8/15 Moore’s WWE 205 Live Review: Akira Tozawa and Titus O’Neil’s Championship Celebration, Rich Swann vs. Ariya Daivari, Brian Kendrick vs. Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander and Gran Metalik vs. Tony Nese and Drew Gulak

By John Moore

WWE 205 Live on the WWE Network
Aired live August 16, 2017 from Providence, Rhode Island

205 Live opened up with a highlight video from the prior night’s Raw where Akira Tozawa defeated Neville to become the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion…

After the 205 Live intro theme, Vic Joseph introduced 205 Live as “The most exciting hour in television”. Corey Graves was also on commentary. As the wrestlers made their entrances Graves and Joseph discussed how they have a new cruiserweight champion on the show. Drew Gulak cut a promo on the way to the ring where he hyped up Tony Nese…

1. Cedric Alexander and Gran Metalik vs. Drew Gulak and Tony Nese. Tony Nese called a time out early in the match to show off his biceps. Nese and Alexander has a wristlock sequence. Both men traded armdrags into a stalemate. Nese was dominated after a headscissors. Gulak tagged in and ate a dropkick from Cedric. Metalik tagged in and worked on Gulak with some strikes. Metalik hit a unique springboard armdrag and an even more innovative armdrag following it. Alexander tagged in where the faces did double team moves on Gulak.

Metalik gave Gulak a stiff slap. Gulak retaliated with a strong lariat. Nese gave Metalik a left punch but Metalik countered with a reverse slingblade. Metalik hit Nese with a tightrope dropkick. Nese rolled outside but Metalik surprised Nese with a tightrope Asai Moonsault. Cedric took out Gulak with a springboard clothesline. Metalik fell right into a gutbuster by Nese once the action was back in the ring. Metalik crotched Nese in a Superplex attempt. Metalik gave Nese a Frankenstiner as Nese was hanging on the top rope.

Gulak tagged in with Cedric getting a hot tag. Cedric kicked Gulak in the back of the head and gave Nese a boot. Gulak dodged Cedric’s signature springboard clothesline. Cedric staggered Gulak with a back elbow and handstand roundhouse. Nese broke up the pin attempt. Nese did a matrix dodge to Metalik’s lariat. Gulak tried to roll up Cedric with the tights but to no success. Cedric gave Drew the Lumbar Check to pick up the pinfall win.

Cedric Alexander and Gran Metalik defeated Drew Gulak and Tony Nese via pinfall in 7:40.

Metalik and Alexander celebrated their win after the match.

John’s Thoughts: A good match by 205 standards, but it’s still tough to care about anything on this show. The return of 205 Live’s resident enhancement tag team doesn’t help. Nese needs a reset in character, Gulak needs to win a feud, Metalik needs to win, and Alexander needs not to be on this show. There are a lot of other scenarios that are much better than this match existing.

They cut to Noam Dar, Lince Dorado, and Ariya Daivari in the locker room. Dar said Tozawa was lucky on Raw. Daivari said he’s glad Neville’s not champion. Dar was about to say “ding dong the king is dead”, but the camera cut to show that Neville was in the room (I chuckle at how being in the camera shot means you finally exist). Neville had a blank look. The three other cruiserweights walked away in fear. Neville got angry and threw a chair. Titus O’Neil was shown overacting on the phone as the show cut to break… [C]

2. The Brian Kendrick vs. Mustafa Ali. Ali started off the match with a quick leg takedown. Kendrick baited in Ali to nail Ali with a Knee. Ali dodged and hit Kendrick with a dropkick. Kendrick gave Ali a back elbow. Ali flipped out of the corner and hit Kendrick with a springboard corkscrew moonsault. Ali staggered Kendrick with a European Uppercut. Kendrick returned with a short-arm boot. Ali came back with a kick to the face of Kendrick. Ali hit a rolling cutter to lead to a nearfall.

Ali staggered Kendrick on the top rope with a forearm. Kendrick blocked a frankensteiner. Ali blocked a sunset flip and hit Kendrick with a dropkick. Mustafa Ali went for the reverse 450 but Kendrick tripped Ali sending Ali’s jaw into the top turnbuckle. Kendrick locked in the Captain’s hook. Ali took his time and crawled to the bottom rope. Ali grabbed the bottom rope for the rope break. Kendrick followed his submission with a running boot. Kendrick threw Ali into the LED apron. Kendrick trapped Ali’s toes in the steps. Jack Gallagher ran in to cause the DQ.

The Brian Kendrick defeated Mustafa Ali via DQ in 5:02.

Gallagher gave Kendrick some Muay Thai clinch knees and elbows. Kendrick retreated to the timekeeper area and into the crowd. Gallagher gave Kendrick a death stare from the ring as Kendrick laid in the crowd area…

Dasha Fuentes interviewed Rich Swann backstage. Rich Swann wore Cyclops shades for some reason. Swann pointed out how Perkins rubbed his victory in Swann’s face last week and Swann said he can return the favor. Swann talked about being able to do a victory dance. Daivari walked in and told Swann that he was Swann’s new opponent. They both didn’t know why TJP wasn’t able to wrestle. Daivari said in Iran they put friendships aside in favor of wrestling. Daivari said Swann shouldn’t be concerned about his friend and more concerned at what’s happening to Swann. Joseph and Graves talked about Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews’s social media posts about Tozawa’s championship win…

John’s Thoughts: The match was more of an afterthought and the real story was the post-match. I like the darker side Gallagher is showing and hope he can get off this show as soon as possible to show both his creative and dark side on a more important show like NXT or Raw. I’m guessing Kendrick is still playing the “gatekeeper” role, but he does need to find a way to develop some in-ring heat or else he’ll regress to being at the level of Gulak and Nese. At least Daivari has fought out of that status at least temporarily.

