WWE 205 Live – November 29th, 2016

Howdy!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Welcome to your 205 Live recap! My name’s Rick, and you may remember me from such recaps as the Cruiserweight Classic, or Ring of Honor TV! I’ll be your host for 205 Live for the foreseeable future, so let’s enjoy ourselves. As you may recall from my CWC recaps, I’ve been a big cruiser fan for years, as I think it’s some of the most exciting wrestling on the planet.

Let’s just acknowledge that the WWE has, shall we say, shit the bed when it comes to the cruiserweights and their presentation on Raw. My hope for this show is that not only will these guys get the chance to shine using all of their awesome athletic talents in the ring, but that we’ll get a sense of who they are as wrestlers and characters in storylines outside it.

With that said, let’s jump right in!

205 Live – 11/29/16

Highlight video from the CWC is shown, showcasing some of the talents that we haven’t seen yet on Raw, which is a good plan. Don’t blink!

We are LIVE from the University of South Carolina! Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo, Corey Graves, and AUSTIN ARIES! Aries tells us that he’s the star of the show, and soon he’ll get back in that ring and take the Cruiserweight title and make it great!

Our main event tonight will see Rich Swann challenge Brian Kendrick for the CW title! But first, our roster is lined up on the stage to be introduced; we’ve got Swann, TJ Perkins, Jack Gallagher (woo!), Ho Ho Lun (not as much woo), the Bollywood Boys, Noam Dar, Tony Nese, Drew Gulak, Ariya Daivari, Cedric Alexander (who gets the biggest pop from the crowd), Lince Dorado, Akira Tozawa, Mustafa Ali (who is a hell of a nice dude), Gran Metalik, & Kendrick.

Let’s start off with a video package on the Bollywood Boys; wow, a video package to intro the new guys! They’re already ahead of Raw on this show. Gurv and Harv Sihra are brothers from India, and are the current Global Force Wrestling tag team champions! Funny, but they don’t mention that in the video. Weird. Quick explanation of what Bollywood is, along with some pics of them growing up, and some vid of moves they stole from guys like Jericho. Nice bit about their 95 year old grandfather, who is blind but still listens to their matches, which is kind of touching, actually. Long video to give them a good intro.

And there’s the music of the Bollywood Boys! Looks like quite a few folks stuck around after Smackdown to check this out, which is good to see. They’ll be facing off against Drew Gulak and Tony Nese, who are already out.

The Bollywood Boys vs Drew Gulak & Tony Nese

Handshakes are accepted to start us off, which causes former Ring of Honor World Champion Austin Aries to wonder what’s up with all the handshaking, which made me laugh. Nese attacks Gurv from behind right after the intros and pounds away. Irish whip is reversed by Gurv, who hits Tony with a deep armdrag. Aries: “Which one is this? Herp or Derp?” Gurv keeps control of the arm and tags in Harv, who comes off the top onto the arm of Nese, then puts on an armwringer of his own. Tag back to Gurv, and he comes in with a double axehandle on the arm, tag back to Harv and they double team now, with a double hiptoss and double dropkick to Nese. That gets two. Nese gets back to his feet and hits Harv in the mouth, then tags in Gulak. He promptly gets armdragged by Harv, but forces him to the corner and gives a clean break before slapping Harv across the chest. Harv fires back and takes out Tony on the apron, but that allows Gulak to fire a dropkick and put Harv down. Jumping stomps in the corner by Drew, who then slams him into the ropes for a one count. Tag back to Nese, who stomps Harv on his way in, then knocks him down with a forearm off the ropes for 1. Nese goes to a legscissors and mocks the Boys. Harv frees himself with an elbow, but Nese drags him back to the heel corner and tags in Gulak. Gulak with a running stomp, then a modified kneebar, then mounted punches. He tags Gulak back in, and Drew puts on a chinlock. Harv fights up, Drew tries a suplex but Harv floats over and hits a neckbreaker. Harv makes a tag to Gurv as Nese tags in Gulak, and Gurv comes off the top with a double axehandle on Gulak. Gurv chops away as Drew tags Nese back in, Gurv hits Drew with a spinning heel kick and throws Tony into Drew’s midsection. He follows that with a clothesline on Gulak that DDTs Tony as a result. 1,2, no! Tony gets control and puts Gurv on the top, but gets caught and Gurv comes off with a bodypress. Gulak saves it at two. Drew runs at Gurv, but gets sent outside and Harv springs off the second rope with a press to the floor. Nese comes over to see what’s up and Gurv runs the ropes, but Nese runs in and cuts him off with a clothesline, getting two. He keeps trying for the pin, but nothing doing. Nese with a front facelock and a tag to Gulak, but the double team goes wrong as heel miscommunication leads to them smacking skulls together. Gurv hits a clothesline on Drew and a DDT on Nese, then tags in Harv, and a double superkick puts Gulak down for the pin. (The Bollywood Boys over Drew Gulak & Tony Nese, pinfall, 7:22)

