SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
DECEMBER 27, 2016
DETROIT, MICH. AT JOE LOUIS ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
Report by Dominic DeAngelo, PWTorch Contributor
The show starts off with a video recap of Neville’s heel turn, emphasizing his new vicious and aggressive style and culminating with his attack on Rich Swann.
(1) CEDRIC ALEXANDER (w/Alicia Fox) vs. TONY NESE
Before the match, they show last week’s events of Noam Dar swooping into the aid of Alicia Fox. Match starts with collar elbow tie up. Nese and Cedric go back and forth with both of them showcasing their athleticism until Nese shoves Alexander to the outside. He rolls him back into the ring to hit Alexander with a top rope dropkick. Alexander fights back to his feet until Nese regains advantage with an impressive combination of kicks and reversals. Alexander gets back into a roll with a springboard elbow for a two count until Nese hits him with a strong clothesline that’s good enough for two. On the outside, Drew Gulak gets into an argument with Fox. Gulak fakes getting hit by Fox and then the ref ejects Fox from ringside. This distracts Alexander which allows Nese to hit him with a palm strike that’s good enough for a three count.
WINNER: Tony Nese via pinfall at 6:00.
POST MATCH: We cut backstage to a frustrated Alicia Fox. Noam Dar approaches her with a Christmas present: a miseltoe which he puts over both their heads. This gets a slap from Alicia. Dar asks for another and Fox obliges. Dar then laughs and says “Merry Christmas to me.” Aries says he doesn’t know if he likes Noam Dar or is disturbed by him.
MATCH ANALYSIS: A fun opener that continues what’s been a fun angle between Dar and Alexander. Nese and Alexander were both on their game as far as the in ring work went, but everyone from Dar to Gulak got to partake in “The Young & The Restless”-like festivities.
Next is a pre-taped sit-down interview with Renee Young and Neville. She starts off asking him why now did he decide to join 205 Live? Neville stares and stews before asking her to ask a real question. He said he is upset that WWE brass decided to search the world for cruiserweights rather than think of him. He says if he was in the Cruiserweight Classic there would have been no competition. It was discrimination. Renee asks why he thinks that. He says ever since he came over from England he’s been discriminated against by Americans. Americans like to be cruel and they feel threatened by the best, and that’s him. Renee followed up by asking if that’s why he calls himself the “King of the Cruiserweights.” Neville pauses and says he doesn’t call himself that, he is the “King.” He brings up Rich Swann and says in Japan Swann was his “young boy,” meaning he’d do everything for him. He said Swann is not on his level. He said he is used to competing with competitors 300 pounds, so this division will be a “doddle.” Renee said she doesn’t understand “doddle” which ticks off Neville enough to end the interview.
Cut to a backstage segment with new champion Rich Swann. T.J. Perkins enters and has a friendly exchange, saying Swann’s been pretty lucky as of late. He wishes him luck tonight.
(1) MUSTAFA ALI vs. JOHN URNET
The hometown Ali gets a good reaction before starting the match. It’s evident Urnet is working as the heel as he kicks Ali in the gut and gloats to the crowd. Ali eventually rolls him into a crucifix which frustrates Urnet, who keeps favoring his leg. Ali climbs the turnbuckle to hit a wild looking inverted 450 splash for the win.
WINNER: Mustafa Ali via pinfall at 2:06
POST MATCH INTERVIEW: Ali cuts a babyface promo saying he feels accepted by the fans, saying “Chicago made him,” which seemed like a subtle Punk reference that did garner a few chants.
MATCH ANALYSIS: Urnet clearly looked legit injured so it seems the match was cut short but both still were able to keep it interesting enough to put over Ali.
Next we cut to a video package on Ariya Daivari to promote the upcoming “duel” with Jack Gallagher. He references his brother’s past in WWE and states that he already surpassed his brother in relevance. He states his loss to Gallagher was nothing but a fluke. He’s a mainstay and nothing like that will ever happen again.
