By John Moore
WWE 205 Live on WWE Network
Aired live September 19, 2017 in Oakland, California at the Oracle Arena
The opening montage focused on Enzo Amore’s entire 205 Live run so far as it leads up to his upcoming match against WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville. The 205 Live opening theme played…
John’s Thoughts: I was in the arena for this episode so I’ll be offering some in-person perspective in this review. First to note, the crowd was actually hot throughout this 205 (with the exception of a certain beatdown to come later). I’ve pointed this out the past few months covering this show; WWE had done a solid job keeping the live crowd hooked in their seats and into a select few characters. This show still sucks for weekly television viewers but WWE has converted live crowds to this action enough to make the in-arena experience a fun and enjoyable one.
Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness checked in on commentary. Joseph mentioned that they were in Oakland, CA which is home to the reigning NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors (and since it’s in a metropolitan California city, WWE will mention the town name!). Joseph also called this show “The most exciting hour in television!!!” (good grief!). Nigel hyped up the main event segment of this show which was going to be a Neville and Enzo promo face-off. Cedric Alexander made his entrance. Jack Gallagher’s heel turn from last week was given a recap package…
1. Cedric Alexander vs. The Brian Kendrick. Kendrick tried to run in with an early boot, but Alexander countered with a back elbow. Kendrick entered the ring to avoid a tope but Cedric sent him back out with a headscissors and kick. Alexander then threw himself into The Brian Kendrick with a suicide dive. Alexander went for his signature springboard clothesline but Kendrick dodged and kicked Cedric to the mat. Kendrick hit Alexander with a double underhook suplex to get a nearfall. Kendrick then locked in a headlock.
Kendrick maintained control by slamming Cedric in the corner. Cedric got a mini-rally by catching Kendrick with a boot but Kendrick landed a knelt backtoss on Cedric into the turnbuckle. Kendrick went for the pin but Cedric had his head under the rope for the rope break. Kendrick then locked in a camel clutch with punches. Kendrick locked in a straightjacket camel clutch.
Cedric powered up to get to his feet. Kendrick and Alexander traded blows. Kendrick gave Alexander a forearm to send him to the apron. Kendrick was staggered enough for Cedric to hit his springboard clothesline. Cedric dodged Kendrick with a handstand flip but got caught with a single leg dropkick. Alexander deflected Kendrick’s Sliced Bread #2 into an O’Connor roll to pick up the surprise rollup win.
Cedric Alexander defeated The Brian Kendrick via pinfall in 5:23.
Kendrick kept Cedric from leaving by arguing with Cedric up the ramp. Cedric just rolled his eyes but this allowed heel Jack Gallagher to blindside Alexander to initiate a two-on-one beatdown. Kendrick put Alexander in a body stretch to allow Gallagher to hit some strong style roundhouses to Cedric’s gut. The final blow was a Gallagher headbutt. Rich Swann vs. Lince Dorado was hyped for later in the show… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Good match. Cedric received a mild reaction during his entrance, but he won the crowd over with telling a good story with Kendrick in the ring. Kendrick is good on his end in that he wasn’t doing a formula heel match and his actions were organic. I’m not a fan of Cedric picking up the win from a storytelling standpoint. Neville is the only heel on this show who’s allowed to pick up consistent steam and there could have been a good babyface comeback tale told with Cedric getting a prolonged losing streak. Instead, WWE does their usual parity thang!
Dasha Fuentes interviewed Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick. Gallagher addressed Dasha as “Ms. Fuentes”. Gallagher questioned why he would even have to justify his actions to the WWE Universe. He asked if they have a one inch nail in their head before their wedding and said no. Jack Gallagher said he had four stiches in his head during his wedding day (cool tie-in since he did just get married and they are tiring in Kendrick busting him open with a ring bell). Jack Gallagher said when he looked in the mirror he learned a lesson from his scars. You can be nice or be a winner. Jack said Cedric Alexander is learning as well as everyone that Gallagher can stomach a scar but not as a joke…
John’s Thoughts: I’m still going to wait and see on this one given 205 Live’s shoddy track record with heels, but I’m glad they are allowing Gallagher to talk as opposed to being a mute terminator. His superior wrestling and talking ability has allowed him to stay near the 205 main event despite bad booking and here’s hoping he and Kendrick can raise the bar for the non-Neville’s of the world.
