Hey, kids! It’s I, the Botching one, here for another exciting edition of “The Pickup”. When we were divvying up writing assignments, I jumped at the chance to cover “205 Live”. I wanted to do it because I just had this feeling the show was on its way to improvement and I wanted to be on the ground floor so I could watch it rise. I’m happy to say that it’s happening. Let’s examine “205 Live” a little, shall we?
Noam Dar (w/ Enzo Amore)
When Zo is on the mic, it’s impossible to do anything other than listen. There’s this very slight bit of heeling that now goes with his mic work that wasn’t there before and it’s perfect. Of course, Noam was practically invisible while this was going on. Every “205 Live” must start with him talking to get off the ground.
Backstage Segment – Rich Swann
FINALLY! He actually came alive on the mic! I was beginning to think it wouldn’t happen…but it did! It was short but he sounded fun like he was on the indies. I LOVED it and hope he’s finally solved the mic puzzle for himself.
Noam Dar vs. Rich Swann
One of the major failings of Cruiserweight matches is that no one sells that well. Noam was working Rich’s arm hard and as soon as he got out of the move, Rich completely forgot about it and moved on. That is a BIG no-no. Selling is part of the story and you can’t forget to do it. Enzo got an unexpected shot off at the injured-and-still-recovering Cass which was really funny. Swann’s Phoenix Splash is among the prettiest I have ever seen and it was a great way to end the match.
Backstage – Kalisto
He’s truly terrible on the mic. I just don’t believe a word he says. Nothing more to say about it, really…
Jack Gallagher vs. Kalisto
Jack quite easily became one heck of a heel. He was such a great babyface that I wasn’t sure this would work. Turns out he’s equally convincing as a heel.
Both of these guys can work. Heck, they all can. I’ve yet to see a “205 Live” match I hated and this doesn’t fit the bill either. The best part of this match were Gallagher’s mannerisms. He was brutal with Kalisto and when he was done, he got up to straighten his vest and tie! Perfect! Kalisto’s no slouch either. As he was being brutalized, he spit out his gum. It’s a subliminal thing but it makes the damage look that much more pronounced. I love that Gallagher employed the straightjacket as the rest hold instead of the run-of-the-mill chin lock that’s beyond overused.
Brian Kendrick’s interference made little sense but it happened. I’m sure they’ll explain it later but it was just odd.
Hideo Itami is coming to “205 Live”. Color me excited. “NXT” had no clue what to do with him. Hopefully, he’ll have some fun on “205 Live”. I know I will when I’m watching him.
Backstage – Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, and Mustafa Ali
Surely, you see this description and assume it was terrible. It wasn’t. Cedric was a little too vanilla…but only a little. Mustafa and Rich were good here. This segment got the job done and avoided the corny “Saved by the Bell”-isms they’d until now been unable to avoid.
In-ring segment- Tony Nese and Drew Gulak
Tony is completely lost for me. He’s doing the cocky “Rick Rude” thing but he’s completely boring at it. He very badly needs a repackage. Drew, on the other hand, is a total blast! He’s high-larious (no, it’s not a word but you love it, don’tcha?) He’s everything in the character department that Tony isn’t. He started speaking and I forgot about Tony, even though he was still standing right there. The grade is a reflection on Drew only since Drew wisely did 95% of the talking.
Tony Nese and Drew Gulak (Team PowerPoint) vs. Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali
I know I keep saying it but I just have to repeat it. Cedric is SO CRISPY in there! Even his arm drags are amazing! Mustafa is no slouch either. I liked the distraction provided by Gulak to get Cedric’s attention so Mustafa couldn’t make the tag. It was novel and it worked. Very nice dissension tease to follow. The near tags from Cedric to Mustafa continued. More inventive work!
We even got “PowerPoint” chants! Not a metric ton of them but they happened!
Of course, the minor issues between Cedric and Mustafa had to play into this and it cost them the match. They jawed at each other after the match ended and Mustafa stormed out of the ring. Nice way to end the show.
I keep saying that “205 Live” is improving and it really is! There’s still a ways to go but I’m pretty happy about it. If Hideo can make a nice splash there, we may really have ourselves a show worth watching.
…and for the record, I agree with Dre that Finn would make a nice addition to the show…just not quite yet. I’d rather see “205” turn into something more before Finn shows up.
Join me again next week for another edition of “The Pickup”!