WWE 205 Live #062 (Review)

It’s a new era for 205 Live, as its first ever General Manager is revealed, and a 16-Man tournament is announced to determine the next WWE Cruiserweight Champion…


Cedric Alexander
vs.
Gran Metalik
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament – 1st Round
3star
(Winner via pinfall: Cedric Alexander)

TJP
vs.
Tyler Bate
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament – 1st Round
4star
(Winner via pinfall: TJP)


Review

After a week of buildup, 205 Live finally presented its first ever General Manager to WWE Network viewers, and it was someone who a large majority might not recognise. If your wrestling viewing habits extend beyond WWE, however, you’d have immediately recognised the new authority figure to be Rockstar Spud. Unfortunately, Spud has changed his name for this WWE run, and so will now be known as Drake Maverick. As far as wrestling names go, that’s actually quite wonderful.

Maverick’s first piece of business was to announce a 16-man tournament to crown a new WWE Cruiserweight Champion, now that former champion Enzo Amore is no longer with the company. For the past week, I’d suspected we might get a second Cruiserweight Classic that would culminate at Wrestlemania 34, and that’s essentially what WWE have given us, although they’ve resisted using the Cruiserweight Classic name for it thus far. Make no mistake, a tournament to find the next champion is perfect and adds some much needed direction and purpose to the show.

In the opening promo, Daniel Bryan essentially stated that the quality of action on 205 Live was not to the standard of 2016’s Cruiserweight Classic, and that now was the time to fix that. Maverick made similar comments throughout the show too, and it’s hard to argue with either man, but I’m surprised that WWE is drawing attention to this fact so openly. If it leads to the kind of action we saw weekly in that 2016 tournament, however, then I’m all for any changes WWE currently deem necessary. 205 Live gives good matches, but they are nowhere near the level of those seen in the competition that led to this show in the first place.

In the two matches on the show, which were both first round matches in the tournament and given plenty of time, the action certainly did seem a bit more than the standard 205 Live output. Some of the moves felt more high-risk, and some of the strikes felt that little bit harder. You felt like you were watching the shackles being loosened on the performers.

Cedric Alexander and Gran Metalik put on a good match for the live crowd, but it was Tyler Bate and TJP who stole the show. If you’re honest, you know that would be the case the moment the matches were announced at the top of the show. TJP can work, and Tyler Bate is one of the best in the world, in this writers opinion (and in our 2017 Wrestler of the Year Awards).

The Bate and TJP main event was much more technical than I had anticipated, but was all the more rewarding for it. The first half of the match featured a lot of holds, with many attempts to outsmart the other with transitions into other holds, and so on. The pace picked up though, and the second half of the main event saw both men reach into their movesets a bit more. Bate, who’s standout moves seem to work perfectly in front of a WWE audience even on repeat (I guess that audience is used to seeing talent’s top moves repeated each match though, that said), really shone at this point and had the Philadelphia crowd right behind him. If you were Vince McMahon or Triple H backstage, you’d be listening to those chants and working out how to get Bate over to the United States permanently.

Bate, who was very protected in the first half of 2017, suffered yet another loss here after TJP grabbed his tights during a pin attempt. Whilst it was a dirty win, it was yet another defeat for Bate, and you do wonder if he can continue to take these losses without some big ones being dished out by him. He’s a great talent, and fans are really warming to him over in the US, but he needs some credible wins again.

Whilst I was trying to get over the loss suffered by Bate, the announcers revealed next weeks first round matches, and that made me very happy. It feels like there is a very clear purpose to the show right now, and that it knows exactly what it’s doing every week for the next two months. Beyond that, who knows? Right now though, with a supposed relaxation on the rules that was limiting the talent, and Drake Maverick as the man guiding the show onscreen, I suspect 205 Live is going to have a very good 2018.

Match of the Night

TJP vs. Tyler Bate

Rating

3half_star

Click here to watch this show on the WWE Network
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