205 Live – December 13th, 2016


Howdy!

Tonight, it’s 205 Kind-of Live, as the show was taped on Monday before Raw, and our main event will see Rich Swann battle TJ Perkins in a non-title match!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

WWE 205 Live – 12/13/16

Video package to start recaps last week’s main event, with Swann retaining his title over Brian Kendrick after Perkins and Kendrick got into it, with TJ superkicking Swann accidentally at the end.

We are TAPED from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo, Corey Graves, and Austin Aries. Mauro tells us that on Sunday at Roadblock, Rich Swann will defend the Cruiserweight title against both TJ and Kendrick in a triple threat match! But tonight, Swann will face off against TJ in our main event!

But up first, that’s the music of Jack Gallagher! The mustachioed gentleman of the CW division makes his way to the ring as we look back on Raw, as Gallagher courteously announced his interference before delivering quite the thorough thrashing to one Ariya Daivari. And here comes his opponent, one Drew Gulak! Drew gets a nice hometown pop, as this was taped before Raw and the crowd was, as a result, still awake. 

Jack Gallagher vs Drew Gulak

Handshake is accepted. Gulak with a go-behind into a takedown, Jack moves out by taking control of the arm into a wristlock. Drew counters into a side headlock, hangs onto it when Jack attempts to shoot him off, then takes Gallagher over and to the mat. Gallagher escapes with a handstand, then a single leg takes Gulak down, and now it’s Jack with a headlock. He hangs on through Drew’s attempts to break, but Gulak finally does with a slick move into a hammerlock. Gallagher comes off the ropes and gets a crucifix, rolling Drew around the ring and finally settling into a two count. They lockup again, this time with a few reversals resulting in Jack taking him down with a single leg and putting him in the Windsor Knot (at least that’s how Mauro called it, so I’m going with it). Gallagher lines him up, then kicks him in the ass to break it. Drew gets to his feet and clocks Jack with a boot to the face for his insolence, then some stomps and a back elbow. Cross-corner whip, but Gallagher does his handstand on the top rope and springs over a charging Gulak, then takes him over with a double-leg. Drew catches him coming off with a shoulder to the gut, then he just tosses Jack down on the bottom rope. Hangman’s neckbreaker by Gulak gets two. Drew with a standing cravat now, tries for another reverse neckbreaker, but Jack shoves him off and clobbers him with a European uppercut, then another. A third one knocks Gulak to the mat. 1,2, no! Slam attempt by Jack is blocked, Gulak gets sent off the ropes, but rolls through a leapfrogging Gallagher into a sunset flip for two! Neat. They trade shots and Gallagher knocks Drew down with a headbutt, followed by the corner dropkick to end it. (Jack Gallagher over Drew Gulak, pinfall, 5:54)

WORTH WATCHING? – Gallagher is a star in the making, but I wish they would have had a bit more time to work with here. Some of the shots were really stiff and I enjoyed the chain wrestling transitions, and it might have been about as good as a 6 minute match gets. I’ll give it a YES, in that I enjoyed watching it. But I am wary of how they have Gallagher working out there. He’s doing all the comedy spots and people are eating it up, but that’s going to stop being funny relatively quickly, and I sure as shit don’t want to see him go the way of Santino Marella or something like that. His quirks should be used to augment the character, not define it. I’d really like to see him on a run as a hypocritical heel, someone who professes their gentlemanly qualities and cheats like crazy whenever possible. To me, that’s a character; right now, he’s just the dude with the mustache who does wacky things in the ring. The man has unreal presence, so I don’t think he’s in any danger, but still.

Post-match, highlights play as Gallagher celebrates.

We’re in the back with TJ taping up his wrists, as Rich Swann enters. “TJP. My man!” Perkins wants to know what’s going on, and Swann says that maybe he has been a bit lucky lately; but tonight, he’s still feeling lucky! TJP doesn’t feel the same way, telling him that despite the fact that they’re friends, he’s still the guy that eliminated Swann from the CWC, and the next time he kicks Rich in the face and lays him out cold, it won’t be by accident. And Swann? The thing about luck is, it always runs out.

You know, that wasn’t bad. No video game references, no silliness, just two guys who are pretending that they still like each other even though you can see the Perkins heel turn coming; they made the lines work well.

Video package airs for TAJIRI~! So happy the Japanese Buzzsaw is making his way back. I hope he mists everybody and wins the title.

Video package for Roadblock on Sunday.

