By John Moore
WWE 205 Live on WWE Network
Aired live from Toledo, Ohio at Huntington Center
The Brian Kendrick opened this week’s 205 telling a tale about Akira Tozawa. He talked about Tozawa developing a reputation over the last 10 years. Kendrick talked about wanting to teach Tozawa more. Kendrick said Tozawa had to be taught a lesson for refusing his help. Kendrick called Tozawa returning the favor with lessons, disrespect. Kendrick brought up their one on one match and how Tozawa got a cheap win. Kendrick said he was going to teach Tozawa a lesson he would never forget. Kendrick then talked about how the Street Fight plays into his strengths and he will teach Tozawa the final lesson of them all…
The 205 intro theme played. Tom Phillips and Corey Graves were on commentary. Graves hyped Austin Aries vs. Neville for WWE Extreme Rules. Phillips hyped the return of Cedric Alexander for this show. Phillips then discussed Kendrick vs. Tozawa in the main event of this show. Rich Swann made his entrance. Ariya Daivari was out next. Phillips cut to clips that showed us this match was made because Ariya got white powder exploded in his face.
1. Rich Swann vs. Ariya Daivari. Daivari complained about Swann messing up his “expensive” suit. Swann gave Daivari a dropkick and sent him outside. Swann maintained pursuit. Daivari tried to bait Swann into a false sense of security but Swann didn’t bit and used his agility to maintain the upper hand. Daivari gained some breathing room outside as he threw Swann into the LED apron. Daivari slowed things down in the ring with methodical heel offense.
Swann fought his way out of a chickenwing but Daivari came right back with a jumping knee. Daivari went back to his offense. Swann tried to escape with a raised boot, but Daivari performed a knee to arm strike. Daivari kept things controlled with the cobra clutch. Daivari kept Swann grounded with a neckbreaker which led back to Daivari locking in the cobra clutch. There was about 2-3 minutes of cobra clutch time in this match so far.
Rich Swann escaped with a jawbreaker. Swann then executed a drop toehold. Swan came at Daivari with varied strikes and clotheslines. Swann grounded Daivari with a rolling kick to the back of Daivari’s head. Swann hit the spinning back kick finisher that he hits. Daivari kicked out at two. Swann hit the Phoenix Splash for the victory.
Rich Swann defeated Ariya Daivari via pinfall in 6:29.
Noam Dar interrupted Swann’s victory celebration by pushing him to the floor off the top rope. Dar and Alicia Fox taunted Swann who was knocked out on the ground. Graves said Dar may have crossed the line… [C]
John’s Thoughts: You can only beat up Ariya Daivari, Tony Nese, and Drew Gulak so many times before the matches mean absolutely nothing and that time passed several months ago. The match went too long for what happened, and why have Daivari kick out of Swann’s alternate finisher if they weren’t going to put any heat on Daivari by having him lose right after? This match also had way too much headlock by Daivari.
Phillips and Graves gave more hype towards Austin Aries vs. Neville at Extreme Rules, they then cut to a recap video of the Aries/Neville feud. After the video, Graves cut to Neville and Aries being interviewed. Aries was eating a banana. Graves pointed out how both men were fighting in a submission match and asked Neville how he feels about people saying this is the biggest challenge as champion. Neville talked about beating everyone including Aries twice. Neville called Aries a pretender and delusional. Aries talked about beating Neville the last time they were in the ring and how Neville was delusional . Neville cut Aries off and told Aries to calm down. Neville said it shocks him that Aries is getting yet another chance. Aries said he earned this third opportunity.
Aries recapped their past encounters, one where Neville put his finger in Aries’ eye at WrestleMania, and the next one where Neville got himself disqualified. Neville claimed it was unintentional. Aries said it was intentional and this wasn’t slander, it was truth. Aries said Neville wasn’t the first person to try to cut Aries’ legs from under him. Aries talked about other people hiring henchmen to try to take him out. Aries said Neville has escaped twice but it won’t happen a third time. Aries talked about taking his injured leg to Extreme Rules to defeat Neville. Aries said he has many more submissions he hasn’t used before to beat Neville. Neville said the fact of the matter is whatever lies Aries wants to tell himself, he can’t stand in the ring with the King of the Cruiserweights. Neville told Aries to just walk away so he won’t have to be responsible for what he has to do to Aries… [C]
John’s Thoughts: A really solid interview exchange between the only two people in 205 Live that actually matter. This segment wasn’t the greatest interview, but it was solid in pitting the champ and challenger against each other. In fact, this feud might even be better if 205 live never existed and the cruiserweights were just mainstays on Raw or Smackdown.
Cedric Alexander made his return to the ring next. His jobber opponent was in the ring.
