WWE 205 Live – December 27th, 2016

Howdy!

Tonight, our main event will be Adrian Neville vs Rich Swann in a non-title match! Plus, a Gentlemen’s Duel between Jack Gallagher & Ariya Daivari!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

WWE 205 Live – 12/27/16

Up first, it’s a video package of the awesome that is Adrian Neville, as he returned to lay waste to all that he saw before him. Last night on Raw, he promised to take out Rich Swann and did, and tonight, they’ll face off!

We are LIVE from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois! Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo, Austin Aries, & Corey Graves. They pimp the Smackdown that just finished and our main event tonight. But let’s get started with our opener!

That’s the music of Cedric Alexander! He’s out with Alicia Fox as we recap what happened last week, in which Fox got taken out accidentally by Cedric, allowing Noam Dar to lend a totally platonic helping hand. And here comes his opponent, Tony Nese! And he’s got his own accompaniment, as Drew Gulak is out with him, resplendent in a 3-piece suit.

Tony Nese (w/ Drew Gulak) vs Cedric Alexander (w/ Alicia Fox)

Handshake is accepted. Lockup and Nese grabs a waistlock, reversed to a wristlock by Cedric. They reverse that a few times, and Cedric drops Tony to the mat and runs the ropes, Nese catches a leapfrog attempt, but Alexander sunset flips him for one. Alexander avoids a shot from Tony and catches him with a headscissors, following that with a dropkick for one. Alexander goes to pick him up, but Tony catches him with a shoulder and drives Cedric back to the corner, Alexander tries to hold him off with a strike, but he goes up and Nese pushes him off the top to the floor. Gulak puts his arms up on the outside, saying that he’s not involved as Nese comes out to the floor with a running kick to Alexander against the barricade. Tony tosses Cedric back in and goes up, missile dropkick to Alexander! 1, 2, no! Mounted punches from Tony, Cedric fights back up and hits a European uppercut, Nese tries for a suplex, Cedric lands on his feet. Matrix dodge of a clothesline by Tony, then a spinning back kick followed by a legsweep takes Cedric to the mat for two. Tony goes to a bodyscissors. Cedric tries to elbow out, so Nese switches to a chinlock, Alexander breaks out with a jawbreaker and an uppercut. Back elbow catches a charging Nese, then a double foot stomp drives him back on a second charge. Forearm by Cedric drops Tony. Second one. Cedric handstand off the ropes, roundhouse kick sends Tony to the mat! Alexander jumps out to the apron, then springs back in with a clothesline! 1, 2, NO! Nese blocks a suplex attempt and goes for a slam, Alexander dodges and they trade switches before Nese clobbers Cedric with a clothesline for two. Alicia goes over to pick a fight with Gulak for some reason (oh, right, contrived end of match is probably coming up), and Drew takes off his jacket. He’s ready to brawl! With Alicia Fox! Meanwhile, Cedric fires a back elbow at Nese, but gets tripped coming off the ropes as Fox keeps up the yellin’, causing Gulak to trip and fall backwards. Fox’s shoe comes off and Gulak tells the ref that Alicia hit him with it, and the referee isn’t STANDING FOR IT! He tosses Fox from ringside, causing Cedric to become momentarily distracted. He gets his wits about him and turns around…..right into a palm strike from Nese! 1, 2, 3! (Tony Nese over Cedric Alexander, pinfall, 6:04)

WORTH WATCHING? – This was like watching a match that should have been 15-20 minutes crammed into 6, AKA: the 205 Live experience. They never really got a chance to build to anything, and the match itself wasn’t much to write home about. I’ve written before about how much I like Cedric, and I like Tony quite a bit too, but I’ve got to go with a NO on this one; it was all a backdrop for the Fox stuff, and I’m not interested in that. Give these guys at least 10-12 minutes, and I’m probably a buyer. Not here.

Post-match, Nese has a bloody mouth as he gets his hand raised, while we see replays of the Gulak/Fox stuff and the admittedly cool looking palm strike that dropped Ced.

