WWE 205 Live airs on the WWE Network starting at 10pm, Eastern, immediately after Smackdown goes off the air. We will have live coverage of the show here, as well on Twitter @RingRap.
Currently announced, Brian Kendrick will finally take on Akira Tozawa in a one on one match. Plus, Neville and Austin Aries will likely have a final confrontation heading into their Wrestlemania title match.
Join us here starting at 10pm Eastern for all the fun!
Neville speaks to Dasha Fuentes to start the show. She recaps hit win over Jack Gallagher, and Austin Aries making fun of Neville with New Day. Neville says based on last night and other reactions, he’ll never be appreciated in this place. He says noone has thought about what 205 Live would be like without him. He says tonight he’ll show everyone 205 Live without Neville.
Tom Phillips and Corey Grave welcome to the show, and hype that it’s the first time the Cruiserweight Title will be defended at Wrestlemania in over a decade, plus Kendrick vs. Tozawa. But first…
Rich Swann vs. Ariya Daivari
The Winner: Rich Swann
The Action: Tom Phillips informs us that Noam Dar was injured last night and isn’t cleared to compete, so Daivari is stepping in for him. The match is slow to start, but Swann gets control with a nice dropkick. He pursues Daivari out of the ring, but Daivari ducks him and uses the confusion to hit a spinebuster into the announcer’s table. He sends Swann into the ringpost.
Back in the ring, Daivari hits a clothesline with Swann’s arm pinned. He sends Swann chest-first into the top turnbuckle, then liberally tosses him into the opposite turnbuckle. He misses a frogsplash from up top. Swann starts to fire up, hitting a knee and a kick, and a driver for two. Daivari locks a Cobra Clutch into a neck breaker. He connects with a frog splash, and Swann barely kicks out.
Swann catches Daivari up top with a hurricarana and follows it up with a Phoenix Splash for the win.
As Swann celebrates, Corey Graves rips into Tom Phillips for doubting Noam Dar’s relationship with Alicia Fox. Funny.
Speaking of Fox, Dasha asks her about Noam Dar’s condition. She says he’ll be cleared soon, but she’s interrupted by Rich Swann, who says he doesn’t know what Dar’s problem with him is, but he wants Dar to “get well soon.” While he’s standing there, a courier brings a package for Fox. It’s perfume. She starts spraying herself as Swann says someone must really care about her. She pauses for a second, looking like she’s deep in thought, and then she sprays the stuff into her mouth. “That’s good.”
Backstage, Drew Gulak approaches Mustafa Ali. He says even though Ali didn’t beat Neville last week, he believes Ali’s in-ring ability can put 205 Live on the map. Gulak wonders if it’s the right map. Ali says his high flying moves feel right and the fans seem to be responding. Gulak asks him what kind of place 205 Live should be, and says the integrity of the sport shouldn’t be traded for flips and risks. He trails off as he speaks, and while he cuts his promo, Ali walks off, as he heads to the ring for a match.
Mustafa Ali vs. Brandon Scott
The Winner: Mustafa Ali
The Action: Ali goes for a rolling leg lock early on. Ali flips over Scott, and hits a set of armdrags. Ali hits an awkward head scissors and connects with a spinning kick. Scott hits a clothesline sending Ali head over heels. He heads up top and misses a diving punch. Ali picks up steam, hitting a springboard cross-body. Ali hits a close dropkick. On the apron, he connects with a kick to the face, hits a dive roll neckbreaker, and readies up the reverse 450, which connects for the win.
Ali is earning good crowd reactions week after week, and this week was no different. They need to give him the mic and give him a chance to get himself over. He comes across as very genuine, and the fans will feel that.
A video package recaps Neville’s reign as champ and Austin Aries’ debut in the division.
Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick
The Winner: Brian Kendrick
The Action: Both men go nose to nose, and when the bell rings, Tozawa nails Kendrick with a boot to the face. He follows him out of the ring with a diving headbutt. Tozawa heads up top and hits a flying senton in the ring for two.
