The Story So Far: 205 Live (7/31/28)

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Photo: WWE

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.

Surprisingly, 205 Live did not have the best of starts. After a killer Cruiserweight Classic, Vince McMahon’s emphasis on characters and bits bogged down what made the division unique in the first place: the wrestling. If you’re like me, you stopped watching sometime during this period, as there is simply too much good wrestling shows out there to waste time on one that isn’t. But in recent months, with Triple H taking the helm, the show has turned around remarkably. With an emphasis on good matches and sensical booking, it has become an incredibly consistent show. Sadly, the crowd reactions are often not meeting the quality of the wrestling, as the show is in a near-death spot immediately following Smackdown Live. But folks like Mustafa Ali have been vocal about changing that, and wanting to build the brand. So if you’re thinking about jumping back on the 205 Live train, now’s the perfect time, with the debut of our new article series The Story So Far: 205 Live to guide you weekly, detailing where the show’s been, where its going, and why you should watch it.

The 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick two weeks ago announced a Fatal Four Way match to determine the number one contender to challenge Cedric Alexander for the Cruiserweight Championship, with Drew Gulak, TJP, Hideo Itami, and Mustafa Ali participating. Alexander is being presenting as a classic fighting champion, always looking for new challengers, so he was the one that prompted Maverick to find a contender soon, which led to this announcement. So last week, as the show opened, we were presented with quick recaps of the four characters in the main event, and the criteria that qualifies them to be in this number one contender’s match.

Photo: WWE

And even in the opening contest between Akira Tozawa and Jack Gallagher, Maverick was brought in for guest commentary where he almost exclusively discussed the qualifications of the four competitors in the main event, citing specific recent wins and good performances, and even offered reasons why other top names in the division, like Buddy Murphy and Lio Rush weren’t in, citing recent losses and lack of signature wins respectively. Tozawa won the match, and called out Rush, to whom he lost to last week. Kalisto and Lince Dorado of the Lucha House Party won a tag team bout against jobbers, as Murphy watched on a monitor in the back to remind us that LHP is still feuding with Murhpy and Tony Nese. In the main event, with Ali being the sole babyface, the three heels got heat on him early, and Ali had the cards stacked against him the entire contest. TJP was the first to turn on Gulak and Itami, and while afterwards it became more of a free for all, whenever Ali was in the mix, he was usually fighting off more than one performer. Gulak and Itami had a fun, somewhat Japanese strong style exchange in the middle of the match, but in the end, Gulak won with the same Dragon Sleeper he’s won with over the last several weeks, as they’re really trying to get that move over. Ali ate the fall, but he was protected by taking more punishment than anyone else in the match.

It really felt like the main event was going to be a typical comeback story for Ali, around whom the division seems to be more and more revolving, but since Ali failed to capture the title at Wrestlemania this year, its possible that Triple H is telling a much longer story, and is looking for Ali to finally reach the pinnacle at Wrestlemania next year. More immediately, Gulak is a terrific interim challenger for Alexander, as both men are technically solid, and Gulak’s grounded style befits his heel character, just as Alexander’s acrobatics does so inversely as the babyface.

On Monday, Drake Maverick announced that their title match will take place at Summerslam. The program will center around what each character envisions for the division, as Gulak will argue for toning down the in-ring actions, and Alexander will support the freedom to “entertain the WWE Universe.” The angle may be so-so, but the match will be awesome. Additionally, Tozawa and Rush, both very entertaining in the ring, will trade a couple more matches in the coming weeks, and expect the next one to be this Tuesday, and Maverick has done a segment in his Twitter discussing that matter, although the match has yet to be announced. Expect Tozawa to win the next match, with Rush winning the rubber match. As the newer superstar, he needs to win the feud to establish himself. Lastly, we should be getting a really fun match between Lucha House Party and Murphy & Nese, as all those performers creatively execute matches at a high level. While this really is a holding angle for them, the match should be awesome, but look for the heels to go over, probably next week.

Honestly, the emphasis on reasonable booking is enough to want to watch this show. As the main roster is plagued with illogical contenders, 205 Live took a significant amount of time detailing why some were challenging, and some weren’t. I cannot state how refreshing that is for WWE. Secondly, the wrestling is always solid. There probably won’t be any match of the year contenders coming out of the division, but each and every match is consistently good, and some are great. This week, look for good promos from both Alexander and Gulak, shenanigans from Murphy and Neese antagonizing the Lucha House Party, and probably a very good Tozawa versus Rush match.

That’s why you should be watching 205 Live.

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