The Story So Far: 205 Live (10/10/18)

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Photo: WWE

At Super Show-Down, Buddy Murphy defeated Cedric Alexander to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, ending Alexander’s six month reign, and handing him his first singles loss all year. This was probably the match of the night. It was really well worked, most everything looked crisp, and Murphy’s knees should now be considered a weapon. The Murphy’s hometown of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, was, needless to say, behind him from the beginning, and he got a good reaction when he won. We can retroactively apply the narrative of 2018 for Murphy as one that saw him put on good match after good match, win a lot of them, but lose the big ones, until he finally captured the gold at home. He also kicked out of Alexander’s Lumbar Check, which had not been kicked out of in 2018. All this put Murphy over the top as a conquering hero. Hopefully, the match was entertaining enough to certain people to convince them to start watching 205 Live on the Network, which has already seen an upswing in viewership in its new time slot. It might bring some more Aussie eyes on the product with an Aussie on top. But I don’t think it was quite the match needed to give 205 Live the spark it needed to make the brand a big deal. The match itself was very good, and like I said earlier it was the match of the night, but to convince people who aren’t watching to actually start watching, you need an absolutely blow away match, that makes people feel like they’re missing out if they’re not watching the show. We’ll see if 205 Live jumps up from number four on the most watched shows on the Network this week, to see if that match gave it a bump.

Story-wise, the match leaves a certain amount of mystery going forward. Going into Super Show-Down, I believed Cedric would retain, and they’d keep a slow build to a WrestleMania match between Alexander and Mustafa Ali, which is a rematch of this year’s WrestleMania where Alexander first won the title. While one would assume Alexander wouldn’t have had a year-long reign,dropping it to a heel for a brief spell, only to win it back in a month or two, seemed a possibility. Murphy just didn’t seem to be the person to do that – all signs seemed to point to Lio Rush. Going forward, it’s possible it’s still possible to be the long term plan, just wrong on the person. We could see Murphy carry the belt through the end of the year, and Alexander wins it back in January (maybe at the Royal Rumble) to start building towards the WrestleMania rematch. It’s also possible, that they’ve made a switch, and Murphy will be the one to take us to ‘Mania. This week’s episode will tell us a lot, especially if Super Show-Down was the start of a face turn for Murphy, which wouldn’t be a stretch, considering how easy it’d be to pivot off of the hometown hero sympathy. If that is the direction they’re going, it’s entirely feasible that Murphy will have the title for the next six months. For the present, sticking to the original plan, look for Alexander to win the title back in December or January.

The other major story going on in 205 Live is Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher turning on The Brian Kendrick this past week. It was an interesting choice, considering Gallagher had just seconds previously lost to Akira Tozawa, and Kendrick had won his match the week before. Gulak briefly brought back his PowerPoint Presentation, to call out Kendrick for being too merciful in his previous match. For a show that I have lauded for its logical booking, this is a misstep. Expect it to result in good things, but the narrative syllogism that led us there is irrational. However, Kendrick, Gulak, and Gallagher are all good workers, so the feud going forward should be entertaining, and if Tozawa is included to team up with Kendrick, then we’ll have a brilliantly worked tag team feud on our hands.

TJP defeated Lince Dorado three weeks ago, by ripping off his mask (illegal in Lucha Libre), and rolling him up for the win. Last week, Kalisto, upset about the disrespect shown towards lucha culture, challenged TJP and got the win, but TJP stole his mask afterwards, continuing the feud with the Lucha House Party. With so much of the angle revolving around the mask, many have speculated that this will lead to an apuesto (betting) match, where TJP would put up his hair against the mask of the members of Lucha House Party. Since Gran Metalik is the only member not to face TJP during this feud, it would make sense for it to be him. Look for a hair versus mask match between those two in the coming weeks.

This upcoming episode will see Lio Rush issue an Open Challenge to the 205 Live roster. Rush is still undefeated on the brand, and is coming off of a win against Noam Dar. I would be surprised if Dar wasn’t the one to answer the challenge. These two still have a feud to settle, the only question remaining is will Rush drop a loss to Dar, due to WWE’s insistence, even on 205 Live, for 50/50 booking. He won both his matches against Tozawa in their feud, and since Triple H is more or less autonomous in 205 Live, I think he realizes that an undefeated challenger for a title is a lot more important than giving Dar a win in a feud he’s going to lose anyway. Look for Rush to beat Dar one more time, and then move on to greener pastures, most likely start clamoring for a number one contender’s match.

Mustafa Ali and Hideo Itami have been going at each other for weeks now, with a kayfabe injury for Ali as the plot mover. Itami has a win due to that injury, and their most recent match resulted in a double countout after Ali hit Itami with a 450 splash on the apron. With WWE’s booking logic in mind, it appears that Ali is due for a win in the next match, which will be the feud blow off. General Manager Drake Maverick has stated they will wrestle again, and that it’ll be something that can’t be missed, indicating some kind of stipulation match for the payoff. A date was not announced for that match, but look for it sooner rather than later.

I’d like to end on a bit of a post script: we’ve seen Drake Maverick and Lio Rush on Monday Night Raw in managerial roles, and this past week on NXT, Tony Nese wrestled Johnny Gargano. While Maverick’s role still feels a bit odd, it’s great for the brand to have some of its performers on different shows. That kind of exposure can only help the viewership. I think it would help to have even more cross over, like maybe Gran Metalik challenging Andrade Almas on Smackdown Live for instance, but for the time being, working with the exposure they have can only help this burgeoning brand.

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