Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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WWE 205 LIVE
AIRED MARCH 28, 2017
RICHMOND, VA. AT THE COLISEUM
Report by Joey Galizia (@RamJam89), PWTorch Contributor
Announcers: Tom Philips, Corey Graves
Joey G here. Let’s do this thing. Also Pitbull has been stuck in my head.
Show opens and Dasha is interviewing Cruiserweight Champion Neville regarding Austin Aries’ comments on Raw. (A.A. did the New Day dance and it was sexy AF.) Neville says that everyone wants to see his dominant title reign end, but none of those people have considered what that would mean for 205 live. Tonight he’s planning on showing the WWE Universe what the purple brand would be without the king.
“Hail the Crown.” ☹
Mauro is out again. (Sending you all the good vibes, buddy.) Philips and Graves welcome us to the show and they immediately hype The Ultimate Thrill Ride WrestleMania. Also Akira Tozawa versus Brian Kendrick!
“CAN YOU HANDLE THIS” play and Rich Swann struts to the ring. (He’s extra charming tonight.) His opponent is Ariya Daivari who is subbing in for Noam Dar after Dar got injured on Raw last night.
Handshake. We’re off.
(1) Ariya Daivari vs. Rich Swann
Tie-up. Ariya slams down Swann and starts shouting in Arabic. Hammerlock. Swann reverses the pressure but Ariya get’s the first blow in with a vicious shoulder bump. Back and forth exchange and Swann lands a dropkick sending Ariya to the outside.
Swann goes for a baseball slide but Ariya catches him with a face-crusher onto the announce table. He then throws Swann’s head off the ring-post and starts pounding him down.
Back in the ring and Ariya lays out Swann with a clothesline. He goes for a cover but only gets a two. Swann gets to his feet for a comeback but then gets Irish-whipped into the turnbuckle and then hip-tossed into the other. Ariya goes for a frog-splash but Swann moves! Swann lands some strikes. Crescent kick. Knee by Daivari but Swann hits a modified Driver for a two count.
Daivari pushes Swann into the ref and then catches Swann in a rolling neckbreaker. Daivari goes to the top again and hits his frog-splash that Swann JUST kicks out of. Daivari goes up again but Swann this a standing frankensteiner and then a Phoenix Splash for the win.
WINNER: Rich Swann in 7:26
Graves and Philips discuss Neville’s earlier comments about how valuable he is to the division.
Backstage Dasha is with ALICCCCIIIIIIAAAA FOXXXXXX. She says that Noam couldn’t compete because of the injury, but when he returns he’ll rule the ring. Swann walks by and wishes Noam a healthy recovery. Yet another package comes for Alicia. She opens it on the spot. It’s perfume. SHE SPRAYS SOME IN HER MOUTH. (Alicia Fox scares me. Like she’s going to kill every man in the WWE scares me.)
Back from break and Drew Gulak (he suited up!) is talking with Mustafa Ali. Gulak praises him for his effort against Neville, but he wonders if Ali should tail back on the high-risk maneuvers in order to preserve the business. He goes off on a rant about how traditional style is more entertaining anyway. As the camera cuts away Ali is gone. (He’s Batman.) Gulak looks embarrassed.
Mustafa makes his way out and his opponent Brandon Scott is already in the ring. They shake but the unknown Scott whips Ali’s hand away right after. (This dude’s about to learn what happens when you break the tradition.)
(2) Mustafa Ali vs. Brandon Scott
Ali picks the leg and takes Scott right off his feet. Deep arm-drags and a sloppy looking frankensteiner put Scott on his back. Backstage, Drew Gulak is watching this match on the Tele.
Scott nails a short-arm clothesline, then goes to the second rope for a diving fist. Ali moves and lands some strikes. He flips over a charging Scott in the corner then catches Scott in a moonsault cross-body. (Crowd is dead.)
Flush crescent kick on the apron by Ali, followed by a FLUSH crescent kick. Inverted 450 and the Chi-town boy gets a W.
WINNER: Mustafa Ali in 5:36
Graves wonders how anyone can not love the high-risk athleticism by the cruiserweights, and particularly Mustafa Ali. Philips reminds us that the A.A. and Neville match will be on the pre-show. (So unfortunate.)
A video package plays reminding the audience of Neville’s impressive run since returning at Roadblock. He probably wasn’t expecting Austin Arie’s, expect journalist, to be returning to the ring though. The video includes highlights of A.A.’s victory in the fatal-5 way #1 contender match.
