WWE 205 Live (May 23, 2017)

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Cold Open…

“Good evening, my name is The Brian Kendrick,” says The Brian Kendrick. He proceeds to narrate an account of his recent feud with Akira Tozawa and says that tonight he’s going to teach Tozawa one final lesson in a STREET FIGHT WITH WEAPONS!

At Ringside

Following the opening video deal we head down to ringside where Corey Graves and Tom “Face Fucker” Philips run down what we’ve got coming up tonight. In addition to the Tozawa/Kendrick street fight with weapons we’ve got the return of Cedric Alexander and a look at the upcoming match between Neville and Austin Aries.

Highlights for Children!

The Rich Swann/Noam Dar bullshit continues to ensnare the entire cruiserweight division in its shitty grasp. In this highlight from either this week’s Raw or last week’s 205 Live (I watched neither of those so I have no idea which) a delivery guy shows up with a suspicious package for “Richard T. Swann.”

Rich Swann knows it’s some Noam Dar bullshit, but instead of just chucking it in a dumpster with Kalisto and pushing it off the entrance ramp, he tells the delivery guy, “That’s not me…that guy over there? He’s Richard T. Swann.”

The guy in question is Arya Daivari. Like current WWE Champion, Jinder Mahal, Arya Daivari now has the wealthy guy of foreign ancestry gimmick. He’s preening in a mirror with a silk blouse on and gold chains and oil magnate sunglasses when he is handed the box. He opens it and it explodes cocaine all over him. He goes berserk and starts yelling in Farsi. Which brings us to our first match of the night.

Match 1: Rich Swann vs. Arya Daivari

The start off with Daivari yelling at Swann for ruining a $15,000 blouse with his cocaine bomb. Swann attacks with a dropkick and takes control, but Daivari backs away, trying to slow the match down.

Swann sticks on him and picks up the pace, sending Daivari out to the floor. He goes for a plancha, but Daivari avoids it and slams Swann into the LED board in a spot that looked like it sucked.

Back in the ring Daivari slows things down and works over Swann’s arm. Swann fights back but runs into a knee strike. Daivari goes for a pin and gets a two count. He goes back to working the arm and hits a Divorce Court that earns him another two count.

Daivari gets Swann in a Cobra Clutch. Swann gets free, but gets caught in a neck breaker before Daivari goes back to the Cobra Clutch. Swann manages to hit a desperation jawbreaker to break the hold. He follows it up with some punches and clotheslines that leave Daivari reeling. Swan hits a somersault leg drop for a two count.

Swann hits a spinning heel kick that blasts Daivari in the side of the head, dropping him. Swann goes for the cover, but again Daivari kicks out. Swann goes up top and nails the Phoenix Splash to pick up the win.

Post-match while Swann is up on the turnbuckle celebrating his win, Noam Dar and Alicia Fox show up and push him off the turnbuckle out to the floor. This feud will continue!

Winner: Rich Swann

This was a decent enough television match. Swann’s good about selling body part injuries which I appreciate. Here he sold an arm injury throughout the match, though it ended up not coming into play in the finish.

I dislike that they’ve kind of turned him into a jerk though. The exploding box thing that begot this match in the first place was utterly pointless. I don’t know why he elected to give it to Daivari instead of just chucking it out, but it kind of made Swann seem like an asshole. [**]

Highlights for Children!

We get a video package highlighting the feud between Austin Aries and Neville. Long story short, time and time again Aries has had Neville’s number only to lose via shenanigans.

Interview

Neville and Aries join us “via satellite.” Aries is eating a banana as the interview gets underway. Graves is like, “Neville are you worried that your match at Extreme Rules is going to be a submission match?” and Neville scoffs. He says that he’s beaten everyone in the division, including Aries twice. He doesn’t think Aries deserves another shot.

Aries is like, “You beat me once by poking me in the eye when I had you in the Last Chancery at WrestleMania and then got yourself DQed at Payback when I had it locked on. The only reason you still have the title today is because you cheat to win.”

Neville calls Aries’ claims slander, but Aries is like, “It’s not slander, it’s truth and I’m going to hit you with some more truth right now. Everyone knows you’re getting by against me by the skin of your teeth and when I get you in the Last Chancery at Extreme Rules you’re going to tap.”

Neville knows that Aries’ knee is fucked and says this is no fairy tale. Aries’ knee is not going to magically heal up before Extreme Rules and if Aries steps into the ring with him Neville won’t be held responsible for what happens to Aries.

Aries is like, “Same bro.”

This was a pretty rad interview segment. It wasn’t over long, both guys stayed on topic, both were intense without screaming or talking over the other one, and most importantly they didn’t come to blows at all. If we want to see these two guys go at it we’re going to have to wait for Extreme Rules. All in all this was really well done.

Neville knows Aries is in no condition to compete and asks if he prays every night for his knee to magically heal up like it’s a fairytale. Neville won’t be held responsible for what happens at Extreme Rules. This was a really strong segment to hype up the title match; they stayed on point and didn’t resort to yelling and talking over each other.

