The shift in WWE programming has already begun with NXT debuting on USA, and SmackDown Live preparing for its FOX debut. But on this week’s episode of 205 Live, it was back to basics with a two-match show, and the spotlight firmly on the cruiserweight champion Drew Gulak. In the opening bout, it was a family feud; Humberto Carrillo took on his cousin Angel Garza. In the main event, Oney Lorcan was looking for retribution as he teamed with his NXT partner Danny Burch and they challenged the new alliance of Drew Gulak and Tony Nese.

On paper, both matches had the potential to be great, and while they were far from bad, it felt like the superstars needed an adjustment period. The continuation of various narratives was nicely done, as Oney’s ongoing issue with Gulak and Nese and Humberto finally facing Garza one on one was the primary focus of this show, and despite having room for improvement in the ring, they still showed moments of brilliance that helped make this a solid edition of 205 Live.

Humberto Carrillo vs. Angel Garza

The opening of this match felt like a blur, and nothing really seemed to register, and that was through no fault of Humberto Carrillo or Angel Garza’s. It was down to the incredibly irritating commentary of Aiden English, who took his joke and obsession with Humberto too far, which ultimately had a negative impact on what both men were doing in the ring. At that moment, it became abundantly clear; Nigel McGuinness was the only one capable of pulling off comedic commentary.

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Humberto and Garza’s match seemed to stop and start a lot early on, so it meant they could never pick up any momentum, leading to a flat opening five minutes. Once Garza began taking over, though, the action seemed to improve. Garza’s offence was impressive, especially when he trapped Humberto in the corner and hit a dropkick on his knee. It was flashy, but also looked legitimately painful. Garza’s charisma was clear for the world to see as well. When he removed his long tights to reveal trademark wrestling trunks and boots, it generated a positive reaction from the fans in attendance.

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In the second half of this match, the action picked up, and both men seemed to step up their game. There was an impressive exchange of submission holds, a fantastic looking lionsault from Garza, and both men had more urgency, giving us more reason to invest in their match. Ultimately, Humberto’s cousin charged at him, but ended up eating the ring post, and then Humberto hit his Aztec Press for the win. A strong conclusion to this match and it left you wanting more.

The Brian Kendrick’s backstage promo followed the opening match, as Kendrick was asked about his attack on Jack Gallagher and Akira Tozawa last week. Kendrick revealed that the 205 Live roster has forgotten about his accomplishments and the fact that he is a pioneer because they treat him with disrespect. He then complained about his lack of cruiserweight title opportunities. It was a well thought out promo that gave us a logical explanation for Kendrick’s actions, but considering it was Brian Kendrick, one should expect nothing less.

Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs. Drew Gulak & Tony Nese

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One thing that stood out during the team’s entrances was how Nese and Gulak have subtly embraced this new team of theirs. While the designs were a little different, their boots and tights had similar colours, so their gear was matching, but the different designs still made them stand out individually.

Much like the opener, this tag team main event didn’t get off to the best of starts. The pace was awfully slow, and Burch had Gulak in a headlock for far too long. I also felt the traditional strong start for the babyfaces at the beginning was a hair too long as well, and when the transition did come for the heels to take over, it was far from smooth. Everyone seemed to be a step behind, and no spot stood out or got you into the match early on. The action was slow and lethargic.

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But again, like the opening match, the main event picked up steam with each passing minute. We had a great near fall when Tony Nese hit his 450 splash on Burch, only for Oney Lorcan to intervene at the last second. Burch and Nese had an entertaining back and forth battle, and we almost saw a repeat of last weeks ending when Gulak distracted Oney and Nese attempted a roll-up. It was fast-paced, and the momentum kept shifting in the finale, making it an enjoyable ending.

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In the end, Oney and Burch picked up Nese, and as Nese’s legs were hung up on Oney’s shoulders, Burch hit a DDT for the one, two, and three. A surprising outcome considering Gulak is set to defend his title against Lio Rush, but if this is a way to keep Oney in the title picture, it’s a smart move.

Overall, both matches on this show could have been better. However, they both redeemed themselves with strong second half’s, giving us enough strong in-ring action to leave us satisfied. Perhaps next week, we’ll see Lio Rush make an appearance to promote his upcoming title match with Gulak.

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By Humza Hussain

Humza Hussain is SteelChair Magazine's Interviews editor. He has been a lifelong professional wrestling fan and has conducted interviews with names such as DDP, Aleister Black, and Bayley. He also writes film news, reviews, and interviews!

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