Date: April 4, 2017
Location: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves
One more Orlando show to wrap up the week. We’re in an interesting place with the cruiserweights as Neville retained the title over Austin Aries, leaving us with no #1 contender and no one not named Aries is even in his league. Tonight we have a four way for the #1 contendership, which could see Aries get another shot or someone new get in there. Let’s get to it.
I was in the arena for this show with the hard cameras on my left and the Titantron almost straight in front of me.
Long package on Aries vs. Neville.
The announcers chat for a bit.
Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick
That’s one you see at a lot of shows and it makes my head shake harder every time. I mean….you’re going to a big show, you spend a lot of money on tickets, and you actually take the time to make a sign for the sole purpose of ruining someone else’s night? You paid your money so now you need to make sure that other people wasted theirs? That’s completely pathetic and something that can’t be defended. Grow up man.
Kendrick bails to the floor at the bell but Tozawa still beats him to the punch to take over. The backsplash gets two but Kendrick is ready for the fake out punch and grabs a rollup for two. Not that it matters as Tozawa kicks him in the face to take over again. A bad old fashioned thumb to the eye sets up a leg lariat for two on Tozawa. Kendrick can’t get the Captain’s Hook so he settles for a reverse chinlock instead.
Back up and Tozawa grabs a hurricanrana before knocking Kendrick to the floor. Kendrick claims a poke to the eye but the referee says it was a forearm. Naturally he’s goldbricking so Tozawa dives at him instead, only to tweak his knee. This time it’s Tozawa goldbricking though and Brian gets rolled up for the pin at 5:17.
Rating: C+. This was a good way to extend the feud (some might even call it fine) but I’m really not sure how much longer they can carry this out without a big change of pace. Kendrick has grown on me a good bit in this story and it’s making Tozawa look better as well, especially since he finally won a match.
Tozawa says that was lesson #1.
Oney Lorcan vs. Rich Swann
Lorcan is an NXT callup but he’s billed as a replacement for an injured Noam Dar, meaning this might be a one off. Oney charges at Swann at the bell and scores with a series of running uppercuts. It’s off to an abdominal stretch as Swann looks overwhelmed to start. A bodyscissors keeps Swann in trouble for a bit until he escapes for a kick to the head.
Lorcan catches him up top but can’t hit a half and half superplex as Swann backflips out. A running Alabama Slam into the corner gives Oney two but Swann scores with some clotheslines for a breather. Swann kicks him down a few more times and adds the Phoenix splash for the win at 6:42.
Rating: C+. If Lorcan didn’t have a full callup coming in, there’s a good chance he earned a spot with this performance. He beat the heck out of Swann here and that’s one of the best things that he could possibly have done. Sometimes you just need to showcase yourself and Lorcan did so very well here.
Post match Swann says he’s been the one sending the gifts to Alicia Fox. That’s how you move a story forward in a hurry. Phillips brings up the possibility that Swann is lying.
Drew Gulak stops Mustafa Ali in the back and suggests competing a bit more conservatively in the four way. Ali doesn’t want to hear this but Gulak says change is coming so be on the right side of history.
Some of the WWE UK Title tournament are here, including Trent Seven, Mark Andrews, Wolfgang, Pete Dunne (big pop) and of course Tyler Bate, who gets his own entrance. There’s going to be a weekly UK show on the Network in the near future.
Here’s Neville for a chat before the main event. No one is on the Neville Level and it feels nice to be proven right. Neville can’t believe people think he ripped at Aries’ repaired orbital socket out of desperation. That’s nonsense. He did it because Aries deserved it. Neville thanks us for never believing in him because it’s made him royalty. He’ll be at ringside for the four way, or as he calls it, four more lambs to the slaughter.
Mustafa Ali vs. Jack Gallagher vs. TJ Perkins vs. Austin Aries
Ali and Gallagher are knocked to the floor to start, leaving Aries and Nese to work on an arm each. Perkins’ corkscrew dive takes Ali down again but it’s already time for the Mary Poppins spot. Thankfully Aries breaks it up and dropkicks Jack to the floor. All four take turns coming back in and get a few shots here and there until Gallagher does his headstand in the corner to stop a charging Mustafa.
Perkins comes back in with the kneebar on Jack but Aries makes the save with a Last Chancery. Ali goes after the eye though, leaving Gallagher to grab a reverse DDT on Perkins. Aries grabs one at the same time on Gallagher, leaving Ali to roll in with the neckbreaker to take all three down at the same time. Back up and Ali gets crotched on top, setting up Gallagher and Aries for a double superplex. Aries isn’t done though as he dives onto Ali and Perkins, leaving Gallagher to get in the Mary Poppins spot.
Back in and Perkins takes a wicked tornado DDT from Mustafa with Aries making the save. Aries loads Ali up for what looked to be a superplex but stepped aside so Gallagher can nail his running corner dropkick, sending Ali crashing outside. Perkins and Gallagher slug it out until Perkins takes the headbutt. Gallagher falls to the floor though, leaving Aries to hit the Fivearm to put Perkins away at 11:24.
Rating: B. It was fun, albeit a bit messy. These guys beat each other up though and Ali’s bump near the end was a good looking crash. Aries is the only logical move here as he’s the only person near Neville’s level. We’ve seen the other three already and none of them were anything of note. There’s a good reason to believe Aries can pull it off in a second match and it should be fun to see.
One quick live note: you could tell the fans were burned out by the time the main event started. One fan in the section next to me went on a HILARIOUS string of insults against Perkins, shouting every few seconds about how terrible he was and how he needed to stay out of the ring. I don’t know if it was just due to being tired from the week or something similar but the sections around him were in stitches. Then he went a bit too far and knew it.
Fan: “ROMAN REIGNS IS A BETTER WRESTLER THAN TJ PERKINS!”
Everyone else: “NO! DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!”
Fan: “I APOLOGIZE! I PROMISE TO FADE AWAY AND CLASSIFY MYSELF AS OBSOLETE!”
Anyway, trash talk ends the show.
Overall Rating: B. This was one of the best episodes of the show to date but you could tell the crowd was just done by the end. After Wrestlemania, Raw and anything else you did in the previous days, there was no way anyone was going to give this show their full attention. Some of the fans did leave before the show but other than a few seats in front of me, you really couldn’t see any major pockets of suddenly empty seats. Good show, but a bad spot on the schedule.
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