WWE 205 LIVE! (3/28/17)
-Rich Swann VS Ariya Daivari; Swann wins.
-Mustafa Ali VS Brandon Scott; Ali wins.
-Akira Tozawa VS THE Brian Kendrick; Kendrick wins.
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WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Neville, wishes to address the comments made by Austin Aries on Monday’s Raw.
The “Austin Aries News Network”, aka AANN, had The New Day predict the next “W! W! E! Cruiser, Weight, Champion~” would be “A! Double! A! Double!” Neville says Aries and The New Day made the mistake of disrespecting the King of the Cruiserweights. No one will be laughing when Neville defeats Aries and “puts him in his place.” However, the WWE Universe’s reaction confirms to Neville that he will “forever be underappreciated”. Clearly everyone wants Neville’s reign to stop, but has anyone even thought about what 205 Live would be like without Neville? Neville has, but he’ll give the audience a glimpse of that tonight. Does that mean Neville will refuse to be part of tonight’s action?
Rich Swann VS Ariya Daivari!
While the Outlandish One has had trouble with the Scottish Supernova, he instead faces the Persian Lion tonight in Richmond, as Dar suffered an injury during his match with Austin Aries last night on Raw. Handshake given reluctantly by Daivari, he and Swann tie up and Daivari throws Swann down with a waistlock slam. Daivari trash talks in Farsi as Swann gets back up, the two tie up again. Daivari wrenches Swann’s arm and wrist, Swann turns it around into a hammerlock, Daivari then turns that around to a headlock. Swann powers out of the headlock but Daivari shoulders him down. Things speed up, Swann ducks then front flips over Daivari, a dropkick floors the Persian Lion. Daivari escapes the corner splash but Swann then slides out to meet him, Daivari lifts and dumps Swann onto the announce table! Daivari gets in the ring to gloat for just a moment, then returns to the outside to throw Swann to a post. Daivari throws hands and trash talks more before putting Swann back in the ring. Daivari stalks and stomps Swann, TWO. Daivari drags Swann up and puts on another hammerlock, point blank lariat, TWO. Daivari keeps on Swann with ferocious elbows to the shoulder before a chinlock to wrench and squeeze the neck. Swann fights back but is whipped hard to one corner and hip tossed into another. TWO! Daivari stomps and grinds a foot into Swann, then goes top rope for a Frog Splash belly flop! Swann pulls himself up, throws hands on Daivari, a roundhouse rocks Daivari but Daivari gives a knee lift. Swann hits a back kick, modified Michinoku Driver/Falcon’s Arrow pin, TWO! Daivari throws Swann at the referee, Swann slams the brakes, Cobra Clutch to neckbreaker! Daivari top rope again, Frog Splash hits! TWO! Daivari is shocked by that kick out. He drags Swann to the corner, Swann revives to give a SUPERKICK then No Hands Huricanrana! Swann goes top rope now, Phoenix Splash! Swann wins! Will this help propel the former champion towards another chance at the title?
Alicia Fox is interviewed backstage. She lets us know that Noam Dar wanted to be here to face Swann himself but was not cleared. Dar will be back soon enough, and will dominate once again. That’s when Swann comes by to say he was also looking forward to facing Dar tonight. So pass on the word, if you could, “Get well soon.” That’s when a new gift is delivered! Alicia signs and takes the box, opening it to reveal it is perfume!
Someone must care about her a lot to get her something like that. But who…? Also, Alicia doesn’t just spray her body, but her tongue so she can taste it…
Mustafa Ali is found backstage by Drew Gulak. Gulak wants to talk that match between Ali and Neville last week. Sure, Ali didn’t get the win, but Ali’s pure in-ring ability can put 205 Live on the map. But is it “the right map”? Maybe…? Is Gulak criticizing his high flying style? So what if it’s risky, it gets the fans excited! It feels right. Gulak expects nothing less. But what is the right thing? Do they want the greatest athletes in the world risking their well-being for the sake of spectacle? Is the integrity of this sport worth trading in for audience satisfaction? Gulak believes that the superstars of 205 Live can rally together to create a “grass roots movement” to bring “traditional, wholesome, safe–” Ali left, as made clear by his theme music playing. Gulak’s campaigning might be barking up the wrong tree.
Mustafa Ali VS Brandon Scott!
