Wrestling Review: WWE 205 Live, April 23 2019

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With Tony Nese as Cruiserweight Champion, and with both Cedric Alexander and Buddy Murphy having moved to Raw and SmackDown respectively, it’s time for the dawn of a new era on 205 Live.

Drew Gulak Promo

Drew Gulak opened the show with a press conference-style speech, noting the changes on 205 Live, and the new faces receiving previously-unforeseen opportunities. Of course, his main focus was to note that he would eventually capture the title himself, but first, he had Humberto Carrillo to deal with, and in his mind, to teach him a lesson based on his “betrayal”.

Drew Gulak vs. Humberto Carrillo

With Nigel McGuinness absent at the new UK Performance Center, David Otunga stepped in alongside Vic Joseph and Aiden English at the commentary desk. Prior to the match, we were shown a promo that Gentleman Jack Gallagher had cut via Instagram (saying he had required stitches in his moustache!), noting that Drew may not trust him as a friend, but he had to respect him as an adversary. This was the culmination of a storyline which has seen Gulak attempt to form an alliance with Carrillo, with his efforts being backed away due to his self-absorbed personality. Mat wrestling dominated the opening section, with Humberto getting the better of Drew. Carrillo had Gulak’s number for much of the first half of the match actually, with aerial moves and teases of offence (such as standing on the post itself and simply waving to Drew) keeping him in control until Drew tripped up Carrillo as he attempted to bounce off the top rope, which allowed Gulak to take over. Drew’s focus was based more on submission lock-ins and nifty reversals to administer his technical expertise at the expense of his opponent. Gulak had vowed to make Humberto tap out, and his leg-lock and surfboard-style stretch increased the possibility of that happening. Humberto made his big comeback with a dropkick and a rolling moonsault, along with a handspring elbow from the ropes and a turning crossbody off the top strand for two. A missile dropkick came particularly close, while Gulak caught a flying Humberto in an ankle lock, surviving a roll-up to keep the move locked in. Drew actually went against his own morals to attempt a middle-rope suplex, but Humberto blocked it and hit a sunset flip, followed by the Aztec Press for the win. Good stuff here, though I suspect that their rivalry is not quite over yet.

#1 Contender’s Match
Ariya Daivari vs. Oney Lorcan

Two previously-overlooked competitors had a chance here to earn a title opportunity against Tony Nese, though the match graphic showed Oney in such a way that he strongly resembled Neville facially. Both men cut pre-match promos backstage to note their value and intentions to capture gold, and thus win this contest here. Daivari reminded us beforehand that he was undefeated so far this year, though Lorcan did pick up a major victory last week over the former face of the 205 Live brand, Cedric Alexander. (I almost forgot to mention that Drake Maverick chastised Mike and Maria Kanellis backstage due to Maria repeatedly interfering in her husband’s matches, which led to Brian Kendrick arguing with the Kanellis’ himself since her involvement cost Akira Tozawa potential victory last week, which ended up with Akira punching Mike’s face in.) Back to the main event of this edition of 205 Live: Tony Nese came out to watch this in person (that none of the three received notable crowd reactions was unfortunate but also unsurprising, which is even more unfortunate really). The match was slow to get going before the pace began to accelerate, in particular when Lorcan hitting three consecutive atomic drops, only to be caught in mid-flight by Daivari as he looked to dive between the ropes. The two exchanged a hard-hitting chop battle, culminating in a big reverse DDT by Ariya for two. Daivari continued to maintain control after lowering the ropes, forcing Lorcan to essentially send himself to ringside again. Lorcan (whose overall look and repertoire resemble those of Cesaro) finally came back into the match with a suplex, as fans seemed to get into the bout (and not before time) with a golf clap to encourage Oney. A dropkick sent Daivari outside through the top two ropes unusually, followed by a plancha to the floor. An uppercut that caught Daivari in mid-air, immediately followed by a turning Blockbuster, were Lorcan’s most impressive moves. A brutal Superkick by Daivari led to a Million Dollar Dream, but Oney escaped after a real struggle; however, after avoiding a Half & Half suplex then missing a splash of his own, Ariya hit a second Superkick and hit the Persian Splash, followed by the Hammerlock Lariat for the victory. This was a well-worked match, though it took a long time to truly accelerate; that being said, the last few minutes were very good. Post-match, Daivari refused a handshake from Nese, instead simply stating that he wants his title.

The new era of 205 Live was in full swing with this episode. Humberto Carrillo earned a major win over Drew Gulak, and Ariya Daivari is now established as the top contender to Tony Nese’s purple prize. It wasn’t the most exciting edition of the show to date by any means, but it served its purpose nonetheless.