The Story So Far: 205 Live (8/28/18)

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.

The Story So Far: 205 Live

Last week’s show was incredible. The main event, while an exceptional example, still demonstrates the consistent quality of work in every single match on the brand. The match in question, a tornado tag team match between the Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) versus Tony Nese and Buddy Murphy blended lucha libre spots (walking the ropes, assisted leap frop drop kick, countering a hip-toss by bouncing your legs off the ropes) and lucha libre psychology (heels have the number advantage in the second act, faces use technical prowess instead of brute force to overcome that advantage) with WWE’s 50/50 booking and quasi-definitive finish, not to mention some indy style influence, with the quickly successive high spots and simultaneous selling. Nese and Murphy’s selling was phenomenal, which really put over some of the lucha spots. Dorado and Metalik came off looking like superstars. The typically dead 205 Live crowd actually came to life and seemed to really get into it. Honestly, if getting more people to watch this weekly show on the Network is the goal, then this is the kind of match that should have been put on SummerSlam. If a well worked match with plenty of creative high spots—like this match—was put on as the opener of the SummerSlam main card last week, where lots of people who don’t normally watch 205 Live are watching, it could have garnered a lot more buzz with the main roster fans. Nonetheless, this match was fantastic, and is worth going out of your way to see. The match ended when Kalisto, the third member of LHP who was on the outside the entire match, distracted Murphy, who was then rolled up for the pin. A tornado tag match would normally seem like a feud ender, but with the shenanigans involved it would seem like these two sides are not quite done with each other yet.

Speaking of roll-ups not ending feuds, Drew Gulak – the challenger to the Cruiserweight Championship who was rolled-up by the champion Cedric Alexander on the SummerSlam Kick-Off Show – cut a couple of promos on Alexander saying he got lucky, and that rematch is in order. Although General Manager Drake Maverick said this rematch will not happen, and did his best on the show to separate the two, that’s obviously the direction of the booking. Since Triple H is booking, and given his affinity for 2 Out of 3 Falls matches, and given the “fluke” nature of their first match, expect the rematch to have that stipulation, with Alexander coming out on top. It’s a sensical follow up, and one of this shows best qualities is its narrative syllogisms (which, when speaking of a WWE show, it’s surprising that I’m not saying that ironically). If indeed they are building to a WrestleMania rematch between Alexander and Mustafa Ali, then Alexander remaining champion is the right call. Being champion for most of the year will add to the drama of their ‘Mania rematch. What’s interesting will be what’s next for Alexander after Gulak. Lio Rush was not on last week’s show, even though he is currently undefeated on the brand and is seemingly being groomed for a top heel run. I still expect him to be the challenger for Alexander after Gulak, and he may even take the title from him for a brief period. Ali, who really feels like the heir apparent of the show, was also absent, selling his storyline diagnosis of exhaustion for working too hard and coming back from injury too soon. This is meant to build babyface sympathy, but it feels a little contrived to me. Time will tell if it pays off, but keeping him off TV some will help him keep feeling fresh to the fans.

The feud we did get an end to was TJP versus Noam Dar. Dar won the rubber match cleanly with a pin, so both men will be moving on after this. Look for TJP to hook up with Nese and Murphy to even up the odds against Lucha House Party, and I expect Dar to move onto a brief program with Rush. Rush will maintain his undefeated streak against Dar, which will give him another strong win on his way to a title shot, and will also give him something to do while Alexander finishes up with Gulak. The angles and the characters fit nicely that way, and make sense in the overall storyline building to next year’s WrestleMania.