By David Dodgson (@DodgeeWriter)
I don’t normally review nor watch 205 Live but Pete Dunne’s appearance on RAW and victory over Enzo caught my interest. Let’s see how WWE uses the opportunity to showcase its talented but under-exposed UK division in this special head-to-head.
The Zo Show
Enzo kicks things off with his very own talk show. He gets a very hostile reception and the lack of chanting along with his opening spiel was noticeable. He goes for the cheap heel heat of insulting the UK crowd and draws chants of ‘this is boring!’ (he genuinely seems taken aback by this).
He calls out members of the UK division, namely Jordan Devlin, Tucker, James Drake, Mark Andrews, Tyler Bate, and Joseph Connors. He does a good job of hyping them all up, especially Drake, Andres and Bate before inviting them all to join the Zo Train. The responses help establish that Devlin and Drake are the heels of the division. After amusingly suggesting the diminutive Andrews would not make the weight limit for the Cruiserweight Division, Enzo goes a bit too far for the PG era by asking Bates if he should address him as ‘Master.’ The segment ends with Tyler showing off Bip and Bop for a literal punchline. The crowd chants ‘thank you Tyler!’ as we get ready for the night’s first match.
Good to see the UK guys out there along, especially with different faces from the ones seen on NXT. 18 minutes, however, was way too long for a one-hour show.
Kalisto v. Jack Gallagher
Gallagher gets on the mic pre-match to antagonise his home crowd, talking about how this tour has reminded him of all the reasons why he left. Gallagher controls much of the match, grinding down Kalisto with mat-based offence and submission holds. He almost gets Kalisto to tap out but the luchadore launches himself off the ropes to counter into the Salida del Sol and get the win. Winner: Kalisto
Cedric Alexander & Mark Andrews v. James Drake & Joseph Conners
This match promises a clash of styles with two high-flyers going up against two brawlers (at least that is how Drake and Conners were presented in the vignettes and by the commentary team). Andrews and Alexander show off some cool double team moves but Drake and Conners also showed some classic heel team work, distracting the ref to hit cheap shots on Andrews. He later gets a hot tag to Alexander who almost has Conners beat before Drake breaks up the pin. A blind tag to Andrews leads to a win for the babyfaces after a shooting star press (Andrews actually landed on Conners legs in a small positioning botch). Winners: Cedric Alexander & Mark Andrews
Enzo Amore v. Tyler Bate
No Enzo opening promo for a welcome change. The action begins with Tyler Bate wrestling rings around the Cruiserweight Champ with a number of quick counters and reversals. True to form for Enzo’s current heel run, the Realest Guy in the room has to rely on brawling on the outside to regain the advantage. As Enzo grinds his opponent down with kicks and punches, he only succeeds in drawing more ‘boring’ chants from the crowd. He pushes Tyler off the top rope, bending his knee over the rope in the process in what we hope is not a second knee injury of the night after The Usos match. Amore gets Bate back into the ring and hits his finishers for a flat win that does not go down with the home crowd who were chanting for Neville by the end of the bout. He attacks Bate after the match until Kalisto comes in for the save. Winner: Enzo Amore
There was a lot of focus on introducing the four guys to feature in matches to an international audience with vignettes introducing each one. A shame that they were repackaged from the UK Championship tournament rather than showing us something new. The crowd were strangely quiet, only coming to life briefly for the main event. Questionable booking also in that this showcase of the UK talent only resulted in Mark Andrews getting a win. Hopefully, Bate did not suffer a real injury – he really deserved a stronger showing than that. Overall, it was good to see WWE doing something different, but this feels like a missed opportunity…