The new era of 205 Live continued this week in Kansas City, Missouri as the tournament to crown a new Cruiserweight Champion continued. The show was main-evented by a clash between Hideo Itami and the debuting Roderick Strong, but how did it all go down? Lets take a look.
Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round Match // Roderick Strong def. Hideo Itami // Pinfall
In somewhat of a surprise, Roderick Strong handed Hideo Itami his first 205 Live defeat to advance to the Quarter Finals, winning with End of Heartache, in a wonderfully physical match. Down the spine of the match was a series of delightful strike battles, as the pair threw forearms, elbows, chops and kicks at each other with the back and forth nature of the contest always seeming to lead back to the two wailing on each other with hard blows. Each time round the pair seemed were selling the effects of the match more and throwing the strikes with more desperation and purpose. Of course, this back and forth sequence would play a big part in the closing sequence as the two went back to what they knew after both coming close with big moves, but the strongest use of this motif came on the outside of the ring. As the action spilled to the apron, Strong's attempt to pull Itami off the apron into a backbreaker was escaped by the former NOAH star, before the pair threw forearms, chops and kicks at each other and Strong, unlike Bono, finally found what he was looking for as he ducked a roundhouse kick, caught Hideo's leg and lifted him into a brutal looking backbreaker onto the apron. A gorgeous sequence.
It was clear from watching the bout that these two were pretty familiar with each other, they knew how much they could lay in their strikes and produced some slick reversal sequences, with Strong able to transition into a number of moves with ease, which makes him stand out on the current roster. Obviously, the two have history in NOAH and ROH, as well as an NXT bout last April, but they also had a run on NXT house shows in September/October that would have certainly helped to create the comfortableness with each other that was important to creating such an enjoyable match in this style. This was a PPV quality encounter, that managed to draw the audience in, getting a good reaction from the live crowd by it's conclusion. With a little more time, there's no doubt that Itami and Strong could've produced something next level and in fact, I think these two would be able to create something special in pretty much any time limit. It's a shame that we had to lose one of them in the tournament, but it was great to see the tournament already throwing up surprises in it's second week, even if that means we might not see Itami for a while.
Crusierweight Championship Tournament First Round Match // Kalisto def. Lince Dorado // Pinfall
205 Live was on fire this week, with another good match to kick off the show as Kalisto booked his placed in the Quarter Finals with a victory over Lucha House Party mate, Lince Dorado with a second Salida del Sol. With the show finally beginning to show the variety of Cruiserweight wrestling, we got a completely different match from the main event, as Dorado and Kalisto put on a mad lucha thing match, full of flips, tricks, dives and big highspots. Despite having not won in singles competition since December 2016 (Main Event - vs. Tony Nese), Dorado was made to look like a threat to the former Cruiserweight Champion, through a well done story that he was over-performing because he was desperate to get the Cruiserweight title and prove himself, bringing out a more aggressive side that drove the match past a flippy showcase to something else. The match was jam-packed with big moments, like Dorado's top rope frankensteiner, Kalisto hitting a wheelbarrow situation off the middle rope, Dorado seemingly having the match won with the Golden Rewind and Shooting Star Press only for Listo to roll under the bottom rope before the cover could be made and a sublime near fall for the favourite off Salida del Sol when Dorado got a hand on the bottom rope. It was a shame that the rewind reverse rana from Kalisto that was part of the finish ended up looking real nasty with Dorado somehow landing head first on Kalisto's back, but the slip-up didn't hurt the match all that match and it appeared like Dorado wasn't seriously hurt, so it wasn't the end of the world.
Also this week
- There was a recap of last week's show, including Daniel Bryan introducing Drake Maverick as the new 205 Live General Manager, Maverick announcing a tournament to crown a new Cruiserweight Champion and TJP and Cedric Alexander winning First Round match-ups in that tournament against Tyler Bate and Gran Metalik respectively.
- In his office, Drake Maverick ripped into Drew Gulak and Tony Nese for becoming comedy acts and wasting their potential, booking them in a First Round tournament match next week.
- TJP cut a promo about the fans not believing him anymore and not giving a shit, it was good.
- A package looking at Mark Andrews, ahead of his match with Akira Tozawa next week, using the same UK Tournament package from January last year.
- Akira Tozawa threatened to fire a man, when he suggested Mark Andrews could beat him next week.
- Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali had a friendly chat about the tournament backstage, they're good pals.
ATPW Scale Rating // 7.67/10
Written by James Marston (@IAmNotAlanDale)