Welcome to the twenty-third episode of 205 Live! This week’s episode comes from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.
The opening video package highlights TJP attacking Austin Aries after Aries defeated him on this week’s Raw.
Side note: TJ Perkins is no longer going by TJ Perkins. He’s now TJP. I’m fine with it. It’s a tweaked name for an all-new, heel TJP. Also, from a writer’s standpoint, I don’t mind since its less letters to type out.
Tonight’s episode, on paper, is kind of a big deal as big feuds are finally having one-on-one matches and all three matches were announced in advance, as they were being advertised last night on Raw. That’s not usually the case. Typically, just the main event is announced in advance. Tonight, we’ll be seeing Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak, Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar and TJP vs. Lince Dorado which will be happening… right now!
TJP vs. Lince Dorado
The match kicks off with both men going 110 mph, as they quickly trade reversals until Dorado gets the upper hand and hits TJP with a springboard moonsault at ringside. Dorado rolls TJP back in the ring to continue his offense, but Perkins counters and stays in control with some rest holds. TJP tries ripping off Dorado’s mask, but Dorado fights TJP away and nails TJP with a big moonsault off the top turnbuckle. Dorado hits TJP with a backbreaker and a flying crossbody for a two count.
Dorado looks for a handspring stunner, but TJP counters with a right forearm shot to the face. Dorado superkicks TJP and goes for the cover, but TJP kicks out at two. As TJP kicks out, he grabs Dorado’s mask. This distracts Dorado and help TJP lock in his finishing submission move, the knee bar, which proves to be too much for Dorado as he taps out after about eight minutes.
Winner by submission: TJP
Evaluation: That was a solid match. I like the fast pace that both men worked at. Dorado always seems to deliver with good matches, when he’s actually on the show, but he never wins. Whenever Dorado is on TV I say this, so I’ll say it again: I think he’s got a lot of potential and could be big part of the division if WWE gets behind him and gives him some wins. The ring work and the look are there. He could be the division’s big masked Superstar. I say this because Gran Metalik, the Cruiserweight Classic runner-up, is nowhere to be found. He was on 205 Live and Raw for one week and that was it. His debut was a bit sloppy with some botched spots. Therefore, maybe WWE though it would be a good idea to take him off TV entirely and bring him back at some point in the future with the hopes of him having a stronger showing and leaving a better impression on the WWE Universe. Either that, or WWE just lost all confidence in him and he’s on the chopping block. Who knows. In regards to TJP, him using heelish tactics, such as trying to remove Dorado’s mask, is in line with his new attitude, so good for him. I really like heel TJP.
Corey Graves’ sit-down interview with The Brian Kendrick
A clip is shown of Corey Graves conducting a sit-down interview with The Brian Kendrick. Graves asks about his relationship with Akira Tozawa. Kendrick said that he looked at Tozawa as a kid with a lot of potential and someone that he’d like to mentor, but Tozawa’s problem was when he fell in love with the WWE Universe. Kendrick said Tozawa’s too busy playing around with the crowd and not concerned enough with winning matches. The interview is ended sooner than expected as Tozawa shows up out of nowhere (ala Randy Orton) and kicks Kendrick in the face and out of his seat. Tozawa sits in Kendrick’s chair and says, “lesson #5, always end an interview with impact!”
Evaluation: This has gone on too long. We all know the routine. Tozawa keeps teaching Kendrick lessons now just like Kendrick spent so many weeks teaching Tozawa lessons. It’s way too repetitive and needs to just end already.
Mustafa Ali makes his entrance followed by Drew Gulak who again comes out with a megaphone and a big “no flying zone” sign. Gulak tries getting a “I’m not lying, no high flying” chant going. It doesn’t catch on.
Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak
Gulak runs at Ali right away and puts him in a headlock. Gulak yells at Ali saying that high flying stuff is not going to work on him. Gulak throws Ali hard into the corner, but Ali fights back with an arm drag and a head scissors takedown. Ali goes to the top turnbuckle to hit a big diving attack, but Gulak steps out onto the apron, far away from Ali, and waves his index finger Ali as to say “no-no.” That was clever since he hates high flying.
