The Story So Far: 205 Live (8/7/18)

The Story So Far: 205 Live is a weekly column that catches you up on the previous weeks of 205 Live and its storytelling, so if you miss a week (or what to just jump into the show for the first time), you have a summary of where the storylines are at and where they’re headed.

Some tweets of WWE Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexnader’s were dug up, containing some insensitive attempts at humor. With the recent events concerning James Gunn and Disney, this obviously raised some eyebrows. Would there be some sort of repercussions? It appears not. Alexander issued an apology via Twitter, and it looks like most fans have moved on. It’s possible that there could some in-ring punishment, such a series of losses, but since there is little fan resistance, that looks unlikely. Only time will tell.

Last week opened with Tony Nese versus Kalisto, in a rematch from three weeks ago where where it ended in a non-finish. Buddy Murphy watched on a monitor in the back, reminding us that a Lucha House Party versus Nese/Murphy match is still coming. Kalisto pulled out the win in a decent match via Salida Del Sol. With Gran Metalik’s passport issues last week, Lince Dorado will be teaming with Kalisto to even out that feud, but he’s nursing an injury himself, so Kalisto will be carrying the load in the build to the match. Lio Rush then won an entertaining squash match, and was confronted by Akira Tozawa afterwards, who challenged him to a rematch the previous week of his loss to Rush. Look for this feud to blow off the week before or after Summerslam. In the main event, Alexander took on The Brian Kendrick. Kendrick, an ally of number one contender Drew Gulak, took advantage when Gulak came to ring side in the middle of the match, and joined the commentary team. The two worked a good match, which Alexander won. Gulak’s other crony, Jack Gallagher, attacked Alexander from behind, and the three were about to lay the beat down on the champ until he was saved by the General Manager himself, Drake Maverick. It left the impression that Alexander will have to deal with the numbers game both in the build and the match itself, so look for that to be angle going forward.

The three feuds that 205 Live is developing now are fine, and will have very good to great matches to close them off, but none of them strike a spark. If the title match between Alexander and Gulak does indeed make it to the main show instead of the kick off, one would think they would put their best foot forward to try and wow the viewers who don’t typically watch the weekly shows. While Gulak is terrific, he may not be the right man for the job. His more ground based style hasn’t gotten with WWE crowds in a while, and the reliance on the numbers advantage is too tired of a wrestling cliche to gain any momentum. Lio Rush would have been a better selection, and him and Alexander would be better equipped to pull off a shock and awe kind of match to develop interest in their product. What hurts matters worse is Mustafa Ali’s injury. While very little is known about it, he posted a picture on Twitter of him sitting on a hospital bed, so it appears to be at least a moderate injury. One has to believe that they are building to a WrestleMania rematch between Ali and Alexander for the title, wherein Ali will finally be crowned as the ace of the division. He has been rising through the ranks in this past year, and seems to be getting over better than babyface champ Alexander. If this trend continues he will be the clear choice to take the crown in the spring.

As we head into this week’s showing, look for more development on all three feuds. Tozawa and Rush will get physical after circling each other for weeks since their previous match, leading to another match next week. Depending on Dorado’s status we could get a Lucha House Party versus Murphy and Neese tag team match sooner rather than later. Look also for Alexander to have a match with Gallagher at some point in the build up to get revenge for last week’s treachery. Perhaps the agents laying out the matches for 205 Live need to totally revamp the way they think about the product. This show, while having good matches week in and week out, with logical booking, still gets little reaction from the leftover Smackdown Live crowd. The matches themselves need to change. In this division, rest holds need to be a thing of the past, with quick pacing and creativity being brought to the forefront. Crisp (but safe) strikes should resonate throughout the show, in the vein of an American indie style that so many of these guys come from. Back and forth exchanges, lots of counters, and loads of innovation are needed to separate this show from the rest of WWE programming and elevate it to the status they want to achieve. The in ring work this show puts on is fantastic. But to get some eyes on the product and to get the wrestling world talking, and to create that buzz that this show sorely needs, they need to completely change the style and the mindset, and to break out of WWE’s tired three-act structure for their matches. Maybe Alexander and Gulak will do that at Summerslam, or maybe Alexander and Ali will do that WrestleMania. Only time will tell.