WWE 205 Live 01/03/17 is going to be headlined with newly minted heel, Neville taking on T.J. Perkins. We can also expect the Cedric Alexander / Alicia Fox / Noam Dar situation to continue and at the end of SmackDown Live, Jack Gallagher popped in and said he’d be in action tonight. So, let’s see how the first 205 Live of 2017 shakes out.
WWE 205 Live 01/03/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a video package showing us what went down between Neville and Rich Swann last week. Standard 205 Live video credits, pyro, and we’re live from the same place SmackDown was at tonight. The regular announce team of Graves, Ranallo and Aries welcome us to the show. Graves announces that Swann will be unable to compete tonight after the beating from Neville on last week’s show. Instead, T.J. Perkins is stepping up tonight in the main event to take on Neville.
We’re immediately sent to Tajiri’s entrance because unlike Raw, 205 Live delivers on their promised debuts *cough* Emmalina *cough* *cough*. Sean Maluta from the CWC is his opponent and he’s announced by way of just sort of standing over where the commentary table is.
Match #1: Tajiri vs. Sean Maluta
Maluta tries to hang, but this is really a showcase for Tajiri. He looks as good as he ever has and despite being one of the older (maybe oldest?) members of the Cruiserweight division, he can clearly still go in the ring. After putting Maluta in the Tarantula, Tajiri takes out Maluta with a series of swift kicks.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A solid debut for Tajiri and the kind of match (and victory) you expect to see from a character that is re-debuting.
Post-match, Brian Kendrick is out and sarcastically welcomes Tajiri to 205 Live. Kendrick says he thinks that Tajiri is even better than he used to be. He calls Tajiri a “fellow pioneer” of the Cruiserweight division and says they need to take out the trash (kicks at Maluta). Kendrick says it’s just good to see Tajiri, offers a hand shake, they shake, and Tajiri blasts Kendrick in the face with green mist. Kendrick flails around the canvas and sells pain while Tajiri slides around the ring and watches him.
Meanwhile, Neville is backstage… walking! Dasha encounters him and asks him how he plans to face Perkins. Neville points out that Perkins is a “former champion” and claims he’d have never been champion if Neville was included from the jump. Neville then lays it on thick and claims he’s been discriminated against ever seen he set foot in this “godforsaken country”. Neville is sick of hearing about all of Perkins’ struggles and hardships… what about Neville’s struggles and hardships? Neville alleges he’s never been taken seriously in the USA because of how he talks and looks… “but when the system is broken, you create your own system”. Neville doesn’t care what anyone thinks, that makes him dangerous, and he vows that tonight T.J. Perkins’ fifteen minutes of fame are over. Neville leaves us with the claim that there can be only one “King of the Cruiserweights”.
Next, a video package on Tony Nese airs.
After that, Jack Gallagher is out for a match with Nese. Tony Nese (w/ Drew Gulak in a suit) are out next.
Match #2: Jack Gallagher vs. Tony Nese (w/ Drew Gulak in a Suit)
Your standard Tony Nese Cruiserweight match (complete with Drew Gulak cheering him on like a basketball head coach in a suit) until he whips Gallagher into the corner. Jack does his head stand spot and then hits a crisp drop kick to send Nese out of the ring. Gallagher is immediately chop blocked by Ariya Daivari who appears out of nowhere, earning Nese a DQ loss.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A run-in finish… but I’ll allow it. Judging from Gulak’s reaction, the suit bros. aren’t going to take too kindly to this loss and we get more escalation in the Daivari / Gallagher feud which has been top-notch thus far.
Post-match, Daivari pummels Gallagher and even puts him in a “tree of woe” and continues to kick away at him. Eventually some refs run out to get Daivari to back off.
Meanwhile, Alicia Fox and Cedric Alexander are backstage having a conversation. Cedric says that he needs Alicia to see that he’s losing a lot lately. Fox says it’s all her fault, but Cedric assures her that it’s not. Cedric just needs her to be a little bit more careful. They then kiss.
Back from break, Noam Dar is out for a match. Mustafa Ali enters next.
Match #3: Noam Dar vs. Mustafa Ali
Dar works the arm, which ultimately leads to a Fujiwara armbar that can’t seal the deal. Ali looks incredible again this week. He hits a great looking tornado DDT, a roll through the ropes into a neckbreaker, and hits an inverted 450 off the ropes to get the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Ali looks like a million bucks and Dar looks competent even though he takes the loss here.
Post-match, Ali sells the arm. Dasha enters the ring and asks Dar how he bounces back after his loss. Dar tells the “chick” that 2017 is going to be a big year for him. All he needs is lady luck by his side. Dar adds that Alicia Foooooox may not be welcome in Alexander’s corner… but she’s always welcome in his corner.
Next, a video package on Akira Tozawa airs.
Back from break, Neville is out to a remix of his entrance theme with added guitars and a slower tempo. I like it. Meanwhile, his entrance gimmick is still to stare down little kids on the aisle… tonight’s victim is a girl with Becky Lynch goggles who actually reaches her hand out at him.
Meanwhile, Tom Phillips is backstage with T.J. Perkins. T.J. gives Neville credit for dominating since returning, but outside the ring T.J. says that all Neville does is complain. T.J. says that Neville is a bully and sometimes you need to stand up to the bully and kick him in the face. Perkins enters next.
Match #4: T.J. Perkins vs. Neville
Wow, this was a great main event to kick of the new year of 205 Live. Perkins gives Neville, arguably, even more of a run for his money than Swann did last week. Perkins’ strategy appeared to be just trying to match Neville spot for spot. It works out for a while as this match is a dead heat. Neville takes the advantage though when he blocks a kneebar attempt and converts it to a bridging German suplex. Perkins tries to ascend the ropes, but Neville counters that into a superplex which he uses to get the pinfall win. No Red Arrow, no theatrics, just a solid and convincing victory for Neville. I love it.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – It’s hard to believe this is the same Neville that has been languishing on the WWE main roster for over a year. He is killing this right now.
Neville stands over the fallen Perkins, while screaming “bring me my crown” as we go off the air.
205 Live continues to knock it out of the park and is consistently delivering good matches and some decent story telling – and doing it in less than an hour.