Tonight, we will determine the challenger to the throne, as there will be a Fatal 5-Way elimination match to determine who will take on Adrian Neville at Wrestlemania!
Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?
WWE 205 Live – 3/14/17
Video package airs about tonight’s main event. It’s Austin Aries, TJ Perkins, Tony Nese, Akira Tozawa, & “The” Brian Kendrick to fight it out for the title shot.
We are LIVE from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! Your hosts are Corey Graves & Tom Phillips.
Hey, that’s the music of the King! Adrian Neville makes his way to the ramp, looking, as usual, like he’d gladly kill anyone that moves in graphic ways. Let’s hear from the champ! “One year and one day!” In this very building, he broke his ankle 3 weeks out from Wrestlemania, and he was robbed of his first Wrestlemania moment! And the worst part was that when he looked around, he saw that nobody cared! He came to the realization that he had been forgotten, so he took action! Maybe he was a little bit ruthless; but he obliterated an entire division to remind everyone how good he is! And here we are again, Wrestlemania season. Tonight, on 205 Live, we have arguably the biggest main event in the history of this show; we’ll see who gets the honor of sharing the grandest stage of them all with the King! Regardless of who it is, it’s irrelevant; at Wrestlemania, Neville is going to deconstruct his opponent until they question their very existence! And more importantly, he’s going to make them regret their foolish ambition to challenge the king of the Cruiserweights!
I know that the conventional wisdom is that Neville should probably lose the title at ‘Mania to give him his comeuppance, but his title reign has absolutely been the best part of this entire show since it started, and I’d keep the belt on him. I genuinely think that he should have an even longer reign with the strap and that it’s too early to beat him at Wrestlemania, I really do. His promo was great here, especially the line about him ‘deconstructing his opponent until they question their very existence’; he delivered that line better than anyone else probably could have.
But he does need to stand aside for now, as we hear the music of Mustafa Ali! He makes his way to the ring past the king, as he’s set for some singles action. I’d prefer he be in the main event, because the dude is fucking aces, but I’ll settle for seeing what happens here. And his opponent is one Drew Gulak! Let’s do this.
Mustafa Ali vs Drew Gulak
Handshake is accepted. Single leg takedown by Ali is blocked by Drew, who hits a forearm, then a kick to the head. Chop and an Irish whip by Gulak, reversed by Ali into a crucifix for two. Double knucklelock by Mustafa, and he uses that to springboard off the top rope into a ‘rana to send Gulak to the floor. Ali to the apron, springboard crossbody off the second rope to Drew on the floor! Back in, that gets one. Cross-corner whip by Ali, blind charge is met by Gulak putting him on the top rope, Ali kicks him away, tornado DDT attempt is blocked by Drew, so Ali just holds him in the guillotine instead. Drew escapes that with a slam, then off the ropes to stomp Ali. Again, and he covers Ali for two. Forearms and he hoists Ali up into a nice Gory special, first bending back the arms then switching to a chinlock that he uses to lower Ali down in an awkward backslide for two. Ali fires back now, with chops and fists, he sends Gulak off the ropes and hits a back elbow, then a clothesline. Cross-corner whip is reversed by Gulak, Ali goes to the apron and Drew misses a blind charge, big kick by Ali to stun Drew, somersault neckbreaker through the ropes from Mustafa! 1, 2, no! Gulak trips Ali and we run the ropes, Drew drops down and catches Ali mid-jump on a leapfrog and rolls him into a sunset flip for two. That was neato. Chop and a forearm by Gulak in the corner, cross-corner whip by Drew, Ali goes over the top with a flip, then catches Drew off buckles with a tornado DDT. Ali sets Drew up, Inverted 450! That’ll do it. (Mustafa Ali over Drew Gulak, pinfall, 4:54)
WORTH WATCHING? – This was eerily similar to the match that Ali had with Daivari a few weeks back, and I’m pretty much in the same camp as I was for that match. I do like Drew a LOT better than Daivari, but the point stands; is the match required viewing? I would say NO, you can skip this. Now, I do get that putting Ali over with his badass finisher that kills in sub-5 minute matches is only going to help him, so I guess I’m fine with the direction they’re taking with him on that front. I’ll grant that while the match itself wasn’t much, at least they’re protecting Ali and making sure that he’s going to feature in the plans going forward. That can only be a good thing; I just hope he moves on to longer, better matches to show that he’s capable of that, because I think that he probably is.