The Pakistani Prince continues his quest to change the minds of the people while also entertaining them, but this surly Scott and his 205-Live color scheme don’t seem to care. Ali rolls into a takedown, Scott pulls hair to get out of a headlock but Ali just shoulders him down and flips over him. Armdrag after armdrag, Ali then gives Scott a headscissor takedown and a windmill heel kick to the face. Scott scrambles to ropes, Ali backs off, Scott yanks him into the ropes and kicks away at the ribs. Gulak watches as the referee backs Scott down from a ropebreak. Even so, Scott just reels Ali in for a clubbing clothesline, TWO. Scott goes second rope, his diving fist drop misses! Ali gives an open hand chop but is backed down by a knee to the gut. Scott rushes in, Ali goes up and over, then hops up for a top rope crossbody! Gulak is not pleased by Ali doing the risky flying maneuvers. Ali fires up with lariats and a flapjack dropkick. Ali charges into a corner, slips out of the way to sharply roundhouse Scott before hitting the rolling neckbreaker! Ali then goes back to the top rope, Inverted 450! Ali wins, proving Gulak wrong!
Akira Tozawa VS THE Brian Kendrick!
Finally, after weeks of “lessons” that felt more like hazing, the Stamina Monster gets to have The Man with a Plan in the ring for a proper showdown. The fans already get the battle cry going, Tozawa boots Kendrick right out the gate. Then with Kendrick on the outside, TOZAWA TORPEDO! Tozawa gets Kendrick back in the ring before going tope rope, SUPER BACK SENTON! TWO! Tozawa keeps on Kendrick with many chops in the corner before giving a snapmare. Kendrick ducks the Penalty Kick, but he falls for the Feint ‘n’ Jab! TWO, and Kendrick scrambles to the ropes. He hotshots Tozawa’s arm, reverse headlock takedown into Captain’s Hook! Tozawa slips out, Kendrick fights off the German Suplex so Tozawa clubs him in the back. Kendrick slips out of the ring fast, so he takes a second TOZAWA TORPEDO! Tozawa follows up as he puts Kendrick into a barrier, then another. Kendrick shoves Tozawa away, Tozawa comes running, drop toehold into the steel ramp! Kendrick leaves Tozawa to the mercy of the ten count, a la one of the earlier lessons. Tozawa makes it just in time, keeping the match alive. Kendrick stomps away, then drags Tozawa to his feet. Tozawa shoves Kendrick away, Kendrick boots Tozawa in the face. Tozawa rolls to the apron, Kendrick drags him back up and suplexes him back in! TWO! Tozawa’s mouth still hurts from that faceplant, Kendrick tries to put on the Captain’s Hook. Tozawa struggles agaisnt it, so Kendrick slips on a full nelson for a moment, it turns into an underhook chicken wing. Tozawa endures it all and gets the ropebreak! Kendrick drags Tozawa up, stiff back suplex, TWO. Kendrick sits on Tozawa to give crossface punches while stretching his neck back. One more try at the Captain’s Hook but once again Tozawa resists so it becomes a modified Cobra Clutch. Tozawa endures as Kendrick screams for him to give up. Tozawa gets up as the fans rally with his battle cry. Tozawa fights out, throwing hands and forearms, but then Kendrick’s back elbow on the run staggers him. Tozawa slips out of the standard suplex, Kendrick back elbows out of the German Suplex, Tozawa spikes Kendrick with a huricanrana. Kendrick staggers about, running leg lariat from Tozawa knocks him down. TWO! Tozawa lets out the battle cry now, the fans echo it, Tozawa whips Kendrick corner to corner for a bicycle boot! He keeps Kendrick moving, back kick but misses the roundhouse so Tozawa slips under. Kendrick knows it’s coming so he back elbows again to prevent the German Suplex, Sliced Bread #2! TWO!! Kendrick drags Tozawa over, Captain’s Hook finally applied! Tozawa endures the torque, his mouthguard even comes out as he drags himself to the rope and gets the break again. Kendrick keeps on him, kicking and clubbing before lifting him to the top rope. Kendrick climbs up to join him, but Tozawa stops him with clubbing forearms of his own. Tozawa adjusts position, the buckle pad comes off, Tozawa fires up with his battle cry but those back elbows knock him away. Tozawa responds with a running kick to the back. He fires up again before rushing back at Kendrick. All according to plan, as Kendrick side steps to let Tozawa hit exposed steel! Kendrick then rolls Tozawa up and wins! Kendrick then takes a mic and tells Tozawa that was Lesson #9: Anything and everything can be used as a weapon.
