By John Moore
WWE 205 Live
Aired live from New Orleans, Louisiana at Smoothie King Center
Akira Tozawa was shown taping his wrists up in the locker room. Titus O’Neil walked in to talk to Tozawa about signing with the “Titus Brand”. Titus said he got Tozawa into the main event of 205 Live via his connections. Titus said Tozawa has a match against former Cruiserweight champion TJP. Titus talked about Neville getting nervous based on the tweet Titus sent out regarding Tozawa. Titus said Neville knows what Tozawa’s best friend, Apollo Crews, knows. That Tozawa can be the next Kobe Bryant of Japan, or maybe Lebron. Tozawa tried to get some words in that he got from Crews. Titus cut Tozawa off and started to sing “It’s Raining Men!” just replace the “men” with “yen”. Titus said with Titus’s help, Tozawa will be the next WWE Cruiserweight Champion. Titus then did his hijack of the “Ha!” chant by saying “Cha! Cha! Cha! Cha-Ching!”…
After the 205 Live intro video, Corey Graves checked in on commentary. Corey Graves introduced his new commentary partner on the show, Vic Joseph, who Corey told us has been the commentator on WWE Main Event. Joseph hyped the return of Austin Aries for this episode. Joseph said Aries was going to address his future on 205 Live. Graves hyped TJP vs. Akira Tozawa…
Cedric Alexander made his entrance to the arena as they showed Cedric Alexander’s skit with Noam Dar and Alicia Fox’s facetime from the prior night’s Raw. I hope he isn’t against Noam Dar on this episode!? Ok… It’s Ariya Daivari. Daivari came out in his “expensive” shirt and jewelry with the commentators trying to get over his rich guy persona.
1. Cedric Alexander vs. Ariya Daivari. Corey Graves talked about Daivari putting together a string of good performances while trying to impress WWE officials. Daivari broke out of a wristlock into a headlock. Daivari and Alexander had a stalemate sequence next. Alexander kept a headlock synched in. Daivari cornered Alexander and hit shops. Alexander escaped and hit Daivari with his signature headscissors. Daivari kicked out of the pin attempt following an Alexander dropkick.
Alexander went for his signature springboard clothesline but Daivari tripped Alexander off. The crowd tried to rally Alexander out of a headlock but Daivari kept Alexander down with a neckbreaker. Daivari spoke in his native language to Alexander. Alexander went for a comeback but Daivari kept the momentum away with a jumping tiger knee. Daivari slowed things down with a side headlock. Alexander fought back with chops and gained the upper hand with a back elbow. Alexander hit a handstand jumping roundhouse kick on Daivari. This time Alexander was able to land a springboard clothesline on a staggered Daivari. Suddenly Alicia Fox’s facetime appeared on the titantron as Noam Dar brought was talking on his iPhone on the way to the ring. Alexander gave Dar a dropkick to keep him out of the ring. Daivari locked in the inside cradle to no success. Alexander hit the Lumbar Check to pick up the victory.
Cedric Alexander defeated Ariya Daivari via pinfall in 6:52.
Alicia Fox was yelling at Noam Dar who was knocked out on the ground. Cedric Alexander celebrated while looking annoyed at the Fox facetime on the titantron. Cedric Alexander saw the iphone on the ring apron. Cedric picked up and yelled “What?” at Alicia Fox. Cedric Alexander hung up on Alicia Fox as Noam Dar ranted up the ramp…
John’s Thoughts: The crowd’s reaction proves they could care less about the undercard of this show. I’m not a huge fan of them going with the stereotype Iranian prince gimmick with Daivari. I saw Shawn Daivari do the same gimmick with more success in Lucha Underground. The only difference is that Shawn is a better promo at this point. Ariya is better in the ring than his brother in my opinion. Sadly, 205 Live isn’t showcasing athleticism but rather mundane and dragged out storylines. Hmmm… after WrestleMania, NXT hit the “reset” button and now they are doing some great storytelling all across the board. Can 205 Live find a moment to hit the same button?
Corey Graves hyped Talking Smack for after the show which featured Jinder Mahal, Shinsuke Nakamura, and the Hype Bros. Austin Aries made his way to the ring wearing semi-formal clothing. Vic Joseph and Corey Graves talked about Aries questioning his future based off the tweets he sent out following his loss to Neville. Austin Aries received a favorable reaction from the crowd. Aries pointed out to them that it was good but they could do a better job synching together. Aries said it was good to be in New Orleans. He said it was a privilege and honor to be in a WWE ring. Aries said all his life he fought hard to be a champion which is why he thought he would be standing in the ring as Cruiserweight Champion after Extreme Rules. Aries said it’s obvious that he’s not but he’s not going to boo hoo about it or complain about making Neville tap out outside of the ring. Aries said when it counted the most, he didn’t get the job done.
Aries said we’ve all been there. Aries said when you get knocked down you get up and keep going. Aries said there were more questions about the future of Austin Aries like maybe possible injuries. Aries said he wanted the people to hear it come from his mouth. Aries said after months of battling Neville and TJP he has some leg and neck stuff going on. Aries said unfortunately he isn’t medically cleared to wrestle until WWE gets some testing results. Aries said he doesn’t know what his future holds. Aries was cut off by Tony Nese, who wore a strange vest to the ramp. Nese said he was going to help Aries. Nese said Aries should get out of the ring, climb out of the guard rail, and take a seat while a premier athlete takes the ring. Nese got the “what?” treatment. Nese said Aries should save what little dignity he has left to fade into the past. Nese said the future was right in front of Aries.
Aries said Nese may be talking tough but the past was Nese tapping out in the ring. Aries gave Nese credit for having a good physique and good abs. Austin Aries said he wanted to know what exercise Nese did to grow a set [of balls]. Nese laughed it off. He said Aries has jokes but in Nese’s future he doesn’t have time for Aries or his Jokes. Nese took off his odd vest to tease a fight with Aries. Jack Gallagher walked out in a dress suit and his umbrella. Gallagher talked about New Orleans being a perfect place for jokes. Gallagher said if Nese thinks he’s the future to replace Aries, that makes Nese the biggest joke of all. Jack said Nese was no Austin Aries. Nese tried to get a cheap shot on Jack. Jack broke the umbrella by hitting Nese with it. Gallagher’s theme played as he and Aries tapped their Umbrella and banana together. Vic Joseph hyped Tozawa vs. TJP for after the break.
TJP was strutting backstage as he ran into Rich Swann. Swann said TJP looked good against Neville last week by taking the champ to the limit. Swann talked about Neville jumping Swann on Raw. TJP didn’t care. Swann said it looked like the WWE Universe was starting to believe in TJP again last week. Swann talked about how they both know how it is to be Cruiserweight Champion. Swann said he’s overcame adversity all his life, but TJP loses the title, calls himself TJP and takes shortcuts. Swann said “TJ TJP” was a person who would go out and do business the right way. Swann told TJP to get his head in the game… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Like Daivari, Nese is being used the completely wrong way. Nese is better in the ring than on the mic and they have him go out there to try to start a feud on the mic. Aries and Gallagher are great on the mic but all that did was expose how limited Nese is at this point. The Aries news is still confusing so I’m guessing there’s a legit injury or time-off coming from that one. With that said, I’m not looking forward to a Tony Nese vs. Jack Gallagher feud because just like how most people aren’t at the Neville Level, Nese isn’t at the Gallagher level.
Vic Joseph cut to a Mustafa Ali vignette. Mustafa Ali talked about just getting started and liking high flying. His video package was cut off by Drew Gulak in front of a green screen. Drew Gulak said Mustafa takes unnecessary risks. Gulak said Ali was all style and no substance. Gulak then went into his political ad mode. He talked about standing for a better 205 live. Joseph advertised Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak for next week. Graves advertised Jack Gallagher vs. Tony Nese for next week…
John’s Thoughts: Of the three 205 Live heel enhancement types, Drew Gulak has benefited the most with the character/personality implant. Daivari was in a better place when he feuded with Gallagher but has gone downhill when they tried to give him a character. Gulak needed it and has been pretty fun to watch with his No-Fly Zone thing. With all that said, that gimmick has a ceiling to it.
