Following his defeat to a debuting Pete Dunne on WWE RAW the evening prior, Enzo Amore summons other members of the United Kingdom division to 205 Live in an attempt at retribution…
(Winner via pinfall: Kalisto)
Cedric Alexander & Mark Andrews
James Drake & Joseph Conners
(Winners via pinfall: Alexander & Andrews)
(Winner via pinfall: Enzo Amore)
It had been quite some time since I’d sat down to watch an episode of 205 Live, but with the inclusion of WWE’s United Kingdom talent, this was unmissable for me. Given I’d never actually had a problem with the show (and seemingly, it’s only those who don’t ever watch it who have negative things to say about it), I knew I would be entertained by the hour of television.
The opening of the show, a segment designed to re-introduce us to the UK superstars (or to act as a first introduction for many viewers, I’m sure), was fun but seemingly only there to set up the main event match between Tyler Bate and current WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Enzo Amore. I can’t say I was a huge fan of Enzo reading off the wrestlers names via cue cards, as it made the talent appear somewhat unimportant, but I can appreciate that the intention was likely to play up Enzo’s heel character rather than to belittle any of the talent. Bate, who has cemented himself as the top babyface of his division, gave us a great moment when he punched Enzo. For what it’s worth, I do actually love opening promos that set up matches for that evening – it’s what I grew up on.
I liked the video packages (and not just because I appeared in many of them, given I was front row at the shows in Blackpool that were highlighted here), and they were great ways to get the talent over with new viewers. I actually admired the effort put in by this entire show to get the talent over, leading me to suspect that WWE were using this as an opportunity to build awareness of these stars as they attempt to work on a mainstream TV deal for their proposed U.K. show. Annoyingly, the lack of matches for Jordan Devlin and Tucker made their appearances in the opening segment rather meaningless, but both men deserved time in front of the camera given they missed the Norwich tapings in May 2017 due to working live events for WWE on those same dates.
The opening match, featuring Britains own Jack Gallagher, was decent if not ever becoming anything more than that. I’ve never been a huge fan of Kalisto, so I find it hard to invest in him as a babyface, but I really enjoyed Gallagher’s work from start to finish. The decision to turn him heel has worked out great for him, it must be said.
The tag match was a fun match, and showed off the UK talent very well. I’d say that there were clearly some nerves on display, mostly on the part of Conners and Drake, or maybe they were purely just some mistiming issues, but it was clear that the producers were curing around some moments. Plaudits go to Cedric Alexander for not trying to steal the show here, instead playing a supporting role from start to finish. Drake is doing great work with Zack Gibson on the British independent scene, and I suspect we’ll see Conners team with them in PROGRESS, so this might be a unit that we will become accustomed to watching. I should add, it’s a crime that the WWE United Kingdom Championship match between Tyler Bate and Jospeh Conners in May 2017 never aired, despite being taped – it was superb.
Speaking of Bate, I felt he wrestled a fun match with Enzo. The contest never felt like it was taking risks, but Bate’s style and Enzo’s own offence gelled well enough to give us something a little different from a WWE televised main event. For me, Bate is one of the best wrestlers on the planet currently, and whilst I know he can do a lot more than he showed here, he added another entertaining match to his WWE portfolio. For all the talk of Pete Dunne heading to WWE full-time, it stuns me that Bate isn’t being mentioned in those conversations either. Unless, of course, he might be set to win the title back so that the championship will stay in the U.K. whenever Dunne finally makes his move to Florida.
Having Enzo win over Bate made sense from a storyline perspective, but I was absolutely stunned that it was done clean. Bate has been largely protected in WWE, and Enzo being a cheating champion would have played into a screwjob finish well, but instead British fans were sent home having watched their top talent get beaten by the guy who everyone wants to give a smack to. Result aside, these guys had good chemistry, and I’m sure they’ll have a chance to face each other again down the line.
A decent hour of TV, capped off with a competitive main event that made its loser look strong in defeat (even if the actual finish felt a bit flat). Can’t ask for much more, can we?
Wait, yes we can! Where’s our weekly UK show?
Match of the Night
Tyler Bate vs. Enzo Amore