Alicia Fox is looking angry in the back, and here comes Noam Dar, shit-eating grin on his face. You know, I don’t really care for Alicia, but I freely confess that I’m digging Eurosleaze Noam Dar. Dar: “Alee-sha Fox. Fancy seeing you here!” He knows that Christmas was Sunday, but he got her a present anyway – miseltoe! He holds it up, and Fox hauls off with about a 7 on the Stephanie McMahon slap scale. However, it appears that Dar rather enjoyed it, as he gets a smile on his face and holds up the miseltoe again, asking for another, and Alicia is only too happy to oblige him. She stalks off as Noam grins. “Merry Christmas….to me!” Hee!

Back at the booth, Austin Aries can’t decide if he likes Noam Dar or is scared by him. Eh, a little from column A, a little from column B, Austin. Corey throws us to an interview with Renee Young and Neville next.

Renee asks him why he decided that now was the time to join 205 Live? Neville: “You gonna ask the real question?” You’re telling him that WWE officials scoured the globe to find the best cruiserweight talent in the entire world, while he’s sitting there under their nose, overlooked? That’s insane! They did it because Neville is TOO GOOD; if he had been in the CWC, it wouldn’t have been a competition! It’s discrimination! Ever since he came over from England, people have been discriminating against him, and it’s not the WWE, it’s the United States of America!

Uh-oh.

Do you know what it’s like to be looked at funny because of your accent, or that you get looked at like a freak at the gym because you’re outlifting everyone else? See, when Americans feel threatened, they lash out! They’re cruel! But Neville is going to use that cruelty to motivate himself to be the very best. He’s the King of the Cruiserweights! Let him tell you something about Rich Swann, your champion; in Japan, Rich Swann was Neville’s young boy! He cooked Neville’s food, did the laundry, carried his bags. Swann looked at Adrian with puppy-dog eyes, but he’s not in Neville’s league; Neville competed against guys twice his weight, 300 pounds, so this division is going to be…..something? Renee says she didn’t get that, and Neville says that she’s just like all the rest and ends the interview.

You know, the whole “I’m back because I’m the best and you unfairly overlooked me for the CWC so now I’ll destroy your pathetic little division” worked completely fine without the other stuff in there. Just saying.

Ad for NXT tomorrow night. Are these really the matches the world is talking about? I had to go look the card up.

We’re back to the music of Mustafa Ali! Woo-hoo, I dig him! And since he’s from Chicago, the crowd also digs him! His opponent, John Urnit, is known on the indies as “Mr 450”; unlike Ali, his hometown is the always ubiquitous ‘already in the ring’, a city that has some hard luck when it comes to producing stars. There’s always hope!

Mustafa Ali vs John Yurnet

Yurnet has apparently been on NXT a few times before this. Handshake is accepted. Kick by Yurnet, then a side headlock. Ali shoots him off, but Yurnet runs him over with a shoulder. John off the ropes and he starts to hobble, Ali takes advantage with a nice rolling crucifix for two. They trade legsweeps and the ref checks on Yurnet, who says he’s good to go. Go-behind into a waistlock by Ali, Yurnet hooks the top rope, Ali does a backflip and goes for a backdrop on Yurnet, John with a sunset flip, Ali rolls through and Yurnet covers off, and the ref checks on him again, backing Ali off. Ali dares John to take a shot, and then avoids it when he does, dropping him with a cutter and going up, REVERSE 450! Man, I love that move. That’ll do it here. (Mustafa Ali over John Yurnet, pinfall, 1:52)

WORTH WATCHING? – NOPE.

I have to wonder if that was just a crazy good selljob by Yurnet, or if they went home quick because of an actual injury. Ali has a few words for us: “I don’t know if you know, but Chicago made me!” Throughout his entire life, he’s had to deal with people making assumptions about him based on his name and appearance. So when he came to 205 Live, he thought that the WWE Universe would do the same; but they’ve proven him wrong! So from here on in, he’s going to let every victory that he gets on 205 Live speak for itself!