In the back, Tom Phillips is with Jack Gallagher. Jack says that now that his knee is back in optimum condition, he feels ready to perform….and now Daivari is standing next to Jack. Gallagher tells him that he did give him a thrashing on Raw, but that was just a receipt for the knee, so now they can proceed as if nothing happened. He offers the handshake, but Ariya is not a forgiving mood, as he lambasts Jack for tying him up like a balloon animal and making him look like a fool; they’re not even yet, but they will be.

Hey, that’s new music – its Lince Dorado! I dug him in the CWC. And, speaking of the CWC, there’s his opponent, Mustafa Ali! These guys faced off in the first round of the CWC, and it was an awesome spotfest; both of them are really fun to watch. This should be good. Ali gets an inset promo and he’s got what could prove to be a relatively interesting character, in that he says that once you hear his name, you’ve already made up your mind about him, but he’s going to change that and show you that he’s more than his name. I dunno, that dude with the neckbeard giving you the thumbs down seemed pretty resolute.

Lince Dorado vs Mustafa Ali

Handshake is accepted. Quick sequence with tumbling and flips, and Ali draws first blood with a springboard armdrag. Lince answers that with a springboard ‘rana and a leg lariat. Elbow in the corner by Dorado, but Ali avoids the second charge and flattens Lince with a kick. Mustafa rolls into the ring with a neckbreaker for two. Ali with a chinlock now, Dorado fights up, Ali with a belly-to-back suplex attempt that Lince flips out of. Dropkick to the back of Ali’s head sends Mustafa crashing to the buckle, but Ali avoids another charge and goes for a tornado DDT that Dorado blocks with a shot to the face. Lince with a ‘rana off the top! 1,2, no! Dorado with strikes, off the ropes, back handspring into a stunner! Think John Cena, only GOOD. Dorado charges but gets alley-ooped to the apron and hit with a back elbow there. Mustafa follows to the apron and charges, but gets kicked in the head by Dorado. Headscissors to the floor by Lince! That was cool. Dorado off the second rope, moonsault to Ali on the floor! But Lince hit his head on the rampway, it seems, and even though Ali dives for the ring, it’s not in time as the ref reaches 10 and counts both guys out. (Double countout, 3:48)

WORTH WATCHING? – I really enjoyed these guys in the CWC, but this was basically a Dorado squash, as Ali got very little in the way of spots in the match, while Dorado controlled most of the way. I’m going with a NO, as it was double countout in less than 4 minutes, which is not exactly why I tune into this show. Not good.

Ali is upset after the match, thinking that he beat the count back in. Dorado makes his way back in and offers the handshake, but Ali isn’t interested and nails him with a right. Dorado with a spinning heel kick as revenge to send Ali to the floor, as this appears to be far from over.

In the back Alicia Fox is…..WALKING! And she runs into Noam Dar, who asks her why she didn’t respond to his dedicating his match to her next week. Great, we’re apparently at the Sports Entertainment part of the show. That’s just peachy. Any way, we get our usual ‘just above porn star’ level acting, as Fox reminds Dar that she has a boyfriend, and Noam seems skeptical. Yeah! Dar burned you, Alicia!

Ad for NXT and the #1 contender’s tournament.

Ad for Sasha/Charlotte at Roadblock on Sunday.

Back with the commentators, as we’re about at main event time. They intro a TJP video package, mostly from the CWC and some of his indie work, before main roster highlights. There’s a more heelish vibe to the end of the video, as they play up TJ’s confidence that trends towards arrogance. Good. Man needs a heel turn in the worst way, especially with Rich Swann on top.

And there’s the music of TJP! Perkins makes his way to the ring and flips in, handing out his glasses to a fan at ringside. “Can You Handle This?” hits, and out comes our champ, Rich Swann! This should be fun.

And no, I’m not calling him by that name they use. I refuse.

Rich Swann vs TJ Perkins – Non-title match

Handshake is accepted….but there’s the music of Brian Kendrick? And it appears that he will be joining us on commentary for this one. Lockup and TJ controls with a headlock takeover, Swann fights up and TJ goes to a wristlock. Swann reverses that, but its short-lived, as TJ regains control with a headscissors takeover to the mat. Swann stacks him up for two, then cartwheels out when TJ tries the takeover again. Armdrag into a headscissors on the mat from Rich, which Perkins escapes with a nice move off a headstand. Swann sweeps the legs for one, Perkins returns the favor, and they throw simultaneous dropkicks to give us a stalemate.

