The recent strategy for the cruiserweight division has been to use its weekly Monday Night Raw segment to push forward the Neville-Austin Aries title feud, and then let the other storylines play out in the ring on Tuesday nights on 205 Live.
With the WWE crew wrapping up its European tour, it made all the sense in the world for that formula to hold true this week. But after a TJ Perkins-Jack Gallagher match on Raw, that saw Aries and Neville get involved in the aftermath, those four got their chance to show what they could do on the microphone with an extended segment to start the show.
While Raw and SmackDown were a mixed bag, 205 Live got the best results when compared to a typical week by keeping things fun and getting the crowd involved, which they were all too happy to do.
Gallagher started the show (and how else would you do it in England?) and formally thanked Aries for his assistance the previous night in the form of a toast. Neville interrupted the proceeding, questioning England's dignity in supporting Gallagher and reaffirming his position as "King of the Cruiserweights."
TJP (who was addressed by Gallagher as Theodore Jeeves Perkins, though we cannot confirm, nor deny, that it's what TJ stands for) attacked Aries from behind, leading to a brawl in which each group threw the other into the barricade. Aries and Gallagher got the last laugh in, after Gallagher ungentlemanly spit beer into Perkins' face and Aries hit the discus five-arm on Neville.
With the cruiserweight title situation fully addressed, the WWE gave the much deserved main-event spot to what seemed like it could've been a culmination of a months-long rivalry between The Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa.
After Kendrick had the upper hand early on in their feud, outmaneuvering Tozawa and giving him unwanted lessons, Tozawa answered by proving he was listening and re-teaching Kendrick those same lessons. Last week, things turned physical when Tozawa attacked Kendrick during a backstage interview.
After a hot start by Tozawa, Kendrick hit a Sliced Bread No. 2 on the outside of the ring. That early in the main event, it wasn't going to lead to a victory, but it was a move that was deserving of ending most any match. Kendrick then wore down Tozawa, but the moves were secondary to how Kendrick sold them with intensity in his eyes; it peaked as he held a rear chin lock, during which he clawed away at Tozawa's nose and ears. Kendrick had flipped that switch from wily veteran to a physical force.
Tozawa then took the upper-hand, hitting the best suicide dive in WWE right now, in which he leads with his forehead. But then Kendrick answered back with a dragon (full nelson) suplex. The end of the match saw Kendrick with a couple attempts at his submission finisher, the Captain's Hook, but he couldn't get it completely locked in. Tozawa slipped out of another Sliced Bread attempt, and reversed Kendrick's attempt to roll him up with his own pin for the three count.
The finish, though, was once again secondary, as Kendrick snapped after the match and laid out Tozawa after using the stairs as a weapon. It remains to be seen if Kendrick's final lesson, a simple one that states, "Nobody messes with The Brian Kendrick," ends this feud. But the way this ended sets up at least one more match, possibly at Extreme Rules in a stairs match or something similarly violent
Hopefully Tozawa takes some time to sell his injuries, and give this feud a proper send-off at Extreme Rules.
Hits and Misses
- With Miz TV and the Highlight Reel being stalwarts of WWE programming, if 205 Live needs a talk show, Gallagher seems like a good choice to be the host.
- WWE (@WWE) May 10, 2017
- The start of the show and the main event might have been the two most important things that happened on this week's 205 Live, but the best match belonged to Mustafa Ali's victory over Tony Nese. Occasional shocked reaction shots from Drew Gulak aside, this one didn't really do much to move that rivalry forward. In fact, Ali picking up a victory with a high-flying move actually reverses what's been going on, though it does even out the balance between Gulak and Ali after the former's victory last week.
On the losing side, Nese's offense was aggressive and he showed a glimpse of what he could do in the high-flying department. Nese has the tools to be a main-event player in the cruiserweight division, and his in-ring trash talk Tuesday fit him. He could use a manager, but I'm getting Rick Rude vibes from him, as somebody who could point out how many more abs he has than everybody else.
- If Austin Aries hands you a souvenir banana peel, what do you do with it? Aries has also reminded me I'm not getting nearly enough potassium.
- Did Gallagher drop a "bloody hell" when Neville's pyro went off? I expect a formal apology from a proper gentleman next week.