I suppose that’s a babyface turn? I’m honestly not sure.

Back at the desk, Graves tells us that later tonight, Jack Gallagher will be involved in a duel! But let’s get more familiar with his opponent tonight in that duel – Ariya Daivari!

Video on Daivari. Not much we haven’t seen, really. Bunch of stuff about him and his brother, then it segues into his problems with Gallagher.

And out of that video, we see that Daivari is making his way to the ring! It’s time for the Gentlemen’s duel! And there’s the music of Jack Gallagher, who, unlike Daivari, doesn’t appear to be dressed for grappling action, as he’s wearing a 3-piece suit. Quick recap from Raw last night shows us how we ended up with a challenge for the duel tonight.

Back to the ring, where Gallagher has a mic: “Now ladies and gentlemen, as you have seen, Mr. Daivari here has besmirched my name and we are here to settle it tonight in the traditional manner of a Gentlemen’s duel!” Daivari wants to know what’s going on, and says that if he wants to fight, they can fight – he doesn’t even know what a duel is! Gallagher is aghast that Ariya has never been in a duel, but he promises to walk him through it. He goes over to the table set up in the ring, and indicates the weapons available to them for this contest: a frying pan, a length of rope, a lead pipe, an umbrella (TAKE THAT ONE! MARTY SCURLL SWEARS BY IT!), a wrench, a candlestick (a gift from his friend Colonel Mustard, that one is), and to cap it all off, a teapot, because who doesn’t love a bloody good cup of tea? Jack, being a gentleman and not a scoundrel, allows Daivari to choose a weapon first – Ariya chooses the lead pipe, while Gallagher chooses the umbrella (YES! BRITS STICK TOGETHER!). Daivari wants to understand this – he gets a lead pipe, while Jack gets an umbrella? Daivari is perfectly fine with this and goes to swing for the fences, but there are rules to follow: they’ll stand in the center of the ring back to back, they’ll take 5 paces across the ring, and then turn and engage in combat. The duel ends when someone quits. “This is ridiculous, Corey!” sayeth Austin Aries, and I hate to say it, but I agree. Jack counts off the paces; Daivari looks for a sneak attack, but Gallagher is waiting and ducks, then its an umbrella to the nuts from Jack. Umbrella to the head! Umbrella to the midsection! Umbrella to the anal…nah, Gallagher thinks better of that and instead uses the handle to trip Daivari up! Daivari fights back by slamming Jack in the midsection with the table, then dropping him with a forearm. Right hands in the corner from Ariya, then stomps from Daivari. He backs off as the crowd chants “Scoundrel” at him, then he picks up the wrench. Gallagher takes that opportunity to hit Daivari with a few headbutts, and the corner dropkick sends Ariya to the floor. Daivari heads to the back as Gallagher is announced as the winner of the duel by forfeit.

Okay, there were funny parts, almost all of them because Gallagher has such crazy charisma. But this is the first step to Santinoville for Jack if they’re not really careful. Also, it wasn’t really THAT funny, and the more of this stuff they do, the harder it’ll be to take Jack at all seriously; all in all, as much as I do like Gallagher, I could have done without this.

The desk agrees that it was the greatest duel in WWE history, as it is the only duel in WWE history. In the meantime, though, let’s look at someone who will be returning NEXT WEEK:

It’s Tajiri! Woo-hoo! The Japanese Buzzsaw is back next week!

Ad for Raw and Goldberg returning next week.

Talking Smack promo for tonight, with American Alpha, John Cena, and Dean Ambrose.

And it’s main event time! Neville is out first, and he’s ditched the cape completely, which I’m totally fine with. He glowers perfectly at everyone and everything. And here’s the music of Rich Swann! He’s announced just as Rich Swann, which hopefully means that the word ‘outlandish’ has been dead and buried.