Ad break for NXT Takeover Orlando. Bobby Roode vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Ember Moon vs. Asuka, A.O.P. vs. Revival vs. DIY. (I BOUGHT PULL AWAY PANTS FOR THE OCCASION.)
Tozawa comes out. His match with The Brian Kendrick is next. (They either need to end this feud now, or Brian needs to keep giving lessons to Tozawa for the rest of his WWE career.) Kendrick is out. They’re doing this thing.
Charles Robinson is officiating! (Lil Naitch!) No handshake here. OBVI.
(3) Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa
Tozawa opens up with a jumping front kick and then hits Kendrick with a suicide dive onto the outside. He throws Kendrick in the ring and hits a top rope Senton for a two count. (Why he aint joking around.)
In the corner Tozawa hits the stiffest knife-edge chops you’ll ever see. Kendrick pulls Tozawa’s head over the ropes and locks on the Captain’s Hook! (Bully Choke.) Akira escapes and goes for his finishing German. Kendrick blocks. He slides to the outside but Akira nails him again with a suicide dive.
Tozawa lays into Kendrick with stiff strikes, but Brian surprises him with a drop-toe hold onto the steel runway. Robinson counts but Tozawa makes it back in the ring just in time. Running boot by Kendrick and now he’s in full control. Brian hits a suplex and a cover but only gets another two.
Crowd starts chanting for Akira to get him back into it. Kendrick locks on a modified chicken-wing. (Looks life a crossface just pressure in a different spot.) Akira escapes but Kendrick holds on and lands another back suplex. Cobra-clutch and Tozawa is just getting worn down.
Kendrick goes for another suplex but Tozawa shifts his weight and escapes, but eats an elbow as soon as he lands. Frankensteiner by Tozawa! He yells his battle-cry. Kendrick surprises him with sliced bread! Only a two count! Bully Choke but Tozawa gets to the bottom ropes.
Both on the top turnbuckle. Kendrick goes for sliced bread again. Akira tries for a top rope German! Kendrick blocks and removes the top turnbuckle. As Tozawa charges he gets hit the exposed metal and gets rolled up for another loss.
WINNER: Brian Kendrick in 11:09
Graves applauds Kendrick’s brilliance. Brian gets on the mic. “Lesson 9. Everything and anything can be a weapon.” (Blood is coming out of my ears. This show feels like it’s 10 hours tonight.)
Ad for Brock vs. Goldberg. One last time.
Upon return Graves and Philips lay out the schedule for Wrestlemania weekend.
Neville’s music hits. (Thank God.) He storms the ring and starts cutting a promo. He says this is a time to reflect on his trials and tribulations in WWE. He says he has not had it very easy, and time after time has been disrespected. Through all the disrespect, he’s picked himself back up. He reminds the fans that 3 weeks before last year’s Mania, he got injured, and was unable to compete. Since his return, he has “carried the division on his back.” Meanwhile, he shames the fans for cheering a commentator clown. (This gets Austin Arie’s chants.) He tells the team to run the footage of what 205 would look like without him. Nothing plays. That’s because the division would be nothing without him. (Woah. Heady.)
A.A. comes out. He tells Neville that the difference between the two of them is ego. He commends Neville on his amazing competitive nature, and his title run has been impressive, but no matter how amazing Neville is, Austin Arie’s is just that much better. A.A. says they both had to fight and take what they wanted because no one wanted them to succeed. The thing they most have in common is that no matter where they are on the card, when they walk out to the ring, they are the main event. At Wrestlemania, that’s exactly what they’re going to do.
Neville sucker punches him. He slams Arie’s head to the mat. He goes to pick A.A. up but eats a microphone to the face! Last chancery! Neville escapes immediately, grabs his belt and flees. A final show of the Mania sign and that’s the show.
JG FINAL ANALYSIS: A slight disappointment. While I wasn’t expecting 205 Live to blow me away in any capacity, what we got was still very anti-climatic. The Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa feud contains two guys who are extremely talented in the ring, but this storyline makes neither of them look very threatening or very competent. The final segment between A.A. and Neville was just fine, but contained nothing that added heat to this matchup, nor provided any new insight. Considering this was the division’s last chance to gain some hype before WrestleMania, I’d call this a swing and a miss.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 3/21 WWE 205 LIVE REPORT: Neville vs. Mustafa Ali, Nese vs. Perkins, Tozawa squash, more Austin Aries