WWE 205 Live (June 20, 2017)

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Rich Swann and Tozawa are having a conversation in Japanese about Swann’s upcoming match with Neville. Swann says he’s going to dance his way into the title scene again. Titus O’Neil arrives to talk to Tozawa again. He says there could be a place in the Titus Brand for Swann too, but Swann’s like, “I’ll think about it, but I gotta go.” Titus tells him to do something about his hair because he’s not The Weeknd as Swann heads off.

Titus talks about how he’s ready to take the Titus Brand international and has a contract for Tozawa, but Tozawa just stares at him. Titus is like, “You drive a hard bargain,” and the offers Tozawa an extra 5% on his merchandise sales and talks about his idea for a Tozawa Towel (like the Terrible Towel but Tozawa based I suppose). Again Tozawa says nothing, so Titus tells him to think about it because on Raw next Monday he’ll have an offer that Tozawa can’t refuse.

After the opening credits we head down to ringside where we’re joined by Corey Graves and some new guy named Vic Joseph, who might have debuted last week in the episode I didn’t watch. He seems pretty good thus far.

Highlights for Children!

We get a recap of Austin Aries talking about how he’s got leg and neck problems so he’s got to step aside for awhile from last week. Tony Nese shows up and talks about how Aries is the past so he should just stop embarrassing himself and leave. Jack Gallagher comes out to make the save. This sets up for our first match of the night…

Match 1: Jack Gallagher vs. Tony Nese

Nese talks some shit to Gallagher at the onset of the match. There a test of strength and Nese overpowers Gallagher and sends him into the corner, but Gallagher hits his corner headstand and keeps Nese at bay with some kicks.

We see Austin Aries watching the match backstage while eating a banana. Gallagher hits Nese with some knee strikes, but Nese cuts him off and hits him with a clothesline to the back of the head that sends Gallagher ass over teakettle.

Nese puts Gallagher in the tree of woe and starts doing crunches as he kicks Gallagher. He then goes for a suplex, but he feels the need to flex which allows Gallagher to escape and mount a comeback.

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Gallagher hits a dropkick and then follows up with a suplex devoid of flexing that earns him a near fall. Nese is back to his feet, but Gallagher hits a headbutt that drops both men.

Nese stuns Gallagher off the ropes and goes for a springboard moonsault, but Gallagher avoids it. Nese charges and ends up going shoulder first into the ringpost. He’s down. The ref pulls Gallagher back while he checks on Nese. Gallagher has words with the ref and Nese sneaks up and slams Gallagher into the turnbuckles. He was totally faking his injury! What a dastardly fellow! Nese hits the running double knees and picks up the underhanded victory.

Winner: Tony Nese

I thought this was a pretty decent match that was brought down a little bit by the wonky ending. I get that this was to set up stuff later in the night and to allow the feud to continue but in the context of the match as a standalone thing, it took away from what was otherwise a really fun match. [**]

Meanwhile Backstage…

Noam Dar is FaceTiming with Alicia Fox he talks about how he’s tired of messing with Cedric Alexander. Alexander shows up and Alicia Fox yells at him so Dar’s like, “If you don’t leave 205 Live, we’ll make your life a living hell.”

He then tells Alexander that he hopes he knows how to fish because he’s going to have to fish his bag out of the river. Alexander’s like, “What bag? This bag right here?” and holds up his bag and the says, “What are you, five?” and walks off.

Daivari shows up and can’t find his bag. It cost $15,000 and there were only two of them ever made. Dar looks nervous and scurries off. I love the gimmick of every item Daivari owns that gets destroyed costing exactly $15,000.

Highlights for Children!

We get a video package giving us the history between Mustafa Ali and Drew Gulak.

Match 2: Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak

Gulak’s on the megaphone as he makes his way down to the ring. “What do we want? Ground based offense! When do we want it? Now!” he shouts. He says he wants to work with Ali to make 205 Live a better place, free of pointless flips and dives. Ali isn’t having it.

Ali dropkicks Gulak through the ropes as he climbs up onto the apron and then hits a corkscrew plancha to demonstrate precisely how few fucks he gives about ground based offense. He works over Gulak with some rights and then takes him down with a cross body block that gets a two count.

Gulak puts Ali up on the top rope and the shoves him off to the floor. Ali apparently hit his elbow on the way down and starts selling. Gulak rolls him back in and starts working Ali’s arm. He puts the boots to him to keep Ali grounded.

Gulak gets Ali in an abdominal stretch. He follows up with a hammerlock slam and then goes back to Ali’s arm, wrapping it in the ropes to do additional damage. Guak covers for two.

Ali makes his comeback. He hits some clotheslines and a dropkick before moving on to the double knees and his rolling neckbreaker. Ali comes off the ropes for some sort of high flying maneuver but Gulak catches him and goes for a crab. Ali manages to counter by rolling through and getting Gulak in a cradle for the win, proving he can get it done on the ground.

