WWE 205 Live 05/23/17 is set to feature a “street fight” between Akira Tozawa and Brian Kendrick. Not only is this the first “street fight” on the #PurpleRopes show, but it should serve as the blow off of the Tozawa and Kendrick program. Also rumored for tonight? The return of Cedric Alexander from injury. Let’s get to the recap!
WWE 205 Live 05/23/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a dramatic video package (narrated by Brian Kendrick) about the Kendrick / Tozawa feud. 205 Live opening credits, pyro, and we’re live from where SmackDown happened tonight.
Tom and Corey set the stage for tonight’s show. We’ve got a preview of the Cruiserweight Championship match at Extreme Rules, the return of Cedric Alexander, and a street fight main event.
Rich Swann is out first to kick things off. Ariya Daivari (with footage of him getting blasted in the face with powder last week) is out next.
Match #1: Rich Swann vs. Ariya Daivari
The real story here is whether or not Daivari will get vengeance for the $1500 shirt that was ruined by the powder. He does not. Daivari works a good heel game in the match though, wearing down Swann’s left arm for most of the match. Swann eventually mounts his comeback, hits a spinning kick for a 2 count, and finishes off Daivari with the Phoenix Splash.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Daivari is becoming one of my favorite heels in the division. Even though he’s regularly used for squash matches on Raw, they’ve been giving him more to do on 205 Live lately and it’s paying off.
Post-match, Swann celebrates in the corner, until he’s dumped off the ropes to the outside by Dar. He takes a sick looking bump doing so too. Dar and Fox celebrate in the ring, while Swann sells like a corpse for a while on the ground.
Meanwhile, Brian Kendrick is backstage getting ready for his match.
Back from break, we see a video package detailing the Aries / Neville feud up to this point.
Next, we get a split screen “via satellite” interview between Neville and Austin Aries (w/ banana). Neville claims he’s obliterated everyone who has come before him, including Austin Aries – twice. Aries claims Neville is delusional and points out he won their last match by DQ. Aries paints Neville as desperate, having to rely on an eye gouge and intentional ref bump DQ to keep the title. Neville takes offense to this and literally accuses Aries of “slander”. LOL!! Aries fires back by saying he speaks the truth and how he can’t wait to bust out his catalog of submission holds at Extreme Rules. However, the last one he’ll use is the Last Chancery and Neville will be forced to tap out. Neville calls that a “cut little fairy tale” and vows that he won’t be held responsible for what happens at Extreme Rules. Aries ends the segment by saying “neither will I”. Well done by both guys.
Next, Cedric Alexander returns to work a squash match against “Johnny Boone”.
Match #2: Cedric Alexander vs. Johnny Boone
Well, at least Cedric is back. This match consists of a few strikes and Cedric hitting the Lumbar Check in under two minutes. Not much else to comment on.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Glad to see Cedric back on TV, however I would have liked to have seen him do a little more.
Next, we see footage of Drew Gulak attacking Mustafa Ali on last week’s show.
We’re then sent to a pre-taped Drew Gulak vignette, done up like a cheap, green-screen political ad. Gulak cuts a promo on the show-offs of the division (including TJP, Swann, and Gallagher) but focuses specifically on Mustafa Ali. He compares those guys to “Cirque du Soleil” and once again vows to rescue 205 Live. Hilarious. I love where this Gulak stuff is going.
Meanwhile, Tozawa is backstage… walking!
Back from break, main event time. Kendrick is out first, Tozawa is out next.
Match #3: Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick (Street Fight)
Not bad for a street fight. Neither guys resorts too much to the gimmicky stuff street fights tend to involve. Sure, we get a table spot to end the match, whipping with a belt, and your general outside the ring brawling. However, one thing that popped me was Kendrick using the purple tape from the #PurpleRopes to cover Tozawa’s mouth before locking on the Captain’s Hook. Incredible! All in all, this was a solid match and not the type of thing we generally see on 205 Live. It was nice for a change of pace and both guys really brought their “A” game to this match and it showed. After a relatively even back and forth, Tozawa gains the advantage with a snap Saito Suplex on the outside. From there, Kendrick is put on the table he set up earlier in the match, and Tozawa puts him through it with a senton off of the ring post. I thought he got nice air with his senton the other night, but wow, he gets really up there for this one. After dragging Kendrick back in the ring, Tozawa falls onto Kendrick for the victory.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A strong blow off match to what was a very entertaining feud. Zero complaints.
Post-match, refs check on both guys as we go off the air.