Date: February 28, 2017
Location: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul Minnesota
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Corey Graves, Austin Aries
We’re five days away from Fastlane and Neville defending the Cruiserweight Title against Jack Gallagher. There’s really not much else going on though and that’s not a good thing. This show needs some more stories to really get going but at least we have a great champion on top. Let’s get to it.
We open with a long recap of Jack Gallagher vs. Neville. This feud needs to end in a hurry as it feels like little more than filler, which to be fair, it is.
Gallagher is ready for Neville’s Fastlane address and thinks he’ll be brooding about the title reign and say that his reign will never end. We’ll see about that on Sunday.
Noam Dar vs. Lince Dorado
Before we get going, someone brings Alicia Fox a bouquet of flowers, much to Dar’s annoyance. Dar tries to take him to the mat but Dorado speeds things up and hits a Lionsault press for two. As Dar takes him to the mat and works on the arm, Alicia is actually eating the flowers. We hit a chinlock as Rich Swann is watching in the back. Now the fans want flowers as Dorado gets in a hurricanrana and a belly to belly suplex. Dorado springboards into a Stunner for two but misses a dive off the top. One heck of a kick to the head gives Dar the pin at 4:01.
Rating: C-. This was fine as a way to push a midcard angle (good idea) and the flowers thing could likely set up Dar’s next feud. I’m not sure how interesting that’s going to be as there’s a good chance Fox is going to leave him anyway. Of course Fox eats flowers so it might not be the most easy to predict person in the world.
Post match Dar says he sent the flowers but I sense a ruse.
Austin Aries is in the ring to interview Akira Tozawa. Regarding turning down Brian Kendrick’s offer of being a mentor, Tozawa wants to be his own man. We get a look back at Kendrick’s “lessons” and Tozawa wants to fight right now. This is followed by a series of weird noises, which Graves calls a war cry.
Cue Kendrick (with some buggy eyes) to say he has a plan and no desire to fight. What makes Tozawa think that Kendrick is already willing to get in the ring with him? Who does Tozawa think he is? Tozawa starts to talk but Kendrick tells him to learn English first, like these Minnesotans need to do. This feud started off as nothing with someone I really don’t care about but I’m actually getting into it. Well done.
Tony Nese/Drew Gulak/Ariya Daivari vs. Mustafa Ali/TJ Perkins/Cedric Alexander
Nese slams Mustafa to start but it’s off to Cedric for a bit better luck. The good guys start working on the arm with TJ bending it back like a slot machine (thanks for the analogy Mauro). Nese gets pulled down into a cross armbreaker and it’s a stream of people being sent outside so the good guys can load up their dives. TJ gets pulled outside for a beating and we settle down to Daivari (from nearby Minneapolis) grabbing a neckbreaker. It’s off to Gulak for a Gory Stretch before Daivari adds one heck of a clothesline.
TJ finally gets out and makes the hot tag to Ali but Gulak grabs him in a torture rack for a slam. Everything breaks down and everyone but Ali and Gulak wind up on the floor. Mustafa hits the inverted 450 for two as Ariya puts the boot on the ropes. Nese comes back in for the German suplex into the corner but can’t follow up. The Detonation Kick rocks Daivari, only to have Gulak crotch Perkins on the top. Nese adds the running knee in the corner for the pin on Perkins at 10:16.
Rating: C+. So Nese is on the good list again? We can push him again now? This was fun but a bit too sloppy for my taste. These guys don’t really have anything going on right now and are now more like flashbacks to the original cruiserweight division on Raw, which really isn’t a good thing. They could go for some more mic time to give us a reason to care about them too.
Austin Aries video.
Here’s Neville for an extended chat. Neville takes credit for all the good things on 205 Live but the fans are completely ungrateful. The fans would rather cheer for a sideshow act like Gallagher. They’re the reason for his upcoming destruction on Sunday and there’s nothing that can stop that.
Cue Gallagher to say this sounds like a meltdown. He offers Neville some tea and biscuits so you know what the fans are going to be chanting now. Neville says this is his ring but Gallagher thinks it belongs to the people. That means it’s time for Neville to leave so the fight is on. The headbutt and some dropkicks both in and out of the ring send Neville into the crowd to wrap things up.
Overall Rating: C+. I really like Gallagher but he’s just not on this level yet. It’s pretty clear that Aries is getting the Wrestlemania title shot (or at least he certainly should) and that makes for some rather dull shows leading up to the announcement. Neville is a great champion and a win over Aries would look great but it’s not easy to watch Gallagher, who is very talented, have no chance in the upcoming match. The rest of the show was fine but the only other interesting story is Kendrick vs. Tozawa. An extra story is a good step though and things could be getting better, albeit somewhat slowly.
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