By Zack Zimmerman
WWE 205 Live on WWE Network
Aired live from Fresno, California at Save Mart Center
A recap aired from Monday Night Raw with TJ Perkins questioning the tactics Neville used to retain his Cruiserweight Championship by DQ at Payback. It spotlighted the tension between Neville and Perkins, and also highlighted Austin Aries beating Perkins to remain No. 1 Contender… The opening video played…
Inside the arena, pyro went off before Tom Phillips and Corey Graves checked in from the booth at ringside. They hyped up Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak and Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar for later in the show…
TJ Perkins made his entrance to silence from the crowd. They were only referring to him as “TJP” and they hammered it into the ground, so it looks like an official name change. Lince Dorado was out next for his first 205 Live appearance in a while.
1. TJP vs. Lince Dorado. The two went back and forth, ending in a standoff before TJ dabbed on Dorado. Nobody cared. Dorado got the better of TJ and did a little dance and dab of his own, which got slightly more of a reaction. Dorado sent Perkins to ringside with a headscissors and followed up with a big Asai moonsault.
Back in the ring a short time later, Perkins took control and worked Dorado over. He dabbed some more and settled into a chinlock. Perkins set Dorado on the top turnbuckle and tried to rip his mask off, but Dorado fought out. Dorado used a moonsault that ended in an awkward, scary landing onto Perkins who was standing.
Dorado began to fire up and used a flying crossbody off the top rope. He slapped the hell out of Perkins and then stumbled on a handspring move, allowing Perkins to cut him off. Perkins looked to follow up, but Dorado caught him with a superkick and both guys were down.
Just shy of the seven-minute mark, Perkins ripped at the mask again which enabled him to slip on the kneebar and force the submission.
TJP over Lince Dorado in about 7:00.
Replays aired and Perkins celebrated his win in the ring. He dabbed some more. [C]
Zim Says: A bit of a sloppy match. They tried some stuff but not everything looked as good as it could’ve or should’ve.
The commentators threw to an interview that Corey Graves conducted with The Brian Kendrick. Kendrick said that he felt insulted by Tozawa. He claimed that they had formed a relationship in Japan and when Tozawa came to WWE, he doesn’t get why Tozawa wouldn’t be his protege. He said that as a result, he’s going to teach Tozawa whether he wants it or not.
Kendrick blamed Tozawa for focussing too much on the crowd and starting chants. Suddenly, he was blindsided by Akira Tozawa. Tozawa took his seat and said that lesson number five is to always end an interview with an impact. He tried to get the crowd to chant his noises with him and a portion obliged… [C]
Zim Says: I hate this program. Just end it already.
Back in the arena, Mustafa Ali made his entrance. The commentators and replays recapped the recent interference by Gulak in Ali’s matches, campaigning against the high flying on 205 Live. Drew Gulak was out next with his “no fly zone” sign and megaphone siren blaring.
Gulak got a brief inset promo where he said that he prevented Ali from taking unnecessary risk last week and he was attacked as a result. He said he’s going to make 205 Live a better place.
2. Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak. Right away, Gulak began to grind Ali down with a headlock. He continued to wear Ali down with simple but effective offense. Ali fought back with a series of arm drags and a running ‘rana. He went to the top rope, so Gulak went out to the ring apron and refused to re-enter until Ali got down.
Gulak took control and went right back to work. He turned Ali inside out with a clothesline just shy of the three-minute mark, before settling into a headlock. Ali made his comeback around the four-minute mark. He rocked Gulak with a kick to the head and followed up with his front rolling neckbreaker. Ali looked to go up top and came down with a frog splash, but Gulak got his knees up and cradled Ali for the pinfall.
Drew Gulak pinned Mustafa Ali in about 5:00.
The commentators questioned whether Gulak may have a point to his anti-risk stance. Replays aired and Gulak stood in the ring with his sign. He was joined in the ring by an interviewer who asked for a reaction. Gulak said that he began proving his point tonight. He said that high flying doesn’t work. He said the crowd cheers lead to the flyers demise, just look to Ali for proof. Gulak said that what he does works, and that makes him the future of 205 Live… [C]
Zim Says: That was probably the best Drew Gulak has come across on WWE programming. I’m not crazy about the story, but it’s something better than what we’ve been getting from other feuds.
The commentators threw to a recap package of the stupid Noam Dar/Alicia Fox/Rich Swann storyline from the past few months, ending with the reveal that Swann was only exposing Fox on behalf of Cedric Alexander, whom Fox had wronged in the past. Have mercy.
Back in the arena, Rich Swann made his entrance for the main event. Noam Dar was out next. Meanwhile, the commentators were cracking themselves up with references to a certain commentator’s mishap with DM’ing ladies other than his girlfriend.
3. Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Todd Martin on his background, attending pro wrestling events in Japan, the NJPW G1 Tournament, why lucha libre companies haven't been as successful as NJPW in the United States, AEW optimism, covering pro wrestling and MMA, and more (68:57)...