WWE 205 Live
January 3, 2017
Watch: WWE Network
Veteran’s Memorial Arena – Jacksonville, Florida
The first few months of 205 Live were underwhelming, to say the least. Even the main event scene, which featured a charismatic, talented individual in Rich Swann seemed to be missing something; that is until Neville came along.I think what sets Neville apart from the pack is that, much like Swann, he wows the crowd with his explosive offense, but he’s also not afraid to slow things down and apply a chinlock. 205 Live lacked a villain to combat Swann, and that’s what Neville has brought to the table. With that said, I’m hoping 205 Live can turn things around in 2017 by introducing more talents to the division. Perhaps someone with the charisma of an Akira Tozawa or the awe-inspiring aerial offense of Gran Metalik. But for now, here’s what the purple brand has in store:
– Last week’s edition of NXT saw Akira Tozawa and Tajiri unsuccessfully challenge #DIY for the NXT Tag Team Championship. Tonight, Tajiri looks to make a statement in his 205 Live debut.
– What’s next for Ariya Daivari after his loss to Jack Gallagher in the first Gentleman’s Duel last week?
– After being absent from 205 Live for several weeks, Mustafa Ali made an impact in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, knocking off John Yurnet. Assuming a feud with Lince Dorado is on the horizon, where does the “Prince” go from here?
– Since his return at Roadblock: End of the Line last month, Neville has run roughshod over the cruiserweight division, bringing a much-needed breath of fresh air to the main event scene. The current Cruiserweight champion Rich Swann may be recuperating after an attack he suffered at the hands of the self-proclaimed “King of the Cruiserweights” last week, but that won’t stop Neville from going one-on-one with TJ Perkins in this week’s main event.
Tajiri def. Sean Maluta
Early on, Tajiri went to work on Maluta’s left arm. Although Maluta sporadically landed offense, he succumbed to the Tarantula and a Buzzsaw Kick, allowing Tajiri to pick up the victory. This match was exactly what it needed to be; a one-sided affair that was designed to make Tajiri look good in his debut. It also helps that they kept the action short, sweet and to the point.
Post-match, Tajiri was confronted by Brian Kendrick. Kendrick feigned friendliness, but Tajiri wasn’t buying the act and spit green mist into Brian’s eyes. Not only did Tajiri pick up a win in his debut, but the post-match segment effectively set up a feud with Kendrick.
— WWE (@WWE) January 4, 2017
Backstage, Dasha Fuentes asked Neville how he was preparing for his upcoming match against TJ Perkins. Neville deflected Fuentes’ question, claiming that Perkins would have never held the Cruiserweight Championship had he been included in the division since its inception. Neville then added that he was tired of not being taken seriously and tonight, Perkins’ fifteen minutes of fame will come to an end. I felt that this was a strong promo from Neville, who has been on a roll lately. Oftentimes, these backstage segments come off as phony and arbitrary, but Neville felt as genuine as can be here.
A Tony Nese video package aired, followed by a recap of the Gentleman’s Duel between Jack Gallagher and Ariya Daivari.
Jack Gallagher def. Tony Nese via disqualification
While the action here was serviceable – largely due to the interesting styles clash between Nese and Gallagher – it served a much greater purpose in furthering the feud between Gallagher and Ariya Daivari. Before things could reach another gear, Daivari delivered a chop block to Gallagher, causing a disqualification. A concise match that effectively got its point across, furthering the rivalry between Gallagher and Daivari. Gallagher’s charisma hasn’t been enough to carry a dull program with Daivari thus far, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Backstage, Alicia Fox assumed responsibility for Cedric Alexander’s losses in recent weeks. Alexander reassured her that he’s responsible for what happens in the ring, and asked Fox to be more careful.
Mustafa Ali def. Noam Dar
Thoroughly enjoyable, back-and-forth action in this one. Dar’s someone who seems to be a step behind his opponents at times, but he went toe-to-toe with Ali here. I wasn’t sure how the crowd would react, as they’ve been rather uninterested in Dar. That said, Ali brought energy to the match, getting the crowd behind him by employing extravagant offense. Dar relentlessly targeted the left arm of Ali throughout the contest, which I enjoyed. Both competitors implemented some nice near-falls, but eventually, Ali came out as the victor. This was a nice change of pace from other matches on the show, and the most I’ve enjoyed Dar’s in-ring work thus far. Ali picked up a much-needed win, and Dar appeared to be off-balance. Post-match, Dar informed Dasha Fuentes that 2017 will be a big year, and all he needs is “lady luck by [his] side.”
An Akira Tozawa video package aired.
Tom Phillips hosted an interview with TJ Perkins backstage. A standard promo from Perkins, who says that all Neville does is complain before taking a few jabs at his appearance, as WWE is wont to do.
Neville def. TJ Perkins
As expected, this was an all-out battle of agility, in which Neville used his power to gain the upper hand. There were several believable near-falls, including one that came after Perkins hit a top-rope hurricanrana on Neville. Not a bad match by any means, but it failed to live up to my expectations. I felt that Neville picking up the win was the right call, as it showed that his victory over Perkins on RAW wasn’t a fluke and established him as a credible contender to the Cruiserweight Championship.
— 205Live (@WWE205Live) January 4, 2017
WWE 205 LIVE FOR 1/3/17
Strong Effort - 6.0/10
While the in-ring action left a lot to be desired, there was plenty to enjoy on this week's edition of 205 Live. Everything, from the backstage segments to the matches, to the post-match interviews seemed to have a purpose. This show isn't going to set the world ablaze, but it's a breeze to watch and each segment felt important in its own way.