Tonight’s 205 Live kicks off with a pre-recorded video from General Manager, Drake Maverick, announcing two anticipated match-ups where scores are to be settled. Akira Tozawa finally gets his rematch against Lio Rush, looking to right the wrong of his defeat some months ago. In the main event, Drew Gulak and Brian Kendrick are banned from ringside as their cohort, Jack Gallagher, takes on Cruiserweight Champion, Cedric Alexander, five days before his title defense against Gulak at Summerslam. Vic Joseph, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary for the evening.
Lio Rush vs Akira Tozawa
Lio rush makes his way out first with a microphone in hand. He claims the audience is lucky to see The Man of the Hour in action (all the while insulting the crowd in the process with the typical barbs). Rush bemoans Tozawa’s strong wish for a rematch, but assures everyone that Tozawa will “Feel The Rush”. Tozawa’s music plays, and he looks in positive spirits for his match tonight.
Tozawa comes out the gate as the bell rings, rushing his opponent who slowly takes off his jewelry. The bracelet comes in to play again as a shaken Rush struggles to cope with Tozawa’s early onslaught. This momentum is tempered, however, as Tozawa is knocked off the apron thanks to a handstand assisted kick to the head from inside the ring. The delay tactics finally work in Rush’s favor.
Tozawa dodges an incoming baseball slide, and dropkicks Rush from atop the turnbuckle. The cheap shots and feigns have angered both men now; each wrestler swapping clubs, kicks, and headlocks. Tozawa looks to get the better of Rush with a senton, but Rush is lying in wait with knees to Tozawa’s back.
Rush continues his attack of Tozawa’s lower back, eventually grounding him with a rear chin-lock. Tozawa mounts a comeback, and after the two elaborately and speedily dodge each other’s signature offense, Tozawa lands a missile headbutt to Rush outside. Once dragged back in the ring, Rush powers out of an octopus stretch and earns a near-fall after a kick to Tozawa’s head. Rush is frustrated now; his erratic demeanor a far cry from the calm and collected character we’ve seen to date on 205 Live.
As both men struggle with each other on the top rope, Rush powers out once again by throwing Tozawa to the mat. He wastes little time in landing his frog splash for the victory.
Winner: Lio Rush
Rush has shown tonight that power and strength is a big part of his game and not just speed. This victory also means he has two subsequent wins over Tozawa. Perhaps Tozawa won’t be so quick to demand a match with Rush next time. However, with Rush’s incessant gloating, Tozawa might not be able to help himself.
We are treated to a hype video of Drew Gulak next. His usual claims of being a dangerous submission specialist, and promises of becoming the next Cruiserweight Champion, are voiced over an impressive training montage, highlighting his skills and dedication to his match against Cedric Alexander this Sunday.
Vic Joseph mentions last week’s match between Mustafa Ali and Hideo Itami, with Ali’s health coming into question following his collapse in the ring after the sound defeat.
Drake Maverick is interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton, stating Ali was suffering from severe exhaustion. Maverick feels he is to blame for this and announces that until he is confident that he has recovered from his medical setback, Mustafa Ali will not compete in a 205 Live ring. It’s no wonder that Ali is exhausted from his efforts on the show these last few months. For me, he has almost single-handedly carried 205 Live on his back for months with his exceptional matches almost every week. He will surely be missed in action, but a part of me sees this as a story going forward. Time will tell once the dust has settled after Summerslam.
Hideo Itami vs Trent Newman
After speaking Japanese in a Twitter video as his entrance music plays, Itami reverts to English to deliver a sinister and chilling message: “I stopped the heart of 205 Live”. After personally struggling to see what Itami could offer WWE as a whole, he has really come into his own as a menace, and a force to be reckoned with. This unsettling video is another step in cementing that idea with the WWE Universe. Maybe it isn’t respect that Itami should be instilling in us all. Maybe it’s fear.
His opponent for the evening, Trent Newman, is the unlucky soul who has to face the cold Itami, fresh and satisfied after his kill last week. Newman works in some offense, but an ill-advised school boy roll up doesn’t even take Itami off his feet. Itami stalks his prey, peppering Newman with a series of strikes.
Itami adds insult to injury, pulling Newman’s head off the mat instead of scoring a pinfall. He mocks Newman at first, but the red mist descends, as he rains viscous hesitation dropkicks down upon Newman. Referee Mike Keota blocks Itami from landing a third, and calls for the bell. In emphatic fashion, Itami wins the match due to Newman being unable to defend himself, never mind continue.
