Since October 6th, Buddy Murphy has reigned supreme as WWE‘s Cruiserweight Champion. He overcame the seemingly unstoppable Cedric Alexander at Super Show-Down in his home country of Australia, and has seen off all-comers in his 181 days with the title. That could all change on the WrestleMania 35 pre-show however, as The Juggernaut finds himself up against old training partner Tony Nese.
Murphy was originally brought into 205 Live as part of last year’s Cruiserweight Championship tournament, seeing off Ariya Daivari in the opening round before being ousted from the 16 man field at the hands of future rival Mustafa Ali. Despite being eliminated that early on in the tournament, The Best Kept Secret became one of the most dominant forces in 205 Live history. An unsuccessful attempt to pry the championship away from Cedric Alexander came at the end of May and then, we saw who the real Buddy Murphy is.
For so long, he had been considered just another guy on the roster. In hindsight, his NXT Tag Team Championships reign alongside former ally and Forgotten Sons member Wesley Blake was rather forgettable, and he hadn’t done much in WWE other than that. His no disqualifications match against Mustafa Ali at the start of last July though was undoubtedly one of the finest bouts in the history of the cruiserweight division, and all of WWE in 2018 for that matter. The innovative manoeuvres from both men left everyone gobsmacked as they both put their bodies on the line to entertain the audience. A tilt-a-whirl DDT from atop the steel steps put an end to Murphy’s night, but he more than left an impression on 205 Live general manager Drake Maverick.
Australia’s favourite son did well enough to earn another opportunity at Cedric’s Cruiserweight Championship when WWE held one of their big events that aren’t classed as proper pay-per-view events, that being Super Show-Down at the beginning of October. Following another outstanding showing from one of WWE’s most underappreciated talents (and Alexander too for that matter), it was a Murphy’s Law that signalled the end of Cedric’s lengthy reign as the champion as we ushered in the era of The Juggernaut.
In the roughly six months that have followed, some of 205 Live’s best have stepped up in an effort to dethrone Buddy, all of whom have failed in their efforts. Whether it was Akira Tozawa or Hideo Itami or Mustafa Ali, none of them were a match for the reigning champion. In addition, he also had excellent bouts with Mark Andrews and Humberto Carrillo, both of which were however non-title contests. Although he’s an incredibly gifted athlete, it’s certainly helped Murphy, in the long run, having Tony Nese by his side.
The Premier Athlete has scored some massive victories in 205 Live in recent times, including wins against the likes of Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar, the latter being in a highly-praised no disqualifications match. As a result, Nese was selected as one of eight participants to take part in an eight-man tournament to decide Buddy Murphy’s challenger for WrestleMania 35. He found his way past the athletic ability of Lucha House Party member Kalisto and the technical prowess of Drew Gulak en-route to the finals, where he scored yet another victory over Cedric Alexander to officially become Murphy’s WrestleMania opponent.
After the tournament came to a conclusion, the alliance between the champion and the challenger did so too as Nese was ambushed by his now former associate. The reigning champ saw just how determined his next challenger had become during the tournament, and knew that his time with the championship could be drawing to a close as a result. For two men that were once so incredibly close to one another, it goes to show just how much of an impact a championship can have on friendships in wrestling.
This past Tuesday’s episode of 205 Live saw an interview between the pair descend into chaos as frustrations got the better of both men. Murphy and Nese were hellbent on beating each other black and blue ahead of Sunday’s showdown, taking out several officials along the way as they tried to separate the two. Even though they were eventually pulled apart, it’s clear that their match will be quite a tense affair.
As expected, this match has unfortunately been relegated to the pre-show. It’s become tradition with Cruiserweight Championship matches on pay-per-views to be shoved into the pre-show, or in the case of last month’s Fastlane, not on the show at all. Despite that, the matches are always one of the highlights of the evening. You can guarantee the same at WrestleMania 35 when Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese make their ‘Mania debuts in spectacular fashion!