WORTH WATCHING? – I hate to do it in the first match ever on the show, but I’m going with a NO on this one for a few reasons. One, the match itself wasn’t really all that great, as it was bland and boring in spots where it needed to be neither of those things. Two, I’m not sure what the point of putting the Bollywood Boys together as a tag team accomplishes on some level in a division where there’s really no other true tag teams or tag team titles; if that’s what you want, then put them in the tag division on either Raw or Smackdown. Can’t be worse than the Shining Stars. But this whole division is revolving around 1 title, and I don’t think we need CW tag team titles anytime soon. Just kind of a boring match to start the show. I wasn’t high on the Boys in the CWC, and nothing much changed for me here.

Post-match, the Boys celebrate as Gulak and Neese are interviewed in the aisle. Gulak says some stuff, then Nese says something about the ring being greasy and that they shouldn’t be expected to work in those conditions. Alrighty, then.

Video package airs on Noam Dar. He doesn’t have a game plan for how to separate himself from the rest of the field, he’s just going to do it. His swagger is different from everyone else, and that’s all he needs. He’s only 22 years old, was the youngest in the CWC, but he’s not inexperienced, and is more than just an underdog. He’s going to bring coolness to the ring!

Dar tried, but he sounded uncomfortable as hell in that video. It might have been the accent, I don’t know, but a lot of what he said sounded stilted.

We’re in the back with Brian Kendrick. How does he feel about his Cruiserweight title defense tonight against Rich Swann? Well, he wants to know if you’re a gambling man, because if you are, you should bet everything on him! The same way that he bets on himself, the same way Mick Foley bet on him. Now Rich Swann, he’s a great talent, but he’s going to take a chance on a high-risk maneuver, and that’s when Kendrick will take advantage and win. What about TJ Perkins? Why look, Perkins is standing right behind Kendrick! TJ reminds him that he’s still owed a rematch for the belt; so he’s glad to hear that Brian is feeling confident, because what he has to say to Brian is…..good luck.

Gran Metalik video package airs next. He’s coming soon, you know! But…he was on the stage earlier. He’s already here. I’m very confused; this must be the darkest timeline.

Ad for TLC this Sunday.

We’re back, and there’s the music of Ariya Daivari, who hails from Minnesota by way of Tehran, Iran. Now THAT’S a commute. And there’s the music of “The Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher! Yay! I like Gallagher a bunch, he was really fun to watch in the CWC. Aries: “He’s wearing tube socks.” Yeah, and your glasses look stupid. Shut up, Aries.

“The Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher vs Ariya Daivari

Handshake is accepted. Lockup and Ariya grabs a wristlock. Gallagher spins out of that into one of his own, then takes him to the mat with a hammerlock. He kneels out it and twirls his mustache to the delight of the crowd. Jack torques back on the other arm, making sure to brush away the hair from his eyes, then leans back on it to put Daivari’s shoulders on the mat for a one count. Back up, we get a standing side headlock from Daivari, but Jack forces him down to the knee and handstands out of it, and Ariya doesn’t know what to do. He settles for a kick to the midsection of Jack, then a cross-corner whip, but Jack hits the corner and stands on his head on the buckle. Daivari wants to charge, so Jack puts a boot out and Daivari backs off, Daivari tries again, Jack puts the other boot out. Finally, Ariya has had enough and just charges, but Gallagher flips over the top of him and flips Daivari over with his legs off a double-leg. That gets one, and Jack works the arm. Single-leg and now Jack ties Daivari up, leg over arm over leg over arm, then turns him over, before taking a break in the corner as Ariya struggles to free himself. You know, I didn’t love this when he did in the CWC and I don’t love it now, but it’s funny and will get him over, so whatever. He lines up Daivari and kicks him in the posterior, then poses for the crowd. Daivari takes advantage and tosses him outside, then catches him coming back in with a jumping knee to the back. 1,2, no! Neckbreaker by Daivari gets two. Elbows to the neck of Gallagher, then a knee to the back by Daivari for two, then a chinlock by Ariya. Slam attempt by Daivari, but Gallagher floats over and hits a dropkick, then another. Off the ropes, crossbody by Jack gets two. Gallagher goes to turn the wrist back into a submission, so Daivari grabs him by the hair and takes him to the ropes. Off the ropes now and Daivari nails him with a nice discus forearm, so Jack returns the favor with a nasty headbutt. Daivari is in never-never land, and running dropkick to the face in the corner is going to put him down for the 1,2,3. (Jack Gallagher over Ariya Daivari, pinfall, 5:42)

WORTH WATCHING? – Fun stuff here. Gallagher seems like the type of guy who isn’t going to take long to get crazy over, although he needs a new finisher in the worst way. YES, especially if you’re new to Jack’s work, this was a decent 5 minute primer on what the man can do, but more importantly for the first episode of this show, who he is and why that matters. His style is so much a part of his character, that he needed a quick match like this to give himself an introduction to the crowd. He used his time very well here, as he is capable of much more, but still managed to take a short amount of time and make himself stand out.

Post-match, Gallagher celebrates as Daivari glares from the entranceway.

The desk throws us to a video on Lince Dorado, the Golden Lynx. Footage from the indies and the CWC airs, including a lot of Shooting Star presses. He had a great match with Mustafa Ali in the first round of the CWC, and I’m happy to see him here. He’s going to bring his unique style of Lucha Libre with him, and by the time he’s done, everyone will know the name of Lince Dorado!

Ad for WWE Storytime airs.

We’re back to the music of “The” Brian Kendrick! The CW champion makes his way to the ring. They throw us to a video package on Rich Swann, and it’s exceptional; he talks about his father dying when he was 12, his mom dying when he was 16, how hard it was to not have parents to show him what was right. He went down a dark road, but wrestling saved him; being in the ring saved his life. And now he just wants to spread that love and joy, and be one of the most entertaining in the entire Cruiserweight division. That’s what separates him from the pack; his ability to bring joy and energy to the WWE Universe. He’s been to Japan, Mexico, and the UK to hone his skills, and he feels that he’s one of, if not the best, cruiserweight to step into the WWE. We see him winning the triple threat to win the title shot. He tells us that he’s proven that dreams do come true, no matter what is put in your path.

PERFECT. Just fucking perfect. Swann talked in a measured voice, gave off the idea that this was something that he worked for but didn’t take for granted; he came off like a real person, not just a dancing fool. Swann has charisma in buckets, but having something to contrast the hyperactivity makes for a stronger character, and it makes me want to root for him more. That’s good work.

And there’s the music of Rich Swann! He makes his way to the ring, and we get the big-time match introductions, in which Swann is called “The OUTLANDISH” Rich Swann, which I can only hope ceases immediately and is never spoken of again.

“The” Brian Kendrick (c) vs Rich Swann – Cruiserweight Title match

Handshake is accepted. Lockup and Kendrick gets a hammerlock down to the mat. Swann quickly back to his feet and reverses, promptly reversed back by Kendrick. Wristlock by Brian is reversed to a standing side headlock by Swann. Off the ropes, they do a few dodges and a front flip by Swann into a nice dropkick takes Kendrick down. That gets one, and Swann goes to a chinlock. Brian gets back to his feet and suplexes Rich to break. Running boot from Kendrick is followed by a running forearm in the corner by Brian, and he unloads with forearms on Swann. Rich fights back with chops, Brian with forearms, but Kendrick gets caught in a Tiger bomb by Swann. Rich looks for a belly-to-back suplex, Brian elbows out and goes for Sliced Bread #2, Swann counters that into a rollup for one. Rich tries a kick, but Kendrick rolls to the floor. He tries to get back in, but Swann dropkicks him through the ropes, then comes off the barricade with a somersault to take Kendrick down. He tosses Brian back in and covers for two. Big right from Kendrick is answered by shots from Rich, but Swann gets caught with a Saito suplex by Brian. 1,2, no! Kendrick puts Swann in the Captain’s Hook, but he’s too close to the ropes and Rich grabs the bottom to break. Full-nelson by Kendrick and he goes for a Dragon suplex, but Rich lands on his feet and hits a snap belly-to-back that dropped Kendrick on his head.

