It’s a new era for 205 Live, as Tony Nese captured the Cruiserweight Championship from Buddy Murphy on the Kick-Off Show prior to WrestleMania 35. But would his reign be short-lived? We would soon find out, as a Nese-Murphy rematch was set to be the main event for the post-WM episode of 205 Live.
Gentleman Jack Gallagher vs. Humberto Carrillo
On commentary, Nigel McGuinness (who may be WWE’s busiest announcer) teased that Gallagher hadn’t been listening to Drew Gulak based on a recent defeat against Lucha House Party. Gulak joined the announcer’s booth for this bout, noting that he didn’t get appear at WrestleMania but did put forth strong efforts in three matches at Axxess, which was refreshing for a heel. As expected for a Gallagher match, the tone was very technical from the beginning, while Humberto offered a total contrast by focusing (more than most on the purple brand would, even based on the theme of the programme) on aerial tactics. Vic Joseph asked Drew what would happen if the Superstar Shake-Up split Gulak from Gallagher, with Gulak saying that he’d hope to keep in touch via social media. As the pace quickened, Humberto hit a twisting senton to the floor (I noticed that Humberto bounced off the ropes by turning his back from left to right, which was unusual). After some nifty strikes by both, Gulak pushed Humberto off the ropes to cause a disqualification, though he continued attacking Carrillo afterwards. It was actually stopped by Gallagher, who headbutted Drew. A babyface turn for Jack, it seems.
Backstage, Drake Maverick confirmed another battle between Oney Lorcan and Cedric Alexander for next week.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
Tony Nese (C) vs. Buddy Murphy
You know that the main event is gonna get a lot of time when there’s almost half an hour left as the entrances begin. Following some backstage promos by both champion and challenger, it was time for our WrestleMania rematch. The announcers bringing us fictitious fan discussions about a babyface getting a “fluke” victory in order to prove people wrong in a rematch will never get old. As the duelling chants began the bout, we had a slow start with each man trying to get the upper hand early on. Nese began to take control with some nice moves, but a knee injury by Buddy (with him selling the pain for a fair bit of time) was the feign-job required for him to attack Nese and send him into the post, thus swinging the momentum in his favour. Murphy pounded Tony all over ringside, tossing him onto the commentary table. (Incidentally, it helped here that the fans were genuinely into both the action and the performers, which hasn’t always been the case with the show that is taped after SmackDown.) Nese finally turned things back with a forearm that sent Murphy to the floor, and from there, the big moves and close calls went into high gear, while fans chanted “205!” and “This is wrestling!” There were plenty of big moves here to keep one’s attention and the outcome was hard to predict, making this one of the top 205 Live matches of the year so far. As it turned out, Nese managed to kick out of Murphy’s Law (putting him in rare company, thus making the finisher survival more of an achievement), and after hitting a reverse-rana, two doses of the Running Nese retained the crown for Tony.
With an enjoyable opener and a fantastic main event, in front of a genuinely-interested Brooklyn audience, this was one of the best episodes of 205 Live to date. It’s understandable if you’re in need of a respite from all of the wrestling from the long WrestleMania 35 weekend, but I still urge you to check out the Nese-Murphy rematch (which could potentially prove to be Buddy’s farewell from the 205 brand), as you won’t regret it.