WWE Mixed Match Challenge and 205 Live Winners, Grades and Reaction for March 20

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2018

WWE Mixed Match Challenge and 205 Live Winners, Grades and Reaction for March 20

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    Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman took on The Miz and Asuka this week.
    Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman took on The Miz and Asuka this week.Credit: WWE.com

    Two of the favorite teams in the Mixed Match Challenge tournament collided this week when Asuka and The Miz took on Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman.

    The Miz and Asuka have developed great chemistry during their backstage segments and matches, and the same can be said for Bliss and Strowman.

    205 Live continued its own tournament with Drew Gulak vs. Mustafa Ali. This was a semifinal match, so whoever won earned the right to face Cedric Alexander for the Cruiserweight Championship at WrestleMania 34.

    It also appears WWE is gearing up to give the cruiserweight division its own set of tag team titles. More and more teams are being created, and some of them have real potential.

    Let's take a look at everything that happened in this week's Mixed Match Challenge and on 205 Live.

The Miz and Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman

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    The show began with Michael Cole talking to the camera about the attack Daniel Bryan suffered at the hands of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn after he was forced to fire them for assaulting Shane McMahon last week.

    The Miz hilariously made Asuka start for their team so he could avoid having to take on Strowman. Bliss immediately tagged in The Monster Among Men, much to The Miz's dismay.

    It didn't take The A-Lister long before he tagged Asuka back into the match. They went back and forth like this until Strowman delivered a dropkick that shook the ring.

    Asuka actually ran into the ring and broke up a pin to save her undefeated streak at one point. The dynamic of having one member on each team be afraid of someone on the opposing team made for some entertaining moments.

    Strowman took himself out when he put The Miz through the barricade, which allowed Asuka to win the match for her team with the Asuka Lock. She and The Miz will advance to the finals.


    Grade: B


    Notes and Highlights

    • Covering the attack on Bryan was a good way for WWE to create some buzz for this show. There seemed to be more viewers at the top of the show than usual.
    • Having Bliss complain about losing to Asuka on Raw during a pre-match promo helped make this bout feel more personal than all of the other matches we have seen in the tournament up to this point.
    • WWE is trying to play up a romance angle with Strowman and Bliss. It looked like they were about to kiss when he caught her flying off the apron. The Miz broke up their attempt at a second kiss later in the match.
    • Bliss and Asuka knocking each other out with simultaneous strikes was a cool moment.

Lince Dorado vs. Hideo Itami

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Lince Dorado and Hideo Itami kicked off the action on 205 Live, but they weren't alone. Gran Metalik and Kalisto accompanied Dorado, while Akira Tozawa was in Itami's corner.

    The Japanese Superstar made good use of his striking skills throughout the match, but the high-flying Dorado showed off his own striking ability with a superkick.

    Itami shoved Metalik out of frustration at one point, and it caused the luchador to shove him back, causing a disqualification for his teammate.

    Tozawa held back Itami while Kalisto and Metalik kept Dorado at bay. It appears as if WWE has decided it's first cruiserweight tag team feud will be between these two teams, and it couldn't have made a better choice.

    These five men represent some of the best talents in the division, and they will surely put on some great performances. However, this match being cut short kept it from getting a higher score.


    Grade: C-


    Notes and Highlights

    • Itami is still showing signs of his heel persona. Maybe he will convince Tozawa to come to the dark side with him.
    • WWE should just announce the cruiserweight tag titles so we understand why these teams are even being formed.
    • Is Sin Cara over 205 pounds? Why isn't he part of this Lucha stable?

TJP vs. Kenneth Johnson

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    Kenneth Johnson made his first appearance on 205 Live after competing in the original Cruiserweight Classic tournament.

    He previously lost to Tozawa in the first round, so he was looking to make a good second impression against a recently reinvigorated TJP.

    WWE could have selected from a number of talents to give TJP an easy win, but it chose to bring back a competitor from the CWC. With the recent expansion of the division, WWE may be giving Johnson a second look.

    He was able to hit a few moves, but this whole match was just an excuse to allow TJP to show off his full range of signature and finishing maneuvers.

    TJP used his signature kneebar to get the win and refused to break the hold for several seconds before releasing Johnson from his grip.


    Grade: C-


    Notes and Highlights

    • Johnson may have been paying homage to Bruce Lee with his attire.
    • TJP needs a real rival. These quick squash matches won't do him any favors.
    • Johnson looked good for what we got to see. Not many people get a second chance to impress WWE officials, so hopefully, he took full advantage.

Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak

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    Mustafa Ali and Drew Gulak battled for a shot at the Cruiserweight Championship.
    Mustafa Ali and Drew Gulak battled for a shot at the Cruiserweight Championship.Credit: WWE.com

    The main event of the evening was the last semifinal match in the tournament to see who would face Alexander for the Cruiserweight Championship at WrestleMania.

    Gulak and Ali both looked serious as they made their way to the ring. The looks on their faces told a story of how both men were desperate to earn a spot on the 'Mania card.

    These two men may have had more singles matches together than anyone else in the division, so they knew each other well going into this one.

    Gulak's new attitude gave this contest a completely different feel from their previous encounters. He is no longer the comedy character looking to end high-flying. He is a motivated technician trying to prove his worth.

    They worked a slow pace at first, but it was just so they could amp things up throughout the match. Ali even resorted to using more strikes and submissions to counter Gulak's offense at times.

    They spent a significant amount of time outside the ring inflicting damage on each other. Both men gave up count-out finishes at different times to keep fighting.

    They brought their best, but only one could advance to the finals. After they left everything in the ring in the best match they have had in their long on-and-off feud, Ali picked up the win with his patented 054.


    Grade: A


    Notes and Highlights

    • WWE played some great video packages throughout the show to hype this match. It's awesome to see the division being given some attention. Ali and Gulak spoke honestly, and it helped make their journies feel more real.
    • General manager Drake Maverick gave an interview backstage before the match and talked about how mad he is that the first match turned into a big fight. He booked Tozawa, Kalisto, TJP and Buddy Murphy in a Fatal 4-Way for next week to see who will be the first challenger to the cruiserweight champion after WrestleMania.
    • The clothesline Gulak hit to the back of Ali's head sounded brutal. You could hear the hit echo in the arena.
    • Ali was a bit more aggressive than usual. It gave his performance an extra edge.