Tonight on a very special episode of 205 Live, TJ Perkins takes on the King of the Cruiserweights, Neville, in a match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Here’s a highlight package to show how these two former allies got to this point!
Highlight reel taken care of, we get the opening credits and then head down to the ring for wrestling. As always our announcers for the evening are Corey Graves and Tom “Face Fucker” Phillips.
Match 1: Noam Dar vs. Cedric Alexander
Fuck…it’s Noam Dar. He comes out solo prompting someone in the audience to scream, “WHERE’S ALICIA FOX?!” Dar explains that she’s at home recovering from a neck injury but he’s here to continue his goddamn feud with Cedric Alexander. He calls Cedric Alexander jealous which prompts Alexander’s music to hit.
Alexander comes down to the ring much to the shock and dismay of Noam Dar. The bell is rung and the match gets underway with Alexander and Dar locking up. Alexander forces Dar to the corner but backs off when the ref has them break.
Dar goes after Alexander’s arm, but he escapes and goes after Dar who quickly runs to the ropes and starts screaming for the ref. Alexander backs off, but Dar doesn’t break clean and takes Alexander down with a side headlock takeover.
Alexander gets back to his feet and starts to pick up the pace. He hits a dropkick and Dar bails out to the floor. Alexander goes out after him. They brawl for a bit and then Alexander hits a moonsault off the apron that drops Dar.
He rolls Dar back in and lights Dar up with some uppercuts before heading up top. Dar follows after him and kicks him off, sending Alexander crashing to the mat. Dar grounds him and goes back to Alexander’s arm.
Alexander gets back to his feet and Dar lays into him with some forearm strikes, but Alexander fires back with a right that he follows up with a back elbow strike. He then hits a back handspring kick that he follows up with a springboard clothesline that’s good for a two count. He picks up Dar, but Dar goes after Alexander’s knee and then gets a cradle for a two count of his own. Alexander goes for a head scissors, but Dar counters and kicks Alexander in the face for another near fall.
Dar gets Alexander up but gets caught in a roll up for two. He hits Alexander with a big boot and goes for a running kick but gets caught, chucked up into the air, and lumbar check by Alexander who picks up the win.
After the match, Alexander approaches Dar. The ref gets ready to pull them apart but Alexander does the universal sign for “It’s cool.” He then yells at Dar that “This? This is over. I’ve moved on.” He does this without a microphone, so people in the arena probably had no idea what was going on.
Winner: Cedric Alexander
As a wrestling match this was a fine collection of wrestling moves. From a storyline perspective god I hope what Cedric Alexander said at the end is true. This plot has been going on for way too long. It was never that good to begin with and it’s just been endless. I’m ready for all these dudes to move on to something else. [**]
We get a TJ Perkins video package showing him winning the Cruiserweight Classic to become the first Cruiserweight Champion. He talks about how he knows he’s cocky but in order to be the best, you have to believe you’re the best.
Perkins gets interviewed. He says that he’s already done won the Cruiserweight Championship for the fans so this time he’s going to do it for himself. He talks about how he helped Neville take care of his Austin Aries problem and says that now Neville’s got a TJP problem.
Match 2: Mustafa Ali vs. Louie Valle
Ali starts the match by working Valle’s arm. There’s some back and forth before Ali get Valle with a snapmare. Valle then goes after Ali’s arm, but Ali manages to escape and hit a shoulder block. He then hits a dropkick that sends Valle out to the apron.
Valle stuns Ali off the ropes from the apron and then takes him down with a clothesline. Valle makes a cover and gets a two count. He stays on the attack, hitting Ali with strikes, but Ali gets back in control and hits him with the rolling neckbreaker.
Ali then heads up to the top rope, but Gulak appears with his bullhorn to make sure the No Fly Zone is not violated. Ali gets distracted and Valle rolls him up, but Ali counters and gets Valle in an inside cradle for the win.
After the match, Gulak says that he’s proud of Ali for proving that he didn’t need to take pointless risks to win matches. He invites Ali to join him in his quest to make 205 Live a better place. Ali responds by ruining Gulak’s shit with a dive to the outside and then busting up Gulak’s “No Fly Zone” placard and declaring 205 Live to be a “Fly Zone.”
Winner: Mustafa Ali
This was a squash match to rehab Ali who’s been on a bit of a losing streak as of late. Valle got a bit more offense in than I would have expected, but it was an alright match that also did a fine job of continuing Ali’s feud with Drew Gulak. [*]
We get a Who Is Rich Swann video package. They go from talking about how he had a hard life and him claiming that he’d probably be dead if not for professional wrestling to him being a fun loving party guy dancing in the center of the ring with Sasha Banks.
Rich Swann and Tozawa are having a conversation in Japanese. Titus O’Neil shows up and interrupts them and says he needs to talk to Tazowa or some other butchering of Tozawa’s name. Swann corrects him and then bails.
O’Neil tells Tozawa that his client, Tozawa’s good friend, Apollo Crews, recommended him as someone to add to the Titus Brand. Titus thinks this is a good idea since every time Tozawa screams, “AH! AH! AH!” he hears “CHA! CHA! CHA!” as in “CHA-CHING!”