Lockup and TJ grabs a headlock, Swann shoves him off, TJ does a front flip over Rich on the mat. Swann tops him with a front flip off a run the ropes sequence into a dropkick. Man, Jesse Ventura isn’t dead yet, and I can still hear him prematurely rolling over in his grave at all this showboatin’! Rich gets two off the dropkick, then chops and snapmares TJP before delivering a kick to his back for two. Perkins catches himself in the ropes off an Irish whip to sucker Swann in, then moves to send Rich to the floor. Perkins springs off the top buckle, dropkick to Swann on the floor. Back in, that gets two. TJP goes to work on the arm of Rich now, wrapping it up with leg in a hammerlock while applying the chinlock to Rich. Swann lands on his feet off a suplex attempt, then counters an Irish whip with a Side Russian Legsweep. Clotheslines and a back kick by Rich, then a leaping double stomp to the back followed by a rolling splash by Swann. 1,2, no! Rich gets alley-ooped to the apron by TJP, but a right from Swann puts Perkins on the floor, double jump kick misses but a back kick doesn’t. Moonsault attempt by Swann, and Rich lands on his feet as TJ avoided it by scooting back in the ring, but Swann tweaked the knee. Corkscrew over the top by Perkins! TJ rolls him back in and gets two. Suplex by TJ, he pops the hips and gets the belly-to-back on Swann as well. 1,2, no! For the record, I’m rather enjoying Kendrick on commentary, as he’s just putting himself over relentlessly, but its actually funny.

Rich fires rights, but TJ comes off with a dropkick to the knee of Swann. That gets two. TJ keeps working the leg, slamming it into the mat, then an anklelock. Swann tries an enzuigiri, but Perkins ducks it; he doesn’t duck a second kick, though, and that gets Rich some space. Back to their feet and they exchange chops, then European uppercuts, TJ gets Swann up in the double chickenwing, Rich rolls through for two. Swann walks right into a shot from TJ, Fireman’s Carry from TJ, he goes for the Benadryller, Swann counters that and hits a Tiger Bomb on TJ! 1,2, NO! Swann drags TJ over and goes for the standing 450; now, why would he try to do that with a hurt knee? It makes no sense. And indeed, he tweaks the knee again, both guys miss roundhouse kicks, and Swann’s miss ends up with him tripped up and trapped by TJ in the kneebar. Swann tries to hang on, but can’t make the ropes and taps out. (TJ Perkins over Rich Swann, submission, 9:32)

WORTH WATCHING? – YES, but only barely. Swann is such an excellent talent, I get excited about watching him work whatever he’s doing, but there were problems with this match. I don’t love the champ tapping clean, although I get that its to build intrigue for Sunday (Kendrick has beaten TJ, Swann has beaten Kendrick, TJ has beaten Swann) so I can live with it. But the match felt like these guys were only showing a tenth of what they can do out there, something that’s been a problem for the division since the very inception. Until the knee injury, it was more flashy showing off as opposed to any actual wrestling psychology, and it was frankly kind of boring. Match picked up a ton in the second half, just enough to push it into the winner category.

Post-match, Kendrick heads to the ring, applauding both guys. He goes to shake Swann’s hand, but Rich slaps it away, then he tries to shake TJ’s hand and ends up getting superkicked for his troubles. You know, because WWE doctrine is that all babyfaces MUST be assholes. Perkins then goes to superkick Swann, but pulls back at the last second and tells Swann that he could have done it, before leaving the ring and sending us out for the week.

FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: So, here’s the thing. I was talking to a friend of mine about this show and the cruiserweights in general, and he said that hey, it’ll take time, but cruisers worked in WCW, they’ll work in the WWE eventually. And they have their own show here, so it should be gravy! But here’s the thing – when the cruisers were in WCW trying to get over, they got over by getting 10-20 minutes every week on the show to put on a great match and win the crowd over that way. Mysterio, Kidman, Jericho, Malenko, guys like that got over in the ring because they had time to really pop the crowd and bring them over to their side. That’s not what the WWE is giving these guys. Yes, the show was slightly compressed tonight because of Raw, but that just means it should have been a two match show instead of three.

Besides that, the styles are so similar that only guys like Jack Gallagher are standing out, because everyone else is moving at half-speed. You can tell that these guys have a lot more to give out there; hell, they showed it in the CWC! But there’s a lot of the same reversals, the same transitions, the same kicks from match to match, and they don’t seem interested in allowing these dudes to get over unique styles in the ring. I thought that Dorado/Ali was going to be like their spotfest in the CWC, which would have stood out from the other matches and got over tonight, but instead they did a few big moves and a sub-4 minute double countout, which went over like a lead balloon.

The episode was mediocre, with enough to slightly recommend. I’m a little more concerned for the future, though.

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter