WWE 205 Live 12/20/16 promises us a Neville & Brian Kendrick vs. Rich Swann & T.J. Perkins main event. I’m assuming we’ll also see some more from the Cedric Alexander / Alicia Fox / Noam Dar situation that was referenced on Raw. Other than that… maybe some Daivari, maybe some Gallagher… maybe someone new debuts? Let’s find out!
WWE 205 Live 12/20/16 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a video packaging highlighting the Cruiserweight Championship match (and post-match fallout) from Roadblock. Standard 205 Live opening credits, pyro, and we’re live from where SmackDown Live was this week. Mauro introduces the announce team (complete with a Santa hat wearing Austin Aries) and Graves announces the Perkins / Swann vs. Neville / Kendrick main event.
But first, Ariya Daivari is out for a match. Hey, at least it’s not against Gallagher as Lince Dorado is out next.
Match #1: Ariya Daivari vs. Lince Dorado
Not bad. Dorado hits a beautiful springboard stunner and follows it up with a dive over the top rope where he nearly spikes himself on the floor. Otherwise, this is a middle of the road match where they each trade spots. Daivari ends up going over with a nice frog splash.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A heel going over clean elevates this otherwise by-the-numbers match into “Thumbs Up” territory.
Post-match, Dasha sneaks up behind Daivari and tries to interview him. Ariya would rather cut an angry promo on Jack Gallagher though. Daivari drops the bomb that “Jack Gallagher is not a gentleman, Jack Gallagher is a scoundrel!”. Thems fightin’ words!
Meanwhile, Neville is brooding in the locker room when Kendrick wanders in. Brian starts to butter up Neville, but Neville is having none of it. Neville cuts a promo saying he respects Kendrick, because guys like them built this division, but tonight he’s Kendrick’s partner… not his friend. Neville declares on 205 Live there is room for only one “King of the Cruiserweights”.
Next, a hype video for Tajiri airs. He’s coming soon… probably sooner than Emma(lina).
Back from break, Cedric Alexander (w/ Alicia Fox) is out for a match. During their entrance, we see footage of Noam Dar creeping on “Foooooooooooox” from Raw. Drew Gulak storms out to the ring next.
Match #2: Drew Gulak vs. Cedric Alexander (w/ Alicia Fox)
Okay, I have mixed feelings about this match. First off, I liked how Gulak came out in high gear this week and just kept things like that for the whole match. He’s typically worked a slower style, so it was cool to see him use a different strategy. The insane “we suplex each other over the ropes onto the floor” spot was fun. Not a big fan of Cedric getting shoved into Alicia and this somehow hurting her. If she was solely a valet… okay… maybe. But this is a competitor in the Raw women’s division. She takes bigger bumps than that on a regular basis. Not buying it. I also didn’t like the predictable smarmy Noam Dar slinking out to help her to the back creating the distraction. But, I did like Cedric powering out of the distraction roll up by Gulak, hitting the Lumbar Check, and getting the win before dealing with Dar. You don’t see that very often since about 95% of the time the distraction proves to be insurmountable and the face loses.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I guess there was enough here that I had a problem with that it’d be dishonest to give this a “Thumbs Up”.
Post-match, Cedric runs to the back to find Noam Dar and Alicia Fox.
Next, Graves starts talking about someone being a scoundrel and then randomly the production team decides to send Dasha out to talk to Gulak. Aries, not missing a beat, cuts a promo on Graves for calling Dasha a scoundrel. Aries on commentary is quickly growing on me.
Dasha asks Gulak what went wrong tonight… and Gulak cuts a promo on Alicia Fox that literally says “Women don’t belong on 205 Live”. Damn. I see some of that “edgy” SmackDown vibe is rubbing off on 205 Live tonight.
Next, we get to what Graves was originally going to send us to – which is a video package on Jack Gallagher.
Meanwhile, Noam and Alicia are backstage and a trainer is putting ice on Alicia’s ankle. Cedric comes running in and wow, that trainer’s room must be on the other side of the building or something since it took him like four minutes to get there. Alicia says she’s grateful that Noam was there and Cedric tells Noam he can take it from here. Noam tells Alicia if she ever needs him again, he’ll be there. Noam gives Cedric a creepy smile and leaves.
Back from break, Neville is out. I like his new entrance where he confronts fans on the aisle… but he seriously needs “heel” music. An upbeat, big beat electronica song doesn’t fit his new vibe or entrance at all. Kendrick is out next, followed by Perkins, and Swann enters last. Neville has to be blocked and held back by the ref during both Perkins’ and Swann’s entrances. Good stuff.
Match #3: Rich Swann & T.J. Perkins vs. Neville & Brian Kendrick
This really could have just devolved into the “Neville show” but they framed that concept around a surprisingly good tag team match. We get an awesome showdown between Neville and Swann towards the end – foreshadowing the inevitable title match we’ll hopefully get to see sometime soon. But, I don’t want to discount Perkins and Kendrick who also both contributed a lot to this match. Neville goes over for his team when he hits the Red Arrow on Perkins.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A great way to introduce Neville on the show and also freshen up the top of the card a bit.
Kendrick and Neville pose in the ring as we go off the air.
Another overall strong episode of this show. We’re continuing the slow burn on several of the first storylines to emerge in the Cruiserweight Division in a fashion that reminds me a bit of how NXT operates.