205 Live recap: Cedric Alexander steps into the title picture

Cedric Alexander is up next for Enzo Amore and his cruiserweight championship. Courtesy @WWE

Amid the interesting saga that is Drew Gulak's tumultuous relationship with cruiserweight champion Enzo Amore, we have two new players added to the mix ... whom we might not need or really want.

First, Nia Jax, coming from more out-of-nowhere than a RKO, developed a love interest with Amore, and he answered with an infatuation of his own. It's an unneeded part of the storyline and one that does nothing for any of the participants:

  • It doesn't help Nia Jax establish herself as more of a regular force in the women's division.

  • Amore's high-rolling character isn't served with being smitten with anyone.

  • The attempt at comedy by pairing the largest woman on the roster with one of the smaller male wrestlers feels dated and a shot at both of the participants.

The second uninvited guest to the 205 Live party was Cedric Alexander. Alexander for long had been the physical force of the division who never found himself with a one-on-one shot at the championship. It seemed like they were saving his breakout moment for a larger stage. And they still might, but his rise to the number one contender has come via a second chance match and as a featured player to the larger Amore vs. Gulak storyline.

Alexander doesn't have the charisma or mic ability of some of the others in the division, but he has all the in-ring talent needed for this spot. Perhaps he and Enzo have the capabilities to cover for each other if it's an extended feud. The date of his title shot has yet to be announced.

But his title shot came after Rich Swann's indefinite suspension, and he seems like a placeholder until the relationship between Amore and Gulak officially blows up. It might not be the best use for the division's most-prominent member who has never been firmly in the title picture. However, with Hideo Itami's 205 Live debut taking place this week, it's possible Alexander will move a step back on the depth chart.

Hopefully the emergence of the two new players in the Amore-Gulak storyline won't get too in the way of what is developing into a really good angle that could pay off at a major event like the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania. We've already seen Gulak's rise to unlikely crowd support met with jealousy and suspension from an increasingly erratic Amore, whose demands for Gulak's loyalty forced a conflicted Gulak to attack his faithful companion Tony Nese last week.

This week, we got emotional highs and lows from Gulak, which seemed to push his character further toward a blow up.

Now all-in with his relationship with Amore, whom he called his mentor and best friend (neither role Amore was especially interested in), Gulak gave an apology nearing on breakdown after his Raw match, in which he lost partially because of the distraction of Amore leaving to meet with Jax. On Tuesday, Gulak gave an impassioned plea that he was recommitted to helping Amore, promising to "utterly annihilate" Alexander.

That led to the night's main event, a rematch between Gulak and Alexander. Alexander won with the lumbar check after Gulak hesitated (remember, it violates his rules for a better 205 Live) when he found himself on the ropes. But we saw a more physical, punishing Gulak in the match, and it often seemed like he'd find a way to avenge his loss from the previous night.

Despite back-to-back losses, Gulak remains the most interesting part of 205 Live, and hopefully he gets his moment and at the major event it deserves.

Hits and misses

  • Itami debuted on 205 Live after tagging with Finn Balor on Raw. His match with former ECW punching bag Colin Delaney showed how devastating Itami's strikes can be and served a purpose. More showing was Itami's repeated demands of "Respect me," showing his turn from NXT has followed him to 205 Live.

  • Tony Nese being completely off TV this week but still revisiting his beatdown at the hands of the Zo Train was a positive. The gap will make his return more impactful and could raise Nese to new heights.

  • Gentleman Jack Gallagher's wrestling in loafers seems like it makes things unnecessarily difficult. His vest, however, is the best wrestling vest since Steve Austin or perhaps D'Lo Brown's chest protector.

  • One of these days, Gulak's going to hit a move off the top rope, and nobody's going to know what to do with themselves.

Superlatives of the night

Move: Alexander's pulling Gulak off the top rope and seamlessly hitting the lumbar check was a change off his usual end-of-match sequence.

Line: "There's a time for clip art, and there's a time for action," Gulak, whom this section should be named after.

Match: Gulak and Alexander was a tough, physical match that did a nice job of adjusting for the fact that they met the previous night with reversals and variations on their usual move sets.