Match 2: Cedric Alexander vs. Johnny Boone

Johnny Boone has an awesome look. He’s got Mr. T’s wrestling attire on and a grizzled hobo beard. He gets nothing though since this is Cedric Alexander’s big return after suffering a knee injury.

Alexander destroys Boone with a back elbow that sends him to the floor. Boone tries to make a run for it, but gets cut off by Alexander who sends him back into the ring. Boone gets murdered by a springboard clothesline and then double murdered via Lumbar Check before Cedric Alexander picks up the win.

Winner: Cedric Alexander

Squash match for a returning guy. This was what it should have been. Cedric came out, hit all his big moves so people who either forgot about him or started watching while he was out are pumped up for him to fight competitors of a higher caliber than Mister Boone. [NR]

The Following Message Has Been Paid for By The Friends of Drew Gulak…

After getting to see some footage of Drew Gulak’s beat down on Mustafa Ali from a week ago, we get another video of Drew Gulak campaigning to make 205 Live great again. He doesn’t like showoffs, showboats, and people like Mustafa Ali who take unnecessary risks for fan adulation. “Support my campaign for a better 205 Live!”

Match 3: Akira Tozawa vs. The Brian Kendrick

Time for a street fight with weapons! Kendrick looks like he’s keeping his leather jacket on for the match. He heads out to the floor in the opening moments and goes to the weapon shop that apparently exists beneath every wrestling ring, but gets taken out by a diving Tozawa before he can get anything out.

They brawl at the announce table. Tozawa hip tosses Kendrick over the table. The two men head back into the ring and Tozawa makes a cover. Kick out at two! Apparently pinfalls do not count anywhere. They can brawl wherever they want, but have to go back to the ring to make a pin to win.

Tozawa hits Kendrick with some kicks and a big senton to get a two count. Tozawa hits some chops and then fires up and charges at Kendrick. Kendrick flinches, and then Tozawa waits a second before decking Kendrick with a punch to the face that drops him.

Kendrick gets back to his feet and Tozawa charges, but gets low bridged by Kendrick and crashes to the floor. Tozawa heads back in, but gets hit by Kendrick as he comes in. Tozawa manages to score a rana that dumps Kendrick out of the ring. He goes for a suicide dive but Kendrick cuts him off by throwing his jacket into Tozawa’s face. Tozawa gets tangled up in the ring ropes like Shelly Martinez in that match so Kendrick hits a draping suplex out to the floor.

 

Kendrick goes under the ring for some plunder and comes out with a roll of purple duct tape. Back in the ring, Kendrick gags Tozawa with the purple duct tape and then locks in a Captain’s Hook. Tozawa makes it to the ropes, but this is a street fight so that means no rope breaks. He pulls himself to his feet and Kendrick goes for Sliced Bread, but gets cut off by Tozawa who shoves him to the floor.

Tozawa follows him out and hits a pump kick before beating Kendrick up to the top of the ramp. Kendrick turns the tide and slams Tozawa into the LED up at the entrance. He then drags Tozawa back down to the ring and slams him into the steel steps.

Kendrick goes back to the purple duct tape and wraps it around Tozawa’s wrists so he’s tied to the ring post. Kendrick takes off his belt and begins whipping Tozawa with it while yelling at him. Kendrick then wanders off to get a table out from under the ring and the ref goes to untie Tozawa.

Tozawa appears and whips Kendrick in the fucking face with the belt and the announcers are like, “HOW THE FUCK DID TOZAWA EVEN GET FREE?!” even though we saw the ref undoing the tape on his wrists before the cameras cut to Kendrick setting up the table. Tozawa is going apeshit, whipping the fuck out of Kendrick all the way back into the ring.

Kendrick makes a comeback and locks in the Captain’s Hook again, but once more Tozawa gets back to his feet and rolls them both out to the floor. They brawl ringside and fight up onto the steps. Kendrick looks like he’s trying for a suplex off the steps, but Tozawa manages to fight him off and shove him to the floor. Tozawa crumples in a heap afterwards out of exhaustion.

 

Tozawa gets back to his feet and  lays in some kicks. He follows them up with the Saito suplex on the floor. Kendrick tries to fight back but gets slammed into the steps. Tozawa puts him on the table and then rolls back into the ring. He goes up top and kills The Brian Kendrick with the biggest senton in recent memory.

Both men are down, but Tozawa comes to first and rolls Kendrick’s corpse into the ring and makes the pin. One! Two! Three!

Winner: Akira Tozawa

This was a fantastic match. Easily the best match I saw on TV this week. I appreciate that they didn’t over do it with weapons during the match since it made each weapon spot all the more impressive. That senton at the end would have been a lot less spectacular if it was the third of fourth table dudes had crashed through when it happened.  All in all it was a great match and a perfect end to this feud. [****] 

Final Thoughts

The main event alone is reason enough to watch this episode, but the interview with Neville and Aries is also fantastic. Add in the return of Cedric Alexander and this is nearly a must watch episode.

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