WWE 205 Live 01/24/17 is the go home 205 Live ahead of the Royal Rumble. With what will likely be the lone Cruiserweight match on the card already set, I imagine this episode will attempt to further some of the “b” story lines that won’t get a match on the PPV or Kickoff Show. In advance, WWE let us know on Raw that Neville will face Cedric Alexander on tonight’s show. Let’s get to the recap.
WWE 205 Live 01/24/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a video package highlighting the Neville / Swann stuff from this week’s Raw. Cold open on Tom Phillips backstage, who is with Neville. Tom asks Neville if he feels that Swann is gaining momentum ahead of the title match on Sunday. Neville explains that last night was Neville’s own fault and that perhaps he’s been showing Swann too much mercy. Swann promises that at the Rumble, he’ll show Swann no mercy. Tom mentions the match tonight with Cedric and Neville responds that tonight he’ll show Cedric that Neville is the King of the Cruiserweights.
Standard 205 Live video credits, pyro, and we’re live from where SmackDown was tonight. Mauro welcomes us and introduces Aries and Graves. The announcers discuss tonight’s Cedric / Neville match and Aries has a banana at the announce table. Potassium levels, yo.
Perkins’ music hits and he’s out for a match. Tony Nese is out next, sans Drew Gulak in a suit.
Match #1: T.J. Perkins vs. Tony Nese
A good match with a finish that just comes out of nowhere. Nese shows off his power style here and it feels like it’s inevitable that he’ll get the win. But, Perkins hits a la magistral cradle into a crucifix to get the pin. Differing styles here that melded well together, too bad the crowd was dead for the entire match.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Dead crowd aside, they told a good story, and while the finish came out of nowhere, it wasn’t what I expected to happen.
Post-match, Nese immediately German suplexes T.J. into the buckles and then hits him with a running knee. Perkins neck getting jarred from the buckle spot looked sick. Nese then slides out of the ring and informs the announcers that he won the match and poses for them.
Next, the announcers inform us that Akira Tozawa debuts next week. We’re sent to another hype video for Tozawa’s debut.
After that, we see a trainer and the ref helping T.J. Perkins back to the locker room.
Back from break, Brian Kendrick is out for a match against local talent, Tripp Bradshaw. After Bradshaw is announced, Kendrick gets on the mic and tells Tripp he’s not taking Kendrick’s spot on the roster. Kendrick describes the world as a cold, harsh place where only the cold and harsh survive. Kendrick claims he snuffed out Maluta’s dreams and if Tajiri ever comes back, Kendrick will snuff out his dreams as well. Kendrick decides that Tripp isn’t cold or harsh enough to make it in the WWE and Kendrick will snuff out Tripp’s dreams tonight.
Match #2: Brian Kendrick vs. Tripp Bradshaw
Kendrick toys with Bradshaw for a bit and then slaps the Captain’s Hook on. Bradshaw taps immediately.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I’ll give this squash match a break since they clearly planned on a Kendrick / Tajiri program that can’t happen now.
Post-match, Kendrick won’t break the hold, but finally relents.
Meanwhile, Cedric is backstage getting ready for his match. Swann enters and wishes Cedric luck in his match with Neville. Cedric thanks him and asks if he has any advice. Swann doesn’t have any answers, but suggests Cedric should just believe in himself. Swann says that Neville is not unbeatable and that he’ll make a mistake. Cedric says he’s not worried about Neville at all and Swann asks Cedric to “save him some” for the Royal Rumble.
Back from break, Neville is out for the main event. This week Neville changes things up and doesn’t stare down a child on the aisle during his entrance. Cedric Alexander is out next.
Match #3: Neville vs. Cedric Alexander
One of the better matches we’ve seen on 205 Live so far. Not that you’d know from the crowd who chanted “CM Punk”, “Goldberg” and “New Day Rocks” at different points in the match. Cedric gives Neville a run for his money here. The standing Spanish Fly that Cedric hits on Neville is just unreal. Really good stuff and definitely a pairing where each guy enhances the other’s strengths. Things go bad for Cedric when Noam Dar runs out and distracts Cedric enough that he slips trying for a springboard. Neville slaps Cedric into the Rings of Saturn and Alexander is forced to tap.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A solid match that reinforces how good Cedric is and how underutilized Neville was until this heel run.
Post-match, Neville won’t break the submission hold until Cedric appears to pass out. Dar gets into the ring and starts talking trash to Cedric. Noam suggests to Neville that they double team Cedric and Neville responds by tossing Dar out of the ring. Neville begins to stomp Alexander when Swann’s music hits. Swann sprints to the ring and attacks Neville. Dar and Cedric brawl to the back while Neville and Swann go at it in the ring. Refs and security eventually pull Swann and Neville apart as we go off the air.
Another mostly strong episode of 205 Live. The Kendrick match didn’t have a whole to it, but it gets a pass for now. The other two matches were really good and I’m curious to see if WWE pulls the trigger on a Cruiserweight champ Neville on Sunday.