By Jason Powell
WWE 205 Live on WWE Network
Aired live from Uncasville, Connecticut at Mohegan Sun Arena
The show opened with a recap video… Backstage, Dasha Fuentes interviewed Neville and asked why he asked for a match against Mustafa Ali. He was unhappy about Ali interrupting him last week and labeled it a fatal error. He said Austin Aries will realize that he is the master. Neville said Aries will be forced to bend a knee and pay homage to him… The 205 Live opening aired… Tom Phillips and Corey Graves were on commentary at the desk that was still tore up following Smackdown…
Powell’s POV: I’m filling in for Zack Zimmerman this week. Zack is at the show in person and you can follow along with his tweets via @dotnetzim. He will be by on Wednesday with an All Access audio review of this show with additional notes on the live experience at Smackdown.
1. TJ Perkins vs. Tony Nese. Nese offered a handshake and then pulled his hand away when Perkins was about to shake it. Late in the match, Perkins went up top and Nese tripped him up. Nese went for a running knee, but Perkins caught him and wanted to perform his Detonation Kick, but Nese held on. Perkins applied a submission hold and got a two count. Nese got another two count off a gut buster. Nese came back with a suplex into the corner and then hit the running knee for the win…
Tony Nese pinned TJ Perkins in 10:30.
Powell’s POV: This felt like a Raw consolation match, as both men lost the cruiserweight matches on Monday night. It was the usual solid match for these two, yet it felt flat because it felt random and nothing was at stake.
Backstage, Drew Gulak was shaking hands with a production crew member when Dasha asked him to clarify his comments from last week about 205 Live having a problem. He said he was lost and frustrated. He then said 205 Live has a problem. Huh? He said the fans are directly to blame. He said they have athletes who act like stunt men and the fans cheer them on, creating a dangerous environment. He said there is hope and he has the solution…
The broadcast team discussed Smackdown briefly… [C]
Powell’s POV: I’m mildly intrigued by what they are doing with Gulak. I don’t know where it’s going, but it’s nice that he’s getting a chance to talk.
2. Akira Tozawa vs. Alex Reynolds. The wrestlers shook hands. Reynolds charged Tozawa, who side stepped him and performed the snap German suplex for the win….
Akira Tozawa defeated Alex Reynolds in 0:05.
After the match, Tozawa called out Brian Kendrick, telling him to stop hiding and fight him. When Kendrick didn’t come out, Tozawa said he would go to him instead. Kendrick, dressed as a security guard, attacked Tozawa at ringside. Kendrick left Tozawa lying with Sliced Bread No. 2 off the apron. Kendrick took the mic and said Tozawa could have been special under his guidance. Lesson eight was that appearances can be deceiving…
Powell’s POV: Well, at least Tozawa apparently got his paperwork back. I’m still not sure how it caused him to miss last night’s show, but whatever. Reynolds wasn’t even mentioned by name by the broadcast team.
Backstage, Jack Gallagher and Rich Swann were talking when Noam Dar and Ariya Daivari entered the room. Dar pulled a nightie out of a gift box and said neither one of them better be gifting it to Alicia Fox. Dar and Swann set up a match for next week… [C]
Austin Aries came to the ring for a promo. He said he decided to eliminate the problem with his interview last night by excluding Neville. He read questions and answered them. He said Neville overcompensates and he’s on a higher level than Neville is. He asked for the most embarrassing thing he’s learned as an investigative journalist.
Neville interrupted the answer and entered the ring. Aries told him to remember what happened the last time he got in his face during an interview. Aries said Neville is a Debbie Downer and that’s why no one likes him. Some of the fans chanted “Debbie Downer” at Neville.
Neville told Aries to quit while he’s ahead. He told him to leave while he showed Mustafa Ali what happens when you mess with the king. Aries teased leaving and then informed Neville that he had been invited to sit in on color commentary. Graves said he invited Aries and called him the second best broadcast partner he has had next to Michael Cole… [C]
3. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs. Mustafa Ali in a non-title match. Neville blew off the handshake. Aries spoke about being in the ring with main eventers and Hall of Famers. He said he didn’t need to list his credentials. Graves spoke about how dangerous Neville has been. Aries said Neville has never faced him and spoke about facing him on the biggest stage in 12 days. Aries also said he wouldn’t be offering much on commentary because he was focussed on Neville.
Neville got the better of Ali briefly and turned his attention to jawing at Aries. Ali took advantage of the distraction. Neville regrouped quickly and went back to staring at Aries. Meanwhile, Aries asked Graves if he’s nervous calling his first WrestleMania. “I’m terrified,” Graves said. Aries indicated that he does not feel the same way about his own WrestleMania debut.
Ali performed a twisting cross body block onto Aries at ringside. Back inside the ring, Ali performed a neckbreaker for a two count. Ali performed a springboard Spanish Fly off the top rope for a two count. Wow. Ali followed up with a great spike DDT for another near fall. Ali went up top. Neville slid under the bottom rope. Neville caught Ali with a kick from the apron.
Neville went up top and performed a release German suplex. Fans chanted “this is awesome.” Aries said it was awesome, but he would have landed on his feet. Neville went to the floor and flung Ali into the post. Neville glared at Aries as he dragged Ali by the arm. Neville rolled Ali back inside the ring and continued to taunt Aries. Neville applied the Rings of Saturn for the win…
Neville beat Mustafa Ali in a non-title match in 15:25.
After the match, Neville went to ringside and jawed at Aries before returning to the ring and posing over Ali.
Powell’s POV: A very competitive and entertaining non-title match main event. I thought this would be more of a showcase for Neville than it actually was. I actually preferred the serious Aries we heard on commentary more than the comedic bit of Aries interviewing himself. I hope Aries is able to carry that version of his persona over to Monday’s Raw. The rest of the show was just there. They are doing a decent job of building up to an eventual Tozawa vs. Kendrick match. Check back on Wednesday for Zack’s All Access audio review of this show from his in-person perspective.