205 Live 12/6/16
1. Noam Dar vs. Cedric Alexander
ER: Killer little match and probably the best Dar performance we've seen on WWE TV. He was pretty vicious in this one and I'd much rather see this side of Dar than the goof from the CWC who couldn't keep his fingers out of his ears. Here he went after Cedric's arm and stuck to the gameplan, and it made for a pretty exciting 10 minutes. Cedric was real nice with the comebacks, and both guys laid into each other pretty hard with some nasty elbow strikes (although Cedric's booming back elbow wins ALL). We do get a little of sillypants Dar, like when he hid from a tope, but I like the big rolling bump he took on the resulting kick, so call it a draw. I liked the ways Dar would cut Cedric off, with the best being Cedric admiring a mule kick for a bit too long, leading Dar to kick the snot out of him mid handspring. Killer moment. The match had a nice pace and the fans were into it too, and I kept waiting for the eventual Cedric victory as Dar kept being a german shepherd (Scottish shepherd?), just not wanting to let go of that arm. The win was a fun surprise moment, although maybe it will lead to a nice subtly racist angle where Cedric is a black man just too distracted by the ladies to fully concentrate on wrestling. Yay?
PAS: Dar isn't great, but I enjoy him as the poor man's 205 Live version of Terry Rudge, I can imagine he will eventually have a nifty match with Gallagher's rich man's Johnny Saint. His arm work was fun stuff, loved the knuckles into the elbow joint and the hammerfists to set up the Fujiwara. Cedric has really explosive offense, and is at his best when he is put in a match with some structure like this, where he can mix in cool spots. Didn't love the finish, as the whole match was about the arm, and having Dar win with a not great looking jump kick was odd. Still this got me more excited about Dar, who is a guy coming into this match I was completely indifferent to.
2. Ariya Daivari vs. Jack Gallagher
ER: So uhhhh...there are other guys on the rosters...right? I've now seen this match up 3 times in 8 days, and they're just trading wins while only advancing a "Jack's knee is getting progressively more hurt" story. This was probably the most interesting of their three matches, with Daivari going after the knee and posting it, and ripping bandages off is always a good visual. A lot of the knee work was good, especially liked a running pump kick to the back of Jack's knee. Gallagher broke out some cool stuff like a mat escape where he just kept widening Daivari's stance until he could wriggle out. Gallagher has super snug roll ups, his knee selling is really good throughout, and when he hit the headbutt I thought it was over. The Gallagher headbutt should be a Fatality, a total KO no comeback move, so I was bummed to see it not end the match. But this was a nice showing for both guys. Still I think Gallagher should be treated like a brand superstar. Daivari looks a lot better than he's getting credit for though.
PAS: Two rematches from the first show is weird booking, they could have had this same story by just having Jack beat Daivari on RAW and then have Daivari go after the knee. I liked this though, Ariya is pretty basic, but his basic stuff looks good, and the viciousness added something to the usual Gallagher showcase. The natural feud is Daivari v. Mustapha Ali in a Suni v. Shia sectarian battle, maybe an Aleppo death match, but this is a good use of Daivari until they pull the trigger on that.
3. Brian Kendrick vs. Rich Swann
ER: Another day, another high end Kendrick performance. He owned this whole match bell to bell, and then continued owning after the bell. Swann is fine but Kendrick straight ran this game. He's really become a master of body movement and relating it to the match. It's practically become an event whenever he possums a stumble to lure someone into a face kicking, or when he first gets into danger and rolls into the floor and tosses his hair back annoyed. But the guys is just awesome. He always makes it look like he's actively looking for openings and any little advantage he can get. He makes offense look real good, even though Swann's kicks were a bit off, and he's always making new things look good. Every match there's something he does that I don't remember him doing before. Here I really dug his missed knee drop. I've not seen him do a knee drop before, but he committed on the miss and it makes sense in a kayfabe sense, and also just makes a match tighter when the missed shit looks like they were actually trying to connect. All the stuff around the captains hook looked great, Swann hits a cool flipping moonsault off the buckles, Kendrick came up with a quirky roll up to counter Swann's standing 450 (still don't understand why he needs to drag them to the corner to do the 450. It's a standing move, isn't the benefit that he can do it at any time!?), and Kendrick's simple stuff like elbows and straight kicks always look good. They found the best way to integrate TJP into the match, although a brief TJP distraction being the downfall of Kendrick doesn't make Swann look great. We all know this is Kendrick's belt and Swann is just keeping that shit warm anyway.
PAS: Swann had a nice dive in this match, and I enjoy his drool selling but man is Kendrick so clearly the class of this show. That whole Captains Hook section was awesome and it really should have finished the match. I love how Kendrick throws in a nifty use his environment spot in every match, here the chuck of Swann headfirst into the ring post holder looked great, as did his sliced bread off of the barrier. Swann really needs to hit that kick harder if he is going to use it as his finisher though.
ER: I thought Kendrick's performance in the main was so great, one of my favorites of the year. Because of that the match landed on our 2016 Ongoing MOTY List.