches blindly, but he’s fading! Gulak wrenches more, and Kendrick is OUT! Gulak wins!
Winner: Drew Gulak, by submission; advances to the second round
Kendrick didn’t tap out but his body gave out, and now the Cruiserweight Crusader continues on! Will Gulak make everyone submit on the Road to Wrestlemania?
A really good episode and a solid start to the newest Cruiserweight tournament. Kalisto VS Nese was a great opening match, great use of high energy from them both. Nese wins to give us a tease of him going against Murphy. We got that tease a few months ago, I almost want to see it happen now. But chances are, Nese won’t go all the way, he’ll help boost someone else going into the finals. Mike & Maria are going to flip out when they realize his match next week won’t count towards the tournament. Which means he’ll probably win, too, to make it seem like a waste. I’m not really sure who it’ll be against, though, because so many important names are in this very tournament.
Humberto Carrillo is of course in the tournament, and I appreciated the little segment with him and Gallagher. Carrillo will take on Oney Lorcan next week, and definitely winning. Lorcan has plenty to do in NXT so he’s just here to boost Carrillo’s profile. Carrillo VS Gulak has to be coming, it’ll feed right into their story. Gulak VS Kendrick tonight was good, but it sounded like fans in Charlotte, NC were expecting things to shift from technical to brawling. They got bored near the end but this match was better than they knew. Gulak wins because again he has to meet Carrillo and they’ll figure their story out along the way. But much like Nese, Gulak probably won’t win, he’ll help boost someone else on their way to the finals.
Alexander VS Tozawa is next week, too, and I’m thinking Alexander wins since Tozawa pinned him previously. Alexander will surely build towards a second chance at Wrestlemania and the Cruiserweight Championship, and it’d be pretty big for him to win the title two years in a row. At the same time, I still can’t say Murphy is going to lose anytime soon. Maybe Alexander can make a jump to SmackDown or Raw in similar fashion to Mustafa Ali.
My Score: 8.4/10