205 Live Recap: Episode 121

Last week on 205 Live: Cedric Alexander and Oney Lorcan tore the house down in a tournament match that Alexander ended up the victor in. Mike Kanellis was promised a match for this week. If he loses, he might be kicked off of 205 Live. Tony Nese is getting a strong push, he beat Drew Gulak in the semi-finals of the Buddy Murphy Classic, commentary put him over strong and yet, he still doesn’t have a gimmick.

Cold Open

Drake Maverick walks us through the last few weeks, highlighting the Buddy Murphy Classic. The finals are tonight with Tony Nese vs. Cedric Alexander. There has been a weird push behind Tony Nese lately this year, not sure if it’s a red herring to make Cedric’s win more surprising or 205 Live is truly behind Tony Nese.

Mike Kanellis w/ Maria Kanellis vs. Akira Tozawa

  • As Mike makes his entrance, commentary dives right into Mike Kanellis’ storyline. That Maria being at ringside could be a hindrance to Mike because Mike is so in love with Maria. Mike Kanellis is probably the most complex character in all of wrestling right now. From how he wrestles his matches, to his dynamic with his wife, to his losing streak and him barely talking adds a layer of mystery. A lot of Mike’s story has been told through commentary the past year, but much more of it is left vague and open to interpretation. Really good stuff.
  • Mike has to win this match or he basically is out of 205 Live. Akira Tozawa is a former Cruiserweight champion and will look to be a tough opponent for Kanellis.
  • The bell rings and the camera zooms in on Mike staring blankely. He knows what is on the line. Mike every match Mike has lost is because he loses his focus and temper. Then he makes a mistake. Most of the time Mike loses focus because he is trying to impress his wife Maria. Maria is always impressed and supportive of Mike, but you can sense Mike is insecure. Not in his love, but in being worthy enough, in his mind, for Maria. Mike will make an error or two, or not be able to put away his opponent, and he will begin to get angry because, in Mike’s mind, he is failing his wife. That makes Mike get angry and walk into some sort of defeat. A self fulfilling prophecy really.
  • Commentary tells us how passionate Mike Kanellis is, how he has wrestling for 16 years and still doesn’t feel successful.
  • This match has been Mike dominating and continually going for the pin. Akria keeps kicking out and Mike is getting more aggressive. The typical Mike Kanellis match story is playing out again and it’s great to watch.
  • Tozawa saw an opportunity and was able to get some high risk moves in for a very close near fall. Every pin attempt creates more drama in this match. Because every time Akira kicks out, it causes Mike to get angrier. Every time Mike kicks out, the anxiety of almost losing kicks in. Not just losing a match, but possibly losing his job and livelihood. For such a passionate wrestler, this is truly life or death. To some it is just a normal wrestling match on a throwaway show on the WWE Network, but to us fans that are truly paying attention, we are seeing someone fight mentally and physically for EVERYTHING they hold dear. It’s tremendous.
  • Akira and Kanellis were fighting on the top rope and it took me a bit before I realized this is a 205 staple. I was too drawn in to Mike trying to gain an advantage, to Maria worried about Mike’s safety.
  • Then Kanellis hits a Michinoku driver off the top rope for two. Mike lost his shit after that. Screaming and pacing back and forth. He goes over and tries to find support in Maria, which he does. She gives him words of encouragement, and interferes in the match on Mike’s behalf.
  • That distraction led to a Mike Kanellis victory.

And I’m Like… What a fucking finish to the match. Mike couldn’t get it done on his own, he goes to his wife for help, she helps him, he wins. They are both overjoyed, but what’s more fun to think about is tomorrow and the day after. Mike will realize that he needs Maria to win, and Mike winning matches is how he can prove his worth to Maria. So how can Mike truly prove he is worthy enough of Maria, if Maria needs to be there to help him win? Maria is ecstatic that her husband got the victory and that is all that matters to her. At the moment that is all that matters to Mike too. Very, very good stuff.

Cedric is cutting a promo backstage. Buddy Murphy and his friend Tony Nese show up to talk down to Alexander. It’s a weird dichotomy. Either Tony wins and faces his best friend in a Wrestlemania match. Heel vs. heel. If Cedric wins it’s a rematch for the Cruiserweight championship. This will be their third title match on pay per view. This backstage skit makes me think Cedric is advancing. But, I do have doubt, which means it’s a great build up to a match with the highest stakes. This is on a match where Mike Kanellis wrestled for his job.

