SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE 205 LIVE
SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
LAS VEGAS, NEV. AT THOMAS AND MACK CENTER
REPORT BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness
– The show opened with a Rich Swann promo in which he highlighted his strategy to defeat TJP later in the night. From there, they ran highlights of their first match together which Swann won. Then it was back to Swann live who came face to face with TJP. TJP cued up the tape from their second match in which he was victorious to even the score. They then cued the backstage video from that night in which Swann felt disrespected by TJP. The interview concluded with Swann saying that this upcoming final match won’t affect their friendship because he isn’t going to lose.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Strange promo. The words themselves were ok, but the layout was awful. The competitors calling for their own video clips to be shown is really not smart TV.
– Vic Joseph opened the show by giving a quick rundown of SmackDown Live and the Mae Young Classic. Nigel McGuinness then promoted the main event which pitted Cedric Alexander against The Brian Kendrick.
(1) RICH SWANN vs. TJP
Swann entered first to a nice pop and some fellow dancers in the crowd. TJP came out next to his usual response of … nothing.
Heydorn’s Analysis: TJP’s entrance is just too long. He isn’t over enough for a long winded entrance like he has and it makes him look bad to do it with absolutely no response from the audience. I honestly like TJP, but this needs to go away.
Vic highlighted the friendship and history between TJP and Swann as the bell rang for the match to begin. Swann and TJP locked up to start things off and Swann got the early start with two headlock takedowns. TJP then gained some momentum back after he swung Swann off the ropes and connected with a giant hip toss. Swann got up quick and hit his own hip toss which he followed up with another headlock. The announcers mentioned throughout the opening that Swann and TJP knew each other so well that it was like they were wrestling each other. TJP brought Swann to his feet and picked up the pace of the match by bouncing Swann off the ropes again. He then rolled Swann up into a submission. Swann escaped and clocked TJP with a stiff kick to the face that sent him to the outside. Swann then went for his first high flying move with a somersault moonsault off the top rope. He connected and then rolled TJP back into the ring. Swann covered for a two count. Swann then immediately kept up the offense with soccer kicks to the lower back and hard chops to the chest of TJP. The audience loved these and, while they were quiet for much of the match to this point, they popped big for that offense. To further capitalize, Swann charged at TJP for a turnbuckle splash but TJP countered with a drop kick to the knee. Vic pointed out that the momentum had shifted and it clearly had.
From there, TJP showed some aggressive intensity with sharp elbows to Swann’s chest. He connected and covered Swann for a two count. The crowd started to boo TJP at this point who arrogantly walked around the ring. Swann took advantage of that cockiness and caught TJP with a kick to chest as he went for a running splash. The match continued to go back and forth with from there. TJP was able to connect with a flapjack suplex on Swann which he followed with a low drop kick to the face. He maintained his momentum by locking Swann into a rear chin lock submission. The audience clapped for Swann to get out of the move and as they did he bounced off the ropes but was immediately struck back down with a knee to the gut. TJP followed that with a botched back suplex that looked to possibly hurt Swann for real. He went for a cover but still only got the two count. TJP kept the offense up by nailing a flipping shoulder tackle on Swann who was still recovering from the suplex. McGuinness sold the botched suplex well by stating that TJP meant to over rotate Swann in mid-air to inflict more damage to him.
Back in the ring, TJP stalked Swann and covered him again, but only managed a two count. He then immediately locked in a submission on Swann’s shoulder to capitalize on the damage done by the suplex. Swann escaped the hold with a nice back flip and regained the momentum by connecting with some fierce clotheslines and three roundhouse kicks to the gut of TJP. Swann then nailed a flipping leg drop to the back of TJP’s neck. He went for the cover, but only received the two count. Swann worked to keep up the pace and to hit his tiger driver. He went for it, but TJP countered with a hurricanrana and followed it up with a springboard forearm to the face of Swann. Both were down as the crowd clapped to get behind Swann as he made his way up to his feet. TJP got to his feet first and kicked Swann into the corner. The two then hit a really nice spot in which they both kicked, punched, countered each other’s roundhouse kicks, and then landed jumping kicks to the head simultaneously. The crowd enjoyed that spot and cheered as the ref counted with both men down.
