WWE 205 Live 12/27/16 is the final 205 Live episode of the year. The deck is already stacked with Swann vs. Neville (apparently for the title?), the “duel” between Gallagher and Daivari, and Noam Dar likely being a sleaze ball and injecting himself into Alicia Fox and Cedric Alexander’s business. All that and maybe we’ll have a therapy session to find out why Drew Gulak thinks girls are dumb. Let’s go to it.
WWE 205 Live 12/27/16 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a video package detailing the return of Neville. Standard 205 Live video credits, no pyro, and we’re live from where SmackDown happened tonight. Standard Graves, Ranallo, and Aries commentary team. The announcers mention the Swann / Neville match… which now appears to be non-title.
Mauro sends us to Cedric Alexander’s entrance. He’s out with Alicia Fox and someone holds up an “Alicia Foooooox” sign. Good on you sign person. Tony Nese is out next, flanked by a suit wearing Drew Gulak.
Match #1: Cedric Alexander (w/ Alicia Foooooooox) vs. Tony Nese (w/ Drew Gulak in a suit)
Nese and Alexander seem like a good pairing and it works out pretty well. Of course the finish gets mired in the Alicia Fox / Drew Gulak nonsense, but I expected nothing less. For reasons unknown, Gulak and Fox start bantering outside the ring. Fox starts yelling at Gulak and he falls over. Fox’s shoe comes off during their argument and she picks it up. Gulak starts screaming at the ref that she hit him, so the ref ejects Fox. This distracts Alexander enough that he walks into a palm strike by Nese. That’s enough for Nese to pick up the victory.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – This stuff with Fox, Gulak, and Dar is becoming my guilty pleasure in that “it’s so bad, it’s almost good, and I’m curious where it’s going” kind of way. The match was okay too, distraction finish notwithstanding.
Post-match, Nese literally poses in the ring while Gulak cheerleads behind him.
Meanwhile, Fox is backstage fuming. Before long, Dar slides into frame and produces some mistletoe. He holds it over his head and is immediately slapped by Alicia. Dar comically oversells it, then asks for another. Fox gives him another, Dar sells it again, Fox leaves, and Dar says “Merry Christmas… to me”. This is getting more twisted and weird each week. We then cut back to the announcers and Austin Aries is perplexed by what just went down.
Next, we’re sent to an “earlier today” interview Renee Young did with Neville. It’s super awkward the way it’s shot as Neville walks into frame, dressed only in trunks, so it just has this weird vibe to it. Renee asks him why he joined 205 Live and Neville stares and asks if she’s going to ask the “real question”. Neville says it’s insane he was overlooked for the CWC and how he was discriminated against for being too good. Neville then cuts a promo on America for discriminating against him. Neville says he’s going to use the cruelty he receives from the American people as the fuel to his fire. Neville declares himself “the King” and says that in Japan Rich Swann was his young boy. Neville explains what that means and how Rich looked up to Neville as his idol. Neville adds that Swann is not on his level. Neville says something that Renee doesn’t understand, so Neville says she’s “just like the rest of them”, and ends the interview.
Back from break, Mustafa Ali is out for a match. His opponent is already in the ring and wow, is this the first 205 Live squash match?
Match #2: Mustafa Ali vs. John Yurnet
So weird. Yurnet moves like he’s injured the entire match. Because of this, the match feels like it’s significantly cut short. Ali hits a cutter and then follows it up with an inverted 450 off the ropes to get the quick win.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Ali is over huge here since he’s from Chicago, but this match just felt off from the jump.
Post-match, Dasha interviews Ali in the ring. Ali says that Chicago made him. He adds that the WWE Universe proved him wrong for not making assumptions about him like he expected. He says he’s going to let the wins he racks up on 205 Live speak for themself.
Next, Graves mentions the Duel between Gallagher and Daivari and sends us to a video package on Daivari.
Following the video, Daivari makes his way to the ring and… OMG they have a table set up with weapons and this thing is going to be an actual duel. When they set it up on Raw, I figured it’d just be a match, but this is something different. I love this show.
Jack Gallagher is out next, and unlike Daivari who is dressed for a wrestling match, Gallagher is dressed in a suit, vest, bowtie, slacks – the whole nine yards. We see footage of Gallagher laying down the challenge last night by slapping Daivari in the face with a dueling glove. So great. Gallagher explains that Daivari besmirched his good name so they’re settling things tonight by way of a “Gentlemen’s Duel”. Ariya says if he wants to fight, then they can fight, but he doesn’t even know what duel is. Gallagher proceeds to explain. First you pick out a weapon – frying pan, rope, lead pipe, umbrella, wrench, Col. Mustard’s candle stick, and a teapot. Gallagher lets Daivari choose first – he chooses the lead pipe. Gallagher chooses the umbrella and then poses with it. Daivari scoffs at this. Gallagher then describes the rules of the duel and we’re off.
Match #3: Jack Gallagher vs. Ariya Daivari (Gentlemen’s Duel Match)
After two paces, Daivari tries to cheap shot Gallagher from behind. Gallagher ducks and crotches Daivari with the umbrella. Jack follows this up with a shot to Daivari’s head. Gallagher hits Ariya in the stomach, then hooks his leg with the umbrella handle and drops him. Daivari then rams Gallagher into the table that held the weapons… I suppose ending the duel in a DQ.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I can’t believe WWE did this, but I love them for it.
Post-duel, Daivari starts laying into Gallagher with kicks in the corner. The crowd chants “scoundrel” at Daivari as he picks up the wrench. Gallagher counters this with a headbutt to Ariya’s gut. Gallagher hits another headbutt to drop Daivari and finishes it with a running drop kick into the corner. Ranallo compares this to a duel in Japan from 1612, Graves calls him on it, and asks if he “called that one live too”. LOL.
Up next, another “Tajiri is coming soon” promo video airs. Let’s see if 205 Live keeps their promises better about returning talent than Raw does.
Back from break, Neville is out for his match with Swann. Neville’s new thing during his entrance is clearly to stare down kids on the aisle and bark at people like a rabid dog. Still down with it. Rich Swann is out next.
Match #4: Rich Swann vs. Neville
Graves describes Neville being “like a Terminator” in this match and he’s not wrong. Neville just dominates Swann and doesn’t even revert to much of his “flippy stuff” – he just uses power moves and mostly a ground assault. Swann eventually mounts a comeback, including a Phoenix Splash onto Neville on the outside. He also hits a crazy Tiger Bomb on Neville, but only gets a two count. Swann combos a superkick into a Fantastic Voyage, but that’s not enough to put Neville away. Swann gets another hope spot in but, selling his back, he tries to climb the ropes, and Neville counters with a superplex to pick up the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Great match and Neville getting a non-title win sets him for the next title shot – which is exactly what should be happening.
Post-match, Swann struggles to his feet and Neville attacks him with a series of kicks. Swann eats a release German suplex and another kick to the head from Neville. Swann endures another kick to the head when refs flood the ring to prevent Neville from doing anything else. Neville demands his “crown” and is ushered out of the ring by a ref. We go off the air with Neville loudly screaming “bring me my crown” at the crowd.
Another solid effort from WWE with this fledgling 205 Live show. We’re really starting to get a sense of who everyone’s characters are and I imagine the new year will feature even more talent debuting. Definitely a lot to look forward to in 2017.