Last night on Raw, Austin Aries dropped Adrian Neville in the middle of the ring, and I get the feeling that we haven’t heard the last of that one. Let’s see what happens tonight!
Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?
WWE 205 Live – 3/7/17
We start with the end of Smackdown, as AJ Styles walks to the back while Orton slaps hands around the ring.
Video package airs covering Neville retaining his title against Jack Gallagher in the only thing worth watching from the PPV on Sunday, then following that up by defeating Rich Swann on Monday night, ending with him getting clobbered by Austin Aries after said defense.
We are LIVE from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana! Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo and Corey Graves, as Austin Aries is back in the ring.
Hey, speaking of Aries, that’s his music. The Greatest Man that ever lived makes his way to the ring, and he’s got a mic. Wonder what’s on his mind? “Thank you Indianapolis. Tonight, I’ve secured my greatest interview to date, so please help me welcome my guest at this time, Austin Aries!” Yeah! What a coup! The first question, of course, is why did you decide to leave the announcer’s booth, step into the ring, and punch Neville in the face? Austin appreciates Austin’s journalism, and answers that he punched Neville in the face last night because he could! Hey, that’s a better explanation than we normally get from these things, so cool. See, he’s been sitting at the commentator’s desk for months because he has a broken eye hole, but it goes back to a lesson he learned in grade school – if you want respect, find the toughest man in the room, walk up to him, and punch him in the face! And it’s become clear over the last few months that the toughest man in the room on 205 Live is Neville! He’s the elite, the upper echelon, until Aries got here! So, Neville, that’s exactly why he punched you in the face last night! So, Austin asks, what’s in the future for Austin Aries? Austin answers that, to make something perfectly clear, with that punch last night, Austin Aries, in-ring expert, is here on 205 Live!
Why, that’s the pyro of Adrian Neville! I somehow doubt he’s pleased with the explanation he got from Aries there, so he’s out with a mic of his own. “Unbelievable. I thought what happened last night was a momentary lapse of judgment, but you have clearly gone off the deep end!” Let me get this straight, Austin – you hide behind the announcer’s table and act like a fool for months, and now all of a sudden, you think you’re on Neville’s level? Aries answers by saying that Neville is on the A level, but Aries is on the A-Double level, so Aries is actually on a higher level than Neville! Neville responds by saying that Austin isn’t even close to Aries when it comes to what level they’re on, and he suggests that Aries consider this career move very carefully, and scuttle back to the announcer’s desk to make his silly jokes where he belongs! Austin tells Neville to step in the ring to hear the joke about the Cruiserweight champion who got cheek-checked two weeks in a row! Neville thinks that’s awfully clever, and there’s nothing more that he would rather do than come to the ring right now and end this silly comeback of Aries, but the fact is that Austin hasn’t earned the right to step in the ring with Neville! Actually, Neville’s not going to have do anything himself; does Aries know how many enemies he has in the back? How many guys have heard his ridicule while they were doing all the hard work? Now he expects to just jump to the front of the line? Nah, Neville isn’t going to fight Aries, but there’s a whole locker room back there that’s more than ready to do so! Well, Aries says, he’s been writing checks his whole life with his mouth, and his ass cashes each and every one of them, so if anyone back there has any problem with what he’s said, he’s ready to meet each and every one of them in this ring! Play his music!
This was a really good promo, mostly because both guys spoke the truth; Neville is right, in that Aries hasn’t beaten anyone and doesn’t deserve a title shot, and that he’s been talking shit about the entire locker room on commentary for months. Aries, to his credit, stood behind his words and basically dared anyone to come out and confront him for running his mouth, which totally works for a tweener face role, which is where I’m pretty sure that Austin is going. Meanwhile, Neville has beaten everyone, but he’s such an insufferable prick about it that he can make the crowd hate him anyway. Strong work from both guys, and now I want to see them face off in a match.
Back to the announcers, who tell us that after Smackdown, AJ got into a confrontation with Shane in the back, and we should watch Talking Smack to find out what happened! Alrighty.
