By John Moore
WWE 205 Live on WWE Network
Aired live from Atlanta, Georgia at Philips Arena
This week’s show started off with an intro video chronicling the Neville and Austin Aries feud. Sound bites from last week’s Aries and Neville interview were inter-spliced into highlights from past Aries vs. Neville matches…
On to the actual show, Tom Phillips and Corey Graves were on commentary. Phillips called Aries making Neville from Raw a “deciding momentum shift” in the battle for the Cruiserweight Championship. Graves said Aries is now inside of Neville’s head. Graves then went on to hype Drew Gulak facing Mustafa Ali to continue his no fly zone crusade. Phillips hyped an Austin Aries segment for later on called “The Tap Heard Around The World”. Noam Dar came out for the opening match. Graves used this to hype up the mixed tag match between Rich Swann and Sasha Banks vs. Noam Dar and Alicia Fox…
John’s Thoughts: I’ll just say even though this was introduced on Monday, Ouch for Sasha. She goes from being one of WWE’s most popular champions to being relegated to 205 Live. 205 Live reminds me of NXT Season 5 “Redemption”, the epitome of the spinning of wheels. On that show, we had AJ Lee shockingly relegated to it so hopefully this is similar where this is temporary.
Noam Dar picked up a mic and told everyone to take a good look at him and Alicia Foooooooooooooox. Dar said this is the closest people in “the dump” known as Atlanta will get to true love. Fox said Dar completes her. Noam Dar called Fox a fluffy button. Dar said Swann and Banks were half baked friends with no benefits. Dar called them “daftys”. Fox said they were hoaxes and jokes. Dar said true love will conquer all at Extreme Rules. Fox then said she can’t wait to get revenge on Swann. Swann’s entrance cut her off. Swann had a mic and was followed by Sasha Banks. Swann said he and Sasha only see one thing in the ring. Sasha tried to be sassy and said they saw a hot mess. Sasha said Swann and her have similar likes in fashion, dancing, and wanting to get revenge on Dar and Fox. Fox accused Banks on getting a bootleg weave in Atlanta. Banks dissed Fox for having a visible hair track.
1. Noam Dar (w/Alicia Fox) vs. Rich Swann (w/Sasha Banks). Swann dominated early on with chops. Swann did a cool 450 dodge and a dropkick to Dar. Dar grounded Swann on the outside by tripping him on the apron which caused Alicia Fox to yell on celebration. Phillips recapped the premise of this feud, which was Rich Swann avenging Cedric Alexander. Dar had Swann in a chickenwing and maintained the upper hand with a back suplex.
Dar wrapped Swann’s arm on the top rope for added leverage. Dar continued to work on the left arm of Rich Swann with various forms of joint manipulation. Swann flipped out of a back suplex and performed a back suplex of his own on Dar. Dar came back with a front kick but Swann ran at a high risk Dar for a Frankensteiner. Swann gave a kick to the gut of Dar and followed up with a somersault knee drop to the back of Dar’s head. Dar turned an attempted high splash from Swann into a rollup to no avail.
Swann reversed a suplex into a rollup of his own. Dar ducked an enzuigiri into an ankle lock. Swann rolled Dar to the outside. Swann went for a Tope, but Fox tripped him. Banks and Fox then brawled on the outside with Banks getting the last slap. Swann went for a corner move. Dar called it and went for his finisher the running enzuigiri for the victory.
Noam Dar defeated Rich Swann via pinfall in 7:59.
Dar and Fox rolled on the ground in celebration. Banks had some hair in her hand; it was a part of Fox’s weave… [C]
John’s Thoughts: This match started off slow, but thankfully Dar and Swann showed their solid chemistry in the ring and put together a solid ending sequence. It was a good match (by 205 Live standards. We should just assume this now, right? I just don’t want to make it like I have low standards). With all that said, this feud should have ended in their last big one-on-one match where it was better than this. What this one did have the advantage, was the heel got the somewhat clean win in the end. WWE did a Superstar Shakeup, 205 Live needs to do a feud shakeup because they could get something out of Dar and Fox as long as it isn’t about Fox’s love or craziness.
Phillips hyped up Renee Young and Shane McMahon on Talking Smack doing some promotion for the Women’s Money In the Bank match. Backstage Dasha Fuentes talked about wanting to know Cedric Alexander’s thoughts on Noam Dar (oh gawd…). Cedric said he believes in Karma and he thinks at Extreme Rules the Extreme fools will get exactly what’s coming to them. Alexander said Fox was a black widow and Dar was a snake. Alexander said he did after rehabbing for three months he wasn’t going to rehash old relationships. Alexander said he was about to make up for lost time.
2. Cedric Alexander vs. Corey Hollis. Hollis didn’t get a televised entrance. Hollis tried to work on Alexander’s left arm but to no success. Hollis went for a huracanrana on Cedric but Cedric landed on his feet. Hollis grabbed a breather on the turnbuckle and landed a big right to the face of Alexander. Hollis showed a lot of joy in his face after he targeted the injured leg of Alexander with a chop block.
Hollis put the boots to Cedric. Phillips and Graves talked about seeing Corey Hollis in several impressive matches in NXT. Hollis grounded Alexander with a straightjacket submission. Cedric tossed Hollis off and hit Hollis with a knee. Hollis was still on his feet after a rolling back elbow. Hollis went to the ground after a jumping enzuigiri from Cedric. Cedric then hit his signature springboard clothesline. Cedric Alexander hit the Lumbar Check for the victory.
Cedric Alexander defeated Corey Hollis via pinfall in 2:35.