Tozawa seems confused by this so O’Neil tells him to go home and talk it over with Crews. He then offers to shake Tozawa’s hand but Tozawa just glares at him so O’Neil kind of shakes his own hand and heads off.
I think that better integration of the cruiserweight division into the main WWE product is important and I guess this angle is working towards that, but I would have preferred them using someone other than Tozawa. The dude is over huge already, especially after his street fight with The Brian Kendrick, so putting him in this angle seems like kind of a waste. Maybe it’ll turn out to be something cool, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Match 3: TJ Perkins vs. Neville
Perkins comes down to the ring. Before Neville makes his entrance he cuts a promo backstage and says that he’s going to show TJP that he’s not on the “Neville Level.” This is a goddamn fantastic catchphrase.
Neville then comes down to the ring and starts to go up to the top rope, but then stops because going to the top rope might accidentally pop the crowd. I love heel Neville.
This is for the Cruiserweight Championship so we get ring introductions and the belt gets held aloft to give this match a Big Fight Feel. The bell rings and the match gets underway. Someone in the audience screams, “YOU SUCK NEVILLE!”
The two dudes lock up and battle around the ropes, jockeying for position before attempting to outwrestle one another. Neville mounts Perkins and then slaps him for awhile. Perkins gets Neville to the mat and then slaps him around the same way.
Neville gets Perkins in a side headlock, but TJP fights to his feet. Neville, giving zero fucks whatsoever, just chucks Perkins across the ring. Neville does a bunch of stuff but Perkins keeps countering so Neville’s just like “F this!” and knocks Perkins on his ass with a shoulder block.
From the mat Perkins trips Neville up and then gets the King of the Cruiserweights into a half crab. Neville makes it to the ropes and the ref breaks the hold. They then run the ropes and do that spot where a guy’s on his back and has his legs in the air forming a V and the other dude leaps between them like a lion jumping through a ring of fire. Eventually Neville gets tired of fucking around and ruins TJP’s shit with a rana.
Perkins mounts a comeback and gets Neville in a Tarantula in the ropes. SHADES OF TAJIRI! Perkins releases the hold at four and Neville bails to the floor. He pulls Perkins out of the ring and slams him into the barricade. Neville slows the pace and casually tosses Perkins into the announcer’s table, face first and then heads back into the ring.
Perkins barely makes it back before the ten count. Neville looks perplexed as to why Perkins is still attempting to compete. Neville slams TJP again and the heads up top after hitting a missile dropkick. Perkins charges so Neville drops down to the apron and hits an elbow. He goes for a springboard, but TJP evades and tosses Neville to the floor. SOME KIND OF PLANCHA! Neville’s down.
Back in the ring they attempt to pull each other’s hair for awhile before TJP ruins Neville’s shit with a wrecking ball dropkick. He follows up with a double chicken wing into a double knee gutbuster that leads to a near fall. Perkins goes for the detonation kick but Neville gets to the ropes and and slams Perkins to the mat. He puts the boots to TJP and goes for a pin, but Perkins kicks out. Neville jaws with Perkins as he lays in more kicks. TJP gets fired up and makes a comeback, attacking Neville’s knee.
Neville drops TJP with a kick and goes up top but misses with the Red Arrow. Perkins gets Neville in the knee bar but Neville tries to make his way to the ropes. Perkins breaks the hold and pulls Neville back to center ring, but Neville gets him in the Rings of Saturn.
Perkins manages to escape the hold and get Neville in a roll up that gets a two count, but Neville gets the Rings of Saturn reapplied. This time there is no escape for TJP who has no choice but to tap out.
Ah, the rare heel vs. heel match up in the WWE. Overall this was a fine bit of technical wrestling. The angle makes sense and the match between these two did need to happen at some point, but the WWE has conditioned its fans to need a good guy and a bad guy in every match which probably didn’t help with the crowd reaction. I mean both guys got some halfhearted cheers and Neville got one guy who kept yelling he sucked, but other than that I don’t think the crowd knew what to do.
Maybe they expected the crowd to get behind TJP, but this doesn’t really make sense since as recently as his interview this episode he was acting like a cocky heel. I have no doubt that they’ll start turning him face, which I’m personally not all about since TJ Perkins always seems like such a smarmy asshole. [***]
This episode featured a couple of really solid wrestling matches and a squash match that furthered a pretty solid storyline, but that still doesn’t seem to be enough to get people invested in 205 Live.
I think what they’ve been doing as of late with people like Sasha Banks and now Titus O’Neil is honestly a step in the right direction. The cruiserweight division should not be as isolated from the main roster as it is.
Think back to the Light Heavyweight or Cruiserweight divisions of yore. Yeah you had guys like Chavo fighting the Hurricane a lot, but they didn’t only fight one another. Sometimes they’d be in goofy Big Man/Small Man tag teams, sometimes they’d feud with lower midcard dudes for some other lower midcard title. Let them start doing that kind of stuff again, and for God sake just film 205 before Smackdown and put it on the Network whenever.
I know a number of people who watch 205 Live weekly, but few of those people are watching it live with any regularity. Granted it’s a pretty small sample size, but in my experience few people care whether or not it’s live.