205 Live Thoughts- Who's The Greatest Austin?
- Anyone triggered by my title, relax... Stone Cold Steve Austin is the greatest Austin in my mind, but Austin Aries is making a really good account of himself lately, and that particularly shined on this episode of 205 Live. Every great star needs a good supporting cast though, so let's look at what the cruiserweights got up to this week.
-WWE's most hated man, TJ Perkins, opens the show. Seriously, I can't believe how badly he was jobbed out on Raw and how much his stock has fallen in general since the Cruiserweight Classic. I was reading through some of my old blogs last night, and I advocated for TJ Perkins to have more of an edge. The cockiness he's displayed wasn't really what I had in mind, because he comes across as a total douche that doesn't realise he's a douche, because he'll still slap hands and give his glasses to the fans.
-All that said, he's a tremendous talent in the ring, and has an intriguing match on tap tonight against the "Premier Athlete" Tony Nese, who has received some modicum of a push recently beyond just being Neville's surrogate. 10 minutes of great action, kinda random with nothing at stake to speak of, but it was a good showcase. Nese wins, and I continually wonder how they do the German suplex into the turnbuckle safely.
-Drew Gulak anti-cruiserweight crusade sounds interesting. When he first started talking in his backstage interview, I wasn't really interested, but he won me over with his mannerisms and delivery of his promo. Intrigued to see where this goes. He hates high flying, risk taking action... great heel stance for this show. Even Corey Graves, who is a quasi-heel on commentary, had to disagree with him.
-I like when jobbers are used effectively. Good for Tozawa, mowing through his un-named opponent like a cruiserweight Goldberg. The post-match attack with Kendrick dressed as security was well done. I think the eventual Kendrick vs. Tozawa long-form match will be an excellent main event on 205 Live.
-Nice job done in the backstage segment with Gallagher, Swann, Dar and Daivari. Gallagher and Swann appeared to be having a natural conversation as Jack educated Rich on suit etiquette, and picked back up with talking about ties after the heels left. Everyone involved seemed to be talking like real people, rather than reciting lines.
-The arrival of the Wrestlemania challenger, Austin Aries, means that business is picking up, as Good Ol' JR would say. Aries says that Neville did a horrible interview segment last week, so he decided to eliminate the problem by interviewing... himself. This was humourous, but swiftly led to an interruption by an angry Neville. Aries switches gears from funny to serious as he doesn't back down from the champ's attempts at intimidation, and informs Neville that he'll be doing commentary on his main event match. Austin Aries showed great range in a single segment there.
-Main event is Neville vs. Mustafa Ali, a battle of men with two of the flashiest finishing moves in WWE history (a big credit for someone as new to the WWE as Ali). The action was great, and once again, Austin Aries shined on commentary, but in a much different way to his first stint at the table. Instead of worrying about being witty and cracking jokes, Austin was laser-focused on studying and dissecting Neville, while putting over the prospect of him walking into Mania and being successful in the biggest match of his career. No jokes about thumbs in the eye or packages, Austin is taking this deadly seriously. The appropriate tone to make sure this feud and match feels big time and Wrestlemania-worthy.
-In the process of all this, Mustafa Ali makes a good case for being in the title conversation following Wrestlemania weekend, taking the champ Neville to the limit with some insane offense, including a springboard Spanish Fly, and a wicked tornado spike DDT. Neville prevails with a sick top rope German, followed by the Rings of Saturn- all while taunting Aries at the desk.
Such a good episode. 205 Live was book-ended by two very high quality matches in Perkins vs. Nese and Neville vs. Ali. Austin Aries did a masterful job in all aspects promoting his Wrestlemania match. The 205 Live midcard got a nice little spotlight with the Tozawa/Kendrick angle, and the backstage segment featuring Gallagher and co. I cannot fault this episode at all, very enjoyable.
Until next time, take care,