This week’s episode of 205 Live, #63, aired from Kansas City, Missouri on February 6th 2018. It featured two more first-round matches in the Cruiserweight Championship tournament: Luchadors faced off as Kalisto took on Lince Dorado, and Roderick Strong made his main roster debut against Hideo Itami.
After months of being the ugly, neglected, red-headed stepchild of WWE’s current product, finally 205 Live is getting some love. With the appointment of Rockstar Spud (or, hilariously, Drake Maverick) as General Manager, the multi-round tournament to establish a new cruiserweight champion, and the recent news that Vince McMahon has handed control of the show over to Triple-H, finally the little guys aren’t the only ones looking up in the cruiserweight division.
In case you missed them, do check out this week’s recaps:
Also be sure to follow me on Twitter for timelier coverage @JLWilsonMedia.
Anyhow, let’s get on with it. This week we saw two more first-round matchups in the Cruiserweight Championship tournament.
Kalisto vs. Lince Dorado
The story of this match was of two of the finest contemporary proponents of lucha libre wrestling finally getting the opportunity to do some lucha libre wrestling.
These two are friends. They dress the same. They’re built the same. For perhaps the first time in their WWE careers, neither man was at a size disadvantage. And blimey, they made the most of it.
It just goes to show how poorly Lince Dorado has been booked. He’s as talented as anyone. Dude’s pulling off standing hurricanranas from the top turnbuckle. And can he even see in that mask?
It was a long-ish match with some creative spots (Kalisto standing on Dorado’s shoulders for a second was one of them). They managed to build drama not necessarily through near-falls, but just through savvy stuff, like Kalisto rolling out of the ring after eating a beautiful shooting star press, or Dorado getting a hand to a rope after being nailed with the Salida Del Sol.
I might have liked to see Dorado go over, but we can’t have everything. He eventually succumbed to a reverse hurricanrana and another Salida Del Sol, but Kalisto’s victory felt earned on the back of a great match – one reminiscent of the Cruiserweight Classic style that birthed this show in the first place.
Result: Kalisto wins via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 4]
Hideo Itami vs. Roderick Strong
Both Itami and Strong performed in NXT, but neither managed to win a title there. Here on the main roster, they’re still looking for gold, and as this was Strong’s debut, I’m not quite buying into the idea that the finish was any kind of upset. Still, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
This match was a nice contrast to the previous one. More technical, more grounded. And stiffer – sometimes in a way that was a bit worrying, especially in how Strong tossed Itami onto the apron like a sack of stinking laundry.
As the match progressed they picked up the pace with stiff striking exchanges and believable near-falls. Itami hit a top-rope Falcon Arrow. Strong hit a high Cloud-9. It was back-and-forth stuff, but ultimately, Strong secured the win with his patented End of Heartache backbreaker.
Result: Roderick Strong wins via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 3.5]
Can Mark Andrews be the only good thing to ever come out of South Wales?
205 Live, under new management, seems to be reverting back to the style ushered in by the Cruiserweight Classic; fewer talky promos, and more high-flying action.
Good thing? Bad thing? Remains to be seen. Some performers flourished under Vince McMahon’s character-driven ideas, but the fans didn’t really care. Something had to be done, and I’m glad to see that it was. If you ask me, 205 Live should be amorphous; a different thing for each individual performer. There’s no saying that it won’t be. But for now, the action this week was excellent, and the renewed interest in the division is a promising sign.
See you next week.