Adrian Neville vs Rich Swann – Non-title match

Swann tells the ref that he won’t shake Neville’s hand, and he charges Adrian immediately firing rights and taking him to the corner. Neville hits a knee and whips Swann off the ropes, Rich comes flying off with a forearm. Swann mounts Neville in the corner with punches and Adrian rolls out, with Swann giving chase. Back in now, and Neville catches Rich against the ropes, Adrian goes for a cheap shot but Swann ducks and grabs a headlock. Adrian shoots him off, they run the ropes, Rich with a front somersault and a dropkick to Neville. Rich is moving quick out there, tons of intensity. Neville rolls out to take a break, Swann looks to fly, but Neville sees it coming and slides back in, dropping Swann with a forearm to the head.

Neville tosses Rich to the floor and tosses him to the barricade out there. Then to the other one. Then to the ring apron. Heel Neville is fucking great. Ref counts Rich out as Swann gets back to his feet, but Neville breaks the count by diving over the top with a twisting bodypress that, to be generous, misses the mark somewhat. Rich managed to catch part of him enough to make it look decent. Adrian tosses Rich back in and gets two, then goes to the chinlock. Swann tries to get back to his feet, so Neville slams him down and covers for two. Running forearm to Swann in the corner gets two. Elbow to the top of Rich’s head, then the side of the head, then again to the top, and Neville covers for two again, then back to the chinlock. Neville covers for two, then right back to it. This move actually does have a point, as all of Neville’s offense has been to the back of Swann. Swann tries to fight up, but gets pushed off the ropes and Neville gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, then a standing shooting star press to the back! Neville covers; 1, 2, NO!

Adrian goes up now, missile dropkick! 1, 2, no! Back to the chinlock, but this time Swann fights up and sends Neville to the buckle. Swann charges, Neville hits him with a back elbow and goes up, Swann runs over and ‘ranas Neville off the top! He can’t follow up, as the back is hurting too badly, and Neville rolls out. Rich pulls himself back up and jumps to the apron, hitting Neville with a back kick to the face on the floor, then leaps off the second buckle with a Phoenix splash to drop Neville! Back in now, Swann catches a kick from Neville and gets one of his own, then gets the double underhook; Tiger bomb! 1, 2, NO! Swann goes over to Neville and gets tossed to the outside, but is right back up on the apron, where he eats a jumping kick from Adrian and goes back down to the floor. Neville wants to fly and comes off the ropes….right into the superkick from Rich! Swann hoists Neville up; Fantastic Voyage by Rich! 1, 2, NO!

Both guys stagger back to their feet, and Neville hits Rich with a big right hand to send each of them to opposing corners. Swann goes after Neville in the corner, but walks right into a kick to the face. Adrian drags Swann into position and goes for a corkscrew splash, but Swann moves! Rich drops him with a kick to the back of the head! 1, 2, NO! Rich goes up, taking too long with his bad back, and Neville stops him with rights on the top, Swann fires back and drops Neville to the mat. Swann looks to jump off, but he takes too long and Neville crotches him on the top rope! Neville with a jumping kick to the head of Rich! Neville goes up, superplex! 1, 2, 3! (Adrian Neville over Rich Swann, pinfall, 13:49)

WORTH WATCHING? – Saving the show in a big way, it’s Adrian Neville and Rich Swann! Good match here that could have been better, but only in a few ways and they’re relatively insignificant. Swann coming out with fire instead of being a dancing idiot was good, as was Neville coolly and calculatingly destroying the back of Swann instead of just hitting high spots. More to the point, they felt like they were actually fighting ABOUT something, as Swann wanted revenge and Neville wanted to show he was the best and dissecting the champ was the way to do it. Hell, that superplex was actually a decent way to end things as it paid off all the work that Neville did on the back throughout the match. YES, this was your keeper this week, check it out. 

Post-match, Neville gets an evil look in his eye and he continues his destruction of Swann, hitting him with a few kicks and a release German suplex, then some kicks to the head before the refs back him off. He wipes boots off on Swann’s corpse, then shouts “Bring me my crown!” before heading to the back and bringing 205 Live to a close for the week.

FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Man, the main event saved this sucker, as there wasn’t much here beyond it. I like most of the guys who were on the show tonight, but their use left a lot to be desired. And I can’t be the only one who thinks that Vince McMahon’s prints were all over that ‘Gentlemen’s Duel’ segment, can I? On the other hand, the main event scene on the show continues to stand out as Neville destroying everything in his path and demanding the title is exactly what this show needs.

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter

  • PhilStubington

    They really need to stretch this to an hour and have proper matches, one squash and the filler. They don’t seem to understand that people watching this actually want to see CW wrestling!

    • WWF1987

      Plus, it goes into the VOD library so the shows length shouldn’t matter.

    • Rick Poehling

      I know. They built the whole division around guys from the Cruiserweight Classic, AKA the tournament where the guys got over by, you know, wrestling, and then they tried to ‘fix’ it by making sure that they don’t have too much wrestling. Boggles the mind.

      • John Miller

        Also, the same concept would have clearly worked better in Full Sail.

    • Buffalo Hopscotch

      They should go back and watch the early Nitro/Raw episodes when they were 1 hour to see how it should be paced.

      3 matches over an hour, gives you time to have some longer matches, hype some stuff, run interviews.

  • The failure of Drew gulak is complete. He can’t even beat a distracted Cedric Alexander…but Tony Nese can

  • Miko363

    “Character motivations aren’t enough for the fans to understand! We need to make Neville hate America, too!”

    Creative just can’t get out of their own way.

  • Also, apparently Yurnet did blow out his knee so that’s probably why that match was so short

    • Eric Von Erich

      I feel bad for the guy. Worked all this time to get his big break on WWE TV and then gets injured almost immediately after the bell rings.

      I do have to say, though. Guys need to be better at improvising in a situation like that. Either go home or work a different style. It looked like he was still trying to work the faster-paced cruiser style when he just couldn’t. Also, Ali was just ignoring the obvious favoring of the leg. It made everyone look bad.

  • Ioan Morris

    I’ll check out the main event. This really does seem like any other WWE show now. Hmm.

    And where’s Tozawa damn it?

  • Stuart_Chartock

    While I think that adding an anti-American slant to Neville doesn’t make much sense on the surface, I wonder if it was done because he’s been getting cheered the last few weeks.

    He’s coming across as by far the coolest, most badass guy in the division, which makes me think this is being done to temper the positive reactions.

  • Daniel Swinney

    I was fully prepared to roll my eyes through the Gallagher segment shenanigans, but I actually thought he came out looking like a badass in his own weird way. Like, “wow this guy knows a lot of ways to attack. And stays stylish!”

    • Other Tall Guy

      He came across as the clever babyface, rather than the stupid or gullible one (like roughly 97% of WWE babyfaces), and that made all the difference.

      I love what they’re doing with him. He and Neville are pretty much the only distinct characters in the bunch, which might be why the crowd is getting behind them.

      Either give us a (good) reason to care about all these guys or turn the show into a spotfest.

  • Eric Von Erich

    Alicia Fox was driving me crazy with her mat-pounding. I think she tried to rally the crowd with it five or six times in a six minute match.

  • PhilStubington

    Pluses from 205 this week:
    > Neville
    > A good main event given time
    > Better commentating (Aires getting better and Mauro was less insufferable this week)

    Minuses
    > Under-card matches too rushed
    > Too many too lame entrances
    > I’m not sure this Noam Dar, Cedric, Alicia Fox is working. If they’re not careful they’ll turn Dar face.

    • Phrederic

      The bwetifool Alisa Fawks is said with such glee that I think they might turn him babyface, especially when Kendrick is so goddamn boring.

  • GoodOldRoz

    Having Neville do Anti-American Angle No. 8154 to supposedly ensure he gets booed, whilst Gallagher gets cheered -by design – for being so Quintessentially English (TM) is…interesting.

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