After WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy claimed victory at WWE Elimination Chamber Kickoff, WWE 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick announced how Murphy's next challenger will be determined. Beginning next week, a tournament will commence, and the winner will earn the opportunity to challenge the champion on The Grandest Stage of Them All – WrestleMania.
If last year's tournament that culminated in an epic battle for the then-vacant title between Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali at The Show of Shows is any indication, the competition will be fierce, and every member of the WWE 205 Live roster will be out to prove they can stop The Unstoppable.
Maverick revealed the first two matches would feature Tony Nese against Kalisto and The Brian Kendrick taking on his rival, Drew Gulak.
Ever since making his impressive debut against WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy, Humberto Carrillo has been on a quest to prove he is the most exciting new Superstar on the roster. He has also attracted the attention of Drew Gulak and Gentleman Jack Gallagher, who want to bring the Mexican Superstar under their tutelage. That was still the case as the Submission Commission made their way to ringside shortly after Carrillo's battle with inaugural Cruiserweight Champion TJP got underway.
As The Cruisergreat took control of the contest by using his agility and technical prowess, Gulak and Gallagher offered words of encouragement and tried to help their prospective ally remain focused. TJP's confidence was on full display as The Fil-Am Flash ruthlessly targeted his opponent's arm.
Carrillo showed impressive resilience as he battled back and showcased his incredible fast-paced attack. Despite the flurry of momentum, The Cruisergreat again swung the match in his favor, applying a crushing submission and again focusing on his opponent's arm.
As they battled on the ring apron, Carrillo won an exchange of strikes, taking down TJP with a missile dropkick before executing an innovative maneuver off the top for the victory. After the match, Gulak and Gallagher entered the ring to celebrate with the victor and hoisted him on their shoulders.
Just weeks after his shocking attack on his supposed ally Hideo Itami, Ariya Daivari made his intentions to dominate the Cruiserweight division clear, setting his sights on Johnny Lyons. After taunting the WWE Universe, Daivari entered the ring ready for action, quickly striking his opponent with fiery aggression. Lyons tried to use Daivari's ferociousness to his advantage with quick attacks, but The Persian Lion proved to be too much.
After decimating Lyons with a Hammerlock Lariat, Daivari applied a variation of The Million Dollar Dream for the submission win.
Still searching for an elusive victory that has been within reach, Mike Kanellis hoped to pick up tremendous momentum by defeating former WWE Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander. However, The Soul of WWE 205 Live is determined to return to The Grandest Stage of Them All and once again claim the title, and his battle against Kanellis would serve as the perfect showcase for the right to enter the tournament.
As Maria Kanellis offered encouragement for her husband from ringside, Alexander displayed his legendary resilience and stamina by avoiding opponent's strikes and executing a series of moves that ended with a Neutralizer. In control, Alexander prepared for a high-risk maneuver, but Kanellis moved, forcing the The Soul of WWE 205 Live to land awkwardly on his knee. Seeing the opportunity to strike, Kanellis targeted Alexander's knee to maximize damage – a wise strategy that would come into play moments later when Alexander couldn't execute the Lumbar Check.
Alexander scored several near-falls before the battle spilled to the outside with Kanellis delivering a cringe-worthy Spinebuster on the entrance ramp. Kanellis attempted to win by count-out, but Alexander barely made the official's 10-count, only frustrating Kanellis further. Refusing to tap out to a grueling Boston Crab, Alexander struck back with a huge dive to the outside that flattened his opponent. As Alexander prepared to re-enter the ring after Kanellis, Maria provided a distraction that allowed her husband to hit a superkick and a high-impact twisting DDT to secure the pinfall.
Despite Kanellis thinking he won the match, the official did not call for the bell, as Alexander narrowly got his shoulder up just in time. Maria and Mike Kanellis argued with the official, but the match continued. No doubt disoriented, Kanellis attempted to strike, but he was countered, and Alexander executed the Lumbar Check to secure a hard-fought victory.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Humberto Carrillo defeated TJP
- Ariya Daivari defeated Johnny Lyons
- Cedric Alexander defeated Mike Kanellis (w/ Maria Kanellis)
Other on-screen talent