WWE 205 Live (January 17, 2017)
Watch: WWE Network
Fedex Forum – Memphis, Tennessee
It’s Trask filling in for Corwo this week. We start off the column with some unfortunate news, as Tajiri sustained a right knee injury at the recent NXT tapings, therefore will be out for a long while. However, The Japanese Buzzsaw recently strung onto the trend of Japanese wrestlers turned English Tweets, proclaiming his intention to do so on a daily basis like Satoshi Kojima, for his apparent 12 billion fans! Follow Kojima and Tajiri, they’re so worth a follow. To the show.
We start off things with a well put together recap of the entire Jack Gallagher/Ariya Daivari feud, which culminates in an “I Forfeit” match, the first of its kind in WWE history. Not I Quit.
Love the 205 Live theme and huge pyro to put it over like the exciting hour of TV it is, yes, with Ariya Daivari who is good, featured. He recently took to the ring in Minnesota at WrestlePalooza in his Raw t-shirt, likely putting on a banger.
Drew Gulak def. Cedric Alexander
These two are apart of the “typical cruiserweight pairings” spectrum of matches, booking partakes in. Alicia Fox lurked Cedric during his entrance, as he brushed her away, Sid-like screams engulfed the audio feed as Cedric did the usual entrance. Also, Alicia just HAD to hit the mat because that’s the only thing a manager to do. “He’s being mean” and “you’re a rookie in my book” were uttered as Noam Dar was just like, what, teaming with Gulak to beat up Cedric prior to the match. Cedric took them both out, proceeding to hit that sweet tope. In what looked to be a video game controlled sequence, Cedric slowly attacked Dar only for Gulak to awkwardly snatch the leg. Three refs were out because these men are just too dangerous. Dar and Alicia kind of stood tall(?) walking away. Cedric sells the limb like a don.
Oh, yeah, the bell rang. This match is one of my favorites to happen on the show so far. It bounced around its parameter of logical wrestling boundaries better than any WWE produced match in forever. They followed the formula of the technical savant crushing Cedric’s leg, while also at the same time gripping at it in pins, snatching Ceddy in different positions. It was brilliantly worked, even if there would be complaints that it isn’t “cruiserweight” enough–with the live crowd I can understand more. Cedric even pulled out a split-legged moonsault, which isn’t the best choice of move, but felt like a risk = reward scenario gone well. The leg work was sold A+ although it didn’t pay off for the finish. Gulak hit a beautiful bridging suplex for the victory. Go out of your way to watch this for the blissful fundamentalist take on LIMBWORK. Right down my alley. Post-match, Dar got slapped by Alicia after he tried to be all like “you’ve done the right thing, I’m better than Cedric, just look at the monitor, hue”.
Another well done video package aired, hyping up Rich Swann vs. Neville at the Royal Rumble. Nearly all WWE video packages now-a-days seem to be interviews combined with highlights. Sometimes I just want a straight up M/V, man.
Tony Nese was interviewed backstage, being asked how he’d prepare for Mustafa Ali tonight. Nese wouldn’t have to train differently to be different than his opponent, especially the unique Ali. This was basically a Premier Athlete Brand EVOLVE promo. Good enough, plus he has a new graphic package including cartoon dumbbells.
Tony Nese def. Mustafa Ali
Mustafa Ali is the best wrestler on this roster, also being one of the most well presented so far. This match will be defined by one spot, which we’ll get to. It was a standard midcard exhibition with Ali getting in his rolling cutter, which is beautiful, as well as other lucha offense (Nese is a good base because he’s strong as hell, let’s point at, say, the AeroStar match from 2016 King of Trios). Nese got in strongman offense with a pumphandle backbreaker, etc. There’s not much to talk about other than that dirty, grimy, disgusting spot that capped it off. As the two escalated their offense, the meter got broken as Nese hit a suplex on Ali into the turnbuckle, landing on his shoulders/neck. I screamed “fuck” three times in disgust. I won’t think of anything else other than that disturbing move when looking back on this. Nese then hit a knee to the face in the corner for the victory. AHHHH, gross! Gulak and Nese are already rebounding from being primary feeders to talent, when 205 Live didn’t have the biggest roster at the start. Unlike some people, I’m well aware they’re actually building other talent up to their debuts, such as Tozawa–who Apollo Crews gushed over (MONSTER…EXPRESS) this week. He’s coming soon.
I Forfeit Match: Jack Gallagher def. Ariya Daivari
‘Twas a neat match, for at least we got a grudge match as part of the rivalry. However I found it to be okay, lacking any type of special feel or be-all-end-all sans cartoon-ish spots. The start of the match became hot fire quick, with Gallagher sacrificing his body for a good while. Whether it was his eyes being gauged out, or being dropped on the apron, or taking bumps all over the place, Jack anted up the feel of the match for a short time. As it was expected to, the match dragged on for a long while, continuing to provide the “I Quit tropes” with the ref always sticking the mic in a face, no matter what predicament. A workover submission–yep, that’ll have to do it. What’s funny is that my DVR only caught 60 minutes of the show as it was “set to do”, so when Ariya asked Gallagher if he finally gave in, it cut away in a freeze-frame; we’ll see you next week! That was until I got on my laptop and finished it. After that spot it all went downhill. It just became a match, a match that at the very least evoked the biggest reaction out of a 205 Live crowd yet. They even chanted dirty scoundrel loudly when Jack shouted at Ariya as such over the mic. The best part of the match came when the third William (umbrella) came out, as Mauro pondered if there were as many as Villanos. A lucha reference instead of puro! Gallagher fought out of the cobra clutch to lock in the hammerlock crossface chickenwing with the umbrella, causing Daivari to voice crack an “I Forfeit” battle cry. The crowd popped huge for it, at least by 205 Live standards, as The Extraordinary Gentleman wins his first WWE feud.
End scene is celebration.
WWE 205 LIVE (JANUARY 17, 2017)
Decent - 6/10
205 Live was good enough to be considered a decent hour of programming this week. It has established characters that usually do limbwork things to pop me, or explore some wacky pro wrestling situations such as the first I Forfeit match. Commentary remains a highlight with a toned-down less smarky Mauro, "eye gauge" Aries, and the future of the business via audio waves Corey Graves, who makes all the damage Drew Gulak does just a little more painful. Watch the episode if you find the time to do so, if you haven't yet (day late review here). Cedric/Drew was by a country mile the best thing on the show. Insert Alicia-Sid voice saying bye bye, we'll see you next week.