2. Cedric Alexander vs. Johnny Boone. Boone tried to kick Alexander to no avail. Boone ate an elbow and rolled to the outside. Boone ran outside to catch Alexander off guard but got dominated. Cedric took down Boone with a springboard clothesline. Alexander hit the Lumbar Check to pick up the pinfall win.
Cedric Alexander defeated Johnny Boone via pinfall in 1:32.
Phillips moved on to talking about Drew Gulak’s quest in getting rid of high flying in 205 Live. They cut to clips of the beatdown Gulak and Nese gave to Mustafa Ali. Drew Gulak had a message. Gulak did a political ad in front of a green screen. He said he believes in a better 205 Live. Gulak said the cruiserweights were the most sound technicians in this business. Gulak mocked high flyers. He said people like Mustafa Ali are who he’s campaigning against. Drew Gulak said he was fighting for a better 205 live. They did a freeze frame of him giving a thumbs up…
John’s Thoughts: A nice return for Alexander. The enhancement wrestler wasn’t bad either. He had a fit body, but his facials were great in showing fear and jobber looks. I hope they can turn this show around somehow, but what makes this show even more hopeless is the fact that WWE looks like they aren’t going to siphon any more resources from NXT or the UK. Let’s hope they get some creative salvation soon.
3. Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick in a Street Fight. Kendrick slowly walked out of the ring to look for weapons but Tozawa didn’t allow that with a Tope Suicida. Tozawa led the crowd in “ha” chants. Kendrick rammed Tozawa’s head into the announce table. Tozawa countered by tossing Kendrick over the table with a hip toss. Tozawa brought the action back in the ring. Tozawa hit a running kick followed by a running senton.
Tozawa hit some knife edge chops to Kendrick. Tozawa grounded Kendrick with a feint jab. Kendrick gained a bit of breathing room by causing Tozawa to crash and burn over the top rope. Tozawa and Kendrick pulled out a table (and unintentionally funny, the 205 Live purple tape). Tozawa brought the action back in the ring. Kendrick gained the upper hand by tossing his jacket at Tozawa which led to him suplexing Tozawa to the outside.
Brian Kendrick grabbed the 205 Live purple tape and brawled with Tozawa in the ring. Kendrick took the 205 Live purple tape to seal Tozawa’s mouth. Kendrick locked in the crossface. Tozawa made it to a vertical base. Tozawa pushed Kendrick to the outside who attempted Sliced Bread #2. Tozawa sold being winded from the 205 Live tape. Tozawa dominated Kendrick up the ramp. Kendrick blocked a whip and tossed Tozawa into the video wall. Kendrick dragged Tozawa to ringside and threw him into the steps.
Kendrick grabbed the 205 Live purple tape again and used it to bind Tozawa’s arms on the LED turnbuckle. Kendrick used his belt to whip Tozawa a few times. Kendrick grabbed the table to set up which mildly hyped the crowd. Tozawa escaped (because the camera caught the ref helping him out) and he started to whip Kendrick a few times. Tozawa brought Kendrick in the ring and went high risk. Tozawa missed and Kendrick rolled Tozawa to the ground with the Captain’s hook.
Tozawa dragged Kendrick to the outside through the second rope to break the hold. Kendrick worked on Tozawa on the outside. The two brawled and were pretty even. Kendrick went for what may be a Tiger Bomb but Tozawa blocked it. Tozawa countered and hit a front suplex to toss Kendrick to the outside. Tozawa hit a Saito Suplex on Kendrick on the outside. Kendrick went for the Captain’s Hook again but Tozawa countered with a mild DDT on the steel steps.
Tozawa did his “ha” thing again and put Kendrick on the table. Tozawa took his time getting to the top rope. He did hit a pretty high and impressive senton. This caused a few people to chant “E-C-Dub”, “holy shit”, and “ha”. Just a few at times though. Tozawa slowly took Kendrick in the ring and then won the street fight via pinfall.
Akira Tozawa defeated Brian Kendrick via pinfall in 14:48.
Tozawa and Kendrick were laid out in the ring in exhaustion. Phillips and Graves cut to “highlights” from the match. Tozawa made it to his feet first and led the crowd in a “ha” chant…
John’s Thoughts: Hmmm… After all that, the match was just too slow. There were fun parts. I can name two. I liked the high angle senton and the appearance of 205 Live purple tape. Aside from those two aspects, this match didn’t seem like an end of the feud, even though I hope it is. 205 Live has three options they should be taking into consideration, either they do a complete creative shakeup of the show, cancel the show and merge it with Smackdown, or cancel the show and use the talented guys on NXT. Brian Kendrick can be a really good wrestler, but he belongs on the main roster with an Ezekiel Jackson replacement. I’ll have more thoughts on my members’ exclusive audio review.