With WrestleMania less than two weeks away, the Cruiserweight title match is finally set. Buddy Murphy will defend his title against Tony Nese. On this week’s show, however, a great deal of focus was put on secondary storylines, and foundations were set for future feuds as well. The Lucha House Party took on Drew Gulak, Jack Gallagher, and their new protégé Humberto Carrillo in a six-man tag. Plus, Cedric Alexander was in the main event against Ariya Daivari with a familiar face sitting at ringside.
Heading into this episode, a lot of fans might have expected a big segment featuring our two superstars for the title at WrestleMania. That did not happen, and some may argue it was a mistake. But there is more to this show than the Championship match. WWE certainly did not forget about their title bout. They just kept their eye on superstars and angles that will go past ‘the grandest stage of them all’.
Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado, Kalisto & Gran Metalik) vs. Drew Gulak, Jack Gallagher & Humberto Carrillo
The opening match was very effective, not only because it kicked off the show on a positive note, but it did a great job setting up the next stage of this story of Gulak and Gallagher trying to mentor Humberto. From start to finish, Gulak was excellent at reminding fans what the dynamic between he and Humberto was. Also, Nigel and co did well debating Gulak’s approach to teaching, hitting home the story the superstars were trying to tell.
Lucha House Party started off strong, effectively taking control with their signature high flying manoeuvres. Shortly after, Jack Gallagher caused a distraction, which allowed Drew Gulak to get the upper hand on Lince Dorado. Gulak and Gallagher then began implementing their mat based style, deliberately keeping young Humberto out of the match. An observation that was also made by Nigel McGuinness when he stated that we “haven’t seen much of Carrillo.”
On more than one occasion, Gulak was visually frustrated with his young mentee, most notably at the beginning of the match when both Humberto and Gran Metalik performed a Ricochet-like backflip. Those types of actions did not sit well with Gulak, who demanded a tag on two separate occasions. It added a great deal to this match, as there was a story driving it and the outcome was likely going to have a significant impact on this teacher/student dynamic.
Although the story surrounding Lucha House Party’s opponents was the primary focus, it did not stop them from showcasing their skills. A great team move came when all three members of Lucha House Party dived out of the ring onto their rivals. Kalisto leapt onto Humberto, while his two partners did a moonsault off the top rope. It was a spectacular visual that lifted the crowd, and also played into the narrative of the match, as they were effectively able to pull off moves Gulak was attempting to downplay.
The end came when Humberto was setting up his top rope finisher, only to be stopped by Drew Gulak, who demanded Humberto step down from the top rope. As the two argued, Kalisto hooked Humberto for the Salida Del Sol, and as he executed his finisher, he knocked Drew Gualk off the ring apron. Lucha House Party left victorious, which set up an interesting next chapter to the Humberto, Gulak, and Gallagher story.
We then had a backstage interview with Mike and Maria Kanellis. It started with Kayla Braxton questioning Mike’s victory over Akira Tozawa, and Maria claiming anyone who tries to play down her husband’s victory is a “hater.” A set up for Drake Maverick to enter the frame and set up a rematch between Mike and Tozawa for next week, with The Brian Kendrick in Tozawa’s corner.
The show then cut to Buddy Murphy entering the WWE Performance Centre while giving us his explanation for not being at the arena. He claimed he did this for Tony Nese, and that if Tony came after him, he’d be forced to “hurt” him. Buddy also bragged about being “ten steps ahead” of Nese, as fans watched Nese enter the performance centre in the see-through glass behind Buddy. A brawl then ensued between the two. It was a short segment, but an effective one.
Cedric Alexander vs. Ariya Daivari
Before these two locked horns, 205 Live newest addition Oney Lorcan made his entrance and sat ringside for this matchup. A decision that gave fans an incentive to continue watching as well.
The match was surprisingly better than I expected. Both superstars were excellent at making it a tough and gritty contest. A spot that highlighted this approach was when both men exchanged chops, and Alexander ripped Daivari’s vest so he could land chops directly to his opponent’s chest. A nice touch.
Oney Lorcan also played his part by changing up his facial expressions throughout the match. When Alexander would take control, there was a noticeable change in Oney’s facials as he began to get angrier and angrier. He resembled a dog, desperate to be let loose. It’s a good example of saying so much without uttering a single word.
The match ended when Oney flipped out and began screaming at Alexander for knocking his jacket off the announcer’s table. It distracted Alexander long enough for Daivari to roll him up for the one, two, and three. Oney Lorcan and the former cruiserweight champion were then pulled apart by officials, only for Oney to get the last shot.
Overall, it was another strong edition of 205 Live. Last week’s show felt more meaningful as we found out Buddy Murphy’s WrestleMania opponent, and also continued the very engaging story of Mike Kanellis. However, both matches on this episode successfully set up future matches and engaged the live crowd. So another job well done for WWE’s 205 Live stars.
All images are courtesy of wwe.com