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WWE 205 Live – April 3, 2018

by Scrooge McSuck

205 Live

- Last week on 205 Live, Buddy Murphy survived a Fatal-Four-Way that also featured top contenders such as TJP, Kalisto, and Akira Tozawa. Under no certain terms was it stated he was the new #1 contender, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's featured in a prominent role following WrestleMania... Mark Andrews defeated Tony Nese in a "Winner gets a Match with Drew Gulak" Match... Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander are considered the heart and soul of 205 Live, but who's willing to reach the deepest to walk out of the WrestleMania Kick-Off Show as Cruiserweight Champion?

- Presented on the WWE Network from Nashville, TN. Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness are at ringside to call the action, unless otherwise noted. We're only days away from WrestleMania: Fleur-de-lis (34), and tonight, we're getting three advertised matches! Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik represent the Lucha House Party against Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa, as well as our rematch between Mark Andrews and Drew Gulak, and finally Buddy Murphy versus Kalisto.

Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik vs. Hideo Itami & Akira Tozawa:

Based on the laws of 50/50 booking, I think the Lucha House Party are due a victory tonight. Not even an attempt at offering handshakes? I'm disappointed. Itami and Metalik start. Itami quickly wrestles Metalik to the canvas and slaps him around in a show of disrespect. Whip to the corner and Itami runs right into a super-kick. Metalik comes out of the corner with a bulldog and comes off the middle rope with a missile dropkick for two. Whip and a double hip toss, followed by a standing moonsault from Dorado for another two-count. Tozawa with the blind tag. He catches Metalik coming off the ropes with a boot to the chest, but the jumping senton is countered with a cradle for two. Tozawa counters a handspring elbow with a dropkick to the back for two. Whip to the corner, Itami with a jumping knee strike, followed by a suplex for two. Tozawa with chops and a straight right for two. Whip to the ropes and Itami with a running knee to the midsection. Itami with a flurry of leg strikes and Metalik answers back with a dropkick. Dorado in for a slugfest with Itami. Whip to the corner and Dorado connects with a spinning heel kick. He takes Itami down with a springboard moonsault and pounds away in a mounted position. Dorado with more strikes and a springboard stunner, sending Itami to the floor. He hits the ropes, ducking a clothesline from Tozawa, and hitting Itami on the floor. Tozawa doesn't waste time following with a tope suicida, and not to feel left out, Gran Metalik joins the high spot party. Back inside, Itami escapes a fireman's carry, ripping at the mask of Metalik. Dorado makes the save, here comes Tozawa, and the match is thrown out at 7:28. Itami clips the knee of Dorado while Tozawa pounds away on Metalik. Would've been better with an actual fall, but this was going well until the non-finish. **1/2

- Mark Andrews vs. Drew Gulak has been postponed until next week. Gulak put the request in and lets us know he's not trying to play mind games, he wants Andrews fully recuperated from his match against Tony Nese last week. He says he would have a PowerPoint Presentation ready to detail how he would punish Andrews in his Dragon Sleeper, otherwise known as the Gu-Lock, but he only needs one slide: "Because I Can." We cut to a selfie-promo from Mark Andrews who promises to get redemption for Gulak taking liberties with him in the ring the last time they fought.

Tony Nese vs. Jonathan Pierce:

A showcase match for The Premier Athlete™. He's still counting those abs as he makes his way to ringside. Earlier today, he received a pep-talk from 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick. Lockup and Pierce tries to show off his physique. Nese throws him into the corner with ease and showcases his guns. Pierce with a cheap shot in the corner. Whip and Nese surprises him with an elbow. Nese does the nip-up counter leading into a series of leg strikes. Pierce tries to take a walk, but Nese follows him out and drills him with a stiff forearm. Back inside, Nese connects with the springboard moonsault. Pierce's comeback attempt is short-lived, as Nese punts him into a fireman's carry and connects with the stomach buster. Nese pulls down the knee pad, and the running knee to the head finishes at 2:55. I'm fine with Nese's in-ring work, but it's been 18 months since 205 Live debuted and he hasn't done anything to evolve as a character other than count his abs.

