WWE 205 Live airs immediately after Smackdown on the WWE Network, and we will have live coverage of the show beginning at 10pm Eastern. Heading into their match at Wrestlemania, Austin Aries will address Neville in the middle of the ring. Plus, will Akira Tozawa make it to 205 Live?
All this plus more starting at 10pm. Follow here and on Twitter @RingRap for all the fun!
A video recaps the Fatal Five Way Elimination Match from last week, which determined a #1 Contender to Neville’s Cruiserweight Title. Austin Aries walked away the winner of that match.
Backstage, Dasha Fuentes asks Neville why he requested a match against Mustafa Ali tonight. Neville says Ali made a fatal error of disrespecting the king last week when he interrupted Neville. Neville says he annihilates any cruiserweight that disrespects him and gets in his way. He says he doesn’t expect Austin Aries to realize that he is the master, and at Wrestlemania, he’ll make Aries bend a knee to the King of the Cruiserweights.
It’s Corey Graves and Tom Phillips on commentary tonight, as Mauro is out sick. Phillips puts over the leap onto the announcer’s table Shane McMahon made at the end of Smackdown.
TJ Perkins vs. Tony Nese
The Winner: Tony Nese
The Action: Nese flexes and showboats early on. Nese tries to use his strength on Perkins, but Perkins picks up the pace. He takes Nese to the ground with an armdrag, and hits a running head scissors, sending Nese to the floor, before following him with a corkscrew plancha.
Back in the ring, Perkins tries a number of crucifix pins. Nese counters with a gut buster for two. He locks in a body scissors. TJP breaks free to eat a clothesline. Nese wears him down.
Perkins manages to pick up steam and hits a neckbreaker out of the corner. The two brawl on the apron, with Nese hanging Perkins up on the top rope. Nese hits a springboard moonsault for a near fall. Perkins manages to get some space, and heads up top. Nese catches him on the top turnbuckle, and drops his kneepad. Perkins counters and goes for a detonation kick, but the two reverse each other, taking a turnbuckle pad with them. Perkins locks in an armbar, and Nese tries to roll him back.
Perkins hits a gut buster and follows it up with a wrecking ball dropkick on the apron. He leaps off the top rope, but Nese counters, and hits a back suplex into the exposed turnbuckle. A running knee puts TJP away.
The crowd was pretty dead for this, but it was a good match, with some nice action. Once of the better main-roster matches I’ve seen out of both men. It had a decent amount of time and was a good mix of the athletics we loved from the CWC mixed with the WWE mentality.
Dasha approaches Drew Gulak backstage, and asks about his comments on how 205 Live needs to change. Gulak says he lost and was frustrated, but there is a problem and 205 Live does need to change. He says the WWE Universe is responsible for cheering on superstars that act like stuntmen. He says there is hope, and he has the solution.
Akira Tozawa vs. Unnamed Jobber
The Winner: Akira Tozawa
The Action: Tozawa immediately ducks a clothesline and hits a snap German Suplex into a bridged pin. And that’s it.
After the match, Tozawa picks up a mic and asks for Brian Kendrick to come out and fight. “Stop hiding and fight me now!” Tozawa says if Kendrick won’t go to him, he’ll go find Kendrick backstage. Out of nowhere, a “security guard” attacks Tozawa from behind, revealing himself to be Brian Kendrick. He tosses Tozawa into the barricade and hits Sliced Bread #2.
Kendrick says Tozawa could’ve been special under his guidance. His 8th lesson? “Appearances can be deceiving.”
Backstage, Rich Swann is dressed up like Jack Gallagher. Noam Dar and Ariya Daivari walk in with a package. Dar asks if either of them know anything about this – a lacy red dress. Swann tells them what they wear in the privacy of their own home is their business. Anyhow, Dar doesn’t like that, and says he just intercepted a delivery man on his way to bring that to Alicia Fox. He admits that he is no longer sending gifts to Alicia, and that if he were to send more gifts, it would be one step too far. Swann plays dumb, and Dar says he’s trying to sort this out peacefully, but instead he challenges Swann to a match. Swann accepts.
Austin Aries heads out to the ring after a brief commercial. He’s holding a banana peel in his hands, and he literally gives it to a little kid. Hilarious.
An Austin Aries chant breaks out, which he acknowledges. He says he wants to try to have another exclusive interview with Neville again tonight, but he chose to remove the part of the interview that didn’t work – Neville. So, he’s going to ask, and answer, his own questions.
Aries asks himself why Neville calls himself the King of the Cruiserweights. He says some people say Neville may be overcompensating for a lack of self esteem, and other deficiencies. And, he is one of those people.
What makes him think he’s on Neville’s level? He doesn’t. He’s on a level above Neville – the A-Double level.
He skips a question, and then asks what the most embarrassing information he’s uncovered about Neville is? Before he can answer, Neville interrupts, and heads to the ring. Aries says he doesn’t need Neville out there. Neville says he’s got a story about a loud-mouth punk who refused to shut up. Aries reminds him of what happened last time he stepped in his face during an interview, and says Neville is such a Debbie Downer. The fans chant it at Neville.
Aries says Neville thinks he’s running his mouth too much, but he doesn’t think that, and neither does someone else – he’s been asked to sit in on commentary during Neville’s match. Corey Graves hypes up the “surprise” to Phillips.
Neville vs. Mustafa Ali
The Winner: Neville via submission
The Action: Neville turns down a handshake as Ali tells him he’s not afraid of him. Neville takes him out with a shoulder, and holds the ropes for Ali, suggesting he leave now. Ali shuts that down. Ali flips out of an attack, but Neville catches him in a flapjack and shoves him face-first to the match.
Ali hits a hurricarana into a dropkick for a one-count. Neville sends Ali into the air, crashing into the mat. He keeps Ali grounded with nasty kicks and foot grinding. Neville locks in a Camel Clutch-like move, facing Aries and the commentary table. Ali fights out. He catches Neville with a kick on the apron, and hits a cross-body to the floor. Neville makes it into the ring before Ali, who makes it in just before 10. Ali hits a nice pop-up dropkick, a roundhouse on the apron, and a rolling neckbreaker for two. Ali goes for a springboard DDT, and Neville catches him mid air, and crotches him on the ropes. He goes up top, dragging Ali into the corner. Out of nowhere, Ali hits a springboard Spanish Fly off the top rope. It’s only worth two.
Ali climbs up top and sets up the inverted 450. Neville dodges and Ali rolls through, hitting a nasty looking spike DDT instead. Two-count. He goes up for another inverted 450, Neville rolls out of the way onto the apron. Ali picks Neville up, and Neville hits an enzuigiri on the apron. Neville hops up top and goes for a German Suplex. He flips Ali through and Ali lands on his face.
Ali struggles to even move. Neville hesitates, and then drags him to the outside, flapjacking him into the ringpost onto the floor. He rolls Ali into the ring and locks in the Rings of Saturn submission for the win.
After the match, Neville immediately goes face to face with Aries. Aries takes off his jacket. Neville rolls back into the ring, steps on Ali’s face and poses in victory.
An absolutely tremendous match to close the show. It had a slower pace, but everything felt like it had purpose. Mustafa Ali is quickly becoming one of my favorites on the show, and having him go toe-to-toe against the Champion, Neville, was a good move and raises his prestige.
This was one of the better episodes in recent weeks, anchored by two very strong matches. Both the opening and closing matches proved that when booked correctly and given the time, 205 Live can be the best wrestling show WWE offers.
Thank you for following along with me tonight. I’ll see you next week!