Kendrick ducks a kick to the head but eats a right hand to the jaw. Kendrick hangs Tozawa on the top rope and immediately goes into a Captain’s Hook, but Tozawa breaks free. Kendrick rolls out of the ring, and once more, Tozawa hits a diving headbutt through the ropes. He tosses Kendrick into the barricades, until Kendrick hits a drop-toe hold onto the ramp.
Kendrick rolls into the ring, and Tozawa slides in on the count of 9. Kendrick keeps control, trying for a Sliced Bread #2, but Tozawa fights free. Kendrick suplexes him off the apron for two. Kendrick locks in a crossface of sorts, Tozawa breaks it on the ropes. Kendrick continues with the attack on the face and goes for crossface variants. He locks in a Cobra Clutch variant. Tozawa breaks free. He flips out of a suplex and hits a hurricarana. Tozawa hits a kick to the head and covers for two.
Tozawa hits a running kick. Kendrick counters with Sliced Bread #2 for a believable near fall. Kendrick locks in Captain’s Hook again, Tozawa makes it to the ropes. Kendrick continues the onslaught, and he sets Tozawa up on the top rope. Kendrick goes for a top rope Sliced Bread #2, but Tozawa fights free. The top turnbuckle pad is dislodged by Kendrick, who then hits a series of elbows. Tozawa hits a kick to Kendrick’s back. Tozawa charges Kendrick, who moves out of the corner, and Tozawa hits the exposed turnbuckle. Kendrick with a roll-up and a win.
After the match, Kendrick calls it lesson #9 – anything and everything can be used as a weapon.
Tozawa took the turnbuckle spot a little gingerly, which is a stark contrast from the rest of his offense, and really stood out. Otherwise, a good match between these two. I’m looking forward to Tozawa getting the eventual win over Kendrick, but I’m concerned they’re dragging this out a little bit longer than it needs to be.
Neville comes out to the ring, title in hand. He says they’re five days out from Wrestlemania. He finds himself at a crossroads, and is reflecting on his life and career, everything that has put him where he stands today. Neville says he’s never had it easy. Last year, three weeks out from his first Wrestlemania, he breaks his ankle, and he watched the world revolve like nothing happened. So he picked himself up and arrived at 205 Live, and carried the division on his back. Without him, there would be no match at Wrestlemania.
He says the fans villify him and advises those that want to dethrone the King of the Crusierweights to be careful what they wish for. He has footage for us of what the show would be, and he rolls a blank screen.
“That’s right, nothing! I am 205 Live.” He rambles on about how the show is all about him, until Austin Aries interrupts him. Aries says this is the difference between them – Neville wants to point fingers and discredit everyone simply to feed an ego. Aries will give credit where it’s due – he’ll never say there will be no 205 Live without Austin Aries – but with Austin Aries it’s twice as great. He’ll never say Neville isn’t deserving of being Cruiserweight champ, but he’s that much better. He uses jokes to lighten things up, because otherwise he’d walk around life as miserable as he is.
Aries says they’re not that different – their whole life they’ve had to prove people wrong. They’ve had to fight for and outwork people for everything. They’ve had to take everything because it wasn’t handed to them, and because of that both of them have big egos. But that brings them to the place they’re most alike – no matter where they are on the card, when they step in the ring, in their minds they are the main attraction, and they will tear the house down. He says on Sunday that is what they will do.
Aries says Neville can talk about him not being competition, not being at his level, but Aries knows that Neville knows exactly who he is, and he will take his WWE – and Neville cuts him off.
Neville elbows Aries right in the mouth. He kicks Aries down and slams his face into the mat. Neville gloats a bit and goes to set Aries up for another move, but Aries jabs him in the neck with the microphone. He tries to lock in the Last Chancery, Neville breaks free and bails out of the ring. Aries looks at the Wrestlemania sign as Neville retreats.
It’s a shame this match is on the preshow, because it’s one of the few matches I’m interested in at Wrestlemania. That said, these two are guaranteed to put on a good match, and hopefully they’ll have enough time to do so.
205 Live is in a weird spot with their stories. Everything is about Wrestlemania, but this show is in sort of a bubble. With only one match on the card, nothing else feels as important.
Bill and I will have lots to talk about tomorrow on Ring Rap Audio. Please join us for our Wrestlemania predictions and lots more!