WWE 205 Live Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from November 29
Following the massively popular Cruiserweight Classic tournament, WWE had a hard time making the cruiserweight division what we all hoped it would become.
There is no shortage of talent in the 205-pound and under weight class, but trying to introduce too many new characters all at once meant nobody was given enough time to connect with the audience.
By giving the cruiserweights their own show in addition to still appearing on Raw every week, WWE can build more storylines without having to rely on one championship feud and a bunch of random tag team matches.
The action will be called by SmackDown's Mauro Ranallo and Raw's Corey Graves, but the big surprise from Tuesday's show was seeing Austin Aries joining the commentary table.
One of the things that made the CWC great was how well Daniel Bryan and Ranallo worked together on commentary. With Graves being just as passionate as Bryan is about wresting, we can expect the same kind of enthusiasm from the tattooed trash talker.
Let's take a look at everything that happened on the first episode of WWE 205 Live.
The Bollywood Boyz vs. Drew Gulak and Tony Nese
The show started with the cruiserweight division on the stage as the announcer welcomed everyone to the premiere episode of 205 Live. Each Superstar was given their own intro, including some names we haven't seen since the CWC.
Before the first bout, a special video package was shown for Gurv and Harv Sihra, known collectively as The Bollywood Boyz. This was a smart move because they haven't been used much since the CWC, so a lot of WWE fans may not know who they are.
The action in the first bout was exactly what you would expect from a tag match featuring four cruiserweights. The pace was quick, and everyone was taking risks.
The crowd was quiet during the slow periods, but they picked up whenever someone hit an impressive move. The Bollywood Boyz were able to get the crowd behind them as the match progressed, especially when they started gaining some momentum.
This was a good way to kick off the first episode. The fans might not have been as vocal as they were during the CWC, but it will take time for new Superstars to get over. The Sihra brothers picked up the win, but Tony Nese and Drew Gulak put on impressive performances.
Notes and Highlights
- Who else was glad to see Jack Gallagher and Akira Tozawa on the stage with everyone else? Those guys will be valuable to the division moving forward.
- The Bollywood Boyz's video package was good, but you have to wonder if these guys wouldn't be better off as a tag team in NXT right now. They would have a better chance of a push in a tag team division than on a show where there is only one singles title to fight for.
- If Gulak doesn't get a run with the Cruiserweight Championship at some point, WWE will be missing a big opportunity. He's the equivalent of Dean Malenko in WCW's cruiserweight division in the best possible way.
- If the division gets up to 20 regular Superstars, WWE might want to think about adding a second title. A Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship didn't work in WCW, but it could in WWE if there is enough competition.
Jack Gallagher vs. Ariya Daivari
It was smart for WWE to follow a fast-paced match with something a little more technical. Ariya Daivari and Jack Gallagher are not high flyers, so their styles meshed well.
The crowd loved Gallagher's antics, especially when he tied Daivari up in a knot and kicked him in the backside. When Daivari started to put up more of a fight, The Extraordinary Gentleman showed off his more intense side.
After a short, but competitive match, Gallagher picked up the win with a running dropkick in the corner. It would have been nice to see them have a few more minutes, but they did a lot with the time they were given.
Notes and Highlights
- I didn't know much about Gallagher going into the CWC, but he became one of my favorites during his few appearances. He is different enough to be interesting but not so different that he seems unfamiliar.
- Before and after the match, video packages played for Noam Dar, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik. With only so many spots in the first episode, it's good to see WWE finding other ways to feature the talents not wrestling on the card.
- Daivari has yet to distinguish himself from the character his brother played. He needs something to set him apart from everyone else. Aries said he was spoiled by a rich family, so maybe WWE can make him into an aristocrat.
- Video of the match will be added as soon as WWE uploads it to YouTube.
The Brian Kendrick vs. Rich Swann
The main event saw The Brian Kendrick defend the Cruiserweight Championship against one of the standout performers from the Cruiserweight Classic, Rich Swann.
They started off slow trying to feel each other out, but it didn't take long for the pace to pick up. Both men delivered some stiff strikes and big power moves in the early minutes of the match, but whenever Kendrick took control, he would slow things down and focus on inflicting pain.
Kendrick's wrestling IQ is up there with the best in WWE, so his matches are always an exercise in the psychology of grappling. Everything he does has a purpose and there is no wasted movement.
The longer the match went, the more the crowd got into it. They chanted "This is awesome" as Swann lined up and hit three precision kicks to the head to win the match and become the new cruiserweight champion.
Ending the first show with a title change is a good way to create some hype for 205 Live, and the main event closed the episode on a high note.
Notes and Highlights
- Before the main event began, another video package was played for Rich Swann, with more emphasis being put on how hard his journey has been than his upbeat dancing persona. It made him easier to connect with on a personal level.
- Both men chose a pink and black color scheme. I wonder if it was planned or just a coincidence. It reminded me of the Hart family.
- Both guys took some dangerous bumps on their neck and head. It looked good, but they should be a little more careful. Neck injuries can happen at any time, even with tons of preparation and experience.
- Swann got emotional during the post-match interview. The fans chanted "You deserve it" as he fought to hold back tears and dedicate his win to his late mother.
The first episode of 205 Live almost did more for the cruiserweight division than several weeks being featured on Raw, and the ending certainly sent the fans home happy.
Kendrick did an outstanding job making Swann's title win seem like a big deal, but it was the overall presentation of the show that tied everything together.
The video packages for Superstars who weren't competing, the team of Aries, Graves and Ranallo on commentary and the slightly different look of the arena all helped make this feel more like the CWC than Raw or SmackDown.
However, there are two small problems with the show. The first is how putting it right after SmackDown gives us another night with three straight hours of wrestling.
With the increase in PPVs ever since the brand extension, some fans may not have it in them to watch 205 Live after watching over three hours of action on Sunday, again on Monday and another two hours on Tuesday. At least being on the WWE Network means traditional ratings don't matter.
The other issue is how it affects Talking Smack. Putting 205 Live right after SmackDown means some fans might not want to stick around for the SD post-show, which is a shame because it has turned into a great program.
Moving 205 Live to Wednesday nights alongside NXT would fix both of these issues, but if WWE intends on airing the show live in the same arena as SmackDown every week, this wouldn't work.
It would help to film at Full Sail University instead of on the road. This way, WWE could film multiple episodes at once like it does with NXT, the smaller hardcore fan base in the area would make every show more fun and the roster wouldn't have to travel as much.
These things can all be addressed with time. What's important is the first episode was good. The division will thrive more with its own show while also appearing on Raw, and more Superstars will start to get exposure.
What did you think of the premiere of WWE 205 Live?
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