On this week’s episode of 205 Live, the Cruiserweight tournament to determine a new number one contender for ‘the unstoppable’ Buddy Murphy’s cruiserweight title continued. Former Champions Cedric Alexander and Akira Tozawa went toe to toe in the main event, NXT’s Oney Lorcan took on Humberto Carrillo, while Mike Kanellis’ story took an interesting turn.
Right off the bat, this week’s show had a spark that seemed to be missing last week. Part of it had to do with this episode offering us some fresher, more exciting matchups. There was a first time ever singles meeting between two of the more popular 205 Live superstars, Cedric Alexander, and Tozawa, plus an NXT superstar joined the fray to freshen up the scene. Above all else, the majority of the show felt like a genuine sports contest, which really added to both bouts.
Oney Lorcan vs. Humberto Carrillo
Before both men made their entrances, an excellent video of Oney Lorcan played to introduce him to the viewers that were not familiar with the NXT superstar. Great shots of him uppercutting various opponents showed his physical style. Also, Oney did a good job discussing his ability to adapt to any style and mentioning his end goal is to face the Champion Buddy Murphy at WrestleMania (a nice reminder of the prize these wrestlers are competing for).
The match itself worked on many levels. Both superstars came out looking better after this, especially Oney, the commentators made it feel like a real contest, and it also helped advance Humberto’s ongoing storyline with Jack Gallagher and Drew Gulak.
Nigel McGuinness and Aiden English did a great job breaking down the match and giving their insight into what each competitor needed to do, with Oney needing to ground his high flying opponent, and Humberto having to avoid his opponent’s deadly strikes. The match was predominantly a hard-hitting affair, which got over well the fans as a “Oney” chant broke out after a suplex on the ring apron. It also helped show a different side to young Humberto as his high flying offence was limited, and he had to embrace a more aggressive style of wrestling. It all felt like something you would see in a real combat sports showdown.
Gulak and Gallagher were also shown watching the match backstage while wearing t-shirts with Humberto Carrillo’s face on it. Nigel was also able to link this ongoing story when Humberto escaped a submission by “body manipulation,” explaining how it’s a move out of Drew Gulak’s repertoire.
This match ended when Humberto attempted a moonsault, only for Oney to put his feet up and hit the half and half suplex for the one, two, and three. A great win for Oney, who was the more popular superstar, and also a great way to advance his opponents story with Gulak and Gallagher, with a visibly angry Gulak shown storming off after watching Humberto lose due to a high-risk manoeuvre.
We then had a segment where Mike and Maria Kanellis were expectedly left angry as Drake Maverick informed them both that Mike will not be a part of the tournament due to his win/loss record. He would instead be facing a local competitor. Instead of embracing this opportunity, the couple was left fuming as they deemed this as a sign of disrespect.
Cedric Alexander had a stronger outing with his promo work this week. His backstage promo acknowledged some potential real criticisms that he continues to get opportunities over other cruiserweights, but he gave a passionate speech about how much being the Champion for 205 Live means to him.
Mike Kanellis vs. Local Competitor
Mike brilliantly displayed his frustration and anger throughout this segment. From his entrance where he had to be reminded by Maria to do their signature pose on the entrance ramp, to attacking the local competitor before the bell had even sounded. It was an effective beatdown, which gave Mike an edge that will likely play an interesting part in this story moving forward. And the fact he did not technically win the match was another interesting moment because they can continue to bring up the point he has yet to pick up a win.
Cedric Alexander vs. Akira Tozawa
Alexander and Tozawa started things off slowly with some counters, showing how well they know one another. Cedric Alexander then began working on his opponent’s midsection after hitting a modified lumbar check. The commentary team also nicely continued providing us with that feeling of realism when acknowledging Alexander is one of the bigger cruiserweights. Nigel expertly compared it to when fighters drop down in weight, so they have a size advantage over their rivals.
Tozawa did a great job selling the ribs when he took charge and struggled to lift Alexander for his trademark German suplex. It added to the drama as both men upped the pace and intensity of the match, and a reverse ranna from the Japanese superstar led to a loud “205” chant from the live crowd.
It wasn’t always a smooth bout; there were some noticeable moments where spots did not turn out as smoothly as they would have liked. However, they were able to cover up those mistakes and produce an entertaining bout with a fantastic ending that had Alexander pull Tozawa off the top rope, catch him in mid-air, and hit the lumbar check for the win.
205 Live came back with a bang this week, and it was made clear by how well the fans received both tournament matches. Next week we have Tony Nese vs. Drew Gulak which should be an entertaining contest. Hopefully, they can continue the momentum created by the superstars this week.
All images are courtesy of wwe.com