WWE 205 Live Review 12/13/16 by Mark McAllen

The third episode of 205 Live is here! Actually, scratch the “live” part because tonight’s episode is taped. As far as I know, 205 Live being taped this week was not made common knowledge.

I noticed at the start of the show that they were at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where this week’s Raw was held). The commentary team was also near the ramp, where the Raw commentary team usually positions itself. Therefore, I put two and two together and figured that this was taped before this week’s Raw. The fact that there were actually plenty of people in the arena was a solid clue too.

(Note from John: You are right, Mark. It was taped before Raw because Smackdown had to do SD Live and Tribute to the Troops together.)

The opening video package shows highlights from last week’s Cruiserweight Championship main event between Rich Swann and Brian Kendrick. Swann won due to Kendrick being caught off guard from a brief TJ Perkins distraction at ringside. It ended with Kendrick brawling at ringside with Swann and Perkins and being the last man standing, looking down at the Cruiserweight Title.

Another very cool pyro display to kick off the show. The team of Mauro Ranallo, Corey Graves and “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” Austin Aries welcome us the show. They remind us that there will be a triple threat match at Raw’s Roadblock pay-per-view this Sunday (Dec. 18) between Swann, Kendrick and Perkins.

Tonight’s main event will be Swann vs. Perkins.

“The Extraordinary Gentlemen” Jack Gallagher makes his entrance and we get a replay of what happened between Gallagher and Ariya Daivari on this week’s Raw. Gallagher interfered in Daivari’s match to give him a “thorough thrashing,” which resulted in Daivari winning by disqualification.

Jack Gallagher vs. Drew Gulak

Gulak’s the hometown boy. He got a nice reaction when it was announced that he was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I’m betting this match goes about three minutes and ends with Daivari interfering. Aries says Gallagher resembles Julius Pringles. You think so?

Both Gallagher and Gulak are submission based wrestlers and they displayed it a lot in this match. There was a fun series of rolling crucifixes into pinfall attempts by both men.

Gallagher did a lot of his signature comedy spots such as the handstand in the corner and the Full Winsor Knot that prevents his opponent from moving. The Full Winsor Knot is a move that often gets a lot of laughs from the crowd, but didn’t get much of a reaction tonight. Maybe because Gulak’s from Philly.

Nice viciousness was shown by Gulak throughout the match. Although Gulak was more impressive in the Cruiserweight Classic, 205 Live’s been a better showcase for him than Raw. There were some stiff back elbow’s from Gulak, a nice big boot and he threw Gallagher into the bottom rope neck first. That looked brutal.

Well, I’m happy this match has gone over three minutes. U.K. wrestling legend Johnny Saint was mentioned as an influence to Gulak’s wrestling style. It was recently announced that Saint is going to be a trainer at the WWE Performance Center for about six months. He’s 75 years old.

Gallagher wrapped up the match with a series of stiff European uppercuts. Gallagher then hit his signature headbutt, which is the best headbutt I’ve ever seen, and follows it up with a running dropkick on Gulak who was leaning up against the corner. Gallagher goes for the pin and wins after six minutes.

Winner by pinfall: “The Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher

TJ Perkins is seen in the locker room getting ready for his main event match against Swann. Swann enters and tells Perkins he was right about what he said last week, maybe Swann’s been getting a little lucky lately. Perkins says they’re friends, but on Sunday he’s going to be the TJ Perkins that eliminated Swann from the Cruiserweight Classic. Perkins says that eventually luck runs out.

We get a video hyping Tajiri’s 205 Live debut saying he’ll be “coming soon.” I’m happy Tajiri’s going to be a part of 205 Live. I always liked him and he proved in the CWC that he’s still got it. He’s in a position in his career now where he’ll just be putting guys over, but if we get to see good to great matches in the process then I’m all on board.

Gallagher is seen walking backstage as Tom Philips walks up to Gallagher and congratulates him on his victory. As Gallagher is thanking Philips, he notices Daivari standing behind him. As mentioned, Gallagher interfered in Daivari’s match during this week’s Raw. Gallagher tells Daivari that he had to make things even and extends his hand to let bygones be bygones, but he uses much bigger words. Daivari says Gallagher embarrassed him on Raw and said they’re not even… but they will be.

As Lince Dorado makes his way to the ring, we see a taped promo from him saying he’s going to be “leading the way” in the cruiserweight division. Mustafa Ali makes his entrance next and we get a taped promo from Ali too. Ali says the moment you (the WWE Universe) hear his name, you make up your mind about him. He said he’s going to show you what he’s really all about. He’s insinuating racism. He’s right about what he said though. As soon as his music hit and he was announced, the camera panned to people in the crowd giving him thumbs down.

Lince Dorado vs. Mustafa Ali

This is Dorado and Ali’s 205 Live debut and they did not disappoint.

