So many things to say to begin this week’s “Pickup”. The first is that I am completely exhausted after the Mysterio/Andrade match. If you haven’t seen it, find a way. It was amazing. They burned down the house last week and they actually found a way to have a better match this week. As a result, I’m not expecting the crowd to have much to give “205 Live”. The opener is going to have to work awfully hard to hope to get much of anything out of this poor crowd. Such was the rollercoaster nature of the Mysterio/Andrade match.
Also, we’re getting Aiden English on commentary tonight along with Vic & Nigel. On one hand, I really do like Aiden and always have – even when he was with the ill-fated Vaudevillians. He was fun with Rusev Day but the break-up was done at…ahem…break-neck speed and it left him twisting in the wind. It hasn’t done too many favors for Rusev either. Rusev’s title defense against Shinsuke Nakamura is being relegated to the Kick-Off show. I’m glad they’re giving Aiden something else to do and this could be a lot of fun. That said, I will miss Percy. Percy was quite shaky at first. He didn’t take to commentating the way Corey Graves did – not by any means. It took a while but he absolutely did catch on and the interplay between Nigel and him was great. We’ll still get that on “NXT”, of course, but I enjoyed it on “205 Live” as well. Let’s see if Aiden can be good enough to make me forget Percy’s absence.
I also have to talk about the fatal four way featuring Buddy Murphy, Akira Tozawa, Hideo Itami, & Kalisto. We know this match is going to be amazing and it will rip Chase Field in a hailstorm of greatness. What we also now know is that the disrespect of “205 Live” is back in full-force as this match is also being relegated to the death slot known as the Kick-Off show. To say this doesn’t thrill me would be the understatement of the century. These guys deserve so much better than that and they’ll show us that…just like they always do. In the words of our Queen, “UGH!”
Okay, on with the show…
Gran Metalik vs. Humberto Carrillo
They really talked up Humberto before the match began and it was well-deserved. He is k-i-l-l-i-n-g it. This was fantastic WWE-ized Lucha Libre from front to back – great fun. I’m sick to death of diving. Dives are generally done by workers who are either out of ideas or who simply can’t work. This is especially true on the indies. Guys just leap out of the ring on to each other and think that equals skill. Randy Orton complained about this very thing a couple of years ago and I completely agree with him. The only time I really want to see dives is in Lucha Libre because of how inventive and acrobatic the workers involved here. Metallic and Carrillo can dive and it’s always interesting because they both know how to do it and make it interesting.
Speaking of Orton, Carrillo’s modified RKO-looking thing on to Metalik was just vicious and looked absolutely gorgeous. Not to be outdone, Metalik’s Hurricanrana to Carrillo was so fast, you could almost miss it. Carrillo’s missile dropkick is really impactful so that was fun too. Nigel referred to Carrillo’s finishing move as an Aztec Press and it was beyond impressive. Carrillo took this one so clearly, he’s got someone’s attention back there. Good for him – the kid’s incredible.
Thankfully, my fears of a completely dead audience were unfounded, though they were clearly less energetic than they otherwise might have been.
Backstage segment – Drake Maverick, Drew Gulak, “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher, & Tony Nese
Gulak is amazing…😂😂😂. He said nothing. He just exuded frustration and stormed off. It was high-various.
Backstage segment – Akira Tozawa & Brian Kendrick
I like these two together. Kendrick adds real mic depth and storytelling to Akira Tozawa. In this segment, Tozawa did as much talking as Kendrick did and I don’t love that but I get why it was done that way. Kendrick is just a significantly better talker than Akira but the words that needed to be said needed to come from Akira in this case so it wasn’t too bothersome.
Backstage segment – Lince Dorado & Kalisto
Lince is a pretty good talker. Kalisto has had his problems in that area but this wasn’t bad at all. This was good.
Kalisto vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami
Ariya Daivari talking for Itami is perfection. Itami needed mic support badly and Ariya is a great foil for him. These three together certainly didn’t disappoint in the ring. Buddy Murphy began on commentary but that ended awfully quickly. The reasons he took his headset off were pretty flimsy so not sure what happened there. He remained ringside though. He also got involved in the match – leading the four-man suplex tree (a pretty good name for it, right?). He stayed in there too in order to assist in softening up his opponents. Fun stuff. It didn’t stop the match and it continued after Buddy was taken out. Hideo took it in the end and that wasn’t a bad choice.
So how was Aiden? He was good. He didn’t show the personality that Percy does but this was also his first time. As such, Aiden did quite well. I do still miss Percy but Aiden really was good. See you guys for Royal Rumble…the Kick-Off show (grrrrrrr….)