3/28 Powell’s WWE 205 Live TV Review: Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick, the final push for Neville vs. Austin Aries at WrestleMania

By Jason Powell

WWE 205 Live on WWE Network
Aired live from Richmond, Virginia at Richmond Coliseum

Backstage, Neville was shown footage of his win over Jack Gallagher on Raw and the Austin Aries “news report” with New Day skit. Neville said they made a critical error by disrespecting the cruiserweight champion. He said everyone wants to see his reign end. He said to imagine what the division would be like without him. He said they would find out on this show… The 205 Live opening aired…

Tom Phillips and Corey Graves checked in on commentary and spoke about the WWE Cruiserweight Championship being defended at WrestleMania. Graves said his personal nightmare occurs on this show because Neville won’t be appearing. Phillips hyped the Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick main event.

1. Rich Swann vs. Ariya Daivari. The wrestlers shook hands. Daivari shoved Swann’s hand aside. Daivari threw Swann to the mat to start the match. Swann took control briefly, but Daivari caught him at ringside and dropped him onto the broadcast table. Daivari controlled the offense until Swann avoided a frogsplash attempt.

Swann caught Daivari with a kick, but Daivari came right back with a knee. Swann performed a modified Michinoku Driver for a two count. Daivari applied a Cobra Clutch and performed a neckbreaker. Daivari performed a frogsplash for a good near fall. Swann came back and performed a Phoenix Splash for thew win…

Rich Swann defeated Ariya Daivari in 7:30.

Powell’s POV: I figured this would be pretty straight forward given that Daivari loses so frequently, but this turned out to be a good, competitive match. Unfortunately, the atmosphere is atrocious with the fans just sitting on their hands.

The broadcast team argued at ringside about Alicia Fox. Graves also questioned what life would be like without Neville…

Backstage, Alicia Fox was interviewed about Noam Dar suffering injuries on Raw. Fox said he wanted to compete but he wasn’t cleared yet. Swann showed up and said he doesn’t know what Dar’s problem is, but he was looking forward to their match. Swann told Fox to tell Dar to get well soon from him. A delivery man dropped off a package for Fox that contained perfume. Swann told her that someone must really care about her. After Swann walked away, Fox sprayed it in her mouth and said, “Mmm, that’s good”…

Powell’s POV: Fox eats flowers and spray perfume in her mouth. This must be cracking up someone backstage.

Backstage, Drew Gulak approached Mustafa Ali and said his ability could put 205 Live on the map. Gulak questioned if it was the right map. Gulak questioned what they want 205 Live to be and whether it’s worth it to have the wrestlers hurting themselves by doing flips and tricks. Gulak looked into the distance while he talked about how they could take a stand. Ali’s music played in the arena. Gulak looked over and noticed that he was gone…

2. Mustafa Ali vs. Brandon Scott. Phillips noted that it was Ali’s birthday. Gulak was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Scott performed a short-arm clothesline that turned Ali inside out, which drew some gasps from the crowd. Ali came back with a nice cross body block. Gulak was shown looking bothered by the top rope move. Ali caught Scott with a kick in the corner and then performed a neckbreaker. Ali followed up with the inverted 450 splash for the win. Ali bled from the mouth a bit afterward but seemed fine…

Mustafa Ali beat Brandon Scott in 3:30.

Powell’s POV: A nice showcase win for Ali. I’m not sure whether Gulak’s campaign to eliminate the high spots is setting up a feud with Ali or if he will take issue with other high flyers.

A video package focussed on the Neville vs. Austin Aries feud heading into their WrestleMania match… An NXT Takeover commercial aired…

3. Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick. Tozawa declined to shake hands. He dominated early and got the crowd going by yelling. Back in the ring, Tozawa performed a top rope senton for a two count. Kendrick made a play for Captain’s Hook, Graves noted that Tozawa had his fingers blocking the hold. Tozawa dumped Kendrick to ringside and performed another suicide dive. Kendrick performed a drop toehold on the entrance ramp.

Kendrick controlled the next few minutes and then cut off a Tozawa comeback with Sliced Bread No. 2 for a two count. Kendrick applied the Captain’s Hook finisher. Tozawa reached the ropes to break the hold. A short time later, they fought for position on the ropes and then the turnbuckle was exposed. Kendrick elbowed Tozawa off the ropes, but Tozawa recovered and caught him with a kick. Tozawa charged him, Kendrick moved, and then Kendrick rolled up Tozawa for the win after he ran into the exposed turnbuckle. Afterward, Kendrick said lesson nine is that anything can be used as a weapon…

Brian Kendrick beat Akira Tozawa in 10:15.

Powell’s POV: A very good match. Tozawa managed to wake up this flat crowd a bit. Kendrick’s lessons are getting a little tiresome, but I am enjoying the feud between these two.

The broadcast team hyped the WWE Network special events for WrestleMania week…

Neville made his entrance. Phillips hyped the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match for the Kickoff Show. Neville stood in the ring and said they were five days out from WrestleMania. He said he finds himself at a crossroads. He said he is not someone who has had it easy. He said he faced many trials and tribulations and had to pick himself up. He said he’s been belittled and overlooked throughout his career.

Neville said it was just last year when he broke his ankle three weeks before what was supposed to be his first WrestleMania. He said the world revolved as if nothing happened. He picked himself up again. Neville said he has carried 205 Live and there wouldn’t even be a cruiserweight title match at WrestleMania if it wasn’t for him. Despite this, he said fans vilify him.

Neville said the fans would rather cheer for a clown. An Austin Aries chant started. Neville told the production crew to roll the footage of what 205 Live would look like without him. It was a black screen. “That’s right, nothing,” Neville said. “Without me, 205 Live is nothing.” He said WrestleMania is about him and his overdue moment in the sun.

Austin Aries made his entrance and shook his head at Neville from the stage. Aries said this is he difference between the two of them. He said Neville points his finger at the WWE Universe and runs everyone down to feed his own ego. Aries said he’ll give credit where it is due. He said he’ll never say there wouldn’t be a 205 Live without him, but it is twice as great with him.

Aries said he’ll never say Neville isn’t an amazing competitor or that he’s not worthy of being champion, but he will say that he is that much better than Neville.Aries said he likes to use his wit and sharp tongue to add humor to things. He said without that he would walk around as angry and miserable as Neville does.

Aries made his way onto the ring apron. He said they also have similarities. He spoke about how they had to work for everything. Aries entered the ring and said they both have big egos and chips on their shoulders. Aries said that no matter where they are on the card, in their minds they are the main attraction and are there to tear the house down. Aries said that’s what they will do on Sunday.

Aries said Neville can act like he’s not competition or at his level and repeat it as many times as he wants, but he knows that Neville knows exactly who he is and what he can do in the ring and that he can and will take the title. Neville smacked Aries before he could finish his sentence. Neville slammed Aries to the mat face first. Neville picked up his title belt and teased leaving, then stopped and looked back at Aries. Neville went to pick up Aries, who smacked him with a microphone. Aries went for the Last Chancery, but Neville escaped to ringside. Aries stood in the ring and played to the crowd to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A strong final segment with really good mic work from both men. I hope they don’t play to a half filled stadium on Sunday and they get plenty of time. Either way, I am looking forward to the match. They only had a few weeks to set this up and they have done a really nice job.

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