WWE 205 Live comes at us immediately after WWE Smackdown, starting at 10pm Eastern. We will be at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL, and have two matches already announced for the evening, including Rich Swann taking on Neville in a non-title match, and Jack Gallagher taking on Ariya Daivari in a “Gentlemen’s Duel.”
Be sure to join us here at 10pm for live coverage, or on Twitter @RingRap!
Our show opens with a recap of Neville’s arrival in the cruiserweight division, bringing us up to speed, with Neville vs. Rich Swann in the main event tonight. They show a great shot of the arena, and Chicago is more than happy to stay for one more hour of wrestling.
Mauro Ranallo, Corey Graves, and Austin Aries on commentary tonight. They plug the main event, and we go to ringside for the opening match.
Cedric Alexander (w/ Alicia Fox) vs. Tony Nese (w/ Drew Gulak)
Winner: Tony Nese
The Reax: Gulak comes out wearing a suit and tie for some reason. Nese and Alexander shake hands. It’s back and forth initially, but my attention is focused on my two cats that are brawling on the coffee table in front of me. True pro wrestling, folks. Anyhow, Nese sends Alexander off the top turnbuckle to the floor.
Back in the ring, Alexander hits a European uppercut. Nese does a kippup to dodge a clothesline in a cool spot. Alexander gets some steam, and hits a gorgeous springboard roundhouse kick. Alexander hits a springboard clothesline for two. Outside the ring, Drew Gulak and Alicia Fox start having words. Gulak takes a dive and says Fox hit him, and the referee sends her backstage. It provides enough of a distraction for Nese to hit a sick uppercut for the win.
An entertaining match, but nothing special.
Alicia Fox paces back and forth backstage. Noam Dar approaches her, all smiles. “Fancy seeing you here.” He says he knows Christmas was Sunday, but he got her a present. Dar pulls out some mistletoe and hangs it above their heads. She slaps him. He asks her for one more, and she slaps him again. She walks away, and Dar says “Merry Christmas to me.”
We see a pretaped interview with Renee Young interviewing Neville. He’s pissed that he was overlooked in the Cruiserweight Classic. He says he’s too good, and if he were in the tournament it wouldn’t have been a challenge. He calls it a discrimination. He says he’s been discriminated since he got here. He says he is the King of the Cruiserweights. He talks about Rich Swann being his youngboy in Japan, and says he is not on his level. Neville says something Young doesn’t understand, and Neville ends the interview early.
Mustafa Ali vs. John Urnen?
Winner: Mustafa Ali
The Reax: Ali is announced as being from Chicago to a great pop. Urnen didn’t even get an intro, let alone his name across the bottom, so I feel like he’s only here for tonight. Urnen is favoring a leg and hopping around. The ref check son him but they continue. Ali suckers him in and hits a DDT, then lands an inverted 450 splash for the win.
Ali was playing the role of a heel on his debut, but you wouldn’t know it from the Chi-Town crowd. After the match, Dasha congratulates him on his first win. He says Chicago made him. He says he’s always had to fight stereotypes because of his name, and he felt he would have to prove the WWE fans wrong, but they proved him wrong. He says it’s not a perfect world, but with every victory he earns, he’ll let that speak for itself.
Ali is much more natural as a babyface, and I’m glad they picked up on that quickly. The crowd loved him, his offense is flashy and crisp, and it just seems to fit his promo style.
A video package airs on Ariya Daivari, highlighting his accomplishments. He talks about his brother’s legacy, and feels that he’s already exceeded it.
Ariya Daivari vs. Jack Gallagher in a Gentlemen’s Duel
Winner: Jack Gallagher
The Reax: Gallagher is dressed in a suit and bowtie. He takes off his jacket upon reaching the ring. There’s a table set up in the ring, with various objects. Gallagher says his name was besmirched, so here they are. Daivari says he doesn’t even know what a duel is. Gallagher looks appalled, but says he’ll walk him through it. He tells him to pick a weapon, and he introduces each time on the table – a frying pan, a rope, a lead pipe, an umbrella, a wrench, a candlestick (and a nod to Clue), and a tea kettle. He allows Daivari to pick his weapon first. Daivari picks a lead pipe, Gallagher picks an umbrella. Daivari wants to go, but Gallagher lays down the rules – they have to stand back to back, walk five paces, turn and fight, until someone gives up. Daivari, naturally, tries to get a cheap shot, and Gallagher was ready for it, ducking the lead pipe, hitting Daivari in the crotch and nailing him in the head. Daivari recovers and takes Gallagher out from behind. He picks up a wrench, but Gallagher recovers, hitting a headbutt and a running dropkick in the corner. Daivari bails out of the ring, leaving Gallagher with the win.
Another vignette for Taijiri airs, who is officially coming back next week.
Neville vs. Rich Swann in a non-title match
The Reax: Neville stares down a number of fans on his way to the ring. Swann immediately goes on the offense. He hits a flying forearm off the ropes, and lands a series of punches in the corner. Neville bails out of the ring, Swann following him. Swann hits a flip out the ropes into a dropkick. Neville cuts him off before he can leap out of the ring.
Neville tosses Swann head first into the barricade, then launches him into the video apron. Neville leaps over the ropes with a corkscrew flip that doesn’t really connect. Back in the ring, Neville charges Swann in the corner, hits two. The fans start chanting for Austin Aries, and he addresses it on commentary, saying he does appreciate the chants, but “let’s watch the men in the ring.” Good on ya, A-Double. Neville hits a nasty tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a standing shooting star press to the back. He hits a dropkick off the top for two. Swann fights out of a headlock. He catches Neville with a hurricarana off the top rope. He kicks Neville on the apron and hits a Phoenix Splash off the 2nd turnbuckle to the floor.
Back in the ring, Swann hits a tiger bomb for two. Neville catches Swann with an enzuigiri on the apron. He runs the ropes, until Swann catches him with a superkick. Swann hits the Fantastic Voyage for a very believable near fall. Neville catches Swann with a boot in the corner, then heads up top, missing a corkscrew moonsault. Swann connects with a superkick for two. Swann heads up top, Neville meets him there, but Swann fights free. He starts to stand up, but Neville counters, taking out the legs. He hits an enzuigiri, and sets up Swann for a superplex. It connects, and Neville makes the cover, getting the pin.
After the match, Neville eyes up Swann, and kicks him a number of times. He hits a deadlift German suplex, then kicks Swann in the head. He does it a second time. Extra referees come out to break up the attack.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen someone win a match with a superplex, but it was so gorgeous I don’t have a problem with it. And, as much as I love seeing the Red Arrow, it’s a flashy move for a heel. But the post-match attack is what really took it to the next level. Neville’s got his persona dialed in solid right now, and it shows.
An entertaining episode. I’ve been looking forward to seeing some of the talent that have not debuted yet, so tonight was a bit disappointing in that respect. I was shocked to see Gallagher make a Gentlemen’s Duel as entertaining as it was, but he did. Next week, Taijiri makes his debut, and I am excited to see that!
Thank you for joining me tonight folks! See you next week for 205 Live!