Drew Gulak came out to new/militant-sounding music. A recap video played of Drew Gulak’s PowerPoint presentations. Tyler Breeze and Fandango’s strange interaction with Gulak was shown. Drew Gulak stood on top of the announce table for his promo of the week. He said he was using the table as a platform to say something. Gulak said he’s a man with big ideas and he doesn’t back down. Gulak called last week’s event with the Fashion Police “unjust persecution”. Gulak said the treatment and conditions in “Fashion Jail” were unspeakable. Gulak acted violated. He said they will be hearing from his attorney, who’s himself.
Gulak compared his plight to Galileo who had big ideas of the earth revolving around the sun and was held down. Gulak said Galileo would be disgusted and appalled by Akira Tozawa. Gulak mocked Akira Tozawa’s “Ha” chant which caused the crowd to chant. Gulak said Galileo was a hero and so was he. Gulak said he sees himself as the vindicated 205 Live Hall of Famer. Gulak then cut to his PowerPoint which popped the crowd. Slide 6 of 277 was “No Cell Phones”, which caused the crowd to light up the arena with cell phones. Gulak blamed the crowd for being millennials on cell phone. Gulak was interrupted by Akira Tozawa…
John’s Thoughts: Gulak is an example of someone that 205 Live has turned the corner on in a positive fashion (so as long as he stays far away from Tony Nese, for both their sakes). This week’s PowerPoint promo was much better than last week’s since it was more about drawing heat as opposed to putting over Microsoft Office. Gulak also draws a huge reaction which I saw live and have seen for months on this show.
2. Akira Tozawa vs. Noam Dar. Vic Joseph put Noam Dar over as the youngest wrestler on the Raw roster. Dar cornered Tozawa and put the boots to Tozawa. Gulak was on commentary. Tozawa made his crazy war screams as he gave Dar a kick and running Senton. Tozawa was taken down by a Dar PK to his knee. Dar worked on Tozawa’s injured knee by rotating the ankle. Tozawa flipped away and gave Dar a forearm. Tozawa gave Dar a suicide dive to the outside. Joseph said Tozawa was risking it all to which Gulak responded “he didn’t have to risk it all!”. Dar kicked Tozawa and gave his a dragon screw legwhip. Dar then hit Tozawa with a basement shoryuken.
Dar jabbed his fist into Tozawa. Tozawa escaped and hit Dar with a spinning roundhouse. This put Dar into position for Tozawa’s jumping senton finisher. Akira Tozawa picked up the victory.
Akira Tozawa defeated Noam Dar via pinfall in 4:00.
Akira Tozawa went to the corner to do his Ha chants. Tozawa paid particular attention to Drew Gulak. Vic Joseph cut to a highlight package from last week’s Rich Swann vs. TJ P match where TJP was petulant post-match. Rich Swann was backstage with Perkins. Perkins said he wanted to congratulate Swann and he could have handled last week better. Perkins was then overly excited in talking about their feud. Swann responded by saying that he doesn’t agree that this feud should get in the way of their friendship. Perkins tried to pull Swann back and ask for one more match. Swann said he’s always going to remember this series of matches but they shouldn’t ruin this… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Sucks to be Noam Dar. WWE gave the guy an extremely hot angle to break up Dar and Alicia Fox, but now he’s currently inhabiting the enhancement wrestler spot that was once held by Ariya Daivari now that Daivari is winning more matches. As for Tozawa, WWE has a hidden gem here. Tozawa hasn’t been a regular on NXT, yet he has transitioned so well to the WWE “Main Roster Style”. On top of that nugget, his chant and ring style connects with both families and die-hards. The children in the crowd in particular love this guy. If you move Neville and Tozawa over to Smackdown, you have two bonafide dark horse main eventers. Tozawa is also similar to Funaki as far as solid English is concerned.