Post-match, Ali celebrates while we watch the 450 a few more times, while Gulak slams his fists into the announce table. Gulak wants a mic! “Week after week, I come out here and do my best work inside that ring!” And no one appreciates him, he just walks away frustrated; and he’s tired of it! But he’s not the problem, he’s not the one that needs to change, the problem is 205 Live! And this place needs to change! And with that, Gulak drops the mic and stalks off. Interesting.
We’re in the back with Ariya Daivari as he looks up…..and we see that Noam Dar has entered. Dar is fed up with Rich Swann getting the better of him, and Dar/Daivari sounds like the perfect tag team! Daivari wants him to save his speech for someone who needs it, because he’s been waiting to get his revenge on that freak Jack Gallagher! Dar is glad to hear it, because even though he’s been buying Alicia Fox all those lovely gifts, a lady like that is only going to stay with a winner, so they need to win this tonight! They need to win! So Dar can keep Alicia! Because ALICIA FOX IS THE STAR OF THIS SHOW. Daivari gives Noam a fist bump in response, which Dar shakes off after Ariya leaves. Man, Dar is really a pretty charismatic guy; if he ever puts it together in the ring, he’s gonna be okay, he really is.
WWE Shopzone ad. Buy some stuff! Make sure that your voice is heard, keep that Roman Reigns merch moving! He’s the next Cena! We swear!
And we’re back to the music of one Gentleman Jack Gallagher! He’s out with William the umbrella, and the music switches to his tag partner’s, that being Rich Swann! He and Jack do some dancin’ in the ring; Gallagher shows off some moves! I’m surprisingly okay with this, because at least it keeps Jack on the show, since he’s clearly not going to be in the title mix for the time being. Still, they have to be REALLY careful with Gallagher not to turn him too far towards being a comedy act. Luckily, if there’s any company that’s really careful treading that line with their characters, it’s surely the WWE!
And there’s the music of Noam Dar! He’s out with Ms. Fox, as we recap that last week, chocolates were delivered to Alicia, which Noam took credit for. “Phillips, you could stand to learn a few things from Noam Dar!” says Corey, and if that was a thinly veiled reference to Tom’s recent…..troubles when it comes to the ladies, well-played, Mr. Graves. Well-played. And here comes Dar’s tag partner, Ariya Daivari! Let’s see how this one goes.
Ariya Daivari & Noam Dar (w/ Aliiiica Foooooxxxxx) vs Jack Gallagher (w/ William the umbrella) & Rich Swann
Handshakes are accepted between Swann & Daivari and Gallagher & Dar. Noam and Jack to start. Dar with a headlock, Jack escapes with a handstand. Commentators are talking about Alicia Fox, naturally. Jack with a headlock takeover, back up and Dar takes him to the corner, Dar with a cross-corner whip, Gallagher does his headstand on the buckles, Dar gets frustrated and tags in Daivari. Daivari comes at Jack from the apron while Dar charges, Jack jumps over the top of Noam and the heels smack their heads together. Gallagher brings Daivari in, snapmare and he puts on a wristlock. He goes to tag in Rich, but Noam yanks Swann off the apron and Daivari clobbers Jack in the back of the head. Snapmare and a stomp from Daivari, tag to Dar, Daivari comes off the ropes with a nice elbow and Dar covers for one. Tag back to Daivari, and Jack fires away to create some space, but Daivari catches him before he can tag Swann and drags Jack back over to the heel corner and tags in Noam. Dar in with an elbow to the back of the head, then he slaps on a chinlock. Jack fights out, Dar with a double-leg takedown but you can’t double-leg Jack, and Gallagher takes Dar over. Noam with the tag to Daivari, Jack with the tag to Swann!
Clothesline to Daivari! Shot to Dar on the apron! Another clothesline for Daivari! Spinning back kick by Rich, leaping double foot stomp to the back of Daivari, rolling frog splash by Rich! 1, 2, no! Irish whip, Daivari catches the top rope and hits Swann with a back elbow, then sends Jack to the floor with a cheap shot. Rich with a right, cross-corner whip by Swann, but the blind charge eats a boot from Daivari. Daivari goes up, Swann hits him with an enzuigiri on the top rope, Dar with a blind tag as Rich ‘ranas Daivari off the top rope. Daivari rolls out as Dar comes in, Swann turns around, leaping kick from Noam! 1, 2, 3! (Noam Dar & Ariya Daivari over Rich Swann & Jack Gallagher, pinfall, 4:06)
WORTH WATCHING? – Ugh. I was less than enthralled by this match, particularly the ending, which came out of nowhere and didn’t feel convincing at all. NO, you can skip this one without much thought. Some decent stuff buried in there, but not enough to recommend.