In the back now, Rich Swann is teaching Jack Gallagher how to dance; good to see that Jack is taking his loss so well! Sigh. Anyway, Noam Dar busts in and says that he’s there to find out who was delivering flowers to his Foxbaby last week? Swann wonders why he’s so curious; didn’t Dar send the flowers? Noam says that of course he did, he just wants the boys to take notes so that someday, they can land a girl like Ali-cha-Foooooxxxxxx. He departs as Gallagher asks Swann to continue explaining this hip-hop thing.
Ride Along ad.
And there’s the music of Noam Dar! He’s out with Alicia Fox as we recap the mysterious flowers from last week that were delivered to Alicia. Never forget, ALICIA FOX IS THE STAR OF THIS SHOW. And here’s the music of his partner, Ariya Daivari! Sorry the exclamation point was a reflex action. I hear the music starting that alerts me to the impending presence of Jack Gallagher! The gentleman is out with William the umbrella, awaiting his tag partner, and here comes Rich Swann! We’re 20 minutes into this show, time to finally have a match!
Jack Gallagher (w/ William the umbrella) & Rich Swann vs Noam Dar & Ariya Daivari
Handshakes are accepted. Daivari and Swann start us off, lockup leads to Daivari getting a waistlock throw. Swann comes back with an armdrag and a headscissors takeover, Irish whip by Swann, Daivari hooks the top rope to avoid the big kick from Rich, but runs right into a dropkick from Swann instead. Rich clobbers Noam to prevent him from coming into the ring, then sends Daivari to the buckles. Swann runs into a big boot on a blind charge, Daivari goes up, Swann catches him with a kick on the top rope, Rich goes for a top rope ‘rana, but Dar is on the apron and holds onto Ariya’s boot to keep him in place. Daivari runs Swann into the heel corner and tags in Dar, who’s in with shots on Rich. Noam runs Rich into the buckles, then again to the buckles of the heel corner before tagging Daivari back in.
Daivari with a chop and forearm, Irish whip by Daivari, dropkick puts Swann down. That gets two. Daivari sends Swann back to the buckles chest-first as he and Dar cut the ring in half on Rich, tag back to Noam. Daivari snaps the arm of Swann over his shoulder before blowing a kiss to Alicia. Belly-to-back suplex gets two for Dar. Crowd chants “We want Jack!” as Dar taunts Gallagher in the corner, back to the buckles with Rich and another tag to Ariya. Swann fires a couple of rights and dives for the tag, but gets caught and Daivari hits him with a spinebuster for two. Knees to the back by Daivari, then elbows across the shoulder before slapping on a chinlock. Hey, here’s a compliment I can pay Daivari: this is a nice-looking chinlock. Little things, man. Swann fights out, but Daivari puts him down again and covers for two. I’m shockingly enjoying this match so far, it’s pure tag formula. Back to the chinlock for Daivari, Rich fights out, kneelift from Ariya to keep control. Big roundhouse kick by Daivari misses, but Rich doesn’t miss his, and both guys are down. Rich crawls for it, and it’s hot tag Gallagher!
He’s in with a dropkick to Daivari! Another! Cross-corner whip, blind charge by Jack and Daivari attempts an alley-oop to the apron, Gallagher does his handstand on the top buckle, Daivari charges right into the double boot from Jack. Man, how could he not see that one coming? He wrestled Jack for like 8 years on this show. Gallagher covers, but Dar saves it at two. Gallagher doesn’t take too kindly to that, and tries to take a swing at Dar on the apron, but that just allows Ariya to clobber him from behind. Tag to Dar and we get a double Irish whip, Swann makes a blind tag off Jack, Gallagher hooks the ropes on the comeback, and Jack comes off with a headbutt to Daivari as Swann drops Dar with a roundhouse kick. Running dropkick in the corner sends Daivari to the floor, and Swann hits the Phoenix Splash on Dar to get the 1, 2, 3. (Jack Gallagher & Rich Swann over Noam Dar & Ariya Daivari, pinfall, 6:07)
WORTH WATCHING? – This was a shockingly fun tag match, probably because they worked a very standard match with the heels cutting the ring in half and the faces got to make the big comeback. It’s so simple, but YES, this one was really quite fun. Now, is it a great match? Not really, but this type of stuff works well enough to watch, and it moved quickly with a decent flow to it. I liked it, sue me.