Ali takes down Gulak for some back-elbow shots and a dropkick. Ali kicks Gulak in the face and hits his signature rolling neck breaker. Ali heads to the top turnbuckle for the inverted 450 Splash, but Gulak holds onto Ali’s foot. Ali shoes Gulak away and goes for the frog splash instead. However, the frog splash fails as Gulak was able to get his knees up. Gulak quickly capitalizes on this and rolls Ali up for the pin and win after about five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew Gulak
Evaluation: Another solid match. It didn’t get much time, but it told a story about how Ali going to the top turnbuckle proved to be a mistake – which is in line with Ali and Gulak’s story of Gulak hating high flying a trying to get Ali to change his ways. Gulak’s a good wrestler and I’m happy he got the win. Also, although he defeated Ali clean, I doubt this is the end of their feud. I’d like to see this be a three-match series. I think each match could be better than the last if given the opportunity.
Post-match, Gulak says he feels vindicated tonight. Gulak yelled at the WWE Universe. He said that Ali listened to them and went to the top rope, and that’s why he lost. Gulak said that he and his style of wrestling is the future of 205 Live!
Evaluation: Good promo from Gulak. You can tell he looks more comfortable behind the microphone. That’s what happens when you give someone a character and let them speak on a weekly basis. It gives the superstars confidence and allows them to become better speakers. It doesn’t work for everyone, but Gulak’s doing well. He also came across more serious in this promo, which I like. I think his character could work if taken more seriously and not used for comedy.
A video package is shown highlighting the love triangle storyline between Noam Dar, Alicia Fox and Rich Swann.
It’s main event time.
Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar
Swann gets the upper hand early on and keeps the pace slow with some rest holds. Dar fights out of Swann’s side headlock and both men quickly trade counters which ends with Swann nailing Dar with a big dropkick, then getting Dar in a side headlock again. Dar lifts up Swann and drops him crotch first onto the top rope. Dar begins to work on Swann’s left arm which is typical for Dar since he usually isolates a body part.
Swann tries to fight back, but Dar sweeps Swann’s legs out from underneath him and follows this up with a butterfly suplex for a nearfall. Dar hits Swann with a belly to back suplex and kicks Swann, forcing him outside the ring. Dar tries to keep up the attack, but Swann slams Dar headfirst onto the announce table. Swann slides in the ring and somersaults over the top rope and out onto Dar. Swann lies Dar on the barricade and hits him with a leaping kick to the back of the neck.
Swann rolls Dar back in the ring and goes for the Phoenix Splash. However, he totally misses Dar even though the announcers tried to pass it off as if he connected but just landed oddly on his arm. Swann hits Dar with a big spinning kick to the face and goes for the cover, but Dar kicks out at two. Swann looks for a springboard attack, but Dar reverses it and locks in the Fujiwara arm bar submission until Swann gets to the rope, which forces Dar to break the hold. Swann superkicks Dar and goes to the top turnbuckle again, but Dar throws Swann off the turnbuckle and attacks Swann’s left arm. Dar nails Swann with a big running kick which gets him the one-two-three after about 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Noam Dar
Evaluation: Good match between these two as expected. I’m happy for Dar. This was definitely the biggest win of his career in the cruiserweight division. Hopefully Dar moves on to better things from this.
Post-match, Dar is celebrating in the ring until Alicia Fox’s music hits and she makes her way to the ring. Fox has a smile on her face and it looks like she wants to get back together with Dar, since he won and Fox loves winners. Dar seems hesitant at first, but he runs into Fox’s arms and hugs her. 205 Live goes off the air with Dar and Fox celebrating in the ring.
Evaluation: I guess WWE thought it was best to have Dar with Fox, maybe because they like it when Dar says Alicia Fooooooxxxxxx. I was tricked. I thought I was getting no more Alicia Fox on 205 Live, but that’s not the case. Whatever. At least Dar vs. Swann was a good match and (it seems like) this feud is over.
Overall, this was a good episode of 205 Live. A big step up from last week which I thought was the worst episode since the show started.
I liked how all three matches were advertised in advance. It helps the matches feel like a bigger deal. It also helps shine the spotlight on the other cruiserweights in the division.
Notable absences from tonight’s show was the WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Neville, “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” Austin Aries and “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher. It’s nice to see that 205 Live proved they can have a good episode without three of their biggest stars.
As always, I included a lot of analysis in my evaluations of the show above. Therefore, I’ll leave it at that. Usually every week I only recommend 205 Live’s main event which is always the best match of the night. Tonight’s main event was still the best match of the night, but there’s a lot of good stuff to check out this week, so do so if you have the time.
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Picture used above is courtesy of WWE.com.