Swann and TJP used each other for leverage as they pulled themselves back up to their feet. They then pulled each other’s hair to try and get the upper hand. TJP then lifted Swann for his finisher but Swann countered with a roll-up which TJP rolled through to lock in his submission finisher, the knee bar. Swann writhed in pain, but made his way to his feet to escape the hold. TJP immediately hit a devastating modified tiger driver which Swann kicked out of. TJP then focused on the injured knee of Swann which he hurt with the knee bar. The audience booed TJP during this which prompted Swann to fight back with a stiff punch to the chest. The punch was loud and rang really nicely to the audience who cheered as Swann followed it up with a rolling pin attempt for a two count. The two then traded pin attempts back and forth before Swann nailed another roundhouse kick on TJP and followed it with the Fantastic Voyage which TJP kicked out of. Swann then went to the top rope and hit an amazing Phoenix Splash for 1,2,3 victory.
WINNER: Swann at 12:03
Heydorn’s Analysis: This match was a very well wrestled match that had good ring psychology to it. TJP working over Swann’s leg made for some nice drama and Swann did a nice job selling the pain well. That said, the feeling I got the entire time was that I just wanted more pace. This was supposed to be the blow off match to their feud and to start they are locking up and chain wrestling each other? That was confusing to me. The crowd popped most for the highspots and the fast paced spots and I was of the same opinion. For as well wrestled as it was, I think it missed the mark in terms of where their story was and what needed to be done in the match to really blow it off properly.
– After the match, a disappointed TJP showed good sportsmanship and shook the hand of Swann before leaving the ring. Vic teased that with this win, Swann may have put himself in a good position to receive a Cruiserweight Championship match in the near future.
– Vic Joseph then cued some highlights from last week’s fatal five way match that determined the number one contender for Neville’s Cruiserweight Championship at No Mercy. Interesting that McGuinness called Enzo Amore a snake for how he won the match.
– After the video a backstage vignette was shown between Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander. Ali asked Cedric what he thought of Enzo stealing his win in the fatal five way a week ago and said he didn’t understand how Alexander was so calm. Alexander just shrugged off the question and said that Enzo caught him sleeping. He said that he would refocus and he’d end up where he wants to be. The Brian Kendrick interrupted and asked Alexander where he did want to be. He said he couldn’t keep letting people walk all over him. He said that Enzo outsmarted him last week. Alexander then said that just because he doesn’t lie and cheat to get to the top doesn’t mean he won’t get there. Kendrick then called Alexander’s generation spineless and said that he doesn’t have what it takes to make it. Before walking away, Kendrick got in Alexander’s face and said that tonight’s match would be easier than he thought.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was actually a really nice promo between both Alexander and Kendrick. Alexander was slinging the standard babyface lines which I thought seemed a little forced, but it further helped position his character on the show. Kendrick was brilliant when dressing down Alexander. Both seemed to have nice chemistry together.
– Drew Gulak was shown passing out fliers to the building workers backstage
– After a commercial break, Gulak was in the ring. Joseph and McGuinness hyped the fact that Microsoft tweeted at Drew Gulak after the powerpoint presentation he did last week on the show. Gulak began his promo by recapping his powerpoint presentation from the week before. The crowd could be heard chanting “powerpoint” until Gulak brought up Tozawa’s “ah” chants. Gulak said that chant was annoying and that Tozawa was too scared to face him and accept his rematch challenge. Gulak then said that because he didn’t have a match, he’d run over the rest of his powerpoint presentation. The presentation was once again titled “Drew Gulak’s plan for a better 205 Live.” Point three was “no chants” which of course elicited chants from the audience. He said that all 205 Live wrestlers should compete in silence. Point four was “no elaborate ring gear.” Point five was “no interrupting.” Gulak said interrupting was rude. Of course, Gulak was then immediately interrupted by the Fashion Police, Breezango. As Breeze and Fandango made their way to the ring, they made fun of Gulak’s name. The crowd really loved both guys and Fandango got a really nice pop from them when he rubbed his beard on Gulak’s face. Breeze then took the mic and said they got so many complaints on a fashion felon on 205 Live and they had to check it out. He said they were looking for someone with tiny underwear and then pointed at Gulak’s trunks. Gulak attempted to walk past Breezango and bumped into them on the way out. Breeze yelled “book ’em, Dango” and then read him his fashion rights as Fandango cuffed Gulak and headed to the back.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This was actually a really fun segment. Gulak is onto something with the powerpoint gimmick and the crowd interacted with him during the entire segment. I find it absolutely hilarious that the presentation is 277 pages long. This is good news for Gulak and the show overall. Breezango was very over during this as well. Part of that seemed to be the audience’s surprise to see them, but the other part is that they are just good. I loved the reading of the fashion rights to Gulak at the end.
