The sixteenth episode of 205 Live is here! This week’s episode comes from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The opening video package lets us know that we’ll see a Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match tonight to determine who will go on to WrestleMania to face Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship. Those five cruiserweights are Austin Aries, TJ Perkins, Akira Tozawa, Brian Kendrick and Tony Nese. We get little clips highlighting each cruiserweight with them saying why they’ll win the main event tonight.
We get a nice opening pyro display as the commentary team of Tom Phillips and Corey Graves welcome us to the show. Phillips is filling in for Mauro Ranallo this week. Phillips also filled in for Ranallo on this week’s Smackdown. Ranallo was stuck in the northeast due to a pretty bad blizzard.
Neville kicks off the show as he stands at the top of the ramp with a microphone in hand. Neville said that it’s been exactly one year and one day since he broke his ankle in this very building and was forced to sit out WrestleMania. He said that unfortunately the people didn’t care about his absence, and he decided to obliterate an entire (cruiserweight) division to remind everyone just how good he is. Neville says it’s irrelevant who wins tonight’s number one contender main event match, because they won’t stand a chance against him at WrestleMania.
Mustafa Ali’s music hits as he heads to the ring for his match. It didn’t seem like Neville was done with what he was saying though because Neville was still standing at the top of the ramp and staring down Ali. Gulak makes his entrance next.
Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak
Ali gets a nearfall on Gulak early. He then hurricanrana’s Gulak out of the ring and follows it up with a crossbody off the top turnbuckle out onto Gulak. Ali rolls Gulak back in the ring for a pin, but Gulak kicks out at two. Gulak gains control with a counter and starts to pick apart Ali with springboard kicks and a Gory Special submission, which turns into a backslide pin attempt. Ali kicks out at two.
Ali makes it to his feet quickly and fires back with a series of forearm shots followed by his signature rolling neckbreaker for a two count. Ali hits Gulak with a tornado DDT, then connects with his finishing move, the inverted 450 Splash, for the win after about five minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Mustafa Ali
Evaluation: This was an okay match, nothing special. Ali gets the win to secures his status in the cruiserweight division’s midcard. I like Ali and think he can do well if given a title opportunity in the future. That opportunity may come sooner than later now that Cedric Alexander is out three to five months with a knee injury.
Post-match, Gulak slams down on the top of the announce desk and asks for a mic. Gulak says week after week he comes out here and does his best work inside the ring, but no one appreciates him. Gulak says he’s not the problem or the one that needs to change. He said the problem is 205 Live and this place (205 Live) needs to change.
Evaluation: I like it. Let Gulak talk! He’s not Austin Aries on the mic, but he’s proven in the past that he can hold his own when given a microphone. He has this aggression/arrogance about him when he talks that I like. Having Gulak talk helps people understand more about what kind of person Gulak is. I’m interested to see where WWE goes with this Gulak storyline moving forward.
Ariya Daivari is in the locker room as Noam Dar approaches him. They will be teaming tonight to take on Jack Gallagher and Rich Swann. Dar said that he believes in each other as a team and thinks they can win tonight. Dar said a woman like Alicia Fox is going to stay with a winner, so they need to win. Daivari doesn’t look thrilled to be teaming with Dar, but he wants to get revenge on Gallagher and Swann since they beat the both of them last week, so he’s on board with Dar’s enthusiasm.
Gallagher and Swann make their entrance first. Gallagher does Swann’s signature dance moves with Swann in the ring which makes for a funny moment. Dar and Daivari come out next while the announcers remind us of Dar and Fox’s current storyline where Fox keeps getting gifts such as flowers and chocolates. Dar keeps playing it off like he’s the one who gets them for her, but he hasn’t.
Jack Gallagher & Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar & Ariya Daivari
Dar and Gallagher start the match. Gallagher does some of his popular spots where he’ll use a handstand to escape a headlock and where he’ll handstand in the corner and kick his feet out to prevent his opponent from running at him. Dar eventually gains control and tags in and out with Daivari quickly as they keep Gallagher grounded.
Gallagher fights back and flips Dar over him as both men tag in their partners. Swann takes out Daivari and Dar as he’s on that “hot tag” sequence. Swann enziguri kicks Daivari and hits him with a frankensteiner. However, Dar made a blind tag while Daivari was sitting on the turnbuckle. Dar takes advantage of Swann not knowing who the legal man is and sneaks up from behind Swann with a big kick to the head for the win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Noam Dar & Ariya Daivari
Evaluation: This felt like it was barley even a match. It was four minutes long, it started off very slow and a hot tag was made three minutes in. It’s unfortunate that matches like this happen regularly on 205 Live, hopefully we see some change as Drew Gulak mentioned earlier.
Post-match, Dar gets a microphone and is in the ring alone with Alicia Fox. Dar tells Fox that real gifts come from the heart, and that his gift for Fox tonight was his victory. Unbeknownst to Dar, a delivery man was right behind him with a giant bear in hand. Dar turned around and said he also got her this bear. Fox accepts and looks happy as this riveting saga continues.
It’s main event time!
Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match: Austin Aries vs. TJ Perkins vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese (Winner faces Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship at WrestleMania)
Austin Aries chants kick off the match before anyone makes the first move. Kendrick escapes to ringside right away. As Tozawa taunts Kendrick to get back in the ring, Nese attacks Tozawa from behind, sending Tozawa to ringside where Kendrick attacks him. Aries hits Nese with a big running kick and goes for the pin, but Nese kicks out at two and rolls out of the ring.