Post-match, Alicia skips in to celebrate with the winners, and Dar gets a mic. “Each week, I’ve spoiled this lady with wonderful gifts!” But actions speak louder than chocolates and flowers, and his gift tonight was this victory! A dude enters the ring with a giant teddy bear now, and Dar sees it, saying that this is ALSO his gift this week! Yeah! But this teddy bear isn’t as cuddly or precious as Aliicaa Foooooooxxxxxxx! “Is it possible to have too much game?” wonders Corey as Alicia seems pleased with her bear. Sure. That’s what is truly important here, isn’t it?
Bring it to the Table ad.
Reigns/Undertaker promo for Wrestlemania.
Talking Smack promo from the announcers. They fired AJ Styles! For reals!
And there’s the music of Austin Aries! It must be main event time! I hope so, because this show needs some savin’! Akira Tozawa is out next, and he’s followed by Tony Nese, then TJ Perkins, with “The” Brian Kendrick bringing up the rear.
Austin Aries vs Akira Tozawa vs Tony Nese vs TJ Perkins vs “The” Brian Kendrick – Fatal 5-Way elimination match to determine the #1 Contender
Outside of a Perkins/Tozawa high five, no handshakes. Everyone is legal the entire time, no countouts or DQs. Last man standing wins. Crowd chants for Aries as Kendrick slides out of the ring, Akira jaws at him from inside the ring and Nese clobbers Tozawa from behind to get us started. That sends Akira to the floor where Kendrick sends him to the barricade as Perkins fires kicks at Nese while Aries reclines on the top rope in the corner. Perkins gets alley-ooped off a blind charge to get sent to the floor, and Aries hits a running dropkick on Tony in the corner right after. That gets two. Nese goes out and TJ is back in, TJ with a wristlock. Reversal by Aries into a headlock, reversed by TJ into one of his own, Austin shoots him off and they run the ropes, sunset flip by TJ, Aries rolls through, TJ with a headscissors takeover and a dropkick to Aries. TJ dabs and the crowd boos the shit out of him. Turn him heel for fuck’s sake. Kick from Aries, cross-corner whip by Austin reversed by TJ, Aries over the top and he gets an armdrag, reversed to a headscissors by Perkins. Aries does a handstand out of that into a seated dropkick. That sequence was really good and tight.
Aries hits TJ in the corner with a running uppercut, snapmare by Austin and he goes up, flying elbow hits TJ in the back of the head and we get a little dab from Aries. Kendrick runs in and drops Austin, but Tozawa is right behind. He fakes Kendrick out and then just punches him in the face with a straight right. Crowd is INTO Tozawa, chanting along with him. Akira looks to fly, but now Tony is back in and he nails Akira, Tozawa turns around and hits Nese with a right jab that knocks him to the floor. Awesome. Akira looks to fly again, but gets yanked outside by Brian and sent to the announce table. Meanwhile, Aries flies out with a tope onto Nese, then tosses Tony back in as Kendrick tosses Akira back in. Both guys cover, but both opponents kick out. The ring is cleared again except for Kendrick and Aries, and Kendrick fires the first shot. Kendrick tosses Aries and rules the ring now, TJ back in, Kendrick beats him down and tosses him to the apron, TJ slides back in through Brian’s legs and fires kicks and a seated dropkick. TJ with a jumping back elbow to Brian in the corner, but he turns around right into Nese wiping him out with an elbow. Nese covers and gets two.
Tony with a slam and cover for two, and he hooks a bodyscissors on TJ. Perkins breaks that so Nese goes to a waistlock, Akira comes back in off the rope rope and hits Tony with a spinning back kick and the snap German suplex. 1, 2, Kendrick makes the save? Ah, he didn’t want Akira to pin anyone. Kendrick tries for the pin, but only gets two. Tozawa with a jumping knee to the head, he comes off the ropes, Kendrick with a sunset flip, Akira rolls through with a kick the chest and a leaping senton. 1, 2, NO! Tozawa sends Kendrick to the floor with a big forearm, running tope by Akira! Perkins takes out Akira with a corkscrew plancha, Nese comes over the ropes with a moonsault that takes out both guys, Aries tries to join the party now, but gets shoved off the top and to the floor by Kendrick. Nese pulls down his kneepad and charges, running knee to Aries takes down the barricade! Cool. That even gets a Holy Shit chant from the crowd, who have finally woken up for this match after being mostly invisible for the show so far.
