WWE 205 Live – February 21st, 2017


Tonight, Jack Gallagher takes on Tony Nese in our main event!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

WWE 205 Live – 2/21/17

We see a recap of the contract signing for Fastlane from Raw last night between Gallagher and Adrian Neville. Heel Neville is my heartbeat. I hope he keeps the title FOREVER.

We are LIVE from Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California! Your hosts are Corey Graves, Austin Aries, and Mauro Ranallo.

“I’m a man with a plan!” Why, that music can only mean one thing; it’s “The” Brian Kendrick! We see his assault on Akira Tozawa, and Brian looks mighty pleased with himself. And there’s the music of Akira! He makes his way to the ring, looking less than pleased.

Akira Tozawa vs “The” Brian Kendrick

Kendrick offers the handshake, but Tozawa waves him off, because he’s not dumb like every other babyface in this company. Akira charges immediately after the bell, Brian avoids it and then turns around as Tozawa comes charging again to just hit Kendrick in the mouth. Excellent. More rights from Tozawa, snapmare puts Kendrick on the mat, Akira comes off the ropes with a Penalty Kick. Standing Senton from Tozawa! 1, 2, no! Slam from Tozawa and he mounts Kendrick, delivering shots and some good ole AMERICAN-STYLE trash talk! “I don’t need you! I don’t like you!” Well, kind of a bit on the nose, but the effort was there. Stomps from Akira, and he runs Kendrick into the buckles in the corner. Cross-corner whip, and Tozawa charges headlong into a boot from Brian (complete with thigh-slappin’!), Akira fires back with chops, chops, and CHOPS. Kendrick fires a forearm, Akira threatens another chop and Brian cowers, so Tozawa just clocks him in the side of the head, sending Kendrick crashing in heap in the corner.

Tozawa chokes away with his boot, then rams Kendrick’s head into the buckle. Cross-corner whip is countered with a kick to the face from Brian, who sets up for the neckbreaker over the buckles from the apron. Tozawa fires elbows to the midsection of Brian to send him to the floor and tries to pull him back in, but Brian is able to grab Akira by the head and smash it against the post. Oh, goodie. Time for some Kendrick offense, that always livens up a match. He pulls Akira to the outside and rakes his eyes, then pulls him up by the nose and tosses him back in, then covers for two. Kendrick goes for the choke, but Tozawa blocks it with his arm, so Kendrick just hits him across the face instead. Kendrick steps on Akira and poses, then uses his other foot to rub Akira’s face into the mat. Suplex by Kendrick for two. Back up now and Akira fires elbows to the gut, but a knee from Kendrick puts him back down. Brian tries to rake Akira’s mouth against the middle rope, Tozawa with elbows and a spinning back kick, but he comes off the ropes and eats a big boot from Kendrick. Brian pulls him over for the Captain’s Hook, but Tozawa gets his hand in there to block it, Akira escapes and goes for the German suplex, Kendrick frees himself with elbows and comes off the ropes, ‘rana by Akira! Running forearm puts Kendrick on the floor, and Tozawa follows that with a tope that shows absolutely zero regard for his own safety. Bless this man. Kendrick tries to escape under the ring as Akira tries to get him back in, Kendrick pops back up and slams Tozawa headfirst into the mat, then ties Tozawa to the ring structure before sliding back in and picking up the countout win. Ugh. (Brian Kendrick over Akira Tozawa, countout, 5:51)

WORTH WATCHING? – I am fucking DONE with Brian Kendrick at this point. DONE. I don’t hate him or anything, but watching guys like Tozawa have to slow down their work to allow him to keep up is insane. He should be laying down for guys like Akira in 2 minutes and collecting his paycheck. And yes, I do understand what the match was supposed to be, storywise, with Kendrick getting cheap offense and Tozawa looking good before Kendrick cheated to win, but that isn’t going to work getting Akira over, especially with that cheapo finish. NO, I’d skip this one. The match itself was trying to do something that I thought failed miserably, and existed to set up another match that I don’t want to see. Akira Tozawa should be running through motherfuckers each and every week on this show like a hot knife through butter, and sure as SHIT shouldn’t be in an extended program with Kendrick as though beating him offers some cache. It DOESN’T. I loved Kendrick’s work in the CWC, but that time is past for me, because once you take away the babyface story combined with the heel offense that actually created an interesting dynamic, you’ve got a dude whose best days are behind him and should be strict enhancement talent. And yes, he’ll put Akira over at the end of the run, sure, but you’ve got this guy that people are responding to, that came in with a ton of hype, he should be beating the fuck out of guys like Kendrick like they were NOTHING. He’s got charisma to spare and should be already eyeing Neville’s title with a rocket up his ass, because God knows, this show needs someone to get that push.