(3) ARIYA DAIVARI vs. JACK GALLAHGHER – GENTLEMAN’S DUEL
Gallagher entered the ring in a three-piece suit which is decorated with a red carpet, a table, and assorted weapons. Davairi was confused by all of this so Gallagher walked him through the process. First, he must pick his weapon. The choices were a frying pan, a rope, a lead pipe, an umbrella, a wrench, a candlestick, and a tea cup. Being a gentleman, Gallagher allowed Daivari to pick his weapon first. He chose the lead pipe. Gallagher picked the umbrella.
When Daivari was ready to attack, Gallagher said there are more rules to follow. They shall stand in the center of the ring back-to-back, they’ll take five paces, turn, and then engage in combat. The duel would end when someone quit.
Daivari agreed and both turned their backs until Gallagher began. Daivari tried to go right on the attack but Gallagher ducked and hit Davairi below the belt with the umbrella before casually whacking him on the head with it and poking him in the midsection. He then used the hook of the umbrella to sweep Daivari’s legs out from under him, which broke the umbrella in half. Daivari used the end of the table to hit Gallagher and began the attack in the corner. A small “scoundrel” chant broke out as he picked up the wrench. Gallagher head butted him in the mid-section and then in the head before hitting him with a corner dropkick. Daivari rolled out of the ring and Gallagher was announced as the winner by forfeit.
WINNER: Jack Gallagher via forfeit
DUEL ANALYSIS: A really well-done segment, nothing fell flat, and Gallagher was very in his “gentlemanly” element, going all in with his character but being funny at the same time. The crowd laughed at the appropriate moments and Daivari was great at selling his embarrassment and being the foil for Gallagher. Extremely enjoyable.
A video package aired promoting the return of Yoshiro Tajiri next week.
(4) RICH SWANN vs. NEVILLE – NON-TITLE MATCH
Swann came hot out of the gate attacking Neville that leads to the outside. The announcer make note of Swann’s different attitude as Neville regains advantage and taking the match to the outside, tossing Swann back and forth into the barricades. He then flingns Swann into the ring apron in which Swann sells epically. As Swann stands up, Neville dives to the outside which practically misses his target in a risky spot. Neville keeps Swann down with a chinlock for a bit, until he splashes Swann in the corner. Swann continues to sell back pain as Neville keeps on top of the ground game. Crowd seems to be getting out of it as they begin to start an “Austin Aries” chant. Aries acknowledges them, but tells the audience to watch the men in the ring. Neville eventually hits Swann with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and follows up with a standing shooting star press to the back for a two count. Neville then hits Swann with a top rope dropkick for another two count. Neville mocks the crowd and a “USA” chant gets started.
Neville gets to the top turnbuckle again until Swann out of nowhere grabs him into a Frankensteiner. Neville rolls to the outside and Swann goes flying onto him with a Phoenix splash. The action continues back in the ring as Swann hits a very crisp, very impressive tiger bomb for a two count. Swann still favors his back as both men gather their bearings. Neville charges at Swann but gets smacked with a kick to the face and then is hit with Swann’s “Fantastic Voyage”, which is a sit-out fisherman’s falcon arrow, but for only a two count. Later on, Neville attempts a modified 450, but misses which allows Swann to connect with a kick to the face for two. Swann climbs the turnbuckle, but Neville hits him with an elbow, allowing him to attempt a superplex but Swann fights him off. He then takes his sweet time for a top rope move, but Neville fights back and then finally connects with a superplex that is good enough for the three count.
WINNER: Neville via pinfall at 13:54
Post match, Neville continues the attack on Swann, hitting him with kicks and suplexes. All the announcers are selling the fact that Neville’s going too far. Neville yells “bring me my crown!” to end the show.
MATCH ANALYSIS: A very solid match that suffered from it’s very late time-slot. It sucks to see this match have to happen in order for a title shot to happen, but that’s the messy philosophy of WWE today. Despite that, Neville is just fantastic in this heel role. Swann was able to show his talents from an in-ring standpoint, looking extremely polished in his high-risk maneuvers, but getting over that lack of personality is another story.
FINAL THOUGHTS; Overall, “205 Live” continues to deliver in great content. It stinks that it suffers from an exhausted audience week in and out, but this Chicago crowd seemed a little more engaged than past audiences. ###