By John Moore
WWE 205 Live
Aired live from Rochester, New York at Blue Cross Arena
This week’s intro teaser focused on TJP and Neville and the deal that TJP wanted to cash in on where he would get a Cruiserweight Title shot after they got rid of the “Austin Aries Problem”. It included clips from the prior night’s Raw which included Neville backstabbing TJP…
Tom Phillips and Corey Graves checked in on commentary. Graves called this the “Most Exciting Night in Television” as he hyped the TJP vs. Neville main event of the show. As usual, this show opened up with Noam Dar’s entrance theme. There was no Alicia Fox though. Graves and Phillips acknowledged this was odd given Dar’s and Alicia’s characters. Phillips wondered if her absence stemmed from their loss at Extreme Rules…
Noam Dar grabbed a mic. He said last week Cedric Alexander called him a snake. Dar said Alexander called Alicia Fox a black widow. Dar said he should be angry but he feels said for Cedric being jealous. Dar recapped Alicia Fox leaving Cedric Alexander already. Dar said Fox was at home with a neck injury. Dar said he was here to tell Alexander to move on. Dar was interrupted by Cedric Alexander’s theme for the opening match…
1. Noam Dar vs. Cedric Alexander. Alexander dominated the opening lockup. Cedric used his agility to dominate the next chain wrestling sequence with Dar retreating to a rope break. Dar cornered Cedric and took him down with a side headlock. Dar came right back with a handstand headscissors and dropkick to send Dar outside to retreat. Dar took some strong chops from Alexander. Dar came back with a headbutt to the gut of Cedric. Cedric came right back with a moonsault from the ring apron.
Cedric was tripped off the turnbuckle by Dar. Dar then locked in his chickenwing with grinding from his fist. Dar focused his attack on the left shoulder of Cedric. Dar taunted Cedric during roundhouse kicks which allowed Cedric to come back with a spinning back elbow. Cedric then hit Dar with a handstand jumping roundhouse kick. Cedric then nailed Dar with his signature springboard clothesline.
Dar tripped Cedric as Cedric tried to pull him up. Cedric went for the handstand headscissors again but Dar calculated it and kicked Cedric in the chest to lead to a nearfall. Cedric tried to go for the rollup to no avail. Dar caught a running Alexander with a boot. Cedric caught Dar off guard with the Lumbar Check to pick up the win.
Cedric Alexander defeated Noam Dar via pinfall in 7:07.
Cedric told Noam that he moved on and was over with this after the match. Tom Phillips then moved on to a video package involving TJP, which focused on his run in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic…
John’s Thoughts: After a few weeks of decent crowd, the crowd was back to being silent to very mild. They were active for Noam Dar’s heel antics but nothing else. The match was solid on Noam Dar’s end but Cedric Alexander is a bit formula at this point of his return. Hopefully he picks it up as he gets more of a chance to reacclimate himself to the WWE fans. What I also hope, is that we never go back to this Noam Dar vs. Cedric Alexander feud ever again.
Dasha Fuentes interviewed TJP about his upcoming match. He said he wasn’t giving a sob story this time. TJP said last time he was fighting for everyone else but this time he was fighting for himself. TJP said the brand was created to showcase his talent. TJP said Neville made the biggest mistake of bringing him to solve the Austin Aries Problem because he now has a TJP Problem…
John’s Thoughts: A good promo by TJP. The only problem is it was a heel promo and we’re getting a heel vs. heel in Neville vs. TJP tonight? I hope WWE has something creative planned for it but I don’t trust them to care that much about 205 Live to invest much creative into it.
2. Mustafa Ali vs. Louie Valle. Ali targeted the left arm of Valle to start. Valle converted the wristlock to a hammerlock. Ali managed to turn it back to a wristlock. Valle turned the tide with a wristlock. Ali used his agility to escape. Ali then showboated a bit with a somersault and kip up. Valle pulled Ali’s head against the rope and hit a strong clothesline on Ali.
Valle dominated for a sequence until Ali came back with some strong forearms. Ali slipped through the ropes and took down Valle with a high roundhouse from the apron. Ali hit his signature neckbreaker on Valle and went for the reverse 450. Ali got distracted by Drew Gulak. Valle tried to steal the win with a rollup but Ali rolled up Valle for the victory.
Mustafa Ali defeated Louie Valle via pinfall in 3:25.