TJP made his entrance next for 205 Live’s main event.
2. TJP vs. Akira Tozawa. Joseph talked about Tozawa picking up his signature 205 Live win against Brian Kendrick in the street fight he had against The Brian Kendrick. They cut to clips of that really high and sick senton onto the table (that was a nice senton). Tozawa led the crowd in Ha chants. TJP dominated early on. Tozawa locked in a headlock on TJP while doing Ha chants. TJP escaped as they had their own stalemate sequence. TJP and Tozawa shook hands in respect before the reset.
Tozawa rolled through a TJP sunset flip and hit TJP with a running senton. Titus O’Neil was shown watching Tozawa from the locker room. TJP caught Tozawa midair with a dropkick. TJP hit Tozawa with a springboard senton. TJP kept Tozawa grounded with several restholds. TJP hit Tozawa with an impressive midair twisting forearm. TJP followed up with a dab. Tozawa kicked out after TJP hit him with a front and back suplex combo. TJP locked in Tozawa with a modified Indian Deathlock. Tozawa took town TJP with a huracanrana and kept him outside to start a Ha rally. Tozawa hit a nice missile Tope Suicida on TJP.
Tozawa hit a Busaiku Knee on TJP for a nearfall. TJP met Tozawa on the top rope. Tozawa punched TJP in the gut several times and pushed him off. TJP then nailed Tozawa with a double chickenwing gutbuster. TJP and Tozawa traded forearms with Tozawa nailing the knockout forearm. TJP managed to recover and lock in the kneebar on Tozawa. Tozawa flipped out as TJP tried to reposition. TJP hit Tozawa with the rolling sobat kick to knock out Tozawa’s mouthguard. TJP dodged an aggressive Tozawa kick combo but not his aggressive side suplex. Tozawa nailed TJP with his high jumping senton to pick up the victory.
Akira Tozawa defeated TJP via pinfall in 11:17.
The commentators started to talk about Titus O’Neil after the match. They showed the replay of TJ hitting the rolling sobat on the jaw of Tozawa leading to the finishing sequence. Tozawa led more Ha chants as TJP sold disappointment at ringside. Titus O’Neil was shown singing his “It’s raining [yen]” song. Neville walked in on Titus. Titus O’Neil tried to continue singing. Neville said he doesn’t care about Titus’s singing, but rather the drivel spewing from the mouth of Titus. Neville said Titus was setting up his “client” for misery because Akira Tozawa isn’t close to the “Neville Level”. Titus said that Neville Level catchphrase was clever but the “Titus Brand” was about the future. Titus said Tozawa just whooped Neville’s former associate TJP and looks like the future. Titus said Tozawa was the future of 205 Live. Titus walked off and Neville was shown fuming on the inside…
John’s Thoughts: A solid match between Tozawa and TJP and a much better showing from TJP in the main event slot. Last week’s match against Neville dragged on at points where there was a lot more action in this matchup. It also helps that the crowd has a clear babyface to rally behind as opposed to last week’s odd heel vs. heel(?) matchup. TJP is currently a heel(?) complete with the parenthesized question mark because now he’s in this awkward purgatory of turning on Neville yet not turning face in the process. TJP needs to show more consistency. I think he should drop the arrogant act and show people more of his kinder side. I’ll reference the lunch date TJP had with Mahabali Shera on Impact as the TJP I think would work best.
As for Tozawa, the “Ha!” thing is not for me, but I like that it’s catching on with the casual fan which makes him very accessible. His natural charisma is also starting to shine through. The Titus Brand thing seems a bit low rent mostly because it’s tough to take goofy Titus O’Neil seriously; but I’ll go into this with a little hope that they find a way to make it work. The Titus and Neville closing segment wasn’t half bad. I’ll have more thoughts to say in my 205 Live Audio Review.
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