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This week’s 205 Live brings us the final match in the number one contender’s tournament, with the winner facing Buddy Murphy at WrestleMania 35 for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. The Premier Athlete’s turn of fortune came late last year when he capitalized on Alexander’s loss to Murphy for the same title, with the cementing of a losing streak for the Soul of 205 Live.

Nese has continued to grow in confidence over the last few months, while Alexander has scratched and clawed his way back to the same place he was this time last year: a chance to compete at WrestleMania. Personally, a Nese victory is the more interesting story, as he could potentially face one of the few friends on 205 Live that he has in Murphy, while Alexander’s return to the top of the pile is less appealing. Nevertheless, a contender must be confirmed tonight.

Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Aiden English will call the action for the evening.

Mike and Maria Kanellis are making their way to the ring. Mike cuts a dangerous figure on 205 Live of late. Even in defeat, his temper only seems to be contained by his wife, Maria, who seems to have faith in that his moment, that of a definitive victory, will come in due course.

Maria takes the microphone and introduces his husband with all the accompanying plaudits. She calls on the crowd for being lazy, disrespectful, and rude. Just like 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick, who had the audacity to threaten Mike’s job if he lost tonight. Before she can continue berating the crowd, on form Akira Tozawa makes his way to the ring.

Mike Kanellis vs Akira Tozawa

Mike Kanellis vs Akira Tozawa

This should be an interesting encounter. Mike is hellbent on winning a competitive match, so much so that his behavior is being called into question. On the other hand, while on the receiving end of some high profile defeats of late, Akira Tozawa has been on the form of his WWE career so far. Could Mike’s time in 205 Live be in jeopardy after all?

With so much on the line, the match starts at a frenetic pace, matching not only Tozawa’s modus operandi, but also Kanellis’ desperate will to finally win a match. It slows to a more methodical pace once Kanellis stops Tozawa, who is running the ropes at speed, with quite the superkick.

The punishment continues with a rear chin lock from Kanellis as he shouts to the crowd that “this is his show”. Tozawa breaks free, however, and unleashes a series of offense including a frankensteiner, a shining wizard, and a missile dropkick. The attack amounts to no more than a two count. After a back and forth of counters, Tozawa spins round Kanellis and applies the Octopus stretch. It is locked in tight, but Kanellis has enough power within him to see it through.

The pair throw stinging chops at one another. Tozawa feigns a chop and follows with a punch to the face. He runs the ropes but comes back in to unfortunately receive a pop-up spinebuster. Tozawa breaks free from the pin attempt, desperate to regain the momentum he initially fought for. He takes Kanellis to the turnbuckle, hoists him up, then vaults for a top rope frankensteiner. Kanellis grabs him, however, and destroys Tozawa with a Death Valley Driver from the top rope. Tozawa breaks free, and again, before Kanellis attempts his spinning neck breaker.

Tozawa has Kanellis floored and runs towards the ropes to ascend. Maria jumps onto the apron and distracts Tozawa with some flirtatious behaviour. Tozawa wants nothing to do with it and makes for the adjacent ropes for his top rope senton finisher. Mike, however, lies in wait with his knees up. Tozawa’s back takes the brunt of the impact, and Mike follows up with his spinning neckbreaker finisher. He hooks Tozawa for his first credible win in goodness knows how long.

Winner: Mike Kanellis

A frantic match to open 205 Live this week. Mike has the duck off his back now, and has started to accumulate the momentum to climb the ranks he has been so desperate to achieve for months now. This could be an interesting angle going forward. At the end of the day, I’m all for more wrestlers in the Cruiserweight Division having some time to win over the audience.

Cedric Alexander is speaking with Kayla Braxton backstage regarding his chances in tonight’s main event. Alexander is confident, citing this time last year when he punched his ticket to WrestleMania. He sees there being no issue in doing the same tonight. Tony Nese and the returning Cruiserweight Champion, Buddy Murphy, appear from the side, asking how sure Alexander is of a repeat showing. Nese mentions his and Cedric’s sharing of victories in the past. Anything is up for grabs tonight.

Cheap shots are thrown back and forth, the main theme being Tony Nese as a mere sidekick to Murphy. The champion reminds Alexander who defeated him for the title he couldn’t retain. Alexander finishes by filling the pair’s heads with doubts regarding their friendship, should Nese be the one to challenge for the Cruiserweight Championship. Nese and Murphy are contemplative, before heading to get ready for the match.

The commentary team announce a match for next week’s 205 Live: the Lucha House Party vs Drew Gulak, Jack Gallagher, and Humberto Carillo. Seems a tad out of nowhere, but having Carillo and the Submission Commission in action as a unit will not only be an indication of Humberto’s improving skills, but also of Drew Gulak’s true intentions as it pertains to his mentor-ship of the most recent addition to 205 Live.

Cedric Alexander vs Tony Nese

Cedric Alexander vs Tony Nese

A nervous energy has descended upon the ring. Both men are unsure how to approach the match, but they seem focused nevertheless. An exchange of wrist locks and bear hugs start the match, both men unable to gain an upper hand early on. The pace picks up with, again, a tit for tat of, this time, a series of arm drags.