Swann charges Kendrick in the corner, but gets alley-ooped to the apron, where he nails Kendrick with a right hand that sends Brian to the apron as well. Swann goes up and looks to suplex Brian off the top, but Kendrick fights out and hits a reverse neckbreaker on the top buckle, sending Rich to the floor. The ref starts the count, and Rich barely pulls himself back in at 9. Snap suplex by Kendrick for two. Dragon suplex by Kendrick! 1,2, NO! Brian tries to put on the Captain’s Hook out of the kickout, but Swann blocks it with his arm, so Kendrick decides to put on a straightjacket choke instead, which makes complete sense. Swann manages to get back to his feet, then spin out when Kendrick tries to take him over for the Hook. Michinoku Driver by Rich! 1,2, NO! Kendrick’s eyes are BUGGING out of his head after that one. Kendrick charges….right into a kick from Swann! Swann goes for the standing 450, but Kendrick gets the knees up and rolls him into a small package! 1,2, NO! Brian takes advantage after the kickout and puts on the Hook now, as Swann reaches for the roes, reaches, reaches…..makes it to break! Brian tries to go back to it, but Swann sends him to the apron, then pastes him with a right hand. Rich goes up and pulls Brian to the top rope, but Kendrick bites Swann on the wrist, then repositions…..Super Sliced Bread #2 off the top rope! Aries: “That’s the whole loaf of bread there!” 1,2, NO!!! Kendrick can’t believe it. Neither can I, I thought that was it. Kendrick charges, but Swann avoids it, then nails Kendrick with a spinkick! Swann hits with another one! Rich gives a mighty roar, 3rd kick to the head connects! Kendrick goes down, Swann falls on top, 1,2,3! Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a NEW WWE Cruiserweight Champion! (Rich Swann over “The” Brian Kendrick, pinfall, 13:51)

WORTH WATCHING? – They gave them time, and the result was a hard-hitting, excellent main event. YES, this was worth watching; it’s what they needed here to give the division some excitement and some oomph, and I think Swann is a good choice to hold that title going forward. The match itself did a good job of building to the bigger moves and moments, and while I wish that Rich would have had a more epic ‘finish’, so to speak, the idea that he can just win by hitting three kicks is something that I wish they would do more often, to really push the idea that the match can end out of nowhere. Swann was crisp and on point here, and Kendrick held up his end as well. Not the best match I’ve seen or anything, but a good main event to help put the show over in the debut episode.

Post-match, Swann is awarded the belt and really sells the emotion of the moment, lip quivering, the whole nine. Interview time, as the crowd tells him that he deserves it. Swann thanks his mother while pointing up, saying that he knows she’s looking down on him right now and is here in spirit.

Kendrick, on the other hand, tells us that heartbreaking doesn’t even begin to describe how he feels. He wasn’t beat, he was robbed! TJ Perkins playing mindgames with him backstage cost him the title, and we shouldn’t get used to this; he’ll get his title back!

Swann poses with the title as Mauro tells us that Talking Smack is up next. And we’re done for our first week.

FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: For a debut episode, this was a mixed bag. On the one hand, there were a ton of video packages, which I think is good; one of the problems with these guys on Raw is that no one knows who they are or why they’re fighting each other, because they have no personalities to speak of. Giving them time to try to get that stuff over (Swann’s promo, just as an example, was magnificent and gave his character some contrast from the dancing fool stuff he does on Raw with no depth) is good. But there’s some bad as well; the opening tag was nothing to write home about, Dar is clearly someone they want to do well but his video didn’t come off all that great, and they’ll need to keep the live crowd invested every week to stick around for that hour after Smackdown. Bell-to-bell time was less than half the show; that’s going to wear on a crowd that just watched Smackdown for two hours. Also, Aries had a few decent lines on commentary, but spent most of his time putting himself over; I get that he’s a heel and is planning to come to the division after his injury heals, so that’s why he’s doing it, but it got relatively annoying after awhile. There’s potential here, as soon as they work the kinks out and the better workers rise to the top. Should be a fun ride; see you all next week!

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter