The Story So Far: 205 Live (8/14/18)

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.

205 Live (8/14/18)

Well, Mustafa Ali’s injury was a work after all. Last week, Ali posted a photo of him in the hospital on Twitter with the caption “I always kick out at 2.” This week, after 205 Live, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that his injury was in storyline only, as was very clear after it was the go home story on last week’s episode. Ali began selling his back against Hideo Itami in the main event last week after a plancha onto the floor, and shifted into overdrive after Itami dropkicked him on the apron and Ali was driven back first into the ring post.

Later, just as Ali was about to hit his inverted 450 splash (which he calls the 054) he played up being dizzy and dazed on the top rope, which Itami capitalized on to win the bout. Ali’s kayfabe hospital visit was a point of concern for 205 Live GM Drake Maverick earlier in the show, but Ali assured him he was fine.

The show closed with Ali collapsing in the ring after the match, and Maverick rushing out to the ring to call for medical assistance. Meltzer reported this is being done to put Ali over as someone that doesn’t back down regardless of the circumstances, but honestly it came off a bit contrived. I don’t know if this is what I want out of the number 2 babyface on the show, as perhaps a straight match of Ali against Itami would have gotten over just as well.

The two had a great performance regardless, and it’s definitely worth checking out. Time will tell whether this angle helps Ali or hurts him. How he is presented in the next 6 months is crucial, as the company seems to be grooming him for the top spot on the cruiserweight roster.

The commentators implied that the main event match between Ali and Itami may have title implications. So since Itami, a heel won, that tells me that the babyface champion Cedric Alexander is going over heel challenger Drew Gulak at SummerSlam, as a heel versus heel program is something that WWE rarely does.

How Itami is presented on this week’s show will tell a lot about what they have planned for him after this Sunday’s title match. Alexander will be challenging another one of Gulak’s cronies this week in Jack Gallagher when two weeks ago he defeated Gulak’s ally Brian Kendrick. After the match, Gallagher and Gulak were about to gang up on the champion, but Maverick prevented it in time, and for this week has barred both Gulak and Kendrick from ringside for Alexander versus Gallagher. Look for Alexander to pick up the win, but to be jumped immediately after the match. This may lead Maverick to add a certain stipulation to this Sunday’s championship bout to keep Gallagher and Kendrick in check.

Also this week is Lio Rush pitted against Akira Tozawa. This is a rematch of several weeks ago when Rush defeated Tozawa, and in the weeks since Tozawa has called out Rush and appealed to Maverick for a second chance. Rush is the newest superstar on the 205 Live roster, and hasn’t lost since his debut, but I anticipate he will here. He has already beaten Tozawa, and will win again in the inevitable rubber match, so he is still protected here, and we all know how much WWE loves 50/50 booking. Their match this week will be good. Both men work very well; Tozawa is very crisp with every move he performs, and Rush is as athletic as hell. This will be the match of the night on 205 Live.

While not announced, I expect a segment continuing the Noam Dar and TJP feud. When Dar re-debuted after a knee injury, he beat TJP in a matter of seconds, but TJP got his win back a few weeks ago by working on that same knee. This past week Dar won his match against Sean Maluta, but his knee was the story, and the production crew cut away to a shot of TJP in the back watching Dar’s match but acting unimpressed. I anticipate their blow off match will come the Tuesday after SummerSlam.

Also, last week finally saw the first match in the Lucha House Party versus Tony Nese and Buddy Murphy angle. The heel team of Neese and Murphy got the win via a roll up pin, but Nese had the tights, signalling that this is not the end. The match was entertaining, as the flashy offense of Lince Dorado and Kalisto of LHP got as over as anything else on the show. Gran Metalik, who apparently was having visa issues and was thus absent in recent weeks, returned last week to cheer on Kalisto and Dorado from ringside. Dorado was working a minor hand injury, and doesn’t appear to impede his in-ring work. Look for a rematch in the coming couple weeks.

As stated above, I expect Alexander to come out on top at SummerSlam against Drew Gulak. As I’ve written before, I do not believe this is the best match up to showcase the brand to the wider WWE audience on such a big stage as SummerSlam. I know it would have been hot-shotting him, but I believe Lio Rush would have fit Gulak’s heel challenger role better. Rush and Alexander would have had a more intriguing match to help attract viewers to the weekly show. With that said, I do think Gulak and Alexander will have a good match, but knowing how WWE books the order of their shows, it may be killed by being put in a death spot on the show, perhaps right before the main event.

Going into WrestleMania next year, it seems to me that WWE is booking a rematch of last year’s Cruiserweight title bout between Alexander and Ali, which Alexander won and has held the title since. I don’t think Alexander will hold the belt all the way until then, but I believe he will drop it and regain it somewhat quickly at some point along the way. Triple H, who took over control of the product earlier this year, has a taste for longer stories than the main roster, and with all the attention being paid to Ali this year, that looks to be the direction all of this building to, so be on the lookout for those developments in the months to come. For this week, there will be a ton of promotion for the Cruiserweight title match at SummerSlam, and for the show to close on Gulak standing over Alexander.