Post-match, Swann and Gallagher celebrate as the replays show how incredibly high Swann got on that splash – it was something to behold. Alicia comforts Dar in the ring as we see that a delivery man is coming out again, this time with what looks like some chocolates. Dar grabs the mic and tells him that he’s late, before taking the chocolates out of his hand and presenting them to Alicia. She jumps up and down and hugs him, as Dar looks satisfied.
Back to the announcers, who recap the Austin Aries situation, and say that it didn’t take long for someone to answer his challenge, as Aries will take on Tony Nese in our main event tonight!
In the back, we’re joined by “The” Brian Kendrick! Last night, Akira Tozawa challenged him to a fight! “Yeah, Tom, at first I was tempted to say no.” The challenge showed so much disrespect, that Kendrick was tempted to say no! But what it comes down to is that he clearly needs to teach another lesson, so if Akira wants to fight Brian Kendrick, that’s what he’s going to get.
Shinsuke Nakamura returns to NXT this week!
WWE shop ad.
We’re back to the music of Akira Tozawa! He makes his way out, barking all the way. “I’m a man with a plan!” There’s Mr. Kendrick! He makes his way ringside and grabs a mic. “Now, never let it be said that I am not a man of my word!” Akira, you said you wanted a fight with Brian Kendrick, and you’re going to get it! But this Brian Kendrick, well, he spells his name with a Y, so he’d like to introduce everyone to, well, not “The” Brian Kendrick, but “A” Bryan Kendrick! It’s lesson #6 – read the fine print in your contract!
The music hits again…..hey, that’s Arik Cannon! Long-time ROH watchers might remember him, and I know I’ve seen him on the indies doing dates here in Omaha for Magnum Pro and Pro Wrestling Phoenix. Hell of a nice dude, actually.
Akira Tozawa vs “A” Bryan Kendrick (AKA Arik Cannon)
Handshake is accepted. Cannon charges Akira to start and gets wiped out with a jumping kick! Tozawa mounts and fires punches, then turns to Kendrick and yells before resuming stomping away. Irish whip by Akira, Cannon comes off the ropes with a sunset flip, Tozawa rolls through and hits a Penalty Kick and a senton. Tozawa turns to Kendrick again and starts his ‘battle cry’, allowing Arik to clobber him from behind with a forearm. Tozawa pushes him away, Cannon nails him with an overhand chop, Cannon off the ropes, botched ‘rana takes Arik over, spinning back kick by Akira! Jumping roundhouse misses, but Tozawa goes through the legs of Cannon and the snap German suplex ends the slaughter. (Akira Tozawa over Arik Cannon, pinfall, 1:20)
WORTH WATCHING? – NOPE.
Post-match, Tozawa stares Kendrick down on the outside, and Kendrick decides that discretion is the better part of valor here and quietly leaves through the crowd.
Ad for the WWE/Jetsons movie. Hey, Alicia Fox is in that!
Talking Smack tonight has Alexa Bliss, Apollo Crews, The Miz and Maryse.
Let’s go to the back and hear from Neville! “Did you not hear what I just said out there?” Austin Aries is going to regret his career decision; for too long, we’ve been subjected to his wisecracks! And now, he’s going to suffer the consequences! Tony Nese is no walk in the park, but more than that, Aries is going to learn that everyone wants what Neville has, but at Wrestlemania, only one man can stand across the ring from the King! So, whoever wants that opportunity, they’re going to have their work cut out for them next week on 205 Live!
And there’s the music of Austin Aries! The Greatest Man That Ever Lived makes his way out to the ring in a jacket made, apparently, of pure Muppet. And now it’s time for the music of the Premier Athlete, Tony Nese! This could be pretty good.
