Date: January 31, 2017
Location: American Bank Center, Corpus Christi, Texas
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Austin Aries, Corey Graves
It’s the Neville Era and that means the new champion needs a challenger to go after the title. In theory that’s going to be Rich Swann in a rematch but there’s also Cedric Alexander who almost had Neville beaten until some interference cost him the match. This could go multiple ways and that makes for an interesting show. Let’s get to it.
Long recap of Neville’s rise to the top of the division.
Tony Nese vs. Lince Dorado
The cocky Nese takes him into the corner to start and throws Lince down for good measure. A hurricanrana sends Nese into the corner as well and a high crossbody gets two on Tony. That’s enough for Nese who just starts blasting Lince in the face with hard shots, followed by a gutbuster to set up a bodyscissors. That makes sense for him as Nese has the power advantage so hitting Dorado really hard is the right call. Dorado fights back up with the handspring Stunner for two and a good looking dropkick draws an Okada reference from Mauro. Nese shoves him off the top though and the running knee is good for the pin at 6:08.
Rating: C. This is how you build someone up: let them pick up win after win and treat them as above the rest of the talent. It makes the crowd feel they’re important and that’s often going to work better than having some lame angle or a generic promo, especially when Nese isn’t the best talker.
Nese goes after Dorado even more but TJ Perkins makes the save. See? Build Nese up and give him a feud against an established name. Works perfectly.
We look at Swann and Neville brawling last night on Raw, which saw Swann hurt his ankle.
Swann is in a walking boot but Neville comes in and kicks him down anyway. Now that’s a heel.
Gran Metalik is coming. He was on the NXT house show I took in last month and he looked great.
Akira Tozawa vs. Aaron Solow
Brian Kendrick comes out for commentary and Solow is probably best known as Bayley’s real life boyfriend. Feeling out process to start as it seems Tozawa is replacing the injured Tajiri as Kendrick’s new rival. A dropkick and backsplash give Tozawa two and Solow is knocked out to the floor. After the suicide dive knocks Aaron silly, the snap German suplex gives Tozawa the pin at 3:03.
Rating: D+. Good debut here as Solow gets beaten down like the jobber that he is and Tozawa gets to look awesome. There’s only so much you can do in a three minute match and that’s all it needed to be. Tozawa could be a modern day Tajiri with some of those strikes, but that German suplex looked even better.
Post match Aries interviews Tozawa, who doesn’t speak English.
Noam Dar and Alicia Fox come in to see Neville before their tag match tonight. Dar isn’t worried about Jack Gallagher tonight but Neville doesn’t want to hear about it. Oh and keep the love life baggage in the back. He leaves before Alicia can freak out.
Neville/Noam Dar vs. Jack Gallagher/Cedric Alexander
Gallagher is substituting for the injured Swann. Only Dar and Gallagher shake hands and it’s Jack vs. Neville to get things going. Neville grabs a headlock but Jack does his handstand walk to escape, which doesn’t sit well with the champ. The much stronger Neville starts in on the arm with Jack doing his spinning reversal.
That earns him a forearm to the face as Neville doesn’t have time for the fanciness. Dar comes in and gets caught in a bulldog headlock takeover out of the corner. It’s off to Cedric to stay on the arm with Gallagher putting on a hold that only a British wrestler could pull off. Neville gets tired of these shenanigans and forearms the heck out of Gallagher from the apron. An even harder dropkick to the back of the head makes things even worse.
We hit the chinlock but Dar makes a blind tag and tries to steal his own cover. That’s just not cool with the champ so Dar lightens things up a bit by working on the arm. Neville comes back in but Dar tags himself in a second time as you can almost feel the beating coming for him. Gallagher’s headbutt gives him two on Dar with Neville having to run in for the save. Dar crawls over for the tag and Neville bails, as he certainly should do. It’s back to Alexander for the handspring enziguri followed by the Lumbar Check for the pin at 13:05.
Rating: B-. Good, solid main event tag here with Gallagher selling quite well and Neville doing exactly what he should have done. One of the most annoying things that happens in wrestling is when the wrestlers stop doing what their character would do for the sake of a nothing tag. Neville has no allegiance to Dar and Noam ticked him off. This makes sense and I can always go for that.
Overall Rating: C+. The main event helps this one quite a bit with the new character and solid psychology being more than enough to make up for a not great opener. The show is rapidly developing its own continuity and feel, which is rather impressive after just ten episodes. Neville really is the king right now and that’s going a long way to help this show.
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