Drew Gulak sold astonishment and congratulated Mustafa Ali for winning a match without flying. Drew said he was proud of Ali. He had a megaphone. Drew said you will find success if you stay grounded like Drew Gulak. Drew said if you flip and flop to appease them you will never reach your full potential. Drew said Ali has to ignore them because they are losers and haven’t been in their shoes. Drew asked Ali to join his campaign for a better 205 Live. Ali then cut Gulak off with a Tope Con Hilo. Ali stood next to the No Fly Zone sign and slammed it to the ground. Ali said he wasn’t going anywhere and this was a fly zone. Tom Phillips hyped Talking Smack with Mojo Rawley, AJ Styles, and Lana. Graves cut over to a Rich Swann vignette which aired around the CWC time and when he won the Cruiserweight Title from Brian Kendrick…
John’s Thoughts: Even though this is one of the more interesting things in 205 Live, the Ali vs. Gulak feud still seems to be very shallow in focus. I did like the wrinkle of Gulak taking credit for Ali’s win because Ali won without the 450, but they should have ended it there instead of Ali standing tall over Gulak.
Rich Swann was chatting with Akira Tozawa as Titus O’ Neil walked in on them. O’Neil said he wanted to chat with “Towaza”. Swann corrected him and agreed to let them chat. Titus said he talked with Tozawa’s best friend Apollo Crews who recommended that Akira can bring the Titus Brand to the next level. Tozawa acted shocked a bit. Titus said Tozawa can bring some charisma to the brand. Titus said when he hears Tozawa say “ha!” he hears “cha!” as in Cha-ching. Titus said Tozawa must love some extra yen in his pocket. Titus recommended that Tozawa go to chat with Crews about what the Titus Brand can bring and sit on the offer to join. Titus then walked away doing the “ha!” thing…[C]
TJP made his entrance back from the break. Neville was interviewed by Fuentes from the Gorilla Position. Neville said TJP wasn’t a problem he was a tool that was used as a means to an end. Neville said he doesn’t care if TJP wants to get what he deserves. Neville said TJP is just like the other pretenders, not at the Neville Level. Greg Hamilton handled the formal ring introductions for the match…
3. TJP vs. Neville for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Neville smothered TJP in the corner. Graves said Neville might be the most dominant champion in WWE currently. Phillips said Neville hasn’t been pinned or submitted in a singles match since October. Neville toyed with TJP early on. TJP turned the tide and toyed with Neville. Neville smothered TJP again against the ropes and took him down with a side headlock. TJP tried to escape with a body scissors but to no success. TJP broke it by heading to the corner.
Neville launched TJP with a headtoss. TJP dominated the next sequence with an armbar. Neville and TJP both used their agility to escape wristlocks from each other. TJP managed to trap Neville in a cloverleaf but Neville quickly went for the rope break. Neville slowed the action back down with a grounded headlock. The crowd tried to rally TJP back. Neville and TJP missed each other several times until Neville was able to hit the huracanrana. TJP slipped away from Neville and locked in the Tajiri tarantula.
Neville manhandled TJP on the outside. Neville glared at Tom Phillips as he was surveying the outside. Neville gave TJP snake eyes on the announce table. Neville retreated to the ring causing TJP to rush back and beat the ten count. Neville pressed his foot against the head of TJP in the ring. TJP kicked out of the succeeding pin attempt. Neville body slammed TJ in the middle of the ring while savoring the dominance. Neville went to the top rope and hit a missile dropkick to ground TJP.
Neville took his time and went to the top rope again. TJP tried to crotch Neville on the top rope but Neville saw it coming TJP managed to send Neville outside and hit him with a corkscrew plancha. TJP staggered Neville with jawbreaker and hit him with a wrecking ball dropkick. TJP hit Neville with a gutbuster for the nearfall. TJP went for the Detonation Kick (a.k.a the Bennadryller) but Neville fought out and hit TJP with a back kick and slammed him to the mat.
Neville hit a kick combo on TJP to get another nearfall. Neville toyed with the struggling TJP with his foot. TJP hit a dragon screw on Neville and dropkicked the right leg of Neville. Neville pulled out a superkick with the left leg setting up TJP for the Phoenix Splash. TJP went for the kneebar and then followed up with a reverse figure four. TJP tried to avoid the ropebreak which allowed Neville to go for the Rings of Saturn. TJP got a really close nearfall off it. Neville locked in the Rings of Saturn to pick up the submission win.
Neville defeated TJP via submission 14:12 to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Phillips cut to a replay which showed TJP tapping out which the camera couldn’t catch from during the match. Neville celebrated with his championship as TJP looked disappointed walking up the ramp…
John’s Thoughts: The match was above average from a performance perspective but it was hurt by TJP not being the right person to be in this position. TJP was dominated for 85 percent of this match. That style of match would have worked if this was a singles match involving an injured Austin Aries because Aries has had three months of sympathy built up for him, but not the heel (?) TJP, who cut a heel promo right before the match. TJP does work a better 50-50 match and even had one of my favorite WWE television matches in 2017 when he had a stellar match against Shinsuke Nakamura (Nakamura’s best match in a long while arguably). The story wasn’t there, the style wasn’t there, so this was a bit of a confusing match to watch. To give them credit, Neville and TJP did put on one hell of a good closing sequence. I’ll have more thoughts on this show in my All Access 205 Live Audio Review later today.