Well, as we “Pickup” this week, we appear to be in the midst of a reboot of “205 Live”. The proceedings are now far more competition-based and the storylines seem to have bitten the dust. I’m of two minds about that. On one hand, a show has to have storylines in order to make me care. I need to be sold on whatever is going on in the ring and uncomplicated storylines go a long way towards accomplishing that. While the show is on the WWE Network for those who choose to view it, it’s presented in front of “Smackdown Live”‘s audience. As such, it has be entertaining. On the other, many of these guys were so bad at pulling off storylines that, perhaps, we’re all better off without them in this context. Time will tell if this was a good decision or not. Okay, on with the show…
Backstage segment – Mark Andrews
He recited a script and and said all the “I’m-gonna-win-and-go-to-WrestleMania” schtick that you’d expect. It was quick and we’re back in the ring…
Akira Tozawa vs. Mark Andrews
Akira has essentially had all the air taken out of his sails. He came out doing the “HA HA” chant it didn’t catch on tonight and he tried hard to make it happen. Mark has some really inventive offensive. I love his Octopus Stretch. It really looks fantastic and should be a submission, not the stop-gap it was here. He also pulled off this cool standing corkscrew splash that is just breathtaking. Can’t say I’ve seen it before. They work pretty well together. Akira’s dive to the outside has the potential to be quite dangerous and I hope he re-thinks it as he came close to landing on his head. I also really liked the finish. Mark managed to reverse Akira’s momentum nicely and pick up the surprise win. I hate to see Akira take the loss but I’m not surprised at this point. There’s really doing nothing with him at this point – a fact that’s quite sad as he has a lot to give.
Backstage segment – Jack Gallagher & Drake Maverick
Jack came out to do a promo and Drake interrupted and dressed him down a bit. Apparently, we’ll be getting Gallagher back in something resembling his old ring gear. No clue why they feel the need to do this but okay, I guess.
Of course, by now, we all know that Buddy Murphy is coming to “205 Live”. Buddy has been on ice forever so I’m glad he’s getting another shot somewhere, though I’ve never really cared too much about him on the whole. Maybe he’ll make me care here. I’ll give it a chance.
Drew Gulak vs. Tony Nese
Nese is still doing that ridiculous “look at my abs” thing. He imagines it to be a hook and it absolutely isn’t. It’s completely vacuous and on one cares about it. On to the match..
They both have a pretty good ground game and we got some of that at the beginning of the match. Nese actually showed a little inventiveness with an odd arm lock involving Nese’s leg. I can’t explain it but it looked pretty cool. They both worked pretty hard here. There was an exchange where Drew was supposed to shove Tony Nese into the announce table. The only problem was that Tony’s head clearly missed the announce table by miles. The announcers sold it like it really happened and that was just bizarre. From there on out, Gulak became extremely vicious and it was a nice change. His viciousness kinda came out of nowhere so it wasn’t necessarily planned well but perhaps this is the shape of things to come for Gulak going forward?
We’re two episodes into the new “205 Live” and thus far, I’m not impressed. The crowd really wasn’t either. As it is still early, I remain hopeful that these changes will yield some better programming but so far, that’s not really happening. Join me again next week for another edition of “The Pickup”!