Winner: Hideo Itami
This regular mid-show feature of an established act versus enhancement talent has rarely had the impact that tonight’s edition has had. With Itami coming back into the ring and attacking the defenseless Newman once again, Itami’s reign of terror continues.
We now have a Cedric Alexander video similar to Gulak’s earlier. Alexander claims Gulak is a danger, but he is that much more dangerous with Kendrick and Gallagher by his side. Alexander counters by saying this only makes him more dangerous. He refers to his undefeated 2018 and warns Gulak to try and make him tap out in vain because once he hits his the Lumbar Check, the “Age of Alexander” will continue.
Maverick congratulates Tony Nese and Buddy Murphy backstage on their victory over Kalisto and Lince Dorado last week, but due to Murphy’s illegal involvement allowing Nese to successfully score his team the pinfall, a tornado tag-team match next week. We will also see a “rubber match” between Noam Dar and TJP.
Cedric Alexander vs Jack Gallagher
With Gulak and Kendrick banned from ringside, Gallagher joins Alexander in the ring on his own. The Gentleman doesn’t seem phased though, as he confidently poses for the hard-cam.
Gallagher avoids having to lock horns with Alexander, using the ropes to his advantage. He motions a frustrated Alexander away from his point of safety. He eventually enters the action, engaging in a series of roll-up pins with the champion. Alexander powers out and manages eventually to better Gallagher’s escapology.
The Englishmen’s sneaky ways work in his favor again, however, as he crawls under one side of the ring to emerge from the opposite side, catching Alexander off guard to being a beat-down of his opponent. His time under the tutelage of Brian Kendrick is on show here.
Alexander favors his mid-section, and he is only able to momentarily fend off Gallagher, who grabs and drives him into the corner post on the outside. Alexander’s upper body becomes the target now. McGuinness praises this tactic, stating that not only is Gallagher weakening Alexander’s neck to dominate in this match, but also so that his leader Gulak can make quick work of Alexander with his dragon sleeper finisher at Summerslam. This long-term forward planning is a great display of loyalty and tactics by Gallagher. With this and his tribute to Kendrick earlier, there is no doubt as to where his loyalties lie.
Gallagher continues to focus on the upper body, dissecting Alexander by the body part. Alexander attempts several comebacks, but Gallagher has the champion’s number in this portion of the match.
Alexander is able to power out of a cravat with a series of subsequent suplexes, followed by a handstand springboard enziguri. After a top rope clothesline, he only scores a two-count over Gallagher. The cover isn’t sound, hinting that Alexander’s landing jarred his already tender neck and shoulders.
Gallagher wriggles his way back on top as far as momentum is concerned. After a brutal Coup De Grace style stomp to the back of Alexander’s head, Gallagher locks him in a crossface.
A back and forth of strikes ensues, but Gallagher somehow counters a Lumbar Check into a guillotine submission. Alexander levels the playing field with a falcon arrow, but Gallagher shortly after lands a high dropkick in the corner. Alexander is only able to place his foot on the ropes to avoid the upset.
Gallagher’s brute strength is on display next, as he works Alexander into a powerbomb. A rare sign of power from Gallagher, what with mat-based grappling being his usual arsenal. Gallagher becomes frustrated after Alexander kicks out. He runs towards his opponent but receives a Spanish Fly instead. Alexander spills onto Gallagher, and the referee counts to three for an Alexander victory.
Winner: Cedric Alexander
Alexander survives by the skin of his teeth here. I genuinely believed that a shock win for Gallagher was on the cards. He may be the victor, but Alexander most certainly limps into Summerslam as the champion of the 205 Live brand, rather than walks.
After a replay of the action, Alexander nurses his injuries at the top of the ramp. Kendrick then appears out of nowhere and clubs Alexander’s neck. Alexander is able to fend off Kendrick and Gallagher, but he is no match for Gulak, who grabs Alexander from behind and renders him unconscious with the dragon sleeper. 205 Live goes off the air with Gulak standing tall.
This match may not have been a showcase of high flying cruiserweight action, but with Gallagher’s game-plan to soften Alexander up for Gulak at Summerslam, I can’t speak highly enough of this bout, and the story it told. Bring on the Cruiserweight Championship match on Sunday!
Check out the latest “Ricky & Clive Wrestling Show” on the Social Suplex Podcast Network. This week’s episode has Ricky & Clive previewing the matches for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV, but spend the bulk of the show with WWE Summerslam 2018. We look at the build and booking for all the matches, and put our hat on which brand has better TV right now. We give our predictions for each of the matches as well, including some occasional crazy ones along the way. We finish with a Summerslam themed quiz.
Have a look at all of my 205 Live reviews to date.