WrestleMania is this Sunday, and on the final episode of 205 Live before WWE’s extravaganza, we had one final push to promote the cruiserweight title match between Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese. Oney Lorcan also took on Kalisto in his first match as a member of the 205 Live roster, plus Akira Tozawa rematched Mike Kanellis, only this time, he had The Brian Kendrick by his side.
While last week’s episode only contained a small segment with Murphy and Nese, that was not the case on this show. WWE did a great job pushing this title match, with a mixture of physicality, and a detailed video package. The other Superstars did not lack any TV time either, as each bout had enough time to deliver solid in-ring work and advance ongoing stories.
Kalisto vs. Oney Lorcan
Oney Lorcan got this one started off fast by charging at Kalisto and landing an uppercut before his opponent was able to prepare for the incoming attack. Oney then proceeded to control for a large portion of this match, showcasing his physical style. Also, the few times Kalisto was able to hit some of his signature high-flying offence, it didn’t go so well. On more than occasion, a move didn’t turn out very smoothly, most notably at the beginning when he slipped off the top rope.
Despite a few clunky moments, both men managed to find a groove and make this a very physical contest, which included a Salida Del Sol on the ring apron. However, the big take away from this match was Oney Lorcan finding himself as a character, and the commentary team giving fans an insight into his character. Oney did an excellent job bringing out his wild side when he screamed at the commentators asking whether Cedric Alexander saw his attack on Kalisto. Aiden English also justified Oney’s frustrations, explaining that he is right to be angry about missing out on WrestleMania because it is the greatest moment of a superstar’s career.
The end came when an intense Kalisto, with spit flying out of his mouth, attempted to hit a 450 splash, only for his opponent to get his knees up. Oney then hit his half and a half suplex for the one, two, and three. It wasn’t just a victory for Oney, but a victory over a former cruiserweight champion. A fact Nigel McGuinness and Aiden English pointed out as well.
Immediately following Oney vs. Kalisto, we had a backstage segment with Drake Maverick and Cedric Alexander. The segment was well placed and logical. Drake explained to Cedric that he did not face Oney because he’s had too many intense matchups in recent weeks, and he’s lost his last two. Rest is necessary for Cedric if he wants to be one hundred percent for Oney Lorcan.
It then cut to a backstage interview with Tony Nese, an interview that did not last long as Buddy Murphy (who was shown walking with a purpose during the opening match) attacked Nese. The brawl was very physical. Each blow felt and looked like a legitimate punch. They continued brawling to the entrance ramp, where fans began chanting “let them fight.” Nese ended up getting the better of the brawl, hitting the champion with his running knee. He then stood over a battered Buddy Murphy, an image we have rarely seen during Murphy’s reign.
Mike Kanellis w/ Maria vs. Akira Tozawa w/ The Brian Kendrick
Being the main event, Mike and Tozawa had plenty of time to work. Their match started off nicely, with Tozawa getting the better of a few exchanges, and Mike showing his frustration by shouting “shut up” at a fan. However, Nigel also did a nice job bringing up concerns that Tozawa may have, such as being hesitant to climb the top turnbuckle due it leading to his downfall in the last match.
Both men worked well, teasing various moves, and each having periods of momentum. It was a good pace, which also allowed for Maria and The Brian Kendrick to play a big part in the narrative of the match. Maria was excellent (as usual), especially when she gave Mike a pep talk, demanding he “be aggressive.” Nigel also did well, highlighting the importance of Maria, claiming Maria could have married anybody in the world, but she “chose” Mike, and this shows how special Mike is.
The Brian Kendrick was also great in his babyface managerial role. He was fully invested in each near fall, pleading with Tozawa to kick out. Also, he led the fans in cheering on his teammate by banging on the ring apron. A true ‘good guy’.
When the action spilt to the outside, Kendrick tried checking on his friend, only for Mike to sucker punch, Kendrick. We then had a great finale that featured a fantastic hurricanrana from Tozawa, incredible back and forth kicks/chops. The live crowd also showed their appreciation for the action. The match then ended when Mike rolled up Tozawa for a cover, and while he held Maria’s arms for leverage, Kendrick came in the ring to alert the referee, a distraction that allowed Tozawa to counter and pick up the win.
It was an entertaining ending to a highly entertaining main event, which was topped off by Nigel McGuinness hilariously calling The Brian Kendrick a “snitch.”
Before the show came to an end, one final video package played, hyping the Cruiserweight title match at WrestleMania. It recapped recent events, as well Nese’s long history with 205 Live, dating back to the Cruiserweight Classic in 2016. Both men were great when talking about their relationship with one another, and while Murphy was his brash self, Nese sent a great final warning by saying: “I’m gonna stop The Unstoppable.”
Overall, it was a fitting pre-Mania show. Murphy and Nese had plenty of air time, without having to wrestle, and we were treated to two very good matches as well. Now, onto WrestleMania!
All pictures courtesy of WWE