The King of the Cruiserweights appears!
He promised to show us what 205 Live and the division would be like without him, yet he is here. He finds himself “at a crossroads, at a time of reflection”. Neville has not had it easy, he has had to pick himself up after being “belittled, disrespected and overlooked” in his career. Just one year ago, right before what would’ve been his first Wrestlemania, he broke his ankle and saw the world move on without him. So he picked himself back up and returned to the WWE as part of 205 Live, where he “carried this division”, “changed the landscape” and is the reason there even IS a Cruiserweight Championship match at Wrestlemania! Yet, the WWE Universe vilifies him!? You’d rather cheer that “commentary clown” Austin Aries? The fans in fact do cheer for Austin Aries. Yes, the man who makes “cheap little jokes”. They should be careful what they wish for. Here’s the promised footage of a 205 Live without Neville: there is none. Because 205 Live would be NOTHING without Neville! Wrestlemania is not about the fans, about Austin Aries, about 205 Live, but about Neville’s “long overdue moment in the sun!” However, with all this mention of Austin Aries, Austin Aries appears! The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived uses this as an example of the difference between them. Neville blames and runs down everyone else, “simply to feed your ego.” Not Aries, he gives credit where credit is due. He’d never say there’d be no 205 Live without A-Double, but 205 Live is twice as good with A-Double. He’d never say Neville is not a great competitor, but he will say that Neville is not as good as Aries. Yes Aries has jokes, he uses wit to add humor, because otherwise he’d be just as “angry and miserable” as Neville. But there are also ways they’re the same: their whole life, they’ve had to prove others wrong; everything they have, they’d have to fight for and take it for themselves; and they both have big egos and even bigger chips on their shoulders; and most of all, no matter where they are on the card, as soon as they hit the ring, they believe themselves to be the main event and guarantee to “burn the house down!” And that’s what these two will do together at Wrestlemania. Neville can say what he wants about Aries, but Aries knows that Neville knows who Aries is and what he’s capable of, which includes taking that title! Neville decks Aries and stomps away! Neville drags Aries to his feet only to throw him to the mat again. Neville starts to storm off, title in hand, but then his sadistic mind decides something else. Aries decks him with the microphone! LAST CHANCERY! But only for a moment before Neville slips out and gets away! Aries does not fear the King of the Cruiserweights, and lets him slip away with the belt for now, but will Aries become the Greatest Cruiserweight Champion Who Ever Lived come Sunday?
Just as it saddens me that the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship was relegated to the Wrestlemania kickoff, I am also saddened that the Cruiserweight Championship will be scheduled as a kickoff match as well. I feel like WWE put the Cruiserweight Division in a Catch-22: No one will watch, so why should WWE bother treating it like it’s important? But if WWE doesn’t treat it like it’s important, no one will watch. However, a friend of mine may have found the real key to why–despite the potential, despite the excitement and despite the talent signed to the Division–the Cruiserweight Division is failing: WWE has isolated the Division, keeping it divided from the rest of the roster. The original forms of the Cruiserweight Division had the requirement that only those under 205 pounds be eligible for the title while allowing them to compete for other title belts (Chavo Guerrero Jr, Billy Kidman, Paul London, and Rey Mysterio are examples of WWE superstars who were Cruiserweight Champion and tag team champion during their careers).
As such, I’m honestly really enjoying this new wrestling politician gimmick Drew Gulak is going through. While he isn’t really voicing the right concerns–wanting to reduce flips and increase mat style–his character may be a sort of reverse psychology. What fans want is the flips flipped and risks taken, and 205 Live/the Cruiserweight Division needs to be allowed more of that to gain the interest of fans, as represented by Mustafa Ali. Thankfully there’s still good story writing like Tozawa VS Kendrick or Dar’s anxiety over keeping “Alicia Foooooox”, and promo-delivering powerhouse like Neville and Austin Aries–as established tonight–to keep things afloat. Though, given tonight’s match of Tozawa VS Kendrick (as well as the others), there is some promise on that front as well.
My Score: 8/10