The action was fast paced and we saw tons of big spots throughout. These were the notes I took during the match of some of the big spots:

Springboard arm drag by Ali followed by a springboard hurricanrana then kip up by Dorado. Very fast paced. Ali rolling through the ropes and hits a neck breaker. Nice dropkick to the back of Ali’s head from Dorado. Ali dodges Dorado in the corner, sending Dorado hard into the ring post. Frankensteiner from Dorado off the top turnbuckle. Great handspring stunner from Dorado, a move which is done frequently by Jay Lethal. Spinning head scissors from Dorado off the apron and onto the floor. Springboard moonsault from Dorado onto Ali at ringside.

I was writing as fast as I could too. Once Dorado hit Ali with the springboard moonsault, both men were on the floor at ringside fighting to stand up. We then see the fastest ten count in the world from the referee and the match ends in a double count-out after about five minutes.

During the quick ten count, you can hear some guy in the crowd yell “this is how Rocky II ended!” Thank you to that guy for making me laugh, and sorry for the Rocky II spoiler.

Double count-out: No winner

Both men get in the ring, but it’s too late. They look upset. Dorado extends his hand, but Ali slaps him. Dorado hits Ali with a spinning heel kick, sending Ali outside the ring.

Note: I’d love to see more matches from these two. I hope this is just the start of their rivalry. That match was fast paced and exciting, and it kind of had a Lucha Underground type-feel to it. It was short, but the fact that it was short didn’t take away from how exciting it was (inset dirty joke).

– I think that’s the kind of match most people expect to see when they think of cruiserweight action. Not to say that this is better than a more technical, submission based cruiserweight match. I just think that the match Dorado and Ali had are how most people, at least the WWE Universe, think cruiserweight wrestling should be. Good 205 Live debut by both men. I’m really liking the prospect of Ali’s character. I hope it gets explored more.

Alicia Fox is shown walking backstage as she crosses paths with Noam Dar. Dar said he dedicated his win over Cedric Alexander last week to Fox, and he’s surprised she hasn’t brought it up to him. She said that’s great, but she has a boyfriend (it’s Alexander). Dar says of course you do and that he’d see her around. Fox is a heel on Raw, but a face on 205 Live?

A video package of TJ Perkins is shown. It shows him winning the CWC, saying he’s sacrificed everything for wrestling, and talks about being homeless for a while. If WWE wants to keep him as a face, I think it’s good to go back and talk about the CWC and how he was homeless. That’s what got him over in the first place and I feel like some of TJP’s buzz has died down, so going back to what works and reminding us of who Perkins is, certainly helps.

The video package also touches on Perkins’ confidence and how he says it stems from him believing in himself and how you need confidence if you’re going to be in this business. “I think with greatness comes responsibility, and I’ve proven that I’m great. I think it’s my responsibility to lead this generation.” That sounds familiar…

Both Perkins and Swann make their entrance. Right before they’re about to start their match, Kendrick makes his entrance and he’s heading over to the announce table.

TJ Perkins vs. Rich Swann

This match was good, but not great. It started off a bit slow and I kind of kept waiting for the match to get going. It was still a good bout though.

Kendrick and Aries were bonding during commentary.

There were a ton of nearfalls throughout the match, but I wouldn’t necessarily say they were believable nearfalls since they happened after a lot of smaller moves.

There was a point in the match where Swann went to hit Perkins with a moonsault off the apron. He missed and landed on his left leg “awkwardly.” His left leg was worked on for the rest of the match.

Toward the end of the match, Swann went for his signature standing 450 splash. However, he couldn’t hit it due to his left leg giving him problems. This lead to Perkins taking advantage and going for his signature knee bar submission. Perkins had Swann’s bad leg locked in and Swann tapped out after nine minutes.

Winner by submission: TJ Perkins

All three guys keep losing to each other, so in my eyes nobody’s clearly stronger than the other. They all seem on the same level.

Kendrick claps and walks to the ring to congratulate both men. He extends his hand to Swann, but Swann swats him away. He then turns to congratulate Perkins, but Perkins superkicks him. What a couple of jerks.

As Swann turns around, he’s greeted by Perkins who looked like he was going to hit Swann with a superkick, but Perkins stops himself. Perkins looks at Swann as if to say, “I could have taken you out there if I wanted to.”

205 Live goes off the air with Kendrick on the floor outside scowling while Perkins and Swann stare each other down.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this was a solid episode of 205 Live. It was only 42 minutes since it was taped before this week’s Raw. This was likely due to the fact that Tribute to the Troops was taped before this week’s Smackdown, so having people stay for 205 Live after Smackdown would have been too much.

If I recommended you to watch one match from tonight, I’d recommend Dorado vs. Ali for two reasons. 1) It’s only five minutes long and 2) It’s from two guys that you likely haven’t seen much of considering they’ve barley been used since the cruiserweight division came to Raw almost three months ago. To be fair though, Doarado was signed from the beginning while Ali was brought back when 205 Live was announced as being a new show.

We’re finished with the first three weeks of 205 Live and no Gran Metalik or Akira Tozawa yet. I’m hoping we get to see them soon as they’re two of my favorite cruiserweights.

I’m liking 205 Live so far because I like mostly everyone on the show. It’s fun, it’s different and I like seeing new faces.

Picture used above is courtesy of