Pin attempts are now attempted. Despite their not being enough physical offense to drain each other, the psychological warfare that comes from being able to pin your opponent in the first place casts worried glances on both men’s faces.

Another flurry of lifts, lariats, and reversals, and Alexander finishes up with a high dropkick. He earns another two-count over his opponent. He pulls Nese to his feet and begins to rain chops down on Nese’s chest. He eventually grounds Nese with a side chin lock. Out of the two, Alexander seems the least nervous, what with him in the middle of a situation he was successful in during last year’s Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. Tonight, regardless of what Nese tries to pull off – be it springboard moonsaults or charges into the turnbuckle – Alexander has an answer for almost anything.

Nese sees Alexander incoming for a boot to the face in the corner, but the Premier Athlete catches the foot and wraps it round the post. He hauls Alexander onto the floor and jumps back into the ring, watching anxiously as he wills the referee to race through his ten-count. Alexander makes it in with time to spare, however, but Nese finally has the confidence to dominate match. He sees off a back elbow from Alexander and earns a pin attempt after a tight Northern Lights suplex.

Nese wastes no time in returning to Alexander’s now tender neck with a rabidly applied rear chin lock. Alexander is beginning to fade, but is able to eventually break the grasp. He escapes another Nese sleeper hold attempt, and aims a dropkick into Nese’s face. Alexander catches a high boot, lands the earlier attempted back elbow, and delivers the first Neuraliser of the match. He follows up with a springboard flatliner from through the ropes, and earns a two-count.

Alexander is calling on the crowd for support as he looks for the Lumbar Check. Nese wriggles free and sees off Alexander’s strikes. He slides through Alexander’s legs, and hoist him up for a pump handle driver. The referee only counts to two, however, as both cruiserweights are beginning to show signs of fatigue. Alexander finds himself tangled in the ropes, and Nese capitalises with a springboard moonsault. A two-count follows, but Cedric is still able to kick out. In all honesty, this move was very telegraphed thanks to Alexander’s obvious change of position in setting up for the move, so a victory as a result was never a possibility.

Nevertheless, the action continues. Alexander is about to jump the ropes for a high lariat, but Nese charges in with an open palm strike. Both men are now throwing punches. So viscous are they, Nese and Alexander both fall to the floor. The crash takes so much out of them, the referee almost counts to nine before they reenter the ring.

Back in the middle, and superkicks are attempted by both men at the same time. Their legs lock, but Alexander has the power advantage to break free and be the one to land the superkick. He goes for the pin, but Nese kicks out.

After some offense by Nese, Alexander finds himself on the outside. Nese sees an opportunity and levels him with a Fosbury Flop from inside the ring. He immediately throws Alexander back in and follows up with a 450 splash, but Alexander kicks out. Nese can’t believe it. He drags Alexander into the corner with a Running Nese in mind, but Alexander grabs his trunks. Nese kicks him off, runs the ropes, and looks to land his finisher. Alexander is up like a shot, however, and rocks Nese with a Spanish Fly. Straight after, a Lumbar Check follows. It looks to be all over for Nese, but the Premier Athlete kicks out at the very last second. “This is awesome” rings out from the crowd.

I’ll be honest; someone kicking out of your finisher is a nice taste of his own medicine for Alexander, so resilient has he himself been presented throughout the tournament. Alexander is panicked and looks to finish Nese off through a series of roll up pin attempts, but Nese counters with a brutal knee to the face. Alexander is floored. He crawls to the corner, but Nese wastes no time at all. He charges the opposite ropes and lands a pulverising Running Nese. He hauls Alexander away from the ropes, as the referee counts one…two….three!

Winner & Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender: Tony Nese

Tony Nese is going to WrestleMania! This feels like a long time coming, not just from the start of the tournament, but throughout Nese’s 205 Live career. It is also refreshing to see more fresh faces on the bigger WWE stages. To put it bluntly, Alexander has had his turn, it’s time for someone else to shine.

As Nese celebrates in the ring, Murphy’s music plays as the Cruiserweight Champion comes to the ring. Murphy holds the Cruiserweight Championship up for Nese to see. He congratulates Nese and raises his arm aloft. All seems to be well, but Murphy turns in an instant. A high knee is delivered in Nese’s face. The crowd boo as Murphy holds his title high, and 205 Live goes off air.

Although something like this happening isn’t exactly the first instance of such a betrayal occurring, it makes it no less upsetting in this scenario. Murphy showed tonight that friendship means nothing to him in comparison to being Cruiserweight Champion. A benefit from this segment, however, is that Nese is considered the clear babyface leading into WrestleMania and, despite my love for the Juggernaut of 205 Live, tonight’s events will make that Sunday so much sweeter if Nese becomes champion.

Make sure to check out the latest “Ricky & Clive Wrestling Show“. Ricky & Clive return to regular programming this week with a breakdown of WWE Fastlane 2019, the final PPV on the Road to WrestleMania 35. The show was a wide mix of wrestling and booking, as a storyline heavy night helped set the tone for the upcoming Show of Shows. We catch up on the TV and news missed since our Quiztime Invitational last week, and finish with… another quiz!

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