Whew. Rant over.

Post-match, Kendrick leaves as Tozawa STILL can’t get free of the ring without the referee’s help, which takes forever. Fucking Christ.

In the back, Kendrick is WALKING as he gets pulled aside for an interview. Was his win tonight enough to put his personal issue with Tozawa to rest? “Tom, I’m a former champion, okay? You’re looking at living legend!” And Akira has been disrespecting him! He offered Tozawa a guiding hand, and Tozawa turned it down, because he thought he didn’t need it! So last night on Raw, he beat Akira to a pulp before match started as lesson one, then tonight, he showed him that there’s more than one way to win a match, and you win a match by any means necessary! That was lesson number two, and to answer the question, no, he’s not done teaching Akira lessons.

Still in the back, let’s go to an interview with Noam Dar! Nice shiner, Noam. Is he feeling uncomfortable after what Rich Swann did last week involving Alicia Fox? REMEMBER THAT ALICIA FOX IS THE STAR OF THIS SHOW. Does Swann want his title back? Nah, he just wants Alicia Fox, amirite? Anyway, let’s hear what Dar says about it. I already can’t wait! “Uncomfortable? I’m not uncomfortable. Alicia and I are completely comfortable in our relationship.” They’re like two peas in a pod! The only person who should be uncomfortable is Rich Swann! Saying all those things in front of Dar, her boyfriend? What kind of man speaks that way? He should be ashamed! Now, Alicia isn’t here tonight, but there’s no drama; she’s just feeling under the weather! She would never leave Dar! So tonight, when Dar wins, he’s dedicating his victory to his lovely girlfriend, HIS Alicia Foooooxxxxxxx.

Lord, is Swann going to turn heel for Alicia Fox?

Ad for Fastlane. I know it’s a fool’s dream, but MAN, I want Owens to retain against Goldberg and against Jericho at ‘Mania for Finn Balor to return to chase Owens for the title he never lost.

Tonight on Talking Smack, it’s Becky Lynch, AJ Styles, and the Usos! Check it out!

And there’s the music of Noam Dar! He makes his way out to the ring solo, as promised. Why, that music up next is of one Mustafa Ali! I’m quite fond of Mr. Ali, and this could be quite fun. Mauro talks about Ali making his way up the ‘rankings’ of 205 Live each week; now that is something I’d like to see. Seriously, make it seem like these matches mean something, especially in regards to getting title shots. You know, like how the matches meant something in the Cruiserweight Classic. That thing you used to jumpstart the whole division.

Mustafa Ali vs Noam Dar

Handshake is accepted. Circle and Ali goes for the arm to start, controlling with a wristlock. Reversal by Noam, Ali reverses back to send Noam to the mat. Dar rolls out of the ring to take a breather, then back in. Lockup goes to the corner, cross-corner whip by Dar, Ali goes over on a blind charge and does a backflip, then catches a charging Dar with a dropkick. Dar rolls out again to frustrate Ali, then back in. Circle, Dar catches Ali in the chest with a shot, Irish whip by Noam, Ali ducks a clothesline and comes off with a ‘rana to Noam. Dar up and he tries a kick, but Ali knocks him to the mat with a spinning heel kick and Dar rolls out again. Ali tries to pull him back in from the floor, the ref stops that, so Ali gets a running start and goes over the ref to hit Dar with a tope con hilo! I love to listen to Mauro call that move, I really do.