Phillips transitioned to talking about the “The” Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa street fight from last week which featured a lot of impressive Sentons from Tozawa and a lot of 205 Live purple tape used as a weapon… [C]
3. Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak. Drew Gulak had a megaphone and now has yellow stripes and stars in his tights. Ali gave Gulak a senton to the outside while Gulak was ranting with the megaphone. Gulak put up his dukes in a daze as Referee Little Naich rang the bell. Ali had the upper hand with right arms and punches. Gulak went to ringside after taking a spinning heel kick from Ali. Ali maintained the pace with a flying knee from the apron.
Gulak traded a few chops with Ali but Ali maintained the advantage with his strikes. Gulak gained a bit of a upper hand by giving Ali boots on Ali’s entry to the ring. Ali flipped his way out of the corner and tried for some high flying offense but Gulak pushed Ali to the outside. Gulak pulled Ali back in the ring when it looked like he was about to beat the ten count. Gulak target the injured left knee of Ali and asked him if he was getting the message. Gulak then applied a modified Rings of Saturn. Ali used punches to make it to his feet.
Ali grounded Gulak with a huracanrana. Ali went back to the aggressive forearm strikes. Gulak was shaken up by a kick and he took a rolling neckbreaker from Ali. Ali went to the top rope. Ali hit the crossbody but Gulak rolled into the surprise clean win.
Drew Gulak defeated Mustafa Ali via pinfall in 4:56.
Gulak sold the surprise as he went up the ramp. Ali sold frustration. Phillips pointed out that Ali dominated most of the match only to lose it to a surprise move. Phillips then passed it over to Dasha Fuentes who interviewed Drew Gulak. Gulak said the victory wasn’t for him, but it was for what he and some people in the WWE University want. Gulak said showboating cost Ali the match. Gulak said high flying doesn’t pay, staying grounded was the way… [C]
John’s Thoughts: That may have been the best I’ve seen from Gulak in the ring. He still has that problem that he and Viktor of the Ascension has in that they both rely too much on the body stretches for absurd stretches of time. The improvement from Gulak is that he added a goofy emotion to his face which, interesting enough, is an upgrade over his stoneface. I like the no-fly Zone gimmick, but it screams lower mid-card and low shelf life. I also expect Mustafa Ali to get his win back soon because Vince/Dunn’s WWE doesn’t know how to book differently these days.
Austin Aries made his way to the ring in street clothes. He had a banana in hand. Phillips said on Sunday we were getting a match between the Last Chancery vs. The Rings of Saturn. Aries thanked the crowd for giving him a favorable chant. Aries said he was popular in social media recently. Aries then used the moment to sneak in a plug for a book he wrote that just came out called “Food Fight”. Aries said the reason people were so excited was because of the “Tap heard around the world”. Aries said they saw Neville tapping out to the Last Chancery. Aries mocked some of Neville’s catchphrases and claims. Aries then called for a replay on the Titantron.
Aries had a fan say he didn’t see it. This started a decent “one more time” chant. Aries obliged and called for the production truck to show the tap out in slow motion. Aries said people made this a big deal because it was the first time Neville tapped out. Aries said Neville would have tapped out two other times but he found a desperate way to get out of the situation. Aries reiterated his points from last week regarding Neville’s eye poke and intentional DQ. Neville made his entrance and was mad. Neville said Aries was lucky and called it a miracle moment.
Neville called the people vermin and said Aries has no decorum. Neville called Aries a disease and scum. Neville said the King of the Cruiserweights was going to eradicate Austin Aries once and for all. Neville took some “you tapped out” chants. Neville said 205 Live was his kingdom and Aries has outstayed his welcome. TJ P[erkins] blindsided Aries. Aries gave Perkins a forearm because Perkins decided to dab for some reason. Neville put the boots to Aries. TJP held Aries in place once he recovered. Neville kicked Aries in the knee to simulate kneeling by Aries. Aries tried to escape but Neville slammed Aries to the ground and locked in the Rings of Saturn with TJP putting the boots to the back of Aries. The referees ran out to break things up as Aries and Perkins stood tall to close the show.
John’s Thoughts: This was a good go home angle to a feud that also should have ended some time a few months ago. I feel we need to have a few more dragon slayers fail en route to the WWE Cruiserweight Championship before they take the belt off of Neville. Instead, I just think they are having Aries take losses at his title shots to eventually hand Aries the title. I hope they don’t go that route especially since they have the underlying thread of Perkins wanting a title shot. Here’s hoping that they find a way for Neville to escape with the title on Sunday while Aries takes some sort of injury from someone. They can even have Perkins win a feud in the future from this.
205 Live is still a strange show. Even when it does some good things, the flaws outweigh the good. One improvement I’m seeing with recent crowds is that they are actually staying for the 205 Live show and even mildly participating. I also notice that a lot of the spots for participation are catered towards families and especially children. Where do I get the generalizing towards children? It’s WWE’s Raw style. Look at how they marketed “Little Jimmy”, Bayley merch, Jack Gallagher’s Umbrella, Xavier Woods’ Trombone, and now Aries’ banana. All were clever supplements to promos but once corporate got their hands on it you see it every week on TV as an obligatory component to the person. Another problem with 205 Live is that it is seen as a true extension of the Raw undercard when I thought it was supposed to appeal to that 10-35 age demographic of males and females, which we do see at NXT shows. WWE UK is drawing those crowds along with NXT, but 205 Live has to take the Raw formula of variety show tawdry over unique wrestling/storytelling. I’ll have more to say in my All Access Audio Review later today.