205 Live Landscape: 11/8/2019 (Rush vs. Mendoza II)

Welcome to the review of the November 8, 2019 edition of 205 Live, airing from the home of NXT, Full Sail University! The cruiserweight division is still getting used to a new champion on the top of the mountain, but they now also have a new challenger for the title which may shift the balance of power for the purple brand.

The show starts with Tom Phillips introducing us to the NXT Arena. The grassroots home of the Cruiserweight division. Aiden English is introduced, a former NXT Tag Team Champion. You can tell from the very start, tonight’s edition of 205 will be different from past episodes as I predicted. We start off with an interesting matchup between the ring veteran and former NXT Cruiserweight Champion, Brian Kendrick, and the man who holds the biggest upset in 2019 over Cesaro, NXT standout Mansoor.

Mansoor vs. Brian Kendrick

This match was exciting. You have Mansoor who just scored a big win in his career. And the crusader of the old school generation, Brian Kendrick. A culmination of a story in the ring without having a story beforehand.

Right off the bat, you have to compliment Kendrick’s ring psychology. Hate or love him, Brian’s ability to sell you on legitimately hurting his opponent makes you care about the match just a little more than usual. But Mansoor has gone leaps and bounds since his debut on TV back in January. His selling has gotten better, his counters are cleaner, even Mansoor’s chops are stiffer and more impactful. Which definitely shows his growth in training… a testament to how good WWE PC is for these superstars.

While Kendrick controlled most of this match, an impressive power slam counter win keeps Mansoor on, do I dare say, winning streak?

Winner: Mansoor (via roll-up)

As we roll on 205 Live, Phillips and English speak about Lio Rush’s newest contender to his title, Angel Garza, who picked up an impressive win last week. For that, we were treated to a replay of last Wednesday’s edition of NXT with the match with 205 & NXT current rising star Angel Garza and former champion Tony Nese.

NXT Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contender’s Match
Tony Nese vs. Angel Garza

I’ll say the same thing I said when I first saw this match live on the USA Network, Tony Nese and Angel Garza brought it and laid it all out in the ring. This was an amazing clash of athleticism and charisma.

Time and time again I’ve called out Nese’s ability to make people see his naturally given talent (and naturally gifted abs) which just makes for an all-around heel. The same goes for Garza and his Beth Phoenix loving wardrobe malfunctions.

Nese continues to impress with his power game, which he displayed beautifully with a counter pump handle into a Falcon Arrow. Garza, however, has tiptoed the line between heel and face to where the NXT crowd suddenly became fans of the third-generation superstar as the match went on.

This was a main event caliber match and it got the time it needed to tell a story. Garza attempted his middle rope moonsault finisher from several weeks ago, but Nese got the feet up which Garza also caught and leveled Nese with a very sick back kick to his head as the Long Islander sat up. A new finishing maneuver, a double underhook sitdown driver called The Wing Clipper, gets Angel his title shot.

Winner: New #1 Contender, Angel Garza (via pin)

As we come back from commercial, we get a great video package for ‘The Governor’ Danny Burch. Usually, in these cases I always see it like the superstar with an interesting video package is ready for a push. Burch getting a push would be actually amazing to see as I always loved Danny’s brash style. It will be interesting where they go from here.

Before our main event rematch, a video package is played highlighting of the NXT takeover of both Smackdown and RAW over the past few weeks. It will be interesting how 205 Live or the cruiserweight division will play with the Survivor Series event in 2 weeks.

Lio Rush vs. Raul Mendoza

This match right here is exactly what I, and I’m sure all other cruiserweight fans, expected. Fast-paced, multiple counters and athleticism you wouldn’t see anywhere else. For the first time in a while, maybe since Kalisto was champion, a match reminded me of WCW’s hay day.

While Tom and Aiden told us the story of these two requesting to face each other, you can see outright these two men have amazing chemistry in the ring. From Lio’s capoeira kick from the mat off one knee, to Mendoza’s counter of Rush’s superkick into a fisherman driver. There was a reason you heard both of these men’s name chanted throughout the match.

But the ‘Champ of the Hour’, since coming back from hiatus, just seems more focused and determined then he did his first time around. Even his beautiful middle rope tope looks cleaner.

While his The Come Up continues to be an impressive move it was the final 10 seconds that screamed for a Part III between these men. A Mendoza counter of Lio’s Spanish fly into a back kick, Mendoza hits the rope but Lio counters with a kick to the leg. A back kick to head which sits the Mexican superstar into a spinning Unprettier. Since Tom Phillips is paying attention (as he called one of Swerve’s finishes last week The House Call, a name I coined), I’d like to call Lio’s new move Out of Time.

Winner: Lio Rush (via pin)

Even with two matches, we got an awesome 205 Live chant which further establishes the point of possibly having 205 Live air from Full Sail. While it may not come any time soon, I sure hope a match for the Cruiserweight title at Survivor Series (Lio/Garza vs. Smackdown’s Gulak vs. RAW’s Carillo?) is in the horizon sooner rather than later.

John Caul is a longtime wrestling fan since the Attitude Era. A former color commentator for several independent companies and former owner of independent wrestling company Imperial World Wrestling, John currently spends his time interacting with wrestling fans on Twitter while enjoying podcasts such as Cheap Heat and Jobber Tears.