The Superstar Shakeup has come and gone. Once again, the Showcase Of The Cruiserweights has been raided worse than Mid-South Wrestling in the 1980’s. Buddy Murphy was jettisoned to the Tuesday 8:00pm slot, pausing briefly to have an epic match with Velveteen Dream for the North American Championship in NXT. Cedric Alexander, after a stellar main event last week with newcomer Oney Lorcan, proceeded to put on a hard-hitting affair with Cesaro in a losing effort in his Raw debut. As of this episode, GM Drake Maverick has yet to officially claim a draft pick from the Shakeup, but NXT workers seem to be weaving seamlessly into the 205 Live fabric. One of these interlopers, young Humberto (“Shimmy Shimmy Ya”) Carrillo was featured on this episode.
The show opens with Gulak at a presidential podium, addressing the lineup for the night, featuring his match with Carrillo and a face-off between Lorcan and Ariya Daivari. Daivari picked up a win in a Fatal 4-Way last week, and the winner will earn a CW Title shot against Tony Nese. Vic Joseph welcomes Aiden English and announcing understudy David Otunga to the commentary booth. Nigel McGuinness can’t get back to Tuesday night fast enough!
Gulak is out to the ring, and Otunga claims you can’t doubt Gulak’s success. Clearly, he needs to watch more 205 Live, as Gulak has had very little success. In a boxed promo, Gentleman (once again) Jack Gallagher claims that Gulak using him for personal gains was the reason he received a massive headbutt from the Gentleman. Gulak grounds Carrillo early, and Otunga calls him “a thinking man’s entertainer.” Lots of innovative armdrags from Carrillo, but Gulak continues dominating this fight with an extended leglock. Carrillo is feeding off of faint chants from the Nebraska crowd, and finishes off Gulak with his Aztec Press (headstand on the top turnbuckle, into a rope-aided moonsault).
Lorcan is backstage, talking about a decade of sacrifices leading up to being a champion in WWE. Daivari brings up past errors of being insurance policies for the likes of Enzo Amore and Hideo Itami, instead of focusing on himself. He is undefeated in 2019, and vows no one can stop his quest to claim the Purple Belt. Maverick is talking with Mike & Maria Kanellis, when THE Brian Kendrick interrupts. This is just a distraction for his buddy Akira Tozawa to jump Mike from behind, avenging Maria’s interference in the Fatal 4-Way last week. Security holds back Tozawa, and Mike sucker punches him.
Daivari is out, rocking a shirt The Rock would have rejected in 1999. Lorcan follows, but he’s not getting much of a reaction from the Husker crowd. Nese strolls to ringside to scout the match. Three atomic drops send Daivari to the outside, but he’s back on his punch-chop offense in the ring. Daivari locks in a sleeper, but Lorcan is able to kick off the ropes for a nice roll-up for a 2-count. Lorcan takes Daivari to American Uppercut City, but his Blockbuster only gets a 2. Another sleeper from Daivari, another power-out from Lorcan. After a frogsplash, Daivari is finally able to put away Lorcan with his hammerlock clothesline. Nese offers his former ally a handshake, but looks ready to defend his title against Daivari as the show ends.
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It makes sense to go with a proven heel in Daivari for Nese’s first challenger. A Lorcan/Nese matchup would be tremendous, but it wouldn’t help develop an identity for Nese. WWE wants to go the babyface route with their new champion, and Daivari is truly unlikable as a “foreign” heel. My undying love for the former Biff Busick aside, Ariya Daivari put together a solid effort tonight, and I do look forward to the former ‘Zo Train conductors squaring off soon.