WWE 205 Live Review 05/23/17 by Mark McAllen

Welcome to the twenty-sixth episode of 205 Live! This week’s episode comes from the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.

205 Live kicks off with a great video package which highlights Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa’s rivalry which has been going on since February. Tonight, both men have the big blow off match we’ve been waiting for.

We get a nice pyro display as the commentary team of Tom Phillips and Corey Graves welcome us to the show. They remind us that tonight’s main event will be The Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa in a Street Fight. They also let us know that Cedric Alexander will be making his 205 Live return after he’s been sidelined for months due to injury.

Rich Swann vs. Ariya Daivari

This match is happening because on last week’s 205 Live, a package (sent by Noam Dar) was delivered to Swann backstage. Swann denied being Rich Swann and pointed the delivery man in the direction of Daivari. Once Daivari opened up the package, white powder shot out of the box and all over his clothes.

Swann brings the fight to Daivari right away with dropkicks sending Daivari to ringside. Swann tries to leap over the top rope onto Daivari, but Daivari counters and sends Swann, left arm first, into the tron on the side of the ring. Daivari throws Swann back in the ring and works on Swann’s left arm. Swann tries fighting out of it, but Daivari keeps on the offensive and continues attacking Swann’s left arm. Daivari gets a few nearfalls in the process.

Swann starts to find some breathing room as he picks up the pace with punches, kicks, and a somersault leg attack to the back of Daivari’s head. Swann follows this up with a big spinning heel kick. Swann goes for the cover, but Daivari kicks out at two. Swann then goes to the top rope to finish things off with his finishing move, the Phoenix Splash. Swann connects and picks up the win after seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rich Swann

Evaluation: Solid match from these two, but nothing too special. It was mostly Daivari slowly working on Swann’s left arm until Swann had his short comeback sequence in the last minute of the match. Swann’s one of the more popular cruiserweights in the division and always gets a good reaction from the crowd when makes his entrance. A win from Swann here was just a way to help keep him looking strong and relevant in the eyes of the fans.

Post match, Noam Dar rushes the ring and pushes Swann off the top turnbuckle and out of the ring. Dar and his girlfriend Alicia Fox celebrate their attack on Swann in the ring while Swann looks on in pain at ringside.

Some video clips are shown highlighting the rivalry between Neville and Austin Aries. They’ll be taking on each other at the Raw exclusive pay-per-view, Extreme Rules in a Submission Match.

Neville and Aries both pop up on the big screen in the arena via satellite. They are not in the same room, so it is split screen. Graves begins to interview them, first asking Neville how he feels about his upcoming match with Aries at Extreme Rules. Neville said he’s not worried about losing his Cruiserweight Championship because he’s already defeated Aries twice (at WrestleMania 33 and Payback). However, Aries reminds Neville that both those wins are tainted. At WrestleMania 33, Aries had Neville beat until he raked Aries’ eyes. At Payback, Aries had Neville beat again until Neville laid his hands on the referee, forcing a disqualification win for Aries, which means the Cruiserweight Title stays on Neville. Neville advises Aries to walk away now because he won’t be responsible for what happens to him at Extreme Rules.

Evaluation: That seemed like it was going to be an interview, but it ended up just being the two of them talking with each other and Graves being ignored. It was an okay exchange that felt like it went on a bit too long. They were also kind of just recapping their feud and repeating things we’ve already heard before.

Cedric Alexander vs. Johnny Boone

Boone will clearly be doing the job here. Cedric Alexander nails Boone with a big back elbow shot to the face. This forces Boone to retreat to ringside, but Alexander follows Boone and throws him back in the ring. Alexander springboards off the top rope and hits Boone with a flying clothesline. Alexander finishes this up with his finishing move the Lumbar Check for the win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Cedric Alexander

Evaluation: Squash match to let the audience know that Alexander is back. I’m happy that Alexander is back. He’s a great talent that I can definitely see as Cruiserweight Champion one day. If you’ve never seen his match against Kota Ibushi at last year’s Cruiserweight Classic, then check it out and you’ll know how good Alexander really is.

A video clip is shown of Drew Gulak clearly behind a green screen. The background looks like he’s in some sort of park. It’s in the style of a political ad. Gulak knocks cruiserweights like Mustafa Ali and their high flying style of wrestling. He’s asking people to support him in his campaign for a better 205 Live.

Evaluation: That was different. Not sure I liked it too much, but it suits his character. As I’ve said in the past, I like Gulak’s anti-high flyer/traditionalist character better when it’s treated seriously. This seemed like it was meant more for laughs, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t really feeling it.

It’s main event time!

Street Fight: Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa

Kendrick leaves the ring immediately and looks underneath it for a weapon, but Tozawa suicide dives out of the ring and onto Kendrick. Tozawa follows this up by tossing Kendrick across the announce table and rolling him back in the ring for the pin, but Kendrick kicks out. Tozawa keeps up the attack with a senton, chops to the chest and a hard punch to the face. Tozawa runs full force at Kendrick, but Kendrick dodges, pulling the rope down and sending Tozawa over the top rope.

The action is happening fast as both men are going back and forth at each other, both in and out of the ring. Kendrick throws his jacket at Tozawa to slow him down and it works. Kendrick gets purple duck tape and wraps Tozawa’s mouth with it. Kendrick locks in the Captain’s Hook submission, which is tough for Toazwa since he can only breath out of his nose, but Tozawa fights out of it. Kendrick tries connecting with Sliced Bread #2, but Tozawa counters and tosses Kendrick over the top rope. Both men brawl up the entrance ramp and are not fighting on the stage. Kendrick sends Tozawa crashing into the LED board.

Kendrick brings Tozawa back down to ringside, wraps Tozawa’s arms around the ringpost and tapes his hands together with duck tape. While Tozawa can’t move due to his hands being handcuffed with tape, Kendrick whips Tozawa’s back with a belt. Tozawa then gets a table out from underneath the ring and sets it up. By the time Kendrick goes back to Tozawa, Tozawa has freed himself and starts hipping Kendrick with the belt. The action is taken back inside the ring, when Kendrick counters Tozawa’s attack and locks in the Captain’s Hook submission yet again, but Tozawa fights out of it, escaping to ringside.

Kendrick follows Tozawa to ringside, but Tozawa hits Kendrick with a snap suplex. As they start inching their way over to the set up table, Tozawa DDT’s Kendrick onto the steel steps. Tozawa lies Kendrick onto the table and climbs to the top turnbuckle. Tozawa does his war cry and connects with a huge leaping senton, sending Kendrick right through the table. That looked impressive. Tozawa got a lot of air on that. Tozawa slowly rolls Kendrick back in the ring and pins him for the win after sixteen minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Akira Tozawa

Evaluation: Good match between these two. it was a street fight and it certainly felt like it. Weapons were used and they used a lot of their surroundings. It felt more like a big brawl than an actual wrestling match, but that’s okay, it was fitting for this rivalry. Big win for Tozawa defeating a former Cruiserweight Champion in Kendrick. You have to imagine that Tozawa’s got to be close to a Cruiserweight Title shot against the winner of Neville vs. Aries at Extreme Rules.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this was an okay episode of 205 Live. It was really just one match in the main event. The opening match between Swann and Daivari was kind of short and typical while Alexander’s return was a squash match.

As is always the case, I recommend checking out the main event Street Fight between Kendrick and Tozawa.

I included a lot of my thoughts on tonight’s episode in my evaluations throughout this review, so I’ll leave it at that.


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