Although WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy was scheduled to face Noam Dar, The Scottish Supernova was not medically cleared to compete, so The Lucha House Party's Gran Metalik stepped up to the plate, seizing the opportunity to score a potential victory against the champion.
Murphy, who tasted his first defeat since capturing the title when Alexander pinned him in tag team action two weeks ago, was seeking a return to the winner's circle less than a week before defending his championship against Alexander.
Metalik landed the first major blow of the bout when he dropped Murphy with a hurricanrana from the ringside barricade before returning to the ring for a near-fall, but Murphy struck back when he caught Metalik in mid-air and executed an incredible suplex.
Trying to feed off the energy of the WWE Universe, Metalik did his best to fend off Murphy's advances, taking him down with a series of high-flying moves and scoring a near-fall. However, most impressive was The King of the Rope's persistence to hit the Metalik driver after two failed attempts, as the third nearly gave him a major upset.
Both Superstars took to the skies and pulled out all the stops to come away with a victory, and it became evident that a winner would only emerge when one man capitalized on a perfect opportunity. After Metalik countered Murphy's Law for a near-fall, the champion indeed found his opening when he avoided his opponent's follow-up offense, countered him off the ropes and executed his signature move for a hard-fought win.
In the immediate aftermath of losing the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at WWE Super Show-Down, Cedric Alexander returned to action against Buddy Murphy's training partner, Tony Nese. Alexander was still feeling the effects of his first loss of 2018, and The Premier Athlete took advantage, scoring a huge win against the former champion. Nese would again create strife for Alexander by pinning him in a Fatal 5-Way Match, resulting in Alexander returning to the WWE Performance Center to regain his bearings.
Alexander's training paid off, and he served Lio Rush his first loss since The Man of the Hour debuted in the Cruiserweight division, then pinned Murphy in a tag team match. With that, WWE 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick decided that Alexander would finally have his championship rematch at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs.
Accepting the champion's challenge to compete in the days before their match at WWE TLC, Alexander set his sights on the Superstar who served him two consecutive defeats after he lost the title.
The animosity was clear, as Nese showed off his biceps, only for Alexander to back him into a corner and mock him. With the WWE Universe firmly in his corner, Alexander locked up with Nese in the center of the ring, countering The Premier Athlete's strength and refusing to be intimidated by Nese's constant taunts.
Nese dismantled his opponent with a combination of technical holds and intensely powerful strikes in the early goings, and The Premier Athlete continued to assert his power and test Alexander's resilience, all the while making sure to talk trash.
Channeling the energy of the WWE Universe, Alexander broke free from a rear-chin lock and took down Nese with a flatliner. Alexander mounted heavy offensive pressure, keeping his opponent from striking back and scoring a near-fall.
Unable to secure the victory, Alexander grew visibly distraught, perhaps fearing another loss to Nese that would set him on the wrong path headed into WWE TLC.
Alexander's fears nearly came to fruition a handful of times, including when Nese countered the Lumbar Check into a near-fall. Alexander quickly recovered, however, and stunned Nese with the Neutralizer before successfully executing the Lumbar Check for the win.
After the match, Buddy Murphy charged the ring looking to pounce on his WWE TLC challenger, but Alexander was ready, and the two brawled inside the ring before Alexander flattened him with a dive to the outside.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
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