- Kalisto is in the medical room with Dorado and Metalik and promises to check back on them after his match. He walks into Buddy Murphy (why was he standing there in the first place?), who promises to make tonight's beating quick, so he can get back to his friends.

Buddy Murphy vs. Kalisto:

I wonder if Kalisto's mind is elsewhere knowing what went down earlier tonight with his Lucha House Party mates and the tandem of Tozawa and Itami (I typed that part up before the last segment aired and was too lazy to remove it. Professionalism!). I don't have the records in front of me, but didn't Murphy and Blake beat The Lucha Dragons for the NXT Tag Team Titles? Lockup to the corner and a (mostly) clean break. They trade headlocks and head scissors, followed by leg sweeps into covers, but neither man with the advantage. Murphy grabs a wrist-lock, struggling to keep Kalisto grounded. He does some joint manipulation (that would be body parts, not smokable substances). Both men with some athletic showcases to counter a head scissors. Kalisto with an arm drag, followed by a spinning head scissors and dropkick. He connects with a roundhouse kick from the apron and takes Murphy over with a corkscrew arm drag. He teases a dive, but Murphy quickly rolls back in the ring to break the momentum.

Murphy interrupts a Lucha chant by throwing Kalisto in the corner and nailing him in the midsection with a right hand. Murphy slows things down, hooking an abdominal stretch. Kalisto counters with a sleeper hold, but Murphy forces the break by slamming Kalisto into the corner. Kalisto with a springboard seated senton, followed by a Tornado DDT for a near fall. They fight on the apron until Murphy hits a suplex that barely grazes the side of the ring and has both men crashing hard to the floor. Back inside, Murphy covers for two. Murphy with a hard whip to the corner and Kalisto comes right back with a spinning heel kick. Kalisto's reverse hurricanrana is countered with an electric chair drop. Murphy leaves the ring for reasons unknown (botched the prior spot?) and Kalisto follows with a big dive. Back inside, Kalisto with the short-rana for two. To the floor, Murphy sends Kalisto into the steps and monkey flips him onto the announcer's table. The referee slows his count down a little too much to save Kalisto from being counted-out. Both men with a flurry of strikes. Murphy counters a head scissors with a powerbomb for two. Murphy with a knee to the jaw for another two-count. Murphy positions Kalisto across the top turnbuckle for a super-plex, but Kalisto fights free and sweeps him off the ropes. Kalisto with a rolling roundhouse kick and Code Red for two. Murphy avoids the Salida del Sol and hits Murphy's Law (after a bit of a struggle) for three at 14:50. Really good match that somehow woke up the comatose crowd, but a few sloppy spots, especially at the end, that can't be ignored. ***3/4

- Drake Maverick is backstage in the Big Brother Confession Room to reflect on the past two months of 205 Live. He does the hard sell for WrestleMania and tries to put over that Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander will end up stealing the show. Outside of the part where he shilled the Raw/SD stuff, you could sense the passion behind his delivery.

- Hype video for Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali at WrestleMania 34. It's the Heart vs. Soul of 205 Live. We recap their progress through the 16-Man Elimination Tournament to crown the next Cruiserweight Champion. Cedric Alexander defeated Gran Metalik, TJP, and Roderick Strong, while Mustafa Ali defeated Jack Gallagher, Buddy Murphy, and Drew Gulak to earn their spots in the Finale. Both are fighting for their families and have their own stories to write. Ali says eventually the soul leaves the body, but not your heart, while Alexander says when you fight with your heart, you don't use your brain. Both men will walk into WrestleMania looking to be the next Champion, but only one man can win.

Final Thoughts: With 2+ months of TV dedicated to the tournament and building up Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali, it feels like a sham that the Cruiserweight Title Match is once again sentenced to duty on the Kick-Off Show (along with the two Battle Royals). Buddy Murphy continues to get the big push, but his work was honestly a bit sloppy tonight, especially with how long it took to execute his finishing move. They keep pushing the LHP/Itami & Tozawa rivalry, and unfortunately, they pushed back Gulak/Andrews to next week. Good episode all around, but I'm not a fan of bait-and-switch booking.

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