Tony Nese vs. Cedric Alexander

  • Another reason I don’t think Tony Nese is going to win. He doesn’t even have a character. His character was “counts abs” but he doesn’t even do that anymore. It bugs me how 205 can have the Kanellis story, the Gulak trying to court Humberto story will all that nuance, The Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa bit, but are not able to give Tony Nese A CHARACTER!
  • Commentary try to make a story out of this match. We know it’s the finals of a number one contender tournament, but commentary likes to weave stories into these matches. Neither men have much of a character to play with, let alone play off each other with. So, commentary decides to go with “they are both fit and athletic and evenly matched”. Which does mirror the match in the ring, which is back and forth counter wrestling.
  • The match is starting off pretty slow. I think it’s mainly because they are painting a very broad picture with little nuance. So it’s moves we’ve seen before with commentary we have heard before. Arm drag, dropkick, counter dodge, wear down hold. “Wrestling to go to Wrestlemania!” “They have to wrestle the perfect match and then some.” “These men know each other so well.” So, every minute or so it’s wash rinse and repeat.
  • It’s legit, Cedric hits one move, Tony counters and hits one move, Cedric counters and hits one move, Tony counters and hits one move.
  • The second act final kicks in when Tony gets Cedric’s leg caught up in the bottom turnbuckle and then boots Alexander in his face. Commentary brings up that Alexander has tweaked his knees in both previous tournament matches. The same knee that Nese tied up in the turnbuckle. Finally some meat on the bone of the story.
  • Tony is bringing the heat now. A couple high impact moves for nearfalls and a few weardown holds. Tony is now picking Cedric apart, wearing down every bit of Alexander. The crowd is quietly chanting for Cedric.
  • Alexander gets some momentum and is able to hit the neuralizer and get a nearfall. It’s like the first act but instead of move for move, it’s four minute beat down for four minute beat down.
  • “Back and forth, back and forth. Teetering on the edge of Wrestlemania.” -Aiden English. That is this entire match from both an audio and visual stand point.
  • Alexander’s knee hasn’t really been touched since the turnbuckle spot.
  • Nese kicks out of a Michinoku driver by Alexander. Cedric screams in frustration and stares at the Wrestlemania sign as hope grows in his eyes. I have to admit, Cedric can really show emotion in just his eyes, which is a tremendous attribute for a wrestler to have.
  • Nese and Alexander are battling on the top rope because 205 Live is gon’ 205 Live. They land punches simultaneously and both fall OUT OF THE RING!! A small “205” chant breaks out, and that was surprising!
  • Both men are in the ring at “9” and they enter into a strike battle to start the third act. Which is just a quicker pace of the previous acts. The strikes are faster and harder, the counters are more innovative and the near falls are more dramatic.
  • Cedric sets Nese up for a superplex but Tony is able to fight out of it. TWO top rope fights in one match, you know this shit is serious. Nese then hits a Fosbury flop followed by a 450 for two. Dramatic as hell.
  • Tony Nese might have the best 450 in the game. It’s a thing of beauty.
  • Tony goes for a running Nese but Cedric counters with a Spanish Fly for two. Cedric does not hesitate and hits the Lumbar Check for TWO!!!! True 205 fans lost their shit in the crowd. Casual fans started clapping and chanting “This is Awesome”. We are almost thirty minutes into this match and the crowd is hooked. Nese is the second man to ever kick out of the Lumbar Check.
  • Nese counters another Lumbar Check attempt and is able to hit two consecutive knees to Cedric’s face.

And I’m Like… I wasn’t a fan of the story they were telling but they told it well enough to have me hooked at the end. I love when a crowd is won over by a 205 match. It’s got to be so rewarding for the wrestlers that have those type of matches. Cedric and Nese get a “that was awesome” chant after the match is over. GREAT SHIT! I still don’t know Nese’s character, or how the Cruiserweight championship match will be built. I do know that if they are given enough time the cruiserweights will put on a hell of a show. This was a fantastic match on a near perfect show. Can’t put it over enough.

Nese and Cedric shake hands and then Buddy Murphy comes out. Buddy hugs Nese and raises Tony’s hand to the crowd. Murphy points at the Wrestlemania sign, Tony looks, Buddy then attacks with a running knee. Murphy turns his back on his only friend just to stand tall at the end of the show. The first beat of the 205 Live Wrestlemania build has been hit.

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