Ali tosses Dar back in and goes up, flying crossbody! 1, 2, NO! Ali charges Dar in the corner, Dar alley-oops him to the apron and slugs him with a left hand, Ali somersaults down the apron to avoid a clothesline from Dar but gets caught with a kick to the shin on the comeback that drops him to the floor. He tosses Ali back in, then hits a doublestomp onto the arm of Mustafa. Dar snaps the arm across the shoulder and covers for one, then pins the arm to the mat and stomps on the elbow. European uppercut by Dar gets one and Noam puts on an armbar. Ali tries to free himself with rights to the midsection, but Dar stops that with a kneelift. Ali grabs the arm of Noam and backdrops him over, Dar tries a sunset flip, Ali rolls through that and hits a seated dropkick. Nice one, too. Both guys back up now, clothesline by Ali! Back elbow by Ali! Cross-corner whip is reversed by Dar, Ali goes to the apron as Noam charges, kick to the face from Ali. Ali through the ropes with the somersault neckbreaker! 1, 2, NO!

Ali goes to pick him up, but Dar rolls him up for two. Running European uppercut by Dar, he charges Ali in the corner, back elbow by Ali. Mustafa springs off the second rope, tornado DDT! Ali goes up for the reverse 450, but Dar rolls out to the apron. Ali drags him back up and tries for a superplex, but Dar gets free and kicks Ali’s leg out from under him, causing Ali to hit the post face first! Dar lines him up, leaping knee strike! 1, 2, 3. (Noam Dar over Mustafa Ali, pinfall, 7:35)

WORTH WATCHING? – Wrong guy went over again, but the match itself was fine. It had some issues, especially with the arm stuff that went nowhere and Dar’s endless stalling, but the finish was decent enough to protect Ali a bit, as it looked like Dar got lucky with Ali hitting his head on the post. It was just enough to give a lukewarm YES to, but I again question the wisdom of jobbing a guy like Ali, who a few weeks ago was in the main event for a shot at the title, who is also one of the guys who has a shot at standing out with his unique finisher and crowd-pleasing offense, but it won’t hurt him in the long run. I don’t get the obsession with Dar, though; he’s fine in the ring, but not much more than that. He’s SO young, I can’t help but think that he needed more time before being thrust into a prominent role on this show. His offense just doesn’t stand out in the division at all, even if I do have a certain fondness for his Eurotrash ladies man character he was building.

Post-match, Dar takes a look at the Wrestlemania sign before leaving the ring, but doesn’t point; pointing at the sign is for closers, damnit!

Back at the announcers table, and Graves says something before Aries interrupts, saying that he knows that Corey normally does this, but Austin wants to do it. Because, let’s face it, we’ve seen some impressive stars on 205 Live, but we’ve never seen anything like THIS man!

And we go to a video package…..for Austin Aries! We see some NXT highlights, then back to the desk as Graves and Mauro applaud while the crowd chants for Aries. He says that if and when he decides to step into the 205 Live ring, nothing will be the same! Our main event is next!

Next Monday on Raw, Goldberg returns!

Back to the desk, as we hype up Neville/Gallagher. Last night after the contract signing, the cameras caught up with Neville after the skirmish. What did he have to say? “Jack Gallagher has just made the biggest mistake of his career!” He laid hands on the king! Jack is just a little insect that he was going to take pleasure in swatting, but now he has Neville’s full attention, and at Fastlane, he looks forward to making that little cockroach suffer!

In the back with Gallagher now, what his strategy for his match tonight with Tony Nese? “Well, Miss Fuentes, my opponent tonight is a rare combination of strength, speed, size; perhaps the only person that can match him in this is my opponent at the WWE Fastlane, the self-proclaimed king of the cruiserweights, Neville!” So tonight, you can consider this a preview of how he’s going to take the title, with flawless technique, footwork, and a dashing mustache! So, if you’ll excuse him, he has to be on the way to the ring, as the Queen is watching!

And there’s the music of Jack Gallagher! He makes his way to the ring with William the Umbrella as see a graphic for his title match at Fastlane. Hey, it’s the music of Tony Nese! The premier athlete makes his way to the ring after some posin’. It’s main event time!