Tony Nese vs Austin Aries
Handshake is sort of accepted, as Aries touches Nese’s hand with his fingers. Lockup goes to the ropes, and Aries gives a cleanish break, making sure to tap Nese in the abs. Standing side headlock by Aries, Nese goes behind and gets a waistlock takedown. Back at it and Aries with the waistlock now, he takes Nese to the mat and does a helicopter spin on top of him before covering for one. Back to the headlock for Austin now, Nese tries to shoot him off, but Aries hangs on. Nese frees himself with lefts and sends Aries to the corner, Aries over the top on a blind charge and Nese hits the buckles. Deep armdrag by Aries! Again! Aries with an armbar on the mat, Tony counters with a headscissors. Aries does a handstand to escape and hit a dropkick to a seated Nese. Aries takes a break, resting on the top rope as Nese resets.
Aries shows his own biceps some love and Tony doesn’t like it, we get a bit of a shoving match before Aries just thumbs him in the eye. Irish whip by Austin, Nese catches the top rope and backdrops Aries to the floor. Austin favors the knee a bit as Tony pulls him back up to the apron, and Aries thumbs him in the eye again. Aries drops him with a handclap over the head, then springs in over the top with a senton, knee looking just fine. That gets one, and Austin stomps on Tony’s fingers back in the ring. Cross-corner whip by Austin, and he follows with a back elbow to Nese before snapmaring him out of the corner. Austin goes up to the second rope, beautiful diving elbow to the back of Nese’s head. Tony rolls out and Austin wants to fly, but Nese jumps back in and catches Aries in a Fireman’s Carry, Aries wiggles out and they go to the ropes, rollup by Aries gets two as the kickout sends Austin to the apron.
Nese goes over but eats a shoulder from Aries through the ropes, Austin with a neckbreaker on the second rope. Aries goes up, but Nese dives for the ropes and Austin gets crotched on the top rope. Nese with a kick into the Fireman’s Carry before dropping Aries with a gutbuster across the knee. Nese fires rights and covers for two, then puts Aries in a bodyscissors. Austin manages to bridge back to put Nese’s shoulders on the mat and force Tony to kick out at two to break. Nese regains control with a running forearm for one. Tony dumps Austin to the floor, then cartwheels off the apron and hits a superkick to Aries on the floor! He rolls Austin back in, 1, 2, no! Nese puts the BADMOUTH on Aries, telling him that he should go back where he belongs, pointing at the announcer’s table. Aries fires lefts and comes off the ropes, cartwheel into a clothesline from Austin! Another clothesline! Open-handed strike from Austin, then a gutbuster into an STO. Pendulum elbow from Aries and he hoists Tony up, but Nese escapes and schoolboys him for two before picking him up and dropping him with a sitout powerbomb! 1, 2, NO! Nese goes for the German into the buckles, Aries fights out with back elbows and kicks Nese to the floor. Aries runs the ropes, tope hits! He tosses Tony back in and comes off the ropes, Roaring Elbow! We’re done here. (Austin Aries over Tony Nese, pinfall, 9:43)
WORTH WATCHING? – I’m….not sure. I think I may have had my expectations a little high on this one. For sure, Aries is a good thing for the division due to his natural charisma and abilities on the mic and in the ring, but there were some really dead spots here, and definitely some awkward moments. I don’t totally understand why Nese was being pushed and semi-protected, yet they send him out there to do a job for Aries. I’m really on the fence here. The match wasn’t objectively bad or anything, although Aries looked a bit behind over the course of it, although that could have been him selling the ring rust as part of the character. I’ll give it a YES, but it was mediocre in a way where it should have been a blowaway. I’ll grant for sure that Aries puts together a good match, as he got to show off most of his stuff and personality in doing so, plus Nese got enough in to at least look decent.
Post-match, Aries gets his hand raised as we watch the replays. Mauro pimps that we have footage from AJ/Shane on Talking Smack, and we’re done for the week on 205 Live.
FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: This was a true ‘move the goalposts’ episode, as the wrestling wasn’t terrible but it also wasn’t great, and most of the show was spent advancing stories like the Aries/Neville stuff, the Alicia stuff, or the Kendrick/Tozawa stuff. Less than 20 minutes of bell to bell time isn’t really what I’m looking for from 205, but I get why these types of shows need to exist. If you skip this week, you’re really not missing much, to be perfectly honest.
As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,
@MrSoze on Twitter