3. Ariya Daivari vs. Rich Swann. Graves talked about how TJP vs. Rich Swann was originally scheduled but got changed last minute to Daivari vs. Swann. Daivari sent Swann into the corner. Swann danced out of the corner. Daivari went for a side headlock takedown. Swann countered with a legscissors takedown to his own side headlock. After a flip sequence, Swann landed a dropkick for a nearfall. Swann knocked Daivari off the apron with a kick. Swann missed a moonsault. Daivari countered with a flapjack which Swann sold like he got shot.

Daivari locked in a full nelson inside of the ring. Daivari yelled in his native language at Swann. Swann powered out of the nelson. Swann grounded Daivari with a huracanrana, kick, and guillotine flip dropkick. Daivari ducked Swann’s signature back hook kick. Daivari pulled Swann’s hair into a face plant. Daivari missed the Magic Carpet[less] ride and ate Swann’s back hook kick. Swan went for his Phoenix Splash but was distracted by TJP and his music. Perkins walked down the ramp with crutches. Daivari recovered and hit the distracted Swann with his hammerlock lariat finisher to pick up the win.

Ariya Daivari defeated Rich Swann via pinfall in 5:05.

Corey Graves called out TJP on commentary by wondering why he picked this moment to walk out and distract Swann. Graves and Joseph then commented over the highlights from the match…

Backstage Kendrick was walking around paranoid backstage. Dasha Fuentes tried to interview him but he started to stammer. Kendrick said every time he lets his guard down the deranged clown Gallagher attacks him. Kendrick said he can’t do this anymore. Kendrick then said he has to challenge Gallagher in Gallagher’s way. Like in a Duel. Kendrick challenged Jack Gallagher to a Duel for next week’s 205 Live. Titus O’Neil was shown dancing with a crew member backstage…

John’s Thoughts: I’m still not sold on the TJP and Swann feud because there’s no real reason to cheer Swann or boo Perkins. It’s more like apathy towards Swann and more apathy towards TJP. I do like what they are doing with Daivari to some extent. He hasn’t quite found a character to stick with and the Iranian Olympian tribute is a bit odd, but at least he or creative is putting in effort to develop and recreate him every week and he’s picking up wins consistently. He even beat Neville in singles. If only they’d recreate Nese in similar fashion.

Titus O’Neil made his entrance. There was a full red carpet set up in the ring. A decent portion of the crowd joined O’Neil in his bark. Titus a podium set up and a bar table with champagne/glasses on it. Titus O’Neil introduced Akira Tozawa. Titus did so by cutting the lights and putting the spotlight on Tozawa who made his entrance. Tozawa made it to the ring with his Cruiserweight Championship.

Tozawa got a moderate “ha!” chant. O’Neil talked about Tozawa defeating Neville. O’Neil said he was going to speak in Japanese in saying that Neville’s reign went “bye bye”. Graves pointed out that Titus spoke in English there and should have used “Sayonara”. The crowd gave Titus “Delete” chants. Tozawa grabbed the mic and got a loud “Ha” chant from the men and children. Tozawa said this was his big dream for many years. O’Neil broke open the champagne and it splashed on Tozawa. Titus said in Titus Worldwide they like to have fun. Titus then said he was telling Tozawa how he feels. Titus told Tozawa “Thank you”. He said he was doing this because Tozawa had a dream that people thought was silly. Titus said people thought Titus Worldwide being started by Titus was silly too. Titus got the “What” treatment.

Titus talked about how both of their dreams being a reality. Titus then gave Tozawa a hug. Titus said if you want to know “what” was about to happen? (decent recovery). Titus said they were celebrating Titus Worldwide style. Titus started to dance. Neville broke up the segment with his entrance. Neville walked to the ramp brooding. Neville said he brought honor, dignity and respect to the championship. Neville said it was him that made the title prestigious. Neville said in one day Tozawa has made a mockery of everything Neville achieved. Neville cried and said less than a week at Summerslam is when the mistake will be rectified. Neville pointed to the countdown clock to SummerSlam. Neville said this clock was his gift to Tozawa. A countdown to Tozawa’s demise. Neville said Tozawa has 114 hours left with his championship. Neville asked Tozawa to savor every single solitary second. Neville said when the countdown ends, Tozawa ends.

Titus said Neville looks terrible without sleep. Titus said Tozawa causes and makes all the terms of Neville’s title reign (huh?). Titus told Neville to wait to Summerslam for a fight. Neville tried to storm the ring but ate a dropkick from Tozawa. Tozawa dominated on the outside by tossing Neville into the barricade. Tozawa dispatched Neville to the outside and followed up with a quick Suicide Dive. Tozawa posed in the ring with the Championship belt while Neville laid on the bottom of the ramp. Tozawa rode the shoulders of Titus as Neville glared at Tozawa from the top of the ramp. This closed out 205…

John’s Thoughts: That segment was on its way to being horrid until Neville came out and made things interesting. We’ve seen worse segments this year but it seemed like it was about to get bad if Titus O’Neil danced for ten more seconds. That said, I like the character work that Neville has been doing in his heel run. He did quote some of his cliché king lines but he showed development in selling the agony of defeat. The one-sided beatdown of Tozawa over Neville is interesting and I wonder where they go on Sunday. I have a feeling that Tozawa leaves Sunday with the title and we see these two feud for several months. We can also see Neville win and cause friction between Titus and Tozawa. Or we can see WWE take the New Japan approach in having Neville “graduate” back to the heavyweight division. There are several intriguing possibilities.

205 Live is still a pointless show though. These segments could be concentrated on Raw or Smackdown in two or three segments. Raw has three hours and could use this as compelling filler with a creative team that cares. I’ll have more thoughts in my 205 Audio review.



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