 

Winner: Mustafa Ali

Not a bad match. Gulak and Ali are both solid in the ring and their matches over the past few weeks have generally been pretty fun. The ending was solid and can easily be used to continue the feud (“I beat you!” “Yes, by using ground based offense,”) but honestly I hope that if they do continue it, they bring in some other dudes to mix it up a bit. [**½]

Meanwhile Backstage…

A dejected Jack Gallagher is walking around when he is tossed a towel from off camera. The camera pans over and we see that the towel was thrown by a banana eating Austin Aries. He says he watched the match and realized that the reason Gallagher lost was because guys like Nese, TJP, and Neville are willing to cut corners.

Jack says he’s not comfortable cutting corners. Aries says that what he’s talking about is having each other’s back…a loose alliance so to speak since they’re both in the International Brotherhood of Mustaches.

“An accord then?” says Gallagher.

“I thought you drove a Lincoln, but Hondas are alright,” replies Aries as the two men shake hands.

 

Highlights for Children!

Graves and Joseph talk about the history between Neville and Swann and show a replay of Neville attacking Swann before their match last night on Raw, which lead to tonight’s main event being signed.

Meanwhile Backstage…

TJP comes up to Swann and tells him that he didn’t appreciate Swann telling him how to handle his business right before his championship match with Neville. Swann tells him he wasn’t trying to get in his head.

Perkins seems to believe this and then gives Swann a weird pep talk before his match saying that Swann’s not going out there to wrestle TJ Perkins or TJP, he’s going to wrestle Neville so he needs to go out there an take care of business.

I have no idea what is going on here. Is Perkins a heel? A face? In the previous segment Aries mentioned him by name as one of the douchebags who took shortcuts to get ahead, and at the start of this segment it seemed like he was pissed off enough to do some sort of run in to cost Swann the match but by the end of it he was like, “Go out there and give 137%!” It was a really weird segment.

Meanwhile at Ringside…

We return from break and Akira Tozawa makes his way down to ringside where a VIP section has been arranged for him courtesy of the Titus Brand. He’s got an office chair and a velvet rope and popcorn and soda. It’s a pretty solid setup.

 

Match 3: Neville vs. Rich Swann

This is a non-title match. Neville’s out first. He stares down Tozawa sitting in the VIP section. Apparently Neville’s not a fan of the Titus Brand. Swann comes out and goes after Neville right away, but the King of the Cruiserweights cuts him off and ground him. Swann manages to get back to a vertical base and proceeds to drop Neville with a dropkick.

Neville gets back to his feet and Swann decides he’s tired of fucking around. He picks up the pace and hits a huricanrana and then dropkicks Neville out the the floor. Swann goes out after him and rolls him back in.

They roll around on the mat for a bit and then Swann sends Neville to the floor again with another dropkick. Swann tries for a dive, but Neville cuts him off with a running forearm strike. He sets Swann up top, but ends up getting shoved off and sent to the floor again. This time Neville hits  his dive.

Back in the ring Swann hits a clothesline and then it’s shades of Rob Van Dam as he goes for Rolling Thunder. Neville gets his kness up though to ruin Swann’s shit. He then takes Swann to the outside and slams his now ruined ribs into the barricade. Neville rolls back in to break the count and then heads back out to slam Swann into the barricade again before bring Swann back into the ring.

Swann gets fired up and lays in some chops before they go back out to the floor to brawl. Neville slams Swann into the announce table and then stares down Tozawa before going back into the ring.

Neville heads up top as Swann staggers about in the ring. Swann randomly collapses so Neville hops down off the top turnbuckle and goes over toward Swann. Swann gets back to his feet and kicks the fuck out of Neville with a nasty superkick. He unloads on Neville with right and then kicks Neville in the head for a two count.

He nearly takes Neville’s head off with a lariat that sets up for a Michinoku Driver that scores another near fall. Swann heads up top but gets cut off by Neville. They jostle for position up top and Neville gets sent to the mat. Swann with the Phoenix Splash but Neville rolls out of the way so Swann crashes and burns. Neville gets Swann in the Rings of Saturn. Swann tries to fight his way to the ropes, but ultimately has to tap.

Neville stares down Tozawa as the show goes off the air.

Winner: Neville

Another awesome 205 Live main event. Neville continues to be awesome as a heel and Swann is great as this week’s challenger. I’d say that Neville is probably one of if not the best heel in the WWE today. He just gets it, and I hope that if and when the Cruiserweight Division is shored up and he finally drops the belt he moves back on the main roster…unless of course they need him to save the UK Division first. [***¾]

Final Thoughts

This was a pretty great episode of 205 Live. All the matches were logical and advanced the storylines that were being told. I think the only thing that didn’t really work for me was the random encounter Swann had with TJP before his match. I guess Perkins is turning face or something which makes sense from a storyline standpoint, but the exchange he and Swann had was kind of all over the place so I still don’t really know what’s going on with those two. I was almost certain that Perkins was going to do a run-in, but it never happened, so who knows.

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