Aries and Perkins have a moment in the ring where the trade a series of counters. Perkins gets the upper hand on Aries initially and dabs, which gets boos from the crowd. They go at it again with counters, this time Aries getting the upper hand and hitting Perkins with a flying elbow to the back.
Tozawa and Kendrick get back in the ring and Tozawa hits a hesitation punch to the face on Kendrick, which looked great. Then he hits one on Nese. Kendrick sweeps Tozawa’s legs out from underneath him while Aries hits a suicide dive outside onto Nese. Aries and Kendrick bring Nese and Tozawa into the ring and go for covers at the same time. Both men kick out at two.
Kendrick tosses Aries out of the ring, while Perkins gets in and hits Kendrick with a dropkick. As soon as Perkins turns around he’s met with a huge running back elbow from Nese. Nese goes for the cover, but Perkins kicks out at two. Nese locks Perkins in his favorite rest hold of all-time, the dreaded body scissors. Perkins fights out of it and Tozawa comes in to hit Nese with his finishing move, the Snap German Suplex into the pin. Tozawa was about to eliminate Nese, but Kendrick broke up the pin and tried covering Nese himself, but Nese kicked out. Tozawa hits Kendrick with a shining wizard and a senton for a two count. Tozawa tosses Kendrick outside and hits him with a suicide dive. Perkins follows this with corkscrew dive over the top rope onto Tozawa. Nese then dives outside onto Perkins and Tozawa. Aries goes to the top turnbuckle to dive onto all three men at ringside, but Kendrick pushes Aries off the turnbuckle, launching him to ringside near the barricade.
As Aries is hunched over near the barricade, Nese hits Aries with a brutal running knee to the head which sends both men through the barricade. Wow, that was cool. Nese gets up first and rolls Perkins into the ring. Nese tries hitting Perkins with the same running knee, but Perkins counters and locks Nese in the cross armbreaker, forcing Nese to tap out.
Tony Nese is eliminated.
The eliminated Tony Nese takes out Perkins with a big running clothesline. After Tozawa hits Nese with a big boot which forces Nese to leave, Kendrick runs up behind Tozawa and hits him with Sliced Bread #2 for the three count.
Akira Tozawa is eliminated.
Kendrick runs up to a prone Perkins and locks in the Captain’s Hook submission, but Perkins fights out of it. Kendrick tries hitting Perkins with Sliced Bread #2, but Perkins counters. While Kendrick and Perkins fight at the top turnbuckle, Aries runs up underneath them and powerbombs both men. All three men slowly get to their feet at the same time. Aries and Perkins take out Kendrick together before going after each other. Aries looks for the brain buster, but Perkins counters. Perkins goes for the Detonation Kick, but Kendrick tugs on Perkins leg forcing Perkins to fall down with Aries on top of him. Although Aries is on top of Perkins, his shoulders are not on the mat, Perkins’ shoulders are. Therefore, Kendrick lies on top of Aries for added weight and hooks Perkins’ leg for the 1-2-3. That was very unique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone intentionally do that before. That’s why he’s “the man with a plan.”
TJ Perkins is eliminated.
Immediately after eliminating Perkins, Kendrick jumps on Aries and locks in the Captain’s Hook submission in the middle of the ring. With Aries having nowhere to go and struggling not to tap, Perkins dropkicks Kendrick, breaking up the submission. Perkins pulls Kendrick to the ropes and hits him with a standing kick. Aries runs at Kendrick, looking for his signature rolling elbow, but Kendrick ducks and Aries hits Perkins instead. Kendrick hits Aries with Sliced Bread #2, but Aries kicks out at two! That was a good sequence. Kendrick locks in the Captain’s Hook, but Aries makes it to the ropes. However, no rope break since it’s a Fatal 5-Way. No rope break, count out or disqualification. I forgot about that.
Aries uses the ropes to climb up and out of the hold. Aries then hits Kendrick with the rolling elbow for the win! Aries is going to WrestleMania to face Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship.
Winner by pinfall: Austin Aries
Evaluation: That was a very good match and a lot of fun. I’ve always enjoyed elimination matches. Props to Kendrick for coming up with some very interesting spots throughout the match. His “man with a plan” traits and opportunist instincts play well in a big multi-man elimination match. Everybody did well here. I liked the spot where Nese and Aries went through the barricade. You don’t see big environment spots like that happen too often on 205 Live. I’m not sure how I feel about the babyface Perkins trying to take out Kendrick after being eliminated. I’ve always felt like Perkins has been on the teeter totter of face/heel. He comes across very arrogant at times and then something like this happens. If he ever turns full heel I think he’d do great, especially since he’s heard boos from fans in the past.
205 Live goes off the air with Aries celebrating his win.
Overall, it was your typical episode of 205 Live. The first two matches were nothing to write home about while the main event was very good.
Congratulations to Austin Aries! Big win for him which means he earns an even bigger moment on the grandest stage of them all, to challenge Neville for the Cruiserweight Title at WrestleMania. This would be considered a dream match for a lot of people and is for sure a match I hoped would happen once I heard Aries was going to be in the cruiserweight division once he came back from injury. This may be the WrestleMania match I’m most excited for. There’s no question that if given enough time, they can steal the show. I’ve also always been a big fan of both guys, so to know that they both get to have a big match like this, against each other, for a title at WrestleMania… that’s just awesome.
That’s it for this week. As always, thanks for reading and if you like this review feel free to share it with your friends.
Picture used above is courtesy of WWE.com.