Rich Swann made his entrance. After a prolonged period of time, Lince Dorado was shown holding his knee backstage. Swann was walking to the back to check up on Dorado but was caught by a TJP superkick. Perkins put his boot on Swann. Perkins then ripped off one of Swann’s dreadlocks and then stared at it for an awkward amount of time (I joked that he looked like he was going to eat it to absorb All-Might’s powers). Swann was kicked aside as Perkins continued to admire the dreadlock in his hand. Perkins then gave Swann snake eyes on the barricade… [C]
Back from the break, Neville made his entrance for his face-to-face with Enzo Amore. Neville then cut a promo advertising the big matches at No Mercy which included Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar and John Cena vs. Roman Reigns (Roman got booed huge as usual). Neville said better than both of those would be the comedic performance of Neville vs. Enzo Amore in what would be the worst decision in Enzo’s pathetic little life. Neville said he will take pleasure in exposing Enzo for what he is, a stain in the moral fabric of society and grossly underqualified to step into Neville’s World. Enzo Amore then made his entrance. The crowd popped up for Enzo’s usual entrance routine.
Neville said this was classic. Neville mocked Enzo for getting obliterated by the monster. Neville then mocked Enzo’s chicken dance and catchphrase. Enzo responded by saying he would usually ask Neville how he’s doing but he knows that Neville is jealous and that Enzo must be the peanut butter to that jelly. Enzo said Neville’s jelly because Enzo made 205 the realist show in the room. Enzo got booed for this. Neville mocked the notion of jealousy. Neville said Neville’s the most formidable cruiserweight on the face of this world and said he’s better in every way conceivable. Enzo said there’s truth there because Enzo is not the wrestler that Neville is, but that’s exactly why Neville is jealous.
Enzo said hate ain’t nothing but love disguised by jealousy and if he were Neville he’d be jealous too. Enzo said despite his win-loss record he will always be twice the wrestler that Neville will ever be. Enzo was booed. Enzo said he puts the star in superstar. He makes meteor showers. Enzo said he has his own commercials, a snickers bar, and an emoji. Enzo said Neville doesn’t sell merch, get invited to Miz TV, or hang out with Drake. Enzo brought up how everyone knows about his locker room issues. Enzo said when he comes out the people sing to his song. Enzo talked about always being numero uno on the microphone.
Enzo said you can hate or love him but either way you know who he is, he’s a certified G and bonafide stud, hydrated off this Hater-aide and showered in this love that eats Neville up. Enzo said he has a mouth on him and three rows of teeth. He said Neville is a big fish in a small pond. Enzo said that Neville noticed that a shark has invaded Neville’s water. Neville said that Enzo had to go on and run his mouth. Neville said he wanted to make it quick but now he’s going to make an example out of Enzo. Neville said when you treat him like a game he’s going to show you how it’s played. Neville said he doesn’t care about merchandise, celebrity relationships, or being a superstar. Neville said none of that matters because Enzo can’t fight, simply. Neville said Neville is brutal. Neville asked Enzo is going to do once he’s brutalized to the point other than there’s no hope. Neville asked if Enzo was going to kick Neville in the crown jewels or coax him into getting disqualified like he did against Miz.
Neville said those tactics aren’t going to win Neville’s championship and the best Enzo could do is think about surviving. Enzo said that Neville is right and those tactics won’t win him the championship on Sunday; but this isn’t Sunday and this isn’t No Mercy. Enzo then went on to kick Neville in the balls. The crowd showered Enzo in boos. Enzo did a field goal hand sign and left the ring…
John’s Thoughts: That was one of 205 Live’s stronger promo encounters given the talents involved. Enzo started off rough with awkward logic and self-pity. He picked it up by the end of his promo. Neville continues to shine as a heel promo where he can be cartoony at times, he’s extremely confident without stumbling on his words. Praises aside, I can’t help but think WWE is starting to get an adverse fan reaction to this feud by this point.
This Enzo-main-eventer experiment has me intrigued to see the outcome and possibilities. The crowd loved Enzo’s entrance as usual, but as Enzo went on, Oakland progressively gave the guy stronger boos. He bragged about being on Miz TV and about being more “entertaining” than Neville. From an ethos way of thinking, Neville tore Enzo to shreds. I’m surprised that Neville not only hung in Enzo’s wheelhouse but he completely obliterated it. Enzo was good at the end, but he lost the crowd at that point, so much that I think that once this Enzo experiment is over, he can be shipped back to Raw to be a heel mouthpiece for an up-and-comer.
Overall, this was a good episode by 205 Live standards, and I’m not just looking through rose-tinted glasses for being there live. The matches didn’t go through that “WWE Superstars” formula of chain wrestling to rest holds. There was also solid storyline progression throughout. Every segment served a purpose which is usually something we don’t see on this show. I’ll have more thoughts on this show in my member exclusive review of the show.
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