Tony tosses TJ back in and goes for the running knee on him now, Perkins catches him and looks for the Detonation Kick, Nese escapes that and shoves TJ into Kendrick on the apron, Nese from behind, TJ rolls through it into a cross-armbreaker! Nese fights it…..Tony taps! Nese is eliminated. He doesn’t like it that much and drops TJ with a clothesline after the fact, Akira back in and he kicks Nese to the floor, which allows Kendrick to sneak up from behind and hit Sliced Bread #2 to eliminate Akira. Boo-fucking-urns to that one. Brian immediately puts Perkins in the Captain’s Hook, TJ fights up and armdrags out, but Kendrick hits him with a big boot. Sliced Bread attempt is countered by TJ, who puts Brian on the top rope, TJ with a top rope belly-to-back suplex attempt, Kendrick fights out, TJ clubs him with a forearm and goes up again. TJ looks for an inverted superplex, but Aries is back in and everyone comes down when Aries powerbombs TJ off the ropes.
Aries and Perkins drag themselves back to their feet and look to face off, Kendrick gets back up and they drop him with simultaneous shots to send him to the floor before they exchange fists of their own. Backslide by Aries gets two, Austin goes for the brainbuster, TJ flips out, Tiger suplex attempt by TJ is countered by Aries into a rollup for two. Kick to the head by TJ and he looks for the Detonation Kick, but Kendrick trips TJ up from the outside. Aries falls on top and Kendrick leaps on top of Austin, and the double pin is going to keep TJ down for the 3 count. Perkins is eliminated. And now we’re down to two: Austin Aries and Brian Kendrick. Kendrick puts Aries in the Captain’s Hook, but TJ breaks that up with a dropkick to Brian, TJ with a kick to the head of Kendrick from the apron, Brian falls to the mat and right out of the way of a roaring elbow from Aries, which TJ takes full force to send him to the floor and out. Kendrick from behind on Austin, Sliced Bread #2 hits! 1, 2, NO! Brian immediately puts the Captain’s Hook on Austin now, Aries reaches for the ropes and makes it, but this is no-DQ and that means no rope break.
Aries uses the ropes to get back to his feet, Kendrick tries to take him back over, but Austin flips out of that and hits Kendrick with a forearm, then comes off the ropes and the roaring elbow drops Kendrick and sends Austin Aries to Wrestlemania with the 1, 2, 3. (Austin Aries over Brian Kendrick, Tony Nese, TJ Perkins, & Akira Tozawa, pinfall, 14:23)
WORTH WATCHING? – This was GREAT, and exactly what we needed this week. YES, this one is big thumbs up. The match was so well put together, with every guy getting a few moments here and there, and Aries coming back from the running knee that took out him and the barricade to pick up the big babyface win. Tozawa is getting more over by the week, while Kendrick wasn’t embarrassing, Nese got to hit the big spot that took our Aries, and TJ losing means that hopefully his character will get even more frustrated and they’ll give him a heel run. The pacing was superb, with each guy taking big moves when they needed to be out of the match for awhile, along with using those big moves to set up the story of Aries making the big comeback. I enjoyed the hell out of this.
Post-match, Aries poses as the replays air, and then he gets his moment as he points to the sign! And that’ll do it for 205 Live this week.
FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: It was anti-climactic, sure, but putting Austin over here was 100% the right call. He’ll be a good challenger for Neville, but I still hope he loses. As for the rest of the show, your call on whether to watch or not. I would take a pass on everything up to the main event myself, but at least the Ali stuff was decent if you want to take a stab with that. I’d like to point out that since the shift from the athleticism of the CWC to whatever this show is supposed to be, we’ve barely seen one Finalist from that tournament (Gran Metalik) while the other Finalist who actually won the whole thing is stale as all get out. I question why they can’t see that booking this show like Raw Jr is a mistake, and that going back to what made the tournament work could make the show work as well, but if that ever happened, they might have to cut down on Alicia Fox’s airtime, so let’s not participate in THAT crazy talk.
As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,
@MrSoze on Twitter