– Vic Joseph recapped the Miz/Enzo segment from Monday Night Raw with a highlight video and promoted Enzo’s match with Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship at No Mercy.
(2) THE BRIAN KENDRICK vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
Kendrick entered the ring first to virtually no pop from the audience. With Kendrick in the ring, a recap highlight was shown of Jack Gallagher beating up Kendrick all around the arena two weeks ago. Cedric Alexander came out next and like Kendrick, received virtually no reaction.
Heydorn’s Analysis: The crowd had seen so much tonight that they had to be drained at this point. I felt a little bad for Kendrick and Alexander here as it was impossible for them to get the audience fully attentive again.
As the bell rang, there was a slight chant for Alexander in the crowd. As Alexander recognized it, he was smashed in the face by a vicious kick from Kendrick. Kendrick then charged in and nailed Alexander with a running forearm in the corner. He then whipped Alexander to the other turnbuckle and attempted another forearm shot. Alexander countered with a nice turning hurricanrana followed by a sky high dropkick and his patented kip up. The crowd seemed to enjoy that fast paced spot. Alexander continued the offense with a stiff kick to Kendrick’s head. He then hit a springboard flying clothesline for a two count. Alexander played to the crowd who were quietly on his side. Both Kendrick and Alexander attempted their finishers on each other but each countered them.
Alexander did connect with a back hand slap that knocked Kendrick to the outside. Alexander then capitalized with an over the top rope suicide dive. Both men then were on the ring apron and Kendrick stole the momentum by kicking the Alexander’s legs out from under him which sent his neck and ribs crashing into the unprotected part of the ring ropes. As Kendrick was stalking Alexander in the ring, Jack Gallagher’s music hit which stunned Kendrick. To defend himself, Kendrick rolled outside to get the ring bell which he proceeded to fumble away as he dove back into the ring. Gallagher locked eyes with Kendrick who was cowering in a nice heelish way in the corner. Gallagher then slowly backed away and crushed Cedric Alexander with his black umbrella. The crowd reacted in disbelief as Gallagher kept wailing away on the screaming Alexander. Gallagher then mounted Cedric and destroyed him with stiff punches. The refs tried to hold Gallagher back but he kept the attack up in a very intense and vicious way. The audience booed Gallagher here and he ended his attack with a brutal head butt to the face of Cedric Alexander.
WINNER: No contest due to outside interference
– The show ended with Kendrick and Gallagher shaking hands in the ring and the crowd booing
Heydorn’s Analysis: The match itself between Cedric Alexander and The Brian Kendrick was too short to be anything special. They had some nice moves, but that’s about it. I really liked Gallagher’s involvement. He did a nice job originally portraying himself as interrupting the match to seek revenge on Kendrick and was able to contrast that portrayal when he turned heel and started beating up Alexander. Really great work from Gallagher on all fronts. His facial expressions, aggressiveness during the beat down, and elimination of all comedy made him seem legitimate. Haven’t said this about 205 Live for a while, but I’m excited for next week to see where this goes.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Solid show overall. The Gulak/Fashion Police promo was the highlight to be sure, but the Gallagher heel turn was a close second. The matches need to be wrestled at a quicker pace. A tired crowd was popping for the fast-paced action. I think it’s incredibly important for the 205 Live roster to recognize that and construct their matches in a smart way that highlights that action.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 9/6 WWE 205 LIVE REPORT: Detailed results and analysis of the show including Enzo, TJP vs. Daivari, Fatal Five-Way Main Event