Tony Nese vs Jack Gallagher (w/ William the Umbrella)

Handshake is accepted. Lockup, go-behind by Nese and he tosses Jack to the mat. He poses and they reset, and it’s Gallagher with a trip into a stepover hammerlock on the mat. Jack grabs the other arm while the legs maintain the hammerlock and bends it behind his back, then lays back on it like a mattress, taking care to flip his hair as he does. Ha! Back up now, and it’s Gallagher with a side headlock, Tony shoots him off to the corner, Gallagher with the headstand on the second rope. Okay, get the comedy out of the way early, I’m fine with that. He goes over the top of a charging Nese, then takes Tony over with his legs. Front facelock by Gallagher now, Nese backs him to the corner, Gallagher reverses and we get a clean break, so Nese kicks Jack in the head. Irish whip and Nese drops Jack with a back elbow, then covers for one. Nese hits Jack in the side of the head with a forearm, Gallagher back up and firing with forearms, but Nese puts a stop to that by just tossing Jack over the top rope to the floor. Nese leaps to the apron, he avoids a charge by Jack with a cartwheel from the apron to the floor, then drops Jack with a superkick.

Nese tosses Jack back in with his head across the apron, then pulls Gallagher back up by the chin against the bottom rope before kicking him in the chest. Nese covers for two, then mounts to fire away with punches. Nese covers again for two, then goes to a bodyscissors. Gallagher manages to break it, but Nese kicks him back down. Cross-corner whip by Nese sends Jack bouncing off the buckles in the corner. That gets two. I do like how Nese keeps going for a pin, like he actually wants to win the match. Tony stands on Jack’s chest up against the ropes, slam by Tony and a jumping legdrop! 1, 2, no! Nese with the trash talk now, telling Jack that he can’t win, so Gallagher responds with forearms, then a European uppercut. Dropkick by Gallagher! Again! Gallagher runs the ropes, crossbody! 1, 2, no! Jack rolls him up again for two. Headbutt by Gallagher to the midsection of Nese, Tony catches a kick from Jack and rolls him up for two. He rolls him back over and picks him up for a powerbomb, but Jack goes over the top with a sunset flip for two. Back up, Gallagher with a headbutt that drops both guys! Fucking OW. That looked like it hurt like a bitch.

They both pull themselves up in the corners and Gallagher looks for the corner dropkick, but Tony pulls himself out to the apron. Jack goes over, but Nese snaps his head on the top rope. Nese back in now, and he sets Jack on the top backwards, then goes up to look for a German off the top. Gallagher drops him down into the Tree of Woe with elbows and a headbutt, Jack tries to reset himself, Nese pulls himself up and hits the German! Damn, that is some impressive core strength. Nese manages to pull himself back up to the top again, but he takes too long and Gallagher cuts him off at the top, Gallagher with a belly-to-back superplex! Tony manages to pull himself back up in the corner, but Jack is locked and loaded, and the corner dropkick ends it. (Jack Gallagher over Tony Nese, pinfall, 10:06)

WORTH WATCHING? – Turned the corner in the middle and became a hell of a match, this one did. Good win for Gallagher to have before Fastlane, YES, this one gets a thumbs-up from me. They did a smart thing and had Jack hit most of his comedy spots early to let him get over as a tough motherfucker later in the match, which is fine. Nese got to hang with the number one contender, which is good for him, and the match could have gone either way, he just didn’t have enough left in the tank and Jack did at the end, which is a good story to tell to pump Jack up. I was more than okay with this one, would be higher if the late beginning/early middle portion of the match had a bit more action, but that’s a minor quibble.

Post-match, Gallagher gets his and raised as the replays are shown, and Mauro tells us to check out Talking Smack, and we’re done for the week on 205 Live.

FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: I must confess, I fail to understand some of the logic behind this show sometimes. You’ve got one hour a week, a few short segments on Raw, and maybe one or two matches on PPV to work with when it comes to the cruiserweights, so there’s a decent, but not overwhelming amount of time to work with. The talent that they choose to push and how they choose to push them is really what I don’t always understand. I mean, Brian Kendrick going over Akira Tozawa in any way, shape or form in 2017 just doesn’t make sense to me when Akira is the hot new thing. Same with Ali; I don’t hate Dar like a lot of people do, but you can’t look at Dar and Ali in the ring together and not see Ali as the guy with much more breakout potential based on his exciting offense. The main was pretty good and they had some time to work with, but I freely confess that there just doesn’t seem to be as much rhyme and reason some weeks for the show. You’ve got an hour a week to let these guys go out and try to get over; why not spend most of it in the ring, let it all hang out, and see what happens? Because fighting over Alicia Fox isn’t going to do it, at least not to me.

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter